Q:

What is the difference between Intel's Core i5 and Core i7 processors?

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Quick Answer

Intel’s Core i5 and i7 processors differ in clock speed, hyper-threading capability and the amount of internal cache. For most users, the Core i5 works well, but power users and those with specific software needs benefit from the increased performance of the Core i7.

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Full Answer

One difference between the Core i7 and i5 processors is in clock speed, which is a measure of how fast a processor can perform calculations. In general, the Core i7 runs at slightly higher clock speeds than the Core i5 and provides better performance.

Another difference between the two processors is that the Core i7 has hyper-threading and the Core i5 does not. Hyper-threading is the ability of a processor core to handle two program threads at one time and is usually used by higher-end software applications like those used for video editing, graphics processing and gaming. The software used by a typical computer user, such as email clients, web browsers and word processors, does not use hyper-threading, so this capability does not provide a performance increase for most users.

A difference that does result in an increase in performance is the Core i7’s larger cache size, with the Core i7 having up to 2 MB more cache than the i5. The cache is a storage area that the processor can use to speed up calculations and is especially effective in speeding up repetitive calculations that make use of the same data.

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