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Urgent: Intel i7-720QM vs Intel i7-840QM

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August 21, 2010 8:58:45 PM

Hello, sorry if these type of questions had been answered numerous times but I had searched the forum and couldn't find a definite answer to my question.

Please DO contribute any thoughts you have (if you have thoughts or response to some of my questions, please do post them) as I need to get this laptop before August 26. Therefore, I will need your valuable opinions as soon as possible.

I am currently looking at buying a laptop mainly for gaming, multitasking, and multimedia work. Will the i7-720QM be sufficient enough?

Detail specs below:
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Intel Core i7-720QM
ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5850 (1GB GDDR5 RAM)
8GB DDR3 RAM 1333Mhz

How much of a difference are there between the i7-720QM and the i7-840QM?
I know that the 720QM clocks at 1.6Ghz and TB up to 2.8Ghz,
while the 840QM clocks at 1.86Ghz and TB up to 3.2Ghz.
The 720QM also features 6MB L3 cache,
and the 840QM features 8MB L3 cache.

So my questions are:

1. Is there much of a difference in gaming for a 0.4Ghz difference in clock speed and an additional 2MB L3 cache? If so, is it noticeable?

2. Also I heard in some forums that the i7-720QM is capable of having 8MB L3 cache, if so, how do I unlock it?

3. How will the i7-720QM stand up against i7-840QM in multi-core applications and games?

4. Same question as #3, but with single-core applications and games?

5. Just a side question, if a game, such as Need For Speed Undercover, which requires a Pentium 4 or equivalent processor @ 3.0Ghz or faster, will the i7-720QM be able to handle it at max setting?

From what I am aware of, the i7-720QM have each core running at 2.8Ghz when turbo-boosted to max. Since the game mentioned the Pentium 4 processor, which is a single core processor, I suppose the game only utilise one core? Since each core of the i7-720QM runs at 2.8Ghz, it will not meet the required clock speed of 3.0Ghz and therefore won't run flawlessly? Please do correct me if I am wrong.

6. Can these processors be overclocked? If so, how? (Heard of clockgen, not sure how to use it...)




Your help and contributions will be much appreciated, Thank You!!
a b à CPUs
August 22, 2010 3:30:08 AM

Have a look at this to get an idea of the performance you'll see from either:

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

If you want performance, you're best bet is to just bite the bullet and go with the 840. Yes, either CPU will easily be able to handle NFSU. In other words, you really shouldn't be worrying about speed when it comes to a CPU, but rather the architecture. The i3, i5, and i7's all have the newest architecture, which in comparison to core 2's, etc... are vastly superior. Finally, no, usually laptop CPU's cannot be over clocked due to the fact that the BIOS are locked down. Even if they can, I do not recommend it, as you'll easily fry it, i.e. a lack of extra cooling to compensate for the added performance/heat.
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a c 131 à CPUs
August 22, 2010 4:09:54 AM

1. Is there much of a difference in gaming for a 0.4Ghz difference in clock speed and an additional 2MB L3 cache? If so, is it noticeable?
Maybe and definitely no.

2. Also I heard in some forums that the i7-720QM is capable of having 8MB L3 cache, if so, how do I unlock it?
You can't.

3. How will the i7-720QM stand up against i7-840QM in multi-core applications and games?
The difference isn't as big as you might think.

4. Same question as #3, but with single-core applications and games?
Same as question 3.

5. Just a side question, if a game, such as Need For Speed Undercover, which requires a Pentium 4 or equivalent processor @ 3.0Ghz or faster, will the i7-720QM be able to handle it at max setting?
Yes. The question is will your mobile 5850 be able to max out the settings. Which I am unsure. It should perform like a desktop 5750, I think

From what I am aware of, the i7-720QM have each core running at 2.8Ghz when turbo-boosted to max. Since the game mentioned the Pentium 4 processor, which is a single core processor, I suppose the game only utilise one core? Since each core of the i7-720QM runs at 2.8Ghz, it will not meet the required clock speed of 3.0Ghz and therefore won't run flawlessly? Please do correct me if I am wrong.
It doesn't mean it can only use one core. It means it can run fine on minimum settings on a pentium 4 3GHz. Knowing the minimum specs game designers throw out, it will probably be a slideshow with a pentium 4 on anything less than 640x480 on minimum settings.
You misunderstand clockspeed. It is not a performance value. Only when comparing to the same architecture. My old single core 2GHz Athlon 64 3200+ will outperform a 3GHz Pentium 4. One core of the least powerful mainstream processor today (minus the atom and celeron) will outperform a 3GHz pentium 4. This is because they execute more instructions per cycle.

6. Can these processors be overclocked? If so, how? (Heard of clockgen, not sure how to use it...)
Yes. Will the bios support it? no. Will you be able to use clockgen? Trial and error, a lot of work and impossible to say. Not to mention the risk involved in changing the FSB speed permanently on the clock generator.
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August 22, 2010 4:19:47 AM

buwish said:
Have a look at this to get an idea of the performance you'll see from either:

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

If you want performance, you're best bet is to just bite the bullet and go with the 840. Yes, either CPU will easily be able to handle NFSU. In other words, you really shouldn't be worrying about speed when it comes to a CPU, but rather the architecture. The i3, i5, and i7's all have the newest architecture, which in comparison to core 2's, etc... are vastly superior. Finally, no, usually laptop CPU's cannot be over clocked due to the fact that the BIOS are locked down. Even if they can, I do not recommend it, as you'll easily fry it, i.e. a lack of extra cooling to compensate for the added performance/heat.



