Intel Core i7 vs i9 Processors – Do you really need an i9?

The i7 processor has been one of the most popular Intel processors for the last decade, and it’s positioned as a better alternative to both the i3 and the i5 processor. However, a few years ago it’s position as the best Intel processor was put into jeopardy with the release of the i9 processor.

There’s no arguing that these are both good processors to choose. But is it worth upgrading from the i7 processor to the i9 processor, or should you just stick with the i7? Well, let’s take a look and see whether it’s worthwhile doing this for the majority of people.

Intel Core i7 vs Core i9 Processors – How they compare

The fact of the matter is that for almost everyone reading this, you won’t need anything more than an i7 processor. They are more than powerful enough to do the majority of things you need to online, and if you’re just a casual user or even a gamer, an i7 processor is going to be more cost effective choice.

But, Intel Core i9 processors are there for a reason, and Intel didn’t create them for the sake of it. They generally have a higher core count and faster clock speeds than an i7. I should also mention that I’m talking about this as a general comparison from Intel Core i7 to Intel Core i9.

You will find Intel Core i7 processors that are better than i9s, like you’d find quad-core Intel i5 processors that are as good or better than an i7. But across the entire range of CPUs, i9 is currently the best out there. Many Intel Core i9 processors have eight cores, or sometimes even more than this.

There are certain programs and applications which would probably benefit from you using an i9 processor, especially if you intend to use them together. If you’re considering this, then take a look at this list of the best i9 laptops. However for now, let’s look at the i9 a little closer.

Why choose an i9?


An i9 processor may be the better choice for a few different criteria of people, and it really depends on what you’re looking to do. Here’s a few reasons why you might want to opt for an i9 processor.


You generally don’t need a strong processor for gaming alone. However, you’ll definitely need one if you plan to have a lot of different programs open at the same time. The more programs that you have open, the more things that your laptop or computer needs to do simultaneously.

So, if you have your game open, your Discord running plus all of your work from the day (large Excel files, Abode software), then an i9 processor might be a necessary choice to keep all of this running at the same time.

Video editing

Video editing programs tend to have the need to use a lot of processing power, especially with the increased quality of modern day cameras and recordings.

So if you’re looking for a top of the range video editing station, then an i9 processor might make up part of that. It’s a better choice if you’re using programs like Adobe Premier.

Any intensive programs

There are programs out there that will use a lot of processing power. If you know you use these kinds of programs, an Intel Core i9 processor with more cores may be a wise choice.

This generally includes softwares like Matlab, which is a science simulation software, or AutoCAD, which is used for graphic modelling and rendering.

Which should I choose, i7 or i9?

If you’re unsure whether you should opt for an Intel Core i7 processor or an i9 processor, then the likelihood is that an i7 processor will be enough. Why?

Well, an i7 processor is going to be more than capable for the vast majority of people, and the likelihood is that if you needed an i9 processor, you’d probably know about it.

Realistically, the only people who are going to need an i9 processor may be designers or those who use very intensive programs on their laptop. So for the majority of people, an Intel Core i7 processor will be the best choice.

This is true if you’re interested in looking for the best option for gaming. If you’re a gamer, you would be far better off looking at your laptops GPU as opposed to its CPU, as this is where the magic happens with a gaming laptop.


However, this is not all you’re going to want to think about if you’re trying to pick between an i7 processor and an i9 processor.

Clock Speed

Something to look at when you’re considering a processor is its performance speeds, which are measured in GHz. At its simplest, a 2.5 GHz processor will be better than a 2.1 GHz processor – this refers to the amount of cycles the processor makes. But, this isn’t the only way that we can tell how powerful a processor is.

You’ll also want to look at the difference between your processors base clock speed, and its boost clock speed. This is at it sounds – the base speed is the minimum speed that it will run at, whilst the boost speed is how the processor will run if you’re maxing it out.


Another thing that you’ll want to take into account when you’re looking between i7 and i9 processors is the amount of cores it uses. The new core i9’s come with 8 or even 10 cores, and all this means is essentially the amount of different processes that the laptop can run at once.

Whilst it sounds great having a ton of cores in your laptop, this isn’t always going to be necessary. For example, even in the intensive programs like Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator, the most cores that they are going to use is 8. There’s no benefit to having a 10 core processor in this scenario, so it might just be overkill.


Although not as important as cores, the threads of a processor is also something worth considering. Typically, each core of your processor will be matched by 2 threads. In some cases it will only be matched by one thread, but ideally we’d rather have 2 threads for every core.

Threads can allow you to run more programs simultaneously without having your laptop slow down. Threads aren’t responsible for actually doing any work like cores are, as they literally just hold information that allows high end gaming processors to work slightly faster.


All in all, it’s impossible to deny that you will see a minor improvement in performance with an i9 processor over an i7 processor. But, this improvement won’t be drastic, and many people may not notice the difference if the majority of their activity is browsing the internet with Google Chrome and regular daily activities.

This doesn’t mean to say that i9 processors aren’t a good choice. As you can see above, they’re not a bad investment for those looking for something that is capable of supporting intensive video editing, and it can be a way to futureproof your laptop too.

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About Jon

Hey, I'm Jon. I'm an engineer by trade, so it makes sense that I'm obsessed with anything technology related! On the weekends, you can find me playing around with my computers or fixing something around the house. Feel free to leave a comment if you want to get in touch.

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