i'm having trouble understanding how to read intel chip speeds

bigdan

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So I understand that there's i3 i5 and i7 (is that called chip speed? processor type? what's the term?). and i know the higher the number the better. but what is better, like 10% better, 100% better, 100 times better, what?

then there's generation. 2500, 4500, etc. what do those speeds represent? i'd assume 2500 is 2nd gen and 4500 is 4th gen, and 4th gen would be *substantially* better than 2nd gen.

then there's Ghz. So now there's 3 separate data points. I don't even know how to decipher all this.

I went to one of the online benchmarking sites. I compared an i5 6500 vs i5-3470s. Would've expected there would be a substantial difference. Apparently the former is only THREE PERCENT better than the latter?! So again, how do I make sense of all this?

THis is important because i need to get a new computer. The current one I got in 2011, is an i5-2430M. Then I got one 6 years later for a similar price, and I would've assumed anything you get 6 years later for the same price would be MUCH faster. Turned out it was slower actually. I dont even know how that happened. The newer one was AMD Dual-Core A9-9420. Both are with 6 GB RAM.

I'd be grateful for help!
 

bigdan

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thanks for this! i'm not sure what to do with it though. there's a shitload of data here but it doesnt really tell me much about performance, at least not directly.
 

PP Mguire

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Your new laptop is slower because even though it's 6 years newer it's still using a much older AMD architecture. To be competitive you would have to buy a Ryzen equipped laptop with a 3000 or 4000 series chip in it, you'd see a big speed difference there.

i3 vs i5 vs i7 used to pretty much denote a few things, i3 low end dual core, i5 mid range quads without HT, i7 quads with HT.
Now that AMD has stepped up competition to the point of surpassing Intel in both speed and cores the disparity between i3s to i9s (yes they now have an i9) is much smaller. Basically, i7s and i9s will have more cores and more speed in terms of GHz. i5s now have HT, and the big difference between i5s, i7s, and i9s will be core count and base/turbo frequency.

Another factor to know, is Intel for over 5 years was incredibly stagnant due to severe lack of competition until 2018. From the 6th gen to the 10th gen used the SAME Skylake architecture for all cores, just mildly tweaked year after year. Basically, rehashes. The recent 11th gen is the first chip to come out from Intel using a brand new core architecture, which in a disadvantage is backported from 10nm to work on 14nm because Intel had issues for years getting their 10nm node size to mature.

To make things simple, look for laptops that have 10th generation or 11th generation chips in them or laptops with Ryzen chips with 3000, 4000, or 5000 naming schemes. For Intel, stick to i5 or better, for AMD stick to Ryzen 5 or Ryzen 7.
 

bigdan

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Your new laptop is slower because even though it's 6 years newer it's still using a much older AMD architecture. To be competitive you would have to buy a Ryzen equipped laptop with a 3000 or 4000 series chip in it, you'd see a big speed difference there.

i3 vs i5 vs i7 used to pretty much denote a few things, i3 low end dual core, i5 mid range quads without HT, i7 quads with HT.
Now that AMD has stepped up competition to the point of surpassing Intel in both speed and cores the disparity between i3s to i9s (yes they now have an i9) is much smaller. Basically, i7s and i9s will have more cores and more speed in terms of GHz. i5s now have HT, and the big difference between i5s, i7s, and i9s will be core count and base/turbo frequency.

Another factor to know, is Intel for over 5 years was incredibly stagnant due to severe lack of competition until 2018. From the 6th gen to the 10th gen used the SAME Skylake architecture for all cores, just mildly tweaked year after year. Basically, rehashes. The recent 11th gen is the first chip to come out from Intel using a brand new core architecture, which in a disadvantage is backported from 10nm to work on 14nm because Intel had issues for years getting their 10nm node size to mature.

To make things simple, look for laptops that have 10th generation or 11th generation chips in them or laptops with Ryzen chips with 3000, 4000, or 5000 naming schemes. For Intel, stick to i5 or better, for AMD stick to Ryzen 5 or Ryzen 7.

Most of that was greek to me but the last paragraph gives me some information. I'll skip AMD since just understanding Intel is tough enough.
What's the term for i3/i5/i7, is that called the core?
Do we assume that all i7s are better than all i5s better than all i3s? Or I'm supposed to multiply the core by the generation etc etc to get some new equation for performance?

Why is this shit so complicated!! I cant imagine others going through this much trouble when they need to buy a computer.
 

