View Full Version : help determining processor speed requirements!

08-01-2005, 02:19 PM
im a computor n00b but looking to buy a laptop before i begin my first year at university. it sems to me there are so many combinations of numbers for processor speeds and ram, but im not sure which are apllicbale for my needs (moderate usage but probably running several program at once when i do)
as far as i can gather both processer speed and ram are important for the speed at which the computor will run.
recently i saw advertised a compaq laptop with 1.4 ghz prcoessor (i think intel but cant remember) and 256mb ram. i was wondering how this would compare to a 2.8 and 256 computor, and what bearing the two numbers have on each other, for example can a lower prcoessor speed be compensated by a higher ram? (not being fully aware of the roles of either of these things!)
any help or insights anyone may have would be greatly appreciated.
thankyou very much :)

Graham L
08-01-2005, 02:43 PM
In general the more memory the better, within limits. 256M is probably too small these days. Much more than 1GB is probably excessive (or too expensive) for most people. Shortage of memory causes a big speed penalty when disk space is used as "virtual memory".

In laptops, too much speed can be a problem. Faster CPUs pull more power, so run hotter, and have shorter running time on battery . (Mostly, they dynamically reduce the CPU speed when running on the battery, but this is user configurable).

A laptop with a 1.4GHz CPU and 512MB of memory would probably beat a 2.8GHz processor with 256MB. :D

08-01-2005, 04:02 PM
If you get a 2.8 cpu with 512 ram you'll be comfortable able to run several of the most demanding applications around today at the same time.

eg, I have a P4 2.4 CPU with 512 DDRRAM and I can run 2 intensive graphics programmes, a powerful web authoring app, multiple browsers and a couple of Office apps, all no problem whatsoever.

08-01-2005, 04:49 PM
Get the best ultraportable laptop you can afford. Forget standard laptops and ones with desktop chips in them, they are pretty heavy to be lugging around. You'll be wanting to take it around with you to lectures etc so something light would be good.

08-01-2005, 05:58 PM
ok that answers my question...i think....thankyou very much :)
but what is CPU? and how do you know if the processor is CPU as opposed to not CPU?
also, RAM is upgradable, but processor speed isnt, is that right?
thanks :)

08-01-2005, 06:28 PM
CPU = Central Processor Unit, a generic term for any processor chip.

You are correct, RAM is upgradeable but the CPU isn't in a laptop.

The advice re lightness is a pertinent issue, trade off speed for weight anyday if you are carrying it around. The lighter the better, but lightness costs money.

08-01-2005, 09:10 PM
Cpu's are upgradable on many lines,The price of the chips and diffulcuty sourcing them makes it near impossible though.

Personally i would go for power over weight, If the tiny amount of extra weight makes your day hard then you need to eat more weetbix.

08-01-2005, 10:24 PM
Personally i would go for power over weight
I have done far to much carrying of these things around this country and overseas to agree, sorry. The problem is that the light ones have always been very expensive.

A typical "desktop replacement" notebook, plus power pack and leads plus a carry bag and a writing pad = the weight limit for carry-on luggage in an aircraft (7 kG). Thats too much.

08-01-2005, 10:45 PM
Bag of cement weighes 40kg,and i used to handle 600 or 700 of them a day....

Used to carry full bottles of oxygen up 12 story buildings (no idea what they weigh but damn heavy....80kg maybe?)

My laptop weighes 3.5 kg........ about the same as 2 blocks of cheese..... :D

Not that my opinion is intended to dispute anybodies personal choice, I just find the tiny extra weight a non-issue.

The "typical weight difference is about a kg at the most.

08-01-2005, 11:29 PM
...If the tiny amount of extra weight makes your day hard then you need to eat more weetbix.
:lol: :lol:

I recommend going into DSE, Harvey Norman and Noel Leeming just to have a look at some of the models on offer. Get a feel for them. You wouldn't buy one there as they are overpriced, but you could get the model number and buy online by searching here (http://www.pricespy.co.nz/cat_22.html).

If I was going to buy one, I would get a Pentium M chip, Mobility Radeon X800 GPU and a GB of RAM. ;)

09-01-2005, 10:27 PM
thank you all very much for your advice :D i hadnt really considered weight as an issue (im more worried about getting an appropriate processor :P) but i do agree with the comment about the weetbix....im sure ill cope!
ta again.

09-01-2005, 10:55 PM
My laptop weighes 3.5 kg........ about the same as 2 blocks of cheese..... :D
A block of cheese is 750g, so actually it's about 4 & 1/2 blocks of cheese. Mmm cheese.