The i3, i5, i7 rating system is outdated

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Derek Semeraro
Posts: 124
Joined: Sat Sep 23, 2017 6:49 am

The i3, i5, i7 rating system is outdated

Post by Derek Semeraro » Tue May 01, 2018 6:20 pm

When Intel first introduced this system, it was a simple way to distinguish between their processors. i3's were the weakest and i7's were the strongest. However, the market has changed over the past several years and this rating system now results in consumers that know less about computers to make ill-informed decisions.

1) Age/generation is a factor. For example, a newer i5 is often better than an older i7.

2) Platform is a factor. A laptop/tablet i7 if often equal or less powerful than an i3.

3) Use case is a factor. CPU's have advanced faster than the demandingness of daily computer tasks. An office may have wanted an i7 computer in the past, but now can do all of their tasks with an i3.

4) Other components are a factor. An i7 does not mean a fast computer. If the problem is a slow hard drive or an outdated GPU, an i7 won't fix the problem at all.

The best way to buy a CPU is to look at benchmark comparisons online and to consider your own use case for it. Arbitrary numbers like 3, 5 and 7 are unhelpful.

Olle P
Posts: 702
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2008 6:03 am
Location: Sweden

Re: The i3, i5, i7 rating system is outdated

Post by Olle P » Fri May 04, 2018 4:14 am

1) Depends on the number of threads used and which end of the i7 spectrum you compare to.
The Kaby Lake i5-7100 generally won't beat an overclocked i7-2700K. Only the latest Coffee Lake i5 can be said to beat the early generations i7 in multithreaded applications.

2) Depends on your definition. A laptop i7 is better than a laptop i5 is better than a laptop i3.
Performance wise a laptop i7 is roughly equivalent to a stationary i5 rather than i3.

3) I disagree with the example. There are very few cases where fewer threads are required now than before while the opposite is much more common.
Intel CPUs aren't that far from Sandy Bridge, and demands has also gone up in the mean time.

4) Irrelevant for the naming convention.

edh
Posts: 1618
Joined: Mon Mar 17, 2008 1:49 pm
Location: UK

Re: The i3, i5, i7 rating system is outdated

Post by edh » Fri May 04, 2018 2:17 pm

Olle P wrote:A laptop i7 is better than a laptop i5 is better than a laptop i3.
Except not for battery life which is pretty important for many laptop users.

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