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Comparing Performance and Power Use For Vista vs. Windows 7 WIth Clarksfield Chi

timothy posted about 5 years ago | from the batteries-need-help dept.

Power 119

crazipper writes "Back when Intel launched its Core i5/i7 'Lynnfield' CPUs, Tom's Hardware ran some tests in Windows 7 versus Vista to gauge the benefits of the core parking and ideal core optimizations, said to cut power consumption in the new OS. It turned out that Win7 shifted the Nehalem-based CPUs in and out of Turbo Boost mode faster, resulting in higher power draw under load, while idle power was a slight bit lower. The mobile version of the architecture was claimed (at the time) to show a greater improvement in moving to Win7. Today there's a follow-up with the flagship Clarksfield processor that shows the same aggressive P-state promotion policies giving Win7 a significant performance advantage with Core i7 Mobile. However, power consumption is higher as well."

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Windows Update (2, Funny)

RocketRabbit (830691) | about 5 years ago | (#29750417)

We do know that the thrice-daily Windows Updates will consume a startling amount of power, though.

Re:Windows Update (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29750545)

We do know that the thrice-daily Windows Updates will consume a startling amount of power, though.

How much power? Since we're talking about Windows with Chi, I'd say over 9000.

Re:Windows Update (1)

Smooth and Shiny (1097089) | about 5 years ago | (#29752479)

What 9000?!

Newsflash (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29750685)

Hardware tuned for old version of software has some issues with new version of software.

Re:Newsflash (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | about 5 years ago | (#29751001)

How is this the hardware's fault? The hardware isn't what changed.

Re:Newsflash (1)

gumbi west (610122) | about 5 years ago | (#29756843)

So Microsoft expects hardware manufactures to build new hardware to run their OS. Other OS makers either design the two in concert (most Unix) or design an OS for existing computers (most Linux).

Re:Windows Update (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29750855)

the real nuisance of Windows Updates is the tremendous amount of CPU they use. how is it that I can update a Linux distro on inferior hardware and not notice the slowdown so much? is it because the linux system runs a user-mode program to take care of things, while windows update probably handles this in kernel mode? seriously why does Windows need so much more processing power to perform the same type of task, and less of it since Windows Update considers only the core OS and not every installed package like a Linux package manager would do?

Re:Windows Update (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29751427)

the real nuisance of Windows Updates is the tremendous amount of CPU they use. how is it that I can update a Linux distro on inferior hardware and not notice the slowdown so much? is it because the linux system runs a user-mode program to take care of things, while windows update probably handles this in kernel mode? seriously why does Windows need so much more processing power to perform the same type of task, and less of it since Windows Update considers only the core OS and not every installed package like a Linux package manager would do?

Windows Update uses barely any CPU at all and can happily run in the background. This has nothing to do with kernel/user mode. If you are experiencing slowdowns, it more likely related to disk I/O or registry operations.

Re:Windows Update (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | about 5 years ago | (#29752497)

My workplace's proxy interferes with Windows Update in such a way to make it ridiculously slow.

Re:Windows Update (4, Insightful)

Canberra Bob (763479) | about 5 years ago | (#29752505)

I am no Linux fanboi by any stretch of the imagination however I have to agree with the parent. In my personal experience, regardless of hardware configuration, even a brand spanking new build will slow to a dead crawl (for all intents and purposes unuseable) when performing updates.

Re:Windows Update (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | about 5 years ago | (#29752701)

My experience has been just the opposite, granted I haven't used Ubuntu for the last major update, but before then the updates would always make doing much else impossible.

Windows updates, however, sit in the background and get data as they can even if it takes three days. It is generally a very low priority task unless you change it.

This is on a low-end laptop that is now a couple years old, so a desktop may not have had a problem with the Ubuntu updates.

Re:Windows Update (1)

atamido (1020905) | about 5 years ago | (#29753839)

The update process uses 100% of a CPU core while it is waiting on some thread to finish. If the pending thread finishes quickly, then little CPU is used. Or the pending thread can take forever or lock up, and you end up using a significant amount of CPU and energy.

Re:Windows Update (1)

atamido (1020905) | about 5 years ago | (#29753939)

Hate to reply to my own post, but I wanted to clarify my point.

