Core i5 Laptops: The Basics
When researching a laptop to buy, one of the main factors to consider is the processor. The processor handles the workload of the computer, so its performance and speed can have a large impact on the overall value of your system.
Core i5 is a line of processors made by Intel that are intended for the mainstream user. Within the Core i5 family, there are several generations and models of products. The most recent Intel Core generations are listed below, along with their code name (Intel’s naming scheme for the platforms they develop):
Deciphering the Processor Name
When reviewing the specifications for a laptop at a certain retailer, you may not see the generation listed in the processor name. However, you can determine this by the first number listed in the name of the processor after “i5”. For instance, “Intel Core i5-1035G1” has a 10 after i5, which indicates it is 10th gen. Along the same lines, “Intel Core i5-9300H” is 9th gen.
The last letter or number/letter combination in this string also has meaning , and represents certain features. As examples, an “H” on the end means high performance graphics, while a “U” means ultra-low power.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which i5 Processor Generation Should I Choose?
Most of the Core i5 laptop deals listed on DealNews are at least 8th gen; the majority are 10th gen. Generally speaking, the latest generation of a processor represents advances in technology compared to previous generations.
That said, according to Intel , “A higher number within a processor class or family generally indicates more features, but it may be more of one and less of another.” So it’s worth checking into the specifics once you’ve narrowed down your choices. A slightly older processor at a great deal may be perfectly sufficient compared to spending more for the very latest development.
How Many Cores Are in an i5 Laptop?
Core i5 processors for laptops can go up to six cores, but more typically have two or four cores. The majority of i5 laptop deals on DealNews are for quad-core systems. Having multiple cores basically means your processor can multitask, doing up to six things at once (or more with hyper-threading ).
Quad-core is commonly recommended for average users that aren’t using specialized software that’s designed to take advantage of additional cores. Dual-core may also suffice, particularly if cost is the main driver of the purchase.
Should I Buy a Core i5 or Consider i3, i7, or i9?
When considering a Core i5 laptop deal, you may be wondering if you should upgrade to i7 or i9 — or save money by opting for i3. Like the processor generations mentioned above, the higher numbers generally mean higher performance. Core i5 would be a step above i3, i7 a step above i5, and so on.
That said, there can be a lot of variance within these lines, and several factors besides the number of cores will affect performance, including:
- Clock Speed : Measures how fast the processor is, with higher numbers meaning higher speeds (higher speeds also use more power and generate more heat)
- Turbo Boost : Speeds up processor performance during peak loads
- Hyper-Threading : Allows multiple threads to run on each core (doing more simultaneously without slowing down)
Intel highlights some of the key features in the Intel Core processor family and provides detailed comparison charts for the following mobile processors:
This chart is not available for Core i9 , but Intel also offers a handy tool for comparing processors using their Product Specifications Page (ARK). If you are considering a couple of specific models and want to view the processor specifications side-by-side with differences highlighted, you can follow the instructions for using the search with the option to compare.
When making a choice between the i5 and other CPUs, it will likely come down to how much you can afford. All other things being equal or at least comparable, you’ll want to get the latest and greatest processor possible for the money you plan to spend. That said, shelling out for a processor with way more power than you need isn’t necessary. That extra power will only benefit those that run high-end games and complex software.
How Can I Get a Discount On an i5 Laptop?
You can browse the i5 laptop deals here at DealNews to find several options for getting a discount. Many of the i5 deals we find come from these stores:
If you don’t see a deal, you can search the model number for the system you are interested in to check prices. To potentially get even more savings, you can search DealNews for coupons for the stores that sell it. Once you’ve determined the prices and whether coupons are available, you can compare to find out which store has the lowest price.
Sarah Jones is the resident coupon expert at DealNews and oversees a team that covers deals, coupons, and Black Friday content. Her articles or quotes have been featured on sites such as Christian Science Monitor, Oprah.com, Fox Business, Kiplinger, and Lifehacker.