Test shows desktops can get by without the new processors

With Intel upgrading its generation of processors from Ivy Bridge to Haswell, and AMD moving from Trinity to Richland, computer users might think it’s time to start looking into a new CPU for their desktop.

Not so fast, say the results from a German computer magazine’s test of 14 processor chips for desktops. The new processors, from both companies, only offer a limited boost in speed with no significant energy consumption savings.

First there could be extra expenses, reports Computerbild.

Upgrading to Haswell means a new mainboard, heat transfer paste, CPU exhaust and RAM memory. A Richland, on the other hand, does not require such upgrades.

Intel’s new Haswell Core-I series is completely new, whereas AMD’s A processors are based on existing architecture. Neither significantly speeds up working with Office applications or editing pictures or video.

The Haswell CPU i7-4770K ran, on average, only 2 per cent faster than the predecessor i7-3770K. AMD’s Richland A10-6800K was only 1 per cent faster than the A10-5800K.

In gaming, Intel’s CPU provided double the power, thanks to a new HD Graphics 4600 unit. No change was reported with AMD’s entry.

Energy use results were mixed. Haswell used as much energy as its predecessor. Using Office or the internet, it was 14 per cent more energy efficient. AMD’s Richland used 5 per cent less at full power and 3 per cent less while using Office programmes.

Other factors beyond the CPU need to be considered when looking for computing speed.

The kind of mainboard can mean a difference of 10 per cent.

Doubling working memory can mean a performance boost of between 7 and 12 per cent. Swapping a conventional hard drive for an SSD version can mean speeds up to 50 per cent faster.

Unsurprisingly, the test showed that more expensive and more powerful computers worked faster. (dpa)