Overview of Intel’s new processor

Hardware_June12_CDo you know what type of processor your computer has? Most people will answer ‘Intel’, because it’s the most popular processor maker there is. If you were to follow processor news, you would know that Intel has recently introduced a new version or ‘generation’ of their popular Core processors that could prove very useful for your business.

While the new processors are not out just yet, many business owners and managers are wondering what exactly this new version will bring and whether upgrading is worth it when it’s released?

Overview of Intel’s processors
If you have looked at buying a computer in the past three years you have likely heard or seen computers being advertised as having an Intel Core i3, i5 or i7. These processors are Intel’s current line or models, used in laptops and desktops.

  • Core i3 processors offer the lowest amount of processing power and are generally found in low-end laptops or desktops. These are best for users who only need computers to check email or browse the Internet.
  • Core i5 processors are the mid-range and can usually be found in mid-range laptops and desktops. These are best suited to most personal users and can handle most computing needs.
  • Core i7 processors are top of the line and are the most powerful processors Intel makes. These are really suited to businesses and high-end consumers who need powerful processors.

Introduced in 2010, these processors have seen updated versions released almost every year. Intel calls each update a ‘generation’ and the latest, introduced in May 2013, is the 4th generation. You can tell which generation of processor your computer has by looking at the model number e.g., Intel Core i7 3xxx is a third generation processor.

This year’s generation is called Haswell by Intel, but many computer manufacturers will not use this name when presenting technical specifications to users. They will instead use the model name e.g., Intel Core i7 4xxx.

Changes made with Haswell
There are numerous changes that Haswell processors bring and here are three that businesses will benefit from:

  • Faster performance – Because the new processor uses a slightly different layout, more processing power has been added. This means computers using this processor will be faster. This chip is also smaller than the previous versions, so you should see smaller laptops introduced with more computing power.
  • Power savings – Intel has said that when they develop new generations of chips, they aim to always reduce the power consumption. This leads to longer battery life in laptops, without having to sacrifice computing power. How much power saving this new generation of processors will bring remains to be seen, but you can be sure that newer laptops will have a longer battery life.
  • Enhanced graphics – With the introduction of the first Core i3, i5 and i7’s, Intel included an integrated video card. Graphics performance is important to a number of different types of users, including gamers, graphics designers and to some extent, businesses. If you use graphics-heavy programs, like Photoshop, on a daily basis, you need a powerful graphics processor. The new update brings an increase to the integrated card performance which should be more than powerful enough for most users’ needs.

A question being asked by many is whether the new processors will bring a price increase. At this time, prices have not been released,but there is rumor that they are going to be higher. Past releases have not generally affected the overall price of laptops and desktops though and if anything has made them less expensive.

Should I upgrade my systems?
From what we can see about Haswell it will be worth the upgrade for businesses with aging systems, or users needing a boost to the processing power of their systems. If you updated last year, or even the year before that, you will likely be better off waiting a while yet.

Another option could be to wait until computers with Haswell processors enter the market, which should be by mid summer. You will probably be able to get computers with a third generation processor for a lot less. Meanwhile, a third generation processor should be more than able to meet all of your computing needs, especially if you have or invest in a Core i7.

If you are thinking of upgrading or would like to learn more, please contact us.

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