Processor speeds

  jimbo24168 18:15 07 Nov 05

Not sure if this has been covered before. I am thinking of buying a new laptop but am confused by processor speeds which seem to have got slower. Whereas I used to see speeds of 2.4 or 2.8 ghz etc. now I see speeds have reduced to 1.3 or 1.5 etc. Are these new processors really slowing down or does new technology mean that they are just as fast as before?

  DieSse 21:20 07 Nov 05

does new technology mean that they are just as fast as before?

Probably - Centrino laptops and others with Pentium-M and Mobile Pentium-M and CeleronM chips are much faster than you would think from their clock rates.

For instance - A Pentium-M 1.7MHz performs similarly overall to a Pentium 4 2.4MHz.

  ade.h 22:42 07 Nov 05

You only have to run a benchmark on a modern notebook to see how fast they have become. More than quick enough for most uses these days. Anyone who buys a Centrino or Turion system is unlikely to be dissappointed.

As far as I understand it the P-M is based to certain extent on the P3 architecture, which as you may remember, was not exactly blown away by the first P4s! That was because the P4 achitecture was designed for pure clock cycles. Intel originally intended to push it byond 4ghz, which is fairly fast by anyone's standards.

Having just bought a notebook with a P-M 750 (1.86ghz) and benchmarked it against my desktop PC purely as an esoteric excersise, I can tell that it's pretty damn quick!

  PC Bilbo 23:00 07 Nov 05

The key surely is how much data is processed per clock cycle rather than a high Gig rating.

Intel have joined AMD inasmuch as the approach to coding their processors now is to give an idea of performance rather than clock speed.

The change in stategy had to come to combat the increasing power demands accompanying more speed which was becoming a headache trying to keep complex systems cool (and relatively quiet).

Diesse has given a perfect example with Pentium M. I built 2 PC's recently using AMD's 939 Skt
64 bit Venice core and this uses over 10 watts less power than it's similar rated predecessor and gives more performance at around 200MHz slower clock speed.

  ade.h 23:16 07 Nov 05

"The key surely is how much data is processed per clock cycle rather than a high Gig rating"

Precisely. That's what even Intel has begun to realise, with its 2MB L2 cache and the new dual-core models, which are clocked lower.

  jimbo24168 15:11 09 Nov 05

Many thanks for your responses. I have decided to go ahead and buy a new laptop.

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