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Intel Portables Hardware

Intel Core i7 For Laptops — First Benchmarks 196

Posted by timothy
from the context-switching dept.
Barence writes "PC Pro has benchmarked the first Intel Core i7 processors for laptops. The chips mark the debut of Intel's Turbo Boost technology, which ramps up the speed of the working cores if two or more cores are sitting unused. For the quad-core i7-820QM, this can take the stock speed of 1.73GHz up to a maximum of 3.06GHz. The 2D benchmarks show comparable performance to Core 2 Extreme chips running at 2.53GHz. Power consumption and processor temperature is dramatically lower, which should lead to significant improvements in laptop battery life."
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Intel Core I7 For Laptops — First Benchmarks

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  • by leathered (780018) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @06:14PM (#29479545)

    Seriously, couldn't the marketing droids come up with a better name?

    • by Jurily (900488) <jurily@@@gmail...com> on Saturday September 19, 2009 @06:17PM (#29479575)

      They used up all their creativity coming up with "i7-820QM".

    • by nurb432 (527695) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @06:17PM (#29479579) Homepage Journal

      Hey, the 80's clothing styles are coming back. Why not the phrases too?

    • by owlstead (636356)

      Turbo Boost defines exactly what it does: propel it over other its lesser siblings.

      • No, Turbo boost under-clocks the CPU and causes windows to crash unless you vigorously wiggle the mouse.

    • Why not? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ciroknight (601098) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @07:01PM (#29479827)
      "Dynamic Load-based Overclocking" just doesn't sound as good as "Ultra Speedburner" or "Turbo Boosters" on the tin.
    • Reminds me of Turbo Cache. Who else remembers those slow as dirt GF6200's?

      • Remember? You can still find them on new machines sold today!

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by click2005 (921437)

        It reminds me of the old PCs with a turbo button on the front.

        • by mikael (484)

          I remember those - our PC's (IBM PC clones that had the monitor on top) had the Turbo Boost button that would give your PC that extra bit of oomph when you needed those spreadsheet tables calculated in a jiffy or that word processor macro processed in a hurry. It would boost the clock speed up from 8 MHz to 16 Mhz. With Later models of PC tower units, there would have a couple of LED digits that displayed the clock speed (20/25/33/40/50/60 Mhz).

          • I still have one of those cases. Sure no screw fits with the mainboard currently in use, but it's metal and the case fits so well into the table that I'd rather make a few extra holes, and cut out the parts of the case that hinder the ports rather than buying a new one.
            No idea what to do with the turbo button/led though.

          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by jawtheshark (198669) *

            With Later models of PC tower units, there would have a couple of LED digits that displayed the clock speed (20/25/33/40/50/60 Mhz).

            Actually, they didn't really "display" the speed. They displayed whatever the little jumpers on their back told them to display. Yeah, they were jumper controlled displays. You could set them to anything you wanted. I remember "reprogramming" one into displaying "Hi" and "Lo".

          • You have it the wrong way around. 16MHz was the native speed of the machine, but a lot of old software (games in particular) used timing loops that broke on computers that ran faster than 8MHz (the IBM PC ran at 4.77MHz, but most 8086 machines ran at 8MHz). The Turbo button existed to slow down the CPU for these games. DOSBox has a similar facility, allowing you to cap the emulated CPU speed to make these games run correctly.
    • by dingen (958134) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @07:06PM (#29479843)

      Probably the same people who came up with USB 3's "SuperSpeed mode".

      Apparently marketing is now in the hands of 11-year old boys.

      • Beats having it in the hands of 11-year-old girls, because then it'd be "OmGz LiKe WaY2FaStTt" Mode
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Kjella (173770)

      I'm just waiting for them to tag an Ultra Extreme on top of that.

      • by mweather (1089505)
        I'm sure the Intel Core i7 Extreme with Turbo Boost Technology will be a reality sooner rather than later.
    • by dserpell (22147) <dserpell AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday September 19, 2009 @07:42PM (#29479995)

      Seriously, couldn't the marketing droids come up with a better name?

