How important is the CPU when compared to extra RAM?


I've been looking for a new laptop for a while now and have settled on two choice.



Now, (i) has an i3 380M which is ~25% faster than the AMD Phenom N930 in (ii) although the AMD has 2 more cores. But, the HP tends to have better specs overall, including more RAM and a larger HDD; the only other place the Dell beats the HP is in the GPU department since I've read that the 5650 is about twice as fast as the 5470.

I intend to use my new laptop for simple, everyday tasks such as web browsing and home office, but I tend to have a lot of windows and tabs open at once, with various programs running in the background, like skype and MSN. I will also be using it to program a little. I also will be watching HD videos and as far as gaming goes, probably nothing more than some RTS, but I do hope to get the new Microsoft Flight when it does comes out.

As far as the future goes, do you think new software will be coded to take advantage of multicores compared with out and out clock speed? I intend to have this laptop for the next 3 or 4 years, so I'd like to be future-proofed.

Price wise, they're roughly the same anyways and my budget is no more than £400.

Sorry for the long post! I'd really appreciate your help. Thanks!
3 answers Last reply
More about important compared extra
  1. If you multitask a lot then you will benefit more from extra ram on the HP. The CPU, i3 is obviously better because you're looking at about the same performance out of a dual core compared to a quad core (no amount of optimization will fix that).

    I don't know how to comment on the GPU, because you say no gaming except some RTS... (there's some pretty demanding RTS out there, you know) and new MFS. I wouldn't exactly call that no gaming unless you plan to run those at like lowest resolution possible and lowest settings. I mean you're looking for a budget solution and you want it to be future proof.. how should I put this, your expectations are a bit unrealistic.
  2. You can upgrade RAM, you can't upgrade the video card. Think and decide. Any modern non-low power CPU will run things well, and as long as the laptop has 2 gig of RAM or more, it will run things pretty well with that also.
  3. I think you will be happy with either. They are both decent laptops with pretty good specs and will serve you well for the next 3 years or so. They should also both handle light gaming without too much trouble. Benchmarks show that the AMD cpu is the more powerful of the two but in real world applications quad core usage isnt always catered for. In my experience of Dell I have found the build quality to be of a higher standard than some of the 'wheelie bin grade' plastics found on other machines. So I would suggest you take into consideration how well put together a laptop is as well as performance.
Ask a new question

Read More