Processor performance improvements - more than just CPU speeds?

x509

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So I'm wondering how to compare processor performance across generations. I have to think that newer processors have more throughput at the same nominal clock speed, but I really don't know.

Here is why I'm asking. My wife has a very old system with an i3 540, 3.07 Ghz, CPU. She wants her new system to be a Lenovo Yoga 2 in 1, and she's asked me how much faster the new system will be. The old system has 8 GB and SSD, and runs Windows 10 Pro. She wants a laptop (and will use a docking system) but also wants her new system to be a lot faster than her current desktop.

As an example, this system https://www.lenovo.com/us/en/laptops/yoga/700-series/Yoga-730-13-/p/81CT001SUS has 16 GB of RAM, but the processor seems slow:

8th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-8550U Processor (1.80GHz, up to 4.0GHz with Turbo Boost, 8MB Cache)

Thanks,

x509
 

drdoug99

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My opinion is that you say she has a "Very old system". Yes by [H] standards it's a dinosaur, but there's already a SSD installed. Depending on her needs, possibly the CPU and RAM could be upgraded with the current system to get it more up to par.

You'd have to qualify what you consider 'faster'. Is she just web surfing and emailing? Or is she editing photo files, movies, transcoding stuff where you can actually measure the time it takes to do certain tasks? For the former, I'd be hard pressed to take the leap. For the latter, then yes it would probably make a noticeable improvement.

I've replaced my wife's 2011 mac book pro with an SSD, and I recently revived an older Toshiba laptop with 8GB of RAM and a bargain Kingston SSD with Windows 10. Just the fact they have SSD's in them make all the difference and they work like brand new machines, compared to "new" sub 500 dollar laptops you can buy. Now the Yoga you want to get, yes it's quite good and definitely a step up. However, even a 1st gen i3, and making the generational leap with a new i7, while yes on paper it's quite a bit faster, with real world usage, I doubt she'd be like 'OMG this is so much faster', depending on the work she does with it.
 

marshac

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I agree with everyone else- it may be "old" but depending on what it's being used for, is still a very capable machine. I'm currently on a i5 yoga chromebook, but prior to that it was a Dell 6220 that was like 9 years old- I only replaced it because the LCD had lines through the display and the kids had knocked it onto the floor one too many tmes--- it had more screws missing than were present holding things together. My desktop is a 3930k which is ancient by [H] standards, but at 4.6GHz, a SSD, and 32GB of RAM with a 1080, every game I throw at it runs perfectly... so other than the penis, why upgrade? For the majority of daily use, upgrading her laptop won't "feel" any faster.

As for a dock- just get a laptop that had a thunderbolt port- that will give you options down the road for a dock that can house an eGPU, ethernet, USB, etc. Don't get something proprietary. Many cheap laptops these days will have thunderbolt ports and are quite capable machines.
 

tangoseal

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As an ex network engineer and general IT professional you have to understand what the layman wants when the mean faster.

It literally translates to faster response in everything and literally nothing more matters.

If all she does is web browsing etc she will have a better time with a system that Includes some form of a GPU.

General IPC makes a difference in every day things so any modern Ryzen or Intel mobile with a fast nvme ssd and a lower tier dedicated GPU might be what she's looking for.

Something tells me she is not worried about how fast the CPU can render images in blender for the movie industry.
 

x509

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My opinion is that you say she has a "Very old system". Yes by [H] standards it's a dinosaur, but there's already a SSD installed. Depending on her needs, possibly the CPU and RAM could be upgraded with the current system to get it more up to par.

You'd have to qualify what you consider 'faster'. Is she just web surfing and emailing? Or is she editing photo files, movies, transcoding stuff where you can actually measure the time it takes to do certain tasks? For the former, I'd be hard pressed to take the leap. For the latter, then yes it would probably make a noticeable improvement.

I've replaced my wife's 2011 mac book pro with an SSD, and I recently revived an older Toshiba laptop with 8GB of RAM and a bargain Kingston SSD with Windows 10. Just the fact they have SSD's in them make all the difference and they work like brand new machines, compared to "new" sub 500 dollar laptops you can buy. Now the Yoga you want to get, yes it's quite good and definitely a step up. However, even a 1st gen i3, and making the generational leap with a new i7, while yes on paper it's quite a bit faster, with real world usage, I doubt she'd be like 'OMG this is so much faster', depending on the work she does with it.
She does web surfing, email and calendaring with Outlook, occasionally runs Word and Excel. She looks at photos, but does not do movie editing. In the future she may run Lightroom.

