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Closest processor to a figurative "i6"


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#1 EPerd

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Posted 13 November 2017 - 08:59 PM

I believe this forum is aimed more at those looking to build their own stuff, so I've included a TL;DR at the bottom. For those of you who wish to get a bit more detail about my specific perceived predicament--here it is:

So I'm in the market for a new laptop, and the more I learn, the more it seems like I may not quite need an i7, but would probably not be all that safe with an i5 (nor the memory and storage specs that tend to come along with laptops which have the latter).

Basically I am going to be doing moderate music production, light video editing, moderate photo editing/digital art creation, a lot of writing and music downloading, and quite a bit of work and schoolwork. I will NOT be gaming or doing 3d modeling.

So yeah, out of the 7th and 8th gen processors, can ya please recommend one that kind of hits the sweet spot on the i5-i7 spectrum? I am kind of confused about the numbers and letters that come after the "5" and "7" lol. I know the first number after the hyphen is the generation, but after that I am mostly lost.

I'm not opposed to looking into Amd, but I'd very much like to go with Acer, Asus, Lenovo, or Dell (dell is a last resort for me), and I have yet to see any of them with an Amd processor in my increasingly broadened searches.

Tl;dr: Which 7th or 8th gen processor would you consider to be overall smack dab in the middle of an i5 high end and mid-high end i7 in terms of efficiency and functionality?

Thank you for your time and insights.

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#2 jonuk76

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 05:49 PM

Hi again EPerd.  Well I'll give my thoughts, for what they are worth.

 

Forgetting about the i3-i5-i7 designations for a second, I'd broadly divide the laptop market into Ultrabooks, which are thin, light weight, highly portable models and the heavier, larger "desktop replacement" type laptops.  The first thing would be to decide which of these types you want, based on your intended use. Will you sacrifice portability for performance, or vice versa.

 

So how to divide them? One way Intel divides processors for these broad segments is by power consumption.  The models with processor codes ending in "U" are ultra low power models.  They typically consume around 15w, although manufacturers do have some scope to tweak the power consumption (up or down) to balance performance requirements against power consumption.  The models with processor codes ending in HQ, HK are designated as high performance models.  These can consume up to 45w (with some scope for tweaking by manufacturer to target a TDP) and are only really suitable for larger laptops, which can hold bigger batteries, and have larger cooling solutions.

 

All i3, i5 and i7 "U" processors are dual core with hyperthreading.  The i5 gains a turbo mode (effectively it self "overclocks" under certain circumstances). The i7 adds extra cache memory.  Speed comparison of selected Kaby Lake ultra low power models here:

NddVbaJ.png

Note there is a fairly small difference between them, a few percent.

 

The higher performance "HQ" models are quad core.  i5's have turbo, but no HT.  i7's gain hyperthreading.  Performance comparison of i5 and i7 HQ models, with an i7 U:

lJSzZNK.png

Note the i5-7300HQ is a fair amount faster than the i7-7500U, while the i7-7700HQ is clearly faster than either.

 

As for AMD, personally I think their current laptop chips are reasonable alternatives to the "U" ultra low power Intel models, slower in most cases (but usually slightly better integrated graphics) but with a lower price.  You want something to do spreadsheets on, watch video's, edit photo's, browse the web etc then they'll do the job.  For doing something like editing HD videos on a regular basis, they are probably not ideal.  Their new Zen based "Raven Ridge" mobile CPU's with Vega graphics sound like they might be impressive - they've just been launched within the last couple of weeks. They should be far more competitive with Intel's higher performance models.

 

TL;DR - the i5-7300HQ in a 15" laptop might be a good choice for you.  It will save some money compared to the top end i7's, while still being excellent for your type of workloads.  Depending on price and availability of AMD Raven Ridge laptops, they will certainly be worth looking at when available.


Edited by jonuk76, 14 November 2017 - 05:54 PM.

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#3 EPerd

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Posted 15 November 2017 - 04:49 PM

Holy hell, Jonuk.you are the man. I cannot thank you enough for all the info and laying it out in a very digestible way, complete with links and infographs to really help me internalize it all. Seriously, sincerest thanks. You've not only given me some awesome info, but for the first time in any forum of this nature for me, a clear cut direction to look towards.

#4 jonuk76

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Posted 15 November 2017 - 07:10 PM

No worries :)  Glad to help.

 

Oh just to add (and I don't mean to add more confusion to the mix) but have to mention it.  The statement:

 

 

 

All i3, i5 and i7 "U" processors are dual core with hyperthreading.

 

Is correct... Until you get to the very latest (8th generation Core i5's and i7's, no i3's yet) - announced in August, which are quad core, and look to be very punchy performers for Ultra Low Power chips.  It's currently a very limited release (only i5-8250U and i7-8550U appear to be actually available, in a small range of laptops) but it's worth mentioning.  They are the most direct competitors to the AMD Raven Ridge laptops I mentioned.   These two are blurring the line more between high performance and ultra thin.


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#5 EPerd

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Posted 15 November 2017 - 08:29 PM

I was recently looking into 8th gen i7s and they do seem promising. Also, I can't seem to find any laptops with a 7300hq processor which meet any of my other spec requirements, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed to try and find a suitable 8550u laptop.




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