We’ve come a long since an Intel 386 processor chip was considered the defacto standard for home computer CPUs (you’ll recall that the CPU is a “processor” or “chip” that acts as your computer’s engine).
Since the 386 days, PCs have moved on to be powered by Pentiums, Atoms, Celerons and everything in between.
However, if you go computer shopping these days, you’ll most likely encounter 3 different names: Core i3, Core i5, and Core i7. What’s the difference, and which one is right for you?
Generally speaking, Intel’s Core series of CPU microprocessors are faster, more powerful variations of the earlier Celeron and Pentium chips. They actually started out as “Core 2” “Core Duo” and other confusing names, but the Core i3, i5, and i7 are yet another generation of this chip.
As you might expect, the higher the number of the chip, the more powerful it is. So, the Core i3 is an entry-level chip, while the Core i7 is considered to be quite powerful.
But which one is right for you?
The answer, of course, depends on what you want to use your computer for. If you do any kind of video processing at all, you’ll probably want a more powerful chip. Professional graphic designers or video editors are probably going to prefer the Core i7. Anything less, and they probably will not be able to do their jobs efficiently.
However, if you generally use your computer to surf the Internet, send email, and do your taxes, a Core i3 will be more than enough for your needs.
Or will it? One factor that has been driving computer performance for the past decade has been media consumption, and this includes everything from online games to using your home computer has a media center.
If you have plans to make your computer more central to your entertainment needs, and are maybe planning to purchase new software in the coming years to achieve this, why not purchase a computer equipped with a Core i5? This way you’ll ensure your computer will be useful for a longer period of time. A Core i3 may not be enough to power software applications coming out over the next few years.
As well, if you’re into home movies, a Core i3 may not be the best choice – a Core i5 may be better, although an i7 may be overkill.
Still, a Core i3 should be enough to use the Internet, make a Skype call, and edit a Word document, all at the same time.
Finally, one other important factor to consider when purchasing a new computer is the amount of RAM it has. 4GB of RAM is the minimum amount you should settle for when purchasing a new machine. If you’re into gaming or video editing, well, the more the better.
RAM helps improve computer performance and computer speeds; having enough RAM is one way to ensure you have a more enjoyable PC experience.