      Sadly, this technology was called "Intel Dynamic Acceleration" (IDA) in Core-2 CPU's, but nobody noticed it. So, Intel tried with "Dual Dynamic Acceleration" (DDA), but again, nobody noticed. At last, renamed it to "Turbo Boost" and now everybody thinks it's something new.

      So, after three attempts, it seems that the current name is the best.

      • by Mad Merlin (837387) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @08:02PM (#29480101) Homepage

        Maybe because (from what I can tell), IDA and DDA only boosted one core by ~200 MHz or less, TFS suggests that Turbo Boost can take one core of a 1.73 GHz chip to 3.06 GHz, which is substantially better. Maybe that's why people are noticing now?

        • by Mr. DOS (1276020)

          On desktop i7's, Turbo Boost still only gives an extra ~200MHz (albeit to all cores). I'm not sure if they actually mean the Turbo Boost on the mobile i7 chips will upclock by up to 1.33GHz, or if they just mean that the chip will be available with base clock speeds in that range.

                --- Mr. DOS

          • On desktop i7's, Turbo Boost still only gives an extra ~200MHz (albeit to all cores). I'm not sure if they actually mean the Turbo Boost on the mobile i7 chips will upclock by up to 1.33GHz, or if they just mean that the chip will be available with base clock speeds in that range.

                  --- Mr. DOS

            The new Lynnfield i-7s see a much bigger boost. My i7-860 goes from 2.8 to 3.46 gHz, which is fairly significant.

            • by Mr. DOS (1276020)

              Interesting; my i7 920 only goes from 2.66 to just a shade under 2.8. I'd be somewhat jealous were it not for the fact that the 920 is already more processing power than my hard drive and video card can keep up with ;)

              There's no overclocking involved, I assume?

                    --- Mr. DOS

              • by Spatial (1235392)
                The TB settings on the earlier Core chips were much more conservative.

                Intel want to stay inside the rated TDP of the chip, but overclocking increases power consumption. However, unlike the older i7 series these newer chips can cut their usage down to nearly nothing when idle. As such they have more headroom for clock frequency increases.
    • by copponex (13876)

      HEY SUPER FASTER WAS TAKEN. CARTOONS ARE ON

      KTHXBYE

      ROXXOR MARKETING INC

      (brought to you by the lameness filter, which ruins every joke worth telling)

    • by Tumbleweed (3706) * on Saturday September 19, 2009 @08:12PM (#29480161)

      Seriously, couldn't the marketing droids come up with a better name?

      No problemo!

      Turbo Boost+
      Turbo Boost xTreme!
      iTurbo Boost
      Turbo Boost ][+ (or //e)
      Turb0 B005t - L33t 3d1t10n
      Turbo Boost 3000
      Turbo Boost 3000++ Gold Pro Enterprise Edition...For Kids

      Intel Marketing Deparment: We Look for Things. Things to Make Us Go.

      • by Tumbleweed (3706) *

        Turbo Boost+
        Turbo Boost xTreme!
        iTurbo Boost
        Turbo Boost ][+ (or //e)
        Turb0 B005t - L33t 3d1t10n
        Turbo Boost 3000
        Turbo Boost 3000++ Gold Pro Enterprise Edition...For Kids

        Almost forgot one:

        Suck It, AMD!

    • Sorry, that's just what happens when you contract Knight Rider Technologies as your marketing consultant.

  • by Informative (1347701) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @06:15PM (#29479553)
    They must have the most shameless shit-for-brains in their marketing dept.
    • by uassholes (1179143) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @06:51PM (#29479771)
      It was an attempt to distract from the superiority of the AMD chips at that time, especially the Opteron.
      What can you do when you are trying to keep X86 to 32 bits so only your Itanium is the sole 64 bit chip, when along comes AMD and creates a 64 bit x86 chip. You have no choice but to use AMD's 64 bit instruction set in your new 64 bit Pentium, AKA Xeon.
      Oh, oh; AMD created a memory controller far more efficient than yours, OK copy that too.
      Now Intel had caught up.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Kjella (173770)

        It was an attempt to distract from the superiority of the AMD chips at that time, especially the Opteron.

