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Intel Core 2 Duo Mobile T9600 $275 better than T9400?

Posted on 2008-10-29
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I'm ordering a Lenovo Thinkpad T-series, and I need to choose between the Intel Core 2 Duo T9600 (2.8 GHz, 1066 MHz FSB) and the T9400 (2.53 GHz, 1066 MHz FSB).

The latop will have 256 MB discrete graphics, 4MB 1066 MHz RAM, and run XP for now (with possible future upgrade to Vista Ultimate).

I crunch a lot of numbers (Oracle, Access, Sage MAS90, Excel) and occasionally use Dragon Naturally Speaking preferred software.  I will not do gaming on this machine.

Given my needs, should I specifiy the T9600 over the T9400, even though the $275 greater cost seems high given what I guess is about a 10% increase in raw processing power?  Is the processor the rate-limiting step in computer performance, given my other components?

Thanks.
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Question by:UncleTwisted
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Tuxx earned 45 total points
ID: 22832594
Well the extra MHz's will give you a boost, but you should be notified that the Core 2 Duo series are all very powerful. I would say, go for the lower speed processor. that is enough for you. The processor exceeds the Dragon Naturally Speaking base specs, and anything faster is over kill. Also, my expert advice is NOT to go with Windows XP, it is very feature limited and underfed in comparison to Vista.(Go with Vista Home Premium). Basically you need the highest speed memory for your tasks, and quite a lot of it. You have gotten that part absolutely correct.
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by:silemone
ID: 22832612
well Core2 duo are much faster and given 2.8 vs.2.53, the Core2 duo is the better option.  More importantly if you're thinking about upgrading to vista, the Core2 duo is definitely the way to go.
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by:silemone
ID: 22832628
I offer the opposite as far as vista vs xp.  xp is the better choice.  less bugs.  Vista is terrible.
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by:Tuxx
ID: 22832657
XP has way less features than Vista, and Vista Service Pack 2 is due to come out soon.
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by:ewavefront
ID: 22832868
For a machine which number crunching is the main task, processor speed is the deciding factor in performance (with adequate amount of RAM).
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by:Tuxx
ID: 22834076
Yeah, but i have a 1.66GHz Core 2 Duo in my laptop, and the laptop pulls some pretty good benchmarks. Speed isn't all that makes a Core 2 Duo so fast, it is the superior architecture.
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by:ewavefront
ewavefront earned 40 total points
ID: 22834289
Agree that Core 2 's performance is due to its superior arcitecture. Since we are now comparing two Core 2 superior architecture processors (T9400 & T9600) from the same series - the one with higher core speed would definitely give better performance in number crunching assignment given other components being equivalent. Note that we are talking about "crunching numbers" here.
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by:silemone
silemone earned 40 total points
ID: 22835689
in computer cycles   there will be a big difference in 2.8 and 2.53.  I'm sure you're not going to be doing mathematical equations that are used to determine laptop benchmarks, but I would get the better of the two if its only a 275 difference.  One thing to not however, that if its a question of money being a problem, then the 2.53 is serviceable.  You maybe should think in terms of scalability...will it be able to suit your needs in the future with huge programs like vista (and it's many service packs) now being the norm.  also, what if your needs grow and you need the computer for number crunching plus an extra task here and there?  
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Author Closing Comment

by:UncleTwisted
ID: 31511538
Good thinking from all three of you.  I really appreciate your input.  If I'd have known I'd be spliiting points, I would have made the q worth more.  Budget is an issue.  If I cannot get Lenovo to cut a deal for the T9600 upgrade, then I'll just plan to replace the laptop that much sooner, or upgrade the CPU to the T9600 (or faster with the same architecture) in a couple years.
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