Intel has run up against a wall in Moore's Law that said that the number of transistors in a processor would double every 18 months. In the last few years, Intel has been up against a wall, not being able to double the speed. But a recent breakthrough has created a transistor using a single atom! That will enable processors to become faster and smaller, using very little energy.
Brian is looking to get a new Intel 8th-gen Core laptop. Leo says that the last few generations of processors really haven't had much of a boost in performance, making it really difficult to justify buying a new PC just for the processor. But if one needs a new PC, Leo recommends the Thinkpad X1 Yoga. It's a 2-in-1 that allows customers to turn it into a tablet.
Henry wants to buy a new Mac and wants to know if it's true that processor speed isn't as important as hard drive speed. Leo says that's true. Processors are really fast now and there's only a dimes worth of difference between them for every day use. It's better to get an i5 and then spend more money on a faster hard drive and better screen. Leo says that a 21" iMac with an SSD is best for speed, but a Fusion Drive would give him more space plus a speed boost.
Jerry has been playing around with overclocking his computer. Could he run it too high? Leo says absolutely. When he starts to see unreliable performance, then he'll know he's clocked it too high. But when overclocking, he'll need to cool it down more and some even rely on liquid cooling. So keep an eye on the temperature, and when he starts to see more crashing, then he'll want to take his foot off the gas a bit.
Alex is thinking about getting an AMD processor because they seem more affordable. Leo says they are, but really not enough to justify the performance gap. Also, Broadwell processors aren't out yet, but they will certainly be even faster. Leo likes that AMD is out because it keeps Intel honest, and pushes Intel to keep innovating, keeping prices down. That's what competition is for. But sadly, AMD is just not as fast.
Leo recommends consulting PCper.com to research the components for building his own PC.
Dan has a 24" screen because he's into music recording. Should he buy a new video card? Leo says not for that screen. At 1920x1080, any video card is going to handle it. Leo says that the processor and RAM are more important for editing music than a video card. But it he requires a set manufacturer like Nvidia, a low end card will work just fine.
Jim had one of the original iMacs and he heard a 'pop' and the display died. A Cinema display he had connected also went down. So he has to buy a new computer. He's wondering what the difference is between th i5 and i7 processor. Leo says about $300. They're very similar.
The i7 does multithreading, which is great for video editing. Multithreading allows each core to do two things at once. He can check out this site for more in depth comparisons - https://www.cpubenchmark.net/.
Greg is looking to upgrade his processors and he's noticing they aren't that much faster. Leo says that processors aren't. They've found that faster processors get hotter and more unstable. So they've added more cores and more L2 cache to make them appear faster. We're pretty much at the limits of single core speeds. So Greg is wondering whether he should wait for it to die or replace it? Leo says just wait for it to die and keep his data backed up.
Christopher Mims of qz.com wrote that Intel is poised to start competing at the low end of the processor market to compete with the budget computer categories. The high end computer market is shrinking, as is the cheap PC market. So Intel is looking to compete with ARM, which most mobile devices work on.