I am trying to get myself a custom built laptop and while I was making a choice of what goes into the laptop, the processor section had some interesting choices:

Intel® Celeron® Dual Core Processor B840 (1.90 GHz) 2MB Cache

Intel® Core™i3 Dual Core Mobile Processor i3-2350M (2.30GHz) 3MB 
Intel® Core™i5 Dual Core Mobile Processor i5-2450M (2.50GHz) 3MB 
Intel® Core™i5 Dual Core Mobile Processor i5-2520M (2.50GHz) 3MB

Intel® Core™i7 Dual Core Mobile Processor i7-2640M (2.80GHz) 4MB
Intel® Core™i7 Quad Core Mobile Processor i7-2670QM (2.20GHz) 6MB
Intel® Core™i7 Quad Core Mobile Processor i7-2760QM (2.40GHz) 6MB
Intel® Core™i7 Quad Core Mobile Processor i7-2860QM (2.50GHz) 8MB

I assumed that mobile processors are less capable than the regular ones, (since they are small and go into mobiles and what not) but something tells me this assumption is very stupid, even though wikipedia says otherwise

I really want to get a quad core, i7 (fastest, let's say) but I don't want a mobile processor, I want a regular one. Some googling got me the differences between quad core and regular processors, but I am unable to find the difference between regular and mobile processors.

So why would anyone offer me to get a mobile processor for my laptop?

  • +1 I think this is an interesting question on a larger scale, as is addressed in the top answer right now Feb 20, 2012 at 13:16
  • maybe in the old days that would've sounded plausible ;) (Pentium era)
    – Nocturnal
    Jan 10, 2014 at 13:09

2 Answers 2


Mobile processors are for use in mobile computers, that is computers that are mostly carried around by their owner from place to place rather than being left, unmoving, on a desktop for most of their life.

Mobile processors are obviously optimised for use in laptop/notebook/netbook computers.

  • Low current consumption to avoid quickly draining the laptop battery flat.
  • Low heat output to avoid overwhelming the limited cooling available in a laptop.

The Processors used in mobile phones (cellphones/feature-phones/smartphones) are a different category (they are mostly ARM processors) and are optimised for even lower power and cooling resources.

Tablets/slates/pads/fondleslabs form a middle ground where traditional desktop/laptop CPU architectures (e.g. x86) and traditional small-device architectures (e.g. ARM) are both used. You can view this as convergence from both directions.

A necessary consequence is that mobile processors are slower but they probably incorporate power-saving tricks that are not so much used in desktop PCs (I think variable CPU clock-rates started in mobile processors).

I wouldn't be surprised if a laptop with a workstation-class CPU had a very short run-time on battery and ran very hot (reducing the overall life of CPU and other components)

  • aaah.. I see.. makes much more sense now.. I probably took the work mobile too literally! thanks!
    – iamserious
    Feb 20, 2012 at 11:17
  • I've never heard of a fondleslab before ;p
    – Journeyman Geek
    Feb 22, 2012 at 11:55
  • So why not use mobile cpus to regular PCs? They are cheaper, and have only pros (according to this answer). I would expect the approved answer to cover RAM timing, Data Throughputs as being different (or whatever the reason is, I came here looking for it)
    – Odys
    Apr 4, 2014 at 16:39
  • on a desktop you have more room for fans and extended cooling. it would not be effective to settle with lower clock speeds in a case large enough to support one with higher speeds.
    – user16973
    Jun 29, 2014 at 11:49

you can compare several Intel CPUs at http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/processor-comparison/compare-intel-processors.html to figure out the differences yourself.

The "mobile" ones tend to have a way lower TDP, meaning the produce less heat when operating, which on the one hand means less power consumption -> longer battery life, and on the other hand means less cooling needed, therefore the system may operate more silent and again less power consuming.

People who are interested in AMD CPUs, can find complete information and can compare CPUs using these two lists:

Desktop Processor Solutions

Notebook Processor Solutions

  • Nice, thanks.. though, it doesn't tell me why it's called Mobile when it's for a laptop...
    – iamserious
    Feb 20, 2012 at 10:27
  • Well, a laptop is a mobile device. And some people (older ones like me) think of a mobile as somethign mobile. And as a cell phone as a 'cell phone' (and not as a mobile cell phone).
    – Hennes
    Dec 24, 2015 at 7:37

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