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Core2Duo vs. X2 Turion (Laptop)

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June 11, 2007 7:32:21 PM

Alright, I'm thinking about getting a laptop in a month or so and I'm trying to find the best deal for the money. First of all, which manufacturer do you recommend for a laptop? I was thinking something like Dell, but if you have a better suggestion, please enlighten me.

If I do decide to get a dell, which processor would be best? The core2duo t5600 or the Athlon x2 tk-53? I'm going to use the laptop for some coding, multimedia, and light gaming. Which processor would suffice for those needs? There is a difference of about 300-400 dollars between the two, the Athlon X2 being the cheaper one.

All help is appreciated. Thanks.

More about : core2duo turion laptop

a c 100 à CPUs
June 11, 2007 7:36:12 PM

Coding, multimedia, and light gaming really don't stress the CPU much, so get the less-expensive unit. The Core 2 Duo T5600 is faster than the Turion 64 X2 TK-53 but not by an insane amount. You'd probably not notice the difference between the two CPUs as your usage should not stress them much, but you WILL notice the extra cash in your pocket.
June 11, 2007 7:45:12 PM

Quote:
Coding, multimedia, and light gaming really don't stress the CPU much, so get the less-expensive unit. The Core 2 Duo T5600 is faster than the Turion 64 X2 TK-53 but not by an insane amount. You'd probably not notice the difference between the two CPUs as your usage should not stress them much, but you WILL notice the extra cash in your pocket.


Yeah, that's what I was thinking, but you never know, my demands might increase as time progresses. I also just looked on the alienware site and found a laptop with similar specs to the dell ones with a core2duo t5500 that's only $200 more than the turion 64 x2... This just makes it a bit more difficult to choose.
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June 11, 2007 8:08:52 PM

The C2D is just way superior.
Poorion is just a worse version of the already not-so-competitive regular Athlon desktop processor, so go ahead and do the 1+1 :) 

The dollars arent worth ruining your experience (and you do want every bit of experience with notebooks being that expensive). If you feel the difference is too big, save up for another month =)
a c 100 à CPUs
June 11, 2007 8:13:46 PM

First, NO laptop is going to compare very well with a desktop as far as performance goes. My year-and-a-half-old X2 4200+ desktop is faster than either of those CPUs. And even if you did put the equivalent of the QX6900 in a laptop, it would be so bottlenecked by the HDD and slower mobile chipsets that it's not even funny. The fastest laptop HDD is a 160 GB 7200 rpm model and is slower than almost every desktop HDD made today. Not to mention that you generally can't make arrays of HDDs in a laptop and it's simple to do so in a desktop, with large performance gains.

So in short, a laptop is best a low-power machine that is sized small enough so that it can be transported from place to place and USED away from the desk. If you need something powerful, ask yourself why you want a laptop. If it's "I think that I might need to take it somewhere sometime" then you're probably better off with a desktop as that laptop will never move from the desk and you'd be much happier with a desktop's extra speed, storage space, larger monitor, and lower price.

I've been a laptop user for many years. I also have a desktop. I never use the laptop at home as the desktop is much more powerful and has better monitors. I found that I only used the laptop for very non-intensive tasks like word processing, spreadsheets, internet, e-mail, and sometimes a little coding. The laptop is 5 years old and I still find it plenty powerful enough for those tasks. I'm looking to replace it only because the graphics chip in it is dying and the screen picture has gotten very staticky. My old laptop was one of those "desktop replacement" models that weighs 5 pounds and cost me over $2500 back in 2002 and I've since learned my lesson about those. Here are my recommendations on what I've found is important in a laptop:

1. Size and weight. Get one with as small of a screen as you can tolerate looking at. Generally this means a 12.1" or 14.1" model. Smaller laptops are easier to carry and easier to use on your lap or a small desk.
2. Battery life. The big 15.4" and 17" laptops generally have a very poor batter life- often little over 1-2 hours. I needed for my laptop to go for at least a half-day (4 hrs) between charges, so my big old one with its 2.5-hour battery life was a pain as I'd ALWAYS have to hunt down and sit next to that power outlet.
3. Fan noise. Some laptops have very noisy fans that will piss everybody in the room with you off when it kicks on. I learned that one the hard way as my Gateway 600 has one that sounds just like a hair dryer and is equally as loud. Read the reviews at http://notebookreview.com as they rarely fail to mention fan noise.
4. CPU thermal dissipation. First, never, NEVER get a laptop with a desktop chip! Not only will battery life be <1 hr, but it will run so hot that it will burn your legs. My laptop has the mobile P4-M in it, but even that 35-watt chip runs hot enough to burn thighs. Hotter chips just take more juice to run as well as cool off, so I recommend the slowest possible chips in a laptop as they throw off less heat. I wish that more laptops used low-voltage and ultra-low-voltage chips, but generally it's only 12.1" and smaller units that have them. The LV and ULV chips draw half to a fifth of the power as the normal processors do, and this allows the laptops that use them to be smaller and have longer battery run times.
5. Hard drives. 7200 rpm drives are optimal as 5400 rpm ones are pretty slow. Avoid 4200 rpm drives like the plague- they're very slow. However, only the real little laptops with 1.8" HDDs like the Dell Latitude D420 and HP nc2500 use them.
June 11, 2007 8:26:13 PM

