Laptop vs Desktop how much performance gain?

stmartin

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Hello! :)

I was recently researching about how much "faster" is desktop than laptop with same price.

For example. What is the laptop equivalent of i7-3770k + Z77 motherboard, 8 GB RAM, 120 GB SSD ? This desktop configuration will cost me about $1000.

But I need portability so I want to buy laptop. Now, I am wondering if I buy $1000 laptop how much performance do I lose? If it is negligible I will go with the laptop of course. Is it 2,3 times or less?

Some people say that desktops can be as 3 times as faster than desktops. Is this true?

Thank you in advance.

Regards

 

icehot

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Feb 18, 2007
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No I would say get an i7, they're quad core but don't go too high after that, just make sure it's the quad core processor, then look at the price jumps, I think you'd be getting haswell now and the difference of 100MHz from the 4800QM and the 4900QM is over 100 pounds at my laptop supplier - it's pointless. Also I really think 16Gb would be better and is not that expensive if you can go for it, I don't program but I use up 6 out my 8Gb on my work computer really easy - that's mostly spreadsheets, and firefox, plus vsphere and a few bits like that.

The only reason you should consider a laptop over a desktop is as you said in your first post, either lack of space, or portability, and in the case of portability, do you still have a decent desktop machine and an average to good laptop so you use the desktop at home, then the laptop out and about? It's really down to how you deem your usage to be. Let me just say though I do have a very good laptop, and a pretty good desktop if only a couple years old now (sandybridge) - do I notice in the real world the difference between their power? Nope not one bit apart from maybe watching frame rates in games. How often do I use my laptop? 3 or 4 times a year when I go away for work or need it at work, or just maybe want to run some windows updates etc - maybe an odd LAN party.... The desktop is always there, it's nicer to use on a desk, and why do I need to use a computer when I'm out and about? I don't really, I have a smart phone for the odd google lookup, and other than that if I'm out it's cos I need to be doing something out like shopping, or seeing friends or taking the kids somewhere etc.

With that in mind, do I regret spending that much on a gaming laptop? Nope it's wicked for when I do need it, but it's not very often.
 

ImPain

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You can't compare, you will never get this desktop configuration on a laptop.. Or it will cost you a looooot of money.

It is difficult to estimate like this it really depends on the specs.. but a desktop will be for sure a lot faster for the same amount of money that you will spend on a laptop.
You can also build a desktop in a small case (mini ATX or Micro ATX), it is still a laptop but at least easier to move around.. But of course you can't use it as a laptop anywhere it is still a desktop :).

My main question is, what will be your use for your system? If it is for gaming and you want to have very good performances, forget about a laptop already.
But if mobility is really important, then you have to compromise.

Regards.
 

stmartin

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Hey, thanks for the answer.

It's not about gaming. It's about web application development and data mining. Also I am used to open 20 tabs on Chrome and several instances of VS2012 and it clogs my current system. So I guess I need powerful CPU like i7, but I recently read an article where cheap desktop i3 beats i7 so it really makes me wonder. Here is the article: http://www.bit-tech.net/blog/2013/05/25/don-t-be-fooled-by-laptop-cpus/

Regards.
 

ImPain

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In the article they compare mobile versions of CPU to desktop versions of CPU, the mobile i7 version in the example is already performing less than a normal i3 desktop CPU.

Since you are doing a lot of multi-tasking and using VMs, maybe you should look for an AMD processor instead of Intel (like the FX-8350 but it is for desktops). I don't know much about AMD for laptops..

Anyway, if you are going for a laptop you should aim for a good CPU and decent amount of RAM for your use (8GB mini, 16GB if you can).

Hope this helps..
Regards.
 

icehot

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I agree, the more RAM the better in that scenario, the CPU is only really going to be pushed during rendering and compiling otherwise just having 20 odd tabs in chrome open is still idling the cpu but all using up memory to keep them there... You want to minimize paging to disk.

In terms of a laptop spec, you can certainly get a laptop that is comparible to high end desktops, but I'd say you'd have to pay at least 1.5x the amount to get it. Look at Lenovo, or Clevo for some decent specs that aren't ridiculously expensive, I have a Clevo P170em with 1080p screen, 16Gb DDR3 1600 ram, and an ivybridge i7 processor (i7-3720QM @ 2.60GHz) and a 7970m, oh and a crucial m4 ssd 256Gb. The whole thing along with all the extra peripherals for it because it's a gaming laptop cost around £1800 (yes pounds), but 40% of that is probably the graphics card alone. This machine is faster than my desktop atm, but only because I've not upgraded my desktop in a while.

The laptop is comparable to an equivalent desktop in terms of processing power but graphics more like a 7870. However I would only expect to spend around £800 on a desktop of that power really, maybe a touch more.
 

stmartin

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Thanks for the answers.

@ImPain What I meant is, it really worth buying i7 on mobile when it can be beaten by a desktop i3? :)

@icehot So do you say that I if I consider buying laptop I should buy it with average processor and 8 GB RAM or I should buy powerful desktop for the same money based on my needs?
 

ImPain

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In your case, the most important will be the RAM in my opinion, if you take a laptop, be sure to get at least 16 GB or RAM for your VMs, tabs for surfing, etc. It will be fine for you.

If you are willing to sacrifice mobility for better performances, go for a desktop.
You can get much better performances and it will be cheaper.
 

icehot

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No I would say get an i7, they're quad core but don't go too high after that, just make sure it's the quad core processor, then look at the price jumps, I think you'd be getting haswell now and the difference of 100MHz from the 4800QM and the 4900QM is over 100 pounds at my laptop supplier - it's pointless. Also I really think 16Gb would be better and is not that expensive if you can go for it, I don't program but I use up 6 out my 8Gb on my work computer really easy - that's mostly spreadsheets, and firefox, plus vsphere and a few bits like that.

The only reason you should consider a laptop over a desktop is as you said in your first post, either lack of space, or portability, and in the case of portability, do you still have a decent desktop machine and an average to good laptop so you use the desktop at home, then the laptop out and about? It's really down to how you deem your usage to be. Let me just say though I do have a very good laptop, and a pretty good desktop if only a couple years old now (sandybridge) - do I notice in the real world the difference between their power? Nope not one bit apart from maybe watching frame rates in games. How often do I use my laptop? 3 or 4 times a year when I go away for work or need it at work, or just maybe want to run some windows updates etc - maybe an odd LAN party.... The desktop is always there, it's nicer to use on a desk, and why do I need to use a computer when I'm out and about? I don't really, I have a smart phone for the odd google lookup, and other than that if I'm out it's cos I need to be doing something out like shopping, or seeing friends or taking the kids somewhere etc.

With that in mind, do I regret spending that much on a gaming laptop? Nope it's wicked for when I do need it, but it's not very often.
 

stmartin

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@icehot that's a good point. I share my opinion with yours. I currently use my netbook at home as desktop (plugged on monitor because netbook has 10'' display).

So I know I wouldn't feel good if I buy laptop and use it as desktop. I can use my desktop for work and my netbook for travelling.
 
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