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What is better: i3, i5, or AMD Phenom quad core processor?

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Showing 1-23 of 23 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 2, 2010 7:03:47 PM PST
I am looking at a Toshiba 16" or 17.3" laptop (L675-S7048, -S7060, A665D-S6096) in the $600 - $700 range. What is the better processor - an i3, an i5, or an AMD Phenom quad core? The Ghz #'s confuse me. I don't do many games but do download videos, watch movies, and often have several Excel and Word documents open. The 17" has 1366x768 resolution - better for movies? Any other Toshiba's I should consider? Thanks everyone!

Posted on Dec 2, 2010 7:53:25 PM PST
spookiewon says:
Of those three, Core i5, but 1) you can't compare clock speed across processor families, so you can't assume that say, 3GHz in a Core i series is faster than, for example, 2.5 in the Phenom series, and 2) video performance will be affected more by graphics card (integrated or discrete) and graphics memory than by processor. Also, in a display, size isn't everything. I'd pay more for a 15" or 16" OLED than for a 17" LCD, in a heartbeat. 3.0 is faster on a Core i series than 2.5 in an different Core i series processor. In the SAME processor, you likely won't see the difference unless one is close to twice the speed (GHz) of the other, so don't stress too much about native clock speed (GHz).

In the $600-$700 range, you are probably looking at integrated graphics and no dedicated graphics memory but if any specifically say they have any dedicated RAM for graphics, and you do a lot of video--choose that regardless of these processor choices. All three of those can handle your graphics needs and your biggest performance boost will come if you can get some dedicated graphics memory.

All three of the ones you mention have LCD displays with LED backlighting. Look for ones that don't mention backlighting when they say LED--or look for OLED. They also have integrated graphics and shared memory.

Of these three, I'd go with the L675-S7060, but I'd still be looking for possible OLED and/or discrete graphics.

Posted on Dec 3, 2010 1:32:54 AM PST
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In reply to an earlier post on Dec 3, 2010 7:43:16 AM PST
WolfPup says:
Yeah, what spooky said, you can't compare clock speeds across totally different architectures.

This is a great question, and one that I'm not sure anyone has a definitive answer to.

i3 and i5 (and i7) are the same thing except i5/7 can clock itself higher than the rated clock speed if it needs it and thermal conditions allow. i3/5/7 are faster at the same clock speed than AMD's Phenom 2, BUT of course with a quad Phenom 2 versus and i3/i5 you're getting an entire two more cores. BUT also a slower clock speed, and I think the notebook Phenom 2s are severely crippled by lack of cache.

On the desktop side, an ix quad core can often/usually beat a Phenom 2 6-core, but then this is 2 versus 4, but with the wrinkle that the Phenom 2 is heavily crippled compared to the desktop part.

I THINK the i5 would be the best of those three CPUs for most things, BUT as mentioned the GPU can be much more important than any differences between those three CPUs. If you're comparing Intel's garbage graphics on one to a mid range GPU on the other, or even a low end GPU versus a mid range one, well, I'd go with the better GPU, and not worry about any CPU differences, as regardless all three should be just fine.

Regarding OLED though, no notebooks have that (nor TVs, etc.). It's crazy expensive and has a short life span compared to other technologies. LED refers to the backlighting-if it doesn't mention anything, it's probably using inferior florescent tubes, though thankfully LED backlighting seems to have largely replaced that now!

Posted on Dec 3, 2010 8:35:52 AM PST
Great post from WolfPup there... I concur wholeheartedly. I would only add that discrete graphics and at least an i5 will serve you well, though I generally prefer AMD processors just because I'm kinda communist by nature. !@!@@ the man!!!!! Anyway, for graphics, look for anything that surpasses the lame 1366x768 standard that seems to have taken hold. Really? When most monitors are capable of 1920xsomething? Accept no less than 1080p ability (1920x1080). I shall now step back so that superior minds can hold sway.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 3, 2010 8:51:43 AM PST
WolfPup says:
Me too man, me too :-D

Regarding resolution, that's personal preference though IMO. Personally I probably want...well, 1280x800 on my 14.1" notebook works well, and on 17" maybe I'd want 1650xwhatever or 1440xwhatever. But I can't see stuff at 1920x1080 on such tiny screens! The new monitor I just got (Dell's 24" Studio) is 1920x1080, and I wouldn't want anything denser than that, that's for sure! (Plus the problem of actually having a GPU and cables and whatnot capable of driving even higher!)