In response to your questions, due to the fairly low ability to upgrade laptops, I would recommend going with the C2D. Also, if you want to go with Dell make sure to look around on the net for coupons a simple 2 minute google saved me about $300 and I was able to afford better stuff in my lappy. Here's why: I had originally priced out my system through a couple different companies, although was quite limited to who i wanted to go with due to the fact that i wanted a 7200 RPM HDD and quite a few companies don't offer that. Well my system through Dell (the E1505) with my specs was going to be between $1250-1300 depending on a decision i was trying to make. Then I googled for coupons and found a $500 off coupon for any inspiron lappy $1500 or more. Well as you can tell I had to beef up my system some to just get it to where I could use the coupon. This of course was fine by me, and in the end I got a fairly well equipped laptop (well if they ever ship the damn thing) for a little over $1000, if memory serves me correctly tax and all came to $1043 and change. So make sure to look for coupons on the net for whatever company you go with. Sometimes you can save quite a bit. Oh yeah in case your interested my specs were:

C2D T7200
1 gig 667 DDR2
80 gig 7200 rpm
Geforce go 7300 256 mb (which makes me so mad that the ati now costs the same and is a better chip)
15.4" truelife glossy screen
bluetooth and wifi installed,
logitech V270 bluetooth mouse (pretty cool, no adapter needed, and it comes with a nifty neoprene carrying case)
Carbon Fiber quicksnap cover
Vista Home Premium
8X dvd-burner
9-cell battery (this is the extended life one)

So not a bad deal for the money
June 11, 2007 8:37:18 PM

I have read many reviews from people about the E1505's battery life reaching a usual length of 6 hours for the 9 cell battery. That is one of the main reasons I opted for that instead of two standard battery's especially due to the fact that as a student my laptop is being used constantly all day long, but I can throttle back things when I need to see if I can get even more time out of it. I realize 6 hours doesn't cover the entire day, but the college I am attending has plug ins by the food court tables and there are long tables with seats in the hallways with power ports built into the top. I imagine just for that reason.
a c 100 à CPUs
June 11, 2007 8:51:14 PM

The Core 2 Duo chips are excellent chips, that's for certain. But I'd wager that the Turion 64 X2s are *more* competitive to the C2D mobiles than the desktop X2s are to the desktop C2Ds. The reason is that the NVIDIA 430/6150 and AMD M690T/SB600 chipsets are far better than the hoary old 945GM and 945GMS/ICH6M that has been used ever since the very first Core Duo shipped in 2006. The new 965GM/ICH8M should level the field more, particularly with the NVIDIA offering, but AMD has an excellent chipset in the M690T.

The only C2Ds that are "way superior" for laptops would be the LV and ULV versions. AMD hasn't released any dual-cores with a TDP less than 31 watts, while the C2D LVs have a TDP of 15 watts and the ULVs have one of 10 W. The only bad thing is that the LV and ULV chips are very seldom used, even only sometimes being used smaller laptops like the 12.1" units. Putting a 35-watt chip in a small notebook is a recipe for a very hot, noisy unit. I'll probably get a unit with one of these chips, such as the ThinkPad x61 (C2D L7x00/800 FSB) or the Dell Latitude D420 (Core Duo U2x00).
a b D Laptop
June 11, 2007 10:02:14 PM

That's not even the case. The Turion X2's main competition is the Core Duo, not the Core2. If you look at Tom's mobile charts, the Core2 blows the X2 out of the water in everything except price-performance. Mobile CPU charts. Keep in mind that Tom's for some reason stopped at the TL-56 and did not include ANY games.
a c 100 à CPUs
June 12, 2007 3:33:05 AM

The Core Duo is about clock-for-clock as fast as the Turion 64 X2, but the competitor to the Turion 64 X2 is really the Core 2 Duo rather than the Core Duo. The Core Duo is a dual-core i686 chip while the Turion 64 X2 and C2D are both x86_64 dual-cores. Laptops are just now starting to ship with 4 GB RAM possible, and that takes a T64 or a C2D to harness. The Core Duo units are all limited to 2 GB.

