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Buying a laptop: energy efficiency vs performance vs price contest

Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
February 20, 2010 11:05:24 PM

Im looking for an low-energy usage laptop that is still powerful with the following specs:
CPU (no more than 25 Watt)- For example, one of the following Mobile Intel CPU's:
SL9600, P9600, P9600, P9500, P8800, 640LM

One of the following reasonably powerful Video cards (no more than 23 Watt)
GeForce G210M (my preferred choice), GeForce GT 230M, GT 240M, GeForce 9600M GS/GT
I suspect any of above would have a good resolution
If i need a big screen I will attach one.
4Gb DDR3 ram (DDR3 uses less power than DDR2)
I dont need a DVD
Lowest price with above combination (I will be running Linux on it).

I would appreciate any advice and suggestions.
Kris van der Merwe
February 21, 2010 12:15:47 AM

I hate to say it but Macbook Pros, I believe, fit all your requirements (except for lowest price.) To my knowledge they have a GeForce 9400M and DDR3 ram and I'm sure the cpu doesn't use much. By the way the 9600M uses 35 watts. You will want a laptop with a small screen because they require less backlight which is a big battery killer. Look for a business laptop like ones made from Lenovo.
February 22, 2010 3:51:10 AM

Thanks for those pointers. Looks like Apple did their homework.
Im not sure if they did it for reliability or other reasons (being green, and battery power).
Low power usage laptops last longer as components are subjected to less heat.
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February 22, 2010 5:45:01 AM


Base price: $819 - $24.98 = $794.02

Base specs include the Intel SU7300, 4 GB DDR3 1066 MHZ RAM, a 14" screen at 1366x768, a switchable G210M->4500MHD system, and an optical drive.

You could also look at the UL50VT-A1, which starts at the same price but has a 15.6" screen. The UL30VT-A1 comes with a 13.3" screen at the same starting price as well.

All three systems appear to have the same base specs (aside from the UL30's lack of optical drive and screen size differences). They also claim to have 10+ hours of battery life.
February 22, 2010 9:04:45 AM

The ASUS UL80VT-A1 looks like good value, and the Intel SU7300 runs at a thrifty 10Watt TDP!
It may be a bit underpowered, but it is hard to tell without a test drive.

I dont do much gaming, but i would like to do some video processing
(i have a high definition video camera - Panasonic GH1)

Some of the other options I found are:
Sony VAIO CW1KGX/U : Intel P9600, 4GB DDR3, Geforce G210M
Sony VAIO CW1CGX/U : Intel P8700, 4GB DDR3, Geforce G210M
Toshiba Satellite A500-02E : Intel P8700, 4GB DDR3, Geforce G210M

I also came across the "Zepto Nox", which optionally has a solid state disk of up to 250GB!
I got the impression the "Zepto" isnt in the market though. It seemed to have had some suspend errors and nobody seems to be selling it.
a b D Laptop
February 22, 2010 7:24:13 PM


I have an idea for a laptop:

Acer Aspire AS5740G-5323 Intel Core i3 330M 4GB 500GB 15.6IN HD Radeon HD5470

It has a Core i3 - 330M which has a TDP 35Watt TDP (I know this is out of your spec but read on please)

Radeon 5470 - MAX TDP of 15Watts - this is much better than the 20+ Watts of the G210M and has about the same performance (maybe a little less).

This processor is Dual core with 4 threads total - so it will be excellent at transcoding video and will be faster than those lower power processors.

It's a trade off though - the ones already reccomended are great - and this is just to add some flavour to your thoughts. On one hand the processor is more power hungry - but you will get much more power out of it also. and on the other the video card is slightly weaker - but is less power hungry - so it's a trade off between more processing power and video card power.

It was last Listed on NCIX as 719.00$ (Canadian).
a b D Laptop
February 24, 2010 6:04:19 PM

Since you asked for some help and we answered, care to tell us what laptop you have picked out?

On a side note, the laptops that use the new core i3's / i5/s have chipsets that draw about 50% less power than their Core 2 Duo counter parts.
February 25, 2010 4:18:30 AM

From what I've heard, the Core 2 ULV draws less power than the i3 and i5.. but it lacks the hyperthreading =P
a b D Laptop
February 25, 2010 6:51:40 PM

Core 2 ULV is like a modern day - souped up Celly....they aren't very good at multitasking and seem to bog down quite a bit doing heavier work loads.
February 26, 2010 9:32:17 PM

Im leaning towards the Sony VAIO CW1KGX/U (Intel P9600, 4GB DDR3, Geforce G210M).
Its not cheap, bit it may be worth it.

Im intrigued with the Core i3,i5 and i7 processors implementing one of AMD's design architectures where RAM is accessed directly from the CPU, not using the Front Side Bus.
I have always thought AMD had good designs, hampered by outdated manufacturing technology. AMD do not even disclose the power consumption on some of their graphic processors (we all know what that means!)

Anyway, apparently a memory controller integrated with the CPU may eliminate the need for a North Bridge. And the North bridge has always been a bottleneck (and a source of heat) on motherboards. The Core i3,i5 and i7 seem power hungry, but does this mean that less power is consumed in the motherboard? I have no idea what the motherboard manufacturers are doing.
February 27, 2010 12:51:30 AM

I thought the i3 is less power hungry than the non-CULV Core 2 chips? The i5 and i7 being power hungry is obvious, because they're built to be powerhouses.. but the i3 should chug along smoothly.

Plus, the Turbo Boost only kicks in if your temperature allows it. So if your CPU is already running pretty hot, it won't overclock it to keep the temps lower.
February 27, 2010 1:25:36 AM

The i3's that have anything close to the performance of say, the P9600 or P8700 uses 10 Watts more. Im referring to tests from notebookcheck.
So, do they make up for being less powerful and using more power by having motherboards using say 10 watts less?

Best solution

a b D Laptop
March 1, 2010 3:30:48 PM

Core I3's do not have turbo boost. Only core I5 and I7's do. They are actually faster clock for clock than their Core 2 Duo counterparts. You can read at:

Since it actually eliminates some componenents in the motherbard it actually saves around ~12watts which is quite a bit of power savings.
March 1, 2010 8:20:23 PM

Oops, my bad. Got switched up there ^^
March 8, 2010 4:06:14 AM

Best answer selected by krisvdm.