Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Intel's iSeries Processors i3, i5, i7 What's the difference and where are we going?

Intel's iSeries Processors i3, i5, i7 What's the difference and where are we going?



Where have we been?


To understand where we are and why we need to know where we came from so a quick summary of Intel processor history. Back in about 2006, Intel produced the Intel Pentium M processor, which's designed was based on the Pentium III. The Pentium M was a low power consuming, fast and efficient processor designed for laptops. The new chip designed also shortened the stages (instruction length)to 12-14 from 31 in the Pentium D there by out performing the Pentium D in most applications dispite the MHz Myth.


Where we are.


The i3, i5 and i7 LGA1156 is NOT Nehalem, it's Westmere a different architecture. i7 LGA1366 is Nehalem and has the memory controller on the processor is a nice neat package. The LGA 1156 boots the memory controller off the die. The memory controller works very similar to the P45/X48 Chipsets only the i series hasn't been optimized for channeling the memory that way. This affects how much though put the memory bandwidth uses (or how fast it is). The memory bandwidth is has increased it just hasn't increased as much as we would like considering what we seen on performance with the i7 LGA1366.











i3 Processors


i3 5xx


Dual Core Processors. They have hypertreading and an integrated GPU, but no integrated memory controller, and no automatic overclocking feature.


Popular i35xx


i3 550 (Believed to be in iMac)


i3 540 (Believed to be in iMac)


i3 530



i5 Processors


i5 56xx


Dual Core Processors. They have hypertreading and an integrated GPU, but no integrated memory controller, and no automatic overclocking feature.


Popular i56xx


i5 650


i5 57x


Quad Core Processors. They have an automatic overclocking feature and a direct 16x PCI Express lane into the CPU. No hyperthreading and no integrated memory controller and no integrated graphics.


Popular i5 57x


i5 750 (Believed to be in iMac)


i5 760 (Believed to be in iMac)



i7 Processors


i7 8xx


Quad Core processors. They have hyperthreading, and a direct 16x PCI Express lane into the CPU, and a automatic overclocking feature. No integrated memory controller.


Popular i7 8xx


i7 870 (Believed to be used in high end iMac)


i7 9xx


Quad Core processors. Has all features.


Popular i7 9xx


i7 920


i7 930


i7 960




Sysmark 2007 Overall



Sysmark 2007 Video Creation



Sysmark 2007 productivity



Sysmark 2007 3D



CS4 Benchmark



DivX with Xmpeg



x264 Encode 720p



Cinebench R10 Single Thread



Cinebench R10 Multi Threaded



7zip



Sonar8 Multitrack audio export




Sources:


http://www.anandtech.com


http://www.intel.com



Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Why Apple should be using AMD in their consumer level products.

Well there here; the new iMac line up and how disappointing. I have several issues with the new iMac and I think it has to do with Intel more then it has to do with Apple even though the Apple/Intel relationship has something to do with the issue as well. For a minute let's pretend that the i3 and i5 Processors aren't a huge rip off for the consumer and that all the great technology that is in the Nehalem chip (i7) is in these processors, then everything would be rosy. The reality is if you think your getting everything in Nehalem think again. The i3 and i5* processors are dual processor chips with a integrated graphics chip in the processor instead of the integrated memory controller which is what made Nehalem the processor everyone wanted. Much like the days of the Pentium D, Intel is on a huge marketing spree to (in my opinion) sell us consumers sub prime processors. Having a Core2 Quad and a Core2 Duo, I have nothing against Intel when they come out with a great product. The Core2 Processor is a great product; the i7 (Socket 1366) is a great product. The i7 on 1156 is a mediocre product, and the i3 and i5 are in my opinion not worth the money. Usually when you buy a Mac, if you were to buy EQUIVALENT HARDWARE, you would get an equivlant price on the PC you get either the same price or the PC is more expensive. This is not the case anymore.

According to CPU Benchmark and the following benchmarks Apple could be putting in much better processors for the same price if they would switch vendors for their iMac's and Mac Mini line. With the exception of the 1156 Socket Pentium you can't get much lower then an i3 processor. It is the "Celeron" of these new series processors. Intel has a huge selection of processors to choose from but Apple went with pretty much bottom of the barrel and I for one am not impressed.

So if Apple went with a Phenom II X4 925 they would be giving consumers Quad Core Processors with decent performance and runs for about 143.00 CDN dollars

CPU Price/Performance Chart

Intel Core2 Duo E8600 @ 3.33GHz 2,627 158 $289.99
Intel Core i3 550 @ 3.20GHz 2,794 144 $112.00
Intel Core i3 540 @ 3.07GHz 2,806 142 $136.00
AMD Phenom II X4 925 3,415 103 $148.00
AMD Athlon II X4 635 3,417 145 $143.00
Intel Core i5 760 @ 2.80GHz 4,941 43 $214.99
AMD Phenom II X6 1055T 5,169 35 $218.00
Intel Core i7 870 @ 2.93GHz 5,850 21 $341.00
AMD Phenom II X6 1090T 6,080 19 $319.00

BenchMarks

Not all processors listed are in the benchmarks. The benchmarks are purley for referance, so you can see where the performance / price chart came from.

