Intel Core i5-480M Vs Intel core i7-740QM Comparision
Intel core i5-480M is a dual core 2.66 GHz processor with 3 MB of L3 Cache. The Intel Core i7-740qm is a quad core 1.73 GHz processor with 6 MB of L3 Cache. Going by the pure clock frequency Core i5 is faster, at least it apparently seems so – especially if the number of the threads running are 2 or less. Is it really so ?
We should also be tempted to think the core i7-740qm is faster since it has 4 cores as against the 2 cores in the Core i5-480M. Further complicating the comparison of the Core i5-480M Vs core i7-740QM is the amount of the L3 cache ( Intel calls it smart cache). While the Core i5-480M has 3 MB of smart Cache, the core i7-740QM has 6 Mb of smart cache.
Notice that the max turbo frequency for both the processor stands same at 2.93 GHz. This max turbo frequency will be the max frequency reachable under SINGLE core turbo.
The only way to arrive at the conclusion will be to take a look at some of the bench marking results and see what these results have to state.
We start with the Super Pi 2M scores for the two processor. The Super Pi 2M is more inclined towards the single threaded environment and should be a great place to start the comparison. The core i5-480M takes 35.6 seconds for calculating value of Pi till 2 million places, while the core i7-740qm seems to take 37.4 second, which suggests that the core i5-480M has slight upper hand is applications that are more less single threaded. In other words if you do plan to run more single threaded kind of applications, you should be fine with the core i5-480M.
Let us move on to Windows 7 Experience index which give a crude number on the real life computing. The Windows 7 experience index of the core i5-480M has been reported to be 6.8 while it stands at 7.1 for the core i7-740qm indicating marginal advantage for core i7-740qm.
Another popular benchmarking program 3DMark06 gives a score of 2935 for core i5-480M Vs 3334.5 score for the core i7-740qm.
From these three results, it seems that core i7-740qm has slight advantage in the real life multi processing environment over the core i5-480M. This advantage diminishes as we move on to the single threaded type of applications.
The verdict is, it does not makes sense to overpay for the core i7-740qm based notebooks, just because it has quad core. Do not get carried away with the large 6 MB cache for the core i7-740qm. However, if the core i7-740qm based notebook is only $50 to $100 extra, it may be worth the incremental advantage it provides.