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Interpreting the benchmark results

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  • Interpreting the benchmark results

    I'm looking for a new laptop, and was guided here to compare various CPUs. I appreciate the wealth of data, but need some help in interpreting it.

    I am thinking that the AMD quad-core A6-3400M (cpu benchmark of 3541) is the best in the laptops in the $500-600 range.

    My concern here is makign sure I'm interpreting the numbers right. I see that it has a 1.4 GHz speed, and it compares favorably to the Intel Core i5 460M @ 2.53GHz, which as only a 2605 CPUBenchmark. I was told that the second generation i5s and i3s have 4 threads, even though they are only dual-cores, so I would have expected the Intel chip to be faster.

    Now--comparing a score of 3541 to 2605--does this refer ONLY to the power of the cpu itself? If different computers that did the testing had different graphics cards or amounts of RAM, would that also affect the score?

    The HP site has 2.3GHz next to the 1.4GHz speed, in the product description for its laptop that has this AMD quad core. DOes this mean that this CPU has some technology (like the intel four threads) that allows it to operate as if it really were at that faster (2.3 GHz) speed? Or was that just a typo or a mistake at the HP site? I looked up a product description on the AMD site and didn't see anything that mentioned anything like "hyper-threading."

    In other words, which chip would be faster?

  • #2
    The Core i5 460M is a 2 core CPU with Hyperthreading.
    The A6-3400M is a 4 core CPU.

    Hyperthreading isn't nearly as good as having additional cores however.

    Having double the number of cores help the A6-3400M a lot in our CPU charts.

    But if you were going to be only running single threaded applications (that use only 1 core) then the Core i5 460M would probably be better.

    The CPUMark scores are for the CPU. The disk, video card and RAM don't matter to any great degree for this score.

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    • #3
      Thanks, Passmark.

      As far as the uses for the computer, it would be mostly limited to using MS Office and web browsing. The most demanding thing it would be used for would be flash-based web activities (games and videos) that younger members of our family like.

      I'm really not sure which of this would be single-threaded applications (most likely all of it)--often I have many programs/windows open at once, if that is what you meant--so its sounding like the Intel i5 might be better.

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      • #4
        Hmmm just googled "single-threaded applications" and it seems that even these can benefit from a multiple-core CPU.

        According to this link even MS Office can benefit from multiple cores/threads, so if in fact 4 cores are better than 2 with 2 threads each (at least for the purposes of comparing the two CPUs in the OP), I think I'd be better off with the AMD quad core.

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        • #5
          "single-threaded applications" and it seems that even these can benefit from a multiple-core CPU".
          Unfortunately not everything you find on the internet is true. Running one single threaded app with leave 3 CPU core idle in a Quad core.

          MS Office is for the most part single threaded. The things that are really slow are the reading and writing from disk, not the CPU activities.

          Web browsing is more often limited by Network speed, not CPU speed.

          More cores are not a bad thing, but they do tend to add to the heat and power consumption.

          For Office use and web browsing either CPU will do just find. You won't notice the difference.

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          • #6
            I typically have 3 or 4 applications going on at once, and commonly will shift back and forth (Word, Office, a PDF viewer, a browser) as well as Google desktop search and a Windows Explorer window or two, so I think there should be enough to keep all four cores going. In the performance tab of my XP Task Manager both cores are active now (in this older, dual-core laptop I'm working on).

            Anyways I found the AMD quad core in a Toshiba today at bestbuy for 460 bucks, so I went for it.

            Thanks for answering my questions. Much obliged.

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            • #7
              ...so I think there should be enough to keep all four cores going
              Unlikely. Word, The PDF viewer, Explorer and even Desktop search don't use CPU time unless you are interacting with the application. Just having them loaded will use RAM, but not CPU. Desktop search is more disk limited than CPU limited.

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