She would be OK with spending a lot more than $500 if necessary. She definitely wants a laptop, so maybe the real question is what kind of processor will give her a performance improvement, and does she need 16 GB also. Then I have to figure out how much that laptop will cost.

x509
 

x509

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I agree with everyone else- it may be "old" but depending on what it's being used for, is still a very capable machine. I'm currently on a i5 yoga chromebook, but prior to that it was a Dell 6220 that was like 9 years old- I only replaced it because the LCD had lines through the display and the kids had knocked it onto the floor one too many tmes--- it had more screws missing than were present holding things together. My desktop is a 3930k which is ancient by [H] standards, but at 4.6GHz, a SSD, and 32GB of RAM with a 1080, every game I throw at it runs perfectly... so other than the penis, why upgrade? For the majority of daily use, upgrading her laptop won't "feel" any faster.

As for a dock- just get a laptop that had a thunderbolt port- that will give you options down the road for a dock that can house an eGPU, ethernet, USB, etc. Don't get something proprietary. Many cheap laptops these days will have thunderbolt ports and are quite capable machines.
For sure her new laptop will have a USB-C port. The Lenovo website lists a bunch of docking stations with USB 3 connector.

My own system is a 3930 with 32 GB, but I haven't overclocked it yet. (Inertia.) Maybe it's time I did that overclock and possibly even considered water-cooling, instead of a whole new system. My case is a Corsair 800D, which has plenty of room for radiators, etc.

x509
 

marshac

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For sure her new laptop will have a USB-C port. The Lenovo website lists a bunch of docking stations with USB 3 connector.

My own system is a 3930 with 32 GB, but I haven't overclocked it yet. (Inertia.) Maybe it's time I did that overclock and possibly even considered water-cooling, instead of a whole new system. My case is a Corsair 800D, which has plenty of room for radiators, etc.

x509

Make sure it's thunderbolt- USB-C doesn't mean thunderbolt

We have the same desktop system - mine is also watercooled as well- 4.6GHz is a cakewalk- no tweaking or voltage changes needed. Give it a shot.
 

defaultluser

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https://cpu.userbenchmark.com/Compare/Intel-Core-i7-8550U-vs-Intel-Core-i3-540/m320742vsm2936

Make sure the laptop has an SSD. That is the number one point in making a computer feel fast.

This analysis is fairly accurate: 50% faster single--threaded performance, and 100% faster multi-core.

The IPC difference between Clarksdale and Skylake is around 25%, and you can add an additional 30% for turbo speed. The processor has double the cores/ threads,but is a laptop 15w part so tops-out at lower turbo speed when fully-loaded, so just double performance.

Clarksdale core (her current i3 architecture) was clunky, with the weird memory controller layout adding higher latency than the Core 2 Duo, so that coul d also be slowing things down. Modern processors have I/O properly designed.
 

alxlwson

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I would be going for the upgrade simply for battery life and form factor. Old system is also a laptop?
 
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Based on what she does and how she will use it, don't go for the cheap or ultrabook designs. Sure, some have nice speced CPU's in them, but they are all thermal limited. Look more to the gaming side or business side, you also said she will be docking it (and it's replacing a desktop), so getting something thin and light doesn't make much sense for a use case that wont notice, but will notice the performance loss. The gaming and business laptops might not be as thin, but will have better performance under heavy use, and are still mobile when needed. I would suggest a model with an NVMe drive, or one that has a port for one, since it's UI snappiness she seems to really be looking for. Also run a hard wire for internet, less issues with interference and dropped connections, as well as much faster local network transfers etc etc.
 

x509

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Based on what she does and how she will use it, don't go for the cheap or ultrabook designs. Sure, some have nice speced CPU's in them, but they are all thermal limited. Look more to the gaming side or business side, you also said she will be docking it (and it's replacing a desktop), so getting something thin and light doesn't make much sense for a use case that wont notice, but will notice the performance loss. The gaming and business laptops might not be as thin, but will have better performance under heavy use, and are still mobile when needed. I would suggest a model with an NVMe drive, or one that has a port for one, since it's UI snappiness she seems to really be looking for. Also run a hard wire for internet, less issues with interference and dropped connections, as well as much faster local network transfers etc etc.
My wife wants to be able to carry around her laptop in a canvas bag that she always carries around with her, so the laptop can't be too big. Also, she thinks my Lenovo T560 is just too heavy.