As you can see from the benchmarks the i3 runs better for applications that don't take advantage of multi-threading, this will change in the future, multi threaded apps like Google Chrome, for example are the way of the future. On the iMacs I don't have an issue with the i5 760 or the i7 870, Ya, I would prefer a socket 1366 i7 but that isn't going to happen. I just don't know what Apple is thinking having low end dual core processors in the iMacs. Most computers even budget ones are coming quadcore, unless you really cheap out. With the advancement of multi threaded software, dual core processors will soon be as outdated as the single processor predecessor. I guess what I'm saying is Apple really cheeped out on the entry and mid-level iMac, and I wouldn't recommend it. I can't believe I'm going to say this but if your looking for an entry to mid level computer I'd go with an AMD Windows 7 64bit computer before an iMac.

* Most of the i5 processors are dual core only a few select models are quad core processors.

Imac Replacement

  iMac OptionKey iMac PC System
Processor: 3.06GHz Intel Core i3 (Dual Core) AMD PHENOM II X6 1055T 2.8GHZ
Monitor 21.5" 1920-by-1080 resolution (LED) View Sonic VX2250WM (LED) 21.5” 1920x1080 resolution
Memory 4GB (two 2GB) KINGSTON DDR3 4096MB (2 X 2GB)
Hard Drive 500GB hard drive 1.5 TB Hard Drive
DVD-RW 8x double-layer SuperDrive 24X DVD/CD RW With LIGHTSCRIBE
Video Card ATI Radeon HD 4670 with 256MB SAPPHIRE HD 5770 1GB with Eyefinity
Price: $1299.00 $1243.00

 

 

OptionKey iMac Replacement System Build Total: $1243.00
Processor AMD Phenom 1055T 6 Core Processor $218.00
Motherboard ASUS M4A88TD-M/USB3 880G+SB850 $110.00
Ram KVR1333D3N9K2/4G 4096MB $108.00
Hard Drive SEAGATE 1.5TB ST31500341AS $88.88
Optical Drive DVD-RW LG GH24LS50 24X DVDRW With LIGHTSCRIBE $30.00
Video Card SAPPHIRE HD 5770 1GB $176.00
Case & PSU ANTEC SONATA III With 500W PSU $125.00
Operating System 7 HOME PREMIUM 64-BIT $115.00
Monitor View Sonic VX2250WM LED 21.5” Display 1920 X 1080 $225.00
Keyboard & Mouse LOGITECH WIRELESS DESKTOP MK300 $48.00

iMac as a PC

OptionKey Entry Level iMac as a PC System Build Total: $1146.88
Processor i3 540 @ 3.06 GHz $136.00
Motherboard ASUS P7P55D $154.00
Ram KVR1333D3N9K2/4G 4096MB $108.00
Hard Drive SEAGATE 1.5TB ST31500341AS $88.88
Optical Drive DVD-RW LG GH24LS50 24X DVDRW With LIGHTSCRIBE $30.00
Video Card SAPPHIRE HD 5670 1GB $117.00
Case & PSU ANTEC SONATA III With 500W PSU $125.00
Operating System 7 HOME PREMIUM 64-BIT $115.00
Monitor View Sonic VX2250WM LED 21.5” Display 1920 X 1080 $225.00
Keyboard & Mouse LOGITECH WIRELESS DESKTOP MK300 $48.00

The my iMac build is slightly better then the Apple build. Note the 1.5TB hard drive, the 5670 with 1gb of Video Ram, and has a LED display as well. It is also $152.12 cheaper then the iMac. The motherboard also has E-SATA on the motherboard, firewire 400, digital optical audio out, and 7.1 sound on board the motherboard. I could have made it even cheaper but I wanted to demonstrate that you can get a better pc with close to the same parts as the iMac.

Sources:

http://www.apple.ca

http://www.b-com.ca

http://www.hardwarecanucks.com

http://techreport.com/

http://www.cpubenchmark.net

Posted via email from The OptionKey Blog

Friday, July 02, 2010

Governments and Software

I came across an interesting issue yesterday. Did you know that if you wanted to apply for a position in the Government or a government agency like Alberta Health Services you have to be on a computer running Internet Explorer and Windows. The requested file format for resumes is Word Document Format ".doc". This in my opinion is just wrong for three reasons.

1) Not everyone can afford Microsoft Office and Not Everyone has it.  With the crackdown on pirated software and the cost involved for purchasing a retail license of Microsoft Office is $150.00.  That is alot of money.

2) Not everyone has Windows. There are a lot of people out their that don't use Windows. Windows may have the most market share for operating systems but it should be a requirement to apply for a job online not with Today's Technology.

3) Internet Explorer.  Internet Explorer doesn't comply with web standards and restricting people to an insecure, obsolete browser is not safe and is bad technology policy.

I believe Governments should be using open source software such as Ubuntu, Suse, Fedeora, and other varieties of Linux and BSD/Unix technologies.  For one reason it keeps the cost down, you don't have the huge licensing issues of running Windows or Mac OS. With everything being moved to server (cloud) based applications, all you need is a browser. Most of the Free Operating Systems come with Open Office Pre-Installed so you don't have to purchase Microsoft Office and 99% of the time Open Office is compatible with Microsoft Office Formats.

Now I'm not being Anti-Microsoft here, there are some things Windows will have to be used for, such as some cad programs, graphics, etc, but for word processing and spread sheets Open Office should be able to handle most if not all the work load.  As for the thing that set off this little blog post of mine the Job Submission for Alberta Health Services, I will be trying to get in touch with someone to get that fixed.  They are discriminating against anyone that doesn't use a Windows based machine and that's just wrong.

Posted via email from The OptionKey Blog

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