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Last post Author Topic: Laptop choice: better CPU or more RAM ?  (Read 7748 times)

tomos

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Laptop choice: better CPU or more RAM ?
« on: October 27, 2010, 04:52:49 PM »
I'm researching a laptop on a budget - for somewhere I work a couple of hours a week - they have *no* computer - why do all my aquaintances and friends have to be complete technophobes...
That's why I ended up here I guess :-*

Aiming for a Thinkpad, but there's multiple versions (as usual). Graphic memory is shared on both.

Version #1 [Less CPU | More of everything else] Versus Version #2 [More CPU | Less of everything else]


Graphik on *both* / Intel GMA 4500MHD Grafik. Shared VRAM
Version # 1  (€479)Version # 2 (€499)
CPUIntel Pentium T4500 Prozessor (Dual-Core) (2,3 GHz, 1 MB Cache, 800 MHz FSB)Intel Core 2 Duo T6570 Prozessor (Dual-Core) (2,1 GHz, 2 MB Cache, 800 MHz FSB)
Memory4 GB DDR3-1066 SO-DIMM2 GB DDR3-1066 SO-DIMM
HD320GB250GB
USB x 4 x 3
Card readerYesNo


So, the one with the better CPU is €20 more expensive in spite of having less
  • memory
  • HD
  • Card reader
  • usb ports

Do you think the extra CPU power is that important ???
or is this just weird pricing ?


Sorry/ forgot to say: both have Win 7 HomePremium
Tom
« Last Edit: October 27, 2010, 04:55:41 PM by tomos »

tomos

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Re: Laptop choice: better CPU or more RAM ?
« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2010, 04:56:23 PM »

I would have thought the extra memory would be more important cause of the shared video memory (?)
Tom

superboyac

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Re: Laptop choice: better CPU or more RAM ?
« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2010, 06:06:59 PM »
I don't know...I'd normally go with the one with the better CPU.  The reason is because RAM, HD, card reader/usb is much easier to update or replace than a cpu on a laptop.

Darwin

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Re: Laptop choice: better CPU or more RAM ?
« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2010, 06:14:16 PM »
I'm with superboyac on that... the RAM is an easier/safer upgrade than the CPU.
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

4wd

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Re: Laptop choice: better CPU or more RAM ?
« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2010, 08:04:55 PM »
My vote goes for choice number 2 also.  See if they can toss in an extra 2GB for a reduced price, it doesn't hurt to ask.

Is there any reason for a lean towards Thinkpads, (other than the price), my understanding was that since Lenovo took them over the quality has gone a bit downhill as of late 2009/early 2010 at least.  But hey, that may have been model specific, etc, etc.

wraith808

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Re: Laptop choice: better CPU or more RAM ?
« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2010, 08:38:25 PM »
And I'd get discrete video if at all possible.  Shared memory sucks *really* bad.  But it's one of those things you don't notice until you have it.

Darwin

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Re: Laptop choice: better CPU or more RAM ?
« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2010, 09:21:17 PM »
Excellent point from wraith - I suffered with shared video on two notebooks before I got my current one and what a difference! Granted, each machine has been progressively higher spec, so one would expect graphics performance to improve along with everything else, but I've played around with Vista and Windows 7 (both OS'es have been on this machine) notebooks with onboard graphics, but otherwise similarly spec'd, and they simply do no compare. Having said that, if all you are doing is basic Office stuff and e-mail, it won't matter much but I suspect that you will probably be doing some more graphics intensive work, so...
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

f0dder

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Re: Laptop choice: better CPU or more RAM ?
« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2010, 02:23:33 AM »
And I'd get discrete video if at all possible.  Shared memory sucks *really* bad.  But it's one of those things you don't notice until you have it.
That depends a lot on what you're going to do with the laptop.

I've got Intel GMA on mine, and one of the relatively low-powered versions at that. The machine isn't suitable for gaming, but it works perfectly for Win7/Aero, Visual Studio 2010's WPF-based GUI, and watching HD movies (720p only though, the CPU can't handle 1080p).

Tomos: what's the machine going to be used for?
- carpe noctem

tomos

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Re: Laptop choice: better CPU or more RAM ?
« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2010, 05:22:27 AM »
thanks for the comments :)

Tomos: what's the machine going to be used for?

nothing much - I mean some office type work, ordering stuff on the net. *Maybe* something like InfoQube to try keep track of things.

