Core processors. i3. Vs i5

Can anyone help me please What is the difference please and if someone buying a new laptop should choose a better processor or one with more memory ??


Nick is right. What the lad wants to do with the machine is the deciding factor.

If modern games are the order of the day then a strong graphics card is a must. 4gb of ram and a faster dual core CPU (i3) will be fine.

I am a multi-tasking whore and use a laptop with an Intel Core i7 720QM with a Passmark CPU Mark of 3291.

While this score is beaten by some i3's and many i5 CPU's for sheer power, the ability of this CPU to multi-task is excellent.

While gaming, the CPU is just ticking over and the graphics card is going like the clappers and pegged at 100%

While rendering video the CPU is at 100% (that's when you find out just how loud the fans can be) and the graphics card is idle.

It all depends what you want to do.

Elaine, if your friend were to join us on here, and post the makes of laptops she/he is considering, I'll be more than happy to cast an eye over them and make suggestions for the workload you have described.

I hate stores like PC world misleading customers into buying whatever they have to push out of the stock room more than most, and like helping people get a good deal.



Wow, not an easy question to answer Elaine , as Carl's processor breakdown shows, there are many i3's and i5's, so you really have to compare apples with apples.

Lots of memory is always a good idea, and the more you can afford the better. However the biggest bang for you buck today is to get an SSD disk drive, which really boost's performance in all cases.

All I can say if I were buying a laptop today, I would go for one with a second generation i5 processor or above, but always check exactly which one is in the case.

As with all things in life , the more you pay , the better the product, normally. I have a Dell E6410 with an i5 processor and a Lenovo X201 with supposedly the same processor, but there is no comparison in performance, the Lenovo leaves the Dell for dead. Machines like Apple and Lenovo just use better parts than the 399 euro laptops you can get anywhere.

I have to say though, what do you want the machine to do? If it is browsing the web, writing the odd document and playing the odd game, then most, if not all laptops will do that for you.



Hi all. Sorry to be a party pooper but Philips reply is not quite right.

An i5 processor has 2 or 4 cores depending on the model you have and some of the i5's have a really low performance to save energy.

In simple terms the Passmark CPU Mark is the power of the CPU. (Higher is better.)

As you can see there are i3 CPU's with far more grunt than some of the low-end/low price i5's

CPU Name
Passmark CPU Mark
(higher is better)
(lower is better)
CPU Value
(higher is better)
Intel Core i3 330M @ 2.13GHz 1967 416 NA NA
Intel Core i3 330UM @ 1.20GHz 1205 653 NA NA
Intel Core i3 350M @ 2.27GHz 2052 401 NA NA
Intel Core i3 370M @ 2.40GHz 2219 371 NA NA
Intel Core i3 380M @ 2.53GHz 2302 358 NA NA
Intel Core i3 380UM @ 1.33GHz 1303 617 NA NA
Intel Core i3 390M @ 2.67GHz 2333 350 NA NA
Intel Core i3 530 @ 2.93GHz 2723 300
Intel Core i3 540 @ 3.07GHz 2847 286
Intel Core i3 550 @ 3.20GHz 3084 255
Intel Core i3 560 @ 3.33GHz 3173 252
Intel Core i3-2100 @ 3.10GHz 3855 177
Intel Core i3-2100T @ 2.50GHz 3278 239
Intel Core i3-2105 @ 3.10GHz 3979 170
Intel Core i3-2120 @ 3.30GHz 4192 152
Intel Core i3-2120T @ 2.60GHz 3070 258
Intel Core i3-2125 @ 3.30GHz 4172 153
Intel Core i3-2130 @ 3.40GHz 4461 135
Intel Core i3-2310M @ 2.10GHz 2599 322 NA
Intel Core i3-2330M @ 2.20GHz 2739 298 NA
Intel Core i3-2350M @ 2.30GHz 3079 256 NA
Intel Core i3-2357M @ 1.30GHz 1660 498 NA
Intel Core i3-2367M @ 1.40GHz 1854 445 NA
Intel Core i5 430M @ 2.27GHz 2355 346
Intel Core i5 430UM @ 1.20GHz 1430 571 NA
Intel Core i5 450M @ 2.40GHz 2464 334 NA
Intel Core i5 460M @ 2.53GHz 2604 321 NA
Intel Core i5 470UM @ 1.33GHz 1522 543 NA
Intel Core i5 480M @ 2.67GHz 2747 296 NA NA
Intel Core i5 520M @ 2.40GHz 2359 344
Intel Core i5 520UM @ 1.07GHz 1451 566 NA NA
Intel Core i5 540M @ 2.53GHz 2461 336
Intel Core i5 560M @ 2.67GHz 2652 313
Intel Core i5 580M @ 2.67GHz 2797 291
Intel Core i5 650 @ 3.20GHz 3173 250
Intel Core i5 655K @ 3.20GHz 3470 216
Intel Core i5 660 @ 3.33GHz 3173 251
Intel Core i5 661 @ 3.33GHz 3296 235
Intel Core i5 670 @ 3.47GHz 3197 247
Intel Core i5 680 @ 3.60GHz 3506 211
Intel Core i5 750 @ 2.67GHz 4281 146
Intel Core i5 760 @ 2.80GHz 4577 130
Intel Core i5 U 560 @ 1.33GHz 1376 596 NA NA
Intel Core i5-2300 @ 2.80GHz 5592 89
Intel Core i5-2310 @ 2.90GHz 5890 81
Intel Core i5-2320 @ 3.00GHz 6043 79
Intel Core i5-2390T @ 2.70GHz 4070 160 NA NA
Intel Core i5-2400 @ 3.10GHz 6155 74
Intel Core i5-2400S @ 2.50GHz 4977 113
Intel Core i5-2405S @ 2.50GHz 4885 116
Intel Core i5-2410M @ 2.30GHz 3335 232 NA NA
Intel Core i5-2415M @ 2.30GHz 2998 267 NA NA
Intel Core i5-2430M @ 2.40GHz 3457 220 NA NA
Intel Core i5-2435M @ 2.40GHz 3521 210 NA NA
Intel Core i5-2450M @ 2.50GHz 3856 176 NA NA
Intel Core i5-2467M @ 1.60GHz 2359 345 NA NA
Intel Core i5-2500 @ 3.30GHz 6654 58
Intel Core i5-2500K @ 3.30GHz 7483 39
Intel Core i5-2500S @ 2.70GHz 5077 107 NA NA
Intel Core i5-2510E @ 2.50GHz 3422 225 NA NA
Intel Core i5-2520M @ 2.50GHz 3590 205
Intel Core i5-2537M @ 1.40GHz 2455 338 NA NA
Intel Core i5-2540K @ 3.30GHz 8412 27 NA NA
Intel Core i5-2540M @ 2.60GHz 3842 180
Intel Core i5-2557M @ 1.70GHz 2651 314 NA NA

Hi Elaine - The i5 is quad core, the i3 isn't. The i5 has turbo boost, the i3 doesn't. The i3 has hyper-threading, while i5 doesn't. Overall, the additional cores and the turbo boost feature on the i5 makes it a much quicker processor for almost every use. Its all about speed, for most purposes you wouldnt notice the difference, unless you were playing the latest games or editing large video files that sort of thing - I hope this helps

Regards Phil