Buying a new laptop? New is not always better

A-R-DE13-TECHsupportIf you are faced with the task of replacing your aging laptop you would be safe in assuming a new laptop would be both better and faster than your existing one? Whilst not completely false it’s very much a ‘Not quite’ and many unwary consumers are caught out by the “it’s new, so it must be better” line of thinking.

Trouble is new laptops — especially budget ones — are set up for long battery life rather than performance. CPU Manufacturers make a whole range of laptop specific CPUs that favour low power consumption over performance.

All CPU’s have a power rating called TDP. This stands for Thermal Power Design and the metric is based on power (Watts). A lower TDP number generally results in lower power consumption (performance) which means greater battery life

For example, comparing an Intel Celeron N2840 processor launched mid 2014 (these are commonly used in the lower end laptops available at the moment) to a Intel Core 2 Duo L7500 processor (which was launched in mid-2006 and was a mid-range laptop CPU)

    • Celeron N2840 TDP = 7.5 Watts TDP
    • Core2Duo L7500 TDP = 17 Watts TDP

The newer CPU has less the half the power of the CPU nearly 10 years older — on the flip side though the battery life will be much longer.

If you couple the Celeron with low memory and a slow disk you will get a system that will perform the basics ok but will struggle to multi task or perform the more taxing tasks.

Caveat Emptor does apply here but do keep in mind that ‘New does not always mean faster and better’.

Michael Ludlum