May 13, 2011

Bonus - Processors are back, baby!

386. 486. Pentium. Meh.

There was a time that I looked forward to the next great leap in processors. Watching the clock speeds climb was total nerdvana back in the day.

But somewhere, I got lost. There were a bajillion processors in the market. Other stuff like RAM and hard drive speed became important. New technology was interesting. Then this past winter, it happened. I learned about Intel’s new Second Generation Core line up and they said one thing to me:

Processors are back, baby.

It isn’t just about clock speed anymore. The Second Generation Core – systems are hitting store shelves about now – have found smarter ways to do more than just put more horsepower under the hood. There’s graphics on board, media streaming to your TV and the ability to scale up clock speeds when you need the power. You can check out the whole list of goodies here.

So what does that mean to you? If you’re taking photos, you should care about these features in a big way. The help you get your photos into your system faster. They help you edit without interruption. And with things like Quick Sync video, they help you share them lickity split.

Take a look at Intel’s processor line up and there are really three levels that count – i3, i5 and i7. Yes, each one is faster than the last, but here’s a good overview of what you can expect from each:

Core i3 – A good start, but more toys available in Core i5
Just about any computer you find in your big box store is capable of email and surfing. The thing is, few people are sticking to those things these days – and that’s why you’re going to want to think about at least a Second Generation Core i3. It’ll let you do any basic consuming or editing move out there.

Who wants it:
Casual media makers
Your mom and dad

Core i5 – You’re probably going to want this one
Plenty of speed with a whole lot of clever touches that help you get just about everything done. One of the big things i5 systems have over the i3 systems is something called “Turbo Boost.” This is a feature that ups the amount of power for specific applications – like Lightroom and turns down the power when you don’t need it – saving battery life on the road.

Who wants it:
Amateur photographers, videographers and music maker
Anyone who wants to do a little more, a little faster
Most likely, you

Core i7 – For your inner professional
This thing can get crazy fast and is great if you’re doing pro work with big files in places like Photoshop. The highest clock speeds come with all the bells and whistles like Turbo Boost and HD graphics.

Who wants it:
Professional media producers
Photography bloggers with gadget lust

This generation of processors is about so much more than the raw power under the hood. They’re about offering more so you can do more. Don’t get fooled by those $399 specials on the endcap. Keep your eyes peeled for Second Generation Core systems and feel the love. 

Want to learn more? Ask questions and get answers at Intel Canada's Facebook page.

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