Difference between Intel i3 and i5 processors

Core i3 and i5 processors are the major carriers of Intel’s microprocessor legacy and are used by most of the computer makers presently. Both the processors are widely used in desktop as well as portable computing solutions.  The latest , 3rd generation of the core i3 and i5 processors vary in terms of number of cores, thermal design powers, number of display supported, PCI configurations, housing some of exclusive technology at Intel etc. The processors are designed in such a manner that their pricing remains well in the low to moderate zone.  This article will cover some of the major differences between a generation core i3 and core i5 processor.

i3 vs i5-processor

intel i3 vs. intel i5 (Image courtesy of intel)


A comparatively faster type of memory, cache memory provides quick access to those software entities that are frequently needed by the user. Cache memory is usually in the range of megabytes and marks an essential quotient in the swiftness ratio of the processor.


As far as i3 and i5 are compared, i3 has 3MB cache memory storage while i5 has a 6MB one. A 3MB cache memory serves as an efficient measure to provide high definition video and good quality gaming of low end to moderate animated video game content. This makes i3 a perfect solution for sophisticated home computing which includes quality audio-visual effects, programming and frequent internet access.


On the other hand, i5’s 6MB cache is more preferred for those into designing high end games or is into architectural design part. Professionals who have 3D designing as a major part of their work require a 6MB cache so that they can access numerous online as well as offline options that are needed to be accessed quickly and repeatedly.



As power concerns regarding smarter computing are constantly hovering around, Intel has taken a wise step in including a rapid power management system that optimizes the CPU performance. Called as Demand Based Switching (DBS), this system regulates the voltage requirement to the clock speed of the CPU. This makes sure that the processor is dynamic in power management schemes, making power regulation dependent on the type of process threads that are being carried on. That is why; it is a demand based power management system.


Among the 3rd generation i3 and i5 processors, this feature is unavailable in the i3 processors. The main reason that could be figured is the use of the processor. Most of the works for which the i3 processor has been designed are not that varying in their demand. For instance, a high definition music video and a moderate graphic game like NFS Shift would require similar amount of power. So, there is no much significance in adding the new features which would in turn impact the pricing of the processor.



PCI can be defined as an expansion bus through which the peripherals such as printer or external memory devices can communicate with the computer and exchange information and data. The speed of PCI is an essential factor and that is why it holds a crucial spot in computer architecture.  The PCI version that core i3 has is a 2.0 while a core i5 one comes with a 3.0 version. 2.0 version is more common for PCI and is widely used while 3.0 is new and is a futuristic approach for higher speed of peripheral interconnections.



Virtualization is required to allow time based sharing of resources so that multiple processes or/and computers can access same resource. It facilitates multiple execution methods for hardware, emulations of software, creates a cost effective factor, and gives a high quality of service.  For instance, in the hardware virtualization technology, multiple computers can share a printer simultaneously. The sharing is based on time given to each computer to exploit the printer’s services.This feature accounts for an advanced feature under the Intel feature tab, but is used in all the office that seeks to cost reduction and hence has been integrated in these lower and mid-grade processors.


Though both the processors are loaded with the virtualization technology, Intel’s core i5 processor supports an extra feature “I/O Virtualization Technology” which acts as an added feature which extends processor and memory virtualization.



When the basic and advanced features are combined, the i3 and i5 processors state clearly that one is best home computing solution while other is a mid-range entertainment and gaming one. Both have been designed in such a manner that business solutions are served by both in the best of the manners. Easily integrated into laptop based portable computing, these two processors support dedicated graphic cards and customized sound drivers too. The difference in pricing in around 20 to 30 $ and overall pricing is quite economic. In fact, low power requirements make these processors a wise choice and a tough challenge to the opponents.

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