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new laptop - I need to decode the world of processors

(23 Posts)
ristretto Mon 17-Oct-11 18:10:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

niceguy2 Mon 17-Oct-11 19:06:22

Technically speaking the i3 is the most up to date processor. That said there's barely any difference nowadays for most people.

It's a bit like saying you can have a 1.5d engine, a 1.5td engine or a 1.6tdci engine in a car. To most people you put your foot on the right pedal and go.

Much more important nowadays is the amount of RAM. Always go for more RAM than more CPU if its the same price.

TechnoViking Tue 18-Oct-11 18:04:52

Bear in mind which OS is on the laptop. If Windows 7 or Vista, the standard 32 bit version can only read upto 3GB of RAM. Any more than that and you're paying for RAM that, effectively, won't be used.
If the OS is 64bit (which can see 4GB plus) it will say so, if it doesn't say then it's 32bit.

PC World and the like are very good at flogging you laptops with 4, 5 or 6GB of RAM and only Windows 7 32bit. Of course you take it back and pay for the "tech guys warranty", so you get doubly ripped off.

BadgersPaws Tue 18-Oct-11 18:29:48

"If Windows 7 or Vista, the standard 32 bit version can only read upto 3GB of RAM. Any more than that and you're paying for RAM that, effectively, won't be used."

No 32 bit Windows 7 and Vista will work with up to 4GB of RAM.

So 4GB of RAM is worth having in a 32 bit Windows machine, but above that you're absolutely right in that you need 64 bit to use it.

Metal Tue 18-Oct-11 21:55:41

My understanding is that 32 bit will only use around 3.3 GB from 4 GB RAM due to being unable to give addresses to most of the extra GB.

So without fiddling with the computer, the average user will see effectively no benefit from 4 GB over 3 GB with 32 bit.

I've seen laptops with 4 GB RAM and 32 bit windows which claim to have "4 GB (3 GB usable)" of RAM in system info.

BadgersPaws Tue 18-Oct-11 23:49:35

"My understanding is that 32 bit will only use around 3.3 GB from 4 GB RAM due to being unable to give addresses to most of the extra GB."

I think it's going to be somewhere between 3.2 and 3.5GB that you'll see depending on your hardware and version of Windows.

"the average user will see effectively no benefit from 4 GB over 3 GB with 32 bit"

Well you'll see an extra 0.2GB to an extra 0.5GB of memory when plugging in that extra GB, and given how important memory is to a Windows machine I don't believe that that's to be sniffed at and I'd call that a benefit.

"I've seen laptops with 4 GB RAM and 32 bit windows which claim to have "4 GB (3 GB usable)" of RAM in system info."

That was a patch from Microsoft, I forget which one. Once memory began to get cheaper people began to get very confused when after plugging 4GB in they were told that they had less than that. So it was an attempt to clear the issue up.

CointreauVersial Tue 18-Oct-11 23:55:47

Whoah! Battle of the techies! wink

Interesting, though, as I am also in the market for a new laptop.

TechnoViking Wed 19-Oct-11 14:55:54

Haha whole paragraphs that say "yes 4GB is a waste of money".

It doesn't take much to get the willy waving started, does it?

BadgersPaws Wed 19-Oct-11 15:12:51

'Haha whole paragraphs that say "yes 4GB is a waste of money".'

But my point is that it's not a waste of money, you do get access to some of it, and the more memory the better in my opinion.

To imply that selling a 32 bit OS with 4GB is ripping someone off is just wrong.

However if anyone is selling more than that with a 32 bit OS then I'd welcome them being punished, computer shops misleading the public and not having a clue about what they're selling is a personal bug bear.

TechnoViking Wed 19-Oct-11 15:15:02

Simpler to avoid these stores completely. They sold a laptop running Vista and only 512MB RAM. So basically they are lying thieving bastards.

Oh and, this is the internet. If someone's not arguing, then the internet is broken.

