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Debating between i3 and i5

Matt

Member
I'm with the other comments, the more ram the better. CPU has less of an impact on the life of the unit. I run my SP1 in a lower power configuration on battery mode with the clock set to around 1.1Ghz and i have no problem web browsing watching vids and taking notes.

The i3 should easily be able to do these tasks. However I do find my RAM is often running above 3.5GB in use so will definitely be looking for an 8GB model when I upgrade.
 
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A

aspeks

New Member
Thanks for all your replies!
My Laptop also has 4GB of RAM and i rarely pushed it over 65% of usage in the 4 years i own it, so i think i won't need more. Maybe i just have to change my habit of having 15+ tabs open in Chrome at once, it uses like 1.5-2GB of it.:D
You have a point there with the "buy as mush PC as you can get", i will use it for all 3 or 4 years of university, so maybe the i5 would really be the better option. The 8GB RAM model is just too expensive for me, i don't want to pay much more than a 1000 euros on it. Why can't they just let you configure your own, it would be amazing, but technically nearly impossible, i guess.
I still have some time to decide until it releases here in Germany, but i think i will spend the extra 180 euros for the i5 and have something more future-proof in my hands.
 

Jxythyl

New Member
i guess lots of other people are thinking about the same thing. I am also deciding between the different configurations.

On my i3 desktop i have 4gb of ram. at any one time, i have more than 15 chrome tabs open :X (bad habit, i know) i find my usage at 3+gb ram very often. so yeah.. but 8gb is pricy in my opinion and i know i most probably dont need that much if i just close some tabs...
 

Kif

Active Member
Windows 8.1 is really well optimized to run on 4GB of ram. It's even designed to run on 2 GB of ram on the 8 inch tablets. So surprising yes 4 GB is acceptable.
 

hughlle

Super Moderator
Staff member
For most users, the biggest limiting factor of the i3 is not the processor, but the 4 GB of RAM. Most of my work is text editing, which the i3 would have no problem with, but I have enough windows and apps open at once that I need a configuration 8 GB of RAM.

I think you mean for some users. For most users, 4gb is perfectly sufficient. Most users will have a few web pages, maybe a video or music program, and say office open, for which 4gb is more than enough. Those really needing 8gb are the power users, the photoshopers etc, the guys with VM machines in the background etc; these are generally the minority.
 

Kif

Active Member
Right now I'm using 3.22 GB of ram and using Citrix Receiver for my work, listening to streaming music on iTunes, reading work emails in IE 11 outllook webmail client, Outlook is also open, typing this message in Chrome, have several random tabs open, keepass is open and looking at Task Manager to see memory usage. Whew!
 

bradhaak

Member
My standard apps that are always running are Scrivener, Outlook, Chrome, Word, One Note and Music. Often there are more open than that. I will frequently be running PhotoShop with various plug-ins, Acrobat (full version, not reader), or my desktop publishing app to do layout.

And let's not forget Microsoft Mahjongg (it's a weakness).

I definitely hit the wall on 4 GB--not all the time, but often enough.

With SSDs this is less of an issue, but I hate to wait for a computer--ever. And as noted above, unless you buy new hardware every couple of months your requirements will probably grow during the time you are using the SP3.
 

hughlle

Super Moderator
Staff member
So rather as I said. There is certainly an argument for 8gb of RAM. But if you're looking at the i3 model, it would suggest that you are NOT a big power user who is going to be running many many aplications and such at the same time. The OP's usage case indicates that 4gb should be absolutely plenty.

While i've not used a surface (come on august 28th!) all of my machines at home have 4gb of ram regardless of if they have dedicated graphics or onboard, and I have no idea how much ram i use or have free, because I've never had a single instance to need to find out. I'm not a power user, but am not simply a typical email, youtube, internet user either. Just general use alongside fairly demanding games, and 4gb is just fine on the desktop.
 

malberttoo

Well-Known Member
Thanks for all your replies!
My Laptop also has 4GB of RAM and i rarely pushed it over 65% of usage in the 4 years i own it, so i think i won't need more. Maybe i just have to change my habit of having 15+ tabs open in Chrome at once, it uses like 1.5-2GB of it.

On my i3 desktop i have 4gb of ram. at any one time, i have more than 15 chrome tabs open :X (bad habit, i know) i find my usage at 3+gb ram very often. so yeah.. but 8gb is pricy in my opinion and i know i most probably dont need that much if i just close some tabs...

I totally understand that usually finances are the limiting factor in a decision like this. And the SP3 is going to be an awesome machine for you, whichever model you get. The cheapest model of course will possibly require you to make some concessions, such as having more data stored on a SD card or external drive, or like you guys said, changing your usage behavior.

But just in the interest of playing devil's advocate...:rolleyes: ... technology, and life, never goes backwards. Growing up in the 90's, I remember our PC had a 40mb hard drive, yes megabytes, not gigs. And as storage grew and got cheaper, the applications that we used quickly grew as well. Now you can go down to Wal-mart and buy a laptop where 4gb and 6gb are the standard amounts of RAM. So the point is, whatever you're doing today, is only going to continue taking up more room in the future. So on the one hand I say, the SP3 is a premium device, and it's somewhat unfortunate to hear someone say that they're going to buy one that meets their immediate needs.

On the other hand though, I completely understand as well "this is my budget and I'm sticking to it". :cool:

Best of luck to you guys, you will sure enjoy your SP3's!
 

Kif

Active Member
Here's another way to look a it. You buy the cheapest SP3 model today which is 60% cheaper than the most expensive model. It lasts 3 years before you decide you need a more powerful unit. You buy a new SP6 with the 60% you saved from your original purchase. The SP6 will probably 4X more powerful than the top end unit now. So you'll probably come out a head in the long run.
 

malberttoo

Well-Known Member
Here's another way to look a it. You buy the cheapest SP3 model today which is 60% cheaper than the most expensive model. It lasts 3 years before you decide you need a more powerful unit. You buy a new SP6 with the 60% you saved from your original purchase. The SP6 will probably 4X more powerful than the top end unit now. So you'll probably come out a head in the long run.

Possibly, but I wouldn't advise them to buy the most expensive SP3, only the one that gets them 8GB of RAM, which is the i5/256, and a $500 difference. Now granted, that is more expensive (40%) than the cheapest model, but of course it's a proc, SSD, and RAM upgrade all across the board.

Of course I'm just having fun with the numbers here ;) But my issue with the cheapest version will always be that it is a system that, usage-wise, is already near the level where they're at now, and not much room for growth.

I like your comparison though.
 
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A

aspeks

New Member
So i have been to the store in my town to have a look at the old one and talked to one of the employees. He also suggested taking i5, because I don't know what kind of programs I need to use in university. In the end I preordered it with type cover and got a little extra discount to get it both for 1000 euros.

Thank you all for your help:)
 

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