The Core m3 vs. i5 processor vs. i7 processor comparison has been around for a long time. And for specific processor generation, the “best” option differed depending on individual requirements. Microsoft has finally released a new version of their Surface Pro with the Kaby Lake processors.
So how does this generation of Core m3 vs. i5 vs. i7 perform within the Surface Pro skin?
Here are the specifications on paper:
|CPU||Core m3 7Y30||Core i5 7300U||Core i7 7660U|
|# of cores||2||2||2|
|# of threads||4||4||4|
|Clock speed||1.0 – 2.6 GHz||2.6 – 3.5 GHz||2.5 – 4.0 GHz|
|GPU||Intel HD 615||Intel HD 620||Intel Iris Plus 640|
As shown, the amount of cores and threads do not change entire the range, just as it has been in the past.
Predictably, there is a big jump in clock frequency from the Intel Core m3 to Intel Core i5 models, but Intel processors have artificially crippled the Intel Core i5 model by slightly reducing the cache size to 3MB. The Intel Core i7 model still features the same “intelligent” cache as the one found in the Core m3 model. The Core i7 model’s base frequency is lower than the Intel Core i5’s! But it does peak well further the level of the Intel Core i5’s “turbo” frequency.
It is also interesting to note here that the TDP difference between the Intel Core m3 and the Core i5 is huge (which is to be expected given their frequencies), but the Core i5 and the Intel Core i7 models feature identical TDP numbers. Does this mean the Intel Core i7 model will not have much in the way of battery life penalty?
The GPU units are different across the board as well. Technically, the Iris Plus 640 found in the Intel Core i7 should give 3D tests huge boosts.
Let’s move on to the benchmark scores.
Novabench – Core M3 Vs I5 Vs I7
Novabench has been around forever. It reports a great, simple set of amounts for easy comparison between different Windows (or iMacs) devices.
Novabench measures the CPU performance (floating-point, integer, and MD5 hashing), GPU test (3D-graphics), and raw hardware performance (RAM, Disk/IO speeds). The entire test only runs for some minutes so I would not call it comprehensive, but it is easy to compare entire several devices.
Here are the results for each of the Surface Pro machines:
|System RAM Test||CPU Test||3D Graphics Test||Drive Write Speed Test|
|Core i7 7660U||211||534||231||36|
|Core i5 7300U||159||526||63||26|
|Core m3 7Y30||152||408||61||19|
Core M3 Vs. I5 Vs. I7: What Is The Difference In Speed With I5 Vs I7 Processor?
Intel Core i7 7660U vs. Intel Core i5 7300U – The results are all over the place. RAM is 33% faster, but the CPU is only 2% faster! The SSD drive is also 38% faster! But as expected, Intel Core i7’s graphics performance is far, far better, almost four times better! This is, of course, due to the presence of Intel Iris 640 built into the Intel Core i7’s die.
Intel Core i5 7300U vs. Intel Core m3 7Y30 – Between these two, the differences are much more subdued. The Intel Core i5 is 5% faster in the RAM test, 29% faster in the CPU test, only 3% faster in the graphics test, and 37% faster in the SSD drive speed test.
Core M3 Vs. I5 Vs. I7: Gaming And Video Editing
Usually, having good graphics capabilities helps with gaming. But the Intel Core M3 takes things even further than that by boasting that it is the ideal choice for it. As claimed by Intel, the gaming experience it provides is one of a kind because of how wonderful the visuals are. They even say it is the best to come out yet!
The best part of the Intel Core M3 is the fact that you don’t need an added card in order to experience all that it has to offer for gaming. Not only is the display amazing, but the number of games to choose from has greater. You have Google play at your fingertips, and the M3 processor belonging to the core is the thing that changed the game. Tests have been conducted that have shown the Intel M3 processor core to be greatly faster and higher quality. There is little waiting time when it comes to videos and code loading. For the gamer, this is fantastic news. The Intel Core M3 correctly boasts being able to save you precious time overall.
On another note, video editing is a task similar to gaming. You will need the ability to experience minimum glitching, fast performance, and smooth visuals on-screen. All these things are promised with the Intel Core M3, but remember that this processor is only best for basic editing. Things like editing GoPro videos can be done, but it is not the absolute best option for video editing anything more than the basics.
As far as the Intel Core i5 vs. Intel Core i7 processor laptops go, some of the issues seen with these two types are the size in weight. The i5 is significantly heavier than the Intel Core i7, which is enough reason for some to choose the slightly more expensive Intel Core i7. These are faster as well as hold more storage for videos and games. Many would say at the end of the day that the Intel Core i7 is insignificant enough improvement in the areas of these 2 categories for the jump in price. You have to remember, the Intel core M3 is an absolutely different processor from the Intel Core i5 and Intel core i7. So you are really comparing the M3 and then the Intel Core i5 and Intel Core i7.
Core M3 Vs. I5 Vs. I7: PCMark V10
PCMark v10 is a benchmark designed to generate numbers that realistically mimic the work environment. It uses a wide variety of tests. Hence, it does not rely massively on one type of analysis over another.
