Dual Core vs. Quad Core Mobile Skylake

TechyInAZ

Admirable
Moderator
I'm currently looking for a laptop for my Nana. I've been able to narrow it down a bit, but I can't decided between dual core and quad core.

The problem is, there are hardly any quad core i7 laptops w/ SSDs that are below $900. Which is making me wonder if the dual core i5s and i7s are fast enough. I've been looking on the web for an answer but haven't found a good one yet.

She will be doing emailing and browsing the web. However I'd like to get her something a bit faster than she needs so it's more future proof and can run well if she runs a slightly more demanding application (like the Google Earth app).

Thanks,
 
The problem with quad core in a laptop is that they run hot. They have a TDP of 45 Watts vs 15 Watts for most of the dual cores. So the manufacturer needs to put in a much bigger fan and heatsink. Since they're going to the trouble (and space) to do that, they figure they might as well add lots of other high-end features, which ramps up the price. The higher power consumption also means shorter battery life. Most are in the 2-5 hour range, compared to 6-10 hours for the dual cores (there are a few exceptions, usually accomplished by using a huge battery).

So I'm not really sure this trade-off is worth it for your grandma. Most people are happier with a laptop with longer battery life, that stays cooler on their lap (when they're using it on the sofa instead of at the desk), and is typically smaller and lighter. Especially if all she's doing is email/browsing. Google Earth depends more on the GPU, and the CPU only has one of those regardless of whether it's a dual core or a quad core. All those are tasks which can be suitably performed by a dual core. The people who go with quad cores are usually into gaming, video rendering, programming, or other heavy processing like scientific applications, or do a lot of multitasking. I doubt your grandma falls into these categories, so a dual core would likely better fit her needs.

In the event you do decide on a quad core, Intel makes quad core mobile i5s now. They're labeled as i5-xxxxHQ (the Q at the end is for quad), and laptops which use it usually cost about $100+ less than the equivalent i7 quad model.
 
The problem with quad core in a laptop is that they run hot. They have a TDP of 45 Watts vs 15 Watts for most of the dual cores. So the manufacturer needs to put in a much bigger fan and heatsink. Since they're going to the trouble (and space) to do that, they figure they might as well add lots of other high-end features, which ramps up the price. The higher power consumption also means shorter battery life. Most are in the 2-5 hour range, compared to 6-10 hours for the dual cores (there are a few exceptions, usually accomplished by using a huge battery).

So I'm not really sure this trade-off is worth it for your grandma. Most people are happier with a laptop with longer battery life, that stays cooler on their lap (when they're using it on the sofa instead of at the desk), and is typically smaller and lighter. Especially if all she's doing is email/browsing. Google Earth depends more on the GPU, and the CPU only has one of those regardless of whether it's a dual core or a quad core. All those are tasks which can be suitably performed by a dual core. The people who go with quad cores are usually into gaming, video rendering, programming, or other heavy processing like scientific applications, or do a lot of multitasking. I doubt your grandma falls into these categories, so a dual core would likely better fit her needs.

In the event you do decide on a quad core, Intel makes quad core mobile i5s now. They're labeled as i5-xxxxHQ (the Q at the end is for quad), and laptops which use it usually cost about $100+ less than the equivalent i7 quad model.
 

TechyInAZ

Admirable
Moderator
Thank you both. That certainly helps a ton and explains why dual cores are still so prevalent.

That HP pavilion looks really nice, I might consider that. But I'll have to see if my nana wants a slim and light ultrabook.
 
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