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 4, 2010 2:34:24 AM PST
I'll agree that desktop resolution is a personal preference, but one needs to be able to watch video at full HD... hence my recommendation for 1920x1080 capability. My eyesight is as bad as any other close to 50 dude, but when watching 30 Rock, I'm gonna need 1080p, with reading glasses of course.
And in other news, I'm not so sure that Intel has locked this up quite yet. The AMD hexa-core deal is pretty darned great, even the triple-core screams loudly on this here Toshiba laptop. YMMV. Shoes for industry.

Posted on Dec 5, 2010 6:21:28 AM PST
Thank you all for your help! I didn't know graphics and that memory were really crucial. Since the almighty budget rules, I will probably go with the Toshiba A665-S6055 with the i-5 and nVidia with 512 memory (Amazon $730). The L675D-S7060 is still in the running because of the 1600x900 display but it only has 256 graphic memory (ATI Radeon) and is a dual core at $664. Thanks again for Laptop 101!

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 6, 2010 4:08:43 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 6, 2010 4:12:22 AM PST
GillRigged says:

If you're into movies (HD) then you want the i5 series CPU. It was specifically designed with HD movies in mind. 1366x768 is a 16:9 aspect ratio so that will be sufficient for HD. On the new Intel i5 series processors the graphics is directly on the processor dye which is like you walking next door to the store vs across town;much, much quicker. However, the "i" series with integrated graphics aren't great performers for graphics intensives gaming but sufficient for Facebook/Pogo type games and SIMS (mild gaming). Search Intel Spring Peak SP15-UMA to learn a little more about latest Intel features but keep in mind that the bundles listed are to-of-the-line but can be downgraded. I would like some feedback on these listings, if that's okay with you guys. I'm an authorized reseller of Intel & Microsoft products. I'm planning on selling here on Amazon because I ABSOLUTELY love these guys but that is going to take about thirty days or so to get everything in order. In the meantime, I'm using my brother-in-laws's PowerSeller account. If anyone is interested in the bundles or a cheaper/downgraded version I can sell here on Amazon through a personal selling account and put them up for you. Just let me know.

Posted on Dec 6, 2010 7:23:18 AM PST
WolfPup says:
Just for movies it doesn't much matter what CPU you have so long as it's a reasonably modern dual core or better-ideally paired with a real GPU (as most of the work of decoding the movie is offloaded to the GPU). I mean the slowest i3 will run Blu Rays just fine (and anything else) with a decent GPU. Ditto for Core 2...though of course Atom that's used on a lot of tiny notebooks even in it's dual core configuration doesn't have enough horsepower for everything.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 6, 2010 7:26:21 AM PST
GillRigged says:
You mean NETbooks. ;-)

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 6, 2010 7:31:52 AM PST
WolfPup says:
Well, those are notebooks, which I think confuses people, plus technically netbook is a trademarked name of this company that was making these low end non-Windows compatible systems around 10 years ago.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 12, 2010 10:49:44 PM PST
Duck995 says:
I would go with an I5.

I have an Asus K52JC B1 and it is the worst computer I have ever had. I also have an Asus desktop that I bought 2 years ago that has been solid. I have been very disappointed with Asus Tech support since I bought the laptop. I don't expect that an Asus laptop will hold together long.

My Asus gets less than 2 hours on a full charge running in the battery saving mode.

You can get more computer for the money elsewhere. I would look to Dell or Toshiba or Acer. If I had to do it over again I would buy a Dell.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 16, 2010 8:45:01 PM PST
to be honest anything above a dual core Athlon II/Pentium should be able to handle day to day (web-browsing/watching movies/multitasking basic programs like Office), of which the ones you mentioned exceed.

