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7th Gen Intel Kaby Lake CPU PK - Do I get a Core i5-HQ processor or a Core i7-U?

WRITTEN BY Shrek

Posted on October 30 2017



It used to be a lot simpler with CPUs when we only had to choose between HQ series processor and a U series processor.
The former is designed for full quad-core performance, and the latter for power saving.
But as technology evolves, now even the U series seems to have decent boost clock (frequency) as well.

For example: would a Core i7 U series CPU with higher frequency outperform a Core i5 HQ series CPU?
In order to put an end to the confusion, we’ll be taking some of the most common CPUs among notebooks, and see how they perform.

Contestants are as follow:

We’ve selected a Core i7 & i5 CPU each from the HQ series & U series.
These 4 models forms the majority of the notebook CPUs used on the market.
As you can see in the previously example, the two U series CPU comes with higher base clock than the Core i5-7300HQ, and are also usually cheaper in price.
Will this suffice?

Well… the short answer is - NO.
Full performance HQ series CPU still rocks.

Cinebench R15

Starting with one of the most iconic CPU benchmarks: Cinebench.
We went with the multi-core scenario, not only because many of the works nowadays rely on multi-cores (even games),but we also like to see how the extra cores and threads affect the results.

The dominance of the Core i7-7700HQ is no surprise, with 4 cores + 8 threads (4C8T) offering over 2x the speed of the U series.
Even with the Core i5-7300HQ (4C4T), there’s still a 50% performance gap over the U-series.

Geekbench 4.0

Next up is the equally-popular Geekbench test.

The same result can also be observed, where the HQ series shreds the U series across the board.
Especially the Core i5-7300HQ not only outperforms i5-7200U by 40% but also beats Core i7-7500U by 22%.

X264 Benchmark

If you think “computing performance” is too abstract, the X264 test should help. This simulates video transcoding performance of the CPU: the better score, the faster it is at converting video formats.
The HQ series processors have won once again, by around 30% faster in average.

TL;DR

If you’re expecting decent performance from your rig, always go for an HQ series processor.

Don’t let the name “i7” fool you, as even i5-HQ can outperform i7-U CPUs.
Aside from the obvious core/thread counts, many other characteristics like power draw and cache make HQ series CPU the go-to option for performance notebooks. (Gaming notebooks are great examples)
We don’t consider U series to be relatively worse products, but are just built for different purposes.
Leave those on the Ultrabooks, where mobility and power saving come first.
Be sure to always go for HQ series when performance matters the most.

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