Thanks for replying buwish, I really needed some opinions as soon as possible.

Anyhow, thanks for the website, I had been to it before, the first sentence in it's review of the 720 really bothers me, "The Intel Core i7 720QM is a fast quad-core CPU and slowest Core i7 quad core in 2009", since it's currently August 2010, does that the 720 is quite outdated?!

Moreover, the 840 with the same architecture as the 720, Notebookcheck has praised it to be the "...high end quad core CPU in 2010"

Source
i7-720 - http://www.notebookcheck.net/Intel-Core-i7-720QM-Notebo...
i7-840 - http://www.notebookcheck.net/Intel-Core-i7-840QM-Notebo...

Regarding to both processors, I am actually leaning more to the 720 as it would be harder for me to get this laptop with the 840 where I am currently at. So the main concern is really this: How much more am I getting with the 840? 0.4Ghz and 2MB L3 Cache, is that a noticeable boost/advantage? How much performance am I loosing with the 720?
Thanks in advance!
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August 22, 2010 4:46:03 AM

enzo matrix said:
1. Is there much of a difference in gaming for a 0.4Ghz difference in clock speed and an additional 2MB L3 cache? If so, is it noticeable?
Maybe and definitely no.

2. Also I heard in some forums that the i7-720QM is capable of having 8MB L3 cache, if so, how do I unlock it?
You can't.

3. How will the i7-720QM stand up against i7-840QM in multi-core applications and games?
The difference isn't as big as you might think.

4. Same question as #3, but with single-core applications and games?
Same as question 3.

5. Just a side question, if a game, such as Need For Speed Undercover, which requires a Pentium 4 or equivalent processor @ 3.0Ghz or faster, will the i7-720QM be able to handle it at max setting?
Yes. The question is will your mobile 5850 be able to max out the settings. Which I am unsure. It should perform like a desktop 5750, I think

From what I am aware of, the i7-720QM have each core running at 2.8Ghz when turbo-boosted to max. Since the game mentioned the Pentium 4 processor, which is a single core processor, I suppose the game only utilise one core? Since each core of the i7-720QM runs at 2.8Ghz, it will not meet the required clock speed of 3.0Ghz and therefore won't run flawlessly? Please do correct me if I am wrong.
It doesn't mean it can only use one core. It means it can run fine on minimum settings on a pentium 4 3GHz. Knowing the minimum specs game designers throw out, it will probably be a slideshow with a pentium 4 on anything less than 640x480 on minimum settings.
You misunderstand clockspeed. It is not a performance value. Only when comparing to the same architecture. My old single core 2GHz Athlon 64 3200+ will outperform a 3GHz Pentium 4. One core of the least powerful mainstream processor today (minus the atom and celeron) will outperform a 3GHz pentium 4. This is because they execute more instructions per cycle.

6. Can these processors be overclocked? If so, how? (Heard of clockgen, not sure how to use it...)
Yes. Will the bios support it? no. Will you be able to use clockgen? Trial and error, a lot of work and impossible to say. Not to mention the risk involved in changing the FSB speed permanently on the clock generator.



Thanks Enzo Matrix for replying, very detail indeed.

So do you think I should opt for the 840 then? if I am going to game... Will the 720 drag down the performance of the 5850 1GB GDDR5?

You see, I am looking at these two laptops, they are both the same model, same look, but only different specs:

HP Envy 17-1090ca
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Intel Core i7-720QM (1.6Ghz, TB up to 2.8Ghz, 6MB L3 Cache)
8GB DDR3 1333Mhz RAM
ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5850 (1GB GDDR5 RAM)
1TB 7200RPM HDD (2 x 500GB 7200RPM HDD)
17" HP HD+ BrightView Infinity LED (1600 x 900)

HP Envy 17-1018tx
Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
Intel Core i7-840QM (1.86Ghz, TB up to 3.2Ghz, 8MB L3 Cache)
8GB DDR3 1333Mhz RAM
ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5850 (1GB GDDR5 RAM)
1TB 7200RPM HDD (2 x 500GB 7200RPM HDD)
17" HP Full HD Brightview Infinity LED (1920 x 1080)

The 17-1090ca cost around $1649USD + Free Xbox 360 Slim 4GB and the 1018tx cost around $2440USD.

I can get the 17-1090ca right now at my local stores, but for the 1018tx I will have to wait till Nov/Dec, plus no x360.

With the Full HD screen and 0.4Ghz, 2MB L3 cache boost, is it worth waiting? Sandy Bridge will be rolled out by then?

What would be your choice?

Please reply, Thanks in advance!
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a c 131 à CPUs
August 23, 2010 1:30:48 AM

I don't believe sandy bridge for mobile will be rolled out for a while.

It's up to you. The gaming performance of the first one will be a bit better because it is a lower resolution monitor. But that also means... it's a lower resolution monitor.

The 720 is more than powerful enough to handle what you will throw at it. Don't sweat it.

Whichever you choose though, see if you can get a $200 off the total cost by reducing the ram to 4GB. Unless there's some specialized applications you use that use all that memory.

I honestly don't think the 820 computer is worth the price increase from the 720 at all though. Especially with the addition of the free Xbox, that is, if you'd put it to use or could sell it.
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August 30, 2010 9:10:38 PM

Best answer selected by reventon_703.
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August 30, 2010 9:12:02 PM

Thanks everyone, decided finally to purchase the Envy 17-1090ca last Wednesday =]
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