I5 vs i7, 8gb DDR3 or less?


I am relatively new to the world of PCs and their hardware. Entering college next year, I want to invest in a laptop that is portable, but performs well so that I can put off buying a new computer (laptop or desktop) in the next five years.

I began by looking through Best Buy's selection and quickly ran into a problem. What do I really need in a laptop? of course I gravitate towards the newest tech (i7 processors) and biggest RAM (generally 8gb for laptops). However, reading through the various forums on this website and looking at benchmarks online, I really have not reached a conclusion yet as to what I really need.

I have gravitated towards the Asus u46e-bal7. In short, it is a 14" with i7-2640M dual core processor that clocks at 2.8 Ghz (turbo 3.5 Ghz) and has 8 gb of RAM
it has an attractive price at around $800 (depends where you look)
Do I really need a machine this powerful? or could I save money by "downgrading" to an i5 or less RAM?

Please keep in mind that I do not plan to be gaming on this (I have a playstation for that so intel integrated graphics works fine for me (i think though i could be wrong)) and I am not exactly sure about my future needs for computing and dont mind buying a little more than I need.

Thank you!
3 answers Last reply
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  1. Ninja_kittens said:
    I am not exactly sure about my future needs for computing and dont mind buying a little more than I need.
    You can be certain we know a LOT less about your future computing needs.

    There won't be a huge difference in dual core CPU performance between the i5 (2.5Ghz) and i7 (2.8Ghz). Certainly nothing 'life-altering'.

    But the price difference (U46E-XS51)? About $5? Which includes an extra 4GB RAM.

    Or were you talking about a i5 CPU in a less expensive laptop?
  2. Thanks for replying!

    Well, Just for some background, I will be going into Biomedical Engineering, though I do not know how heavily I will be relying on my computer for this track. Possibly some programming involved in that track, though I have taken an AP Computer Science course (Java) and doesn't take a monstrous computer to run any of those basic java programs I would be using.

    I do know I will be using the internet heavily, watching High Definition Videos, word processing, watching DVDs, listening to music, general multitasking, par for the course for being apart of the Youtube Generation. Though no real video editing, and certainly no Photoshop will be done on this computer. And again I will not be gaming. I want whatever I spend my money on to be able to keep up with the ever increasing demands of software.

    I really know very little about CPUs, clocking speeds, hyper threading, what have you.
    I am not so worried about being recommended laptops, but I would like to know more about the real world differences between i5s or i7s.

    Even, are there other chips I should be considering? (AMD for example)

    And a few general questions on RAM. Is the standard 4gb of RAM sufficient? Is a laptop with 8gb a little more "future proof"? Or am I wasting my money on that much RAM?

    I apologize for the litany of questions.

    Thanks Again!
  3. hello ninja_kitty er sorry Ninja_kittens,

    an i7 mobile cpu is really more for the gaming crowd.

    an i5 series would definitely take care of your needs for awhile, especially being in college you'll most likely be broke too. though even that might not be necessary,

    the i3 series, depending on the model, such as a i3 2330M or above is "adequate for most applications." it just does not have turbo boost; a short spurt when needed under a load. here is a benchmark list on notewbook check, though i do not know myself how reliable the site is:
    the newer i3/5/7 series are four digit such as 2xxxxM

    one thing to consider is getting a powerful cpu does have the drawback of lower battery life therefore having to find an outlet to plug into more often.

    and yeah 4 gig is a sufficient standard for RAM unless photoshopping.
    but maybe you should buy the uber gaming system with an nivida gpu so might get extra credit in biomed for doing a folding@home :)
    best buy is EVIL! it is the retail black hole of technology
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