Video Games

Intel Core i5 vs i7 For Gaming – Which Should I Choose?

intel core i5 cpu

When it comes to the central processing unit (CPU) for your gaming system there are many from which to choose. This includes both the Intel Core i5 and the Intel Core i7 processor, the latter being the latest offering from the Intel Company. But which one of these CPUs offers you the best bang for your gaming buck? This is the question we will explore in more detail in the article below.

Intel Core i5 Processor vs. Intel Core i7 Processor for Gaming: Why Does It Matter?

In recent times, gaming has gone far past just being a hobby for some people; it has turned into serious business. As professional e-game and e-sports players will tell you, there is currently a lot of money to be made in the gaming world, but if you are going to compete you have to have the right system.

There are several components that are crucial to the PC gaming experience, however none of these is as important as the central processing unit—described by many to be the beating heart of any gaming system. Those who truly understand the inner workings of a gaming system have time and again prioritized the central processing unit as the key component to any system, and without a quality CPU you’d simply be better off not playing.

That brings us to the Intel Core i5 and the Intel Core i7 processors. Both of these are considered to be among the best central processing units currently available, and both are widely sought after by serious gamers. Of course, the newer Intel Core i7 will force you dig a little deeper into your pocket in terms of cost, but is it really worth the extra cash? This is what we will explore below.

What Are the Main Differences between the Intel Core i5 and the Intel Core i7 Processors?

The Intel Core i5 processor and the Intel Core i7 processor are part of the latest line of products from the Intel Company. Both of these processors boast the Turbo Boost Technology 2.0—a technological advancement that is meant to surge the processors and advance the graphics productivity for peak loads in the processors.

The Turbo Boost Technology 2.0 that is found in the Intel Core i5 and i7 processors is automated to improve application performance. The technology allows the cores of the processors to work faster than its respective rated frequency of operation when the processors are working below power limits. It is important to remember in this discussion that both the i5 and i7 processors are equipped with this technology.

Given that the technology is essentially present and the same in both the Intel Core i5 and Intel Core i7 processors, what, then, is the difference between the two models? For starters, the Intel Core i7 has faster performance and achieves higher clock speeds. It also has better integrated graphics, a larger cache and features hyper-threading. So with these improvements, will a gamer perceive a noticeable difference between the Intel Core i5 and Intel Core i7 processors? The answer is yes and no. In normal gaming situations and scenarios, the differences between the Intel Core i5 and Intel Core i7 processors is practically imperceptible. Most gaming setups run just fine with the responsiveness of the Intel Core i5 CPU. However, for extreme gamers, such as those who multitask and run a lot of technical applications as they play, the Intel Core i7 processor will produce noticeable improvements as compared to its predecessor.

Should I Choose the Intel Core i5 or Intel Core i7 for My Gaming Setup?

When putting together your gaming setup, either the Intel Core i5 or Intel Core i7 should work just fine. And, if you choose the former, which is quite a bit more affordable, you’d be able to spend the extra cash you saved on a robust graphics processing unit, the unsung hero of most of today’s elite gaming setups (more on that later).

However, your decision between the Intel Core i5 and Intel Core i7 processor should also depend on a few other factors. Below we have listed just a couple of the questions you should ask yourself when deciding between the Intel Core i5 and Intel Core i7 processors.

  • Do you intend to multitask as you game? If you intend to multitask as you game, you might want to consider spending the extra money on the Intel Core i7 processor. By multitasking, in this case, we mean running some powerful and professional video editing software or performing other technical applications with your computer.
  • Do you plan on using a multi-graphics processing unit? If you are going to use a multi-graphics processing unit, or GPU, the i7 may be worth getting. In other words, if you plan to engage in some very technical gaming-related activities, go with the latest CPU. Those that are convinced that they will need all the productivity they can get, and those that want to ensure a level of responsiveness that would ensure the faster completion of tasks, could benefit greatly from the Intel Core i7 processor.

For the casual gamer, the answer to both of these questions is probably “no,” which means the Intel Core i5 processing unit should work just fine in your system. The Intel Core i5 processor is able to handle all of the tasks of the casual and heavy gamer. Without question, the processor is able to handle most multitasking situations without affecting the performance of the gaming setup. Despite the fact that the Intel Core i7 is a better processor, one that was originally designed for higher-end users, its predecessor—the Intel Core i5 processor—is still more than enough for the purpose of gaming and will not hinder or slow the performance of your gaming rig.

There are many websites you can check out that proves the above point—websites that list certain gaming benchmarks and compares various processors to see how they stand up to each task. And while it’s true that you should never entirely base your decision on the benchmarks others have set (because yours may be different), the numbers do not lie. If you were to look at one of these benchmark-style web pages, pages that contain the statistics for the user-rated CPU (with those users of course being gamers), you’d see that, while the Intel Core i7 is certainly much pricier than the Intel Core i5, their respective ratings in terms of performance and other benchmarks related to gaming are essentially the same, with no noticeable difference between the two processors.

Still worried about being bottlenecked if you choose the less powerful Intel Core i5 processor? In many cases we would say that is a valid concern, but it is not the case in this scenario. Sure, graphics cards are one of the components that can certainly limit the capacity of a computer system, and gamers should legitimately be concerned about being bottlenecked by this. But in this particular case we can tell you with confidence not to dwell on that potential problem, as you are VERY unlikely to encounter it if you decide to go with the Intel Core i5 processor. That’s because in most of the cases when bottlenecking occurs, the user is probably using multiple graphics cards or a central processing unit (CPU) that is very old—substantially older than the GPU.

Simply put, the Intel Core i5 processor is still very capable. Although the Intel Core i7 processor has added some things that would make multitasking and running technical applications a little easier, for most gamers, the i5 processor is all you need.

Last Word

Now that you understand the differences between the Intel Core i5 and Intel Core i7 processors—and now that you know you can probably save some money by choosing the former for your gaming system—you should take that extra money and invest in some other components and software that will make your gaming experience better. And in terms of importance, a great graphics processing unit should be at the top of your list.

The Graphics Processing Unit, or GPU, is a specialized circuit for your gaming setup that puts its energy and power into generating images for a device to display, and these images are constant when gaming. Every modern PC must have some form of a GPU to assist with generating images and making computer graphics come to life. This important piece of hardware is so essential that, without it, high-performance games and elaborate user interface elements just wouldn’t be possible without seriously taxing your device’s CPU and battery.

The reason a GPU is so important is that it works by rapidly manipulating the memory of a device to quickly and efficiently create images in a frame And with that description, you can see how vital it is to gaming. The GPU is also much better at processing large portions of data in parallel than a CPU and allows the CPU to work less to produce detailed computer graphics.

So use that money you saved by opting to go with the Intel Core i5 processor and elect instead to upgrade this very important piece of hardware.

About the author

Mike Jones

As a child of the 80's, my fondest gaming memories are playing Pitfall, Frogger, Kaboom! and Chopper Command on our old Atari 8600. These days I've been rocking the Nintendo Classic and learning some new card and board games with the family.

Add Comment

Click here to post a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.