Because the process will use 100% of a CPU core for a unit of time, a higher powered CPU will expend more energy than a lower powered CPU as they will both be active for the same amount of time, but the higher powered CPU is designed to consumer more power per unit of time. If the process was limited by a complex calculation, then the higher powered CPU would finish faster and spend more time in a sleep state, which would likely use less power overall.

This is obviously poor programming to be using so many CPU cycles while simply waiting, but there is little that can be done about a Microsoft process.

What seems to be happening is that Windows 7 detects high CPU usage, so sets the CPU in turbo mode, consuming much more power. Because Vista and 7 will have the process consume all of the CPU for an identical amount of time, the 7 system ends up using more power. The solution would be to fix the process that consume CPU cycles while waiting, which should result in a much more responsive and power saving system under Windows 7 than Vista.

Re:Windows Update (2, Interesting)

plague3106 (71849) | about 5 years ago | (#29758083)

Ya you might actually want to look at the CPU usage during update, because the process doing the updates isn't using 100% while waiting for another process to finish. i've watched cpu usage several times during updates, and the only processes using cpu are the ones doing the actual updates (or the other running processes).

Re:Windows Update (1)

kestasjk (933987) | about 5 years ago | (#29750903)

Thrice daily? What?.. I can't remember the last time I had three in a single month.

As a shudder runs down my spine (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29750421)

So you're saying Vista is the better OS?

But what about ECC? (3, Insightful)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | about 5 years ago | (#29750429)

Given the recent google study [slashdot.org] and the Folding@Home NVIDIA study [slashdot.org] , why would you want to run an i5/i7 system (which don't permit ECC)?

On what desktop system do you use ECC? (3, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 5 years ago | (#29750537)

I haven't seen a desktop in a long time that had ECC RAM, or even support for it. In the Core 2 era of chips desktop use normal unbuffered DDR2 or DDR3 DIMMs. For ECC stuff on workstations/servers you use FBDIMMs which are way more expensive.

Same shit with the i7. If you want i7 class hardware with ECC it is called the Xeon 5500. Running on a 5520 chipset, it supports ECC RAM, and lots of it (144GB is the most I've seen thus far).

That's all workstation class stuff. Desktop stuff is not ECC because it is cheaper.

Re:On what desktop system do you use ECC? (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29750621)

pwnd!

Re:On what desktop system do you use ECC? (5, Informative)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | about 5 years ago | (#29750637)

I haven't seen a desktop in a long time that had ECC RAM, or even support for it.

Any moderately recent AMD CPU will support ECC, and it's not hard to find a mainboard that does as well (for example I believe any ASUS mainboard for AMD will support ECC, I know the one I checked a couple days ago does (cheapest ASUS AM3 mainboard on Newegg then, probably still is, only like $5 more than the cheapest other AM3 board)).

In the Core 2 era of chips desktop use normal unbuffered DDR2 or DDR3 DIMMs.

Buffered/unbuffered is separate from ECC/non-ECC. For example I know the AMD desktop chips support unbuffered ECC memory.

Desktop stuff is not ECC because it is cheaper.

Maybe 10% cheaper. And of course it's easy to make things cheaper if they don't have to work correctly.

Re:On what desktop system do you use ECC? (2, Insightful)

PitaBred (632671) | about 5 years ago | (#29750721)

Sometimes good enough is just that. People are used to restarting their computers and getting random blue screens. If a restart fixes it, they generally don't care. And that's fine by me. I don't use my machine for super-high precision work where a few bits flipped will cause massively different results. Nor do 99% of people. Why pay the extra 10% more when less than 1% actually might have a use for it?

Re:On what desktop system do you use ECC? (2, Insightful)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | about 5 years ago | (#29751049)

Sometimes good enough is just that. People are used to restarting their computers and getting random blue screens. If a restart fixes it, they generally don't care. And that's fine by me.

I see it more as a problem that needs to be fixed, because even if most people use their computer for mostly entertainment they still use it for actual productive stuff at least occasionally.

I don't use my machine for super-high precision work where a few bits flipped will cause massively different results. Nor do 99% of people. Why pay the extra 10% more when less than 1% actually might have a use for it?

