The best Intel processors for home use are quite budget friendly and get the minimum job done fairly well.
A typical home related work on PC is fairly trivial. It involves using some of the least demanding applications such as word processing, media players such as VLC or using internet browsers like Google Chrome.
Therefore, we will cover the most basic processors from Intel here because we assume that your typical home related work doesn’t demand a lot of processing power.
In short, we will be interested in looking at two budget series from Intel
We will use the benchmark results from http://cpu.userbenchmark.com for the results that we show here.
For Home Use Desktop
For Home Use Laptops
Intel Celeron Series
Intel Celeron processors are entry level processors for Desktops as well as Laptops.
These processors are great for creating a home PC on a budget.
The Desktop Celeron processors, especially the G series, are outstanding for home use and in all honesty, they too are an overkill for simple internet use, document writing or watching movies.
Let us a look at this series in depth.
Different Intel Celeron Sub Series
There are three sub series and they are as follow:
Laptop-Based Celeron Processors
Intel Celeron N4100
If you want a budget laptop for home use then you can look into Celeron N4100. This is a fairly basic processor that should be able to handle most of the day to day software with ease.
Note that Celeron N4100 is a lot more powerful than the Celeron N4000. The former is a quad core processor while the later is only a dual core processor. We do not recommend the dual core variant i.e N4000.
The Celeron N4100 may show limitations when doing heavy multitasking and it will most certainly buckle on heavier software such as editing software.
Therefore, we recommend that you evaluate your day to day home use fairly. Do not buy this processor expecting wonders.
Desktop-Based Celeron Processors
Intel Celeron G4900 – For High Grade Budget Desktops
If you are on a budget and want a fairly respectable desktop based processor for normal home use, then we recommend the G4900 (see benchmark above).
Despite being a dual core processor, it should be able to handle almost all of the basic work seamlessly without any frustrating lags in between.
Intel Celeron N4100
While this quad core processor is quite reasonable for home use Desktops, we do not recommend it since it costs more than twice the Celeron G4900 and has a marginally lower performance as well.
Why is that? This processor is basically designed for compact PCs that do not have the ventilation of a full fledged CPU chassis. This has a TDP of 10 W compared to 54 W TDP of G4900.
Higher Thermal Design Power (TDP) means more power consumed and more heat generated.
Intel Pentium Series
Intel Pentium is one of the most confusing series out there. Logic would have it that the Intel Pentium would be a notch better than the Celeron series.
While that is true in most cases, There are some processors in the Intel Pentium Series that are almost as weak as the Intel Atom processors too.
Different Intel Pentium Sub Series
Here are the key sub series and their purpose.
We will disregard Intel Pentium Y and Pentium U processors. You seriously do not want them if you want a comfortable lag free experience.
Laptop-Based Pentium Processors
Intel Pentium N5000 – Respectable Laptop Grade Processors for Home Use
So if you are looking for the best processor for home use for laptop, then Intel Pentium N5000 is highly recommended. This is a quad core processor with 2.70 GHz. On top of that it also has a surprisingly low TDP of only 6W.
While Celeron N4100 may show lag occasionally, the N5000 should provide the most seamless home experience.
As far as the laptop goes, this is one of the best Intel processors for home use
Desktop-Based Pentium Processors
Intel Pentium G5600 – Respectable Laptop Grade Processors for Home Use
This is a significantly powerful Intel Pentium processor and a respectable processor overall in the entire market.
While it is capable of performing all sort of home related work, it can also support low level use of heavier software.
Compared to the Intel Celeron G4900, this is significantly better and therefore, for home use Desktop, this is the best Intel processor for home use
Regarding the Rest…
What About the Intel Atom Series?
We do not recommend Atom processors for laptops and desktops UNLESS you are extremely tight on budget.
Atom processors are the least powerful processors in the market.
These are generally built for low cost system for people who want to experience Windows OS at the cheapest possible rate.
They also find their uses in embedded systems and other mobile devices like smartphones and tablets.
However, for an average home use as we know it, the Atom processors are certainly not recommended. We do not want to suggest a processor that will cause you frustration in the long run.
