I've been looking through the forums and most people say that intel "i5" is significantly better than the AMD, but I'm fairly certain that most of the discussions revolve around the newer generation i5s - which I believe are much better than the older model 520m.
Does anyone know how this specific model of i5 would stand up to the newer AMD A8 4500M? I have already taken into account that the AMD-equipped laptop also has a GPU - Radeon HD 7670M, whereas the i5er has internal graphics only... I like a bit of casual gaming, but if the i5 is a significantly faster processor I'd sacrifice this ability.
Could you help me understand this discrepancy? I have to admit, frankly, I have no idea what most of the numbers involved mean, and it's possible I am getting confused as whether lower/higher numbers = better/worse... so don't hesitate to shoot me down if I've interpreted that table wrong.
One thing I forgot to add is that the only resource-hungry application (other than possibly the odd video game) I'd be running is Cubase or similar DAW software. I've heard that, due to the nature of multiple tracks/plugins operating at the same time, the more cores you have the better for this particular type of software. Given that the 520m is dual-core and the AMD is (nominally) quad-core, would this be worth taking into account?
There are tonnes of benchmark tests with 3D applications and video-coding software but seemingly none whatsoever with DAWs. This seems strange to me as I'm sure a significant proportion of musicians and PC users would be interested in this information.
Under more casual circumstances I would just opt for the i5 based on your solid advice, but as this will probably be my largest expenditure this year I just want to hammer out all the factors/details as much as possible before making my choice.