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I still remember the huge difference in usability when switching from a Pentium 4 notebook (heavy, hot, low battery life) to Pentium M (light, cool and long battery life).

I am wondering if the current switch to Sandy Bridge is comparable in its impact?

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

Pentium 4

  • High clock rate which means it
  • ran very hot
  • wasn't optimized for mobility
  • not a notebook processor

Pentium M

  • A "mobile" processor
  • Optimized for battery life
  • Specifically targeted for laptops

Nehalem vs. Sandy Bridge

Sandy Bridge uses a smaller nm technology for its circuitry over Nehalem, and on a per-clock basis there is some improvement in speed (< 20%). Other than that you won't find the large difference you found when going from Pentium 4 to Pentium M.

What will give you a big difference in battery life, power, and maybe even form factor is switching to Sandy Bridge and going with a SSD instead of a HDD. Battery life will be a lot longer, you'll use less power (with the same or better performance), and it may even be lighter.

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Thanks for your answer. But I could just get a SSD w/o Sandy Bridge. So you are saying that the difference in battery life due to Sandy Bridge alone are small? – Daniel Gehriger Feb 13 '11 at 21:18
    
Compared to Nehalem? Yes. If you have a Nehalem processor or are thinking of getting one, just go with that. – aqua Feb 13 '11 at 21:20
    
I should also mention that it depends what sort of Sandy Bridge processor you get. If you get a very high-performance processor compared to a lower-power consumption processor, that obviously makes a difference, since even within SB there are differences among processor classes. – aqua Feb 13 '11 at 21:22

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