03-29-2012 11:18 AM
I'm looking for a new laptop to run a virtual guitar program called Guitar Rig 5. GR5 is a VERY processor-intensive program, and suffers from terrible delay and audio compression when run on my current i3 M350.
I'm looking at either an i5 (2.5 GHz, Dual Core, 3MB L3 Cache) or an i7 (2.2 GHz, Quad Core, 6MB L3 Cache). GR5 uses no more than two cores at once, so the need for quad cores is not an issue.
However, I'm confused if the 0.3 GHz faster processor of the i5 is more important than the extra 3MB of L3 cache on the i7, or vice versa. Thoughts?
04-06-2012 01:33 PM
I'm an Intel employee and am very intrigued by this question. Both the Core i5 and Core i7 processors have one of our "smart" features called Turbo Boost technology that will actually sense and increase their clock speeds (GHz) if and when processing at higher GHz over fewer threads/cores would deliver better overall performance vs spreading the workload and processing in parallel across multiple processor threads/cores.
If you tell me which specific processors or which PCs you're comparing, I can look up all of the processor specs for you.
04-06-2012 02:05 PM
I actually already ordered the new laptop from HP; it should be here next week. Here are the specs:
HP Pavilion dv7t Quad Edition customizable Notebook PC
· • steel gray
· • Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
· • 2nd generation Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-2670QM (2.2 GHz, 6MB L3 Cache) with Turbo Boost up to 3.1 GHz
· • 2GB AMD Radeon(TM) HD 7690M GDDR5 Discrete Graphics(TM) [HDMI, VGA]
· • FREE UPGRADE to 8GB DDR3 System Memory (2 Dimm)
· • 750GB 7200 rpm Hard Drive with HP ProtectSmart Hard Drive Protection
· • Microsoft(R) Office Starter: reduced-functionality Word/Excel(R) only, No PowerPoint(R)/Outlook(R)
· • No additional security software
· • 30% OFF 9 Cell Lithium Ion Battery
· • 17.3-inch diagonal Full HD Anti-glare LED-backlit Display (1920 x 1080)
· • FREE UPGRADE to Blu-ray player & SuperMulti DVD burner
· • HP TrueVision HD Webcam with Integrated Digital Microphone and HP SimplePass Fingerprint Reader
· • Intel 802.11b/g/n WLAN and Bluetooth(R)
· • Standard Keyboard with numeric keypad
One question for you: when I'm running software requiring more than 2.2 GHz, does the CPU maintain the 2.2 GHz + "turbo boosted" speed indefinitely, or does it only increase in bursts? For example, the game "Dead Island" is recommended to run with an i5 750 at 2.67 GHz. If the game requires 2.67 GHz speed from the CPU, will the turbo boost kick in to bring the CPU to 2.67 GHz at a consistent level, or does it only increase in bursts "as needed?" I guess I'm curious if I see software that needs/recommends more than 2.2 GHz if I can assume the CPU will run it as if it were a "true" 3.1 GHz processor. And is there any concern with the generation of too much heat from the CPU (especially if I have a 2GB GPU running with it)?
04-06-2012 04:03 PM
That's one nice piece of hardware you picked up. You should have no problem keeping up with your music and gaming applications.
To answer your question, yes the Turbo Boost technology in your Core i7 2670QM processor has circuitry built in that is designed to operate at the appropriate clock speed to match the demands of your software, up to 3.1 GHz. This can be sustained as necessary--but typically the demand for performance is constantly fluctuating and when the processor senses that the clock speed can be lowered, even for a second, it will in order to manage the heat generated and power draw on the battery.
The processor is also desigend to constantly monitor its temperature so that it will reduce its own frequency (to the point where it will shut itself off if necessary) if for some reason the heatsink and fans fail. So feel free turn up the game settings and dial up your guitar to 11.
Have fun with your new system,
04-06-2012 04:31 PM
Thanks for the input! It makes me feel better about my purchase. I spent a lot of time trying to research what would be the best specs for my money given what I want to do. The one thing I knew going into this was I did not want an AMD CPU (blech). Well, that and I knew I wanted a seprate video GPU and not a CPU-integrated processor.
Out of curiosity, why did Intel choose to market the Core Duo family with the runs-at-X-GHz-but-can-be-boosted-to-Y-GHz philosophy? Why not just market the CPUs as "Maximum Speed of X-GHz?" It seems like it might confuse some consumers. The architecture and the way the CPUs run confused me a little until I did more research. I used to be into PC hardware and PC gaming years ago, but that was way before the multi-core architecture became the norm. It was long ago enough that 256MB video cards were considered ultra cuttting edge and cost about $500.
04-10-2012 05:31 PM
Those were amazing times. I can still remember seeing actual video running in a window that could be moved around a screen on the desktop, and keep playing, for the first time in the late '90s and being absolutely amazed.
Good question on the clockspeed marketing question. Like the late '90s, we still use car analogies. Think of the base speed as a 4-cylinder car that runs beautifully and operates at the optimal fuel efficiency level. Then you encounter a hill and your car recognizes a need for power and kicks in another 2 cylinders to perform temporarily like a V6. Once you get to the top, you can go back to 4-cylinders to save gas (energy). This is similar to what Turbo Boost technology does for laptops with Core i5 and i7 processors. I think there's an argument that can be made for advertising either the base speed or the higher Turbo Boost-induced speed. But, I will tell you this...Intel is starting to do the latter. The transition is still taking place, but you will see, in many places, Intel Core processors now list the high-end of their clockspeed range, for example "Up to 3.1GHz" in the market.
Hope this minimizes any confusion out there.