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Intel Celeron vs Core i3: Quick Comparison

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Intel has dozens of processors on the market present in all sorts of devices in just about every price range. However, with a CPU portfolio so big, it can be confusing for the average user to decide which one to pick and a wrong decision can be a waste of money, especially at the lower end of the price range where the price tag is one of the biggest concerns.

In this article, we’re comparing Intel’s two offerings — the Celeron and Core i3, that are often found in cheaper laptops to help you find out which is the better choice for you. 

Also read: Intel i3, i5, i7 or i9? Which processor is right for you?


Intel Celeron vs i3: Specifications

For context, here’s a specification comparison between the lowest-tier Core i3-1305U and the highest-tier Celeron 7305L. While you might not see a clear difference between the two processors on paper, you’ll instantly notice that the Core i3 has a much higher turbo and base clock speed as well as maximum power consumption.

This makes the core i3 a much more powerful and capable CPU overall when compared to a Celeron. The change becomes even more apparent when you bring the i3-13300HE to the comparison, the top-of-the-line Core i3 CPU available right now.

Additionally, the Celeron lineup hasn’t been refreshed since Q3 2022, while Intel keeps refreshing the Core i3 alongside the Core i5, i7 and i9 with each generation. 

Processor SpecificationsIntel Celeron 7305LIntel Core i3-1305UIntel Core i3-13300HE
Base clock speed1.10 GHz3.30 GHz2.10 GHz
Max clock speed1.10 GHz4.50 GHz4.60 GHz
Total cores (P/E)5 (1P/4E)5 (1P/4E)8 (4P/4E)
Cache8MB Intel Smart Cache10MB Intel Smart Cache12MB Intel Smart Cache
Base power15W15W45W
Max power15W55W115W
Max memory size64GB maximum memory
DDR5 up to 4800 MT/s
LPDDR5 up to 5200 MT/s
DDR4 up tp3200MT/s
LPDDR4x up to 4267 MT/s
64GB maximum memory
DDR5 up to 4800 MT/s
LPDDR5/x up to 5200 MT/s
DDR4 up tp3200MT/s
LPDDR4x up to 4267 MT/s
64GB maximum memory
DDR5 up to 4800 MT/s
LPDDR5/x up to 5200 MT/s
DDR4 up tp3200MT/s
LPDDR4x up to 4267 MT/s
Processor graphicsIntel UHD Graphics (12th Gen)Intel UHD Graphics (13th Gen)Intel UHD Graphics (13th Gen)
PCIe supportPCIe version 4 supportedPCIe version 4 supportedPCIe version 4 supported
Thunderbolt supportThunderbolt 4 supportedThunderbolt 4 supportedThunderbolt 4 supported
Recommended customer price$107$309$312

As you can see, even though the base i3 has the same number of cores as the Celeron, its cores run much faster giving it a massive performance advantage. The Core i3 is also running on Intel’s 13th gen architecture as compared to Celeron’s 12th gen. The maximum power is also much higher meaning the processor packs more performance per core.

The only other real difference is the price. The base Core i3 is $202 more expensive as compared to its Celeron counterpart. The difference in price means you’ll see these processors in two very different product types in two completely different price ranges.

The Celeron is usually present in entry-level PCs and Chromebooks that are priced at the very bottom of the PC and laptop market. The i3 in comparison can be found in a lot of mid-range laptops and PCs and even in some budget gaming laptops. As you move to the much more powerful Core i3-13300HE, for only a $3 difference you gain a massive performance improvement.


How does the specification difference in Intel Celeron and i3 affect real-world performance?

Core i3 processors are light years ahead of the Celerons in terms of performance. It’s almost unfair to compare the two processors because not only the Celeron is completely out of its league here, it’s built for a completely different product type and customer than the one Core i3 targets.

With a Celeron, your day-to-day tasks like browsing the internet, content streaming and video calls and just about anything that isn’t resource-heavy should work fine. A PC or laptop running a Celeron will be extremely cheap, but also extremely limited in terms of capabilities. You won’t even be able to keep a lot of browser tabs open if you’re using Chrome or any other resource-intensive browser.

As for the Core i3 processors, even the lowest tier U-series i3 chips will be able to drive fully-fledged computers allowing you to do much more than what you can with the Celeron. As you move up the Core i3 lineup, the CPUs get way more capable to the point where you can easily build a budget gaming rig powered by an i3.


Which one should you buy?

That answer is quite simple, just get a Core i3 if your budget allows for it and even if it doesn’t, it’s well worth going overbudget to get a better, more capable machine. Remember that older, less capable CPUs like Celeron’s might be cheap when you look at your new computer’s price tag, but they’ll quickly become a hassle the second you do something even slightly more demanding, not to mention your computer’s lifespan would be significantly shorter.

So try and pick the Core i3 regardless of your use case. A Celeron in 2023 only makes sense if you need a cheap throwaway or backup device that lets you access the internet, send emails and take care of basic tasks. In any case, using a Celeron in your main computer will leave you wanting for more very soon.

Also read: Intel Wireless Bluetooth error code 54: Quick Fix

Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah is a Computer Science graduate who writes/edits/shoots/codes all things cybersecurity, gaming, and tech hardware. When he's not, he streams himself racing virtual cars. He's been writing and reporting on tech and cybersecurity with websites like Candid.Technology and MakeUseOf since 2018. You can contact him here: yadullahabidi@pm.me.

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