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Core i3 vs. Core i5

Core i3 vs. Core i5

At a Glance

With up to four processing cores, the Intel Core i5 has significantly more capabilities than the Intel Core i3. However, the price difference between the two is a small one. You may not notice the difference if you don’t push your computer, though.

When it comes to computer processing power and technologies, Intel Corp is the pacesetter in the industry. Recently this technology company has released to the market their latest version of computer processing chips; the Core i3 and the Core i5. These latest processing chips are based on the second generation Sandy Bridge architecture that packs a whole lot of upgraded features from the immediate predecessor. At a glance, one might assume that the numbers represent the number of processing cores, but this is not the case. The 3 in i3 and the 5 in i5 actually represents the processor’s relative processing power but his does not mean that the i5 is definitely the superior of the two, sometimes the reverse is true and this depends on the specifications of each individual system. Lets delve deeper to see what differentiates these two processors.

Cores

Both i3 and i5 are multi-core processors. In technical lingo, a multi-core processor is physically just a single processing unit but with more than one independent units within it that handles the actual reads and programs execution. As of this writing all the i3’s available in the market are dual cores meaning they have only two cores, the i5 on the other hand have quad or four cores with the exception of i5-661 which is dual core. The more cores there are, the more threads or tasks can be handled at the same time, based on this fact only, then it means that the i5 are superior to the i3 and bearing in mind that each core can process two threads at a time.

Price

Pictured at top: ASUS 11.6″ Touch Screen Laptop

Another factor that differentiates the i5 and the i3 is the cost. The Core i5 has essentially more capabilities that the i3 making it more suitable for media creation and multi-tasking and the more capabilities you get the pricier it becomes. The price difference might however not be that wide, for example, a notebook running on Core i3-3217U will cost approximately $50 less than a similarly equipped notebook running Core i5-3317U. This makes i3 cost effective and suitable for the average user who needs basic but reliable computing power.

Cache

Processing units implement a cache or an on-board memory within its structure or architecture. The cache is used to reduce the average time to access the main memory. This memory is much smaller that the main memory but many times faster. The Core i5 processors have a larger cache making it able to deal with repetitive tasks much faster. The current i5 processors have 6MB of L3 cache while the i3 have 3MB.

Integrated Graphics

The Sandy Bridge family of CPU’s implements an integrated graphics built into the chip itself as opposed to the previous integrated graphics that were built into the motherboard chipset. Currently there are four Intel High Definition graphics in the market and the good part is that any of the four can be implemented on both the i3 and the i5. This is where the two core processors can be at par with each other, as both the Core i3 and Core i5 chips from the same generation tend to include the same graphics core.