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Is Intel Core i9 better than Core i5?

Is Intel Core i9 better than Core i5? Let's find out

Updated: Feb 10, 2023 2:42 pm
Is Intel Core i9 better than Core i5?

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Intel Core i9 and i5 and both processor lineups feature some very promising options. It can be a bit challenging to choose between the two, though, thanks to the tech industry’s complicated naming conventions. Today, we’re here to find out: Is Intel i9 better than i5?

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What is the Intel Core i9?

Intel Core i9 is the company’s top-tier CPU series featuring only its very best processors. In recent times, we’ve had the Intel Core i9-13900 (with K and KS variants) and the i9-12900 (also with K and KS variants). 

Core i9 processors have top-of-the-line specs and usually end up being the most powerful processor in their respective generations. The Core i9-13900KS, for example, is the current king of all desktop CPUs. 

What is the Intel Core i5?

Intel Core i5 is the company’s mid-range CPU lineup. Core i5 processors are capable, offer uses with a very practical level of performance, and also retail at much more moderate price points. The Core i5-13600K, 13400F, and 12600K are some examples of the more recent and popular processors in this lineup. 

How does the Intel Core i9 compare to Intel Core i5?

Let’s find out how the two processor lineups compare in terms of performance, power usage, price, and value for money. I’ll give you my final verdict at the end. 

Gaming performance

Games run primarily on a few threads, so thread count ends up being of little importance once you have above a certain number (somewhere between 8 to 12, depending on the game). Gaming performance is instead strongly dictated by a processor’s maximum clock speed. Intel Core i9 processors come out ahead in this category, as they inherently have higher clock speeds than i5 processors. 

The difference in FPS isn’t as significant as you might expect, though, since you’re always GPU-bound these days. 

Multicore performance

Core i9 processors win by a huge margin in this category, simply because they have more physical cores on the processor die. The Core i5-13600K, for example, has 10 cores and 20 threads. That seems like a lot, and it is, but it can’t hold a candle to the Core i9-13900K’s 24 cores and 32 threads. 

Multicore performance is most felt in workloads that can be broken down into smaller chunks and divided across all the available cores. Examples include video editing, streaming, content creation, data analysis, and file compression. 

Power draw

Since Core i9 processors offer more performance across the board, they also use more power. The Core i9-13900K, for example, has a max TDP rating of 254 watts. The recently released Core i5 CPUs are also power-hungry but not quite as much. The Core i5-13600K consumes a comparatively lower 181 watts of power under max load. 

Price and value

Core i9 processors are usually pretty expensive and range anywhere from $400 to $700, depending on the exact processor you get. 

Core i5 processors are much more budget-friendly, ranging from $150 to $350 in price.

While Core i9 processors offer more raw performance, it’s the cheaper Core i5 processors that offer you more bang for your buck. Unfortunately for high-end CPUs, price efficiency naturally tends to decline as performance increases. 

Final verdict: is Intel i9 better than i5?

Intel i9 is indeed better than i5, but only in terms of raw performance. If you’re looking to get the most bang for your buck, you’re better off going with an i5 processor such as the Core i5-13600K. I would recommend doing so especially if building a gaming rig is your intention. Intel i9 processors are a tad bit overkill for gaming, unfortunately. 

However, if you use your PC professionally and frequently tackle multicore heavy workloads such as content creation, data analysis, or graphic design, going with an i9 CPU would be the better idea, as your productivity would benefit immensely from the extra cores and threads. 

Jack is a Tech and News Writer who has a vast and proficient knowledge of CPUs, Motherboards, and Computer technology.

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