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Author Topic: In search of ... opinions on AMD vs Intel graphics cards  (Read 2112 times)

barney

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In search of ... opinions on AMD vs Intel graphics cards
« on: March 21, 2013, 04:45:11 PM »
  • Dell Inspiron - AMD Radeon HD 8730M with 2G DDR3 VRAM - $860
  • Toshiba Satellite - Mobile Intel - no VRAM specified - $880

Those are the basic differences 'tween two (2) laptops, one (1) of which I'm about to order.  The price difference is insignificant, as the Toshiba ships free, but the Dell has shipping costs, so they'll come within a couple-two-t'ree bucks of each other.  Both are large screen (17.3"), but I'm more interested in visual space than weight - I'm accustomed to lugging around a similar beast at the moment.

Both with i7 processors, 8G RAM, terabyte 5400 RPM drives.  Not wild about the speed, but I can live with it  :-\?  The Dell i7 is 2GHz, the Toshiba is 2.4GHz.

Problem is, I have virtually no knowledge of graphics cards  :huh:.  Not a [frequent] gamer, but I do engage in graphics work from time to time ... mostly CAD, SVG, or similar.

So, given the listed specs, which box would be the better value?  Which is likely to be more versatile?

Stephen66515

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Re: In search of ... opinions on AMD vs Intel graphics cards
« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2013, 04:52:42 PM »
AMD all the way...I am not an Intel fan at all.

f0dder

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Re: In search of ... opinions on AMD vs Intel graphics cards
« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2013, 05:47:05 PM »
Haven't compared specs (you didn't give much info on the Intel system anyway :)), but the AMD one will likely have the fastest graphics - Intel has come a long way with their HDxxxx graphics, but still lag behind... AMD bought up ATi, so, yeah...

If you don't need fancy 3D graphics, you might want to look at power consumption instead - Intel is likely going to have the upper hand here, as well as on CPU grunt, depending on which Intel CPU is in the Toshiba laptop. AMD just haven't been able to keep up since core2 was introduced, which is a shame (and quite a few yeas ago now).
- carpe noctem

Carol Haynes

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Re: In search of ... opinions on AMD vs Intel graphics cards
« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2013, 06:07:39 PM »
+1 for AMD
Intel mobile graphics suck  :down:

40hz

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Re: In search of ... opinions on AMD vs Intel graphics cards
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2013, 09:02:10 PM »
I'd give the edge to the Dell for what you're doing. The Radeon is definitely the better graphics choice. And unless you're doing something processor intensive (like heavy video transcoding or CGI) the differences in performance between an i7 running at 2.0Ghz and 2.4Ghz won't be material. Probably wouldn't be material even if you were. The i7 is a beast! Especially with 8Gb of RAM at its disposal.

+1 w/f0dder's note about power consumption. And don't forget about heat. Maybe they've since fixed it, but in the past. some Inspirons seemed to run very hot. So if you go with Dell please be aware of it. FWIW, if heat buildup is going to be a problem for your laptop,  my experience has always been it happens very early on. If it doesn't manifest in the first two or three months of use it usually won't happen.

re: 5400rpm  drive speed. It's fine. Faster drives just run hotter and use more battery power. Not worth it for the small amount of increased performance you'd get. If you need really fast disk access, bite the bullet and get an SSD. Don't bother installing a faster standard disk drive. I have a WD Scorpio Black 750 (WD7500BPKT-6) running at 7200 in the laptop I'm using right now. It runs noticeably hotter than the failed 5400rpm Hitachi it replaced. And its real world performance isn't that much better that I'd buy this same drive again if I were shopping for a replacement disk today.

Also, one other thing to consider is where and how any warranty service will get done.

I've generally been unimpressed with Toshi's service options. YMMV. Dell is a lot easier (at least where I am) to get repaired. Something to think about since fixing a laptop usually involves more trouble and expense than fixing a desktop would.

 8)
« Last Edit: March 22, 2013, 06:52:57 AM by 40hz »

barney

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Re: In search of ... opinions on AMD vs Intel graphics cards
« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2013, 12:39:39 AM »
fixing a laptop usually involves more trouble and expense than fixing a desktop

Amen to that!  I went ahead and ordered the Dell earlier.  I've no great love for Dell - the heat issue(s) were near pandemic in my last corporate gig, and I had a similar model (bought for a price I could not turn down in a weaker moment  :o) go south on me about a year ago.  Replaced the hdd in it, but could not keep it running long enough to restore a backup image or install from scratch - kept shutting off due to heat issues.  Naturally, it was shortly after the warranty ran out.  (Also had some problems with tech support, but that's for a different post  ;).)

On the other hand, I know several folk who've used Dell laptops for years with no serious hardware issues.  Who knows, maybe I'll get lucky  :-\?

My biggest concern was the GPU.  While somewhat familiar with AMD's Radeon, the Intel unit is foreign territory to me.  (My current primary is a Toshiba with the Intel GPU, and I've had a few issues, but nothing I could specifically pin to the GPU.)  However, I was somewhat put off by the lack of specs/stats for the Intel.

Recently priced a similar machine via a Dell newsletter.  On the Dell site, with a drive 3/4 the size, the tab came to ~$1,600.  This'n came to $882.89 ... may have been seduced by price again, but se la vie.

Thanks all for the - unanimous! :o - opinions.  Much appreciated  :Thmbsup:.

vlastimil

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Re: In search of ... opinions on AMD vs Intel graphics cards
« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2013, 03:24:23 AM »
Don't forget to verify that the i7 CPU is the 3rd generation (Ivy Bridge). It uses less power(=less heat), is a bit faster and has better graphics.

BTW the graphics is on the CPU, so there is no dedicated VRAM if you use it and you are paying for it in both cases. The AMD Radeon is an extra chip that is then used instead of the graphics part of the CPU. If you are not a big gamer, the integrated graphics on the latest CPU is good enough and there are less things that can break in your notebook. If you intend to play a lot of games on it, get the Dell.