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Just how much CPU power do I *really* need?

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December 3, 2011 3:17:33 PM

About the most CPU-intensive thing I do is occasionally watch HD video, which my Atom netbook fails miserably at and my dual-core Centrino laptop is 50/50 on...zero gaming, but a some multi-tasking like having 12-15 tabs of Chrome open while on Skype and with Windows or Excel open, music playing in the background, maybe torrenting software too.

My main usage: Web surfing, Office suites, movies and music, very occasional simple photo editing (Irfanview, Picasa, etc.)---very light CPU demands, but I do want the snappiest performance possible within those parameters.

So, laptop prices seem to vary by CPU, in ascending order:

AMD C-50/60 (these start around $250)
Pentium Core 2 Duo
AMD E-350/450
Pentium B940/950
Intel i3
AMD A6
AMD A8
Intel i5 (Best Buy has an Asus i5 for $450)

My question: which of the above would be the best bang for the buck given my non-intensive needs, beyond which the law of diminishing returns would begin to kick in? (I'm not even considering an i7, of course.) For instance, right now Newegg has a Toshiba A6 going for $400...would that perform about the same as the Asus i5, or would the extra $50 be worth it for someone with my usage? The E-350s go for as low as $300...would I even see any noticeable difference between that an i5 for my (I'm sure a gamer would) needs?

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a c 159 à CPUs
December 3, 2011 3:32:36 PM

I would select a dual core amd or Intel cpu with 3-4 gb of ram. You should be able to find one for around $400. Prices should drop a little the week after xmas if you can wait. Now is not a good time to buy. My favorite laptop is lenovo, but toshiba and compaq are ok.
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December 3, 2011 3:38:03 PM

o1die said:
I would select a dual core amd or Intel cpu with 3-4 gb of ram. You should be able to find one for around $400. Prices should drop a little the week after xmas if you can wait. Now is not a good time to buy. My favorite laptop is lenovo, but toshiba and compaq are ok.


Yeah, I figured post-Xmas would be better...I thought mid-January would be best?

I'm curious, why is Lenovo your favorite?
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December 3, 2011 4:58:07 PM

I like Lenovo too. They do a good job with manufacturing and try to put good designs on the market.

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Just as a benchmark, my friend has a Core i3 with integrated intel graphics (I think 4500) and he can play L4D2 with some screen lag. That should be more than adequate for your needs.

I run a Dual-core Pentium clocked at 2.1 GHz with the intel integrated and its not quite enough to run HD video smoothly all the time.

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December 10, 2011 2:46:19 PM

Chipbuster said:


I run a Dual-core Pentium clocked at 2.1 GHz with the intel integrated and its not quite enough to run HD video smoothly all the time.


Am curious, is that a B940/950? They are supposed to be just one step below the i3 if I understand correctly.
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a c 83 à CPUs
December 10, 2011 3:58:26 PM

for hd video playing and other general use, a laptop with amd llano a8 or a6 cpu would be good. imo they have the best igp in the market today. llanos have decent cpu and a very good igp. the i5 with hd 3000 igp would be the second choice.
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December 10, 2011 6:42:52 PM

Zenrunner: It's the T3400. Cheap little piece of junk when I'm actually trying to do work on the laptop (like video editing where I don't have access to my desktop), but it performs pretty well for everyday tasks.

Significantly older than the B940 too xD

http://ark.intel.com/products/35583/Intel-Pentium-Proce...
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a c 115 à CPUs
December 10, 2011 6:59:22 PM

For $410 or so I snagged an e350 along with an SSD, Vantec external enclosure and 2x4GB kit of RAMs.

It's over-kill for simply putz'n around, but it's sweet over-kill :lol: 
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