It sort of seems odd that Intel made the Core Duo only a 32-bit chip. All of their other chips were 64-bit and their competitor also had all 64-bit units at the time as well, including notebook chips. The Pentium Ms were all 32 bit because at their heart, they were a die-shrunk, cache-enlarged, and slightly tweaked Pentium IIIs. The Core Duo required MUCH more engineering than any of the Tualatin -> Banias -> Dothan steps as the die was a monolithic one with a shared L2 cache. Intel added SSE3 and a few other tweaks to it, I don't understand why x86_64 could not have been added. Perhaps it was because Intel had the x86_64 Core 2 Duo already on the way and didn't want to spoil that launch?
June 12, 2007 4:45:58 AM

Quote:
It sort of seems odd that Intel made the Core Duo only a 32-bit chip. All of their other chips were 64-bit and their competitor also had all 64-bit units at the time as well, including notebook chips. The Pentium Ms were all 32 bit because at their heart, they were a die-shrunk, cache-enlarged, and slightly tweaked Pentium IIIs. The Core Duo required MUCH more engineering than any of the Tualatin -> Banias -> Dothan steps as the die was a monolithic one with a shared L2 cache. Intel added SSE3 and a few other tweaks to it, I don't understand why x86_64 could not have been added. Perhaps it was because Intel had the x86_64 Core 2 Duo already on the way and didn't want to spoil that launch?


How many mobile users needed a 64-bit mobile CPU in 2005? The advantage of a 32-bit mobile part is the die size saving (and therefore power, etc).

I disagree with your assessment about complexity as well. Look at BNS -> DTN -> YNH -> MRM. In a sense, it is a gradual improvement, but the obvious rift occurs at the change of going to dual core. Think about the shared bus unit, shared L2, L2 router, etc.

PB
June 12, 2007 12:05:01 PM

I'd go with the cheaper CPU but try and get the memory upgraded with the price difference.
On a laptop memory really is key. i.e. less acces to the swap file, which is far more power hungry (spinning a disk) than the memory itself.
I use two laptops for work. One with a core2 duo and one an old centrino. The centrino laptop has 2GB of memory and is far more responsive that the core2 duo with 1GB of Ram. OK I do tend to have alot of applications open (X windows, MS Office, SAP gui's)
a c 100 à CPUs
June 12, 2007 1:27:51 PM

Quote:

How many mobile users needed a 64-bit mobile CPU in 2005? The advantage of a 32-bit mobile part is the die size saving (and therefore power, etc).


Not that many people needed 4 GB of RAM in 2005 in a laptop, and not that many do today, possibly excepting those who want to use Vista 64-bit. But there are advantages to using 64-bit chips that go beyond just addressing more than 4 GB of space. One big advantage is that 64-bit applications run on average 5-10% faster than their 32-bit counterparts. Another is that 32-bit software is now considered legacy and is being phased out. The Core Duo debuted in late 2005 and the next version of Windows is supposed to ship in 2009 and will be 64-bit only. That pretty much puts a 3-4 year maximum lifespan on the Core Duo if one wants to use an up-to-date Windows OS and programs that will execute at full speed. Perhaps people here think that three and a part years is absolutely archaic for a computer, but outside of the friendly confines of THG, a 3 1/2 year old machine is generally expected to put in another year or so until it gets retired. Most businesses run computers for roughly 5 years before replacing them as they are still serviceable 5 years after manufacture. It doesn't take a QX6700 to check your e-mail and use a spreadsheet, and businesses know that.

Also, making a chip 64-bit capable adds a TINY amount of hardware to it that takes a MINIMAL amount of space and power. Reducing L2 cache sizes would have a far bigger impact on die size and power draw than making a 32-bit chip instead of a 64-bit one. And cache doesn't even take THAT much size nor power- the massive 4 MB L2 Merom Core 2 Duos have a 141 mm^2 die versus a 111 mm^2 die for the Merom-2M Core 2 Duos. 30 mm^2 is not all that much die space anyway. Transistors are cheap today and it makes sense to use a reasonable budget of them to get good performance. Upping IPC is about the only way to increase notebook performance in a sane way as ramping clock speeds will quickly hit TDPs that are too high for notebooks. In short, I'll take any performance improvements in mobile CPUs that doesn't require a jump in clock speeds and voltages. 64-bit is one of those.

[qoute]I disagree with your assessment about complexity as well. Look at BNS -> DTN -> YNH -> MRM. In a sense, it is a gradual improvement, but the obvious rift occurs at the change of going to dual core. Think about the shared bus unit, shared L2, L2 router, etc.[/quote]

That's exactly what I said:

Quote:
The Core Duo required MUCH more engineering than any of the Tualatin -> Banias -> Dothan steps as the die was a monolithic one with a shared L2 cache.


And that's why I wonder why Intel didn't roll in the x86_64 hardware.
June 12, 2007 1:34:41 PM

My work computer is a 17" HP with a C2D t7400 and ATI x1600 graphics. It's no heavy gaming rig by any stretch of the imiagination, but it runs my office apps fine along with autocad faster than most of our company's desk tops. it's battery life is around 4 hours and it puts of next to no heat at all. (Honestly there is no warm air around the exhaust. The table doesn't even get warm after running for hours.) Granted it is a bit heavy, and the display could be a little bit brighter.

My personal laptop is a huge 17"Alienware desk top replacement. It uses a P4 and runs thermonuclear. It can also double as a paint stripper or a space heater. But it plays games pretty well. I lug it around to hotels often since I travel a lot for work. I carry an extention cord and external keyboard in my suitcase to power it. But it does what I bought it for pretty well. I would not carry this beasty around all day on my back.

I would be interested to know how Falcon's new Core 2 family of desktop replacement laptops, realeased last week run? I would have to believe they have got to run cooler. (If they ran any hoter, the case would surely melt.)
June 12, 2007 2:21:28 PM

Here is a review with benchmarks of an even faster Turion X2.

http://www.notebookreview.com/default.asp?newsID=3751

The 2ghz Turion X2 is probably ~20% slower than a 1.73ghz core2duo in superpi, slightly better in pc-mark.

I'd also like to point out that intel's notebook offerings are competitive with their desktops, clock for clock.
June 12, 2007 2:43:12 PM

Keep in mind that the processor isn't the only component in a laptop. When you look at price points, take a look at how much memory is installed. If it's only 1G, then it's probably 2-512 modules which means that you would need to buy 2-1G modules to bring it up to 2G which is really what you need for Vista Home Premium (nearly all the new machines are coming out with Vista).

The graphics chips are pretty limited until you get around the $1000 point but take a look at what you really need. For right now, you can forget about DX10. Perhaps workable and useful external cards and enclosures will actually come out in the future if they can overcome the interface limitations.

Depending on your actual use, determine how much portability you need and how much weight you can tolerate. A 14.1" screen may be better for your circumstances and is certainly easier on the shoulder than a heavier machine. Battery life and weight is always a factor so see if you'll need to buy a spare or an upgrade.

Take a look at your overall cost and useable performance instead of concentrating on just the processor. If you're really going to be using it as a portable and using it on your lap, you might want to consider the optional insurance that covers spillage, droppage, and etceterage. I've watched in horror as laptops have fallen off the security table at several airports so keep that in mind.

If you keep an eye on the weekly sales at the big box stores, you can pick up a decent machine in the 700 to 800 dollar price range. That'll leave you some extra cash left over for your case or sleeve, extra battery, and wireless mouse.
June 12, 2007 2:58:44 PM

I just read your first post, and you said that there is a ~$200 difference between the C2D and the X2 models. Keep in mind that the CPU isn't the only difference between those two models. The C2D has the ability to play movies and music and such without booting into Windows I believe, but the X2 model doesn't have that ability. Also, the C2D model has multimedia buttons up near the power button, while the X2 models don't have them. There is also a difference in the default video card, but I'm not sure which is better.

I'm also looking at a notebook, and have been impressed with the new models from HP. They have the new Sana Rosa (sp?) models with the new 800 FSB C2D mobile chips. Personally, I also like the looks better, and you can get a mic and webcam built in.
June 12, 2007 3:02:15 PM

The quickplay feature with HP is available in both the Intel and AMD flavors. The buttons on top of the keyboard are a part of the "entertainment PC" models.
June 12, 2007 3:04:09 PM

Sorry, in my first paragraph I was referring to the Dell models from his initial post. My second paragraph was about the HP models which I prefer.
June 12, 2007 3:19:57 PM

LOL - I wasn't even thinking about Dell's. I also happen to prefer HP's but only because I'm familiar with them and have had relatively good experiences with customer support. I just bought a DV2312US for my neice (graduation present) at Office Depot for $700 after rebates.
June 12, 2007 4:10:29 PM

I've been all over the internet and looking myself and I find picking a laptop is just such a nightmare for me, I thought maybe I could get someone's opinion here. I could pick out a PC without pausing any day of the week, but a laptop has so much more to consider!!

