Which CPU Should You Buy? Comparing Intel Core i5 vs. i7

There’s a wealth of difference between Intel’s Core i5 and Core i7 processors. We outline each CPU and explain what it all means for your next desktop or laptop purchase.
For many consumers who are on the hunt for a new desktop or laptop PC, one of the biggest considerations is the type of processor. Two of the CPUs most often in contention are the Intel Core i5 and Intel Core i7. Discounting Core i3 (mainly found in budget systems) and AMD processors (another story entirely), the difference between Intel Core i5 and Core i7 can seem daunting, especially when the prices seem so close together once they’re in completed systems. We break down the differences for you.
Price and Marketing
Simply put, Core i5-equipped systems will be less expensive than Core i7-equipped PCs. Intel has moved away from the star ratings it used with previous-generation Core processors in favor of a capability-driven marketing message. Essentially, the Core i7 processors have more capabilities than Core i5 CPUs. They will be better for multitasking, multimedia tasks, high-end gaming, and scientific work. Core i7 processors are certainly aimed at people who complain that their current system is “too slow.” Spot-checking a system like the Dell XPS 13 Touch ultrabook, you’ll find the Core i5 to be about $200 less expensive than a similarly equipped Core i7 system.

Core Confusion

For the most part, you’ll get faster CPU performance from Core i7 than Core i5. The majority of Core i7 desktop CPUs are quad-core processors, but so are the majority of Core i5 desktop CPUs. This is not always the case, as there are dual-core mobile Core i7 processors and many dual-core mobile Core i5 CPUs. You might also see the rare six- or eight-core Core i7, but that’s usually found with the desktop-only, top-of-the-line Extreme Edition models.

The Core nomenclature has been used for several generations of CPUs. Nehalem and Westmere use three-digit model names (i.e., Intel Core i7-920), while Sandy Bridge, Ivy Bridge, Haswell, and Broadwell CPUs use four-digit model names (such as the Intel Core i7-5500). Thankfully, unless you’re shopping the used PC market, you’ll find Ivy Bridge processors in closeout systems and budget PCs, while you’ll find Haswell or Broadwell processors in most new PCs. Older-generation Nehalem, Westmere, and Sandy Bridge cores are found in older PCs and generally have lower performance. The essential takeaway is that to get better performance in each generation, buy a processor with a higher model number. For instance, an Intel Core i7-5500U generally has better performance than an Intel Core i5-5200U.

Give Me the Cache

In addition to generally faster base clock speeds, Core i7 processors have larger cache (on-board memory) to help the processor deal with repetitive tasks faster. If you’re editing and calculating spreadsheets, your CPU shouldn’t have to reload the framework where the numbers sit. This info will sit in the cache, so when you change a number, the calculations are almost instantaneous. Larger cache sizes help with multitasking as well, since background tasks will be ready for when you switch focus to another window. On currently available desktop processors, i5 CPUs have 3MB to 6MB of L3 cache, while i7 processors have 4MB to 8MB. Read more of this post

Beyond caching: Google engineers reveal secrets to faster websites

Joab Jackson@Joab_Jackson

In the fiercely competitive world of Internet services, Google constantly seeks ways to speed up the delivery of content to its hundreds of millions of users.

At the O’Reilly Velocity conference this week in New York, two Google engineers presented some of their favorite tips and research for expediting delivery of web pages and applications. Such knowledge could be handy for other web developers looking to make their products more responsive.

Google developer advocate and performance expert Colt McAnlis tackled one of the thorniest problems for mobile web developers today: JavaScript performance.

Web-based JavaScript applications can suffer from performance issues, especially on mobile clients, because JavaScript parsing engines use garbage collection (GC) to manage memory. “You shouldn’t rely on garbage collectors,” McAnlis told the audience of web developers.

GC helps programmers by automatically returning to the operating system the memory a program no longer needs. Writing code to manage memory in low-level languages such as C and C++ is a laborious process, though, and such languages aren’t natively supported by browsers anyway.

The problem with many JavaScript web apps is that JavaScript engines will launch their garbage collection routines at seemingly random times, which will cause applications to momentarily slow down. The frame rate of a video application, for instance, may decrease. Or the time it takes an application to execute an operation may jump to a noticeable 20 milliseconds, up from a typical 3-to-5 milliseconds.

Overall, for GC to work without being noticed by the user, the system memory must be six times as large as the amount of memory being used, said McAnlis, referring to a well-known study. This can be a demanding requirement given the limited memory of mobile devices and the number of memory-hungry applications they run. Read more of this post

Android Studio: An IDE built for Android

Posted by Xavier Ducrohet, Tor Norbye, Katherine Chou

Today at Google I/O we announced a new IDE that’s built with the needs of Android developers in mind. It’s called Android Studio, it’s free, and it’s available now for you to try as an early access preview.