        Why would they try to distract from anything, once they had the Core processors? They were the comeback of Intel after the poor performance of the Pentium IV. I'm guessing it was more "let's ditch a brand that's gotten tarred and make a splash with a new brand" like how Vista is replaced with Windows 7.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Intel started using the Pentium brand back in 1993, and they're still selling chips under that name even today.
      Core is probably their most recognized brand since then, so I expect it to be with us for quite some time to come.

    • by wootest (694923)

      So what you're saying is you want Intel to Dump Core?

  • battery life? (Score:5, Informative)

    by iamhassi (659463) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @06:26PM (#29479623) Journal
    "Power consumption and processor temperature is dramatically lower, which should lead to significant improvements in laptop battery life."

    compared to? Because from the graphs the core2duo had much better battery life, and core2duo battery life sucks imho. Wish they'd focus more on improving the battery life of two cores because 4 cores in a laptop is overkill 99% of the time, I'd rather have a extra hour of battery life and suffice with two cores.
    • Re:battery life? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Korin43 (881732) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @06:47PM (#29479743) Homepage
      Did you not even read the summary? That seems to be the entire point. They make two cores run at full speed, and the other two go into low-power more. So two cores, lower battery life.
    • If you want battery life - consider a netbook. If you want a beefy portable desktop replacement, consider this thing. If you want both, get an aftermarket battery extension kit.. it'll bulk out of the bottom of your notebook, however.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Jeff DeMaagd (2015)

        You say that like battery life at the extreme expense of performance, or performance at the extreme expense of battery life are the only two choices at hand.

        I'm sure netbooks fit an important need, the same goes for the desktop replacements, but it would be nice if some battery life attention was paid in between the extremes.

        • Re:battery life? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Animaether (411575) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @09:59PM (#29480641) Journal

          No, what I am saying is you can't have both without making some manner of compromise at the moment.

          There's currently no real incentive for Intel to make more energy-efficient Core 2 Duos because the market -is- very segmented between those who are perfectly fine with the Core 2 Duos as they are (fairly powerful and reasonable battery life, though not fo true mobility), and those who really need longer battery life and are on the go a lot, who are fine with a netbook using a Core 2 Solo or Atom (or any of the AMD equivalents) processor.

          Of course it -is- possible to get something in between, but you have to accept (unless you have millions to pursuade Intel otherwise ahead of any schedule they might have to introduce a more efficient platforms after all) that it is a fairly niche market.

          Companies do cater to that niche market, however; Lenovo, for example. The Lenovo T400 runs a nice Core 2 Duo. Its battery life is a bit above that of the average notebook - but you -can- even extend that by upgrading from a 4-cell (~4 hours) to a 6-cell or even a 9-cell battery (~10 hours) and go beyond that if you add the external bay battery.
          Take the figures with a pinch of the usual 'battery life claims' salt and you should still be very comfortable with the 9-cell w/o bay battery.

          No, adding batteries doesn't make the platform more efficient, but it -is- the next best thing available right now, especially if the desire is for 'longer battery life' and not necessarily a more efficient platform.

    • by Kjella (173770)

      Yep... the Turbo Boost is a great idea for desktops, it always gives you the maximum performance within a given thermal envelope. But to laptops, it's pretty much the anti-steedstep, making it spend as much power as possible when it's almost idle. However, it seems they didn't test the real minimum by disabling turbo. I'm assuming the laptops can control this from software, anything else would be silly. Sure, it'll also drop your performance from 3.06 to 1.73GHz but since power is roughly proportional with

      • by setagllib (753300)

        Using Linux' frequency controls, the Turbo just increases your maximum multiplier by 1, and that's it. If you're configured to maximum performance, you get the Turbo, otherwise you don't. Maybe it's more complicated in Windows, but it's clear that the feature is controllable from the operating system.

