Best Intel processor: Core i3, i5, i7 and i9


    Techifu reveals which is the best Intel processor, including an in-depth look at the Core i3, i5, i7, and i9 models.

    Best Intel processor: Core i3, i5, i7, & i9 explained




    Intel Core i5 11400F

    Intel Core i7-11700K

    Intel Core i9-11900K

    • CPU cooler included

    • Outstanding price/performance with power limit unlocked

    • Competitive performance at sale price

    • Comes with integrated graphics

    • Support for PCIe 4.0

    • Slightly faster gaming fps than AMD

    • Compatible with existing Z490 motherboards

    What’s the best Intel processor?

    CPU debate: Who you got? Intel vs. AMD

    The outcome of this battle depends on what kind of processor needs to be used for the task at hand, but no matter which side one pick there are many options available that will suit their needs well enough!

    If you’ve already sided with Team Blue in the Intel vs AMD debate, then we’ve provided a rundown of all the best Intel processor options here, as well as multiple explanations if you’re not well rehearsed in CPU lingo.

    Intel is now in its 11th Generation for both Best Intel processor laptops and desktop chips. Tiger Lake CPUs have been around for some time, they’re great if you want a slim light laptop with the power to do some gaming on occasion!

    The 11th Gen desktop processors (aka Rocket Lake) are much newer, and a mixed bag. The higher-end chipsets disappoint, struggling to compete with AMD Ryzen rivals; even Intel’s last generation 10th Gen CPUs don’t fair well against them in most tasks!

    What are the best Intel processor options you should buy? Let’s start with a few recommendations for different scenarios.

    A snapshot of recommendations

    Best Intel processor for budget gaming desktops: Intel Core i5-11400F

    What are the best Intel processor options you should buy? Let’s start with a few recommendations for different scenarios.

    You can get the Intel Core i5-11400F for a gaming PC if you want one but don’t have cash to spend. Since it doesn’t come with its own GPU, this processor needs another piece of hardware called graphics card in order provide video playback and other features associated with games like Minecraft or Fortnite.

    We haven’t had a chance to review this processor, but the specs suggest that it probably offers one of the biggest proportional generation jumps in performance among all 11th Gen desktop series. This makes for an excellent pairing even when paired with high end graphics cards like Nvidia RTX 3080 at only £150 per unit!

    The Intel Core i4-11400F is not an unlocked processor, meaning it cannot be overclocked properly. But for many people this will never matter because of the lack in power that they experience when playing games at high doses and resolutions with graphics turned up!

    Best Outstanding price

    Intel Core i5-11400F


    • CPU cooler included

    • Outstanding price/performance with power limit unlocked


    • No integrated graphics

    • Lacks Boost 3.0, Thermal Velocity Boost, and Adaptive Boost

    Best all-rounder performance CPU:
    Intel Core i5-10600K

    When building an enthusiast system, I recommend the Intel Core i5-10600K as a powerful yet affordable option. This chips can handle most tasks without too much difficulty and still offer enough performance to act like a bottleneck when paired with some very high end graphics cards.

    You can get a lot of performance for your buck with this card. The “K” series is known to be overclocking friendly, and it has graphics that are ready in UHD 630 only – no need at all if you don’t want them anymore once prices drop even further!

    Intel’s most powerful mainstream desktop CPU:Intel Core i9-11900K

    The Intel Core i9-11900K is not a great choice for those who need multi tasking power, as it only has 8 cores instead of 12. It also retails at an expensive price point that doesn’t match its AMD rivals with higher thread counts and performance per dollar ratios!

    However, the single-core performance is excellent and you need one of these 11th Gen Intel or Ryzen 5000 chips to get PCIe 4.0 support for SSDs that will be able max out their speed in next generation storage devices!

    You can still get a powerful processor with many cores and threads for less money than the Intel Core i9-11900K. The older 10900K has more processing power, even if it doesn’t have as high of frequency or cache size compared to its newer counterpart (8 versus 12).