BadgersPaws Wed 19-Oct-11 15:23:37

"They sold a laptop running Vista and only 512MB RAM. So basically they are lying thieving bastards."

I agree with you completely there.

"Oh and, this is the internet. If someone's not arguing, then the internet is broken."

xkcd.com/386/

TechnoViking Wed 19-Oct-11 15:26:37

[Grin]

Metal Wed 19-Oct-11 17:04:12

Limitations of 4GB on 32bits are definitely worth raising when someone is buying a new laptop; especially if they ask if it's worth getting 4GB over 3GB.

I'd still say it's something of a rip off if customers are buying 4GB thinking they'll get an extra 1GB's worth in real terms, but end up getting an extra 0.2-5GB. They need the above info to make informed decisions as the stores won't be giving it.

TechnoViking Wed 19-Oct-11 17:06:35

That's my real bugbear. These stores prey on customers who have little or no knowledge.

ArtyFartyPants Wed 19-Oct-11 17:24:32

In terms on RAM it really comes down to what you will be using your laptop for? If it's just general Internet, music etc then 3GB is fine. Anything like editing photos, video's, playing games etc a 4GB or higher would be needing operating on 64bit. I find that AMD HD Processors are better then the intel. Memory you can buy separately i.e external hard drives. I save my memory on my laptop for just programs etc and it generally runs and performs faster that way.

BadgersPaws Wed 19-Oct-11 17:36:13

"I'd still say it's something of a rip off if customers are buying 4GB thinking they'll get an extra 1GB's worth in real terms, but end up getting an extra 0.2-5GB."

Fair point. I still think that that extra memory is well worth having, but yes people should be told about it.

"These stores prey on customers who have little or no knowledge."

Unfortunately the staff themselves often have little or no knowledge of what they're selling. When questioned rather than admit "I don't know" they've gotten quite used to just making something up and not being called out about it.

Not good.

TechnoViking Wed 19-Oct-11 17:37:31

Exactly badgers. Surely it's the retailers responsibility to train their staff so customers can be sold what they need, rather than just any old crap?

mranchovy Wed 19-Oct-11 18:33:17

It's all a bit academic really - if you really want to buy from PC World (and there is no reason why not as long as you know exactly what you want and ignore all of their cross- and up-selling) look at [http://www.pcworld.co.uk/gbuk/acer-aspire-5750-15-6-laptop-blue-10783802-pdt.html this]].

4GB and a 64bit OS to use it all, Core i3 (substantially faster in the real world than Dual Core), great keyboards with numeric pads on the 15.6" Acers and within your budget.

TechnoViking Wed 19-Oct-11 18:36:47

Or say bugger it and get a Mac grin

mranchovy Wed 19-Oct-11 19:30:56

For £400?

ristretto Mon 24-Oct-11 08:59:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

niceguy2 Mon 24-Oct-11 10:34:09

Hmm, tough one. I guess it depends on how much the extra £100 would hurt you.

The processor is definitely better on the Acer. In addition I'm not a big fan of Fujitsu laptops but I'm a bit biased after my mates broke and it was a shocking machine given what he paid for it.

Lastly there is a certain value to be placed on getting your laptop from a bricks & mortar shop, where you can take it back and shout at someone if it blows up after a few weeks rather than some faceless call centre who don't give a toss. Amazon is probably the exception but BT.........their call centres are the worst!

But like I say, £100 is not to be sniffed at.

JeffTracy Tue 25-Oct-11 11:53:55

I bought something like **this** a couple of months ago for a new uni student. You'll notice it comes with a 64bit version of Windows. The one I got only had 3gb of memory but if you want to upgrade above 4gb then its nice to know the operating system is up to the job.

This one (and the one we got) is a Core i3 and it was impressively fast and of course the processor is not really upgradeable but the memory definitely is (up to 8gb on this one), so I tend to go for the best processor and hope I can afford to upgrade the memory upgrade later.

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