Power Requirements

System Power Requirements - Idle

System Power Requirements - 100% CPU

System Power Requirements - Maximum Load

The power requirements at various loads help explain the battery life situation better. At idle, the Gateway Intel and AMD laptops are relatively close. AMD still uses about 2W more, but it's possible chips like the Turion X2 Ultra could close gap. We're hoping to get an appropriate ZM series processor to run the tests, but the real problem is when we look at load power requirements. Putting a 100% CPU load on the system using Folding@Home SMP, the 2W difference suddenly balloons to 15W. The IGP doesn't appear to be a major contributor to the power increase, as maximum load is only slightly higher at 17W. It's clear that the Intel processor never comes near the rated 35W TDP, since the whole system only uses slightly more than that when the CPU is at 100%. The AMD CPU on the other hand very likely does come close to the 35W TDP. That explains why the AMD system does so poorly in battery life tests that tax the CPU more.

Noise Levels

System Noise Levels - Idle

System Noise Levels - 100% CPU

System Noise Levels - Maximum Load

The noise levels correspond to power requirements, as expected. The Intel system is almost completely silent when idle, but the AMD system fluctuates - sometimes it's almost silent, but most of the time the fans spin up and raise the noise level above ambient. The AMD system gets noticeably louder under load conditions, although relatively speaking neither laptop is particularly loud.

Battery Life Compared LCD Quality


View All Comments

  • strikeback03 - Thursday, August 13, 2009 - link

    "Again, what percentage of laptop users actually play 3D games on a regular basis - or at all?"

    Doesn't mean that no users play 3D games, it means that the majority never do, some small percentage play infrequently, and some smaller percentage would regularly.

    Also, an AMD blog is probably not the best place to look for a balanced view of an AMD/Intel comparison.
  • flipmode - Wednesday, August 12, 2009 - link

    AMD's mobile products have always been rebranded desktop products - which have always been rebranded server products. In the best cases, the CPUs run at lower voltages and lower speeds.

    Intel has, interesting, done the opposite, as far as I can tell. They designed the Pentium M from the ground up for mobile, and turned that into Core 2 for the desktop, and turned that into Nahalem for the server.

    This is all in spite of the fact that several years ago, AMD stated that it was placing mobile above desktop in terms of importance. But technology has a natural flow between the two poles of server and mobile, with desktop stuck in the middle. AMD chose to flow from high to low, Intel chose to flow from low to high. It seems that Intel's choice was the better one.
  • blackshard - Wednesday, August 12, 2009 - link

    Approximately it is true, but consider that these 65nm mobile AMD parts have absolutely no correspondence in desktop market. These are Family 11h processors and are a mixture of old K8 (execution units) and newer K10 processors (memory controller, power management).
    Actually Athlon QLs is the least attractive from a performance and power management point of view. I hope Walton will get some ZM/RM processors from AMD to make a clear comparison.
  • mircix - Wednesday, August 12, 2009 - link

    Ok. Great article and I have a simple question. I am interested mostly in Avid, witch is a professional video editing software, and 3ds max. 3ds for movie CGI. I'm not looking for a desktop's working station performace, but something decent. I've runned 3ds 2009 on a 1.6 gh and intel gms 950, hp pavilion dv100 and works. but slow. So, for closure: 3ds max and Avid : AMD or Intel? Thank you Reply
  • jamawass - Wednesday, August 12, 2009 - link

    Although the conclusions of the article are correct, the graphical charts for gaming comparisons are sneakily designed to minimize the tremendous advantage AMD has in gaming performance over Intel. If this performance is as unimportant as the author states ( Kia vs Hyundai) why not represent it in bar chart form like all the other results? As another poster said, testing games like the Sims or WoW would be much more meaningful on these platforms than FPS.
    I don't think anyone buys a laptop of this price for gaming but I've owned an AMD one like it and on overseas trips I would take FarCry along and fire it up for some casual gaming something I wouldn't be able to do on a similarly spec'd Intel laptop.
    We know Intel has the superior mobile design but objectivity would be nice so independent decisions can be made as to how important gaming is to a potential buyer.
  • IHateMyJob2004 - Wednesday, August 12, 2009 - link

    I really want a laptop for wordprocessing. All I want is a cheaper (processing power not needed) laptop with a high resolution. 1920x1200 is what I want but this also seem to be a segment that Every manufacturer is ignoring. This is how a utilitarian wants to use alaptop and I'm sure I am not the only one out there.

    And I agree with what you said. Unelss the primary use for a laptop is games and movie watching, the 16:9 and 16:10 ratio screen is stupid. Widescrees are in, but I view them as short screens. And short screen suck for word processing and software develeopment. Give me a 5:3 ratio screen! Bring them back!

    The only thing I am really curious about in terms of performance is how much better a low cost laptop is if it has a dedicated viddeo card with its own memory versus a laptop where the video card uses system memory. I'm mostly concerned with any lag that is associated with the video card due to how it uses memory.

  • strikeback03 - Thursday, August 13, 2009 - link

    See, plenty of people like the widescreens for writing tasks, as you can have 2 800px columns of text on a 1920px screen side by side. I don't like the current move to 16:9 from 16:10 though, that is obviously a step back. Reply
  • mczak - Wednesday, August 12, 2009 - link

    This article clearly shows that AMD desperately needs updated mobile platform (Tigris). In terms of chipset won't be much of an update (rs880m/sb710) but finally 45nm cpu (Caspian - probably same as regor for mobile market). Won't be enough to close the gap (those 65nm Athlons didn't do too well against 65nm C2D neither) but at least something more competitive (so together with the price advantage and better graphics maybe a competitive package). Reply
  • mczak - Wednesday, August 12, 2009 - link

    forgot to mention, that platform better show up soon. Against Intel's Calpella platform (with Arrendale cpu) it will look quite bad I assume, and even the graphics advantage could disappear. Fortunately for AMD, Arrendale shouldn't show up before 2010, though that's not that much time left... Reply
  • weeaboo - Wednesday, August 12, 2009 - link

    I don't play it personally, but I imagine that one of the most common game people play on their non-gaming laptop is World of Warcraft. On this kind of platform I think performance figures on the MMOs of yesteryear would be more interesting than a plethora of FPS games. Reply

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