    Intel Core i9-11900K


    • Support for PCIe 4.0

    • Slightly faster gaming fps than AMD

    • Compatible with existing Z490 motherboards

    • New overclocking features

    • Core i9-11900K plus Z590 plus Adaptive Boost equals 5.1GHz on all cores


    • Multi-threaded performance can't compete with AMD

    • Early stumbles in BIOS

    • Runs hot and power-hungry

    Best laptop CPU to look out for:Intel Core i5-1135G7

    You may notice that the laptop Core i5 is a popular choice for many people. This comes in part due to its ability run most applications and games without issue, but it’s not always available when selecting your model from all varieties out there!

    However, the i5-1135G7, i7-1165g7, i5-1185g7 and i7-1185g7 mobile processors are the 11th Gen laptop highlights as they have Intel Xe graphics.

    Integrated graphics are no match for this beefy GPU and the performance boost you get from going native. Title like Kingdom Come: Deliverance or The Witcher 3 on here will make your rig feel right at home with all those intense game play moments!

    Choosing between an Intel Core i3, i5, i7 and i9

    Intel Core i5 is a good place to start when you are looking for either laptops or desktops. The 11th generation chipsets have more power than previous ones but not so much that it will be bottlenecking your computer’s performance in any way, allowing them enough strength without being overbearing. They also use less energy which makes these processors perfect if battery life matters most!

    The Core i7 is more powerful than the Core i5 series. And the Core i9 chipsets are, you guessed it, more powerful than the i7s.

    With the 11th generation of Intel Core processors not yet released, 10th Gen i3s are still a reasonable choice for low-cost family PCs and ultra budget gaming desktops. However at time writing you’d have to buy an upgraded model with updated features such as more cache memory or higher clock speeds which aren’t available in cheaper builds just now!

    So how do you compare the difference between an Intel Core i3 and an i9? I’m going to stay away from benchmark results, because that would be too much deep tech talk. Instead there are two factors: cores – which determines what tasks each processor can run fast enough without slowing down–and clock speed .

    Think of the processor as your workforce and clock speed as how fast they can work. More workers means a job gets done in less time!

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    Some tasks, like gaming, benefit more from a few fast cores than an increased number of them. However, some applications like video editing love a processor with lots of cores because they are designed to exploit all available CPU power. Games on the other hand mostly extract graphics card resources from your machine which can be beneficial if you have more than one GPU installed in it!

    Here’s a run down of the core counts, base clock speeds and turbo clock speeds of the desktop 11th Gen CPUs, for reference.




    GHz Turbo


    Intel Core i5-11400

     6 cores


    4.4GHz Turbo

    Intel Core i5-11600K

     6 cores


    4.8GHz Turbo

    Intel Core i7-11700

     8 cores


    4.9GHz Turbo

    Intel Core i7-11700K

     8 cores


    5GHz Turbo

    Intel Core i9-11900K

     8 cores


    5.3GHz Turbo

    Intel Core i3-10100 (10th Gen)

     4 cores


    4.3GHz Turbo

    This is where you get to give each of the workers two jobs at once instead of just one. Those folks should unionize!In the past, we would have had to explain a term called hyperthreading. But all of these 11th Gen CPUs have this feature!

    Looking a little deeper into the upgrades

    The higher end Intel processors have more cache memory than mid range and low-end ones. This is very fast storage used to hold the data the CPU cores are about to need. The Intel Core i3-10100 has 6MB, the Intel Core i5-11600K 12MB.

    While the Intel Core i9-11900K and 7th Gen processor have 16MB of cache, last year’s 10900K chip had 20MB. Intel can justify this as the newer version has fewer cores, but it’s another reason why some techies look down on the 11th Gen Core i9.

    How to choose an Intel CPU: What the names mean

    When it comes to choosing between a Core i5, 7 and 9-the difference can seem simple. But you need pay attention as well the letters at end of CPU name before heading out shopping for one!