Because that "10% more" is going to be maybe $20 if you have unusually large amounts of RAM, and more like $5 for a $500 BudgetBox system that only has 2GB? That's probably worth it even for gaming (I'd imagine a bluescreen in the middle of an important raid or something could be rather annoying), let alone using TurboTax or doing office stuff for your small business (I seem to recall hearing that this includes a double-digit percent of the workforce?) or doing your homework at the last minute (I'm pretty sure almost all college kids do this).

Re:On what desktop system do you use ECC? (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | about 5 years ago | (#29752759)

Honestly I have not seen a RAM-based BSOD in a long, long time. The last time was actually, unfortunately, the first time I booted a new laptop that came with Vista a couple years ago. I'm reasonably certain the OEM screwed something up there, it's highly unlikely that it was a RAM error.

RAM BSODs are very rare, because the RAM is very good. You use ECC in "mission critical" applications, not in video games or the occasional turbotax that you only use once a year.

Seriously. If you're worried about it you should be saving anyway, because there are a whole host of things that can go wrong to cause you to lose your work besides not having ECC RAM in your computer.

Re:On what desktop system do you use ECC? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29750967)

more like 50% cheaper
http://ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=23482&vpn=OCZ2G8004GK&manufacture=OCZ%20Technology
http://ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=41650&vpn=KTH%2DXW4400E6%2F2G&manufacture=KINGSTON%20TECHNOLOGY%20%2D%20MEMORY

Re:On what desktop system do you use ECC? (1)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | about 5 years ago | (#29751619)

(Those links are $80CAD for 4GB DDR2-800 non-ECC and $80CAD for 2GB DDR2-800 ECC.)

Look over here [newegg.com] , I think your example of ECC pricing might not by typical.

Re:On what desktop system do you use ECC? (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | about 5 years ago | (#29753037)

It's better if you just search for DDR-2 800 and pick out the ECC compared to the non. They are pretty much the same price, but the ECC is genearlly slower (due to higher latency) than non-ECC. Whether or not that matters to you or not is personal preference. Clearly since manufacturers don't see the need to include ECC in desktop level PCs there is not exactly a public outcry for this RAM.

Re:On what desktop system do you use ECC? (1)

Agripa (139780) | about 5 years ago | (#29756671)

It's better if you just search for DDR-2 800 and pick out the ECC compared to the non. They are pretty much the same price, but the ECC is genearlly slower (due to higher latency) than non-ECC. Whether or not that matters to you or not is personal preference. Clearly since manufacturers don't see the need to include ECC in desktop level PCs there is not exactly a public outcry for this RAM.

Any latency difference with current DDR2 and DDR3 memory is primarily a function of the memory controller and how cache lines are handled. Specifically for the later, if you are only writing out full cache lines then read/modify/write cycles to support ECC are not necessary. Critical word first access is no longer significant because burst transfer rates have increased so much compared to the physical DRAM access time. This is especially the case with current systems switching to faster and narrower memory channels. Phenom, i5, and i7 based CPUs all support independent 64/72 bit memory channels with ECC applied across a 2 or 4 line burst size (128/144 or 256/288 bits). Ganging between channels is used to make ECC chipkill more effective although the Xeon version of the i7 with an odd number of channels would seem to have a problem with this.

The performance difference on my Phenom II 940 with and without ECC is insignificant and even difficult to measure.

Re:On what desktop system do you use ECC? (1)

Agripa (139780) | about 5 years ago | (#29756921)

Any moderately recent AMD CPU will support ECC, and it's not hard to find a mainboard that does as well (for example I believe any ASUS mainboard for AMD will support ECC, I know the one I checked a couple days ago does (cheapest ASUS AM3 mainboard on Newegg then, probably still is, only like $5 more than the cheapest other AM3 board)).

I built a Phenom II 940 with 8GB of DDR2 ECC on an Asus M3A78-T at the beginning of the year which works great. A system built around the cheapest version of the Xeon i7 at the time would have more than doubled the total cost of just the CPU, motherboard, and memory. I used part of the considerable savings to buy a fast hardware RAID controller and 4 big SATA drives.

You could build a Xeon i5 systems supporting ECC now but it would still cost more than an equivalent Phenom II system.

