Should I go for a better processor or the better GPU when considering a new laptop?

7275935e230e1dc1b061aeb4d9ef2e40 September 26, 2012

I am looking at buying a new laptop and want to pick the most future proof one possible. I’m especially interested in being able to play games. At the moment weighing up a computer with the Intel Core i5 3317U processor, 4GB RAM and an Nvidia GT 640M and a computer with and Intel i5 3210 Mobile Processor, 8GB DDR3 Memory and an NVIDIA GT630M Graphics.

Which would be better and why?

  1. Asker
    October 17, 2012 at 1:47 am

    Hello everyone!
    Thank you all so much for your input. In the end i took your advice and bought the model with the better GPU and am very glad i did. It was generally a nicer computer and with it, according to 'can you run it', i can play any game out today with it. I really apprecate everyone taking time to answer my question; thank you all!

  2. Alex Perkins
    October 3, 2012 at 7:57 pm

    Go for the better GPU, most games aren't optimized to properly use quad cores.

  3. aelaos
    October 2, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    There is no doubt that a better Video Card will fit more to your needs . Maybe you should also consider upgrading memory to 8 Gb

  4. Richard Carpenter
    September 26, 2012 at 6:12 pm

    My current preference when is the Amd APUs, mainly becuase I am able to do a good bit of gaming with it, a A6 with a 1.6 ghz quad and a Radeon HD 6520 and 4 gb of ram. Runs pretty good, can't run everything on high, but hasn't let me down.,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.&fp=3b7e8e0d166b218d&biw=1366&bih=646

    • Gen Drex
      October 12, 2012 at 10:28 pm

      My first question is whats your budget?
      And what systems are you looking at?

      Generally faster gpu since the cpu here wouldn't be the limiting factor.
      Tho neither of these systems will game very well to be honest...

      • Anonymous
        October 13, 2012 at 5:17 pm

        Well, I have three computer, my current desktop, laptop, and my CAD machine, and all have APUs. I have ran some very intensive programs (probably SolidWorks being the most) and it has not let me down. Same for my desktop and laptop, I haven't come across anything yet that has really phased them. But I keep them optimized as well, so performance generally isn't much of a issue

        I do tend to be on the budget end of things, mainly because I am upgrading something every 6 months, and just can not afford the latest greatest, particularly when I don't need it and when it is overkill.

        That all said, I am not a huge gamer, so besides the CAD and VM machine, I don't need a over the top machine.

  5. Ahmed Khalil
    September 26, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    in your case as you need it for games i suggest too use the higher GPU, and for the ram you can upgrade later if you want

  6. Dimal Chandrasiri
    September 26, 2012 at 4:50 pm,65707

    the above link is a comparison of your processors. they are mostly the same, except for the clock speeds. but you have mentioned that, you are specifically going to buy the laptop for gaming. now this is a very tough question. bt I would give you an advice.

    GO FOR THE GT640M.

    by selecting i5-3317U you'll be sacrificing some processing power but by having a GT 640M in it, will give you a huge advantage. while processor does a crucial part in gaming, GPU will be doing much more work than the CPU. infact, if you go for a lower GPU, it will make your CPU stress more. so go for the GT 640M. this will allow you to play most of the modern games that are available today.

    I will give the links to both of the GPUs that you've specified. just go through them and see the huge spec difference.


    • Gen Drex
      October 12, 2012 at 10:38 pm

      Not necessarily. Just as OEMs can overclock and build higher performance models of reference cards, OEMs can disable SMX units and lower clocks for cards in their systems.

      All 384 shaders may not be enabled, it may also be running at a lower clock. For instance, that GT640m may only have 256 shaders(random number) enabled and be clocked at 450Mhz.

      Now the GT630m, has all 96 of its shaders enabled and clocked at 800Mhz.

      The 640m may have DDR3 memory, while the 630m has the faster GDDR5(twice the bandwidth), which would make my above scenario tip in favour of the 630m.

      There really isn't enough info here to make a definitive answer.

      It's also not a huge difference irl. On paper yes, actual performance, not so much.

  7. bonioloff
    September 26, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    Ha, I think you should try to get a better processor if you are not an intense graphic designer or a gamer.
    It should safe you almost 200 usd i think.

  8. salim benhouhou
    September 26, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    choose the one that has better GPU because you can't replace it with a better one in the future .

  9. Alan Wade
    September 26, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    Totally agree with Rob, from an upgrade point of view get a desktop. I upgrade my desktop at least once every year and be it graphics, hard drive, M/B, RAM, CPU or PSU they are all easy to upgrade. Apart from the hard drive and the memory its very difficult and costly on a lappy.

  10. Rob Hindle
    September 26, 2012 at 11:56 am

    GPU - but are you certain a laptop is the only answer? Desktops deliver better spec at lower cost and are more futureproof, much easier to add next years GPU, more ram, additional disk. Also easier to fix - for example spilt coffee on the keyboard on a laptop: costly repair, maybe even a write-off. For a desktop just buy another keyboard from as little as £10.

    If you need mobile computing can you get away with a relatively low power device (cheap netbook/tablet) for that and a have a high spec desktop at home.

    I use an aged Acer Aspire One for travel, small, light, good battery life, provides all the basic functions. At home, a high spec desktop PC.

  11. susendeep dutta
    September 26, 2012 at 10:45 am

    Currently,the two processor manufacturers are emphasizing more on graphics rather than raw processing power.Moreover,you are into gaming,so purchasing a laptop with good graphics must be your top most priority.

    I suggest you to go with the laptop having Intel Core i5 3317U processor as chosen by you.

  12. Anay Chaubal
    September 26, 2012 at 10:28 am

    at the moment, i5 is overrated, and i3 will give you enough performance so that the system will not be severely outdated for the next few years. thus i recommend going for a better gpu, and a not so high end cpu, however how much of that is a choice when it comes to laptops?

  13. ha14
    September 26, 2012 at 7:51 am

    go for better GPU since it is bound to motherboard and cannot be upgraded, if you will need more ram then you can buy some more.

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