The results are split into three categories– “Essentials,” “Productivity,” and “Digital Content Creation.” And finally, it generates a single number that represents the total performance, called ‘PCMark 10 score’.
|Essentials||Productivity||Digital Content Creation||PCMark 10 Score|
|Core i7 7660U||6900||5866||2740||3444|
|Core i5 7300U||6103||4712||2277||2889|
|Core m3 7Y30||5824||3749||1807||2440|
Intel Core i7 7660U vs. Intel Core i5 7300U – The Intel Core i7 outperforms the Intel Core i5 by 13% in Essentials, 24% in Productivity, and 20% in Digital Content Creation.
Intel Core i5 7300U vs. Intel Core m3 7Y30 – The Intel Core i5 outperforms the Intel Core m3 by 5% in Essentials, 26% in Productivity, and 18% in Digital Content Creation.
Overall, the performance gap between the Intel Core i7 and Intel Core i5 is roughly similar to that of the Intel Core i5 and the Intel Core m3 based on these results.
Core M3 Vs. I5 Vs. I7: Cache
The level of cache available controls the productivity levels at which you can work. Certainly, the Intel Core M3 is decently fast, while the Intel Core i7 has faster speeds than the Intel Core i5.
The beauty of the big cache is that you can do so many things at once; thus, the bigger the cache, the more things you can do. Some of the things a big cache helps you to perform are multi-tasking edits, spreadsheets, browsers, documents, and calculations.
A huge cache is great for those who use their device to work and need to get a ton done at once. Many of us are fully reliant on fast devices to do our jobs effectively. This means that since the cache is the background storage that makes your multi-tasking readily available, you will need a ton of it.
Memory cache boosts your computer, but how precisely? Right, let’s walk through it. The cache is a high-speed data storage piece. In this piece, the microprocessor keeps track of your most used data and stores it. If you begin to use programs that need more substantial data usage, this same microprocessor will use the cache memory processor space to store that data and carry out the required tasks fastly and efficiently. The more storage room, the higher the speed at which it can work. So if your work is mostly large, it is going to be best to have more spacious cache storage.
If we are getting technical, Intel Core i7s on average have 12MB, and i5s have 9MB. Depending on your job and the level of productivity needed, you can determine which system is better suited for you.
But there is one caution to be aware of: there is a point at which a higher cache does nothing for speed. It is essential to recognize this as you purchase either the Intel Core i5 or Intel Core i7. It is worthless to spend huge amounts of money unnecessarily if the huge cache won’t even do the things you want it to do. It is not harmful to have a too big cache, but it might merely be worthless.
Since most caches tend to be on the smaller side, this is only something you will need to worry about if your amount of work and productivity needs are exceptionally high. To decide this, you will need to use your past experiences with maxing out a smaller cache in past and go from there.
Overall, it is a general rule that productivity performance is best done if you have enough space to store your several common applications. It only makes sense for this to be the case. Think of it as having those cookbooks you read frequently or favorite coffee mugs you use all the time in a simple accessible front drawer or cabinet. The same is real of a cache memory storage space.
Core M3 Vs. I5 Vs. I7: 3DMark V11
3DMark measures precisely what the name says – 3D graphics performances of each device.
|Tests||Core m3 7Y30||Core i5 7300U||Core i7 7660U|
|Ice Storm Extreme||31,780||33,979||46,521|
Both the Intel Core m3 and the Intel Core i5 models have failed the Time Spy test which also happens to be the newest and the most stressful test of this group. Time Spy test needs more V-Ram to run the entire test clean and complete.
The results are pretty clear – there is a small incremental improvement going from the Intel Core m3 to the Intel Core i5. But by far the most significant gaps exist between the Intel Core i5 and the Intel Core i7 models.
Core M3 Vs. I5 Vs. I7: Browser Tests
|CPU||Core m3 7Y30||Core i5 7300U||Core i7 7660U|
|Google Octane v2.0||22,018||31,440||36,030|
|Mozilla Kraken v1.1||1626 ms||1153 ms||1031 ms|
The results here show that the Intel Core i5 performs much better than the Intel Core m3 in both tests. The Intel Core i7, on the other hand, only returns a slight advantage over the Intel Core i5.
Let’s Talk About Core I9
Intel Core i9 is a workhorse compared to the Intel Core i5 and Intel Core i7 cores. The use of Intel Core i9 is usually for professional workers or very maniac gamers. This core is an expensive investment, but it is valuable if you need the space. Intel Core I9 has proven itself to be very productive and useful. You will have to do any research to find one of some laptops that offer it, but it is known for being one of the most powerful available in our day and age. As a laptop addition, this is a powerful agent. But for a desktop PC, it is an absolute wonder. This more advanced and stronger option is even more expensive, but it is known as the most loved among serious gamers. If you need a bit more juice, the Intel Core i9 core may be for you!
Final Thoughts On The Core M3 Vs I5 Vs I7
If you are looking to get some great performance in 3D graphics, you have no choice – you must get the Intel Core i7 model. The difference is so big that it would be an idiot to consider another model, even if they are greatly cheaper.
If you are searching for a productivity model with some value (worth or not), then the choice is less evident. One factor that will weigh significantly in your purchasing decision is that the Intel Core m3 model only comes in 4GM of RAM and 128GB of SSD. If you need more capacity, the Intel Core m3 model is not for you.
For the rest of you, the Intel Core i5 model (with the options of 4 or 8GB RAM, 128 or 256GB SSD) will probably suit you the best.