That said I'd say roughly Turion II < i3 < Phenom < i5, though all things being equal I'm a bit partial to AMD.

displaywise unless I read wrong the 16'' is 1366x768 as well as it is a pretty standard basic HD display, even my 15.6'' uses that resolution.

The Radeon 4250 of the AMD is better than Intel mobile HD although both are fairly meh as they are integrated chipsets instead of discrete graphics cards. One thing of note if it matters-- the 16'' A665D-S6096 appears to have an HDMI out, the L675-S7048 does not.

Frankly any of the above should handle your described purposes just fine.

As a side note-- is it going to be fairly stationary (on a desk say) or need to be more mobile/portable. Assuming you aren't going to need it on the go too often that 17.3'' display would be nice, but I think in terms of band for the buck I like the A665D-S6096

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 15, 2012 1:17:05 PM PDT
why not HP?

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 21, 2012 11:41:40 AM PDT
Peter Sanger says:
you're actually using free market principles to make your decision by not adhering to "the man"--communism is NO freedom of choice--but i digress

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 21, 2012 2:54:57 PM PDT
For me from personal experience I'd never go back to HP after a fairly terrible experience with their products. A few years back my old laptop died and so needed one quick and cheap, saw a good black friday deal on an HP so picked it up and it was acting up within weeks of purchase. Exchanged it for another of the same model which lasted maybe a month before problems again.

Finally said screw it and exhanged it for Toshiba that was about $50 more. Low and behold the issues that they said were probably software-related and tied to things I changed or added after getting the laptop never happened on said toshiba despite installing all the same software and affording it the exact same level of care.

Two years later I'm still happily plunking away on that very same Toshiba.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 21, 2012 3:22:29 PM PDT
WolfPup says:
It could be a bad image on there causing problems, would be my first guess (which is why I like clean installs :-/ )

Posted on Jun 26, 2012 6:44:07 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 26, 2012 6:47:37 AM PDT
Though you did not specify this item, an AMD APU (A8 or A6) is the most optimal laptop processor in that the 6 Series GPU in the APU supports Direct X 11, and 3D Blu-Ray (w/ blu-ray optical drive + Total Media Theater or PowerDVD), and can handle a collection of casual gaming scenarios. Since I do not know what you are looking for in a laptop, but sense that you want the MOST for your money...then look for an AMD APU Laptop w/ Discrete-Class Video Memory and BLU-RAY, to get all the comforts of your desktop system...on the go!

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 29, 2012 1:41:28 PM PDT
A. Emerson says:
Hey WolfPup, I'm having fits with my current ATI Sapphire 5670 and Visiontek cards rendering the browser and playing back hulu video. I also get image flicker and horizontal lines sometimes when browsing. I've tried different Catalyst adjustments and tweaks. Of which 11.9 seems to be the better choice,but not a solution. I'm thinking of moving to Asrock 990fx mb with Nvidia graphics. Can you offer me any advice or insights here? Thanks

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 14, 2012 12:29:10 PM PDT
WolfPup says:
I somehow missed this ages ago! I will say I've always had the best luck with Nvidia's drivers, going clear back to month 2 of the original TNT. I do see some flickering occasionally on my AMD c50, which I GUESS is drivers? Doesn't seem to be related to how hard it's working.

Also, annoying, on my c50 I've installed the newest drivers 3, 4 times now and they don't "take", I'm still back on 12.4 or whatever. Guess I should do a clean install...

I don't know, I just have better luck with Nvidia, which have the time gets you accused of being a fanboy or something, but I just don't have the weird problems I'm sometimes seen with other stuff :-/

Posted on Nov 8, 2012 6:24:17 PM PST
we have an amd 4 our family pc and i can tell u,i am never getting an amd again. i am their backup, the i5 is the one that sutes your needs.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 9, 2012 6:26:39 AM PST
WolfPup says:
Why are you never getting one again? And what do you mean by "I am their backup"?

I have exactly zero issues with my AMD based system...heck, they're you're only choice at the low end since Intel's video is garbage, and you don't get a separate GPU at the low end.
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Discussion in:  Laptop forum
Participants:  12
Total posts:  23
Initial post:  Dec 2, 2010
Latest post:  Nov 9, 2012

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