To develop Android Studio, we cooperated with JetBrains, creators of one of the most advanced Java IDEs available today. Based on the powerful, extensible IntelliJ IDEA Community Edition, we’ve added features that are designed specifically for Android development, that simplify and optimize your daily workflow.

Extensible build tools

We know you need a build system that adapts to your project requirements but extends further to your larger development environment. Android Studio uses a new build system based on Gradle that provides flexibility, customized build flavors, dependency resolution, and much more.

This new build system allows you to build your projects in the IDE as well as on your continuous integrations servers. The combination lets you easily manage complex build configurations natively, throughout your workflow, across all of your tools. Check out the preview documentation to get a better idea of what the new build system can do.

Powerful code editing

Android Studio includes a powerful code editor. It’s based on the IntelliJ IDEA editor, which supports features such as smart editing, advanced code refactoring, and deep static code analysis.

Smart editing features such as inline resource lookups make it easier to read your code, while giving you instant access to edit code the backing resources. Advanced code refactoring gives you the power to transform your code across the scope of the entire project, quickly and safely.

We added static code analysis for Android development, helping you identify bugs more quickly. On top of the hundreds of code inspections that IntelliJ IDEA provides, we’ve added custom inspections. For example, we’ve added metadata to the Android APIs, that flag which methods can return null and which can’t, which constants are allowed for which methods, and so on. Android Studio uses that data to analyze your code and find potential errors.

Smoother and richer GUI

Over the past year we’ve added some great drag-and-drop UI features to ADT and we’re in the process of adding them all into Android Studio. This release of Android Studio lets you preview your layouts on different device form factors, locales, and platform versions. Read more of this post

Review: Synchronize any Windows folder on your PC with Dropbox, thanks to Dropbox Folder Sync

Mark O’Neill@markoneill, Mar 29, 2013 10:01 AM

Dropbox is a useful service that proves its worth time and time again. But to sync your data to other computers and mobile devices, you need to get that data into the default Dropbox folder in the first place, and sometimes that can prove problematic. Some data—such as browser profiles (Firefox), games points and profiles, Outlook data files, and password manager files (such as KeePass)— can’t be moved. For this, you will need Dropbox Folder Sync.

The simple little app requires you to just insert the location of your default installed Dropbox folder.

Dropbox Folder Sync is a small, free app that integrates itself into your Explorer right-click menu, and allows you to create what is called a “symbolic link.” What this means is that a folder on your computer can be connected to your Dropbox account, and nothing needs to be moved at all. In fact, your computer won’t even be aware that there is a link in the first place.  The symbolic link will create a clone folder in your Dropbox account and when something changes in the original folder, the clone folder in Dropbox will update instantly.

After installing the software, all you have to do is find the folder you want to clone and right-click on it.  You will see two new options, sync with Dropbox and unsync with Dropbox. Choose the first one, and a Windows shortcut arrow will appear on the folder. A copy of the folder will also now appear inside your Dropbox account. It goes without saying that you need to check beforehand if you have enough space in your Dropbox account to handle the extra files. If not, you may need to consider upgrading—for a fee. Read more of this post

Petition “Google: Keep Google Reader Running”

Petition by Dan Lewis,

New York, NY

Dear Google:

A few years ago — years, wow — Google Reader was one of my go-to social networks. It was an accidental one. I was using it for its intended purpose — aggregating and reading a lot of web content in one place — but it turns out, a lot of other people were doing the same thing. A lot. Many of which shared interests and when you added the amazing (amazing!) share and comment features, Google Reader blossomed into a wonderful experience for many of us, core to our day-to-day consumption of content online.

Unfortunately, you decided to kill those “extra” functions. I’m not here to ask you to reverse that (you should, though). In doing so, Google Reader’s day-to-day value declined, and I, like many, ended up using it less often. Instead of hitting the bookmarklet I have on my Chrome install three, four times a day, it’s now a once a day (okay, once every other day more often, recently) experience.

But it’s still a core part of my Internet use. And of the many, many others who are signed below.

Our confidence in Google’s other products — Gmail, YouTube, and yes, even Plus — requires that we trust you in respecting how and why we use your other products. This isn’t just about our data in Reader. This is about us using your product because we love it, because it makes our lives better, and because we trust you not to nuke it.

Oh.

So, please don’t destroy that trust. You’re a huge corporation, with a market cap which rivals the GDP of nations. You’re able to dedicate 20% of your time to products which may never seen the light of day. You experiment in self-driving cars and really cool eyewear which we trust (trust!) you’ll use in a manner respectful to our needs, interests, etc.

Show us you care.

Don’t kill Google Reader.

To sign the PETITION