HP EliteBook 8730w 17" and Intel quad core bottlenecks?

crimsonapostle

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I am looking for a new 17" notebook, and actually almost pulled the trigger on a Sager one recommended here last week http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/50843-35-pragmatics-1440x900-1080p-x1200#t205128.

However, then HP announced their new HP EliteBook 8730w, which will be available later this month and starting at $1700. For me, very nice future-proof features include quad core and also 8 GB RAM. http://www.engadget.com/2008/08/11/hp-gets-official-with-elitebook-8730w-8530w-and-8530p/. Yes, I know that configured as I want it may go over my $2800 max budget, but I have since learned that I can likely go up to $3500 or more (its nice to be needed...)

I was talking with a sysadmin in my department today, and he said that he had heard that Intel quad core processors saturate their internal busses quickly, so that benchmarks he has seen indicated that the best aggregate performance can come with 2 cores enabled, even if the application has been paralllelized for 4 cores. He did not know if this was all Intel quad cores, or just earlier ones. Perhaps related to this (or not), today there was an announcement of new chips from Intel for the midrange. http://www.tomshardware.com/news/intel-cpu-prices,6107.html

The details of the 8730w won't be announced for a bit, but it is supposed to be available this month, so whatever chipset they are using has to already exist (one presumes, i.e. not to be announced in the next few weeks). And from what my sysadmin said, it seems like to fix the quad core bottleneck its not just a new chipset, but perhaps a new family (Nehlem/i7 for example).

So any info on this is appreciated .... do the latest Intel quad core chips for laptops have this limitiation, i.e. is there no real reason to get quad core until Nehlem/i7? Also, any informed speculation on the 8730w would be greatly appreciated. Besides office and drawing apps, sometimes I will indeed need to fire up multiple virtual machines for demos of our research software (which is distributed), so if quad cores can be had on a laptop with benefit with 8GB then its worth waiting a few weeks for....

Thanks much in advance for any help here.
 

cjl

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The intel quads are great CPUs - they don't saturate the bus in 99% of all cases, and the few applications where the bus does get saturated are applications that are fairly rare for most users. Is this guy an AMD fan?
 

cjl

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Surprising - most of the people I know who argue that the FSB is any sort of a serious bottleneck tend to be.

It is a bottleneck in a few applications (mostly server tasks), but in everyday stuff, even if heavily multithreaded, they run just fine. It is true that in many cases, a faster clocked dual will be faster, but this is not due to a bus limitation. It is because of the relative lack of programs that are optimized for more than 2 cores. The quad should have a definite advantage for your application though.
 

ChrisCochran

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It is the software base that doesn't run with 4 cores, most software doesn't have a clue what to do with more than one or two CPUs. Don't ask a sysadmin--they don't know--ask a multithreaded programmer who does this line of work (like I do). These CPUs can run 3.8 times faster than a single CPU--IF AND ONLY IF you program them properly to do so.
 
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