CPU vs Graphics Card

Hi there,

I wasn't sure whether to post this in the CPU or graphics section as it is a question about both. I am looking to buy a new laptop for use by my parents. They will be using it for basic office tasks and multi-tabbed internet browsing plus to upload and store photos from their camera. So very light use no photo editing or gaming.

I have mainly been looking at Dell and refurbished systems for a sub £400 set up. I am fairly technically minded and I understand the meanings of the components and the relevence of the speeds etc. I am not sure however what I should be prioritising between graphics and CPU quality. One key thing that will be needed is good Skype performance as my sister lives abroad and they use this regularly to keep in touch so 1mb+ webcam.

For example I looked at Dell's quintisential budget rig the inspiron 15:

Processor 2nd generation Intel® Core™ i5-2450M processor (2.50 GHz, 3M cache with Turbo Boost 2.0 up to 3.10)
Operating System Windows® 7 Home Premium, 64bit, English
Display 15.6in High Definition (1366X768) WLED
Memory2 4GB2 Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM at 1333MHz
Hard Drive 640GB (5,400rpm) Serial ATA Hard Drive
Video Card Graphics : Intel® HD Graphics 3000

VS Dell 15R:

Processor 2nd generation Intel® Core™ i3-2350M processor (2.30 Ghz, 3M cache)
Operating System Windows® 7 Home Premium, 64bit
Display 15.6" (40 cm) High Definition (1366X768) WLED with True-Life
Memory2 4GB2 Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM at 1333MHz
Hard Drive 640GB (5,400rpm) Serial ATA Hard Drive
Video Card 1 GB nVidia GeForce GT 525M

So I was hoping someone could explain to me which would be the better option since there is only £20 between them. Obviously I am open to other options (I am just familar with dell) and i have also looked at the PB TS13 (2310M HD3000 graphics) and Samsung R540 (I370M Intel GMA graphics)

Thank you for your time
10 answers Last reply
More about graphics card
  1. Well the i3 one comes with a better GPU although intel's HD 3000 will still be fine, your parents don't really need a i5 but for £20 go for it.
  2. Thankyou. So to confirm the GPU isn't too important? The HD 3000 will be adequate for Skype and viewing photos etc?

    The i5 is on the cheaper one :na: the inspiron 15.....

    I have found some refurbished ones of the 15R with an i3 and HD3000 for £100 less than the two above. Do you have any opinions on refurbished laptops?
  3. All i know is that they are used ones that are repaired my the manufacturer (i think) so they might not be the best condition in the world.

    If there are any, check the reviews of the laptops on the website you are looking at, if they are 4/5 stars then get the laptop, 3 stars, maybe but see what made people rate it 3 stars and lower forget it.

    Yes the HD3000 is enough for Skype and web browsing but get a good webcam for Skype.
  4. Whichever is cheapest. From the usage you have described you dont need a strong GPU or CPU.

    That being said, I would go for the i5 laptop. Its 4 physicals cores will will help if you have multiple programs open, while the i3 only has two physical cores and two "virtual" cores.
  5. Actually they are both dual cores with 4 threads only difference is the i5 is 2.5Ghz with a 3.1GHz Turbo while the i3 is a 2.3Ghz speed.

    As the i5 is cheaper take that it will feel faster for their uses and they have no use for the extra graphics on the i3
  6. It may be different because they are laptop CPU's, but I am fairly sure that the i5 is a quad, while the i3 is dual core. They both have 4 threads, the i3 uses Hyperthreading to get the last two threads.

    The product description on the i3 says dual core, while the i5 says quad.

    Backed up by Intels website.

    Well it was different because its a laptop CPU.

    That i5 is a dual core.
    Gah, I only know desktop's.
  7. "Factory refurbished" generally means that the PC comes with a "like new" warranty.

    I agree with wr6133.
  8. My only advice: whatever you do, don't buy a dell. Trust me, I've owned 3, all failed on me.
  9. nsouter853 said:
    My only advice: whatever you do, don't buy a dell. Trust me, I've owned 3, all failed on me.

    My family has owned many dells in the last 10+ years, laptops and desktops, the only one that ever had a problem was Nvidia's fault (one had the infamous faulty laptop GPU Geforce 8 series). You'll have to be more specific with "they have all failed on me" lol.

    Anyway, to the OP, the price difference is that small, I would go with the i5 one. Laptops are inferior to desktops right out of the gate, and not as easily upgraded, so I would suggest getting one with better longevity, in this case the more powerful one.
  10. Thanks for the help. What do you all think of the lenovo home series specifically the G570/580 and B570. They seem to get good reviews in terms of reliability and they have decent specs at a good price.
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