So I guess I will need to find a very thin 2 in 1 unit that also has enough CPU power. I forgot to mention that she will also use this system in tablet mode as an e-reader, so it has to handle large PDFs easily.

x509
 

defaultluser

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My wife wants to be able to carry around her laptop in a canvas bag that she always carries around with her, so the laptop can't be too big. Also, she thinks my Lenovo T560 is just too heavy.

So I guess I will need to find a very thin 2 in 1 unit that also has enough CPU power. I forgot to mention that she will also use this system in tablet mode as an e-reader, so it has to handle large PDFs easily.

x509

Well, the Intel quad core i7-8550U is the fastest you're going to find in the form-factor.

You want 2-in-1, you're stuck with that CPU. It should be able to handle web pages and PDFs easily.
 

x509

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Well, the Intel quad core i7-8550U is the fastest you're going to find in the form-factor.

You want 2-in-1, you're stuck with that CPU. It should be able to handle web pages and PDFs easily.
That sure simplifies the choices, doesn't it. :)
 

CAD4466HK

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IdiotInCharge

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Using an 8550U in a 2-in-1 ultrabook currently. Even has just SATA SSD, not NVME, not that I've ever seen a difference. Biggest thing was making sure that it had 16GB of RAM. Don't compromise there.

It's a 13" ASUS, over a year old now. Have a camera bag that it fits that it travels in.


I'll note that throttling can be an issue, but generally speaking, this is where Intel has been putting a significant chunk of their R&D. Keep it cool (don't suffocate it) and it rocks.
 

x509

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Using an 8550U in a 2-in-1 ultrabook currently. Even has just SATA SSD, not NVME, not that I've ever seen a difference. Biggest thing was making sure that it had 16GB of RAM. Don't compromise there.

It's a 13" ASUS, over a year old now. Have a camera bag that it fits that it travels in.


I'll note that throttling can be an issue, but generally speaking, this is where Intel has been putting a significant chunk of their R&D. Keep it cool (don't suffocate it) and it rocks.
Guys,

As the OP I owe you all an update. The other day we went down to the local WorstBuy, and tried out various machines. Bunch of concerns, including size and weight, performance, plus availability of USB C/Thunderbolt ports, plus performance of course.

I was pleasantly surprised to see just how snappy a Lenovo Yoga 730 was, with its i5-8250U Processor. Windows seemed very responsive, and web sites that my wife uses a lot loaded up much faster than my wife's old system, almost instantly in some cases. Size is just right for carrying in her canvas tote bag. Keyboard good. So we will get either the base model, or the upgaded model with i5-8265U Processor, for $130 more. To be clear, she is not a gamer nor will she be running intensive applications like Photoshop. For Photoshop, 16 GB would be necessary.

x509
 
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Dan_D

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Here is the thing, modern processors don't have greater "throughput" in any kind of traditional sense. Since the memory controller has been integrated into the CPU, there is no front side bus to limit the interface between the CPU and the rest of the system's I/O. Sure, there are some limitations, but they haven't changed that much over the last several years. Or, the difference is academic because we can't perceive the increase in speed due to a variety of factors.

Since Sandy Bridge, Intel CPUs have increased in performance 1-3% per generation. In many cases, the IPC advantage has been negated by the fact that the architectural changes result in a reduction in clock speeds. Manufacturing improvements have sometimes resulted in higher turbo frequencies, but a reduction in overall clock speed head room. Memory speeds have increased quite a bit, but unfortunately, not all applications benefit from it. SSD's are faster than ever, but you'd be hard pressed to see a difference between any of them made in the last few years in terms of your day to day computing experience. PCI-Express hasn't yet been saturated in most cases and in a mobile system, you aren't likely to.

The one thing that has improved is performance per watt. From Skylake onward we've seen laptops run at higher turbo frequencies within the same TDP.
 
