Moving from desktop to laptop - performance?

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Moving from desktop to laptop - performance?

Postposted on Mon Jul 04, 2011 9:03 am

A friend wants to upgrade from his core 2 duo (E7200) desktop to a sandy bridge based laptop system (an i5 series, likely). He was asking me if he'll see a performance increase with his laptop over his old desktop, and I could not give him a solid answer. What do you guys think? He runs his desktop overclocked at 3.2 GHz. He is thinking of buying the same sandy bridge laptop that I recently bought which has a core i5 2410M CPU. He's not a gamer, so the loss of a strong GPU in the laptop world is irrelevant to him.
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Re: Moving from desktop to laptop - performance?

Postposted on Mon Jul 04, 2011 9:17 am

Depends on what he's doing. If he's doing any gaming at all, you need to worry more about the GPU than the CPU.

All the same, between architectural improvements to Sandy Bridge over Wolfdale-based CPUs like the E7200, at the same clock speeds, Sandy Bridge is ridiculously fast. Even with a 30% overclock, yes, I think you'll still see an improvement. Also, the i5 2510 goes Turbo to 3.1GHz and i5 2520 goes to 3.2GHz Turbo. Plus Hyperthreading. In the end, I don't think it'll be close - you'll see a good improvement most of the time, and at absolute worst, little to no change.
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Re: Moving from desktop to laptop - performance?

Postposted on Mon Jul 04, 2011 9:39 am

The other thing to take into consideration is the storage subsystem. Laptop hard drives are generally slower than desktop drives (Apart from SSDs of course) so while the CPU and memory will be considerably faster, it may feel slower at points when the disk gets bogged down.
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Re: Moving from desktop to laptop - performance?

Postposted on Mon Jul 04, 2011 10:41 am

A gaming laptop cranked up to the "incinerate" power management setting is a good performer, particularly if you've got an SSD installed. However, it would be much less expensive to get that same performance in a small desktop PC.
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Re: Moving from desktop to laptop - performance?

Postposted on Mon Jul 04, 2011 12:20 pm

JustAnEngineer wrote:However, it would be much less expensive to get that same performance in a small desktop PC.


Isn't the premium for a comparable latop vs. desktop system in the same performance range, about 1.5x the cost or higher?

Performance wise, I have the same CPU in my desktop that your friend is packing and acquired a i5 based laptop none too long ago: the difference is noticable between the two systems, especially in Windows 7 (both have XP as a dual boot option). The integrated graphics actually come in handy for Aero acceleration, though I can't help but think that a discrete GPU could make that experience a bit more "crisp."
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Re: Moving from desktop to laptop - performance?

Postposted on Mon Jul 04, 2011 12:35 pm

Thanks for the replies everyone.

I anticipated the sandy bridge architecture even in it's laptop variant should be sufficiently fast relative to the core 2 duo desktop. The 2410M sandy bridge actually runs at 2.3GHz default but can turbo to 2.6GHz when both cores are active. His E7200 desktop CPU is at 3.2 GHz. So given a 600MHz difference, comparing a desktop sandy bridge to an E7200, I think the sandy will still runs circles around the E7200. But the laptop sandy bridge must be castrated in some other ways to fit within the 35W TDP, so I'm not sure if the performance differences will be significant either way.

In any case, he will be getting DDR3 RAM with the laptop while he had DDR2 with the desktop. He is looking to invest in a SSD for the laptop, so that should not be a problem either. GPU-wise, he doesn't game at all so the HD 3000 GPU should be plenty fine. I will tell him that his laptop will be at worst no slower than his desktop.

Thanks again for your input guys! :D
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