That's why I thought get the one with more memory - as it's shared, there should be enough to go around then.
I've seen Windows 7 with 2GB memory and it's a lot slower than I'm used to with XP and 2GB ram, but then that could have been cause of a crappy CPU and absence of graphics card too :-\

There is a version of this machine with a 256MB graphics card for about 550, but according to reviews that's a bit noisy then...
(They probably would stretch the budget if I said it was important/worthwhile.)

It's not supposed to be that great a laptop - it's pretty low on the Thinkpad scale, and I know they havent so good a rep any more, but who does these days - especially for under 500 euro? (keep in mind hardware is a lot more expensive in Europe than in the States)
For that price I havent found anything better...

Here's a summary of reviews
http://alatest.com/e...510/pe3-87102410,30/
Tom

f0dder

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Re: Laptop choice: better CPU or more RAM ?
« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2010, 05:27:53 AM »
I've seen Windows 7 with 2GB memory and it's a lot slower than I'm used to with XP and 2GB ram, but then that could have been cause of a crappy CPU and absence of graphics card too :-\
I've run Win7/x64 on my 2GB laptop for quite a while, and comfortable used it for both Java and C# development - both Eclipse and Visual Studio are relatively RAM-hungry, and I've been running SQL Server Express on the machine as well (granted, very small development databases, but it's still SQL Server :)).

There is a version of this machine with a 256MB graphics card for about 550, but according to reviews that's a bit noisy then...
I wouldn't go for it - dedicated GPUs tend to use more power and get hotter (not nice in a cramped laptop), be noisier, etc. Especially not when you indicate the machine won't be used for anything graphics-heavy.
- carpe noctem

tomos

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Re: Laptop choice: better CPU or more RAM ?
« Reply #10 on: October 28, 2010, 05:55:14 AM »
Thanks f0dder :)

edit/ I should have specified in the first post what it would be used for, sorry bout that folks, and thanks for the help :Thmbsup:
Tom

Darwin

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Re: Laptop choice: better CPU or more RAM ?
« Reply #11 on: October 28, 2010, 09:20:13 AM »
There is a version of this machine with a 256MB graphics card for about 550, but according to reviews that's a bit noisy then...

It'll be noisier because of the fan, I suspect. As you're not planning on using it for graphics intensive stuff, save your money. BTW, these days, even onboard GPU's are sufficient for photo manipulation tasks, etc. I *think* it's when you get into video editing and gaming that you'll notice a difference.
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

f0dder

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Re: Laptop choice: better CPU or more RAM ?
« Reply #12 on: October 29, 2010, 03:54:36 AM »
I *think* it's when you get into video editing and gaming that you'll notice a difference.
Hm, does video editing require much of the GPU? I would expect CPU (de/compression of streams) and harddrive (speed, especially if dealing with HD content, and to some extent size) to be a lot more important :)

I've got a "Mobile Intel(R) Series 4 Express" GMA adapters in my laptop, which is slow compared even to the Intel onboard stuff of today (the laptop is 2½ years old) - and it's quite fine for running Win7, only lagging in games.
- carpe noctem

Darwin

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Re: Laptop choice: better CPU or more RAM ?
« Reply #13 on: October 29, 2010, 09:02:30 AM »
 ;D OK - point taken!
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

Lutz_

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Re: Laptop choice: better CPU or more RAM ?
« Reply #14 on: October 31, 2010, 12:02:39 AM »
Perhaps OT,  but I really hate the latest generation of notebooks because of their abysmal vertical display resolution (something like 720 pixels).   :down: :down: :down:
The designers apparently assume that watching videos is the main reason of existence for a notebook and not reading and working with texts or anything else a bit longer. Perhaps something to watch out for.

wraith808

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Re: Laptop choice: better CPU or more RAM ?
« Reply #15 on: October 31, 2010, 08:45:15 AM »
Perhaps OT,  but I really hate the latest generation of notebooks because of their abysmal vertical display resolution (something like 720 pixels).   :down: :down: :down:
The designers apparently assume that watching videos is the main reason of existence for a notebook and not reading and working with texts or anything else a bit longer. Perhaps something to watch out for.

