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Old 04-06-2006, 12:52 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Gaming Laptop Question: Centrino vs. P4

Hey guys,

So I'm getting ready to buy a new laptop for college, and I'm not exactly sure what to go for. I'm definitely getting an Alienware, and price isn't too much of a factor (looking anywhere from $2,500 to $3,500). Of course, I need a rig that'll let me get my game on, but I don't know whether I should go for the desktop replacement-style pentium 4 area-51 m7700 or the lighter, more mobile, centrino-based pentium M area-51 m5700.

Here are my issues/question:

Obviously the P4 will be a more powerful computer, but I also hear that it tends to run hot, which I'm told can be a real issue with a laptop. Then again, can I solve that problem easily enough with a laptop cooler?

The P4 is heavier and the battery drains faster, but the question is, how much faster? I don't really think I'll be carrying it around very often, but if the P4 is gonna die in an hour or two and the Centrino is gonna last like 5 hours, then that would be a big enough difference to matter.

Is the P4 really going to be that much faster? Right now the P4 clocks in around 3.8GhZ whereas the Centrino has a max of 2.26GhZ. How much is that gonna hurt? Also, Alienware currently doesn't ship a Centrino model with a Geforce 7800 GTX, only with a Geforce 6800. I realize that's a pretty big loss, but do you guys think by, say, August, they'll have a Centrino with a 7800 in it? Dell currently ships a Centrino XPS with a 7800 GTX in it, but dude, there's no way in **** I'm getting a Dell.

Thanks for the input in advance!

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Old 04-06-2006, 03:21 AM   #2 (permalink)
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centrino clocks work differently.. similar to AMD..

i remember when they first came out they said 1.5ghz = 2.4ghz P4. so 2.26 ghz should be at the 3.6-3.8ghz pentium 4 equivalent. thats just a ball park figure.. so in terms of performance.. its probably around the same. If you're a big gamer, then 6800 is out of the question.. wait to see if alienware gets the 7800gtx or the newer 7900 line on their laptops.

do your best to stick with centrino. you won't get 5 hours with centrino... but still quite a bit better than p4

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Old 04-06-2006, 09:25 AM   #3 (permalink)
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lol i would stay with the P4, it shouldnt run to hot and it comes with a 7800gtx, and i wouldnt pay 2k+ for a laptop with centrino and an out of date 6800......

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Old 04-06-2006, 09:48 AM   #4 (permalink)
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don't buy a P4 laptop, they run too hot and the battery life is too short. Centrino (aka Pentium M) runs a lot cooler and is more efficient
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Old 04-06-2006, 10:19 AM   #5 (permalink)
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well i agree with getting centrino but it only comes with 6800, so if you can get a centrino that has 7800, that would be sweet, but as far as p4 running too hot i disagree, my uncle built a p4 gaming laptop with 7800gs and it works fine and doesnt get too hot, but the battery life is short, about 2 hours.

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Old 04-06-2006, 11:55 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks for the help so far guys...

Just to add new information to the convo, it seems that although the Dell XPS is currently the only Centrino model offering a 7800 GTX, soon the 7800 GTX will be more widely available (Alienware included, I hope). This is from a cnet Dell XPS m170 review. And I have a pretty good amount of time to wait before I have to buy, so hopefully by the time I do, there'll be a Centrino model with the latest GPU.

Also, it looks like Aliasaid is right.... Pentium M's run about 50% more efficiently then P4's, so a 2.26GhZ P-M will run at about the equivalent of a 3.4GhZ P4.

And as for P4's running hot, according to an IGN review of the m7700:

"To say that heat literally pours out of the m7700 is an understatement. When the machine is under heavy load, you could thaw meat near the exhaust port. That's not a bad thing. Moving hot air out of the case is the critical issue, and the fans certainly do that. I was hesitant to try playing the m7700 in my lap, having been burned by a PowerBook once before. When I did, I was really quite impressed as the case never gets too hot to touch, even after hours of F.E.A.R."

So does that mean that even though it might run hot, the heat doesn't create any risk to the system? /shrug!
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Old 04-06-2006, 12:17 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Seeing as how DELL owns Alienware, I would say it is only a matter of time before the m5700 comes with the 7800 GTX...
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Old 04-06-2006, 09:16 PM   #8 (permalink)
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This might be alittle of the Intel topic but how are the AMDs in mobile technology? If their like their PCs wouldnt they be better for gamin like a mobile Athlon 64?
*Opteron 165 1.8Ghz
*DFI Lanparty UT nF4 Ultra-D
*HIS Hightech X1900XT 512MB w/ Zalman VF900 (Core: 690Mhz, Mem: 1500Mhz)
*G.Skill 1GB DDR 400
*Kingwin Mutant X Series
*HP IDE Lightscribe DVD Burner
*Seagate Barracuda 80GB SATA II
*Maxtor 80GB IDE
*OCZ Gamexstream 600W PSU
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Old 04-06-2006, 09:35 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Centrino is merely the nickname for Intel's overall mobile processor technology. This includes the Pentium M's and new Core Solo and Core Duo processors. What seperates centrino from the desktop processors is that they are very effective per wat and they have integrated wireless "cards" (on the motherboard).

The Pentium M's are extremely solid mobile CPUs, stick with them at all costs, the Pentium 4's run hot, take alot of battery and in some cases need to be a lot faster (in clock speed) to match the Pentium M's. If possible, stick with the new Core Solo or Core Duo.

As for the video card situation, I'd either go with the 6800 and centrino or go with an AMD and the 7800 ... but overall I'd leave gaming for the desktop.

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