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I am planning to buy a new laptop these days and for that I am searching for online user reviews etc. these days.

Laptops that I have shortlisted includes HP Envy 6 which is an ultra-book and have an Intel® Core™ i5-3317U Processor However while searching reviews I found it written somewhere stating this these low powered processor are actually a big setback for performance having an ultra-book (low powered) i5 processor will give you performance like a normal i3 or even worst.

Being worried about that i searched for little knowledge for ultra book I found contradicting statements as on Intel's site it states:

Why settle for the machine you have, when Ultrabook™ 2 in 1 offers so much more? Convert it, touch it, wake it in a flash. Multitask with blazing fast performance, access files in a snap, use it all day long...and enjoy peace of mind with built-in security.

And on Wikipedia it also says:

Ultrabook is a specification and brand developed by Intel for a class of high-end subnotebooks which are designed to feature reduced bulk without compromising performance and battery life. They use low-power Intel Core processors…

Now beside what I read I myself is also confused whether something that is low-powered would actually produce similar performance results as its normal powered counterpart? If yes than why we have normal powered processors out there.

Question in one sentence:

Does these Ultra book low-powered processors gives Low Performance results as compared to their counter parts i.e. an Ultrabook i5 is not equal to a Normal i5 ?

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  • That's probably a relative statement in reviews... Meaning that 800$ gets you a lower powered Ultrabook while you could get a beefier setup in traditional laptop land. So not all i5s are equal, the U series is meant to be light on power consumption to give you better battery life. That tends to mean they are a very similar processor, but there is a tradeoff between better battery life/ultra portables and processing power. But in the end, >95% of the population asking this type of question wouldn't really notice the difference for normal use, those that want UP may also have a workstation.
    – nerdwaller
    Sep 10, 2013 at 1:52
  • so how much is the expected performance loss? enough to make an i5 equal to i3 i am getting this for some extensive software development and i have also got a good specs for gaming? but does this low power processor going to effect it?
    – Maven
    Sep 10, 2013 at 20:09
  • You're not getting a gaming computer in an Ultrabook, you may be able to run some stuff on the built in graphics (Intel 4000), but games that support that will tell you in their specs.
    – nerdwaller
    Sep 10, 2013 at 20:20

2 Answers 2

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The U/ULV versions where always slower compared to the normal i Core CPUs but consume less energy and generate less heat.

If you want high Performance buy a Desktop PC with i5. If you want mobility with power use a normal laptop with a normal i5. If you want maximal battery life and don't need power all the time buy such an Haswell U i5 to get a good balance between battery life and CPU power.

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  • any rough figure over how much is the expected performance loss? enough to make an i5 equal to i3 i am getting this for some extensive software development and i have also got a good specs for gaming? but does this low power processor going to effect it?
    – Maven
    Sep 10, 2013 at 20:14
  • compare the cpus you consider to buy here: cpubenchmark.net/cpu_list.php Sep 11, 2013 at 4:32
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The emphasis has been on power consumption for some time. Probably blame the MacBook Air for this switch from traditional thicker notebooks to thin and light. Obviously to get there the CPU has to produce less heat and so Intel created the U series of core "I" cpu's. They really work fine for basics but don't have the real agility needed for heavy task stuff. Intel makes better HQ series or even Xtreme gaming series CPU's. But they are in the more traditional laptops and gaming laptops. Mainly because they require way more cooling. Even worse is the core "M" stuff with fanless designs which are very power efficient but even less performance hounds.

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