When I last checked, Asus supported ECC on every AMD/ATI based AM2+ and AM3 motherboard. Gigabyte did also with the exception of those with built in video for some reason.

Some motherboards only lack ECC support in the BIOS which as I understand it you can enable and support in Linux or BSD after booting.

Re:On what desktop system do you use ECC? (4, Informative)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 5 years ago | (#29750677)

ECC support is more expensive on Intel platforms because Intel segments the market intentionally!!! If you want ECC support running an Intel rig, you will need both a Xeon CPU and a Workstation class board (even thought the new FSB desktop chipset supports ECC, it's not enabled)

FYI, I'm actually building a new desktop machine this week. It's an AMD Phenom II paired up with Asus Crosshair III board. I purchased matched ECC DDR3 memory (non-buffered and non-registered) direct from Crucial.com. Simple really. I just pulled down the make/model board and placed the order in two shakes... I could be wrong, but this might be the cheapest desktop class system that supports ECC DDR3.

Re:On what desktop system do you use ECC? (4, Informative)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 5 years ago | (#29751399)

"Intel segments the market intentionally!"

Don't forget virtualization. With AMD, you don't have to pay a premium if you plan to run virtual machines.

Re:On what desktop system do you use ECC? (2, Interesting)

MojoStan (776183) | about 5 years ago | (#29754397)

"Intel segments the market intentionally!"

Don't forget virtualization. With AMD, you don't have to pay a premium if you plan to run virtual machines.

You no longer have to pay a premium with Intel either. I've noticed that Intel recently began adding their "Virtualization Technology" to all new CPU models, even their entry-level Celeron and Pentium Dual-Core lines. Example: this $53 Celeron E3200 at Newegg [newegg.com] .

I think Intel did this in response to Microsoft's announcement of Windows 7's "Windows XP Mode" and its requirement of on-CPU virtualization technology. AMD also recently started adding their "AMD-V" to their previously-excluded Sempron line of CPUs. Newegg has one for just $40 [newegg.com] .

For a long time (since the Pentium D days), Intel had a confusing market segmentation strategy where some models had it and some didn't, even within the same CPU family (Pentium D, Core 2 Duo). In contrast, after AMD-V was introduced, AMD added it to all of their newly released Athlon 64 and x2 CPUs (but not Sempron). And after the Core 2 Duo was introduced and kicked major butt, AMD dramatically dropped their prices, resulting in cheap AMD virtualization platforms.

Anyhoo, AMD isn't the only option anymore for cheap virtualization.

Re:On what desktop system do you use ECC? (1)

Malc (1751) | about 5 years ago | (#29754171)

Is ECC RAM really that important? I've found desktop computers to be extremely reliable these days, and typically any instability to be caused by bad device drivers.

The only time I've used ECC RAM is in a machine I built about nine years ago. I finally checked the Windows minidump files in a debugger and saw memory issues on the stack. But maybe I put the machine together incorrectly, or it was using unreliable components or something. These days I'm quite happy to buy a Dell off-the-shelf... they've already put hours of testing in to ensuring the systems are stable.

Re:On what desktop system do you use ECC? (1)

reub2000 (705806) | about 5 years ago | (#29751261)

It doesn't seem like it was that long ago that AMD was hawking Athlon 64 FX sledgehammers at consumers.

Re:On what desktop system do you use ECC? (1)

citizenr (871508) | about 5 years ago | (#29751615)

I haven't seen a desktop in a long time that had ECC RAM

You mean like EVERY single AMD AM2/AM2+/AM3 board that ever existed? Thats only half of the market so its quite understandable you missed it.

Re:On what desktop system do you use ECC? (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | about 5 years ago | (#29753057)

He didn't say supported, he said had. HAD. Consumers don't often buy ECC RAM, hence Intel doesn't see the need to include support for it.

Frankly, Intel doesn't seem to care about the half-dozen hobyists who think their nightly WoW session is a "mission critical" application. Maybe if someday that half-dozen turns into a few million they'll change their minds.

Seriously, why the hell do you need ECC RAM?

Re:On what desktop system do you use ECC? (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | about 5 years ago | (#29753073)

Wait, I think I missed part of his post.

He's obviously not an AMD fanboi then. My bad.

