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Old 02-26-2013, 05:33 AM   #1
antobag
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Default i5 3230M (2.60GHz) vs i7 3630QM (2.40GHz) for gaming

I know there are a few other similar threads to this one - I've had a look around but haven't managed to find an exact answer to my specific question. I'm new to the forums so my apologies if I'm repeating a previous thread.

I'm thinking about buying a laptop for university work and gaming. In terms of gaming, I was wondering if it would be better to buy an i5 3230M (2.60GHz) or an i7 3630QM (2.40GHz) - bearing in mind that I would prefer it to be cheaper.

The obvious advantages that I have found for each are as follows:

i7 3630QM:
- Quad-core (vs Dual-core of the i5)
- Hyper-threading
- Larger cache (6MB vs the i5's 3MB)

i5 3230M:
- Higher clock speed (0.20GHz difference)
- Cheaper by 60 (about 90 dollars)

I have a few questions:

1) From what I've read so far, quad-core processors, hyper-threading and cache size do not make much of a difference in terms of gaming (instead affecting users who run multiple applications at the same time). Is this true?

2) Would the higher clock speed of the i5 provide much of an advantage over the i7 for gaming?

3) I have also looked at the i5 3340M (2.70GHz). It's also cheaper than the i7, although 40 more expensive than the 3230M - in real terms, how much difference would an extra 0.10GHz make, and is it worth the 40? For gaming, would the 0.30GHz difference make it faster than the i7?

Any help would be much appreciated.
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Old 02-26-2013, 05:36 AM   #2
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The next gen of consoles have 8 core CPUs as standard. As such a chip with 8 threads (4 cores with hyperthreading) is highly advisable, as it will be able to handle the number of threads that new game engines will be throwing at it.
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Old 02-26-2013, 05:40 AM   #3
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The next gen of consoles have 8 core CPUs as standard. As such a chip with 8 threads (4 cores with hyperthreading) is highly advisable, as it will be able to handle the number of threads that new game engines will be throwing at it.
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Old 02-26-2013, 05:43 AM   #4
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Thanks a lot for the quick replies. I didn't know that new games are going to use 8 cores - I guess 60 isn't a lot to future-proof my laptop. I'm glad I came here before buying!
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Old 02-26-2013, 05:58 AM   #5
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This depends on what mobile GPU you have. Its obvious that the Core i7 is a superior choice but if it is held back by the GPU, all that extra CPU performance is for nothing.
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Old 02-26-2013, 06:00 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by antobag View Post
Thanks a lot for the quick replies. I didn't know that new games are going to use 8 cores - I guess 60 isn't a lot to future-proof my laptop. I'm glad I came here before buying!
i7 based laptop=many $$$$$. (laptop with good battery life)
other wise, it is just small desktop pc, plugged to an electricity socket.
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Old 02-26-2013, 06:12 AM   #7
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This depends on what mobile GPU you have. Its obvious that the Core i7 is a superior choice but if it is held back by the GPU, all that extra CPU performance is for nothing.
I'm using the NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M, which is rated pretty highly on notebookcheck and should be powerful enough for my needs. Thanks for the concern though!

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i7 based laptop=many $$$$$. (laptop with good battery life)
other wise, it is just small desktop pc, plugged to an electricity socket.
Sorry, I don't quite understand what you mean. Are you saying the i7 is a good choice?
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Old 02-26-2013, 06:14 AM   #8
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Even today we have games that benefit from 6 corew verses 4 (cry sis 3 being one example). Quite a few high end games utilise 3 cores at least partially and loose performance on a dual core. That combined with the console hardware tells us you want more cores, not just today but the near future has games it in that will use even more.
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Old 02-26-2013, 06:28 AM   #9
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Sorry, I don't quite understand what you mean. Are you saying the i7 is a good choice?
He's warning you that your battery life isn't going to be as good with the i7. This is true, but will only be most noticeable when you're working all 4 cores hard, which is the cases where you will also notice the most improvement in performance. It's a tradeoff. *shrug*
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Old 02-26-2013, 06:34 AM   #10
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I'm using the NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M, which is rated pretty highly on notebookcheck and should be powerful enough for my needs. Thanks for the concern though!



Sorry, I don't quite understand what you mean. Are you saying the i7 is a good choice?
no, I am just saying that Low weight+good battery life laptop, + you want gaming? it must have discrete gpu, this combination will cost you great money, you are buying laptop, so there many things you have to consider before you asking i5 or i7? (it is not the most important).
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Old 02-26-2013, 06:37 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by antobag View Post
Thanks a lot for the quick replies. I didn't know that new games are going to use 8 cores - I guess 60 isn't a lot to future-proof my laptop. I'm glad I came here before buying!
The "8 core" consoles are slow cores relative to desktop or even laptops so new games might not really use 8 cores, but I would agree with the advice to get the quad core. In a laptop you will definitely be limited by the gpu most of the time though.

Edit-- check the Lenovo website. They usually have a very good price on I believe the model is Y580 with a quad core and GT 660m.

Last edited by frozentundra123456; 02-26-2013 at 06:45 AM.
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Old 02-26-2013, 06:42 AM   #12
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So is the NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M not that powerful? I don't mind playing games without full graphics, as long as it still looks reasonably good.
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Old 02-26-2013, 06:45 AM   #13
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So is the NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M not that powerful? I don't mind playing games without full graphics, as long as it still looks reasonably good.
to be honest, no way you will ever feel difference between i5\i7, in term of gaming, yes the gpu will be your bottleneck.
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Old 02-26-2013, 07:06 AM   #14
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Okay, it seems that different people have different feelings towards the impact of the i7 processor over an i5. Some say that future games will need the increased number of cores, others say that the difference will be negligible (and that it is my 650M GPU that will cause the problems).

