Should I Get The i5 or i7 for Graphic Design?

The CPU is one of the most essential parts of your computer. It is the brains of your machine. As a graphic designer, you require more from your laptop’s CPU than the average laptop user. Therefore, it is important to pick the right one. Should it be the i5 or i7? Here’s how to choose.

Should you pick the i5 or i7 for graphic design?

But first, why the i5 and i7? Of course, you also have the i3, i9, and even other brands. The discussion centers around those two in the graphic design community because they’re common in most laptops.

If you want the best design equipment, you’re likely to encounter laptops with one of those two as their CPU. So, should you get an i5 or i7 Intel processor? Let’s dive in!

Table of Contents

About the i5 and i7 CPU

Let’s start at the beginning. 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 for mobile and desktop devices. 

The i5 and i7 are part of Intel’s current 13th-generation lineup of processors. Intel has called this generation Raptor Lake. The CPUs became available in the second half of 2022 and early 2023. Today, these are still the most current Intel CPU available.

The CPUs can have up to 24 cores. That’s eight extra cores compared to Raptor Lake’s predecessor.

As a general rule of thumb, having more cores is better. It means you can do more simultaneously, which is important as a graphic designer.

There’s a lot more to be said about the specs of these CPUs, 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.

Instead, we’re going to focus on the differences between the i5 and i7 and how to select the right one as a graphic designer.

Differences between the i5 and i7

While the i5 and i7 both belong to Intel’s Raptor Lake, there are differences. In the table below, I’ve made an overview of the most important aspects of a CPU to consider when buying a laptop.

This table shows a comparison of the latest i5 and i7 CPU.
i5 i7
Cores 6P and 8E 8P and 8E
Clock speed 3.9GHz 4.2GHz
Cache 24MB 30MB
Pricing $319 $409

The i7 has several advantages compared to the i5, like the number of cores, the base clock speed, and the cache.

  • The i7 has eight performance cores (8P), whereas the i5 has only six (6P).
  • The clock speed is very close, with a turbo boost of 4.2GHz for the i7 and 3.9GHz for the i5.
  • Finally, the cache of the i7 is 30MB. The i5 has 24 MB of cache.

However, there is more to consider. The advantages of the i7 come at a price. The top i7 is almost $100 more expensive than the i5.

Should I get the i5 or i7 for graphic design?

If you have to choose between the i5 or i7 for graphic design, go for the i7. With more cores, a better cache, and higher clock speeds, it is a better CPU than the Intel i5 while only being slightly more expensive.

Things to keep in mind

The most important thing to remember when deciding between the i5 and i7 is that you compare apples to apples. It means you have to check which generation CPU you’re looking at when browsing laptops.

Never blindly pick an i7 over an i5. You might compare the current generation i5 to a last-gen i7 CPU. While the i7 is better than the i5 within the same generation, that might not be the case when comparing an i5 to an older i7.

Another thing to remember is that there are multiple versions of the i5 and i7. If the i7 is too expensive for your budget, you could consider a better i5.

Recommended laptops for graphic design

Now that we know which CPU to consider, it is time to look at some laptops that would be a good fit for any graphic designer. Here’s the overview.

This table shows a comparison of the latest i5 and i7 CPU.
Laptop CPU Link
HP ProBook 12th-gen i7 View on Amazon
Samsung GalaxyBook 2 12th-gen i7 View on Amazon
Lenovo IdeaPad 3 11th-gen i7 View on Amazon


If you can afford it, go for the Intel i7 CPU. Yes, it is more expensive than the i5, but the extra power is usually worth it. Keep the following tips in mind when deciding which to pick.

  • The current-gen i5 might be better than the last-gen i7. Consider more than just the number!
  • If you can’t afford the i7, pick the best i5 you can get. It is available in multiple versions.

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

Do you have feedback on this article? Missing something? Or just a question? Reach out to me and I’ll get back to you!

Profile picture of author Nick Groeneveld, a senior UX designer and mentor for The Designer's Toolbox

About the author

Hi! I'm , a senior designer from the Netherlands with experience in UX, visual design, and research. I'm a UX coach that supports other designers and have completed design projects in finance, tech, and the public sector.

Through The Designer's Toolbox, I'm an Educational Partner for Interaction Design Foundation.

☎️ Book a 1:1 mentor meeting with me or let's connect on LinkedIn, Twitter and Medium.