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The title pretty much says it.

I know that the Core i7's are Quad Core and Hyper-threaded (so 4 cores, and 8 logical), and the Core i5's are Quad Core as well but not Hyper-threaded, does this really make a difference? Or are the only people who are going to care are the ones who CPU intensive operations?

I'm a developer, so I'm more concerned about hard drive speed most times than CPU speed.

Any thoughts?

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Performance stuff put the i5's pretty high, and they're certainly more reasonably priced than the "take up the whole of a reasonable budget"-i7 range. –  Phoshi Sep 16 '09 at 18:05
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4 Answers

i7 is high-end, i5 is a mainstream performance part. Core i3 (expected end of the year) will be the value part, but it'll still be more powerful than today's Celerons, which will presumably continue in the low-end market as Core2-derived parts for a while yet.

The distinction between ‘i7’ and ‘i5’ is pretty meaningless. The Core i7-8xx range is essentially the same as the current i5 range: it's the same core, released at the same time, with the same socket: not really anything like the previously-available i7-9xx range. The main difference, as you noted, is that the parts marketed as ‘i5’ have Hyper-Threading disabled. This would be an annoying artificial limitation, except that no-one really cares about HT.

I'm sure we can expect more confusing branding nightmares from Intel when we have i3 (and perhaps even i9) to muddy the waters further.

All of these chips are likely to be more powerful than the average developer will ever need!

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careful with such statements (640kb ought to be enough ... :) –  Molly7244 Sep 16 '09 at 22:46
    
They also have less cache and slower clock speeds enabled. I am guessing that these are basically i7 cores that don't fully meet up to quality control. They have the parts disabled (including whatever failed) and then are sold as a lesser version. This tactic is pretty common with GPUs and AMD processors already. –  JamesRyan Sep 17 '09 at 11:46
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Pentium Dual-Core is the new low-end of Intel's processors as the last one was released in June 2009 so the name lives on.

I think the Core i5 is probably a pretty good mid-range CPU and not the high end.

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+1 for pointing out the Pentium Dual-Core as the current entry-level CPU which makes it the equivalent to the Celeron in Intel's previous product range :) –  Molly7244 Sep 16 '09 at 19:58
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If you look at the reviews like this one on Tom's Hardware you'll see that the Core i5 is not a bottom feeder. It is a solid CPU capable of beating out the best from AMD and all but the Core i7's and EE models from Intel.

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of course it all marketing strategies. while the Core i7 is certainly the Big Daddy, it is also very pricey and Intel just don't want to leave the 'medium power CPU' market segment to AMD's Phenom CPUs, hence the Core i5 to replace the aging C2D.

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