    Here’s what they mean

    Desktop letters

    K – This means the CPU is unlocked, which is essential if you plan on overclocking. This is where you manually increase the speed of a processors cored beyond their defaults, for better performance at the cost of more heat. Gamers who pay attention to the cooling in their desktops will always want an unlocked CPU.

    F – Processors with an ‘F’ at the end do not have an integrated graphics section. This means they absolutely need some form of standalone graphics card, or they won’t even be able to display Windows. Those building a gaming PC should consider one of these, as it saves you a small amount of cash, which can be spent elsewhere.

    T – Most of you probably don’t want a ‘T’ CPU. These use lower clock speeds in order to consume less power. Why would you want one? They also create less heat, so are a good fit for cramped mini PCs.

    Laptop letters

    G – This means the CPU has its own half-decent graphics section built into the CPU. However, Intel now puts ‘G’ in stacks its Core i series laptop, making it next to meaningless without also looking at the number that follows. “G4” means a laptop has an Intel UHD graphics chip, which is pretty poor. “G7” means it has Intel Xe graphics, which are kinda great. They let you play some surprisingly demanding games

    H – ‘H’ stands for high performance. These processors get you closer to desktop PC power, but also use a lot more of battery and create more heat under strain. They are used in thicker, heavier laptops that can accommodate better cooling systems. But you probably wouldn’t want to carry most of them around every day.

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    U – You don’t see the ‘U’ in Intel’s 11th Gen laptop CPU names. But it’s an important one to know because it was everywhere beforehand, and older processors will float around for a while. It stands for Ultra Low Voltage — battery-saving, in other words. Intel’s “G” laptop CPUs are in the same mould, made largely for thin and light laptops.

    Should you go below the Core i series?

    There are two rungs below the Intel Core i3 series: Pentium and Celeron.

    Intel’s Pentium CPUs come in Gold and Silver versions. The difference between the two is significant; while they both have a slim profile that can be fitted into any computer, with varying amounts of power depending on demand. Pentium Golds are desktop CPUs, and are not a bad fit for a computer that will just be used for Office apps, video streaming and browsing.

    However, they only have two cores and are not close to the recommended Core i5-11600 and Core i5-11400 in performance. The G6605 is Intel’s latest Pentium Gold processor. It has better gaming performance than its predecessor, but it still won’t be able to run any high-end games at all on max graphics settings without crashing or hitching smoothly throughout the game experience! If you’re looking for something more affordable that can handle basic tasks well enough though then I recommend checking out either an 11th Gen Core i3 instead since they cost less and provide similar function within their capabilities.

    You generally don’t want to use a celeron in your computer because they are the weakest Intel processors. They also happen be noticeably slower than other types of laptop hardware and can make things feel sluggish when using applications or games on them, so it’s best if you spend just slightly more money for at least pentium gold parts while building yourself an PC!

    Should you wait for the 12th Gen Intel series?

    This new generation of CPUs will be more dramatic than the 11th. The 12th generation desktop processor, Alder Lake is known for its “power” cores and efficiency ones similar to Apple M1 used in MacBook Air latest model with 1% faster performance per core according to Intel’s data sheet released this week–a huge change!

    The next Core i9 processor from Intel will likely have 16 cores, with eight “big” and 8 “small” ones. The hope is that this high-end chip can beat the standard setting AMD Ryzen 9 5900x/5950X to make up some of their ground in laptops – but only time will tell!

    Intel’s next generation of CPUs will be a far more interesting than the 11th. But you’ll also need to buy an entirely new motherboard as they are going connect using socket differently and it might not work with your current setup– so stick close for all our latest coverage on Intel’s upcoming processors here at Techifu!

    Best Budget 

    Intel® Core™ i5-11600K


    • Strong single-threaded performance

    • Doubles most integrated-graphics results of equivalent 10th Generation Intel chips

    • Doesn't run too hot

    • Decent frame rates with a discrete video card

    • Aggressive pricing versus AMD's equivalent Ryzens


    • Not quite as fast as the Ryzen 5 5600X

    • New platform adoption is pricey

    • No bundled cooler

    Related | Best Tablets Under $1000

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