Thermal Design Power (TDP): The lower the number, the better. This measures the power, or wattage needed to run and cool the computer's processor. This is where the i5 shines over the i3.
- The i3 uses about 75 watts of power as compared to 35 watts for the i5. This means the i5 chip runs cooler and uses less energy.
- This means better performance to energy usage (and more efficient battery usage!) for the i5.
- Currently, tech limitations caps chip clock speed at around 4Ghz -- with many laptops running chips in the 2 Ghz range.
- This is why the chip manufacturers (mainly Intel & AMD) have made dual core and quad core processors (using 2 or 4 processors to improve computing performance).
- The i5 has a Turbo-boost for better performance when needed.
- The i7 uses about 45 watts of power but has higher specs in terms of number of cores and cache.
- The i7 is still a bit pricey, but i3 and i5 laptops are currently in our "sweet spot" of laptops.
We love the i3 -- and especially the i5 chip -- if you are shopping for a laptop.