@ Rick...i3(14 posts)
Compare the tech specs of the CPUs whs.
I speak only to the technical Specifications of computer hardware.
I do NOT care who the hardware is for or the age of the users, etc..
I'm NOT a Temporary Associate in a Big Box Store hired on to sell "junk" to low knowledge holiday shoppers.
a) I really do not thing that the i3 is junk
b) the price/performance score of the i3 is better or about the same than some i5s - see this anandtech chart: http://www.anandtech.com/bench/CPU/2
c) I think our advice should be tuned to the requirements. I see no need for a high end laptop for a couple of young kids that want to play a few benign games which have no high performance requirements. I know you like everybody to have a golden mobo and the latest i7 at 5GHz, a couple of high end graphics cards, 32GB of RAM and 5 raided SSDs - and all of that in a big box. But some can do with less.
Unless the kids are going to be doing some serious gaming on the laptops, I would think the I-3 would be plenty. The notebook I bought last summer has an I-3 and is fine for web surfing, Word Processing, and light photo editing, all with Media Monkey playing mp3s at the same time (I got it mostly for use when on the road). I wouldn't dream of using it for streaming HD movies, serious photo editing, playing music, downloading large files, etc. all at the same time.