I recently bought 2 Sony laptops with the following specs:
Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-3520M CPU @ 2.90GHz 8GB RAM NVIDIA 640M LE 1GB 500GB (7200rpm) direct rendering: Yes
Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-3210M CPU @ 2.50GHz 8GB RAM NVIDIA 640M LE 1GB 500GB (7200rpm) direct rendering: Yes
I installed Xubuntu 12.10 (64 bit) on both of them, and then set them up identically:
- Installed the same apps
- Installed the same plugin versions (Flash)
- Identical BIOS version
- Identical BIOS options
For most of the tasks both of them perform similarly. However, using Chrome and Firefox and doing some heavy browsing (opening multiple tabs while pages are loading, etc...) the i5 outperforms the i7 noticeably.
When watching HD videos on Youtube, the i5 is smooth, while i7 chokes after opening a couple more tabs.
Using htop I see that i7 cores work at 100% when things start to slow down, while the i5 cores never get past 60%.
Why is i5 performing better than i7? If the i5 really does handle these things better than the i7, why should I pay more for an inferior product?