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Did I get a laptop upgrade or downgrade? Core i7 HDD vs Core i3 SSD

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July 3, 2014 9:37:16 AM

I asked my job for a new laptop because my current one was becoming very sluggish and hanging a lot. I frequently use several memory-hog programs at once like Visual Studio 2010, SQL Management Studio 2008, Photoshop 5.5, Adobe Premiere 10, MS Office 2010 and more. I believe the main issue with the current Windows 7 laptop was that it is 32 Bit and so it can only use 3GB of the 4GB it has. The machine starts out fine but once I open more than a few programs the trouble begins. Other than the 32 Bit issue, the current laptop, a Dell Latitude E6320 with a hard drive and Core i7 (2640M CPU 2.80 GHz) is solid. The new laptop that was given to me yesterday is 64 bit, has 16GB of memory and has an SSD. That all sounded great until I realized it was a Core i3 (4010U CPU 1.70 GHz). I was pretty surprised by this as I don't think I have had a Core i3 for like 7 years.

So I'm wondering, overall did I get an upgrade or a downgrade? Should I just tell them to give the new laptop to another person and install 64 Bit Windows on my current i7 laptop and add more memory? Am I better off with an i3 SSD or an i7 Hard Drive?

Here are the high level specs:

New Laptop

Dell Latitude E7240
Intel Core i3 4010U CPU 1.70 GHz
64 Bit
Memory 16GB
Solid State Drive - LiteOnit LMT-256 SSD
Windows Experience Index 6.2

Current Laptop (2 years old)

Dell Latitude E6320
Intel Core i7 2640M CPU 2.80 GHz
32 Bit
Memory 4GB
Hard Drive - Western Digital WDC WD2500BEVT-75A23T0
Windows Experience Index 5.6
July 3, 2014 9:49:39 AM

Your new CPU is slower, but everything else will be faster. You will probably notice an overall performance increase with the SSD and additional RAM.
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July 3, 2014 10:15:22 AM

In terms of overall CPU performance, you got downgraded.

Doing CPU intensive tasks with your new laptop will feel sluggish. I would ask if you can get a replacement laptop with at least a core i5 "m" model CPU as opposed to a "U" model.

Core i3 lacks Turbo Boost which the Core i5 and i7 both have. This means lower clockspeed.

"U" model CPUs are ultra low voltage CPUs. Great for battery life, but sacrifices clockspeed for it. Without Turbo Boast clockspeed tends to be below 2.0GHz.

"M" model CPUs are "normal" mobile CPUs. The base clockspeed should be at least 2.0GHz and Turbo Boost can push it past 3.0GHz in some models. You get better performance, but only average battery life.
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July 3, 2014 1:03:11 PM

Thanks for the good insight. So it's seems like it's not a slam dunk in either direction. What would you choose if you had to pick one? The Core i3 SSD 64 Bit laptop or stick with the Core i7 HDD laptop but install 64 bit windows and add more memory?
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