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I'm looking at getting a new laptop to replace a Dell with a T7500 Core 2 Duo chip (2.2GHz).

According to this benchmark site, the Core i3's score almost double my current processor's score in the "Passmark" benchmark, so I guess whatever I get will be a big improvement. I also noticed that the new i3 2310M Sandy Bridge processor scores significantly higher than the old Core i3's (and even some i5's), despite being clocked at a lower frequency.

  • Core 2 Duo T7500, 2.2GHz, Passmark: 1275
  • i3 370M, 2.4GHz, Passmark: 2231
  • i3 380M, 2.5GHz, Passmark: 2332
  • i5 450M, 2.4GHz, Passmark: 2477
  • i3 2310M (Sandy Bridge), 2.1GHz, Passmark: 2708

However, from another benchmarking site, it would appear that i3 2310M doesn't beat the older chips on different benchmarks (such as Windows Experience Index, or 3D tests).

My question is, are there benefits in terms of track count in going for the Sandy Bridge over the previous generation i3s for use with my DAW (Reaper)? I use several VSTi's (e.g. Dimension Pro, EZ Drummer) and VSTs (reverbs, eqs, compressors etc) in each project so a bit more processor power would come in handy, especially towards the end of projects when I have about 15-20 tracks each with 3 or 4 effects on.

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1 Answer 1

When choosing a processor there are a few things to look at:

  • Processor speed: This is very important. The processors you are looking at are all around the same, but every little bit counts.
  • Number of cores: This is also important, but processor speed is still a bit more important. At work I went from a 2.8GHz single processor to a 1.8GHz dual processor and really noticed the speed loss. Most DAWs will use the extra cores, but you may still notice the speed decrease.
  • Front side bus speed: This can make a bit of a difference, but not as much as the other factors. This determines how fast the processor can access the memory.
  • Newer architecture: Newer processors are usually faster than previous generations even if they have the same specs otherwise.
  • Regarding benchmarks: These are very subjective as they only test certain aspects of the processor. A processor may have the highest score on one benchmark, but a much lower score on another. It just depends on what they are testing. The only true benchmark is to try your DAW on each laptop and see how it performs.

Reaper can be run directly from a flash drive. You could possibly create a project in Reaper and copy the program and project to a flash drive. Then go down to your local store and try running the project directly from the flash drive on each model to see how it will perform.

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