Optimum instead of Maximum Performance
This blog post is a plea for the supposedly weak CPUs out there :).
It is Prime Computer’s philosophy to offer the optimal hardware for every purpose. You shouldn’t spend money unnecessarily for additional performance, which you never need in reality. On the other hand, even with configurations for less demanding applications, you shouldn’t save money in the wrong place.
Balanced Windows PCs, which processor performance is ideal for an office PC, but which have the highest level with regard to all other components and its production quality, are not so easy to find.
No Speed Differences between Office and Multimedia PCs
A typical office or multimedia PC requires relatively little power. To write emails, watch Youtube or play browser games, the power of a smartphone or tablet is enough. The PrimeMini 4 i3 can also play videos in 4K and 60 Hertz without any problems. With typical office applications such as Microsoft Office, ERP programs or web applications, the performance limit of the PrimeMini’s Intel i3 processor is not reached. A faster processor does not bring any noticeable improvements in these applications. Whether you drive a VW or a Ferrari on the Swiss motorway makes no difference in terms of speed. Both easily manage to reach the allowed maximum speed of 120 km/h. The additional power of the Ferrari doesn’t bring anybody faster to their destination. The Ferrari is however clearly more expensive and uses more gasoline. This analogy applies to processors for applications that require little power.
If the processor delivers more than enough power, it becomes all the more important that no other components slow down the overall system. The i3 processor of the PrimeMini 4 handles a 4K video playback with 60 Hertz without problems, but HDMI, for example, only offers 4K resolution with a refresh rate of 60 Hertz from the modern version 2.0. Thus, the i3 must be installed in a high-quality motherboard that has this HDMI version onboard.
More about HDMI and 4K: Link
Of course, there are also applications for office PCs where it makes absolute sense to order a more expensive processor. If you edit movies with Adobe Premiere or create complex graphics in Adobe Illustrator, you will clearly feel the increased performance of an i7 processor. In such cases the surcharge for the more powerful CPU pays off.
It is therefore important to know the requirements of your future PC in order to be able to order the ideal configuration. For this very reason, Prime Computer works together with selected IT partners. There, end customers receive competent advice as to which Prime Computer Mini-PC is the ideal package for their individual requirements. The computers can be ordered directly from the partners.
The first video shows the CPU, RAM and GPU usage of an Intel Core i3-7100u for typical office and multimedia tasks. The second video shows the load of an Intel Core i7-7567u for exactly the same tasks. Except for the pixel recalculation of an image with Photoshop, there are no noticeable speed differences to be seen.
The screen recording program needs relatively much CPU power. Moreover, it can’t record in 4K mode, which is why the 4K recordings are not representative of the image quality and the “fluidity” of the playback. But the CPU load is not distorted.
Misunderstood Mid-range Processors
Mid-range processors like the Intel Core i3 have a bad reputation with many consumers, where does that come from?
The Intel i3 processor is usually sold by other manufacturers together with cheap or poorly balanced additional components. It is often still only delivered with an HDD and little or slow RAM. Often, inferior motherboards are also built into i3 systems, so that obsolete connections are delivered, which then create a bottleneck. High-quality cases, no matter if notebook or Mini-PC, are often only sold with i7 or at most i5 processors.
The marketing of large PC manufacturers often aims at maximum performance. They claim, if you just spend a little more, you get a more powerful chip, which is an improvement in any case. To play it safe, many PC buyers then opt for the more expensive and more powerful version without clarifying whether the additional performance will ever be needed at all. This widespread assumption that “more (performance) is always better” is surprisingly not true for IT hardware.
Moreover, the Intel Core i3 processor is already a mid-range chip in the portfolio of the world’s largest CPU manufacturer Intel. The entry-level chips, also for office systems, are the Intel Celeron and Intel Pentium processors.
The Overall Package is Crucial
The PC as a total package is crucial, not individual components that are maximized. An SSD as a hard disk makes a noticeable difference to an HDD even in an office PC. Today, 8 GB RAM is the minimum for a system’s smooth performance. The browser alone can take up a lot of RAM, e.g. if you have many tabs open or if you execute sophisticated pages/programs directly in the browser. Even if you use several programs at the same time, you don’t have to compromise with 8 GB RAM. That’s why Prime Computer only uses SSDs as data storage and a minimum of 8 GB RAM.
Prime Computer uses the same high-quality cases and motherboards for the i3 devices as for the more expensive Core i7 models. Connectivity, reliability and workmanship are not compromised. All Prime Computer mini-PCs, no matter which CPU is installed, have the same unique features such as complete silence when running, dirt and dust resistance or the super compact form factor.
The complete package of a good office PC naturally also includes the operating system. With Windows, the question arises whether the Pro version has to be installed or whether the additional features compared to the cheaper Home version are not needed at all. Here, too, if Windows Home already covers all your needs, you can choose this cheaper version anytime.
An overview of the differences between Windows Pro and Home can be found here: Link
But is it Future Proof?
A much-heard argument for an oversized PC is that it is apparently more future proof.
However, an investment in hardware that is not (yet) needed is rarely worthwhile in practice. More important is the exact clarification of the needs when purchasing the computer. If you are sure that a certain interface, a certain amount of RAM or CPU power is needed in the foreseeable future, then you can and should, of course, configure the system directly for it. Buying something just because it might be needed turns out to be a bad investment in most cases. The processor built into the PrimeMini 4 i3 will still be sufficient for an office PC even in 7 years or more. In addition, RAM and SSD memory space can be easily upgraded if required.
It’s more worth spending your money on a balanced, high-quality PC with ideal performance than buying a PC for the same money that is stronger on the datasheet, but whose increased performance is never needed. With these PCs, savings were often made elsewhere, for example in the quality of additional components and the overall quality of workmanship. This can’t be seen on the data sheet, but in everyday life you’ll notice it much sooner than supposedly missing performance.