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Hardware Thread, New PCs... i3 or i5? in Technical; Just speccing up some new PCs to replace a few ageing Athlon64 boxes, at the moment the first few have ...
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    gshaw's Avatar
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    New PCs... i3 or i5?

    Just speccing up some new PCs to replace a few ageing Athlon64 boxes, at the moment the first few have been i3-based although I'm balancing out whether to go up to i5 and future proof them or if and i3 these days is enough for day-to-day use.

    Anyone using either and your thoughts? According to CPU charts either will be a quite a jump forward over the E7400 \ E8400s we bought last year and the year before which are running nicely

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    mrbios's Avatar
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    Pentium G620Ts! or if you really need something faster for a few more get the 850s

    Use the money saved on getting MUCH cheaper processors on putting SSDs in, trust me you'll notice a huge difference! (see my thread in this same section)

    No reason to get i3s and above unless you're using them for media editing work.

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    Millgate's Avatar
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    I think i3's will be more than enough to be honest.

    It's what most of my schools have gone for. I'd only get i5 if you needed the extra performance but for day to day tasks, it might be overkill.

    Cheers

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    It depends on how often you replace your machines - are these going to be 3 year life machines? 5 years?

    If the latter, I'd hedge my bets and put i5's in. The i3 2120 is, what 95 ex Vat. The i5 2300 is 125, so 30 a machine more for a significantly better processor (PassMark score of 5489 compared to 3960).

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    gshaw's Avatar
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    Usually 4-5 years (warranty is 5yr on pretty much all our machines)

    Usually I do tend towards the higher spec kit for that exact reason, I guess every time the new generations of CPUs come out I wonder if the price \ performance ratio changes but it tends to work the same way just the names change

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    mrbios's Avatar
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    i5s are a total waste of money >_<

    5 years or not what you need to ask yourself is what software will you be using on them to warrant the requirement? Look at the E2180 processors, now 4 years old and they can still do anything a student is likely to use it for (bar media editing) they were at the time the low end of the core2 scale, don't both chucking your funds away on i5s as you'll only be wasting tax payer money.

    I can't stress enough how over kill they would be for 95% of the jobs they'll be doing, if you do get them then please please please use them for windows multipoint servers or something as for an individual machine that is going to spend a large proportion of it's time sucking up electricity it's a complete.

    Disclaimer: none of the above is valid if you're entending them to be used as proper media editing pcs....and i don't mean tack like WMM

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrbios View Post
    i5s are a total waste of money >_<

    5 years or not what you need to ask yourself is what software will you be using on them to warrant the requirement? Look at the E2180 processors, now 4 years old and they can still do anything a student is likely to use it for (bar media editing) they were at the time the low end of the core2 scale, don't both chucking your funds away on i5s as you'll only be wasting tax payer money.

    I can't stress enough how over kill they would be for 95% of the jobs they'll be doing, if you do get them then please please please use them for windows multipoint servers or something as for an individual machine that is going to spend a large proportion of it's time sucking up electricity it's a complete.

    Disclaimer: none of the above is valid if you're entending them to be used as proper media editing pcs....and i don't mean tack like WMM
    It really depends on their usage, yes. Some schools have rooms dedicated to specific tasks like media editing, but if the school is like ours then basically all machines have to be capable of everything. Sure, they're overkill for 95% of tasks, but when a teacher turns up with their class wanting to do something in that 5% and you didn't buy the better processors (which, let's face it in a room of, say, 35 machines is a grand difference in cost, which over the life of the machines is 200 a year, which is nothing really), you'd be on the receiving end of questions as to why the machines can't do the task.

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    mrbios's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    It really depends on their usage, yes. Some schools have rooms dedicated to specific tasks like media editing, but if the school is like ours then basically all machines have to be capable of everything. Sure, they're overkill for 95% of tasks, but when a teacher turns up with their class wanting to do something in that 5% and you didn't buy the better processors (which, let's face it in a room of, say, 35 machines is a grand difference in cost, which over the life of the machines is 200 a year, which is nothing really), you'd be on the receiving end of questions as to why the machines can't do the task.
    In that case no one should ever be asking for advice on what CPUs to buy as it should always be down to their particular situation and use, a better solution than making the whole school media able would be to have a dedicated room or two that staff work their rotas around moving in to depending on the tasks in which they intend to use. It's ludicrous to be spending 1000s on faster processors "just in case"

    I'd personally prefer to save the 100 per processor and the huge electric costs over catering for that 5%, afterall the G620s i've just got a bulk load of will do the other 5% for 5 years, just not as quickly, that's no great loss for the sheer size of the savings.

    To be honest i'm also willing to bet you'd notice a larger improvement in 5 years time investing in solid state drives over the more expensive processors.

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    Am I right in thinking that the i5s only come in a quad core configuration in their desktop form? The question that you need to ask yourself is: Will you need quad core machines for your average desktop?

