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CPU Recommendation: i7 Quad Core or i5 Dual Core?

    Question

  • Hi,

    I'm looking for CPU recommendations for a new laptop running Windows 7 64-bit as host and Windows Virtual PC with Windows 2008 Server 32-bit guests. The choices are 

    1. i5 Dual Core 2.4 Ghz 
    2. i7 Quad Core 1.6 GHz

    Will I my be able to utilize the i7 with four cores and gain something compared to the i5 with higher clock rate than the i7?


    Brgds Jonas
    Friday, April 09, 2010 6:18 AM

Answers

  • It depends on how many virtual machines you will be running simultaneously. If you are running more than two virtual machines and they are heavily loaded, I'd recommend the quad. The idea is to have one core per vm. But if the vms barely stress the cpu, throwing more cores at the mix won't help as much as the faster clock speed. For example, if you are just trying to create an isolated test environment and one vm provides DHCP for your test network, it won't be taxing the cpu very much. A vm like that could easily share a core with another lightly used vm.

    I pin modded my quad core Q6600 to 3.0 GHz and it has been running at this speed completely stable for two years. Performance of many vms is excellent. I have cores and clock speed both. If you are willing to overclock, you might select a processor based on its overclocking abilities.

    Friday, April 09, 2010 12:24 PM

All replies

  •   I can't really comment on the i7 but I am very happy with the performance of my 2.4G i5.

     


    Bill
    Friday, April 09, 2010 8:02 AM
  • There are two great articles about choosing between dualcore and quad core:

    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/e8500-phenom-9350e,2010.html

    http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2007/09/choosing-dual-or-quad-core.html


    iSCSI SAN Software Support Department

    http://starwindsoftware.com

    Friday, April 09, 2010 10:28 AM
  • It depends on how many virtual machines you will be running simultaneously. If you are running more than two virtual machines and they are heavily loaded, I'd recommend the quad. The idea is to have one core per vm. But if the vms barely stress the cpu, throwing more cores at the mix won't help as much as the faster clock speed. For example, if you are just trying to create an isolated test environment and one vm provides DHCP for your test network, it won't be taxing the cpu very much. A vm like that could easily share a core with another lightly used vm.

    I pin modded my quad core Q6600 to 3.0 GHz and it has been running at this speed completely stable for two years. Performance of many vms is excellent. I have cores and clock speed both. If you are willing to overclock, you might select a processor based on its overclocking abilities.

    Friday, April 09, 2010 12:24 PM
  •   One other point I would like to comment on. If you are looking for maximum performance of server vms, I would not be looking at WVPC!

     


    Bill
    Saturday, April 10, 2010 2:39 AM
  • Hi,

    Usually I only run one VM at a time, so I'm suspecting that with a quad core Win7 would only give WVPC one core and use the three other for the host OS and other processes. I don't think that WVPC can utilize more than one core, at least not per VM, but I'm not sure.

     


    Brgds Jonas
    Saturday, April 10, 2010 2:01 PM
  • Hehe, you've got a point there ... I'm also looking into using VirtualBox for its 64-bit guest support.


    Brgds Jonas
    Saturday, April 10, 2010 2:02 PM
  • He's actually talking about using something like using Hyper-V or other enterprise class virtualization software for maximum VM performance -- they can take advantage of multiple cores and hyperthreading.
     
    And fwiw, I'd take a 4 core i7 over a 2 core i5 any time unless cost is a major factor.  (but be careful, there's actually 2 core i7's that aren't worth any extra cost over an i5)
     
     

    Bob Comer - Microsoft MVP Virtual Machine
    Saturday, April 10, 2010 3:17 PM
  • Correct, one VM can only take one core, but multiple VM's can use multiple cores. (unlike VPC2007, which was 1 core for all VM's.)
     
     

    Bob Comer - Microsoft MVP Virtual Machine
    Saturday, April 10, 2010 3:19 PM
  • Windows 7 Virtual PC provides one virtual processor per virtual machine. But unlike Virtual PC 2007, it can take full advantage of mulitple cores.

    Saturday, April 10, 2010 10:36 PM