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Thread: Tablet/Laptop Processors vs Desktop Processors

  1. #1
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    Tablet/Laptop Processors vs Desktop Processors

    What's the difference in performance between tablet/laptop processors and a desktop processor? For example, what is my Atom Z3775 comparable to in desktop processors? What about a laptop i3's, i5's etc.? Is it at all comparable to desktop i3's, etc.?

    Also, is this why people recommend i5's in laptops?

    I ask this only because I recently became aware of a performance gap being mentioned between laptop and desktops and how even though a laptop might seem like it has similar specs to a desktop(both saying 'i5' or 'i7' etc.) they actually have vastly different performance, with the i7 performing more like an i3. Is this correct?

    Thanks in advance! Just trying to understand computers better.

  2. #2
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    There is a substantial performance gap between any given model of a portable processor vs. desktop. Portable processors are built to conserve battery and fit in a smaller footprint and even if they have the same name, like i5, they really are very different. If you saw the processors side by side it's easy to see the difference.

    In most mobile devices i5 hits a good balance of performance and heat generation.

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    I find the i3, i5 and i7 naming scheme more confusing than helpful.

    I find nd it easier to compare intel processors by power use in watts. More power means better performance.

    The Z series of atom processors and the higher end X series are currently in the 2 watt range. The next step up is Core M which is in the t300 chi series using ~5 watts. After that comes the U series which are the most common laptop series at ~15w then there are ~30, 47, up to 85 watt series used in high power laptops and desktops.

    The really confusing thing is that from the U series on up all of the various power tiers come in i3, i5, and i7 processors. Where there is a huge difference in performance between power tiers there may be something like 20% difference between each of the three within a given power tier.

    So the summery is that there is a huge difference between the z3375 and something like the 4500u (14w i7) but again there is a huge difference between that and the 4700HQ (47w i7).



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    Last edited by Gtanner00; 09-18-2015 at 12:37 PM.
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    I'm not an expert on PC's, but from experience, I can tell you a few things.

    Laptops:
    Due to space and airflow restrictions, they are not meant to be power performers.
    Manufacturers have to balance between performance, temperature & battery life, so for the Intel SOC Atom's Z3775, those are more comparable to Netbook speeds but require much less power.

    Desktops:
    Since Airflow & battery life is a non issue here, obviously these machines can perform faster and can withstand higher temperatures.

    So if you compare Laptops and Desktop CPUs, the major difference is the power consumption and operating temperatures.

    And to your question on why people recommend the i5, as you are balancing between performance and battery life.
    Obviously the I7's are faster and more power hungry, unless you plan on using as a desktop replacement (Keeping the device plugged to power source), then you are best to stick with I5's or below.

    Hope this helps.
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    That holds for a given class of processors and is a great rule of thumb but Intel comes up with newer generations using smaller dies that end up performing as well or better with the same or less heat/fewer watts.

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    like a knife and a axe. both can cut wood but the axe will do it faster.
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    To give it an analogy, think of it like shopping for cloths... There's small, medium, and large but these differ between ranges of kids, Juniors/teenagers, and adults...

    Similarly, the processors are broken into ranges for mobile/tablets, laptops, and desktops... trading off and balancing between size, performance, power efficiency, and costs, with the mobile/tablet prioritizing small size, cost, and power efficiency to desktops prioritizing performance over the other factors...

    While a Core i5 is usually recommended because that's usually were most people find the most acceptable balance to the factors... but everything is a trade off with no one size fits all...

    Though, they are working on scalable processors but that's a whole other story... along with issues on OEM designs that can determine whether the product actually can offer spec performance or either a little more or get throttled and the trade offs of new technology...
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    I've learned to accept that once you "think" you have everything figured out, then they always throw something else in the mix which totally confuses you and you're back to scratching your head again.

    I lived through the days where a higher clock speed meant a faster CPU and I thought I had everything figured out with the different names for additional performance (ie Pentium I&II, Celeron, Athlon, etc.) Then when clock speeds seemed to get topped out, things then shifted to multi CPU/Cores (Pentium IV, Opteron, i3, i5, i7, etc). When I thought I had that all figured out, then things started shifting to FSB speeds and the number of multi-thread channels (ie Sandy Bridge, haswell, ivy bridge). Then when I thought I had that all figured out, then the low battery consumption CPU's come our way (ie ARM, Atom). Then the different varying clock speeds got thrown into the mix (1.2Ghz/2.8Ghz turbo/max). As I was just getting up to speed on understanding all those variations, then out comes the Core-M which totally flips my whole train of thinking upside down again because I was so used to seeing clock speeds in the "2-3 Ghz" ranges and now I'm seeing clock speeds back in the 800Mhz on the Core-M's and I'm like WTF!? This is supposed to be good??? I read as far as the Core-M are low power CPU's and performance wise, fall into the high i3 to mid i5 CPU's. I give up!!!

    Someone just let me know when it's time for me to buy a Asus Windows transformer that will be on par with the performance of a desktop i7 and get 10 hours of battery life.
    Last edited by Rednroll; 12-17-2015 at 01:29 AM.
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    That will be when Intel invents a 5w fan less processor that performs close to what today's 30-40w parts can do.

    I really hate Intel's i3, i5, i7 scheming because it tricks people into thinking that clock speed is what determines how powerful a machine is. Intel has i5 chips across about 5 different power requirements. Maybe they need to label them like clothes sizes. i5xs, i5s, i5m...and so on.



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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gtanner00 View Post
    That will be when Intel invents a 5w fan less processor that performs close to what today's 30-40w parts can do.

    I really hate Intel's i3, i5, i7 scheming because it tricks people into thinking that clock speed is what determines how powerful a machine is. Intel has i5 chips across about 5 different power requirements. Maybe they need to label them like clothes sizes. i5xs, i5s, i5m...and so on.

    Sent from my Nexus 6P using Tapatalk
    When I originally started investigating the Intel Core i3, i5, and i7's differences when I was shopping for a new laptop 4+ years ago here was my take away. It was based upon the number of processor "cores".
    i3's= Dual core processor
    i5's= Low end versions Dual Core + 2 virtual cores, higher end i5's Quad core processors
    i7's= Quad core processor + 4 virtual cores.

    I ended up purchasing an Asus N53SN laptop with a Core i7-2630QM 2.0Ghz which I believe was one of the 1st "Sandy Bridge" i7's to come out at that time. It currently shows me there are 8 processors in device manager on my laptop. Now when I try to figure this out, some of this is the same but most of this has changed and I need to additionally look at if it's a Sandy Bridge, Ivy Bridge, Haswell, Broadwell, etc. Then on top of that I need to look at which "generation" it is of those labels. At that point, I just threw my hands in the air and gave up trying to keep track of all the variations of i3, i5, and i7 labelings and their differences because the boundaries have blurred so much.

    Last edited by Rednroll; 12-29-2015 at 11:08 AM.
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