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Differences between Core i3, i5 and i7?

By FatTwinkie
Mar 22, 2011
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  1. Couldn't find one, but with all the new Core i series CPUs that are coming out and each model having something taken away or added, does anyone have a complete list on the difference between the Core i3,i5, and i7 CPU models?

    Would help a lot since I'm lost with all the new ones haha.
     
  2. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,900   +711

    For desktop...
    Core i3 is entry/budget level/mainstream bracket and is 2 cores with hyperthreading and no Turbo
    Core i5 is performance bracket and is 4 cores without hyperthreading but with Turbo. The exception being 6xx series CPU's (2 core with hyperthreading and Turbo)
    Core i7 is enthusiast bracket and is 4 or 6 cores with hyperthreading and Turbo
    Core i7 Extreme is enthusiast bracket and is 4 or 6 (and soon 8) cores, hyperthreading, Turbo and unlocked bus multiplier.
    Second generation Core i (Sandy Bridge) uses 2xxx numbering.
    The differentiation for mobile CPU's is less easy to define (a massive understatement)
    See here and here for individual CPU characteristics and board compatibility

    For desktop look for the names Clarkdale (mainstream), Lynnfield (performance) and Bloomfield/Westmere (enthusiast) on the Nehalem page, while Sandy Bridge isn't differentiated by family name with regards it's market segment.
     
  3. Darth Shiv

    Darth Shiv TS Evangelist Posts: 1,169   +176

    The other catch is the expansion bus capabilities of them.

    For example, socket 1156 chips only allow a single PCIe x16 slot (which can also be split). You may see boards advertised with 2 PCIe x16 slots but what actually happens is they both run at x8 if you use both.

    Socket 1366 is a different beast. It uses an older style architecture where PCIe lanes don't directly come out of the processor. They come out of the X58 chipset instead so the processor has a connection to that then from there to the PCIe x16 slots. It can have many PCIe x16 lanes but I would imagine there is higher latency because the processor has to send data via it's QPI link to the northbridge THEN to the device rather than straight to the device as per 1156.

    Socket 1155 is the same as 1156 for PCIe x16 slots. So again, very limited.

    If you only want/need 1 graphics card and have no need for a PCIe solid state drive or PCIe SATA 3 controller (both generally requires PCIe x4 or more lanes available), you won't need to worry.
     
  4. FatTwinkie

    FatTwinkie TS Member Topic Starter

    Thank you both for the info. All of it is confusing because you have like a billion models for each one and each has something that the others don't which could mean the difference between $100-$1,000,000 or performance wise (not really a million dollars, but you get the idea). Both you guys helped though :D
     
  5. syntaxbreaker

    syntaxbreaker TS Rookie Posts: 16

    Nice post sir:cool: very informative
     
  6. teklord

    teklord TS Maniac Posts: 527

    Was going to say go Sandy Bridge until I saw there are only 16 lanes total for the GPU. Won't effect GPU performance much if at all but it is nice to have that available for SLI/CF. I intend to always SLI/CF as it makes all the difference in games for me. Makes me glad I jumped onboard the i7 bandwagon with the 950, 1366 slot type.
     
  7. Win7Dev

    Win7Dev TS Booster Posts: 364   +40

    I'd like to add one thing. The sandy bridge models that end with a "k" suffix have unlocked multipliers to allow easy overclocking. e.g. Intel Core i5 2500K and Core i7 2600K.
     


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