Monday, 08 August 2011 12:24
The guys over at ARS Technica have put together a short analysis of why Intel's Pricing\feature ideas not only make it hard to choose the right processor with the right features but also makes it hard for developers and OEMs to truly optimize software for all Windows PCs. From the article:
Intel has three Core i7 2600 variants. There's the standard mainstream/business-oriented 2600, the low-power 2600 S, and the enthusiast-oriented 2600 K. The 2600 is the cheapest, the 2600 K the most expensive, with the 2600 S somewhere in between. The 2600 S is actually something of an odd-ball; it's equivalent in terms of features and specification to the 2600, but its power usage is lower (65W versus 95W), and its base clock speed is lower (2.8GHz versus 3.4GHz), even though its turbo speed is the same. For my purposes, only the 2600 and 2600 K are worth consideration; I want the higher clock speed and don't care about the difference in power usage. So given the choice between the 2600 and the 2600 K, the more expensive 2600 K should be better, shouldn't it?
This is as confusing as it can get and hearkens back to the days when I gave up trying to figure out Intel's SKUs. There are too many with too different a list of features to ever really get what you want. There are also cases where in order to get features like VT-d and TXT you have to go with Xeon and Xeon chipsets which have fewer desktop features than the Core i7 Z68 chipset.
For a real mixed up set of circumstances head on over and take some aspirin with you.
For a better experience from the low end to the high end AMD has the best feature set and price range while not have overlapping SKUs with differing functionality - like OCing or Virtualization.