M3 vs. i5 thoughts

Please help me decide between m3 (8gb / 128gb) vs. i5 (8gb / 256gb). My use cases:

  • Heavy Chrome usage (10+ tabs, including streaming videos)
  • Heavy PPT files (50mb+)
  • Heavy Excel files (50mb+, including macros)
  • Multitasking with several tabs of all of the above

My current machine is a Surface 3 non-pro (intel Atom / 4gb / 128gb), and it cannot handle the above use cases very well, so any EVE will be a MAJOR upgrade for me!

If there was an m3 / 8gb / 256gb option, I would definitely go for that, but since that’s not possible, I’m wondering what to go for. Of course, this will largely depend on the pricing, which is yet to be revealed, but what are your thoughts? Thanks in advance! :slight_smile:

Multitasking/Office is more RAM heavy than processor heavy. There’s an option for the i5 with 16GB RAM, which I would recommend if you can afford it. It’ll certainly be able to handle the tasks you throw at it, and be more ‘future-proofed’ as well.

Thanks for your feedback, but I feel that 16gb is overkill for me. I’m trying to decide between m3 (8gb / 128gb) vs. i5 (8gb / 256gb). Between those two options, I guess you are recommending the latter? Or you’re saying that they are indifferent?

They’re not indifferent, but from what it sounds like you do, I don’t think it would make much of a difference. Only you know how big of a hard drive you will need. I don’t have much experience with any of the Y-series processors (yet), but I think the m3 should be able to stand up to everyday tasks. I also don’t know what you’re doing in Excel, which can be a resource hog depending on how you use it.

RAM is the big decider, and since are both 8GB, it’s not a real difference. If 16GB is overkill now, that means that you’ll be fine in 4+ years when things (Office) starts demanding more RAM. Also, like I said, Excel is a resource hog, so if you do a lot in that 16GB may be the way to go.

Again, all of this depends on your personal usage, which I don’t know. I always recommend getting a computer that will last as long as possible.

Do you happen to have an i3 or i7-based desktop PC? Or an i5/i7 laptop?

If you do, you can simulate those actually. Disable the extra cores (in case of desktop i7), and setup the maximum CPU clockspeed according to both the m3 and i5 specifications from Power Options in Windows.

From my experience, there wasn’t a huge difference between my i3 SP3 (i3-4020Y) and i5 SP4 (i5-6300U) in browsing, that much I can tell you. For your other tasks, its really down to your individual case.

And then theres the obvious storage difference, however from your comment here

If there was an m3 / 8gb / 256gb option, I would definitely go for that

It seems that you dont mind about the CPU performance all that much. In that case, its as simple as choosing the storage capacity. Remember, you can use a microSD card to expand the storage, though that portion of the storage wont be nearly as fast as the SSD. SanDisk got a 200 GB if i remember correctly.


That’s not really going to be an accurate comparison, even while changing the power options. Desktop processors are much more powerful than laptop processors, because they can use a lot more power. If you got the clock speeds somewhere close, the desktop would still perform a lot better than the m3.

Even if you did the same with a laptop processor, you’ll never know how close you’re getting to the actual performance of the m3 (using benchmarks doesn’t work very well, they usually look for specific things, not browsing web pages).

@stealthy_backfill You really just have to use one to see how it performs with your specific tasks. If you look through the community for somebody that had an m3 prototype, I’m sure they could help you out.

Thanks for the microSD suggestion – I don’t know why I didn’t think of that! Then I’ll probably go for the m3 option, unless the price differential is low enough to bump up. :smile:


Nope, actually Office is quite CPU intensive when working with large files… Especially Excel :wink:
I recommend i5 @stealthy_backfill because with that kind of Excel workloads you have, the m3 might feel awful. Not recommending i7 because the performance difference is negligible.

Also, I can’t state strongly enough how much I recommend Firefox, because it’s incomparably more efficient. Yeah Chrome is marginally faster, but it also uses way more resources than it should.


I have a laptop ASUS N56VY Which had 8Gb of ram. It sucked when I had 20+ tabs in Firefox, and PS or 3ds Max or anything else opened. I guess same will be with you. 8Gb is way better than 4, but I prefer 16. But I had a HDD in it. V’s will have SSD’s, so that might be a difference. The bottleneck was when ram been filled to 80% windows tried to dump some unneeded stuff to HDD, what was a very slow process.

I’ll have to echo @pauliunas’ suggestion to go for the i5 model. Most of the things you mentioned are more RAM- than CPU-intensive, as some have already pointed out. But heavy Excel files will max out your CPU, even if you’re using a ‘proper’ desktop i7 quad-core processor.

I’ve seen Celeron notebooks take minutes to simply show the contents of a cell after selecting it (which may be similar to what you were experiencing on your Atom device), and it was due to a CPU bottleneck.

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@stealthy_backfill I am sure you will find someone who bought an HEB M3 Model and is willing to test Performance with Excel and PowerPoint if you provide some example files. If you won’t find someone, ask me again when I have my limited Bird in my Hands :slight_smile: If it would be possible for you to wait those additional 2-4 weeks, I guess this will be the best solution to get valid results.

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While it will never be an accurate comparison based on several factors, including the size of the cache, it should give a decent approximation of how one will relate to the other (in this case, 3.2 GHz vs 2.6 GHz).

Either way, the i5 seems to be about 20% faster than the m3 in both boost and base clock, so at most youd get 20% improvement, which is not something that you can easily dismiss, but not something spectacular either. As Helios mentioned, those tasks might even saturate a desktop i7. In that case, even the range-topping mobile i7 wont give you any smooth experience.

I am HEB m3, hit me up :slight_smile: