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Need quick turn-around answer on laptop CPU differences

Discussion in 'General Technical Discussion' started by Rich Gibson, Apr 21, 2005.

  1. Hi. I'm about to leave for Chicago tomorrow. I want to get a laptop for viewing and processing images while away. I've thinned down my choices to two brands. With all due respect to those who might want to steer me towards their favorite, I've selected Toshiba and Sony to choose from. No, I'm not interested in a Mac, thanks for thinking of me, but I'll pass.

    I want to use PSCS and N.C. to process 4mb and 10mb NEF images and view the images with something like Thumbsplus. I don't care about the super-dooper whiz bang stuff like wireless and writing DVDs. I won't use it much with just the battery; it usually will be connected to the mains. There are two type Intel processor laptops which I need the straight scoop on. There is the P4 3.33ghz and an Intel M something running at about half speed. The sales people (more than one at two stores) say the 1.7ghz M will process faster than the 3.33 P4, run cooler and have a longer battery life.

    What is fact and what is fiction? The sales guys, to their credit don't gt commissions. The two CPU versions are close in price. Given the intended use which would/might/could do a better job processing NEFs? Can anyone help....quickly?

    Thanks, Rich :?: :?: :?: :?:
  2. I'm sceptical of that claim. The M series (M for Mobile) may have more cache on chip and that specific machine may have a higher side bus speed, but I very much doubt this will effectively double the speed of the chip.

    Did they actually say that the M would process faster than the P4 or did they just imply it - in which case the truth might be that the M series would process faster than a P4 of the same speed.
    The P4 is probably a prescott chip and will undoubtedly run hotter (actually they run VERY hot) and use more power, but I very much doubt it would have less processing power than any chip running at half it's clock speed.

    I'd go for the P4 and see if you can get a spare battery. For image processing , the killer is not having enough memory. Make sure it has at very least 256Mb of memory, preferably 512Mb.
  3. nfoto

    nfoto Guest

    The Intel M "something" is optimised for mobile computers and probably will work equal or better to the 3.4 GHZ unit. It is true that it, by design, *will* run cooler and thus more siilently because less fan activity is needed.

    My newest laptop has a 3 GHz non-M Pentium and is not a very silent machine, because the fan needs to work quite hard on it.
  4. Laptop

    I just this weekend bought a Toshiba M45-S351 Pentium M machine running at 1.7 ghz. I increased the RAM to 1 gbyte and am very happy with the machine. It has the ehnhanced screen. I have Nikon Capture 4.2.1, and PSCS running, and everything is just fine. Ihope that this helps.

  5. Thanks all. EdMac, I'm glad to hear that model is performing well. I saw it at Circuit City and Micro Center, both of which are in Chicago.

  6. JeffKohn


    Apr 21, 2005
    Houston, TX
    It is also my understanding the the 'M' chips are faster than their clock speed would indicate. The M chip combined with centrino chipset also gives you much better battery life. I can get over 4 hours on my laptop, my father in-law has a similarly-equipped P4 3.2 laptop whose battery lasts about half as long.

    One tip is to buy with as little RAM as possible (only a single chip if you can) and then upgrade the RAM by going to www.crucial.com (Micron's mail-order brand). You'll save quite a bit over the OEM memory upgrades.
  7. Rich,

    This is an easy question for me. I have the Toshiba Sattelite and I love it. If you buy from Toshiba (who in my opinion makes the best laptops) also purchase their 2 year extended warrenty. It is worth it. I have had my laptop for a few years, using it extensivly I might add, and now for the first time of having any problems, I need to send it in for a new keyboard and a new screen and all of this will be covered for free.

    Just a opinion of which laptop to go with.
  8. I would suggest checking out TomsHardware.com for some answers.

    I too would be skeptical that the M-series chip can run as fast as the normal P4 that is running at 2x clock speed. It might be reasonably close for some kinds of apps though if the cache and FSB are much bigger and much faster on the M-series chip configuration, especially if the P4 is running on a slow-ish FSB (say 533Mhz) w/ slow-ish RAM. Certainly, system performance does not scale linearly according to cpu clock speed -- there is a diminishing return due to all sorts of other bottlenecks, eg. RAM speed (thus need for cache, faster RAM/FSB), speed of other non-RAM stuff on the motherboard (thus need for fast FSB), speed of HDD (thus need for more RAM), etc.

