Comparing Processor performance (desktop and laptop PCs)?

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader Len M. writes:

" Dear Dennis,

Can you tell me what AMD mobile processor compares to the mobile Celeron 2.8, or where I can find a comparison chart? I am not used to working with Celerons and have just bought a used Toshiba Satellite Laptop-SA35-S1593 and it seems slow. It was new in January of 2004 from CompUSA. My online searches show AMD Athlon 3200 running at 2400, the Celeron runs at 2800? The Celeron laptop should be quite quick then?! "

My response:

First, note that some notebooks will run at 1/2 their speed (also called "speed stepping") if you unplug them from an A/C outlet. The design idea behind this is to save battery life for inefficient processors / inefficient laptop configurations.

Having said that, there are many factors which determine the true speed of a computer (such as hard drive cache, RPM, dual channel RAM, video card [shared memory, dedicated], motherboard chipset, etc) -- but when it comes to pure *processor* performance, the 3 biggest factors are: CPU frequency (MHz or GHz rating), CPU L2 cache, and CPU bus speed (also known as "front size bus").

I don't know how easy it will be for you to find a chart on the Internet that has already been 'mapped out' and compares every processor ever made, especially considering that processor technology changes so often. So, here's what I suggest you do:

1. Download a program called CPUz or WCPUid, and run it on your Laptop. What you want look for is the CPU Speed, Bus Speed, and L2 cache of your processor. These 3 things (for the most part) determine exactly what your processor is capable of and are essential when comparing the true 'speed' to other processors. Note that most folks only consider "GHz" or "MHz" speed ratings when comparing processor speeds -- but this is certainly not enough to go by, especially in today's standards.

2. Look up the specifications of the other processor on the web. You'll need to spend some time looking through Google -- but, based on my preliminary searches, the two pages below are a good start (note that the 2nd link for AMD processors does not list the bus speeds for all processors).

Good luck ;-)

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