Should I Get The i5 or i7 for Graphic Design?

The CPU is one of the most important parts of your computer. It is the brains of your machine. As a designer, you require more from your laptop’s CPU. Especially in graphic design, it is important to pick between the i5 or i7 processor.

Should I get the i5 or i7 for graphic design

Intel is one of the premier CPU manufacturers in the world. They brand their processors ‘i-something’. We currently have the i3, i5, i7, and i9 available on the market for mobile and desktop devices.

In the graphic design community, the discussion centers around the middle two. If I want to get the best laptop for UX design, should I get an i5 or i7 Intel processor? We’re going to answer that question right here!

Table of Contents

About the i5 and i7 CPU

Let’s start at the beginning. The i5 is part of Intel’s current 10th generation lineup of processors. Intel has called this generation Comet Lake. The CPU’s became available in the first half of 2020. In 2021, this is still the most current Intel CPU available.

Just as the i5 processor, the i7 processor is also part of Intel’s 10th generation of processors. It is generally considered to be the better, more powerful version of the i5 CPU.

Both processors are created using Intel’s 14 nm Skylake process. The CPU’s can have up to 10 cores. That’s 2 cores more than Comet Lake’s predecessor. As we discussed in our other post, having more cores is better. It means you can do more at the same time.

There’s a lot more to be said about the specs of these CPU’s, but we’re not going to dive too much into that as it is more technical than required when deciding on which laptop to purchase.

You can read more on this generation of processors on the Wikipedia Comet Lake page if that is something you do like.

Differences between the i5 and i7

The short answer is that the i7 is a better CPU than the Intel i5 processor for any graphic designer.

There are a number of advantages the i7 has when deciding between the i5 or i7 CPU for your next laptop. These include the number of cores the CPU has, the clock speed, and the cache. Let’s compare the two!

  • The i5 has 6 cores whereas the i7 has 8 cores.
  • The clock speed is very close with a maximum of 4.8GHz for the i5 and 5.1GHz for the i7.
  • Finally, the cache of the i5 is 12MB. The i7 has 16MB’s of cache.

However, there is more to consider. When looking at the current prices of the CPUs, the i5 can be over $100 dollars cheaper. That’s something to consider!

Deciding between i5 or i7

As we said before, if you have to choose between the i5 or i7 for graphic design, the i7 is the winner. It has more cores, a better cache, and higher clock speeds. However, the i7 is more expensive.

The most important thing is to compare apples to apples. This means that you have to check which generation CPU you’re looking at when you’re browsing laptops. The current generation i5 is better than the previous generations of i7 CPUs. You can do with an i5 but if you have the budget, go for the i7.

Further reading

If you can afford it, go for the Intel i7 CPU. Yes, it is a bit more expensive but the extra power is worth it in most cases. Now that you have decided on the CPU of your new laptop, it is time to make a choice regarding the other specifications of your computer.

We’ve created a design laptop specs list to help you out. You can read everything you need to know on that subject in our post on getting the best laptop for UX design as part of your UX equipment.

Useful resources to boost your UX career 👇

Or check out all UX resources on Gumroad.
Profile picture of author Nick Groeneveld, a senior UX designer and mentor for The Designer's Toolbox

About the author

Hi! I'm Nick Groeneveld, a senior designer from the Netherlands with experience in UX, visual design, and research. I have completed a wide range of projects in finance, tech, and the public sector.

Take a look at my LinkedIn and Medium for more.