How does Core i7 do in the real world?

If you were dealing with a very large library of music, it's easy to imagine the gap growing from minutes to hours. The same goes for transcoding video. Slapping a video onto your pocket video player is no fun if it takes forever to crush it down to size.

At 75 frames per second, the Core i7 processes video in the x264 codec at an astonishing lick. The Athlon machine can only manage 13 frames per second. A video that takes one hour to encode on the awesome Extreme Edition chip requires nearly six hours on the 2.0GHz dual-core PC.

The latter would definitely demand forward planning - forget chucking one extra video onto your pocket player on the morning of that long haul flight. It ain't gonna happen.

It's a similar story for installing a 1.5GB application stored in an .exe file on the system's hard disk. This task required over nine minutes on Joe Dual-Core. The Core i7 system polished it off in just three. Likewise, extracting 300MB worth of files from a zip folder is over twice as quick courtesy of La Intella.

A second here, a second there...

Individually, of course, none of these numbers is going to absolutely alter your life. But over time, it all adds up. With a really quick PC, you lose fewer hours of your life waiting for things to happen. And you'll get a lot more done.

What's more, what even these tests don't capture is the incredible inexhaustibility of Core i7. With four extremely powerful cores and support for eight simultaneous software threads, you simply never run out of CPU resources.

That's simply not the case with a bog standard dual-core system. After all, today's websites are so crammed with content, an entire processing core is often overwhelmed attempting to keep the likes of Internet Explorer and Firefox from falling over.

So, there you have it. Core i7 doesn't just blitz the benchmarks. It makes a big difference in real-world applications too.


Technology and cars. Increasingly the twain shall meet. Which is handy, because Jeremy (Twitter) is addicted to both. Long-time tech journalist, former editor of iCar magazine and incumbent car guru for T3 magazine, Jeremy reckons in-car technology is about to go thermonuclear. No, not exploding cars. That would be silly. And dangerous. But rather an explosive period of unprecedented innovation. Enjoy the ride.