Intel Core i7 vs i9 Processors

Author: Luke Adkins  Date Posted: 12 February 2024 

Looking for a laptop that'll get the job done and handle anything you throw at it? Then, a laptop with an Core i7 or Core i9 processor is the laptop for you. For a long time, Intel Core i7s were the pinnacle of computer processors; then came the Core i9, which took performance to a whole new level.

Choosing between these two processor options can be difficult, mainly because they are both capable. However, when it comes down to your decision, understanding how these two beast processors compare to one another should make things a little easier.

In this comparison, we'll run through everything you need to know regarding i7 vs i9 processors to help you choose which is better.

i7 vs i9 processor overviewi7 vs i9 Intel CPU

When you look at Core i7 and Core i9 processors, you'll quickly see that both are designed to perform better. While their standards may differ depending on what PC and model you choose, both processors can handle resource-intensive apps relatively well and are versatile, meaning they can be used by practically anyone and provide for their computing needs. So, the question here is, which one is better?

i7 processors at a glance

The Intel Core series released the i7 in August 2008, and you can imagine the massive leap this was, so much so that the i7 12th generation is still considered a higher-end processor. These epic processors were kitted out with four cores and eight threads, but they can have up to eight cores and 16 threads these days. With an i7, you shouldn't have issues running high-quality games or doing intensive video editing.

i9 processors at a glance

Although we don't know for how long, the Intel Core i9 processors are at the top of the food chain. Released 10 years later, the i9 took performance cores to a new level. i9s are designed to cater to power users like intense gamers, 3D design artists, complex video editing, or other intensive applications. Depending on the brand and model you purchase, these processors have up to 18 cores and high threads.

i7 vs i9 processor Clock speed comparison

Generally speaking, as your higher-tier processors, both i7 and i9s have high clock speeds. In terms of base clock speed, both processors run at a similar speed. The primary difference comes when considering how long the processor can maintain a high clock speed.

Because i9s have better thermal management, more cores, and better power handling capabilities, they can usually maintain higher clock speeds for longer. So, while i7s also can achieve high clock speeds, the i9 processor is better at maintaining them, providing more consistency and stability when handling resource-intensive tasks.

i7 vs i9 processor cores and threads comparison

i7 and core i9 processors are well-known for being power-houses regarding performance. For both processors, you get a decent number of cores and threads to handle demanding applications and multitask.

The i7, for instance, generally has a quad-core with eight threads or up to 8 cores with 16 threads. This allows them to handle complex tasks without issues and multitask with ease, even when you're gaming, creating content, or doing high-end video editing.

For the i9 to beat the i7, it had to significantly boost its core and thread count. Being the top of the Intel CPU lineup, the i9 Core processors have an impressive 10 to 12 cores, with some models having up to 18 cores. Now, if the i9 has between 10 and 18 cores, imagine how many threads it has dealing with individual tasks simultaneously. This makes the i9 the ideal processor for advanced gaming, demanding content creation tasks and heavy tasks like coding, game development, video editing and broadcasting.

i7 vs i9 cache size comparison

The cache is an important tiny amount of memory on your processor to store basic instructions you use regularly. This improves your user experience and, in some ways, the performance of your processor. Because i7s and i9s have such extensive processing capabilities, they also both have a significant amount of cache space.

For i7 processors, they'll usually have between 8MB and 16MB of cache space depending on their model and generationare. This allows i7 processors to store more data for quick access, making certain tasks faster.

In some models, the i9 takes cache size to the next level, with 16MB to 24MB or higher. This larger cache size pairs perfectly with the other features you get from an i9 processor, helping with handling complex tasks and large data sets like professional gaming or video editing.

i7 vs i9 processor integrated graphics comparison

Integrated graphics is essential in choosing between an i7 and an i9 core processor. For one, the better the graphics card you have, the better the performance of your processor will be.

In this case, both intel chips will have different integrated graphics cards based on their design and model. The i7 processors have integrated graphics like the Intel UHD graphics or Intel Iris Xe, which enable better gaming, video streaming, and multimedia task performance. These integrated graphics are meant to balance efficiency and performance, but they don't usually offer the same experience a dedicated graphics card would.

i9 processors, especially those aimed at desktop computers, generally focus on optimising CPU performance instead of integrated graphics. This is usually because most desktop PCs have a dedicated graphics card. That said, in some devices like laptops, variants of the i9 processors have integrated graphics similar to the i7 ones, like the Iris Xe.

i7 vs i9 processor hyperthreading comparison

Hyperthreading is a nifty piece of software that allows your processor to run multiple threads on one core, thus enabling your device to multitask more efficiently. It pretty much doubles the threads your cores can handle, significantly improving performance.

