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Quick background: I'm looking for a new laptop - my old one which had a Core i7 (and died after a year) didn't overwhelm me with its speed, so I figure I shouldn't get anything worse than an i7 in this one. I then noticed that there were many different "versions" of the Core i7 (e.g. 4700MQ, 3517U, etc.) - I had no idea, and really thought there was just one Core i3, one Core i5, and one Core i7.

I found which has a comprehensive list of many processors. They assign a "Passmark CPU Mark" to each of them. For example, the 3517U's value is 3738, while the 4700MQ's value is 7982. My question: what's the real difference between these two? Is this rating linear (e.g. is the 4700MQ more than twice as fast as the 3517U?)? If I have two otherwise identical machines, how much of a difference will I notice between the two processors?

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closed as too broad by Dave M, Tog, Breakthrough, Shekhar, Nifle Oct 3 '13 at 18:27

There are either too many possible answers, or good answers would be too long for this format. Please add details to narrow the answer set or to isolate an issue that can be answered in a few paragraphs.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

well I guess a big difference, but for real life it's quite likely a bigger or at least massive difference, comes from using an SSD hard drive. windows load times on a slow atom processor is bloody fast with an ssd and even internet seems much faster. – barlop Oct 2 '13 at 15:17
This will be impossible to answer definitively. Much depends on the exact application and also the other components. For example, will the GPU be the issue even with the fastest current processor? Will disk I/O be the issue, etc? – Dave M Oct 2 '13 at 15:18
I'll second @DaveM's comment - processor alone isn't the only factor that can influence how fast your system feels (and often isn't the main factor). Without knowing your use case, it's hard to say what kind of configuration would work well for you. That being said, the Passmark scores are on an absolute scale, so yes, about double the performance in your example. Note the comments in the link there that scores may not reflect real world performance. – ernie Oct 2 '13 at 15:23
All the differences can be looked up on Intel's website. The design differences between 3517U and the 4700MQ would take about 300 words to describe ( all of which is on Intel's website ). – Ramhound Oct 2 '13 at 15:25
@Ramhound: (if that's yours) I don't think that deserves a -1. The question sow previous researches, and the answer is far from obivous for someone that is not into computer hardware. – mveroone Oct 2 '13 at 15:29

Most of the times, the criteras are :

  • Clock speed
  • Multiplicator unlocking
  • L2/3 cache size
  • number of cores
  • Hyperthreading(2 execution lines per core)

(TDP depends of most of those criteras)

By variying all those, constructors build a very wide range of processors in each generation. But as stated in other comments, that is not always the most impacting factor in a computer "speed feeling" which heavily depends on the OS and software used.

Note that some of those models are the exact same chips on which the clock speed depends on how well they succeeded in the QA tests. Melting 22nm tracks can be sometimes a bit less well-made on the same production chain, giving a slower processor for the same heat generated.

An i5 is often way enough, and a SSD will impact greatly the feeling of a smooth computer.

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