Here's my scenario, I would LOVE any opinions:
- I do love gaming, but I'm not a hardcore FPS gamer. Essentially the only game that I demand MUST play fairly well is World of Warcraft, but it would be nice if I could later put on Quake Wars and/or Starcraft 2.
- I'd like to spend around $1000 canadian or less
- I am going to take the laptop with me for pre-deployment training, then to Afghanistan. I will be working in a stationary headquarters, so I don't need something ruggedized.
- a reasonable temperature will be important in case I'm not always in air conditioning, but that's unlikely.
- good battery life would also be a great bonus.
- My primary usage will be for e-mail, DVD's and video files I take with me on a portable hard drive, and I'm sure some messing around with older and/or current games, but nothing demanding. I am not sure if I'll have internet access during my pre-deployment, but just in case the laptop must be fully World of Warcraft capable.
- I've got a good gaming rig at home and am likely to never use the laptop for gaming again after I come back.

Cheap is good, I'm not rich. But, I want the ability to run 25man WoW raids if I get the chance, and that's the only possible demanding app I can think of besides whatever random games I might play.

thanks for your thoughts!
June 12, 2007 4:18:00 PM

Core 2 Duo without a doubt. Better performance, better battery life. What more do you want?
August 23, 2007 12:54:37 AM


Core2Duo definitely. The T7100 has about the same performance as the fastest Turion X2 TL-64 (3dmark06 cpu), and the T7100 is a slow CPU(1.8 GHZ).
The T7600 is faster than the Athlon 64 X2 FX-60.

Mobile Processor Benchmarks-
http://www.notebookcheck.net/Mobile-Processors-Benchmar...

I game, but if you want a computer that's somewhat futureproof, get a high end CPU and at least a mid-range GPU.
The processor is the brains of the computer. If you can afford it, get the most powerful chip you can.

Alienware m5790 Special Edition
Vista Ultimate x64
T7600G 2.66 GHZ
Mobility x1900 256 MB
WUXGA 1920x1200
2GB DDR2 PC5300
August 23, 2007 9:01:48 PM

Screw that get a VIA. That settles the AMD vs Intel problem.
September 11, 2007 1:22:51 PM

hey guys nice thread, i've been looking to get a laptop for quite some time now...I live in New Zealand and Dell is significantly cheaper than HP or any other alternative... Having said that i'm aware of Dell's reputation so I might save up the extra money for an HP...

Thanks to a lot of reading and this thread I've ruled out a desktop-replacement laptop that I was originally considering...You guys are right, a laptop is only useful if it is portable and has a decent battery life...Having said that it obviously helps if it's not frustratingly slow!!! Since I have a decent gamin rig, I know i'll be frustrated on my budget with a laptop, but minimising frustration is important hehe...

Core 2's definitly seem to have the advantage in the laptop segment, and with the new 45nm penryn core 2's likely to come out soon, Intel will probably have the lead for a little while longer yet...

i'm thinking a t7100 should surfice with 2gb ram and any old gpu considering they all suck anyway :p  hehe
September 11, 2007 2:00:09 PM

Synthetic benchmarks are not the best way to test laptop performance. Just because SuperPI is twice as fast on 1 CPU it doesn't mean the CPU is twice as fast. I know PI is a good measure of performance but why do you guys use that as a reference all the time rather than looking at real world performance(especially when it comes to notebooks)?

For multimedia and light gaming the GPU will be the most important aspect in the purchase. For coding (talking about compiling or encoding)? Either way it will be CPU dependent. Multimedia would be easy for just about any GPU, for gaming you will need at least some kind of decent GPU. For the encoding (I ***) you will need a decent cpu.

What is most important to you? If I were you I would get the laptop in your price range which is 64bit capable, dual core, and has a decent gpu in it. The Core2(mobile) and the Turion X2 really should be the deal breaker since you are doing some things which are not CPU dependent as well.

September 11, 2007 2:03:10 PM

I say either. Most of the time, people suggest Intel with the thought of overclocking.... with laptops, that is a non-issue. I would go with whichever is cheapest. Both CPUs are great, really.
September 11, 2007 2:36:34 PM

TSIMonster,

I agree, go with the one that is less expensive with the best specs. Video, HDD size and speed, GPU and so on.
September 11, 2007 2:57:21 PM

The intel system at $300-$400 more may have a better video card.

You may be able to find a amd system for $100-$200 more with a good video card.
!