So what's the general consensus - do you think there be a noticeable difference between i5 and i7? Sorry to ask the question again, I just want to have a definite answer before buying.

Thanks again to all of you for the help.
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Old 02-26-2013, 07:08 AM   #15
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The GT650M isn't Nvidia's flagship offering. It will play some games at 1366x768(fewer games at 1920x1080) but not powerful enough to be a bottleneck to either Core i5 or Core i7. If you're looking for "good enough" in gaming, it will probably work either way.
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Old 02-26-2013, 07:17 AM   #16
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"So what's the general consensus - do you think there be a noticeable difference between i5 and i7? Sorry to ask the question again, I just want to have a definite answer before buying."

what is "general consensus"?? what are you going to do with this laptop? watching hd movie? surfing the net? doing h.w?(student?), if so there is no reason to buy i7.
as I have already told you i5/i7 is far not the most important thing, when you choose your next laptop.
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Old 02-26-2013, 07:25 AM   #17
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Try to give some options within your budget !
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Old 02-26-2013, 07:25 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by antobag View Post
Okay, it seems that different people have different feelings towards the impact of the i7 processor over an i5. Some say that future games will need the increased number of cores, others say that the difference will be negligible (and that it is my 650M GPU that will cause the problems).

So what's the general consensus - do you think there be a noticeable difference between i5 and i7? Sorry to ask the question again, I just want to have a definite answer before buying.

Thanks again to all of you for the help.

I cant speak for the "consensus" but I would still get the quad core. You didnt mention battery life as one of your main concerns. Under a light load the quad core will not use all four cores anyway, thus saving battery life, and under heavy load you will have the processing power you need. I would not be concerned about the 2 or 3 hundred mhz difference in base clock either. Both CPUs will turbo to higher clocks under load.

The GT650m is what I would consider the minimum for a decent gaming experience. The 660m I referred to is basically the same card, but clocked slightly faster. Also, be sure to get the ddr5 version of whatever card you buy.

I hate to start this, but have you considered getting a desktop for gaming and a cheaper basic laptop for mobile use? You will definitely get a better gaming experience at any given price point on a desktop, along with the chance to upgrade in the future.
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Old 02-26-2013, 07:28 AM   #19
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The GT650M isn't Nvidia's flagship offering. It will play some games at 1366x768(fewer games at 1920x1080) but not powerful enough to be a bottleneck to either Core i5 or Core i7. If you're looking for "good enough" in gaming, it will probably work either way.
but even Nvidia's flagship, is just a laptop gpu, and all you have said is still true, for the most powerful laptop gpu.

http://www.notebookcheck.net/NVIDIA-...M.72679.0.html
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Old 02-26-2013, 07:30 AM   #20
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You could always take a look at the HD7730M - I know that it's available in the Dell Inspiron 15R, with an i7 quad-core. (My flatmate just got a ridiculously good deal on one from Dell Outlet, about 400.)
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Old 02-26-2013, 08:05 AM   #21
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Also, be sure to get the ddr5 version of whatever card you buy.
The 650m I'm looking at is only DDR3 - would this be a lot slower? Sorry to bang on about the 650m, the laptop build I'm looking at only has this card as an option.

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I hate to start this, but have you considered getting a desktop for gaming and a cheaper basic laptop for mobile use? You will definitely get a better gaming experience at any given price point on a desktop, along with the chance to upgrade in the future.
Yes, I have considered this - trouble is, I'm thinking of travelling a lot next year. Don't want to be carrying a desktop in my backpack!

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You could always take a look at the HD7730M - I know that it's available in the Dell Inspiron 15R, with an i7 quad-core. (My flatmate just got a ridiculously good deal on one from Dell Outlet, about 400.)
Just had a look at this, it's a very good deal. I'll look into it further

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Try to give some options within your budget !
I do also have the option of a similar laptop build with a GTX 660M DDR5 card. It's a bit more expensive and the laptop chassis is thicker (I do like my laptops to be thin). Would this card create much of a difference for gaming?
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Old 02-26-2013, 08:10 AM   #22
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Just had a look at this, it's a very good deal. I'll look into it further
If you do, take a look at those websites which give you voucher codes to get money off from Dell. Some of those voucher codes are still applicable on Outlet purchases
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Old 02-26-2013, 08:14 AM   #23
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If you are only looking at a 650m its not going to make any difference whatsoever. Your totally GPU limited in anything with that.
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Old 02-26-2013, 08:42 AM   #24
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Okay, thanks to everyone! I'm going to keep looking around and see what's best for me, but your help has been extremely useful.
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Old 02-26-2013, 10:27 AM   #25
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I/m not sure what your price range is but have you considered the Lenovo Ideapad y400/y500 models?

y400: http://shop.lenovo.com/SEUILibrary/c...3B&action=init

y500: http://shop.lenovo.com/SEUILibrary/c...FB&action=init

Basically they are 14" and 15" models of the same computer, which the max resolution of the y400 at 1366x768 and the y500 at 1080p. They come equipped with a powerful i7 3630QM CPU and a 650M GPU. However this particular model also has a capacity to swap out the optical bay (DVD drive) for another 650M which can run in SLI with the first. This boosts the graphical performance to the level of the 670M in supported games. Take a look at these benchmarks.

Single 650M: http://www.notebookcheck.net/NVIDIA-...M.71887.0.html

Dual 650Ms: http://www.notebookcheck.net/NVIDIA-...I.84953.0.html

These laptops are really the best bang for your buck if you have a budget. If you can spend more look into Sager and MSI.
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