When building a new computer, price is often the factor that dictates which components you buy. Setting a budget is usually the easy part, while picking the right hardware to meet that cap is the real challenge, especially with gaming systems as both the CPU and GPU weigh heavily on the overall expense.
Those building an Intel machine these days have loads of options. Looking at the current Haswell lineup, we have Core i3 processors ranging from suggested retail prices of $122 to $149, Core i5 chips priced from $182 to $242, and Core i7 parts set between $303 and $339. All three families are based on the same architecture so where they really differ is in their number of cores/threads and cache size. There are other factors such as operating frequency and integrated graphics, but for the most part it's the cores and cache that matter.
With this information at hand, many will wonder which one is right for them. Do they need a Core i7 or will the Core i5 be just as fast for their needs? Should they spend less on a Core i3 and allocate the savings elsewhere? To try and make your purchase decision a little easier, we'll be seeing how the Core range performs in various applications, video encoding scenarios and gaming.
Read: Intel Core i3 vs. Core i5 vs. Core i7 - What do you get by spending more??
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