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Comparing mobile proccesor speed

by mandmgross / October 25, 2004 12:38 PM PDT

There is so much choice out therer? How do you compare the speed of a processor like a mobile pentium 4 M? The MHZ seems to be signifigantly lower, like 1-2 MHZ comapred to a 3.6 desktop or mobile intel pentium with HT? Whats going on? and why is there no tablet pc with anything more than 1.6 mhz?

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Re: Comparing mobile proccesor speed
by KenSanramon / October 25, 2004 1:00 PM PDT

A Pentium M (Centrino) processor will perform somewhere between 1.5x and 2x in comparison to a Pentium 4M (notebook version of Pentium 4 desktop processor).

The mhz is dramatically reduced (as Athlon 64 cpus and Apple cpus are in comparison to a Pentium 4/4M) to give better battery life, allow a thinner and lighter notebook design (as less space is needed for fans/ventilation as cpus run cooler), etc.

Two of the things that allow the Pentium M (Centrino) to run faster in comparison to the Pentium 4 is a large amount of L2 system cache on the chip (which is much faster than system RAM) - the new Dothan processors have 2mb L2 system cache -- and the chipset on the motherboard for Centrino Pentium M's that is optimized for wi-fi and other tasks.

In the near future 64bit chips will arrive with 2 cpus per chip that will allow true multitasking (burn DVD using 1 cpu and watch movie on the other cpu, etc).

The Athlon 64 chips now will run better with 64 bit in the future but they only have 1 cpu now.

The Pentium M or Athlon 64 doesn't have hyperthreading to improve multitasking somewhat but that enhancement is negligible especially if you are not running multiple heavy processes all the time simultaniously.

A Pentium 4M is still a good choice if you want a large 17" LCD notebook that has a 128mb dedicated video card for gaming -- like the hpzd7000 or Toshiba or Sony equivalents) but for 15" or smaller notebooks the Pentium 4M or Athlon 64's are better for true notebook use (battery life, weight, transportability).

And, you can get 128mb dedicated video on a Pentium M notebook like the Dell 8600, Acer 2000 series, etc.

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Re: Comparing mobile proccesor speed
by KenSanramon / October 25, 2004 1:03 PM PDT

Go to Intel's website ( and read their comparison on Pentium M (Centrino) to Pentium 4M chips yourself. They sell both so they do try to give people a comparison of the two so that you won't run off and get the Athlon 64 instead (but that is the only one currently with 64bit for use with the Windows Service Pack 2 hardware security functions).

If you read the latest business releases on Intel, you will read that the Pentium M's are selling extremely well and inventory is increasing on other chips (like the Pentium 4M).

The future is 64bit 2 cpu processors but they aren't out yet but will be essential when Microsoft Longhorn replaces Windows XP in late 2006 or 2007.

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Re: Comparing mobile proccesor speed
by mandmgross / October 25, 2004 8:19 PM PDT

Thank you very much for your info.
Do you know of any site that benchmarks?

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Re: Comparing mobile proccesor speed
by KenSanramon / October 26, 2004 4:03 AM PDT

The key thing you have to understand is that 64bit computing is coming. The Pentium M (Centrino) cpus are very comparable to Pentium 4M's in the 2.5ghz to 3.0ghz range but if you insist on having that slight extra performance ratio in theory then get a Pentium 4M. That is the only cpu with hyperthreading also -- however, again, the benefits from that won't hold a candle to getting a chip with 2 cpus later.

You really have to focus on whether you are willing to give up a notebook that is lighter, runs on batteries 2x or longer that compared to a Pentium 4M, and that has much less heat (so less power usage whether plugged into A/C or not).

If you really want to get the best performance over the long term (especially past the 2 year point) you should get the Athlon 64 as that will run better when 64bit appears in Microsoft Longhorn.

At any rate, I would not spend over $1500 myself (my notebook was $1299 plus taxes for the Compaq X1360US) or at the most $2,000 is you want a DVD burner and 7200rpm hard drive, 128mb dedicated video, etc.

Anything over the $2,000 mark is wasting money towards the next new system you will want likely in 2 years or less that will then be cutting edge.

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