Core i3 vs i5, for following tasks, hyper threading or multi core?

I don't know if this can be a silly question. i5 is better than i3, but in terms of performance and what we need, I don't know if it's smart move to i5.

I need to find computers which are suitable to our needs in office.
We need computers to replace our existing old PCs in office. They mostly open and keep all days for following on their desktop;

a Custom software which refreshes 2-3 tables of data from SQL server every 10 seconds.
MS Outlook
MS word or excel sometimes
Internet Explorer with 2-5 pages of websites and Google Map.

-Does this mean 4 threads in CPU to run?
-Does having 4 cores instead of 2 cores+2HTs give noticeable difference or i3 will lag much more than I expect?
Who is Participating?
Dan CraciunConnect With a Mentor IT ConsultantCommented:
For office work, an i3 is enough.
It might be too much actually.
I've bought lots of Pentium G3420 (2 cores, no HT) that work OK.

Lee IngallsConnect With a Mentor Director of IT/TS, Quality and FinanceCommented:
It's not so much the processor as the amount of RAM. I'm running i5's processors for my office/admin computers with 8GB RAM. Users typically have Outlook, Excel, our ERP/SQL app, IE running our intranet, multi-tab FireFox for work related browsing and Chrome for personal browsing and Oracle AutoVue all running simultaneously. With enough RAM the i3 would be suitable. I use high-end XEON's in my workstations over i7's.
Dan CraciunIT ConsultantCommented:
Yup, Lee has a point.
You're much more likely to end up with memory bottlenecks than with processors.

While most users will be OK with 4GB RAM (browser's memory consumption is huge nowadays) I have some heavy users that simply don't close anything where I had to go to 8 GB RAM.
Lee IngallsDirector of IT/TS, Quality and FinanceCommented:
Agreed on the browser memory consumption; that and Outlook.
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