Which Intel Processor is Right for Me?


Which Intel Processor is Right for Me?

It often happens that when people are shopping for a notebook, they just march to the shop and buy the one on the biggest discount. This, however, might not be a smart move in the long run. You risk of getting a computer that is not right for your use. Most often, the problem is that the computer is too slow. It is extremely frustrating to use a laptop that experiences frequent slow-downs, but you can avoid this problem by putting some thought to the shopping process. The essential thing is the computer’s processor – the heart of the system, so to speak – which will play a huge role in the performance. In this article, I will give you an overview of several processors from the Intel family, and how they can benefit or harm your computing sessions!

Intel Celeron – The Budget Choice

Intel Celeron has always been the go-to processor for budget hunters. They are cheap, which is obviously appealing for many shoppers. However, what the salesman might not tell you, is that they are also the slowest processors of this bunch. That is not to say they are useless, but if you do more than browse the web or send emails infrequently, you might want to re-think your choice. For example, the mobile Intel Celeron N3350 from late 2016 gets only 1100 points in the CPU Mark test, whereas the average of laptop processors is around 3000 points. This is fine for applications like Google Chrome, put I wouldn’t even try to play games or edit big photos daily with a Celeron-based system!

Who is it good for? – Beginners, office workers, the elderly.

Intel Pentium – Low Key CPU for Low Key Use

Intel Pentium is the big brother of Intel Celeron. However, in the tech world, they are still known as quite low-end processors, and not often warmly welcomed by the geeks who are “in the know”. Yet, this was not always the case, as some 15-20 years ago the word Pentium was associated with bleeding edge technology and every computer guy/gal worth their salt recommended one. But yes, in the modern era, Pentiums have fallen from the top shelf processors to entry-level units. If you want a bit more oomph than Celeron can offer, Pentium can be a good deal. I still don’t recommend it for the majority of users because better options are aplenty.

Who is it good for? – High school students, entry level office work, stay at home moms.

Intel Core i3 – Screams Mainstream

This is the cookie-cutter processor of the modern computer era. Intel Core i3s are in between of the budget Celeron and Pentium models, however slower than the high-end Intel Core i5 and i7. These Intel Core i3s are jack of all trades – they are sufficient for any task, even for some infrequent, more demanding use. You can’t really go wrong if you pick Core i3; in fact, I consider myself a power user and am using a laptop with a slower processor than some i3s are! To give you some benchmarking information, take a look at the new Core i3-7100U – it does a good job of getting 3800 points in the CPU Mark, clearly beating the Celeron processor(s) that were mentioned earlier in this article. If you don’t know what processor to pick I advice to choose Intel Core i3.

Who is it good for? – For pretty much anybody, even some power users.

Intel Core i5 – Essential Power User Processor

If you are a person who demands a lot of performance, but still has budget limiting his options, Intel Core i5 might be your processor of choice. These are often found in the laptops of power users, gamers and multitaskers. The i5s have such a technology that allows them to handle resource-intensive environments without problems. Some of them are also quad-core processor, furthering their suitability for demanding and complex software. It will be a tough job to find a cheap Core i5 powered laptop, but if you don’t want the risk of buying a slow computer, i5 is the right option for sure!

Who is it good for? – For people who are concerned about performance. Professionals, those who sit a lot in front of computer doing productive work.

Which Intel Processor is Right for Me?

Intel Core i7 – The Flagship

These are the processors you find in the most expensive and fastest notebooks. Pretty much nothing is too daunting a task for Intel Core i7, as their quad-core configuration and very high clock speeds plow through any programs or games you throw at them. Of course, the flip side will be the price, so these are certainly not a budget hunter’s choice. However, if you have money, do not be afraid to splurge here – by getting a Core i7 you will remove one possible bottleneck from your laptop forever. To give you some comparison data, the Core i7-7500U gets over 5000 points in the CPU Mark test – much more than the Core i3 above, and much much more than the Celerons.

Who is it good for? – Gamers and people who only settle for the best.

How about other Intel processors?

While the above processors are some of the most common products of Intel, they are not the only CPUs available. Other kinds of processors exist, mainly for the mobile device market. Processors such as Intel Core m3 and Intel Atom are often seen in laptops and tablets of today. I actually own a laptop with Intel Core m3-6Y30 which is equivalent to some older Core i3s models. For my use – a lot of writing, some programming, frequent videos and music – the m3 is excellent. Intel Atoms (now discontinued) were a tad slower than m3s, and mainly found in low-end laptops and tablets in the earlier years.

Knowing all this, which processor will you choose next? It will be very hard for me to say because I don’t know what activities you do on the computer. But I can say this: if you want as smooth environment as possible, don’t go below Intel Core i3! Celerons and Pentiums are good for beginners, Core i3 is the mainstream processor between budget and high-end, and Core i5/i7 are the heavyweight CPUs that can take a lot of beating. Obviously, the higher you go in the food chain, the more you will need to pay. But keep this in mind: If you are willing to shell out some more money now, it will probably save your nerves in the long run as your new laptop will be snappy and responsive!

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