      • Re:battery life? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Colonel Korn (1258968) on Sunday September 20, 2009 @12:21AM (#29481137)

        Yep... the Turbo Boost is a great idea for desktops, it always gives you the maximum performance within a given thermal envelope. But to laptops, it's pretty much the anti-steedstep, making it spend as much power as possible when it's almost idle. However, it seems they didn't test the real minimum by disabling turbo. I'm assuming the laptops can control this from software, anything else would be silly. Sure, it'll also drop your performance from 3.06 to 1.73GHz but since power is roughly proportional with frequency squared it should also lower the CPU to about (1.73 / 3.06)^2 = 32% power consumption.

        It's a good point that this seems to counter speedstep, but to some extent they work together. A 3.06 GHz frequency allows a particular computing task to be finished faster so the chip can fall back to the idle speedstep frequency (on my ~3 GHz desktop i-7 the idle speed is 1.2 GHz). Also, come to think of it, you mixed up the exponent in the CPU power equation. The power draw is proportional to frequency and to the square of voltage, not the other way around. So assuming CPU task completion time scales to the -1 power with frequency, which seems reasonable, the increased power draw for the higher frequency exactly cancels with the fact that processes will finish faster.

      • by Spatial (1235392)
        I thought power use scaled linearly with frequency, but with the square of the voltage.
    • If laptops were still 2 inches thick, and you crammed battery into as much of that two inches as you could, and the rest of it was ultra-modern, high-performance architecture that they can now cram into sub-1", we'd have no complaints about battery life. Just some ugly-ass fat laptops that would Fucking Rule(tm) for 16 hours on a charge. Imagine a 2-lb ultaportable with a 5-lb battery.

      We don't need to focus on improving battery life; we need to focus on designing laptops so that thinner and lighter doesn'

      • If there's truly a market for long battery life, it could be served in this way. So, why isn't it?

        Because the market for long battery life contains all of the people to spend a lot of time away from power outlets with their laptops. People who carry their laptop around as much don't consider adding 200% to the weight of their computers to be a valid solution to the battery life problem.

    • These laptops have all different hardware. The screens on the quad core and the i7 are bigger than the one for the Core 2 Duo, and they're using different video cards. Seems like a worthless comparison to me.
  • Who needs that? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by wasabioss (1196799) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @06:27PM (#29479639) Journal

    Although faster is better and will be every Slashdotter's wet dream, but I'd rather have power-efficient laptops rather than a gazillion Ghz laptop. I don't get why an average Joe needs a Core 2 Duo laptop for Word processing and surfing the web, which is what most people have and what most people do now. And now they're going to put i7 on the laptops. There will be some people who needs it, but not the majority of casual laptop users, who don't do video encoding or kernel compilation (which should be the work of a desktop IMHO).

    I have two atom powered laptops and I even sold my laptops because I was so in love with those machines, which wouldn't burn my lap and my balls whenever I have to sit them on my laps. Other than the pitiful 950 graphics, I have nothing to complain about.

    And I heard they fixed it with the Z5x0 chipset - on Windows at least, but as I don't have one, I can't verify it.

    • Re:Who needs that? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by xigxag (167441) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @06:32PM (#29479661)

      Lots of people use their laptop as their only machine. In that case it's helpful to have a device that can sip power when away from the mains but whilst plugged in can run with the big dogs.

      • by owlstead (636356)

        Add an SSD and a good I7 laptop will certainly blow the socks of most desktops out there. Laptops are now just a few MHz and disk spins away from desktops really. Add an SSD and this kind of processor and the gap is as good as gone. I'm already planning on using my PC just for development, my other tasks just don't need (cheap) 8GB of memory and a stack of hard drives.

        • Re:Who needs that? (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Cornelius the Great (555189) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @07:02PM (#29479833)
          Laptops have generally kept up with their desktop in terms of speed- as long as you're willing to pay. There are already quad-core laptops with dual GPUs (SLI or Crossfire) that would mop the floor with the majority of desktops. The only problem is, battery life is crap, and they're too hot to actually use on your lap (while gaming at least). Oh, and they cost 2-3 times as much as an equivalent desktop.
        • Re:Who needs that? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by bertok (226922) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @07:56PM (#29480063)

          Add an SSD and a good I7 laptop will certainly blow the socks of most desktops out there. Laptops are now just a few MHz and disk spins away from desktops really. Add an SSD and this kind of processor and the gap is as good as gone. I'm already planning on using my PC just for development, my other tasks just don't need (cheap) 8GB of memory and a stack of hard drives.

