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COMPUTER COMPARISON

Posted on 2014-03-19
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Last Modified: 2016-11-23
This is a followup to this question: http://www.experts-exchange.com/OS/Microsoft_Operating_Systems/Windows/Windows_7/Q_28385255.html

Please take a look at these 3 computers and let me know which one you think is best for a computer deicated to music production with SONAR X3 Professional. Especially the 2 Dells: one has a 4th Gen Intel® Core™ i7-4770 processor and 8GB DDR3 memory; the other has a 4th Gen Intel® Core™ i5-4440 processor and 12GB DDR3 SDRAM. Which combination gives the best speed and robustness for my purposes?

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/dell-xps-desktop-12gb-memory-1tb-hard-drive/2988033.p?id=1219085426536&skuId=2988033&ref=06&loc=01&ci_src=14110944&ci_sku=2988033&extensionType={adtype}:{network}&s_kwcid=PTC!pla!{keyword}!{matchtype}!{adwords_producttargetid}!{network}!{ifmobile:M}!{creative}&kpid=2988033&k_clickid=409a48a1-294a-8589-5b6a-00005b967764

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/xps-desktop-8gb-memory-1tb-hard-drive/4629064.p?id=1219100307056&skuId=4629064&st=4629064&cp=1&lp=1

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/acer-aspire-desktop-12gb-memory-1tb-hard-drive/5009372.p?id=1219106283843&skuId=5009372&ref=06&loc=01&ci_src=14110944&ci_sku=5009372&extensionType={adtype}:{network}&s_kwcid=PTC!pla!{keyword}!{matchtype}!{adwords_producttargetid}!{network}!{ifmobile:M}!{creative}&kpid=5009372&k_clickid=409a48a1-294a-8589-5b6a-00005b967764

Thanks,
John
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Question by:gabrielPennyback
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Expert Comment

by:rick81
ID: 39941077
The DELL i5 processor with 12gb ram is the one to go for.
You will definately want to install a SSD harddrive though.  You will see remarkable performance increase with this.  Get a 128GB SSD, install your operating system and programs on that and keep your data, page file, music, etc on the 1TB drive.

you'll have a pretty good machine if you configure it that way.
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by:nobus
ID: 39941703
the best investment for a pc is an SSD - then RAm
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by:garycase
ID: 39941741
Buy the 2nd system -- the Core i7-4770 with 8GB.    The memory configuration is better matched (with a pair of 4GB modules instead of 3 the memory subsystem will run in the optimal dual channel mode) ... and it's trivial to add another pair if you decide you want more (for a total of 16GB).

The Haswell i7-4770 is a superb CPU that will last you for years to come.    The 4770 with 8GB will outperform the i5 with 12GB in virtually all cases => and, in any event, it's trivial to add more memory to the i7 system; but a significant undertaking to swap processors ... so go with the more "future proof" processor :-)
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by:garycase
ID: 39941746
Note, by the way, that according to the Crucial web site, the X8700 can support 8GB modules ... so you could add a pair of 8GB modules for a total of 24GB if you decide you want more RAM :-)
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Author Comment

by:gabrielPennyback
ID: 39944106
Sorry for being gone the last 24 hours, thank you for your input. If I understand rick81 and nobus correctly, they both are suggesting that RAM is more important (within reason, I assume) than Processor level; whereas garycase is saying that the i7 w 8GB will outperform the i5 with 12GB. I don't want to alienate anybody but at the moment I'm inclined toward garycase because of the detailed explanation.

In any event how expensive would it be to add the extra RAM to the i7 at some point? Also is "X8700" another name for the Core i7-4770?

Thanks,
John
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garycase earned 500 total points
ID: 39944212
"... If I understand rick81 and nobus correctly, they both are suggesting that RAM is more important (within reason, I assume) than Processor level; whereas garycase is saying that the i7 w 8GB will outperform the i5 with 12GB."  ==>  For most signals processing applications, such as the audio processing you'll be doing with SONAR, the more CPU power the better.    I'd definitely expect an i7 to outperform an i5, as long as both have "enough" memory ... and 8GB certainly meets that criteria.    Clearly for large files, more memory would be nice => but my key point is that it's NOT a simple thing to swap CPU's (although it can be done), but it's trivial to add more memory.    

"... In any event how expensive would it be to add the extra RAM to the i7 at some point? " ==>   To add a single 4GB module (not what I'd actually do, but it would then match the 12GB on the other system you were looking at)  would cost ~ $40.    Alternatively, you could add a pair of 4GB modules for ~ $70, or a pair of 8GB modules for ~ $150

"... Also is "X8700" another name for the Core i7-4770? " ==>  No, I was referring to the model number of the computer, which is a Dell XPS 8700 (shown as an X8700 on the Dell documentation)

Another way to look at the comparison between the first and second systems you listed is to simply compare the relative values.     The Core i7 version costs $2 less than the i5 version ($778 vs $780) ... yet has a CPU that costs $115 more on Newegg (The i5-4440 is $195; the i7-4770 is $310), and the only "added feature" on the i5 version is an extra 4GB memory module that you can buy on Newegg for less than $40 [In fact, at the moment, you could buy it for $28 with their current "Shell Shocker" deal on this:  http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820211811 ]

Put another way ---  If you bought the i5 system and decided you wanted the additional processing power of the i7, you could replace the CPU for $310 (plus the hassle of doing it).     If you bought the i7 system and decided you wanted the extra 4GB of RAM that the i5 system had, you could buy an additional module for $30-40, and plug it in to one of the empty RAM slots (~ a 60 second job).
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by:rick81
ID: 39944215
i think garycase has a good point. go the i7 and upgrade the ram if need be.  
put a ssd drive it in while you're at it. it's money well spent.
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Author Closing Comment

by:gabrielPennyback
ID: 39946566
Gary, thank you for such a thorough, concise, easy to follow analysis. I really appreciate it!
If only I could find a bathroom re-model (next up on my wife's wish list) contractor like you :- )

~ John
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by:garycase
ID: 39946626
You're most welcome.    ... and sorry, but I don't do remodeling :-)
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