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Mobile Core i5 vs Core i3

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The core i3 and the core i5 mobile processors have now flooded the laptop market,with the core i3m being entry level, core i5m being mid range and the core i7m being high end processors. We all know how fast their desktop counterparts are, but these mobile versions equally impressive? If you ask me, I don’t think so.

The first time I got my hands on one of these was on my friends XPS 16, which had a core i7 , and frankly i was not at all impressed. But that had a different issue, will not get into that, lets talk about the other series, the Core i5m and Core i3m, which is what most of the people buy as it is much more affordable than the i7s.

Both the core i3m and i5m processors are 32nm processors and have a TDP of 35W ( TDP – Thermal design power), which is a bit high as the older processors had a lower TDP of 25W. The reason for this is that the processor has an IGP on the same chip. This IGP is better than older Intel GMA and all those IGPs, but not good for heavy duty gaming.

Both the Core i3m and core i5m have an integrated memory controller (IMC) and use DDR3 memory. Both support Dual channel memory , so you will generally get it with 4GB of DDR3 memory.

Now, the both the core i3m and core i5m processors are Dual core processors with hyper threading, so both have 2 cores and 4 threads. The core i3m processors have a lower clock speed than the core i5m processors, but there is not a huge difference, performance wise.

The core i5m processors come with another feature called Turbo boost, which increases the clock speed of active cores when other cores are inactive. So whats the benefit? Its a total waste when we consider dual core processors as almost all applications utilize 2 cores at least, the benefits are only seen in quad cores. So again, another feature on the core i5m processors that has no real benefit.

The Core i3m has 3MB of shared L3 cache and the Core i5m has 4MB of shared L3 cache, which makes no real world difference anyways. So again, no real advantage with the Core i5m.

So the bottom line is that the premium price paid for a Core i5m processor over a core i3m is really not that useful when it comes to performance,so choose wisely.

I hope you find the above article helpful, if you have any questions, please do leave a comment here and I will do my best to help you out.

This is a guest post by Mr. Rajan. For further queries regarding computer hardware or software, visit www.techforumindia.com

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7 comments… add one
  • ooooh

    Just bought a i5 cpu and i am offended by this article.

    Cant argue with the conclusions, the i7 was a bit pricy. so opted for the i5. I also thought i7 was a bit overkill. Usually its the gfx card that makes most difference to me and amount of ram possibly.

  • rajan1311

    and why are you offended ?
    What made you go for the Core i5 over the Core i3 ?

  • Thomas

    “Both the core i3m and i5m processors are 32nm processors and have a TDP of 35W, which is a bit high as the older processors had a lower TDP of 25W.”
    Not exactly true, only the C2D P-series has a TDP of 25W. The more common T-series has a TDP of 35W.

  • rajan1311

    said that just to show that the indicated TDP includes that of IGP. If you see case by case, then I am sure there are processors with a TDP of about 45W on the C2D side. I hope you understood my point 🙂

  • DF2

    Living in Sri Lanka I hear that most people with I7M processors have a high failure rate as these processors generate lots of heat when pushed and this is not good for hot humid climates. Like someone said unless you are using the machine in a setting that involves serious number crunching like in a an university setting, a good mid range processor like the I5M or even an I3M would suffice in my humble opinion. I think for the average user a better graphics card is more important that an insanely fast processor. I feel like the I3 Mobile is unfairly looked down as an inadequate processor in most forums when paired with a good discrete graphics card it can give a well rounded entertainment experience.

  • Daniel

    Seriously this guy doesn’t know what he is talking about. i7’s don’t have a higher failure rate or anything.. also Turbo Boost is not useless in only quad core processors.. honestly the author of this article doesn’t know anything.

  • rajan1311

    I have not said that the i7s have a high failure rate anywhere in the article…its another person in the comments who has claimed it….you either needs a new monitor or need to get your eyes checked…

    As for the turbo boost, if you have any idea how the thing works, you would know that if both the cores are active, it will not kick in, and hence you will not see much difference..

    I really hope Mr Daniel could share some of his knowledge with us….

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