Difference between Intel i5 and i7 processor

December 9, 2015 by Editorial Team

Before we can identify what are the differences between the two, we should at least have an idea what a processor or CPU (Central Processing Unit) actually is. To put it simply, it is the electronic circuitry within a computer that carries out the instructions through basic arithmetic, and logical, control and input/output operations, so basically it is the brain of the computer. Depending on how fast the brain is, it will now determine how fast and how efficient those instructions will be executed.

Definitions

Intel i5 vs Intel i7 processor
Intel i5 processor with an LGA 1156 socket

Intel i5 Processor

Designed and developed by one of the leading CPU manufacturers, the Intel i5 processor is known as the mid-ranged CPU between its own i3 and i7. It was first introduced on September 8, 2009. Capable of executing heavy applications with not much effort, it is the one preferred by many users as it is not that expensive compared to your much more powerful Intel i7.

When talking about Intel i5 processors, there are also things to be considered like your sockets and speeds. Intel i5 have many different architectural designs and so have different speeds and different sockets. Ranging from a low frequency rate of 1.07 GHz up to a high 3.6 GHz, with various desktop sockets like LGA 1156, 1150, 1155, and mobile sockets like BGA 1288, 1364, and 1023, you’ll have a considerable amount of choices for your computing needs.

Here is a list of your Intel i5 (Desktop) processors:

  • Nehalem microarchitecture (1st generation)

Uses 45 nm architecture, socket LGA 1156, has 774 million transistors, speed ranges from 2.4 – 2.8 GHz, and has 4 cores.

  • Westmere microarchitecture (1st generation)

Uses 32 nm architecture, socket LGA 1156, has 382 million transistors, speed ranges from 3.2 GHz – 3.6 GHz, and has 2 cores.

  • Sandy Bridge microarchitecture (2nd generation)

Uses 32 nm architecture, socket LGA 1155, has 1.16 billion transistors, speed ranges from 2.5 GHz – 3.4 GHz, and has 2/4 cores.

  • Ivy Bridge microarchitecture (3rd generation)

Uses 22 nm architecture, socket LGA 1155, has 1.4 billion transistors, speed ranges from 2.3 GHz – 3.4 GHz, and has 2/4 cores.

  • Haswell microarchitecture (4th generation)

Uses 22 nm architecture, socket LGA 1150, has 1.4 billion transistors, speed ranges from 1.9 GHz – 3.5 GHz, and has 2/4 cores.

  • Broadwell microarchitecture (5th generation)

Uses 14 nm architecture, socket LGA 1150/BGA 1364, the speed ranges from 2.8 GHz – 3.1 GHz, and has 4 cores.

  • Skylake microarchitecture (6th generation)

Uses 14 nm architecture, socket LGA 1151, the speed ranges from 2.7 – 3.5 GHz, and has 4 cores.

intel i7
Intel i7 Processor with an LGA 1150 socket

Intel i7 Processor

A more powerful processor than both the Intel i3 and i5, it is considered to be the world’s most powerful consumer desktop processor. It was first introduced in late 2008. It is capable of executing heavy applications with no effort and is cool temperature-wise. It is expected to provide peak performance with the toughest of tasks and games due to its multiple cores and fast efficient speeds.

Just as with your Intel i5 processors, different architectural designs were made as technology advanced to deliver higher performance. It has a frequency speed ranging from 1.07 GHz – 4 Ghz and various desktop sockets like LGA 1156, 1150, 1155, and mobile sockets like BGA 1288, 1364, and 1023, generally the same as with your Intel i5 sockets.

Here is a list of your Intel i5 (Desktop) processors:

  • Nehalem microarchitecture (1st generation)

Uses 45 nm architecture, sockets LGA 1366/1156, has 731/774 million transistors, speed ranges from 2.53 – 3.33 GHz, and has 4 cores.

  • Westmere microarchitecture (1st generation)

Uses 32 nm architecture, socket LGA 1366, has 1.17 billion transistors, speed ranges from 3.2 GHz – 3.47 GHz, and has 6 cores.

  • Sandy Bridge microarchitecture (2nd generation)

Uses 32 nm architecture, sockets LGA 1155/2011, has 1.27/2.27 billion transistors, speed ranges from 2.8 GHz – 3.6 GHz, and has 4/6 cores.

  • Ivy Bridge microarchitecture (3rd generation)

Uses 22 nm architecture, socket LGA 1155/2011, has 1.4/1.86 billion transistors, speed ranges from 2.5 GHz – 3.7 GHz, and has 4/6 cores.

  • Haswell microarchitecture (4th generation)

Uses 22 nm architecture, sockets LGA 1150/LGA 2011/BGA 1364, has 1.4/2.6 billion transistors, speed ranges from 2 GHz – 4 GHz, and has 4/6/8 cores.

  • Broadwell microarchitecture (5th generation)

Uses 14 nm architecture, socket LGA 1150/BGA 1364, the speed ranges is at 3.3 GHz, and has 4 cores.

  • Skylake microarchitecture (6th generation)

Uses 14 nm architecture, socket LGA 1151, the speed ranges from 2.4 – 3.4 GHz, and has 4 cores.

Intel i5 vs Intel i7

What is the difference between Intel i5 and Intel i7? In relation to their names, the number usually represents how much higher their performance is, and in this case, it is indeed true. Intel i5 may already be a powerful processor for both desktop and mobile computing, but i7 is more efficiently designed to deliver a better performance.

While i7 is a more powerful processor, it thus however costs more than your i5. If speed is what you’re looking for, then i7 no doubt beats the i5. But for users who may not know this, i5 can exceed the power of i7 through the use of Overclocking (a process where the user overrides the standard speed of a CPU to reach a higher speed). Take note though, it will remove your warranty privilege and so is not recommended to those new to overclocking.

So to sum up, with many different architecture designs, some will have similar speeds as others with the same prices, but i5 can only reach a limited speed while i7 can deliver more.

Comparison Chart

Intel i5 ProcessorIntel i7 Processor
Is less expensiveIs more expensive
Designed with 1st to 6th generation architectureDesigned with 1st to 6th generation architecture
More on dual and quad coreMore on quad and six cores
Lower clock speedHigher clock speed
Less cacheMore cache
Price ranges from $150 to $590Price ranges from $150 to $1,500

Video

Here is a quick video explaining what Core i3, Core i5, and Core i7 are.