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i5 or i7 for gaming and programming?

This is a discussion on i5 or i7 for gaming and programming? within the Motherboards, Bios|UEFI & CPU forums, part of the Tech Support Forum category. I think I'm getting a new notebook soon, and I need to know which is better. The i7 notebook I'm


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Old 12-21-2010, 09:00 PM   #1
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I think I'm getting a new notebook soon, and I need to know which is better. The i7 notebook I'm using (in the process of getting an RMA), is using a lot of power. The battery life is bad, and I can't stand the heat (though with that said, the notebook isn't performing properly).

I'm going through a CS program right now, finished first semester. I intend to use it for the entire program, and that will be probably another 3.5-4.5 years (depending if I take a work year). Thing is, I also do a lot of gaming (at least now). I play a lot of newer games, and I hear some mixed results about the quality of gaming on these processors.

I hear the difference between the i5 that can have 4 threads vs an i7 with 8 threads is often negligible because of the software limitations. They say that since the software typically won't use more than 4 threads, the i5 that has the higher core speed will outperform the i7. Though, I can easily see that while running AIM and Chrome, I'm using some of the virtual cores on my 720QM (which suggests regular programs are making use of the 8 possible threads).

I know the TDP is lower, so less power means more battery life. And a lower TJ Max means a cooler notebook. If I am measuring battery life, how much more can I expect on an i5 vs an i7? The big problem is battery life, I want more than a couple of hours really. I don't need some all day Mac battery, but a few hours would be nice.


If someone could kind of push me in the direction of which is better suited to my needs, I'd appreciate it.
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Old 12-22-2010, 04:27 AM   #2
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I doubt you can get more than 5 hours without the power adapter if you play games.. also the heat is reasonable cause it's a strong machine and if you play games, a cooling pad is needed without any doubt

i7 9xx series is considerably better than the i5 cause of many features it has and it will last a long time if you get it

I never recommend playing games on a notebook cause they aren't made for games.. even 'gaming laptops' are triple the price of an equal desktop gaming machine and heat is the typical problem every time
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Old 12-22-2010, 06:13 AM   #3
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Laptops are designed for convenience and portability and do not make good gamers because of the very problems you are experiencing.
Gaming requires heavy graphics usage and that demands more power which in turn uses up
the battery reserve much more quickly.
The i7 is not "better" than the i5. For gaming, you will not see any difference between the i5 & i7 because games aren't capable of using the added cores.



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Old 12-22-2010, 10:25 AM   #4
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What types of programs would typically use the extra 4 threads? I'm doing programming right now as I've said, so I'm wondering what things might use 8 threads?

And the i5 has the two virtual threads right? So if my application only accepted 4 cores, would I notice better performance on the i5 because it will use 4 threads (2 virtual) vs 4 cores? I know quad core technology is still fairly new, but the old quad series (the Q series from Intel) has been out long enough for companies to make use of it.

If I keep my notebook plugged into AC Power (which I do while gaming), then I see little difference in quality between a desktop on the one I have now. It works great as far as gaming on a notebook goes. Course, it does run hot, but it's some sort of design issue because right now, I'm seeing only a 10C increase while gaming and that it's still 20C over the spec sheet max temperature under no load.

I guess I should have mentioned that I don't intend to play games off the AC Power. I know I'll use up the battery quickly. I normally take my power to school, use off AC during class and AC in the library, where I may occasionally game.

I suppose at the same time, I have quite a few games, enough that aren't graphics intensive that I could play on this notebook and leave the rest for the desktop.
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Old 12-23-2010, 06:55 AM   #5
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Tyree's right in that you won't see added FPS using the i7 over the i5 most of the time. However if you record footage of games using screen-capture software like Fraps, GameCam, HyperCam, etc, you will notice far better fps while recording.
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Old 12-23-2010, 10:52 AM   #6
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I normally don't use screen capture in games, and I would probably only use Fraps to measure the FPS.
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