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AMD Phenom II X3 Triple-Core P820 or Intel i3-330M?

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July 2, 2010 2:49:57 AM

Considering a ThinkPad Edge 14, and have the option between:

- AMD Phenom II X3 Triple-Core P820 (ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3400)

- Intel i3-330M (Integrated Mobile Intel 5 Series GFX Chipsets)

As for what I'll be doing with it -- quite a bit of typesetting with LaTeX, presentations at conferences, multi-tab Internet browsing (streaming audio and video included) -- lightweight tasks.

What obvious differences would I notice between the two? Why should I choose one over the other? Is there a world of difference between the two, as far as my use is concerned?
Thanks in advance.
a c 131 à CPUs
July 2, 2010 3:50:36 AM

Frankly, the 3 cores of the phenom II does not make up for the higher clockspeed and IPC of the i3 in most cases. But with your tasks, I doubt you will notice a difference between them at all.
One more major difference is that the i3 system will support DX11. You might not need it, and based on what you do, will not. But why not if they are the same price?
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July 3, 2010 2:56:17 AM

I'm much obliged for your quick reply, Enzo. There's only about a $50 difference between the two -- the AMD being the least expensive. Being on a budget for this particular laptop, that extra $50 pays for the fingerprint reader and 2.0MP low light sensitive camera, which are two little options I'd like to have. Also, while graphics won't be a huge concern, how does the ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3400 compare to the Integrated Mobile Intel 5 Series GFX Chipsets.

As a cryptographer who is going to be reading papers, typesetting papers, and presenting papers, there's certainly nothing processor intensive that I'll be doing. Another curiosity is the Gobi 2000 3G with GPS option that appears to be available only with the Intel configuration; I'll be all over, but wonder if it's worth having such a thing built-in, as opposed to buying it later. But, that's another question for a different sub-forum. In the meanwhile, I'll keep pondering; thanks again for your thoughts!
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a c 131 à CPUs
July 3, 2010 3:46:08 AM

Actually, my mistake. The intel 5 series only supports up to Dx10. No big deal though.

The ati 3400 is superior to the intel 5 series. But based on your usage, you will notice literally no difference between the GPUs.
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July 6, 2010 3:44:22 AM

enzo matrix said:
Actually, my mistake. The intel 5 series only supports up to Dx10. No big deal though.

The ati 3400 is superior to the intel 5 series. But based on your usage, you will notice literally no difference between the GPUs.


The Intel i3-330M configuration is about 50 bucks more; that's doable. Is that 50 bucks extra worth having things like L3 cache, which the Phenom II X3 P820 doesn't seem to have? Without a doubt, I think I would reach a point of noticing a difference between the CPUs, as opposed to the GPUs; that's definitely going to steer my decision-making.

Out of curiosity, with which Intel processor is the Phenom II X3 P820 most closely aligned, competition-wise? In what types of applications is the difference between the Phenom II X3 P820 most noticeable? If these incredibly vague questions, my apologies in advance. I am leaning towards Intel, but I want to see all of AMD's cards as well before I call. Thanks again for your attentiveness and promptness to my curiosities.
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a c 131 à CPUs
July 6, 2010 4:04:43 PM

The phenom IIx3 is actually more like a desktop Athlon IIx3 at a lower clock. The x3 will excel a bit better in multi-tasking and programs that can utilize multiple cores.
Since you are not doing anything GPU heavy, the performance of those is not relevant to you.

I would go with the x3, but then again, I just like having more cores.

One question though: you say you are cryptographer, will you be needing to do any AES encryption or decryption? because the icore series is optimized for that. It is the one thing it can do 100x faster at least.
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a b à CPUs
July 6, 2010 4:26:23 PM

i would say get the x3, it also has an upper hand in terms of tdp
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July 6, 2010 9:39:02 PM

enzo matrix said:
The phenom IIx3 is actually more like a desktop Athlon IIx3 at a lower clock. The x3 will excel a bit better in multi-tasking and programs that can utilize multiple cores.

One question though: you say you are cryptographer, will you be needing to do any AES encryption or decryption? because the icore series is optimized for that. It is the one thing it can do 100x faster at least.



I was under the impression that the i3-330M had deactivated the AES instructions; even if it supported it, I wouldn't make use of them on this particular machine. Over the past few years, I've been doing research "green cryptography" with Vincent Rijmen, one of the co-designers of the AES, but I've got about all of the benchmarks I need at the moment, so there's no imminent need of having this sort of optimization, which I would typically reserve for a more stationary desktop setup. With that in mind, when I decide to get a new desktop setup, I'll definitely go for something with advanced AES instruction support -- maybe even AMD.

I meant to say that I was originally leaning towards the Phenom II X3 P820, but started to lean back towards the i3 because of my confusion regarding, "Do I want a slower-per-core triple-core processor with no L3 cache or a faster-per-core dual-core processor with L3 cache." There will be lots of multi-tasking, but no heavy tasking, and unlikely any tasks that will use multiple cores. With that in mind, it might not matter what I choose -- certainly not as far as the GPU is concerned. The AMD does appear to consume less power, so that might up the battery life. Thanks for all of the thoughts, links, comparisons, Enzo, mosox, and xaira.

Feel free to share anything else you think might benefit me in deciding.
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a b à CPUs
August 18, 2010 4:22:51 PM

contrary to Enzo's experience, i find that discrete graphics lend a certain responsiveness to the system. i don't have experience doing direct comparisons on newer generations of hardware, but i've always found that a system with discrete graphics feels snappier.

i do not know the particulars of the new intel video chipset, though, so i could be mistaken about the nature of the comparison though.
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a c 131 à CPUs
August 18, 2010 8:48:18 PM

Quote:
contrary to Enzo's experience, i find that discrete graphics lend a certain responsiveness to the system. i don't have experience doing direct comparisons on newer generations of hardware, but i've always found that a system with discrete graphics feels snappier.

i do not know the particulars of the new intel video chipset, though, so i could be mistaken about the nature of the comparison though.

^LOL this thread is over a month and a half old. What OS were you using though and what video cards/ chips were you comparing?


You're right though, justin. The i3 doesn't have those AES enhancements. My bad.
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