I hadn't noticed that.  Mine has a vertical resolution of 1200 pixels.  Maybe it's a specific class of notebooks?

Darwin

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Re: Laptop choice: better CPU or more RAM ?
« Reply #16 on: October 31, 2010, 09:17:20 AM »
Mine is two years old and has a vertical display of 800 (I presume - the resoution is 1280x800). Can't say I've ever noticed a problem reading text on it, though.
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

tomos

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Re: Laptop choice: better CPU or more RAM ?
« Reply #17 on: October 31, 2010, 11:54:10 AM »
Yeah,
I was a bit suprised that this has a 16:9 format for a supposedly 'Office' laptop :D

Bildformat 16:9
Auflösung 1366 x 768 Pixel
Tom

Tuxman

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Re: Laptop choice: better CPU or more RAM ?
« Reply #18 on: October 31, 2010, 04:37:32 PM »
Finding a good laptop is hard these days. All these "glare-type" displays actually suck. Dell and HP seem to be the only companies who still sell "business" laptops without a lot of disadvantages. A pity, really.

superboyac

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Re: Laptop choice: better CPU or more RAM ?
« Reply #19 on: October 31, 2010, 06:26:37 PM »
Finding a good laptop is hard these days. All these "glare-type" displays actually suck. Dell and HP seem to be the only companies who still sell "business" laptops without a lot of disadvantages. A pity, really.
yup.

f0dder

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Re: Laptop choice: better CPU or more RAM ?
« Reply #20 on: November 01, 2010, 03:13:53 AM »
All these "glare-type" displays actually suck.
Depends on where you're going to use your laptop, and what you're using it for.

Makes it pretty much impossible to use outside in sunshine, but it's a nice crisp display when used inside. YMMV.
- carpe noctem

Stoic Joker

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Re: Laptop choice: better CPU or more RAM ?
« Reply #21 on: November 01, 2010, 06:47:06 AM »
Makes it pretty much impossible to use outside in sunshine, but it's a nice crisp display when used inside. YMMV.

 :huh: Being that one of the items on my to-do list is to spec a new laptop for a client that frequently works outside (in sunshine) ... What exactly are "we" calling a "Glare-Type Display"?

Tuxman

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Re: Laptop choice: better CPU or more RAM ?
« Reply #22 on: November 01, 2010, 10:30:18 AM »
When used inside, some modern laptops won't even allow me to turn on a lamp.  ;D

tomos

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Re: Laptop choice: better CPU or more RAM ?
« Reply #23 on: November 01, 2010, 12:30:41 PM »
Makes it pretty much impossible to use outside in sunshine, but it's a nice crisp display when used inside. YMMV.

 :huh: Being that one of the items on my to-do list is to spec a new laptop for a client that frequently works outside (in sunshine) ... What exactly are "we" calling a "Glare-Type Display"?

I'm not sure...  I guess 'reflective'
The Thinkpad listed wouldnt be a good enough screen really ( even though it is matt - better than many, but not really bright enough for sunshine - from what I read)
Tom

f0dder

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Re: Laptop choice: better CPU or more RAM ?
« Reply #24 on: November 02, 2010, 10:50:23 AM »
FWIW: my girlfriend had 2x2048meg DDR2-667 laptop memory modules lying around that she didn't use, so I swapped my 1x2048meg DDR2-800 module for those. The only benchmark I've done is running WinRAR's built-in benchmark (x64 version, 3.92, multithreaded). Dualcore Core2 P7350@2.0GHz.

Performance went from ~1060kb/s -> ~1020kb/s... that's a 3.77% performance degradation, even though the RAM is theoretically 16.63% slower. OTOH the system should be able to take advantage of dual-channel memory, but then there's also the module latency to take into consideration - I haven't checked the latency of the modules.

Are you be able to feel a less than 4% performance drop? It's nothing, and compared to hardly ever hitting the pagefile because there's double the amount of RAM, more (but slower) memory is a clear benefit for me.

Different apps have different requirements, but even in the performance-critical apps, I dunno just which requires insane RAM bandwidth - as soon as you have heavy processing and aren't just moving data around, bandwidth is less important. And that of course also depends on CPU speed.

YMMV - but if you can get more but (slightly) slower RAM cheaper than less but faster, I'd go for more-but-(slightly)-slower.
- carpe noctem