Archive for May 2017
Which Intel processor should you buy? i3, i5 or i7!
Have you ever been in the process of buying a new computer and wondered, which processor should I buy ? Or what is the difference between an Intel i5 & an i7 ? Would i be missing something if i get the cheaper i3 ? If you have thought about this, you’re just one among many to come across this dilemma eventually. Though most people just assume the higher the number, the better the product, the actual nitty gritty of selecting the best processor for you, is a bit more complicated. One should look beyond the Core i branding and check the number of cores, Clock Speed, Turbo Boost etc when narrowing down on a processor. Let’s go through some details that you need to know.
Different processor families have different characteristics that determine their levels of efficiency. In simpler terms, GHz and clock cycles matter less when compared to how much work is actually done in each clock cycle. The highest clock cycles on processors available today is around 4 GHz. But that is a number even the Pentium 4 was able to achieve. Yet, processors of today as far more powerful than the Pentium 4. Also, a processor designed for a laptop or tablet device needs to be battery efficient, something desktop processors have never had to worry about but, a lot of other aspects remain the same. Therefore, let’s break down these concepts to understand them better.
No of Cores
Single core processors are practically extinct today and for good reason. Of all the factors listed below, the number of cores in your processor will have the most significant impact on the processors performance. The core i3 range is purely dual core whereas i5 & i7 have 4 core processors. This is why people generally assume i3 to be the lower of the series. Each core however, is capable enough to work as its own separate processor and most applications aren’t capable of fully utilizing the potential of a multi-core system. You can work just as effectively with an i3 as you would with an i7. On the flipside, a computer can perform more than one task at a time with multiple cores more effiiciently.
While reading up on clock cycles, you would have also come across i3 processors that have a higher clock cycles than some i5 & i7 models. Like we just mentioned, a GHz number doesn’t define efficiency and thus, we need to look deeper. The GHz number in simpler terms is the number of clock cycles that the processor can manage in a second.
2.4GHz means 2,400,000,000 clock cycles.
Thus, the more the GHz – the faster the processor and this is where Turbo Boost gains prominence. Turbo Boost is not related to the clock speed as the name would suggest. The term is a marketing terminology for technology that enables a processor to increases the number of clock cycles dynamically when the need arises. Thus, a processor can consume less power, produce less heat and only boost its speed when that extra burst of energy is required. Turbo Boost is restricted to i5 & i7 processors which is also why these two trump the i3 range when it comes to single-core optimized tasks.
For example, a Core i3-7300 processor runs at 4GHz whereas the Core i5-7600 runs at 3.5 GHz, the Core i5 chip though can boost up to 4.1GHz when required & therefore ends up being quicker when needed.
The efficiency of a processor though is also dependent on its cache memory storage. If the processor needs certain data repetitively, its pulls the data out of the RAM and stores it on the cache memory – which is significantly faster than any other memory on a computer that means cache generally runs faster than the RAM does.In this case, bigger is better and the i7 usually has more than double the cache storage than the i3 models.
PERSONAL COMPUTER INTEL CORE I3 INTEL CORE I5 INTEL CORE I7
Cache Memory 3 – 4MB 4 – 6MB 8MB
This next concept is a little more complicated and confusing as well. A thread in computing terminology, is a set of instructions that the processor executes. One core can execute only one thread at a time. Hyper Threading however, divides one physical core into 2 logical cores. Thus allowing the processor to run double the amount at the same time. So a 2 core system, will work like a 4 core system and a 4 core system will work as an 8 core system. However, the confusing aspect of this concept, is that the middle layer i5 series lacks it. Thus an i3 processor at times can end up being as useful as an i5 processor.
In addition, Intel also uses serial numbers on all their models. The numeric part of the series is to identify the generation for example, models starting with 6 signify 6th generation. Along with this, they also have letters that signify specialized uses. These letters and their uses are:
H – High-performance graphics.
K – Unlocked for overclocking.
Q – Quad-core (four physical cores).
T – Optimized for efficient desktop computing.
U – Ultra low power, usually found on laptop processors (slower than desktop chips).
Series Cores Turbo Boost Hyper Threading
i3 2 No Yes
i5 4 Yes No
i7 4 Yes Yes
From the table, you can easily compare the different series of processors. While i3 is the goto if you do not intend to use your machine for resource hungry operations, for heavy duty users, i7 is a must and if your’re in between these 2 categories, i5 might just be what the doctor ordered.
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The hackers have used the leaked NSA tools to infect computers with WanaCrypt0r 2.0 ransomware. This malware exploits EternalBlue vulnerability and uses phishing emails to infect computers. Till now, Avast has recorded more than 75,000 infections in 99 countries. While WanaCrypt0r is most affecting Russian and European countries, the possibility of its arrival in the US can’t be denied.
Earlier this year, hacking group Shadow Brokers claimed that it had stolen cyber weapons from the America’s NSA, which can be used to get unfettered access to the computers running Microsoft Windows and other operating systems. Now, the malicious software WanaCrypt0r 2.0 (aka WCry) is being used to carry out one of the biggest ransomware attacks of its kind.
Dozens of countries have been hit with this cyberextortion attack that locks up computers and holds user’s files for ransom. Multiple companies, government agencies, and hospitals have become a target of this attack. Security firm Avast has recorded more than 75,000 detections of WanaCrypt0r 2.0 in 99 countries.
As a result of the attack, sixteen National Health Service (NHS) organizations in the UK have been hit. Many of them have canceled patient appointments. Spanish telco Telefónica has also been hit.
After the attack, the ransom being demanded is $300 worth of bitcoins. The ransom message also has instructions on how to pay the ransom, explanation of the attack, and a timer:
More technical details can be found on Avast’s blog.
While the ransomware attack is mainly targeted to Russia, Taiwan, and Ukrain, the attack is showing its impact all around the world. Below is a map that shows the countries being targeted by WanaCrypt0r 2.0:
Today, WanaCrypt0r is available in 28 different languages, ranging from Bulgarian to Vietnamese. This malware is spreading by exploiting a vulnerability called EternalBlue.
This scam, most probably, has spread using a wave of phishing emails with malicious attachments that infect computers when users click on them. The official government advice is not to pay criminals behind such attacks.