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Laptop & Portable CPU Performance

Ironically, representatives of both AMD and Intel, the two major makers of laptop CPUs, have confessed that they know shoppers are confused, and both companies are attempting to make the naming conventions around their chips easier to understand. Starting in 2010, both chip makers will be generally following their own variations on a “good, better, best” strategy to simplify sorting through different CPUs. Alas, from what we can tell early on, it’s not going to be quite that simple, at least for laptop processors. Neither chip maker is eliminating all of its older processors (at least, not anytime soon), and only AMD is grouping its existing processors under the new umbrellas (as well as improving some existing ones and adding more). That means, in some respects, both companies are just adding more confusion to the market—at least temporarily.

I read the point of the article as suggesting that high end laptop CPUs are essentially lower voltage/clock speed variants of mid range desktop parts, and so on down the scale.

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PassMark Software has delved into the thousands of benchmark results that PerformanceTest users have posted to its web site and produced five Intel vs AMD CPU charts to help compare the relative speeds of the different processors. Included in this list are CPUs designed for servers and workstations (Intel Xeon and AMD Opteron processors), desktop CPUs (Intel Core2 Quad, Intel Core i7, Intel Core2 Extreme and AMD Phenom II processors), in addition to mobile CPUs.

Replace Your Laptop's CPU | PCWorld

The fact of the matter is it's not just about the number of cores, it's about the raw power of the CPU. Laptop CPUs have to operate at lower voltages so are generally less powerful. Lots of applications still don't make proper use of more than two cores as well. The exception is video editing, where the laptop CPU we tested was faster than the Core i3 CPU. However, the Core i5 desktop processor was still much faster than the Core i7 CPU in the laptop, as it can run at much a much higher frequency.

The fact of the matter is that if you have a mid-range PC with a Core i5 CPU such as the popular Core i5-2500K, even the very fastest laptop CPUs will struggle to keep up. That is of course before you overclock your PC, where even a fairly standard 4.4GHz overclock would render your PC impervious to practically any currently available laptop, running rings round anything that costs less than £2,000.