          That makes zero sense... if a laptop with an SSD is good, then an SSD in a good i7 workstation will be even better, for 1/2 the price. In practice, laptops will always be behind desktops, because of the compromises they have to make for weight, size, cooling, and power consumption. They're not catching up to a stationary target.

          For example, I have a laptop with 8GB of memory, a high-end SSD, and a dual-core CPU. It rocks. It's so fast, it gives me tunnel vision. However, the RAM was expensive, 8GB is the upper limit, and the CPU is anemic compared to what I'd like to have in it.

          Meanwhile, my friends and coworkers are getting 3GHz quad-core desktops with 12GB of memory, an SSD, terabytes of disk, etc... Those machines are beasts. If you do real work, like running multiple virtual machines, databases, and heavy-weight development environments, they're a real time saver. Unfortunately, I'm a consultant, so I need my work machine to be portable. 8(

          The real difference is that my laptop cost me about AUD 6000 all up, but you can have almost 2x that performance for AUD 3000 if you buy a workstation instead. I don't know what the US price is like, but here in Australia, you can have 12 GB of DDR3 memory for AUD 400. That's just... wrong. In the same price range as my laptop, you can get a dual-socket (8 core) workstation with 24GB of memory, an SSD, and 8TB of spinning disk. In 6 months, when octo-core CPUs are available, up that to 16 cores! A laptop with an even remotely similar spec won't be available for at least a year and a half.

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by maxume (22995)

            My computer is 85% toy, so I can't really justify a big budget to myself, but still, I'm sitting here wondering what someone from 2003 would say reading your comment.

            • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

              by Tubal-Cain (1289912)

              I'm sitting here wondering what someone from 2003 would say...

              Probably something along the lines of:
              "Duke Nukem still isn't out?!?!"

            • by bertok (226922)

              Yeah, I know what you mean. And that's just 6 years.

              Imagine what it would be like if you went back in time with a laptop like that to say, World War II, and popped in for a visit to Bletchley Park [wikipedia.org] for a quick 'demo'. Can you imagine the jaw-to-floor contact you'd get from the LCD screen alone? Then one could simply demonstrate a program running their deciphering algorithms orders of magnitude faster than their 'Colossus' [wikipedia.org] just for the fun of it.

              At least they'd mostly understand what they were witnessing. Go

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by TheRaven64 (641858)
            I think you are failing to take into account economies of scale. For a long time, laptop components were more expensive than desktop equivalents because they had tighter constraints and because desktop components had much higher volumes. Last year, laptop sales passed desktop sales. This means that the highest-volume parts are now made for laptops, not for desktops. If this trend continues, then expect to see a premium on desktop parts to make up for the low volumes in the next few years. You could sti
    • by olsmeister (1488789) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @06:35PM (#29479681)

      wouldn't burn my lap and my balls whenever I have to sit them on my laps.

      LAPS? I've heard of multiple chins, but LAPS?

    • Re:Who needs that? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jeffstar (134407) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @06:42PM (#29479723) Journal

      I don't get why an average Joe needs a Core 2 Duo laptop for Word processing and surfing the web

      Joe's flashtube can peg a core at 100% but he can use the other one to kill it?

    • I don't get why an average Joe needs a Core 2 Duo laptop for Word processing and surfing the web, which is what most people have and what most people do now.

      Because Flash is terribly inefficient? Yeah, surfing static HTML webpages are simple, but the Flash plugin tends to eat up CPU like theres no tomorrow.

      Plus, the "average Joe" usually games casually. Even "simple" games like the Sims require a decent CPU/graphics card.

