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Why is a 10 year old P4 my best computer?

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January 11, 2013 4:01:31 AM

Background: A few of my friends play Dota2 and I have a Dell Latitude D630 and an Asus 1015pn netbook, both of which lag like crazy while playing. My friend got tired of me lagging so bad that he gave me an old Pentium 4 desktop system he had. My question is, despite the CPU benchmark and Tom's review of the P4 vs. the Atom (Atom beats P4 most of the time), why can the Pentium play Dota 2 without hiccups while my other 2 can't? (the only drawback of the P4 is that it takes longer to load the first game than the Dell) More specifically, why does the P4 significantly outperform the Asus despite having similar-on-paper scores and specifications?

specifications:
Internet upload 3.4mbps download 24 mbps

Dell Latitude D630: Win XP 32 bit sp3
Intel Core 2 Duo T7500 2.2 GHz (cpu benchmark score of 1219)
4 GB dual channel DDR2 ram
NVIDIA Quadro NVS 135m (128mb)
80gb HDD
notes: when under load gpu temps are often 94-97 degrees C. I have a feeling the heatsink is not touching the graphics chip entirely or new thermal compound needs to be applied.

Asus EEE 1015pn: win 7 starter 32 bit
Intel Atom N550 1.5 GHz (I overclock to a stable 1.73 GHz and a sometimes stable 1.8) (CPU benchmark at 555 at stock clock)
2 GB single channel DDR3 ram
NVIDIA ION (512 mb) stock graphics clock: 500 Hhz, Memory clock: 700 MHz, Processor clock: 1070 MHz but is stable using the NVIDIA performance program overclocked to 1000MHz, 840MHz, and 2140MHz (as far as the sliders go) respectively with no noticeable change in performance.
Also use a 32gb (10) SD card with readyboost
250 Gb HDD
Under load, the temp remains about 64-70 degrees C

Pentium 4 northwood ht 3.2 GHz (win XP 32bit sp3) (CPU benchmark score 404)
Motherboard ABIT IS7
1.5GB DDR single channel (3 512mb sticks)
ATI Radeon HD 3650 AGP (1 GB)
450W power supply
40gb 5400rpm HDD
case is an old HP xw4100 workstation
3.5 in floppy for nostalgia

Does the graphics card really make all the difference? Does straight clockspeed outweigh more cores? If voltage could be increased on the Asus in order to get a higher stable OC, would that solve problems? Should I put xp on the netbook and get a faster os but no readyboost? Could the Radeon be hooked to the Dell if I took the laptop apart and sacrificed mobility?

Thanks for your help -Riley

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January 11, 2013 4:06:39 AM

It's the Radeon 3650. That's was a fairly high end card at one point. And yes for gaming the graphics card does make 90% of the difference in most cases. Your laptops have graphics cards that can likely barely keep up with playing back youtube.

And no, there is no way to use the Radeon 3650 in the laptop or upgrade the graphics in the laptops.

January 11, 2013 7:07:39 AM

You cant really compare clock speed and number of cores when you have completely different CPU's. Most games won't use more than two CPU cores anyway.
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