Philip Newton (pne) wrote,
Philip Newton

i5 or Athlon?

I kind of wish they hadn’t told me in the forum thread that the processor of my chosen system is “not the fastest one”, and suggested a config with an Intel i5 that my colleagues had mentioned.

Because the ability to scale up frequency if fewer cores are used sounds rather tempting, given that I imagine most of the time, only two of the cores will be in use (and one of those by the anti-virus running in the background…). On the other hand, such a system costs about €100 more, and I think I’d rather spend those on extra RAM.

At the moment, I’m leaning towards buying what I had originally intended, with the better graphics card (5770 instead of 5750), and with 8 GB RAM instead of 4 right off the bat. So it’ll be an AMD Athlon II at 4×2.66 GHz rather than an Intel i5 750 at 4×2.66 GHz or an AMD Phenom II at 4×3.2 GHz… but at the moment, I have a Core 2 Duo running at 1.8 GHz, so either way, I’ll be getting a higher frequency and more cores, which (I imagine) means the system will be faster anyway. And I’ve never really felt CPU power to be a limiting factor, except when compressing large files, which I don’t do every day.

Meh. The pull between “what you want” and “what you need”, not to mention “what you can afford”!

At least, Stella has offered to pay for the bulk of the computer from our shared money (her original offer had been €600, followed by €600 plus half of the additional cost with a maximum of €100 extra) and to lend me the extra money and let me pay it back from my pocket money.

So, depending on how much my pocket money will be the next few months (it varies a bit with our income), I’d be looking at about two to four months’ worth.

…I just saw that they have a special offer (today only… something about the CeBIT computer fair) of €80 off on a system with an Intel i5 processor! It costs more in the base system, partly because of the ATI HD 5850 graphics card (which would probably take ages to arrive, anyway), but once you configure it to a similar state, I’m looking at a price that’s even a bit lower! … oh wait, that doesn’t come with an operating system. If you include that, it’s nearly exactly €60 more expensive than my system.

Still, the difference in cost is lower… I’m tempted.

On the one hand, I’ve heard that AMD processors are “faster” (in the amount of work they can do) than Intel processors at the same frequency, but I don’t know whether that’s still the case… and on the other hand, we have TurboBoost on the Intel side.

Decisions, decisions….

Edit: the deposit we were waiting for hasn’t arrived yet, so no ordering just yet. Ah well. I guess it won’t be an i5 this time around, then.

Tags: computers
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