Efforts to understand, improve, or do less harm to the world around me.


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Processor premium

A friend pointed out that Apple charges a big premium on their top-of-the-line Intel i7 processors.  Some digging shows that although many operations go about 30% faster from i5 (the next step down in Apple's offering) to i7, it may not be worth the money.

Its a persistent problem in computers: a premium both Apple and Intel both put on the "Ferrari" versions of their products.  In this case, users can save $400 by getting the i5 and a slightly less powerful graphics card.

Not included in the product price is what many users will need to get the very latest versions of software often necessary to get the optimized speeds.  For Photoshop users, that can be a cool $1,000 more.  You don't just pay for the processor, you pay for the software optimizations to use it.

This graphic is from a few years ago but as the article suggests, its unlikely the Core 2 Quad ($550 at the time) was 3x faster than the Core 2 Duo Conroe ($180).

Edit: was listing i9, but the highest processor sold by apple at the writing of this article was the i7 processor.

(Thanks Kimberly.)

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