      Myself I want a machine that can handle whatever I throw at it. I want a machine to be able to play most games without too much difficulty, to run whatever programs I want without having to worry about the specs. I think most people a

    • Re:Who needs that? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Jeremy Erwin (2054) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @08:31PM (#29480255) Journal

      Although faster is better and will be every Slashdotter's wet dream, but I'd rather have power-efficient laptops rather than a gazillion Ghz laptop.

      That's you. You're at peace with the world, and feel compelled to announce it.

      . I don't get why an average Joe needs a Core 2 Duo laptop for Word processing and surfing the web, which is what most people have and what most people do now. And now they're going to put i7 on the laptops.

      Ah, Joe Average is a man of limited aspirations. Web and Word. Web and Word. All day long. Joe Average doesn't need to game, But then, Joe Average runs Linux. There are no games for Linux.

      And now they're going to put i7 on the laptops. There will be some people who needs it, but not the majority of casual laptop users, who don't do video encoding or kernel compilation (which should be the work of a desktop IMHO).

      Video encoding-- everybody wants to encode video. Why? Maybe that's why they keep the old word processor around, to draft letters to attorneys. Now kernel compilation-- that's real work there-- though someone who was hacking the kernel instead of recompiling the latest point release would probably appreciate a lightweight, portable machine for coding. Does emacs count as a "word processor"?

      I have two atom powered laptops and I even sold my laptops because I was so in love with those machines, which wouldn't burn my lap and my balls whenever I have to sit them on my laps. Other than the pitiful 950 graphics, I have nothing to complain about.

      Quite. Because any games that would put a dent in Core 2 Duo wouldn't run very well on a gma 950.

      I know, I know. We're in the middle of a depression, and one's aspirations must be humble. But in buying a laptop, which can't be expanded very easily, it's often wise to plan for future needs.

      • ...what the hell are you trying to say?

        • Re:Who needs that? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Jeremy Erwin (2054) on Sunday September 20, 2009 @01:55AM (#29481475) Journal

          When buying a computer, it's never very wise to pick a model that merely meets your expectations, or undercuts them. A computer that's only suitable "for surfing the web"and "word processing" may just happen to choke on web video.

          Even if you aren't a hardcore gamer, there's always a chance that some company might release a compelling title-- that doesn't even run on your new barebones laptop,

          Ok, so you run linux. Ever thought of tweaking the code? A faster laptop might reduce build times to the point where coding is pleasurable-- from hours to minutes.

          But you've looked at this from a architecture cynic's point of view-- there's no way that programmers will learn parallel processing, rendering a 4 core machine (like the i7) useless. That too might pass.

          It's a joke that dual core is useful for flash because one cpu can choke, and the other can make the system responsive enough to shut down the offending video. But a second or third core can be used by the OS to house clean, make backups, index files, scan for viruses, In addition, various languages and tools are emerging that make concurrent, multithreaded programming easier than before. SInce single threaded performance is not the sole focus of future CPU design anymore, programmers will have no choice but to program for multiple cores.

          Today, not six months from now, but today, Google Chrome generates multiple processes, one for each window. Might it be faster on a Core i7? Next year, to surf the web in style, you just might "need" a Core i9 with 24 GB RAM.

          I hope that answers your questions.

      • by selven (1556643)

        But then, Joe Average runs Linux.

        PLEASE take me to your alternate reality!

    • by pizzach (1011925)

      The CPU isn't the only power hungry component in a laptop, but I will stick to only talking about it for the sake of staying on topic with the article. For most people what you are asking for is accomplished by using the slower version of the current CPU. It also saves them money, so they have little to complain about. The hardcore people buy the fast CPU and force throttle it down in the BIOS.

      Having said that, I think you are asking for an expensive CPU where the development dollars are mainly focused o

    • I know a LOT of average users who need more power than an atom can provide. If you want to browse the web and have a couple of pages open that have flash on, and have microsoft office open and listen to music at the same time, that stresses an atom. So basically everyone who goes to college needs more than an atom.
  • macbook pro? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MrBallistic (88770) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @06:29PM (#29479649) Homepage

    coming to a macbook pro near you in january, i'd guess....

    • by linhares (1241614)
      haha you're funny
    • While I wouldn't bet against it, I'd tend to doubt it.

