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I'm considering retiring my desktop computer and getting a 2nd gen core i3/i5 laptop. I use it for work (primarily graphic design, think Adobe and gang), media (music, hd video and the occasional encoding) and games (from the first halo with everything turned on up to mass effect 3 with fingers crossed and a strategically placed fan).Thing is, I'm not sure if I would have to compromise performance wise for the mobility. Can a mid range laptop  match or even out do my desktop? Does anyone have any insight on this? Would appreciate suggestions on CPU / laptop models to look out for.

The machine to beat: Intel Core 2 duo (3GHz), 4 gig memory (motherboard is maxed out even for 64bit os), 1 gig GT 9800 graphics and 1TB storage (will be getting external drive so hard drive size is not critical to comparison).
Thanks!

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1 Answer

+1 vote
by Guru (57.6k points)
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yes - the processors are more power efficient and can do more when you compare cycle to cycle over a core 2

they use fundamentally different architectures and its not good to just compare cpu speeds like that, the i3/i5 uses a significantly faster Front Side Bus and put the memory controller on the chip (instead of on the motherboard) which makes them much much faster also they use less power which is a bonus for laptop situations

if you can get the latest available CPU whenever you can, obviously ram and graphics power will also have an impact on your performance depending on your tasks, but a more up to date graphics card will likely outperform the older one even if it has less memory
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Thanks for your answer, its a real help! The clock speed and the rest of the specs were just to provide a rough performance baseline. As you said the architectures are different, its just I haven't been able to find direct core 2 desktop - i3/i5 laptop comparisons.
by Guru (57.6k points)
approx equivalent cpu that would match a core2 duo 3ghz would be a 2ghz i3 (but remember memory and FSB is faster)
by Contributor (8k points)
Hi thhis goes to anthonysomerset.......Have you read what you posted???????? A 2core duo 3Ghz equivalent to 2Ghz i3???????
2core duo is basicly similar to i3.i3 is a bit more efficient thats all.To beat a 3Ghz 2core duo you will need a i3 3ghz..........The i3 is about 5-10% more efficient . Thats all.....Get your facts straight
by Guru (57.6k points)
not true at all comparing clock speeds between different generation architectures is flawed, the i3/i5/i7 generation cpus have much much faster memory architectures that means the lower clock speed is still comparable to a "faster" core2 chip because all the memory operations happen nearly twice as fast as on core 2 architecture - you are correct though, i meant to say an i5 chip at 2ghz is roughly comparable to a 3ghz core 2 duo - i say roughly because it is a very rough science when you compare 2 totally different architectures with fundamental differences in the way the chip is layed out, to where the memory controller and graphics sits
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