Computer speed question which computer is faster and why?

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Post Reply
Topic Author
iamblessed
Posts: 279
Joined: Sat Jun 09, 2018 11:52 am

Computer speed question which computer is faster and why?

Post by iamblessed » Tue May 21, 2019 1:39 pm

computer one has an i3 3.2 chip 8GB of ram and a ssd

computer two has an i7 3.2 chip 8GB of ram and a 7200rpm hard drive with a 32mb cashe

Both computers are the same model so everything else is the same.

Which computer is faster and why?

User avatar
TomatoTomahto
Posts: 9428
Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2011 1:48 pm

Re: Computer speed question which computer is faster and why?

Post by TomatoTomahto » Tue May 21, 2019 1:47 pm

Depends on what you’re doing. One could come up with scenarios where either one is fastest.

In real life, they’re probably both sufficiently fast. But, for me, SSD is hard to not have once you’ve had one.
Okay, I get it; I won't be political or controversial. The Earth is flat.

maineminder
Posts: 55
Joined: Sat Sep 24, 2011 9:48 am

Re: Computer speed question which computer is faster and why?

Post by maineminder » Tue May 21, 2019 1:48 pm

Depending on what applications and/or what you are doing, the system with the SSD will appear faster. SSD read/write times are faster, so you may notice this.

Boot times with the SSD will be noticeably faster due to the read/write times.

quantAndHold
Posts: 3438
Joined: Thu Sep 17, 2015 10:39 pm

Re: Computer speed question which computer is faster and why?

Post by quantAndHold » Tue May 21, 2019 1:48 pm

TomatoTomahto wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 1:47 pm
Depends on what you’re doing. One could come up with scenarios where either one is fastest.

In real life, they’re probably both sufficiently fast. But, for me, SSD is hard to not have once you’ve had one.
This.

Also, you can add a SSD to the second one. Then it would clearly be faster.

lazydavid
Posts: 2543
Joined: Wed Apr 06, 2016 1:37 pm

Re: Computer speed question which computer is faster and why?

Post by lazydavid » Tue May 21, 2019 1:50 pm

In most general use, the first one would be faster because general computing tasks are more likely to be IO bound than CPU-bound. For CPU or graphics-intensive (assuming neither has discrete graphics) tasks, the second will usually be faster.

I would buy the second one, add an SSD (and possibly another 8GB of RAM) and call it a day.

datageek
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2014 9:59 pm

Re: Computer speed question which computer is faster and why?

Post by datageek » Tue May 21, 2019 1:53 pm

That's a little like asking "which car is faster, a BMW or an Audi?". There's need for much more context.

The first context you'd need to supply is the context: what are the exact CPU models involved? what type (or speed) of RAM, etc. That would be akin to specifying the exact car models in your hypothetical race.

The second context is, "faster at what?" Just like some cars accelerate better than others, but have worse grip on the road, the overall performance a computer (or anything, really) depends on the goal you're trying to accomplish. There are some industry benchmarks to measure "computer performance", but even those vary by workload (games? rendering? I/O? simulation? etc.). And don't even get started on the methodological validity of benchmarks to begin with: https://go.forrester.com/blogs/10-11-14 ... enchmarks/.

FrugiWan
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu May 16, 2019 6:21 am

Re: Computer speed question which computer is faster and why?

Post by FrugiWan » Tue May 21, 2019 1:54 pm

The I7 SHOULD have more processing power / speed. Specifically, you'll get better performance with any / all software and programs that are run with the I7 processor as it has more processing cores and threads at its disposal. The I7 will also support more overclocking and has more cache available as well. Additionally, the SSD will also be a noticeable increase in load times over any HD you can purchase.

Laika
Posts: 39
Joined: Sat Jul 14, 2018 1:49 pm

Re: Computer speed question which computer is faster and why?

Post by Laika » Tue May 21, 2019 1:59 pm

Do yourself a favor and get the SSD. An SSD works miracles on the feeling of a computer's speed.

An SSD as a boot drive (your computer's first, main, drive), even a relatively small one, is especially valuable. Spinning disks are (or should be) obsolete except for storing huge amounts of rarely-used data. You can always add a big, cheap spinning disk for storing large files such as movies later (or, of course, an external SSD too).

In my opinion, the reverse, with a hard drive augmented with a secondary or external ssd, makes much less sense - you will always be trapped by that slow boot drive that you use all the time. Meanwhile, the benefit from a faster SSD to retrieve more rarely used data is less helpful.

Although there may be some debate about this, SSD's are probably much more reliable as a boot drive than a hard disk, too.

deikel
Posts: 873
Joined: Sat Jan 25, 2014 7:13 pm

Re: Computer speed question which computer is faster and why?

Post by deikel » Tue May 21, 2019 2:41 pm

If you have computing heavy applications then the i7 is a no brainer, if you boot up and down a lot or do a lot of searches on your harddrive going through pdf files say then the SSD will win any day

Be aware that SSD seem to crash more often (at least mine does), but I love how fast I can search on my PC now, no more need to organize any files...just search for it when you need it 8-)
Everything you read in this post is my personal opinion. If you disagree with this disclaimer, please un-read the text immediately and destroy any copy or remembrance of it.

splendiferous
Posts: 17
Joined: Sun Sep 24, 2017 4:00 pm

Re: Computer speed question which computer is faster and why?

Post by splendiferous » Tue May 21, 2019 2:45 pm

I recently replaced the hard drive in my old desktop (~10 years old) with a SSD. It's like a brand new computer! (Of course starting over with a clean copy of windows probably helped too...)

NewOldGuy
Posts: 156
Joined: Mon Jul 30, 2018 12:37 am

Re: Computer speed question which computer is faster and why?

Post by NewOldGuy » Tue May 21, 2019 3:42 pm

i7 and i3 have many iterations. Here's a comparison of like chips respectively. https://cpu.userbenchmark.com/Compare/I ... 3937vsm632

SSD drives are really fast and can make booting 20-40 seconds instead of 3-5 minutes. But after the boot, you are not going to enjoy the SSD performance as much as the i7 performance.

I would opt for the faster cpu and add an SSD or just speed along without it.

rj342
Posts: 548
Joined: Tue Apr 30, 2019 12:21 pm

Re: Computer speed question which computer is faster and why?

Post by rj342 » Tue May 21, 2019 5:13 pm

FrugiWan wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 1:54 pm
The I7 SHOULD have more processing power / speed. Specifically, you'll get better performance with any / all software and programs that are run with the I7 processor as it has more processing cores and threads at its disposal. The I7 will also support more overclocking and has more cache available as well. Additionally, the SSD will also be a noticeable increase in load times over any HD you can purchase.
The i7's additional cores mostly only help if you have programs specifically written to use multiple cores, or are actively running more than one intensive programming at the same time.

GOOD COMPROMISE -- get an i5 with the SSD

Topic Author
iamblessed
Posts: 279
Joined: Sat Jun 09, 2018 11:52 am

Re: Computer speed question which computer is faster and why?

Post by iamblessed » Tue May 21, 2019 5:16 pm

Thanks everybody. I guess for everyday tasks either would do. In fact the one with ssd might win for everyday tasks. To keep the money down I was thinking about an i5 with an ssd. I just do everyday things nothing fancy. Forums and streaming radio are my big tasks.

02nz
Posts: 2366
Joined: Wed Feb 21, 2018 3:17 pm

Re: Computer speed question which computer is faster and why?

Post by 02nz » Tue May 21, 2019 5:22 pm

An SSD makes a much bigger perceived difference - especially on the tasks that take longest (starting computer, launching programs). i3/i5/i7 is more branding than anything else. Particularly on laptops, there's often little difference between i5 and i7 in the same series - e.g., between the i5-8250U and the i7-8550U - the latter is often much more expensive but adds little to no performance benefit, as both have four cores and performance is limited by thermals). The desktop i3's (e.g. i3-8100) are very capable quad-core processors.

random_walker_77
Posts: 818
Joined: Tue May 21, 2013 8:49 pm

Re: Computer speed question which computer is faster and why?

Post by random_walker_77 » Tue May 21, 2019 9:13 pm

I'm assuming both are laptops? If it's a desktop, get the i7, keep the hard drive, and throw a $50 SSD in there. Make the SSD your OS boot drive, and then just use the hard drive for storing stuff.

Quickfoot
Posts: 1166
Joined: Fri Jan 11, 2013 1:03 pm

Re: Computer speed question which computer is faster and why?

Post by Quickfoot » Tue May 21, 2019 9:53 pm

NewOldGuy wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 3:42 pm
i7 and i3 have many iterations. Here's a comparison of like chips respectively. https://cpu.userbenchmark.com/Compare/I ... 3937vsm632

SSD drives are really fast and can make booting 20-40 seconds instead of 3-5 minutes. But after the boot, you are not going to enjoy the SSD performance as much as the i7 performance.

I would opt for the faster cpu and add an SSD or just speed along without it.
That's actually not true, a modern I3 is going to more than meet the needs of the vast majority of computer users. Anything that touches the storage system (which is a lot) will be faster. For most people having an SSD will result in a computer that "feels" much faster than one with a faster CPU but a traditional hard drive. It isn't just booting up that uses storage, it's every time you launch a program and sometimes when you switch between them (depending on the amount of ram). SSD drives make computers MUCH more responsive. Launching something like photoshop or even Office can be 2-3 times faster with a SSD compared to a traditional hard drive.

The only time the I7 would be beneficial would be if you are doing CPU intensive tasks, the vast majority of computer users do NOT do CPU intensive tasks where an an I7 would outperform an I3. Video encoding and Audio encoding and compiling software are the major exceptions (which again most computer owners do NOT do).

I/O performance and adequate RAM are far more important than CPU performance at this point. Even 5 year old CPUs perform perfectly fine when combined with adequate RAM and a SSD drive.