For a long time, hyperthreading was a key selling point for i7 processors. They allowed them to handle more tasks at the same time while keeping performance consistent, especially when using multi-threaded applications like video editors, 3D renderers, or demanding games.

To add to i9's other impressive features, the core i9 processors also utilise hyperthreading, which takes their performance to new heights. With the extra cores, i9s can already process several more threads. With the addition of hyperthreading, i9s can easily handle highly demanding games and data workflows. Depending on the other features of your device, you might find that it can even run them simultaneously.

i7 vs i9 processor turbo boost comparison

Turbo boost gives your processor extra horsepower when faced with a demanding task. It'll allow your processor to operate above its base clock speed to improve its performance for short periods. Both i7 and i9 CPUs have turbo boost.

In comparison, i9 processors generally reach higher speeds when they use turbo boost than i7 CPUs. This is mainly due to their higher specs and their ability to handle extreme performance requirements better than the i7 processor can. Turbo boost will generally kick in when both chip sets are put under enough pressure that they need the extra boost to maintain performance standards.

i7 vs i9 processor benchmark scores comparison

When it comes to benchmark scores, both CPUs deliver some impressive results, with the i7 closely following the i9 benchmark scores. However, these results also depend on what benchmark tests have been conducted. In this case, we're referring to two tests: the single-thread benchmark test and the multi-thread benchmark test.

In the single-threaded benchmark test, the i7 did remarkably well, almost getting the same score as the i9. However, this is because the single-threaded benchmark test only tests one core and is solely focused on the clock speeds of that core. We've already established that both i9 and i7 have similar base clock speeds, so this test isn't highly reliable in comparing their overall scores.

When you pin the i7 and i9 against each other with a multi-threaded benchmark test, the i9 wins by a landslide. This is due to its significant amount of cores and threads compared to the i7 core processors. So, when it comes to multitasking and managing intensive programs, the i9 takes the cake.

i7 vs i9 power consumption comparison

In most cases, both processors will offer a good balance between performance and power consumption. But it's helpful to remember that you'll usually have a higher power draw with a powerful processor. i7s have relatively low power consumption, making them suitable for multiple systems and devices.

On the other hand, i9s focus solely on power and performance, so they are likely to suck more juice than i7s. Because of its higher number of cores and threads and its ability to use Turbo boost, i9 processors will demand more power to deliver consistent top-tier performance.

i7 vs i9 real-world performance comparison

Now for the practical application of these processors. Understanding devices with these CPUs will fit into and benefit your everyday life, and it is an excellent way of processing which one you should choose.

In the real world, i7 processors offer excellent performance and decent power consumption. They are above your average laptops, making them suitable for several uses, including gaming, office applications, content creation, video editing, and essential media consumption. There's very little that the i7 processor won't be able to handle when it comes to your basic functionality. The Core i7 is a great option for anyone looking for a very capable processor but not necessarily needing the best on the market or the price tag that comes with it.

The i9 CPUs are designed to cope with large, intensive workloads for creative professionals who need a device to handle anything thrown at them. For instance, i9s will generally be used by professional video editors, 3D designers, data analysts, complex scientific simulations, or highly demanding games. Core i9 processors are better suited to individuals who require a device capable of coping with multi-threaded, CPU-intensive work.

i7 vs i9 processor price comparison

As your higher-end processors, you will find that both i7 and core i9 processors will have a higher price than your lower-tier CPUs like i5 and i3. While i7s are still priced relatively high, they are more affordable than i9s. One reason is that they are more available and often used on laptops and mobile devices.

Core i9 processors have been around for almost seven years now. Still, with every new generation, they continue to improve, making them the better processors in the intel range and the most expensive.

For a core i7 PC, you can expect to pay between $800 to over $3000. Meanwhile, i9 processor PCs can have prices far exceeding $4000 depending on their brand, model, and other specs.

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Are you looking to upgrade your desktop computer into the ideal gaming rig or just give it some extra juice to cope with more? Contact Australian Computer Traders, and we'll set you up with the perfect i7 or i9 processor for your computer to ensure you'll be future-proof for years to come!

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