Framework CPU: Choosing Intel i5-1135G7 vs i7-1165G7

As you know, the initial Framework Laptop offering has a choice between three CPUs, one i5 and two i7’s. The top-ranked i7 has vPro, which I do not need (and do not trust given Intel’s record), so I’m only looking at the Intel Core i5-1135G7 and the i7-1165G7. Intel CPUs are ubiquitous so there are lots of sites that compare “benchmark” numbers for these two processors. What’s interesting is the disparity amongst the reviews. The majority I’ve found states that there is about a 10-20% difference in common workloads. But one site says the i7 is about twice the speed of the i5.

Here are some of the majoritarian-view sites:

Here is the outlier that claims the i7 “wiped the floor” with the i5. Note the first comment after the review (but read “rethink” where the reviewer somehow said “overthink”).

Benchmarking is notoriously subjective, that is, all benchmarks should be taken with the proverbial grain or two of sodium chloride. There are too many variables that affect “performance” to exactly quantify one component. For example, in the FW Laptop case, choosing the SN850 version of the flash disk over the SN750 might make as much difference for less money. Or using paired memory DIMMs (eg., two x 16Gb instead of one 32GB, even though that might make upgrading later more expensive). I remind you: might.

Here, as reference, are the official Intel specs page for the two processors.

i5-1135G7 i7-1165g7

Note that Intel uses the term “Configurable TDP-up Frequency” for what we call “normal CPU speed.”

As always, you have to make your own judgement call. In my case, the performance increase for the i7 over the i5 does not seem to justify the $300 premium that Framework is charging (as was noted earlier, the MSRP difference on the two chips at retail is $117).
FW has not offered an explanation (nor are they required to), but perhaps there are other support chips that need changing, or perhaps they just need the money from i7 sales to fund the i5 sales, like Tesla sold Model S to fund development of Model X, and the same for Model 3).

At any rate, as always, YMMV: your mileage may vary.


The testing looks really bad. The Swift 5 Pro has an Nvidia MX350, so the gpu numbers probably aren’t really i5 vs i7 at all.

I also agree the $300 seems steep, but I went for it anyway. 10-20% is not an insignificant difference, and the bigger gpu is big plus for me. Plus, if you shop around for storage and ram, you might be able to save $100+ depending on the config you’re going for

Excellent post.

The people running demanding workloads, like compiling or rendering, should know whether the extra cache or frequency will make a difference. Or they might just run serious workstations :wink: