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I am looking at buying a laptop for uni. Most of uni stuff won't need very good specs but I also want to play a few games on it. The laptop I am looking at has a choice of Intel Core i7-7500U 2.7GHz or Intel Core i5-7200U 2.5GHz processors.

It costs £50 more for the i7, so my question is it worth it, and also if the newest intel processors are worth getting (I believe the 2 listed above were released in autumn 2016, and there have been more released earlier this year- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel_Core).

  • Could you provide a link to both computer models so I can compare them? Usually performance isn't down to processor alone. – Edward Nunn Aug 22 '17 at 19:46
  • I was comparing two laptops which are indentical apart from the processer as far as I can make out. Here are the links: tinyurl.com/y9rs32km and tinyurl.com/y84lvet4 – Questioner Aug 22 '17 at 21:08
  • If you want to play games on your laptop, I would focus more on getting a good graphics card as that is more likely to be the bottleneck. Specifically aim for something with a solid dedicated graphics card. – Bennett Yeo Aug 23 '17 at 3:20
  • @BennettYeo How easy is it to add a separate graphics card to a laptop after purchase? – Questioner Aug 23 '17 at 9:41
  • You can't add a graphics card to your laptop without totally replacing the motherboard, which comes with the CPU preinstalled by the way. Very expensive. – Edward Nunn Aug 23 '17 at 16:10
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In general if you can afford the £50 more and it doesn't hurt much then you're going to get this much more performance, or let's say £25 worth more performance if you want to be a bit more critical about Intel's pricing model.

Here is a comparison of both models on Intel's site: https://ark.intel.com/en/compare/95443,95451

There is just a difference in clock speed, but if you have workloads where a little extra performance matters and you can process more data in the same mount of time or get work done a tad quicker then that may be worth £50 and depending on the maker and model the resale value may be a bit higher (well, I doubt it is in this case, I was thinking of Macs, ProBooks and Thinkpads). It won't make a notable difference with regards to gaming, authoring office/tex documents or compiling typical student programming projects. Workloads like complex/slow video/image analysis and encoding or compiling lots of big software projects (like a lot of Linux packages from source) will benefit a bit.

The chassis looks fine from what I can tell, there should be little risk that the faster processor overheats and becomes slower than the other chip as has happened on some bad (ultrabook) designs in the past.

If you are looking for the best performance and you can wait a little longer than you may want to look for the recently announced Intel 8000 series processors. The iGPU was re-branded from HD to UHD but is mostly the same (expect only very tiny refinements, if at all) but all of the announced models have 4 cores and 8 threads instead of 2 cores and 4 threads as the i5/i7-7000 series mobile processors have. But you will have to wait a few weeks or probably months for these to be available in updated products and the initial prices will be higher than these offers for a while.

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  • Thanks for that, I hadn't realised how much of a laptop's cost is made up by the processor either! Is about half the cost of my laptop. – Questioner Aug 23 '17 at 9:30

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