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Computer chips by Intel : Should one go for i7 or for i5?

By Jean-Claude Elias - Jul 29,2020 - Last updated at Jul 29,2020

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When shopping around for a new laptop computer many are lost between getting a machine based on an Intel i7 or an i5 processor. Except for the minority who does not have a budget problem, the majority must weigh things seriously and decide if the extra money spent on a superfast i7 instead of a reasonably-fast i5 is worth the investment.

At entry-level we find the i3 that still does a decent job in most cases. At the very top sits the i9 that is the highest performance computer chip by Intel, provides about eight per cent more power than the i7, but is very expensive and is less commonly found.

In Jordan the average price difference between the i7 and the i5 is about JD300. Whereas this may not seem huge, it is still significant, especially when you take a global look at all your IT expenditures that also include software subscriptions, Internet bills, smartphones and others. Besides, and talking precisely about smartphones, the price of high-end models of these amazing small devices now rivals that of full-size laptop computers. A point to ponder.

Another point to take into consideration when deciding how much to spend is the useful lifetime of a laptop machine: about five years.

So what processor to choose?

In a nutshell, the i5 is a very good processor and is suitable for the majority of us, in the overwhelming number of situations. It is the way to go today, be it at home or in the office. Its latest generation is the 10th and it runs smoothly and efficiently all applications. The typical i5-based laptop sells for about JD550 in Amman. Count a little more if it is a Dell or a Lenovo, a little less if it is an Acer or an Asus.

The i5 is enough, especially if the computer is fitted with 8GB of memory or more. Indeed, having memory aplenty allows you to run several software applications at one time without “technical hiccups”, and in the end costs less than going up for a higher processor.

In a test with an i5-based laptop where MS Word, MS Excel, Google Chrome and JRiver Media Centre (music playing) were all running simultaneously, the machine worked perfectly well, without giving any sign of slowing down, or the impression that several applications were running at the same time. You rarely need more processing power.

The only precaution you would take with an i5 and when using heavyweight software such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Magix Vegas video editing or advanced gaming, is to avoid running all these apps at the same time. Besides, it would be hard to focus on them all! Such software is processor-hungry, memory-hungry and even “human-mind-hungry”.

If you really need to have the above demanding software to run very fast and do not want to waste a second in your life, then an i7 or i9 would be the wise choice. If you are in this class, you probably are in the category of what is often referred to as power users, and that represents five to seven per cent of the population.

This being said, an i5 processor from the current 10th generation is as powerful as an i7 from 2015. You just have to weigh money against time. Which is nothing new under the sun.


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