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Notebook Processor Tour
Table of contents
Like desktop computers, a notebook processor/CPU (Central Processing Unit) can also be seen as the brain of a notebook and is the largest single determinant of system performance. Where it can differ from a desktop processor is in its advanced power management features for extended battery life. A longer battery life means you can use your computer without the help of an AC adapter for longer periods of time. Therefore, when making a decision about your prospective notebook processor, the two most important factors to pay attention to are performance and its power usage characteristics.
To achieve extended battery life the manufacturers have developed special technologies such as EIST and PowerNow!
Enhanced Intel SpeedStep Technology
According to Intel, "Enhanced Intel SpeedStep Technology (EIST) allows the system to dynamically adjust processor voltage and core frequency, which can result in decreased average power consumption and decreased average heat production".
With Enhanced SpeedStep technology power usage is more efficient. EIST is widely used in Intel notebook processor products such as the Core Duo, Core Solo and Pentium M.
AMD PowerNow! Technology
AMD PowerNow! Technology was developed by AMD and is used in most AMD notebook processor products such as the Mobile AMD Athlon 64, Turion 64, Turion 64 X2 and Mobile Sempron. Like Intel Enhanced SpeedStep technology, it also allows the system to automatically alter the processor voltage and core frequency in the background resulting in optimized battery life and a notebook that runs cooler and quieter.
For more information regarding processor specifications and other useful tips, please see our CPU buying guide (link to CPU buying guide)
The following chart covers the most popular notebook CPUs on offer today:
Note: LV = Low Voltage processor, ULV = Ultra Low Voltage processor
Intel core 2 Duo Series
Based on Intel's revolutionary Intel Core microarchitecture. Experience new levels of system responsiveness when running multiple applications and smarter battery performance designed to help extend mobility.
TDP or Thermal Design Power is defined a little differently by AMD and Intel, but when comparing products from a single brand, a lower TDP is mode desirable
Intel Core Duo Series
High performance and long battery life are expected from its dual core architecture, as is outstanding multitasking and entertainment capabilities.
The Core Solo processor provides high performance and long battery life and is the successor to the Intel Pentium M.
Intel Pentium M Series
Intel Pentium M processors are designed for users requiring both high-performance and low power consumption for satisfyingly long battery life.
Intel Celeron M Series
For budget applications, it brings the best balance of performance and value.
Mobile Intel Pentium 4 (HT) Series
High performance but with a higher power consumption rate than other Intel notebook processor lines, they are mainly used in mainstream or desktop replacement notebook computers.
AMD Turion 64 X2 Series
AMD Turion 64 X2 series processors deliver true multi-tasking capabilities, excellent battery life and compatibility with the latest wireless and graphics technologies.
AMD Turion 64 Series
AMD Turion 64 series processors are uniquely optimized to deliver better multi-tasking performance in thinner and lighter notebook designs.
Mobile AMD Sempron Series
The Mobile AMD Sempron processor is designed for budget applications and provides an excellent balance between performance and value.
Mobile AMD Athlon 64 Series
Mobile AMD Athlon 64 processors are very impressive performers but consume more power than their AMD brethren. Like the Mobile Intel Pentium 4 (HT) processor, the Mobile AMD Athlon 64 processor is mainly used in mainstream or desktop replacement notebook computers.
What is Centrino mobile technology?
According to Intel, "Intel Centrino mobile technology combines Intel's best technologies for notebooks. It delivers outstanding mobile performance, great battery life, integrated wireless LAN capability and thin and light notebook designs".
Today there are three Intel Centrino platforms known as Intel Centrino Duo mobile technology, Intel Centrino mobile technology (with Intel Core Solo processor) and Intel Centrino mobile technology (with Intel Pentium M processor).
Intel Centrino Duo mobile technology
The Intel Centrino Duo mobile technology platform is the newest mobile platform offering enhanced capabilities for outstanding multitasking, entertainment and communication capabilities. The complete Intel Centrino Duo mobile technology platform consists of Intel Core Duo or Core 2 Duo processor, Mobile Intel 945 Express family chipset and Intel PRO/Wireless 3945ABG network connection.
Intel Centrino mobile technology (with Intel Core Solo processor)
Intel Centrino mobile technology (with Intel Core Solo processor) offers enhanced capabilities for outstanding on-the-go performance, low power usage and communication capabilities. It consists of the Intel Core Solo processor, Mobile Intel 945 Express family chipset and Intel PRO/Wireless 3945ABG network connection.
Intel Centrino mobile technology (with Intel Pentium M processor)
Intel Centrino mobile technology (with Intel Pentium M processor) offers integrated performance for mobile computing and communication. It consists of the Intel Pentium M processor, Mobile Intel 915 or 855 family chipset and Intel PRO/Wireless 2915ABG, 2200BG or 2100 network connection.