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I want to compare (not precisely, no accurate benchmarking, just the big picture) two CPUs, the one of my main gaming PC (built in Feb 2011) and the one of my newest PC (built last week).

One has an Intel Core i7 870 and the other has an Intel Core i7 3630QM.

One would think that the new one would destroy the other or at least show a noticable difference, and I am only taking about their specifications, not even in practice! and it is not that obvious...

I mean when looking at the specs, the frequencies look close, the number of cores is the same, I mean what in the specs make one of those CPUs better that the other...

Comparing CPUs used to be way easier back in my days ;)

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Most modern systems are powerful enough that they hardly get any workout from most things. My 2007 era desktop was handling my needs perfectly well - I only built a new one cause I wanted one of my own and not share. The big advantage modern processors have is massively lower power use - my Ivy Bridge core i7 uses 10w of power at relatively low loads - which is low compared to older systems. –  Journeyman Geek Feb 28 '13 at 8:46
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I think a postage scale would work pretty well. –  Daniel R Hicks Feb 28 '13 at 12:42

3 Answers 3

I guess it's a difficult task to compare CPU solely on their specs. The architecture varies greatly, I think direct spec comparison become mostly irrelevant with introduction of Pentium 4 CPUs. Higher frequency P4 CPUs were bested by previous generation more slow CPUs.

Some of the new CPU are optimized for different tasks, which also complicates comparison even further. For example Intel Atom CPUs are optimized for low power consumption, while performance is somewhat secondary spec.

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A practical way of comparing the CPU's (for a general overview) is to use CPU Benchmark, which is an online site that gathers statistics and relative performance of LOTS of CPU's from lots of places.

This shows your i7-870 with a metric of 5491 and your i7-3630QM at 7721, so your new one is in the order of 25-30% better overall.

You can also compare the CPU's on Intel's Ark website. This won't show you the performance, but it will show you the difference. I did this for fun [its the kind of thing I like to keep abreast of], and can advise that in addition to the the performance boost, the i7-3630QM uses about half the power, supports twice the memory, has built in graphics and "anti-theft" technology (there are other things as well).

In real terms though, the i7-780 was a much higher end CPU for its time than the S7-4630QM appears to be - I'd imagine that something like the i7-3770 would perform much faster (but uses a different socket)

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A popular metric for measuring cpu perfomance is the bogomip. Though not really indicative, especially nowadays since as Petr mentionned, cpu's have different optimisations for different tasks.

I suggest you boot with a linux live cd so both machines have the exact same load. From there you have a few options to rate you cpu's bogomip rating.

Of course, you may of already stumbled on this site that rates just about all cpu's on the market.

Hope that helps, good-luck.

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