PP Mguire

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I'll skip AMD since just understanding Intel is tough enough.
It's not a case of understanding, but AMD is way more straight forward than Intel and below is why
What's the term for i3/i5/i7, is that called the core?
No, it's a marketing designation.
Do we assume that all i7s are better than all i5s better than all i3s?
No, it's not the case at all with mobile chips. Intel's desktop chips are already an overpopulated sku cluster fuck and the mobile chips with power limitations makes it even worse. To go even further down the shit train, every brand is different too in how they use the limited power restriction. You can have one manufacturer use say a specific i5 model, but use less of a power envelope to where it gets outclassed by the same chip in a different laptop. Cooling also comes into play where they can both be 35W chips clocked the same but brand A has better cooling so it can hold clocks longer than brand B.

Best case scenario, list some laptops and I'll tell you which one is better for the money. If my above post is greek then I can skip telling you the why because it'll be more of the same.
 

Trotter

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AMD is actually simple as far as Ryzen goes. 1xxx is first gen, 2xxx is second, 3xxx is third, etc. The bigger the number the more power it has. If you follow the number scheme each generation is faster and more powerful then the last. 1600 < 2600 < 3600 < 5600. The 4xxx seem to be laptop only. Oh, well.

:D
 

bigdan

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Thanks a lot guys.


I need something that can handle browing with say 20 tabs open and running Excel and maybe VLC or something. I don't do much gaming. I'd like to stick to $600 CAD if possible (about $500 USD). I think that should be possible since I got one for 25% less 9 years ago. Can anyone recommend what I should look for within those filters? Or mention if the filters are too restrictive?

In order to figure out the performance can I goto https://cpu.userbenchmark.com ? If so I'm very confused. I looked up a few laptops on Amazon, filtered by 4 stars and up so I'd hope that would give me only good results. I have two examples here. There's one for $440 CAD which, according to this site, is only 10% faster than my current laptop, and one for $525 CAD which seems to be only 5% faster than my current laptop. Am I missing something?


Lenovo ThinkPad T440P 14in Laptop Computer, Intel i5-4300M up to 3.3GHz, 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD, Windows 10 Professional (Renewed)
Amazon link
https://cpu.userbenchmark.com/Compare/Intel-Core-i5-2430M-vs-Intel-Core-i5-4300M/m429vsm5215
It seems like this is saying it's only 10% faster?


HP EliteBook 840 G3 Laptop 14" FHD Display, Intel Core i5-6300U 2.4Ghz, 256GB SSD, 16GB DDR4 RAM, Webcam, WiFi, Windows 10 Pro (Renewed)
Amazon Link
https://cpu.userbenchmark.com/Compare/Intel-Core-i5-2430M-vs-Intel-Core-i5-6300U/m429vsm27864
Is this only 5% faster?


Can anyone also just recommend the minimum specs I should look for? What's the min core and min generation?
 

PP Mguire

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First, Userbench is horrible and terribly inaccurate. Second, those 2 are only showing mild performance improvements because a few reasons I outlined in my other post.

The i5 4300m and your current i5 2430m are very similar. The performance difference is merely in a very minor clockspeed improvement on the 4300m because it's made on a smaller node (fast performance at same power draw due to increased efficiency).

The 6300U on the other hand says "5%" because it's a low power variant, that's what the U is. It's a 15W chip and lower clock speeds. So not only is it technically still faster, but it's doing it at 20W less power draw.

What none of these are showing is how much faster everything else around those CPUs is. The much faster SSDs and faster RAM will run circles around your old 2nd gen equipped laptop. The what looks like comparatively similar CPU speeds aren't the only thing to look at here which is why I said before it gets incredibly difficult, especially in the mobile department. It's not apples to apples.

Depending on what browser you use, any of these laptops are technically fine because a ton of browser tabs plus Excel means you need a lot of RAM. The much better GPU in the 840 G3 will help with video playback in VLC (I'd personally use MPC but to each their own).

Your biggest contender will be the fact that Covid and a slew of other things has seriously screwed up the PC market currently so prices are jacked up. That 840 G3 might be your best bet.
 

bigdan

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Awesome, thanks man! And I apologize, I didn't see your reply earlier.

It's strange that the processors are at very similar speeds 9 years later. Is that common? I would've thought everything would be way way way faster. And I have to say, my current laptop is pretty slow. You pointed at the SSD and RAM. Does that mean another option for me would be to get those into my old laptop somehow? Or does it not work that way? Also did you mean *faster* RAM or just more RAM?
 
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