      Apple prides itself on it's thin, lightweight, and attractive notebooks/desktops. They're not necessarily into the whole "faster is better" concept--if you're concerned with speed above all else, consider the Mac Pro.

      While I'm far from an expert, from what I can see from the graphs, these appear to run hotter than the Core 2 Duos that Apple uses now. I'm not sure that MacBook Pros can stand to get much hotter than they already are.

      Maybe you'll see them

      • The 17" PowerBook / MacBook Pro has always been the exception to this; it's Apple's luggable. A nice machine if you want something that you can move between desks easily, but not really a portable. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see the i7 in the 17" MBP.

        That said, it also depends on how far Apple wants to take ARM. They've ported their kernel to ARM for the iPhone / iPod Touch and the rest of their OS has already made one architecture transition so should have all of the CPU-dependencies ironed out

    • HP is releasing a Core i7 based laptop in mid-October. Apple is known for getting new Intel processors sooner than anybody else, so I do expect an announcement in the next three weeks, and it will include the phrase "shipping NOW".

  • by owlstead (636356) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @06:32PM (#29479659)

    I really like it when chips have small idle power usage, and this chip seems to run pretty cool when it is not taxed. Intel always had the lead in manufacturing capability, and it seems that this is one of the nice results.

    I'm really waiting for the day when you (can) just leave your computer on at all times. Most of the times the chips are doing nothing anyway, so why should it use any power? Where is the technology to switch off memory banks when they are not used? Just page the stuff to my SSD (yes, I'm talking about the future here). Why don't processors have a small power efficient core for running the OS and applications at idle? Gigabit ethernet is getting power saving functions as well, and Wifi N has power saving features as well. Having the computer almost idling without having the fan of my PSU or processor switch on should be a killer feature.

    One thing missing seems to be software support. I don't like it when my laptop drains much power just because one core is using 100% power because of a friggin flash ad on one of the tabs in my browser. We need more ways of restricting processes to use as many resources. What use is a computer that runs on almost no power when idle when it is never idling? And we'll need OS support for cores with different feature sets as well.

    • by Trebawa (1461025)
      What we need is a better Flash plugin. Really, Adobe, you can't do better for your own software?
    • by Kjella (173770) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @07:34PM (#29479957) Homepage

      Intel always had the lead in manufacturing capability, and it seems that this is one of the nice results.

      This time it's little to do with their manufacturing capability in terms of process size, it's R&D specifically to achieve this. They basicly created a new "shut-off" form of transistor that effectively blocks off everything behind it. You can read more about it here [anandtech.com].

    • by JAlexoi (1085785)
      Have you seen how much CPU power Slashdot's comment system takes to load? On my Atom N270 netbook new Firefox and Chromium stall...
  • by mejogid (1575619) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @06:35PM (#29479673)
    The article doesn't seem to suggest that this will really be enough to bring quad core laptops out of their current niche - we're talking an expensive machine which will clock in a bit over 3 hours battery life if you don't use its power, and potentially under an hour if you do. This would presumably be even worse with the higher clocked chip mentioned. I just don't feel there's much demand for such portable workstations - I can't see a good case for doing anything that processor intensive on the go. What does look very interesting is the 32nm dual core version - if they can carry over a comparable power consumption improvement to what they've achieved at the quad-core level that could be a very fast, very power efficient machine.
    • Gaming. I know a lot of gamers who would live with keeping it plugged in 95% of the time just to have a mobile rig with a decent framerate. Yeah, with an external mouse plugged in all the time, and the AC adapter its not going to be as portable as a netbook, but for a gamer who travels a lot, its a whole lot easier than taking a desktop + monitor on the road.
    • by MMC Monster (602931) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @08:06PM (#29480125)

      How about pairing one of these with an Intel Atom? The atom turns on cores within the Core I7 when it is pegged, and turns them off (potentially turning off the entire chip) when things quiet down.

