[The Bottleneck Effect] There is no difference in gaming between 35W Core i5 and Core i7

Not long ago, we had the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i for review. It sported the 90W version of the RTX 3050, and we were expecting to see one of the best budget offerings on the market. To our surprise the results we got were underwhelming.

It took us some time to realize that the RTX 3050 (90W) inside of this machine was performing worse than its 60W counterpart, we tested inside of the MSI Katana GF66. So we started thinking. What can be the reason for that? This is the place where we have to mention the processor of this device – the Core i5-11300H. Ultimately, there is a big difference between it, and the one found inside of the MSI we mentioned – the TDP. Core i5-11300H and Core i5-11400H are very different, not only in that the former uses 35W of power, while the latter has a 45W power limit. Perhaps the bigger difference is that the Core i5-11400H has 50% more cores (6) compared to the four its compatriot has.

Unfortunately, the IdeaPad Gaming 3i doesn’t come with a Tiger Lake H45 option, so we had to pick the next best thing – the Core i7-11370H. It also has four cores and eight threads, but it is clocked higher and offers 12MB of cache, instead of 8MB. Keep in mind that the following results will be adequate for other laptops, equipped with the same hardware, as well.

You can see how the Core i5-11300H and Core i7-11370H compare against other processors in our Laptop CPU ranking.

You can see all of the laptops equipped with the Intel Core i5-11300H here:


And all of the laptops equipped with the Intel Core i7-11370H here:

Contents


Specs Sheet

Testing machines Laptop 1 Laptop 2
Processor Intel Core i5-11300H Intel Core i7-11370H
Graphics card NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 (90W) NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 (90W)
RAM 8GB DDR4 3200MHz 8GB DDR4 3200MHz
Storage 256GB SSD 256GB SSD
Display Full HD IPS 60Hz Full HD IPS 60Hz
OS Windows 10 Windows 10

Synthetic benchmarks

The first thing we’re going to check is the scores in synthetic benchmarks. Here we ran 3DMark’s Firestrike, TimeSpy and Wildlife benchmarks, as well as Heaven 4 and Superposition from Unigine.

Unsurprisingly, we saw a better performance from the model, equipped with the Core i7 processor. The differences we saw were between 4% and 8%. While not large, this definitely shows that there is some sort of a bottleneck going on.

GPU Benchmarks 3DMark Firestrike (Graphics score) 3DMark Timespy (Graphics score) 3DMark Wildlife Unlimited Unigine Heaven 4 Unigine Superposition
Intel Core i5-11300H + RTX 3050 (90W) default 12003 4923 29291 2717 2832
Intel Core i7-11370H + RTX 3050 (90W) default 12529

(+4%)

5121

(+4%)

31592

(+8%)

2922

(+8%)

3069

(+8%)

Gaming tests

However, once we move to the gaming tests, you will see that there is barely any difference between the two processors.

Far Cry 5 Full HD, Normal (Check settings) Full HD, High (Check settings) Full HD, Ultra (Check settings)
Intel Core i5-11300H + RTX 3050 (90W) default 58 fps 57 fps 54 fps
Intel Core i7-11370H + RTX 3050 (90W) default 59 fp 57 fps 54 fps

rise-of-the-tomb-raider

Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016) Full HD, Lowest (Check settings) Full HD, Medium (Check settings) Full HD, Very High (Check settings)
Intel Core i5-11300H + RTX 3050 (90W) default 81 fps 71 fps 52 fps
Intel Core i7-11370H + RTX 3050 (90W) default 81 fps 73 fps 52 fps

Shadow of the Tomb Raider Full HD, Lowest (Check settings) Full HD, Medium (Check settings) Full HD, High (Check settings)
Intel Core i5-11300H + RTX 3050 (90W) default 63 fps 54 fps 46 fps
Intel Core i7-11370H + RTX 3050 (90W) default 59 fps 53 fps 47 fps

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands Full HD, Medium (Check settings) Full HD, High (Check settings) Full HD, Very High (Check settings)
Intel Core i5-11300H + RTX 3050 (90W) default 54 fps 51 fps 45 fps
Intel Core i7-11370H + RTX 3050 (90W) default 55 fps 51 fps 46 fps

Conclusion

So, what did we get from this experiment? Well, one thing is known for sure – Intel’s Tiger Lake H35 is going to be a bottleneck for your 90W RTX 3050. And although the Core i7-11370H will bring some improvement over the Core i5-11300H, this will mainly be seen in synthetic benchmarks, as the games we tested showed no real benefit of having the more expensive Core i7.

On the other hand, we think, that there is something else going on. And it is regarding the memory. Both of our units were equipped with 8GB of DDR4 RAM, running at 3200MHz. Where is the problem with that? Well, we have to dig deeper to find out. Next time, we’re going to talk about 1Rx8 and 1Rx16 memory, where we will find out what is the difference between the two types, and how much of a benefit you get with one over the other. Stay tuned!

You can see all of the laptops equipped with the Intel Core i5-11300H here:


And all of the laptops equipped with the Intel Core i7-11370H here:

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