    I can say that this college has been buying i3s for the past two years and we expect our desktops to last for four years. I don't really see the need for quad core machines when the average user will do nothing but run Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Internet Explorer and maybe a little light photoshop work. Any subject that does need a bit more grunt gets a machine specified for their needs (e.g. the media studies department get Macs because they've based their curriculum around Final Cut Studio). It might be "only" a 30 difference but that's 30 per machine and even if you're only upgrading a single room of 30 machines that's still 900 more!
    Last edited by Norphy; 3rd August 2011 at 12:58 PM. Reason: me english speak good!

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrbios View Post
    In that case no one should ever be asking for advice on what CPUs to buy as it should always be down to their particular situation and use, a better solution than making the whole school media able would be to have a dedicated room or two that staff work their rotas around moving in to depending on the tasks in which they intend to use. It's ludicrous to be spending 1000s on faster processors "just in case"

    I'd personally prefer to save the 100 per processor and the huge electric costs over catering for that 5%, afterall the G620s i've just got a bulk load of will do the other 5% for 5 years, just not as quickly, that's no great loss for the sheer size of the savings.

    To be honest i'm also willing to bet you'd notice a larger improvement in 5 years time investing in solid state drives over the more expensive processors.
    It depends on size of school too, and the age range. If you're like our school, then your comment that its ludicrous is itself ludicrous - we have 600 kids age 9 - 13, and have 2 suites with full fat clients in. We can't afford a suite dedicated to a specific task, so we make sure all our machines are that bit better than 'normal' and then they can all do those tasks. And yes, every single situation IS different, and should be looked at according to its individual needs.

    You say 'huge electricity costs', but the G620 is rated at 65W max, and the i5 2300 is rated at 95W max, neither of which will be used during normal operation unless being used fully.

    Also, 100 per processor savings is stretching it. The cheapest i3 comes in at about 77 ex vat, the G620 at about 45. Sure the i5 comes in at 113 (using ebuyer prices). So, you're talking 30 - 70 saving at most, with the potential that your machines won't handle the load towards the end of their live, which I wouldn't be happy with here. As I've said before, we have Core 2 Duo's here which are now slow for what we use them for.

    Looking at SSDs is also an important aspect though now, as it will improve speeds too.

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    You can't afford a dedicated room? yet you can afford to make the rest of the school better? Why not make the dedicated room the same as your better spec but make the rest of a cheaper variety. Most schools will find there are huge performance gains to be had from simply setting their networks up properly rather than going down the route of "bigger is better" (SAS drives in storage is one example, a total waste of money)

    The G620T is 35w - Lower heat output combination of SSDs + these lower power processors = no need for air con in larger IT rooms.

    And that's 30-70 per machine, times that by 30 and you're taking about anywhere in the region of 900 - 2100 per classroom, that's quite a leap!

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    2400 every 5 years per suite, or, an entire suite extra every 5 years, at a cost of what? 5 times that? Plus an extra room to put it in. If that dedicated suite were also then allowed to be used for general things, how would we then deal with the inevitable arguments when one teacher books it for their class for 'normal' stuff, but another needs it for video editing? What you're suggesting is that we just have one suite capable of video editing, which from a financial angle sounds great, but from a practical 'day to day' angle would be a nightmare in such a small school.

    Considering the 2 suites we last updated had machines that cost us around 700 each in them (including the security brackets) (all in one, as that was the only way to fit 35 machines in the rooms at that time), 2400 is a small amount in the scheme of things.

    Also, you build your own machines - many of us don't, don't want to or are specifically not allowed to.

    I won't comment on the SAS comment either - as that is plainly misguided, as once again it depends on the situation. Our terminal servers have SAS drives, as they need more IOPs etc... Tool for the job.

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    glennda's Avatar
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    Personally I would Go with I3's and SSD's

    SSD's you will notice the improvement over greater processing power

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    gshaw's Avatar
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    If they're quads it's probably overkill; we went for E8400s for our main IT suites and digital photography studio as editing large RAW files can give the boxes a good workout

    The last batch for staff PCs were eco Lenovo models, E7400 was a nice mix of performance and price which would probably translate to the i3... if i5 is quad only that would be overkill for general-use machines. Can't say any of our Core2's feel sluggish, only the older Athlon64 machines are feeling the pace as they're single core.

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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    I won't comment on the SAS comment either - as that is plainly misguided, as once again it depends on the situation. Our terminal servers have SAS drives, as they need more IOPs etc... Tool for the job.
    No it isn't misguided it's actually a very well informed comment. If you actually sat down and watched the performance via some form of monitoring rather than just looking at numbers you'd see exactly why i'm right.

    You see too many people here look at the figures stated on devices and not the actual performance figures during use, it's quite astounding really how little people know about what their equipment is actually doing. I'm not going to argue this any further, i've watched on these forums for a long time and it is increasingly frustrating how people have misguided opinions of the performance of everything from processors to network connections, if i went by the recommendations of people on here i'd no doubt have a server rack full of equipment that costs thousands of pounds, instead i've been guided by someone else, someone who knows the ins and outs in far more depth than most if not anyone on these forums (i shant name him) and if you just look at the facts you'll accept i'm right.

    Then again a lot of people here are more like teachers than they realise, they'll never accept when they're wrong.

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