    So how well the M-series config will compare to the normal P4 will depend a lot on PSCS and NC in your case. Pushing lots of data around *will* take advantage of the larger cache and faster FSB. But as others said, don't forget to install as much RAM as you can afford.

    Also, go w/ the fastest HDD that you can choose. I'd also recommend storing your photo files on a separate partition for best performance -- this may involve reinstalling the OS yourself since I seriously doubt they'll do it for you, so you may or may not want to do this.

    Also, I'd recommend setting virtual memory to some fixed size so Windoze doesn't keep changing it on you and contribute toward more fragmentation of the drive than necessary -- that eventually leads to slower performance. Just set it to something large enough for your needs -- if you have 1GB RAM, then 3GB VM should be more than enough.

  9. Hmmm... Took a quick look at what little I could find on TomsHardware.com, and the M-series is an interesting one. Doesn't sound like the 1.7Ghz M-series will match the performance of the 3.3Ghz P4, but it might be good enough for your needs anyway -- as a couple others suggested. Offhand, I'd guess that it's comparable to something in the ballpark of a 2.4Ghz P4, but only if you're running it off AC power, not battery power. Apparently, they're designed to conserve battery power by automatically running at much slower speed. I guess that's fine w/ you given what you said.

    Would the performance diff be a big deal to you? That's upto you to decide. From my perspective, 2.4Ghz vs 3.3Ghz is not quite that big a diff. Having a faster HDD, lots more RAM, better maintenance of system resources, etc. can often combine to make a bigger diff than that. And remember, they don't scale linearly, so 3.3Ghz is not gonna be 40% faster than 2.4Ghz. Probably 15-20% faster is closer to reality, and you'll still definitely need >=1GB RAM for running PSCS and/or NC -- otherwise, bye-bye cpu clock speed.

    One other thing of note. Depending on what graphics hardware those 2 different laptops use, it's still possible for the 1.7Ghz M-series one to beat the 3.3Ghz P4 one for 3D gaming and such -- not that that's gonna matter to you. :D  Maybe that's what the salesfolk were alluding to w/out making it clear -- or maybe they misunderstood the facts themselves.

  10. Doh! :!: Just realized I'm too late w/ my replies. :oops: 

    Well, it was good for me to do a little homework anyway since I might want to get a laptop in the not-too-distant future also. :D 

    Anyway, hope you're having a great trip, Rich, w/ whatever fine choice you made for the laptop. Come back w/ some great pics to show us.

  11. Laptop Choice - success!

    Thank you all for your help. I bought the Toshiba Satellite M45-S351 and upped it to 1GB. I am very pleased. I was in Circuit City and the sale went one more day with a $200 rebate! The good thing is when I turned it on at my sister-in-law's house the built-in wireless said there was a network near by. Would you believe she just instaled. We got the network up so I"M BACK!

    The tulips are out here ...although it snow flurried today and was in the thirties last night. Someone should tell Chicago it's late April.

  12. Gale


    Jan 26, 2005
    Viera Fl
    WOW rich,

    first congratulations on the new Laptop.

    Snow. oh thats not nice ant all. EEEKKK 30's.

    wishing you warmth and sunshne.
  13. Grats Rich !
    As Man says though, since you've got 1Gb of real memory, you want to disable Windows pagefile management and set it between 2 and 3 GB depending on how much space you have on your hard drive.

    ... in laws just came back from the South Island and there's new snow on the peaks near Nelson, so winter is definately rolling in down here :) 
  14. Re: Laptop Choice - success!

    Hi Rich,
    Congratulations on your new laptop. I have exactly the same configuration, and I am loving it. We are leaving to open our trailer at Cape May today. The laptop will be my main computer for most of the summer. Unfortunately, I will be on dialup when we are there.
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