      • by Aranykai (1053846)

        I would love to see that happen, perhaps even integrating the atom into the motherboard? I got fed up with high electric bills, so i replaced my desktop with a $300 eeepc 1005ha. Hooked up a kvm and only boot my desktop when I'm gaming. The eee can handle pretty much everything else I do and it draws less than 32 watts when in full power mode.

        • by SBrach (1073190)
          Seriously? It would probably take me a $100 years to recoup the cost of the eee in electricity savings. I still want one but not for that reason.
          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            It would probably take me a $100 years to recoup the cost of the eee in electricity savings.

            I know they say time is money, but don't you think that's taking it a bit far?

      • by owlstead (636356)

        Yes, and you could actually integrate it into the north-bridge, if there still is a north-bridge of course. But there are quite a few hurdles of just integrating another processor, that has to use the same peripherals and memory. OS support would be needed as well (as I said in the posting above) since the Atom has quite a few other characteristics than an I7. That's why implementing an Atom like core into the CPU itself might make more sense. It would still be a very, very tricky thing to do.

    • I can't see a good case for doing anything that processor intensive on the go

      That isn't the only use case for such a laptop. I don't often need to use my laptop "on the go" but I do need to bring my work home with me.

    • by teg (97890)

      Another very interesting use is iMacs... Apple's desktop is using mobile chips to keep noise / heat / power usage down, and thus allow their compact form factor.

  • by N!NJA (1437175) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @06:48PM (#29479755)
    From TFS:

    Power consumption and processor temperature is dramatically lower, which should lead to significant improvements in laptop battery life.

    worry not. Microsoft and Adobe will find a way to offset that....

    • by owlstead (636356)

      What do you mean, "will find"? Adobe flash is already the single app using most of my computers power, simply because one page with a flash ad can take all the resources of a single CPU core.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by bunratty (545641)
        It's the ad author, who used a loop for polling or delaying until the next frame instead of a wait or sleep, who's to blame. Anyway, just run Firefox with Adblock Plus and you'll see hardly any of those ads.
        • Flashblock (or equivalent - something is available for most browsers) is even better for this - it blocks legitimate (non-ad) Flash until you want it playing. Great if you have a few tabs open to something like YouTube.

          • I'll second that. I use click2flash in Safari, which does the same thing. The company I rent DVDs from recently launched a streaming service which uses flash. This works fine on the old PowerBook I have plugged into my projector, except for one thing. Quite often, they show flash ads on the same page as the video. This uses enough CPU time to cause the main video to drop frames. Click2flash fixes that; neither starts until I click on it.
  • by tetsukaze (1635797) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @06:59PM (#29479815)
    Where is the middle? Atom based equipment is changing how we define portable computers and is very exciting. These new chips are going to bring amazing power in a portable format. The problem for the average user is that these are two extremes that currently don't help them. The middle of the road laptop that can be used for everyday use has not had any major innovations or significant price drops for some time. I understand diversifying is important, but where is the new tech for that more middle of the road work load?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by owlstead (636356)

      You mean those devices with LED screens or multi-touch touchpads or SSD drives or smaller units without optical drive or devices with much longer battery life or Bluetooth/Wireless N or 500 GB laptop drives? Those with eSATA and HDMI connectors and high end cameras and microphone arrays? The ones with usable fingerprint reader devices?

      Yes, I agree, no innovations to be found for those devices.

    • by ctmurray (1475885)
      As a preface - I am not well versed in chip architecture or PC design...

      What about two chips? One runs when on battery mode - gives the best power savings. One that runs when the laptop is plugged into the wall for best performance.
  • Battery usage is fine and all that, but the current rage is thermal management. This has gotten more than one manufacturer (literally and figuratively) in hot water. The biggie was Apple with their 175-200F Intels in their MacBook Pros. All they had to say was don't run them so hard.

    Heh.

    Next you got Dell and their weenie-cooking laptops that seared some poor Padre's phallus, giving him 2nd degree burns.
    No comment from Dell's higher-ups... What a way to make it right with the Lord guys...

    And last, but not th

  • Running single-core (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jones_supa (887896)
    Excluding some special cases, I presume you would still get the best real-life performance by just running one core all times at that 3.06GHz speed.

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