What About the Intel Core Series?
If you thought that the Core series were the best Intel Processors for home use, then you thought wrong or perhaps you have a different definition of what home use is.
With the current generation (8th), the Intel processors have certainly become fairly more powerful than their predecessors.
The i3 processors can have 2 to 4 cores depending on the model. For example, the basic Core i3 from the 7th generation i.e Core i3-7100 only featured 2 cores. However, the latest Core i3-8100 is a quad core processors.
Therefore, the Core i3s of the current generation have certainly become an overkill for basic home use.
As far as Core i5 and Core i7 are concerned, they are way too powerful for your basic home use. Therefore, we would not recommend those at all.
When Does Getting Core i3 Become Justifiable
There are two cases in which getting a Core i3 does become justifiable.
- 1You will be using editing software
- 2You are getting a Laptop
1. You Will Be Using an Editing Software
If your home use will ever involve casual editing/designing work and if you ever think that you will need to use Adobe Premiere, Adobe Photoshop, AutoCAD or the likes (at a casual level) then getting a Core i3 becomes justifiable.
There is on caveat though, if you just tweak your photos around a bit, like putting filters etc, then that can be done online as well. You can use online services like Canva, Picmonkey etc to do minor tweaking of your picture. In that case, Core i3 becomes irrelevant.
A few years back, I would have recommended a Core i3 for an entry level system in a heart beat because the Intel Pentium and Celeron processor were just too weak for a comfortable performance.
However, that has changed now. Not only have Celeron and Pentium processors improved, the Core i3s have become an overkill for normal home use.
2. You Are Getting a Laptop
Laptop processors are generally weak compared to their desktop counterparts. Therefore, while a desktop grade Intel Pentium would be too good for home use, the Laptop grade Intel Pentium may not live up to your standard.
In that case, getting a Core i3 becomes justifiable.
HOWEVER, Core i3 itself has different sub series. So you have the H sub series and the U sub series.
The H processors, i.e Core i3-8100H are quad core processors and they certainly are an overkill.
The U processors, i.e Core i3-8130U are dual cores processors with hyper threading enabled. You can certainly look in to these.
Chances are that you will almost never come across the Core i3 H series on laptop because they consume so much power and generate heat. Therefore, you will almost always come across the U series processors.
The Core i3-8130U processor is about 22% more powerful than the Intel Pentium N5000, but costs about 75% more.
Therefore, whether it is justifiable or not depends entirely on your budget. Core i3 U are great processors and they usually come equipped with fairly well balanced overall configuration, however, they are expensive.
Choosing the Right Processor is Imperative
We do not recommend investing on something that you would never use to its full potential. Therefore, the best Intel orocessors for home use do not have to expensive or top of the line processors.
The money saved on internal components can be used in getting better peripherals like a good and a comfortable keyboard and a mouse. These can go a long way in improving your overall experience. Many average buyers disregard the notion of getting comfortable peripherals.
We do not recommend getting the Core i3 for desktops from the 8th generation because it is an overkill. We do not recommend getting the Core i3 from the 7th generation either because both cost the same. So investing in that doesn’t make sense.
Desktop Vs Laptop Processors
There is literally no comparison in performance. The Desktop processes are way too powerful compared to their laptop counter parts.
This is the case with all series be it Celeron, Pentium or the Core series.
Our most recommended and of the best Intel processors for home use is the Pentium G5600 and that is desktop processor. The laptop Pentium processor doesn’t even come close in terms of performance.
This is mostly due to the reason that the laptop processors run cooler and they have a low TDP.
Low TDP means slower clock speeds. Desktops usually can have faster processors because they have a much better ventilation and they do not have a battery to worry about.
Andrew White is the founder of TechGearoid, a leading technology review & information website that is designed to help consumers make better decisions when it comes to their IT purchases. As a specialist tech writer (nerd) with over 10 years of experience, he enjoys writing about everything there is to do with modern technology & the newest market innovations. When he isn’t providing value for his readers, he’s usually drinking coffee or at the beach. Andrew lives in Sydney, Australia with his wife and family.