Is it worth paying extra for i7?

cdracos

Commendable
Sep 24, 2016
2
0
1,510
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I need to purchase a new laptop and am struggling with a $300 difference. If you were purchasing a computer to use at home is it worth $300 for 8 gb memory and an i7 processor?

Cost $400
Processor: Intel® Core™ i3-6006U Processor (3M Cache, 2.00 GHz)
Operating System: Windows 10 Professional 64 - English
Display Type: 15.6" HD (1366 X 768) LED Backlight w/720p HD Camera
Memory: 8GB DDR4 2400 SoDIMM Memory
Hard Drive: 500GB, 7200RPM Serial ATA 7MM Hard Drive
Warranty: 1 Year Warranty
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 940MX
Battery: 4-cell Li-Ion Battery (41Wh)
Bluetooth: Bluetooth
Wireless: Intel Wireless-AC 8265 Bluetooth Version 4.1

Cost $700
Processor: Intel® Core™ i7-7500U Processor(4M Cache, up to 3.50 GHz )
Operating System: Windows 10 Home 64 - English
Display Type: 15.6" FHD (1920x1080) Anti-glare, IPS, LED backlight w/720P Camera
Memory: 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4 2400Mhz SoDIMM Memory
Hard Drive: 500GB, 7200RPM Serial ATA 7MM Hard Drive
Warranty: 1 Year Warranty
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M
Battery: 4-cell Li-Polymer Battery (41Whr)
Bluetooth: Bluetooth
Wireless: Intel Wireless-AC 8265 Bluetooth Version 4.1
 

I assume these are two completely different laptops, rather than the same model with different specs?

For graphics design work, search for reviews of both laptop model and "sRGB". That's a measure of the color saturation (gamut) of the screen, which is important for graphical design, photography, and video work. You want a laptop screen with 80%-100% sRGB coverage. The poorer screens will typically only cover about 50%-60% sRGB, and look very pale and washed out. Any graphics work you do on such a screen will often end up looking completely oversaturated and lurid when viewed on a monitor or TV (those are typically 100% sRGB). Make sure the review is for the same screen as the one you're getting (resolution, IPS/not IPS, touch/non-touch). It's common for the same model to have wildly different screen quality depending on what type of screen you get.

Other than that, the second laptop is much better than the first, and well worth the extra $300 IMHO. In particular, the screen is IPS, meaning the colors will not shift as you tilt the screen or move your head around. This too is crucial for graphics work. And I consider 1366x768 an unacceptably low resolution for a 15.6" screen (unless you're like 70 years old and need huge icons and text).

In this case the i7 is substantially better because the i3 does not turbo boost. In other words, the i3 runs at a max 2 GHz, while the i7 can clock up to 3.5 GHz. The difference is not as pronounced between an i5 and i7, but between an i3 and i7, go with the i7.

The extra RAM might be useful if you're editing huge files in Photoshop. But if you check task manager and regularly find yourself using 8 GB or less, you may want to just remove the extra 8GB module and sell it on eBay. They're currently going for $60-$100, which would make back a fair chunk of the price difference.
 

TJ Hooker

Honorable
Apr 15, 2014
199
0
10,710
44
What do you plan on using it for? Is there a reason you want a laptop in particular, or would a desktop work as well?

For the $300 you get a better CPU, twice the RAM, better display, and a slightly better GPU.
 

cdracos

Commendable
Sep 24, 2016
2
0
1,510
0


I'd like a laptop because I can move between rooms as I do homework with the kids. I'd also like to return to graphic design work and didn't know if putting the $ upfront now is worth the investment.
 

jaguarskx

Champion
Moderator
The more expensive laptop also has a more powerful GPU, the GTX 950m (vs the 940mx) and a 1080p screen (vs. a 1366x768 screen).

Overall, it is worth the extra $300 in my opinion. First of all, 1366x768 resolution is too low for my taste, 1080p is perfect for me on a 15.6" screen. For websites that lets you customize laptops...

- Going from a 1366x768 to a 1080p resolution screen is generally $50 - $75. But it could be more if the 1080p screen is of high quality.
- 8GB of RAM is typically around $120 to $140, though purchasing you own 8GB DDR4 RAM and installing it yourself should cost about $90.
- There is no direct upgrade for a 940mx to a GTX 950m because they are soldered into the motherboard, but I would say the price difference would be around $60 to $75.
- Upgrading from a Core i3 to a Core i7 by itself is usually at least $200.
 

geofelt

Distinguished
Oct 9, 2006
647
0
19,910
187
If you are interested in graphics design, the first criteria would be a top end display.
Not only do you get better resolution with #2, but you also will get a better image with an IPS panel.

As to the rest of the specs, the processors available today will be fine unless you are doing cpu intensive work.
Your need does not seem to warrant a top cpu.

When you buy a laptop, they will charge you a price premium for extra ram or a ssd.
My usual plan is to buy with minimal ram and hard drive.
I plan on replacing the hard drive with a ssd which makes all the difference in the world is everyday performance.

If you will paly fast action games, pay extra for a discrete graphics chip.
Otherwise, stock integrated graphics is fine for everyday use and HD movie playback.

If you have other options, look for a blend of features.
Otherwise #2 would be the pick, based on the display.

 

I assume these are two completely different laptops, rather than the same model with different specs?

For graphics design work, search for reviews of both laptop model and "sRGB". That's a measure of the color saturation (gamut) of the screen, which is important for graphical design, photography, and video work. You want a laptop screen with 80%-100% sRGB coverage. The poorer screens will typically only cover about 50%-60% sRGB, and look very pale and washed out. Any graphics work you do on such a screen will often end up looking completely oversaturated and lurid when viewed on a monitor or TV (those are typically 100% sRGB). Make sure the review is for the same screen as the one you're getting (resolution, IPS/not IPS, touch/non-touch). It's common for the same model to have wildly different screen quality depending on what type of screen you get.

Other than that, the second laptop is much better than the first, and well worth the extra $300 IMHO. In particular, the screen is IPS, meaning the colors will not shift as you tilt the screen or move your head around. This too is crucial for graphics work. And I consider 1366x768 an unacceptably low resolution for a 15.6" screen (unless you're like 70 years old and need huge icons and text).

In this case the i7 is substantially better because the i3 does not turbo boost. In other words, the i3 runs at a max 2 GHz, while the i7 can clock up to 3.5 GHz. The difference is not as pronounced between an i5 and i7, but between an i3 and i7, go with the i7.

The extra RAM might be useful if you're editing huge files in Photoshop. But if you check task manager and regularly find yourself using 8 GB or less, you may want to just remove the extra 8GB module and sell it on eBay. They're currently going for $60-$100, which would make back a fair chunk of the price difference.
 
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