Where SSD drives really shine is random access and high throughput, this drastically improves responsiveness and perceived performance.

User avatar
whodidntante
Posts: 6547
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2016 11:11 pm
Location: outside the echo chamber

Re: Computer speed question which computer is faster and why?

Post by whodidntante » Tue May 21, 2019 10:15 pm

If you have to ask, and didn't know enough to say what you would do with the PC, you probably want the Core i3 with an SSD. The Core i3 with an SSD is likely to be more power efficient, also.

User avatar
jabberwockOG
Posts: 1809
Joined: Thu May 28, 2015 7:23 am

Re: Computer speed question which computer is faster and why?

Post by jabberwockOG » Tue May 21, 2019 10:41 pm

iamblessed wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 5:16 pm
Thanks everybody. I guess for everyday tasks either would do. In fact the one with ssd might win for everyday tasks. To keep the money down I was thinking about an i5 with an ssd. I just do everyday things nothing fancy. Forums and streaming radio are my big tasks.
For this kind of computing the processing speeds of the two systems are identical. The system with ssd would boot faster, be easier to live with, and likely much more reliable. At this point it makes no sense for 95% of people to buy a new personal computer with a mechanical spinning HD.

Thesaints
Posts: 2876
Joined: Tue Jun 20, 2017 12:25 am

Re: Computer speed question which computer is faster and why?

Post by Thesaints » Tue May 21, 2019 10:49 pm

The two computers are not the same model, in fact they have different CPU’s
Clock speed is the same, but processing speed depends also on the bus speed, the RAM speed and the cache size.

Besides processor speed, depending on what application one is interested into, more specs assume higher or lower importance.
For graphic application the GPU comes into play.
If one has to access massive data quantities the SSD vs. HD matters.
If one uses parallel application it is the RAM size that counts.

As others have pointed out, there is not one single speed and in fact there are different benchmark tests used in the industry to highlight different performances.

ccieemeritus
Posts: 628
Joined: Thu Mar 06, 2014 10:43 pm

Re: Computer speed question which computer is faster and why?

Post by ccieemeritus » Wed May 22, 2019 12:42 am

My rule of thumb when buying a new computer (Mac) is to get more RAM but not to worry about getting the fastest CPU. CPU's today are plenty fast. As new operating system updates get released they gradually use more and more RAM. At some point the upgrade will use enough memory to trash performance.

SSD is more reliable than hard drive. The speed difference is not a big deal for typical users. Losing your pictures due to a hard drive failure is a big deal. Of course the best way to avoid losing pictures is to have backups, but it's easy to be undisciplined about backups. This is the big advantage of cloud-based photo and document repositories.

ohai
Posts: 1053
Joined: Wed Dec 27, 2017 2:10 pm

Re: Computer speed question which computer is faster and why?

Post by ohai » Wed May 22, 2019 12:55 am

The i7 computer will seem materially faster for day-to-day use, like opening a bunch of browser tabs, multiple Excel spreadsheets, or playing some sort of games. i3 might boot or load some things faster with the SSD, but most of your time is not spent on loading screens.

User avatar
MossySF
Posts: 2361
Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2007 9:51 pm
Contact:

Re: Computer speed question which computer is faster and why?

Post by MossySF » Wed May 22, 2019 1:22 am

Intel CPU lines are totally vague. Just the label Celeron/Pentium/I3/I5/I7 does not give enough info to tell you what is faster. You need to know the following:

* Architecture -- new architectures may or may not be faster than older ones
* Physical Cores -- 1 extra physical core is good general purpose usage, beyond that you need applications designed to utilize multipe cores
* Hyperthreading Cores -- these are not as good as real cores, more like 30% of a physical one
* Base GHz speed -- this is the speed you can expect your CPU to run at 99% of the time
* Turbo GHz speed -- this is the speed where your CPU might burst up to run for a brief moment before it gets too hot and then has to throttle back down

If I had to choose between a 2-core I3 that runs at 2.5GHz vs a I7 2-core+2HT 1.5ghz that might turbo up to 3.5GHz under ideal thermal conditions, I'd pick the I3 each time -- especially since the I3 in this scenario would probably be cheaper.

gtd98765
Posts: 424
Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2017 4:15 am

Re: Computer speed question which computer is faster and why?

Post by gtd98765 » Wed May 22, 2019 6:51 am

I have a six-year-old Dell laptop with an i3 processor. At one point I was thinking of replacing it, then decided to try replacing the HDD with an SSD. What a difference! Although you would think six real years is like one hundred in computer years, the thing does everything I want it to with no lag. Internet, music playing, occasional videos, word processing, spreadsheet, etc. are all perfectly fine; it now has Windows 10 too, no issues. Today's i3 chips are much faster than mine, so you should have no problem.

As someone said above, unless you are doing processor-intensive tasks like video editing or programming, you don't need an i7; I would probably extend that to an i5 as well.

Post Reply