i3-8100 vs i7-7700HQ Review- Laptop CPU Comparison

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i3-8100 vs i7-7700HQ Review- Laptop CPU Comparison. Which CPU is better in a laptop? The popular 7700HQ or newer i3 8100 desktop CPU from Intel? We’ll find out in this video with a series of benchmarks to see how they perform in various tasks and games, and discuss the performance differences between them to help you decide which you should get, or if it’s worth upgrading.

Late last year Intel launched their 8th generation of CPUs known as Coffee Lake, and although at the time of recording the high end mobile chips haven’t been released, it is possible to get laptops with the desktop CPUs inside. I picked a laptop with the i3 8100, as the i3 line of CPUs has been upgraded from 2 cores to 4 cores this generation, making it much more useful.

The 7700HQ is a widely available mobile quad core CPU from the 7th generation, so I was interested to see how these compare. First let’s note the similarities between these two chips. Both have 4 CPU cores and 6MB of cache, and well that’s basically it. As an i7 chip, the 7700HQ has 8 threads due to hyperthreading which the 8100 is missing.

The i3 also runs at 3.6GHz, while the 7700HQ has a base frequency of 2.8GHz but can turbo up to 3.8GHz for a single core, or up to 3.4GHz for all 4 cores, so slightly lower than the i3 chip. This seems to be represented in the TDP, as the i3 is 20 watts higher. So there are some interesting differences between the two, mainly with hyperthreading, the clock speeds and of course the power difference.

7th Gen Intel Core processors deliver richer experiences, incredible performance and responsiveness, and true ultra HD 4K entertainment in stunning new devices. (Credit: Intel Corporation)

But how much of a performance difference does this make practically? To test this I’ve run some CPU tests and gaming benchmarks on two different laptops with these processors to find out. Both laptops are running Windows 10 with all available updates installed on an SSD. They both also have 16GB of DDR4 memory running at 2,400MHz, and Nvidia 1060 6GB graphics, so overall the laptops are fairly similar other than the CPUs.

I’ll also note that no thermal throttling was observed with either laptop. With that out of the way we’ll start off with the CPU tests, followed by the games. In Adobe Premiere I’ve rendered my review video on the ASUS Zephyrus gaming laptop using the H.264 high bitrate preset at 1080p, and no GPUs were in use for the test. We can see the results are very close together with the 7700HQ just saving us a few seconds, there’s not much difference at all. Next i’ve used Handbrake to encode a 4K video file to 1080p, and a separate 1080p video file to 720p, and in both cases the 7700HQ has taken the lead by over 16% in both tests. I’ve used Veracrypt to test the AES encryption and decryption speeds, and in my testing the 7700HQ performed close to 50% better than the 8100, which I’m guessing is likely due to hyperthreading.

The 7-Zip benchmark was used to demonstrate the decompression and compression speeds of both CPUs, and interestingly although the 7700HQ was further ahead in terms of decompression speeds, the gap lowered when it came to compression. In Cinebench I’ve tested both single and multi core performance, and as expected in the single core test the 7700HQ is only just in front as the single core clock speeds are pretty close together.

Things change in the multicore results however, with the 7700HQ seeing a 23% improvement. The single core results of Geekbench 4 show a similar result, and in this test the multicore result isn’t too different. It was similar in Passmark 9, where the single core results where close, but there was a slightly larger difference between the two when it came to multicore. The Corona benchmark renders a scene using the CPU, and it completed over 30% quicker on the 7700HQ.

So far the 7700HQ has won all of the CPU tests, that slightly higher clock speed and hyperthreading appears to be helping, however in some cases the 8100 wasn’t too far behind, now let’s see how this translates into gaming. Starting off with PUBG 1.0 and testing with the replay feature, the results are pretty close together, with the 7700HQ generally coming out slightly ahead.

The Witcher 3 is pretty similar, with the 8100 not too far behind, and actually coming out ahead again at max settings in terms of average frame rate, the 1% lows aren’t as good though. I’ve tested Shadow of War using the built in benchmark tool and with high settings and above the 8100 actually came out slightly ahead. In Rise of the Tomb Raider with the built in benchmark tool the 8100 came out in front regardless of the setting level used. Ghost Recon with the built in benchmark tool gave similar results, in almost all cases the 8100 was just a little ahead of the 7700HQ.

In Watchdogs 2 once again at high settings or above the 8100 came out slightly ahead, the averages were pretty close but in general the 1% lows on the 8100 were almost always better. Battlefield 1 went slightly better with the 7700HQ regardless of the setting level used, although the gap narrows at higher settings.

Ashes of the singularity seemed to work better with the 7700HQ at all but the highest settings. Just quickly we’ll go through the Unigine benchmarks, including heaven, valley, and superposition, which all seem to prefer the 8100 CPU, although as these are synthetic tests I’d trust the actual gaming results ahead of these. It’s difficult to declare a clear winner based on the gaming results, as both CPUs seem to trade blows depending on the game and the settings used, and in most cases the results aren’t actually that different. As they’re so close I’d happily go with the i3 8100 CPU in a laptop purely for gaming, especially if it was cheaper than a comparable 7700HQ laptop.

In most cases at maximum settings the 8100 actually seemed to come out ahead. If I was going to be using the laptop for other tasks as well and not primarily for gaming then the 8100 also seems fine if you’re primarily running single core workloads as there wasn’t much difference there, however when it comes to multicore workloads the 7700HQ might make more sense as a better rounded option, though of course it also depends on the pricing of each. If you already have either of these CPUs then there’s no real point in upgrading to the other, especially considering the 7700HQ is soldered to the board so changing would require a completely new laptop. In any case it’s great that the the i3 CPUs have been upgraded from 2 to 4 cores in the 8th generation, they’re quite capable and I didn’t think I’d ever be comparing one to a 7700HQ in a laptop.

So what did you guys think about the differences in performance between Intel’s i7-7700HQ and i3-8100 CPUs? I think it’s pretty interesting that we can get desktop CPUs in some laptops, and that due to the i3 having 4 cores it can in many cases, mainly gaming, be considered a match for the i7 chip at a generally lower price. It will be interesting to see how the rest of the 8th gen mobile CPUs compare once they’re released later this year.

Be sure to let me know your thoughts down in the comments, and leave a share if you found it useful. 

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