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Hardware Thread, Is there a place for i5/i7 in schools? in Technical; Hi all, I was just wondering if anyone on here has been able to justify buying PCs in their schools ...
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    jamesfed's Avatar
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    Is there a place for i5/i7 in schools?

    Hi all,

    I was just wondering if anyone on here has been able to justify buying PCs in their schools the Intel i5/i7 or AMD Phenom II processors?

    Not that I'm looking into getting any (Atom/Athlon II works fine here!) I'm merely looking for some insights especially now that RM are trying to tout i5 in their models.

    Personally I consider these processors to be designed for gaming and that money could be better spent on higher speed RAM (and similar).

    Thanks,
    James

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    People asked the same question about Quad Cores etc.

    The reality is that as demands increase (media, etc) equipment demands will grow also.

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    jamesfed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kmount View Post
    People asked the same question about Quad Cores etc.

    The reality is that as demands increase (media, etc) equipment demands will grow also.
    Good point - its just that I've never seen Photoshop (CS2) max out an Athlon II 240 (which I use as my CPU) and even Windows Live Movie Maker (running Windows 7) has a hard time of taking too long to encode the amount of HD video that the kids could ever be using.

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    Yes, in specialised areas where the extra grunt will be used.

    Bear in mind that you can do quite a lot with something heavy like Solidworks before you need more than a low-end core2 and integrated graphics.

    They normally run out of ram before they hit cpu limitations.

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    teejay's Avatar
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    There is also the power consumption to consider, the i5/7 consume far less power and run cooler than the older processors.

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    It isn't about buying stuff to match what we do now, its about buying stuff that'll still be working efficiently in 3 - 5 years time. Can you safely say that non-i5/Phenom II processors will handle everything that's asked of them in 4 years time?

    I bought Core 2 Duo 2.1Ghz processor machines 3 years ago, with 2GB RAM thinking they'd last at least 4 years. True, they are lasting, but they are starting to crawl a little.

    And maxing out an i7 is easy. Get Photoshop open, and do some batch processing.

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    jamesfed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by teejay View Post
    There is also the power consumption to consider, the i5/7 consume far less power and run cooler than the older processors.
    Too true - power consumption is always something I like to try and be mindful of - its more a thing of would Atom/Athlon/i3 be more sutible for a 'standard' school PC?

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    I hear what you're saying but "amount of HD video that the kids could ever be using" is what will change, I remember when Powerpoint was enough, then came Illuminatus, Opus, each increasing the demand and pushing the bar from the previous. The role of computing in the wider world will help drive the requirements within the education system too. Imagine what is going to happen with the Project Natal (kinetic or whatever it is now) coming out, you can imagine a PC-esque version coming along that will need some horse power.

    It won't be long (it might already be here!) before some shiny new app comes along specifically designed to run optimised on that cpu family and once the curriculum gets hold of it things will change.

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    ZeroHour's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    It isn't about buying stuff to match what we do now, its about buying stuff that'll still be working efficiently in 3 - 5 years time. Can you safely say that non-i5/Phenom II processors will handle everything that's asked of them in 4 years time?

    I bought Core 2 Duo 2.1Ghz processor machines 3 years ago, with 2GB RAM thinking they'd last at least 4 years. True, they are lasting, but they are starting to crawl a little.

    And maxing out an i7 is easy. Get Photoshop open, and do some batch processing.
    Pretty much what localz says, depending on your refurb cycle you have to ask will those pc's be fit for use in their last year of use or will it be a crawl.
    We are buying i5's this year but our refurb is 5-6 years.

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    jamesfed's Avatar
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    Certainly going to be an interesting future - again were not looking at replacement PCs right now (and even if we were I think we'd be going thin client at the moment) but it’s an interesting discussion.

    One thing I was thinking about is how dual cores have been around for quite some time (since Windows XP) and here we are with Windows 7 and they still run great - will Windows 8 be any different? Especially if the use of graphics card acceleration gets more entangled into computer software design.

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    Strangely, our new Head of Art just requested the following PC:

    Athlon (Quad Core) 955 Phenom II
    Performance Power Supply
    Case with good Cooling - tower case
    Graphics, ATI top-end HD series 1 gig card
    Sata II hard drive fast spin speed or SCII hard drive
    26" Iiyama top-end monitor

    Up until now, we only have one workstation in the school with a quad core CPU *cough* mine *cough* but this machine blows this one out of the water. The stupid thing is that I have no idea what he wants it for yet. I sincerely doubt he needs something this powerful.

    At the other end of the scale, we've also just bought an Acer Revo 3160 for one our accountants which was £200. Fantastic for what she uses it for.

    The rest of our machines are mostly Pentium 4's, (some of which have hyper threading!) and Athlon 64's. We've slowly replaced some of the older ones with Pentium Dual cores, which again are cheap and get the job done. We consider these to last at least 4 years, barring component failure.

    I would consider replacing our existing IT suites with Core i5's as the machines in there haven't changed in 5 years and are starting to chug. As ZeroHour said, it depends on the refurb cycle and what they're going to be used for. Generally, in our case anyway, more RAM will help speed up a machine more than a multi-core system would.

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    Ric_'s Avatar
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    We have 2 i7 workstatiosn but you can guess where they are ;-) (they were bought specifically for virtualisation though)

    I buy a lot of used kit and currently find Core2 (dual and quad) and dual Xeon is powerful enough for anything.

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    We bought a bunch of Phenom II quad core machines for Technology last year (which I built from parts to save costs), as SolidWorks is pretty intensive. Otherwise, it's Athlons and Pentium Dual Cores here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by skell View Post
    Strangely, our new Head of Art just requested the following PC:

    Athlon (Quad Core) 955 Phenom II
    Performance Power Supply
    Case with good Cooling - tower case
    Graphics, ATI top-end HD series 1 gig card
    Sata II hard drive fast spin speed or SCII hard drive
    26" Iiyama top-end monitor

    Up until now, we only have one workstation in the school with a quad core CPU *cough* mine *cough* but this machine blows this one out of the water. The stupid thing is that I have no idea what he wants it for yet. I sincerely doubt he needs something this powerful.
    That would be rejected here, staff cant come with specs, only with tasks the pc is required to perform. We decide what is the best spec for the job.
    Does he happen to have local admin rights?

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    He hasn't even started yet! I too am not keen on staff laying out specs to me, especially when he got them from his "teccy" friend (his words). I want to find out what he wants it for, then suggest a resonable spec.



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