There was little question that the 2010 Core i7-based system would easily knock out the Core 2 Extreme machine from 2007. The Core i7-870 boasts a higher clock speed, more performance per clock, and the Turbo Boost feature that further accelerates clock rates. It was also a safe bet that the 45 nm process would beat 65 technology in terms of power consumption.
Smaller manufacturing processes and performance-oriented advances on the GPU also favor the 2010 platform.
Overall, you get at least 50% and an average of 100% more performance with the modern Core i7-870 and P55, while impressively reducing power consumption. However, our question wasn’t whether or not the 2010 system would be faster or more efficient. We wanted to know just how much better the latest system generation is, and whether or not it makes sense to upgrade.
- ...you’re an enthusiast with sufficient budget. Get a modern platform, a fast processor, such as the Core i7, and a balanced graphics subsystem. You’ll be stunned at the performance benefits.
- ...you make your living with the PC. You’ll save plenty of time when working on graphics files, rendering, or transcoding multimedia files.
- ...you want the flexibility and feature set provided by today’s components. Graphics solutions are more efficient and power down in 2D mode, processors can dynamically adjust performance and power consumption, and motherboard features for overclocking have greatly improved.
Don’t Upgrade If…
- ...you don’t use the computer intensively or very regularly.
- ...you aren’t missing performance or are happy with your system overall. It's important to understand that there has been more than enough computing power available for a few years and average users don't require more than a decent dual-core to get office and multimedia work done.
- ...you just want USB 3.0 or SATA 6Gb/s. These features can be added to most systems with PCI Express add-on cards.