When it comes to gaming notebooks, the most popular processors used are the Intel Core i5-7300HQ and the Core i7-7700HQ. They are beloved by manufacturers for the good performance and efficiency of the latest 7th Kaby Lake generation. There are better options than these two like the unlocked HK models but casual gamers usually tend to save some money and don’t opt for some super crazy specs on notebooks.
They also provide more than enough horsepower to execute any office task and even rendering is going to be an ease to some extent.
As expected the mid-range i5-7300HQ is far more affordable than the high-end i7-7700HQ but is there enough of a difference between them? Isn’t it better to go for a better graphics card than for the higher class processor? In this article, we will see how the two chips stack to each other and what’s the actual difference in performance.
Intel Core i5-7300HQ
The Core i5-7300HQ is the go-to processor for budget gaming notebooks. One of the best in this class is the Lenovo Y520 which can be configurated with both of the compared processors.
The Core i5-7300HQ is part of the 7th generation Kaby Lake processors. It is the direct successor to the Core i5-6300HQ. Compared to its predecessor it runs at 200 MHz higher base frequency (2.5 GHz) and boosts up to 3.5 GHz (300 MHz more than before). If offers 6 MB of L2 cache and is rated at 45W TDP. The Core i5-7300HQ is a quad-core processor but lacks the Hyper-Threading technology of the Core i7-7700HQ which would result in multi-threaded performance.
The integrated GPU is the Intel HD Graphics 630 ranging from 350 MHz to 1.0 GHz. It features 24 Execution Units (EUs).
The chip supports DDR4-2400, LPDDR3-2133, and DDR3L-1600 RAM.
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
The Core i7-7700HQ is the most common processors found in gaming notebooks from the budget all the way up to the upper mid-class. It provides excellent performance and it is suitable for all kinds of work.
Part of the 7th generation Kaby Lake, the Core i7-7700HQ steps in where the Core i7-6700HQ left us. Just like the i5-7300HQ, the new version of the Core i7 has 200 MHz higher base clock and 300 MHz higher Turbo Boost frequency – 2.80 GHz and 3.80 GHz respectively. It also features 6 MB of L2 cache and 45W TDP rating but differs from the i5-7300HQ by the addition of Hyper-Threading. The Core i7-7700HQ is a four core/eight thread processor.
It features the same iGPU as the Core i5-7300HQ – Intel HD Graphics 630 but this time with a slightly higher maximum frequency of 1.10 GHz.
The chip supports DDR4-2400, LPDDR3-2133, and DDR3L-1600 RAM.
Putting the two chips side by side we see quite a few similarities. They both are created using the 14 nm FinFET manufacturing process and are part of the 7th generation Intel Core processors. They both have 6 MB of SmartCache (L2) and 45W TDP as well as 100°C maximum operating temperature. The socket they fit is the FCBGA1440. They also feature the same iGPU but its maximum frequency is a bit higher on the Core i7-7700HQ, however, this won’t make a difference in performance especially when using an external graphics card.
The difference is when it comes to core count and clock speeds. To be more precise, both models have the same amount of physical cores but the Core i7-7700HQ has Intel’s Hyper-Threading technology enabled which the Core i5-7300HQ lacks. This way it doubles the effective threads – eight vs four respectively. To be fair, this won’t make a big of a difference during gaming. The more threads will help in heavy multitasking, rendering, and other multi-threaded tasks. We will also see a difference in benchmarks some of which are synthetic.
Both the base and Turbo frequencies of the Core i7-7700HQ are 300 MHz higher compared to its rival – 2.80 vs 2.50 GHz and 3.80 vs 3.50 GHz respectively.
A lot of gaming laptops are sold in configurations with both of the compared processors and sometimes the price gap is a couple hundred dollars. In such a case, you might ask yourself is it worth the extra money? This is the case with one of the most popular budget gaming notebooks at the moment – the Lenovo Legion Y520 which we are using four our benchmarks. We will try to answer your questions through several test results.
Here are а couple of synthetic benchmarks we ran and results from our Photoshop test which represents real-world performance.
As you can see, the Hyper-Threaded Core i7-7700HQ is up to 40% better in synthetic benchmarks such as Novabench and Cinebench 11. It also finished our Photoshop preset rendering for three seconds less than the Core i5-7300HQ which represents real-world scenario. Three seconds is not too much so even for basic photo and video editing you won’t see big of a difference between the two chips, however, keep in mind that this performance gap will widen when they encounter bigger obstacles.
Cinebench 11 : Results are from the Cinebench 11 test (higher the score, the better)
|Lenovo Legion Y520 Intel Core i5-7300HQ (4-cores, 2.5 – 3.5 GHz)||5.82|
|Lenovo Legion Y520 (GTX 1050 Ti) Intel Core i7-7700HQ (4-cores, 2.8 – 3.8 GHz)||8.14|
NovaBench CPU : Results are from the NovaBench CPU test (higher the score, the better)
|Lenovo Legion Y520 Intel Core i5-7300HQ (4-cores, 2.5 – 3.5 GHz)||527|
|Lenovo Legion Y520 (GTX 1050 Ti) Intel Core i7-7700HQ (4-cores, 2.8 – 3.8 GHz)||860|
Photoshop : Results are from the Photoshop test (lower the score, the better)
|Lenovo Legion Y520 Intel Core i5-7300HQ (4-cores, 2.5 – 3.5 GHz)||13|
|Lenovo Legion Y520 (GTX 1050 Ti) Intel Core i7-7700HQ (4-cores, 2.8 – 3.8 GHz)||9.93|
What about gaming?
We can assure you that if there is any difference in the frame rates it will be a single digit number probably no more than 1-5%. This is due to the fact that gaming performance depends more on the graphics card rather than the CPU and both processors are powerful enough to not bottleneck powerful graphics cards like the GTX 1080. They both have high frequencies and four physical cores are plenty enough for most every modern game so even the Core i5-7300HQ which lacks Hyper-Threading performs well. The additional threads available on the Core i7-7700HQ will be useful in heavy multitasking
To sum things up, we could say that both the Core i5-7300HQ and Core i7-7700HQ are two very capable processors. Choosing between them depends on your needs. If you are interested only in gaming and you don’t have too much money to spend we would advise getting the Core i5-7300HQ as the GPU is more important. A great thing to do would be to save for a better GPU while remaining with a Core i5-7300HQ.
The Hyper-Threading technology paired with higher clock speeds makes the Core i7-7700HQ the better processor if we don’t consider price and specific needs. As we already said, the Core i5-7300HQ is enough for most gamers but the i7-7700HQ will surely be preferred for heavy multitasking, photo editing, and video rendering. The i7-7700HQ will make your notebook a pretty solid all-rounder suitable for both work and play.
Overall, if you have the extra money getting the Core i7-7700HQ is always a good idea but you don’t really need it if you won’t push the Core i5-7300HQ to its limits.