What mobile processor? Help needed before tomorrow

Hey all, I'll keep this quick as possible.

Had an AthlonXP 3000+ "Barton" Desktop machine, used for audio recording and sequencing.

Sold it to buy Acer 1501LCe @ £800 (Athlon64 3000+). The damn thing couldn't play an audio file without dropping out every 2:30 minutes. Tried everything humanly possible. Even sent it back to Acer where they replaced the mainboard. No effect. Seemingly a problem with NO solution.

Okay, theres much more to this story (being unable to reach anyone at Acer for days at a go, the laptop sitting waiting for repair for over a week, being on hold for an hour only to get dropped, etc. etc.) but basically it's now come down to that they're willing to offer a replacement laptop, from a different series (so not the 1500).

Tomorrow I have to phone up and decide which one I want...within reason. So I have a choice of laptops powered by:

Centrino @ 1.5/1.6 (these laptops look nice, have WiFi, widescreen TFTs etc.)

P4-M 2.8 (ugly as sin, slightly less fancy features)


So I wanna make sure that they're not gunna force me into settling for something less powerful than what I paid for. This has been going on for a month now and I'm so...stressed out.

If anyone can offer any insight, I'll be eternally grateful. I can really only pick from laptops around the price I paid, so 8 - 900 quid. So no 2.0Ghz Dothans, k? ;)

Many many thanks in advance

- Paul O
16 answers Last reply
More about what mobile processor needed tomorrow
  1. 2.0Ghz Dothan...thats a good mobile processor. Get that

    <font color=blue><font color=red>Blow</font color=red> Dry <font color=red>my ass</font color=red> and call me <font color=red>Eden</font color=red>!</font color=blue>
  2. Ha. Okay. I know it probably smokes, but I have to be realistic.

    I suppose my main dillemna is this:

    I can take a widescreen TFT 2012 with a Centrino 1.5

    Or a regular 15" 2501 with a P4 2.8

    And it's so hard to just find out which comes out on top for multimedia performance.

    I suppose that's a better way of phrasing it.

    For audio recording, MIDI work, etc. etc. on a laptop which is better...

    Centrino (up to around 1.5 to 1.6)
    P4 (around 2.8)

    Those are really my choices. Do they comapre favourably to what I HAD - AthlonXP 3000+? Do they compare favourably to what I paid for - Athlon64 3000+?

    - Paul
  3. Centrino = Pentium M... which will equal Dothan.

    Pentium Ms perform much better per clock than P4s. I can't remember what it was for sure... but I think it was somewhere around the neighborhood of a P4B clocked 1.5 times higher than the PM. So a 1.5GHz Pentium M (Centrino) would perform like a 2.4GHz P4B.

    <font color=red> If you design software that is fool-proof, only a fool will want to use it. </font color=red>
  4. Clearly the P4 will give you better performance, at the expensive of battery life/portability (and a hot lap). I guess it depends which you find more important. IMO the Pentium-M gives you a better mix of performance/battery life, but if you crave performance over anything else, get the P4.

    = The views stated herein are my personal views, and not necessarily the views of my wife. =
  5. P4Man is right; he said it all. For a lighter and more battery-efficient notebook with quite acceptable performance, the centrino will do great. However, the P4 probably packs a performance punch that the centrino cannot match, but is neither as light nor as battery-efficient...

    <i><font color=red>You never change the existing reality by fighting it. Instead, create a new model that makes the old one obsolete</font color=red> - Buckminster Fuller </i>
  6. Ahh, my mistake. I only just found out that Centrino is not the CPU, but a combination of the processor, and wireless components. I'm still learning ;) so Pentium M = Dothan. Got it.

    Well portability isn't so much an issue - whichever I get it will remain firmly anchored on my desk either at Uni - I leave in Sept, hurrah - or when I come home during the holidays. So I'm not too fussed about the Pentium M's low battery consumption. I'm only considering the P-M powered laptop because I really want a wide screen laptop with high resolutions (this one is 1280-800) for my audio/music work.

    It's confusing though. Cos I've seen benchmark results that indicate a 1.3 Pentium M is equivalent in overall power to a P4 2.4. So would not a 1.5 be more in the 2.6, 2.8 region? Or was that benchmark....off the mark!!!

    Also doesn't help that I've only ever used Athlons. An XP2000+, then a XP3000+ so I only have those in mind to gauge the speed against.

    I'm heavily leaning towards the Centrino 1.5 but if you guys think I'll be doing myself out of performance (which is very important when doing audio work) then I guess I should reconsider........
  7. Its too bad the A64 didn't work out for you, since it would probably would have been an even better compromise. Was it a soundcard/driver issue ?

    Regardless, to answer your questions: some benchmarks tell one story, other benchmarks paint a different picture. The only way to know pretty much for sure, is by comparing benchmarks of programs you actuall use, using the hardware you consider but good luck finding them. Anything else is a simplification/approximation. I'd *WAG* a Pentium M 1.5 (Banias based, right ?) would be roughly comparable to ~2.2 GHz P4. Especially in media encoding (your requirement) it doesn't really shine. Wether or not ~25% longer (shorter) encoding times is more important to you than a bigger wide screen or portability (heat, and *noise*, don't underestimate the tiresome wining noise many DTR notebooks make under load!) is up to you to decide...

    = The views stated herein are my personal views, and not necessarily the views of my wife. =
  8. I'm very dissapointed that the A64 machine didn't work out too. From what little use I got out of it in between sending it back and forth to Acer UK, I found it VERY fast. The problem, to be as brief as possible, was 10-30 ms dropouts in audio every 2:30.

    http://forums.amd.com/index.php?showtopic=17630&st=70

    You'll find on the 2nd page an extensive list of attempted solutions. This is quite possibly the most infuriating problem I've EVER had with a machine, ever lol

    But anyway

    Yeah I think you're description of the P-M 1.5 being more in the 2.0 - 2.2 region is more spot on, going by what I've read on the net in the last few mins. I was a little alarmed to read that. I mean I'm using an XP2000 (which I guess is around 2.0Ghz performance) desktop machine as a temporary measure until I get this sorted, and it's pokey, but nowhere near enough for what I want to do, and nothing like what I had before (XP 3000+ Barton).

    The 2.8 P4 is looking more atrractive all of a sudden!!! What about heat/noise issues?
  9. >What about heat/noise issues?

    Entirely model dependant. See if you can find some users of that *exact* laptop on eg Acer forums (if they have one), or look up a review.

    If you can't find either, check Acers site and find out if they use a P4-M(obile) or P4 (which is a desktop part). If its not a P4-M, I would sincerely recommend you do NOT buy it. Those desktop chips just run too hot for confort, they will kill your battery way too soon (not just empty it, KILL it, if you're unlucky with fire and smoke :) and if you're often running the machine under full load, expect tiresome noise, if not immediately, then most likley after a couple of months as the fan starts wearing out.

    The mobile P4 ought to better in this regard, but oem's can still screw up their thermal design, and the notebook may or may not be hot/noisy under load.. Find some first hand experience, preferably from someone who has owned one for longer than a reviewer to be ~sure

    For the Pentium M, I doubt noise or heat will be any issue, even though its still possible especially if you're looking at ultraportable notebooks.

    = The views stated herein are my personal views, and not necessarily the views of my wife. =
  10. Hm, things just got confusing hehe. Okay well I'm fairly positive the 2501 uses a P4 desktop CPU...not a P4-M. And while portability and battery life don't bother me, heat and noise (and more importantly longevity of the CPU and laptop in general) do bother me.

    The other factor that's really putting me at odds here is the screen. While the widescreen TFT is not only cool, its functional lol and the Radeon 9700 offers resolutions of 1280x800. The 2501 only goes up to 1024, has an intergrated graphics processor, and I think, shares system RAM. And besides that I find working in 1024 res very restricting, especially when it comes to my audio software (Nuendo2, Reason 2.5 etc.)

    If I knew some concrete figures as to the Centrino's "equivalent" power, I'd be happier. The Acer site, unsurprisinsly, states that a 1.5 Dothan with 1MB L2 Cache is **Approx** on par with a P4 3.0 Ghz...which is a claim I find a tad on the wild side. But on the other hand I still think the 2-ish Ghz estimate is a bit conservative. Grrrr it's so hard to decide.

    I know I'm definitely leaning towards the 2012 Centrino, but I don't wanna get it home and find that it's not even on par with like, an AMD AthlonXP 2400 or something :(
  11. Quote:
    The Acer site, unsurprisinsly, states that a 1.5 Dothan with 1MB L2 Cache is **Approx** on par with a P4 3.0 Ghz...which is a claim I find a tad on the wild side.

    You're right, a 1.5Ghz PM with 1MB L2 Cache is a banias core, and it's not on par with a P4 3.0. Actually, the top-model 755 (Dothan @ 2Ghz) could claim to be on par with a P4 3.0 without upsetting many people, but the 1.5 not...

    I'd lean towards the centrino as well, but it does have less horsepower than that 2.8C... but centrino is the only notebook-oriented platform, and it's quite good... If I were you, I'd investigate about going with a low-end Dothan instead of banias (2MB L2 instead of 1MB L2...). However, it's not too common for you to get these choices when purchasing notebooks....

    <i><font color=red>You never change the existing reality by fighting it. Instead, create a new model that makes the old one obsolete</font color=red> - Buckminster Fuller </i><P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by Mephistopheles on 07/28/04 10:47 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
  12. See my trouble here is that this is for a replacement laptop. Because they couldnt resolve the problem I had with my A64 based laptop, I now have to pick one from their existing UK range of laptops, and I'd guess it has to be of a similar price too :( so I can't really ask them to send me a laptop 2, 300 quid more expensive than what I bought. I also don't know if there are any 2nd gen Dothan powered notebooks available from them

    Ohh...its all going badly wrong :(

    Damn them.
  13. Oh, I didn't get that before...

    ...this does seem like a tough decision. I'd lean towards the centrino, but that's just me...... tough, tough, tough choice......

    <i><font color=red>You never change the existing reality by fighting it. Instead, create a new model that makes the old one obsolete</font color=red> - Buckminster Fuller </i>
  14. Hehe yeah you see my dillemna.

    Ideally I just want the damn Athlon64 I paid for!!! But I don't wanna run the risk of getting another 1500 series laptop, and having the same problem (I'm finding alot of people on the net that have the same thing, and thought they were the only ones...).

    I don't like the features on the P4 2.8. Speed aside, I just don't like the low (for todays standards) screen res, the onboard gfx chip and shared RAM, its just....eugh. No.

    I mean the Athlon64 3000+ is only a 1.8Ghz, and they claim that it's performance is near 3Ghz simply by the rating given to it. So I guess the 1.5 Centrino isn't far off what I would of originally had anyway, I just don't know what the clockspeed-to-actual performance figures are like on these things. I know they're v. good on the Athlons.

    Any good benchmarking/comparison sites I can go to?

    Sorry to keep buggin you all with this. It's nearly 2am here. I'm desperately tryin to get this sorted before tomorrow morning. It's been a month, £800 spent, and nothing to show for it. I'm going to Uni in Sept, I just want *something* sorted......

    ...I'm not gunna cry, I'm not gunna cry....hehe
  15. >Ideally I just want the damn Athlon64 I paid for!!! But I
    >don't wanna run the risk of getting another 1500 series
    >aptop, and having the same problem

    I'm still baffled by it.. I'd really like to investigate it further.. like finding out if its just an audio stutter or if the entire pc freezes up every 2.5 minutes.
    BTW, I can't find a damn reference to the Acer 1500 series on their site ? Did they discontinue it already ??

    > I just don't know what the clockspeed-to-actual
    >performance figures are like on these things.

    Dothan (the 2 MB Pentium M) is more or less on par with (mobile) A64's clock per clock. Banias (1 Mb) is a tad slower per clock, even though the cache likely doesn make much of a difference in media encoding. That said, even the A64 has a hard time justifying its rating against the P4 when media encoding is your thing.

    Oh well.. my final advice: get the Pentium M. It won't be faster as either the P4 or A64, but you'd likely need a stopwatch to tell the difference anyway. Having a good screen, a silent laptop and the extra features are things that easily offset the slightly slower performance IMO. And if the PM makes you wait a tad longer, at least you'll be staring at a good looking notebook(screen) :D

    = The views stated herein are my personal views, and not necessarily the views of my wife. =
  16. Went for the P-M powered 2012WLMi in the end. It's £200 more than what I actually paid for, which is great. DVDRW drive, 4-in1 card reader, Radeon 9700 w/64MB DDR.

    At the end of the day, the processing power of the 2.8 was really negated by its sheer lack of features. Shared system memory for video is a no-no for someone like me who uses alot of RAM based samplers. And it just didn't make sense to pair up a powerful chip, with a crummy graphics processor. And heck, most of my software won't actually fit on a 1024x768 screen all at once (lots of multiple windows when using audio sequencer ya see).

    So yeah, I think the trade-off in processing power is more than worth it for the features. And thing is, I'm doing okay on the AthlonXP 2000+ machine I'm using till this all gets sorted, and that's a 1.67Ghz. So I'm confident the Centrino will be *at least* on par with that, if not more powerful.

    Cheers for swaying me in the right direction ;)
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