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x509

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https://cpu.userbenchmark.com/Compare/Intel-Core-i7-8550U-vs-Intel-Core-i3-540/m320742vsm2936

Make sure the laptop has an SSD. That is the number one point in making a computer feel fast.
This is a great website. I didn't know it existed, but when I need to upgrade my desktop system ("real soon now") I will definitely go to this site to figure out how much bang I get for the buck. :)

In the spirit of "Take something from the pot, put something back into the pot," I will benchmark my current components.

For my new system, I will use the case, power supply, drives, card reader and misc adapters from my current system. But I need to get a new motherboard, CPU, GPU, and RAM.
 
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Keljian

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Here is the thing, modern processors don't have greater "throughput" in any kind of traditional sense.

Not true, Ryzen has more execution resources per core than the Core architecture.


https://www.agner.org/optimize/blog/read.php?i=838

Let us compare the execution units of AMD's Ryzen with current Intel processors. AMD has four 128-bit units for floating point and vector operations. Two of these can do addition and two can do multiplication. Intel has two 256-bit units, both of which can do addition as well as multiplication. This means that floating point code with scalars or vectors of up to 128 bits will execute on the AMD processor at a maximum rate of four instructions per clock (two additions and two multiplications), while the Intel processor can do only two. With 256-bit vectors, AMD and Intel can both do two instructions per clock. Intel beats AMD on 256-bit fused multiply-and-add instructions, where AMD can do one while Intel can do two per clock. Intel is also better than AMD on 256-bit memory writes, where Intel has one 256-bit write port while the AMD processor has one 128-bit write port. We will soon see Intel processors with 512-bit vector support, while it might take a few more years before AMD supports 512-bit vectors. However, most of the software on the market lags several years behind the hardware. As long as the software uses only 128-bit vectors, we will see the performance of the Ryzen processor as quite competitive. The AMD can execute six micro-ops per clock while Intel can do only four. But there is a problem with doing so many operations per clock cycle. It is not possible to do two instructions simultaneously if the second instruction depends on the result of the first instruction, of course. The high throughput of the processor puts an increased burden on the programmer and the compiler to avoid long dependency chains. The maximum throughput can only be obtained if there are many independent instructions that can be executed simultaneously.

This is where simultaneous multithreading comes in. You can run two threads in the same CPU core (this is what Intel calls hyperthreading). Each thread will then get half of the resources. If the CPU core has a higher capacity than a single thread can utilize then it makes sense to run two threads in the same core. The gain in total performance that you get from running two threads per core is much higher in the Ryzen than in Intel processors because of the higher throughput of the AMD core (except for 256-bit vector code).
 

drdoug99

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This is a great website. I didn't know it existed, but when I need to upgrade my desktop system ("real soon now") I will definitely go to this site to figure out how much bang I get for the buck. :)

In the spirit of "Take something from the pot, put something back into the pot," I will benchmark my current components.

For my new system, I will use the case, power supply, drives, card reader and misc adapters from my current system. But I need to get a new motherboard, CPU, GPU, and RAM.

Did you ever get a laptop for your wife yet? interested to know what you got
 

cyklondx

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So I'm wondering how to compare processor performance across generations. I have to think that newer processors have more throughput at the same nominal clock speed, but I really don't know.

Here is why I'm asking. My wife has a very old system with an i3 540, 3.07 Ghz, CPU. She wants her new system to be a Lenovo Yoga 2 in 1, and she's asked me how much faster the new system will be. The old system has 8 GB and SSD, and runs Windows 10 Pro. She wants a laptop (and will use a docking system) but also wants her new system to be a lot faster than her current desktop.

As an example, this system https://www.lenovo.com/us/en/laptops/yoga/700-series/Yoga-730-13-/p/81CT001SUS has 16 GB of RAM, but the processor seems slow:

8th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-8550U Processor (1.80GHz, up to 4.0GHz with Turbo Boost, 8MB Cache)

Thanks,

x509

I don't think there's a single one benchmark that you can use to compare the performance of the CPUs. Some typical brutus type workload may not bring much improvement or may show more.

You need to start running BOINC on your systems at least couple wu's (work units) in different projects that use different instruction sets of your CPU, and or GPU.
Thus in primegrid if you compare certain WU's that can use AVX you'll see tasks that used to take lets say Sophie Germain task 20min now take 50sec, or 20sec just because of AVX and later AVX versions.
 
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