If you are thinking of upgrading your PC, especially the CPU, then you have plenty of options. You can pick from the Intel i3, i5, i7, and i9. What is the difference, you ask? In this article, I will go over everything you need to know about upgrading from an i5 to i7 to explain which option is better for you.
You can upgrade from an i5 to an i7 as long as you use the CPU uses the same socket. If not, then you will need to upgrade your motherboard as well. Your motherboard needs to support the CPU that you are planning to use. Upgrading from an i5 to i7 in the same generation will work fine, but you will need to check compatibility with your motherboard if you are upgrading to a newer i7 CPU.
Modern 11th generation Intel i5 CPUs come with six cores and 12 threads. The Intel i7 CPUs feature eight cores and 16 threads. The clock speeds will vary for the different CPU models, but in general, the more expensive and higher core-count Intel i7 can boost higher than the i5; this has been the case single the Intel 8th generation CPUs were released a few years back.
While making up your mind and deciding whether or not you should upgrade, you will have a couple of questions in your head; don’t fret! Below I have answered the main questions you will have to make your decision easier.
Can I Upgrade From An i5 To An i7?
You can upgrade your CPU from an i5 to an i7 without changing the motherboard as the CPU has the same LGA 1200 socket. Newer generational upgrades might require a motherboard upgrade. The i7-6700K does not come with a heat-sink fan, so you need to add a third-party fan.
If you are using something like the Intel 10400 which is an Intel CPU from the last generation then you can install the latest 11th generation i7 CPU on your current motherboard. You can even upgrade to the i7 10700 without having to change your motherboard because both the 10th and 11th generations of Intel CPUs use the LGA 1200 CPU socket.
If you are using an older CPU, like the i5 6400, then you can upgrade to the i7 6700K without any issues. Both of these CPUs use the LGA 1151 socket. If you want to move from the i5 6400 to something like the i7 11700, for example, then you will need to replace your motherboard and get a new one that supports the newer CPU.
Is It Worth Upgrading From i5 To i9?
Upgrading from i5 to i9 requires you to buy a new motherboard as they don’t use the same sockets. If you do CPU- intensive tasks, then upgrading to an i9 can be worth it; if you only want to game, upgrading is not worth it. Motherboards for the i9 are the HEDT tier on intel ships which are not cheap
CPU-intensive tasks such as video editing can take advantage of the higher core count that the i9 has to offer, which results in faster rendering. Gaming, on the other hand, is not going to benefit from the additional cores. A 6 core CPU is the sweet spot for gaming, and 8 cores are the most that you should get right now if you want to futureproof your PC.
It is worth mentioning that the latest 11th generation i9 CPUs do not even come with a higher number of cores and threads compared to the i7 models. The i9 11900K for example comes with 8 cores and 16 threads. So you do not get the bonus cores and threads, which makes this worse than the older 10900k which comes with 10 cores and 20 threads.
With all this in mind, you will be better off sticking to an i7 rather than upgrading to an i9, especially if you are only going to be gaming on your system.
So you’re looking to upgrade your CPU, it’s good to know how long the average CPU is expected to last in your setup, I wrote an extensive guide on how to make your CPU last as long as possible that you should check out.
Does i7 Last Longer Than i5?
As a general rule, the i7 has 2 additional cores and 4 additional threads compared to the i5 making it be more future proof lasting longer. Although both the i7 and i5 should last 5 to 10 years.
A modern i5 with six cores and 12 threads is not slow and will last you a couple of years at least before you need to upgrade, but if you do not plan on upgrading any time soon after to switch to your new CPU, then going with the i7 is going to be a much more futureproof investment due to the extra cores and threads, also the higher boost clock speed you get out of the box.
However, it comes down to what you are planning to do with your PC. If you are only going to be gaming, then you will have a similar experience with both an i5 and i7 over the years to come.
If you ever do or think you will do creative tasks like photo or video editing on your rig, investing in the i7 makes more sense.
As PC gamers we spend a lot of time sitting down gaming, ensuring we have good back support is crucial to keep gaming healthy. I wrote a post discussing if games chairs are worth the money which I reccomend you check out.
How Much Faster Is i7 Than i5
The Core i5’s clock speed is set at 1.6-GHz (3.4Ghz with Max Turbo) the Core i7 is faster at 1.8-GHz (3.6-GHz with Max Turbo). The Core i7 has a bigger processor cache at 8MB compare to Core 85 6MB. The Intel i7 11700K can boost to 5Ghz at stock speed. The Intel i7 11700K has an unlocked multiplier, so you can overclock it beyond 5 GHz with a Z-series motherboard.
The i7 has a higher clock speed which you would expect from the more expensive CPU, but what does that mean in terms of real-world performance? While you might not notice a considerable difference between the two when gaming or in single-core intensive programs, the extra cores and threads of the i7 are going to come into play when running multi-core applications.
The extra cores and threads of the i7 translate into much faster rendering when editing video. If you are using other multi-core intensive programs, then you will see a significant difference in performance between the i5 and the i7.
Knowing how long your expensive gaming rig will last and picking quality long lasting parts is essential. I wrote a detailed post explaing how long each part of your rig will last that I suggest you read!