Still, otherwise, the point stands.

Re:On what desktop system do you use ECC? (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 5 years ago | (#29751941)

I haven't seen a desktop in a long time that had ECC RAM, or even support for it.

intel 'bad axe 2' (x975) series. I have several of those mobos and I keep them as cheap servers. eepro1000 on board, two 4-port sata2 chips (both linux supported, running 8 md5 raid drives across those 2 controllers), lots of extra pci-e slots and it DOES take ecc ram.

yet its a consumer non-server board.

Re:On what desktop system do you use ECC? (1)

soup4you2 (571216) | about 5 years ago | (#29752377)

Actually the Mac Pro's at least the 1,1 Uses ECC. Which technicaly is a desktop that can run windows.

Re:But what about ECC? (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 5 years ago | (#29752545)

why would you want to run an i5/i7 system

Because Borderlands is going to rawk on it.

What? That's not a good enough reason for you?

Underclocking and P-state? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29750433)

Foo2 gives much higher performance and somewhat higher power consumption than Foo1.

Solution: Apply a downwards scalar to Foo2 so that the performance is the same and the power consumption is lower than Foo1.

MacBook Pro (2, Informative)

MBCook (132727) | about 5 years ago | (#29750451)

One of the most interesting features added to Intel’s GM45 chipset was switchable graphics—a hybrid technology consisting of an integrated graphics chipset and a discrete GPU. [...] The potential savings was supposed to equal up to roughly an hour of battery life. Unfortunately, Lenovo and Fujitsu were the only two builders to take advantage of switchable graphics.

Isn't that what Apple introduced earlier this year on the MacBook Pros? The ability to switch off the high power GPU when it's not needed and fall back to a lower quality integrated GPU? I realize that Apple used an nVidia solution instead of an Intel, but that still seems a little disingenuous.

PS: Emphasis was mine

Re:MacBook Pro (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | about 5 years ago | (#29750705)

Isn't it talking about which manufacturers took advantage of the Intel solution?

Re:MacBook Pro (2, Insightful)

Shados (741919) | about 5 years ago | (#29750727)

Notebooks have done this for years (my girlfriend's 2-3 years old windows lap-top has that). Im guessing this is just Intel's flavor of it. Unless there's something fancier about Apple or Intel's offering like being able to do it on the fly without any settings to toggle or bios interaction, like CPU stepping.

Re:MacBook Pro (3, Informative)

nxtw (866177) | about 5 years ago | (#29750759)

Isn't that what Apple introduced earlier this year on the MacBook Pros? The ability to switch off the high power GPU when it's not needed and fall back to a lower quality integrated GPU? I realize that Apple used an nVidia solution instead of an Intel, but that still seems a little disingenuous.

The Apple GPU switching implementation appears to require the user to restart his or her session (that is, log off and log on again.) Intel's implementation seems to support switching GPUs without logging off or restarting. The Intel solution also has to handle two different display drivers.

Some older laptops supported switching between integrated and discrete graphics as well, but I think they required a reboot to switch.

Re:MacBook Pro (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29751351)

The MBP has an Nvidia and Intel Vid card. You ca switch to one or the other then log out and log back in for it to take effect. The only reason for this is to use less power.

Re:MacBook Pro (2, Interesting)

Nursie (632944) | about 5 years ago | (#29751505)

My vaio has that too.

Unsure as to the actual battery life gains, but it has built in Intel GM965/X3100 and an nVidia 8400M GS. Maybe not using intel's tech?

Re:MacBook Pro (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29753567)

The first notebook I saw with the (switch before boot) option was a little 13" sony like yours a few of years ago. IMO, sony actually innovated something there. They let you toggle a switch that would enable/disable the nvidia card.

It sounds stupidly simple, but at that time I was using a 2004era notebook (Pentium M on the 850PM chipset & PM meant no intel graphics) with a mobile radeon 9700 that just downclocked the GPU and VidMem for battery use. It got a little over 3hrs with a new battery. The Sony was supposed to get ~5hrs running intel and ~2.5 if you used the nvidia in low power mode,IIRC. It really irked me that my notebook couldn't do that, as the 850GM would have made running a Linux distro a whole lot more enjoyable, and would have given me an extra hour or so of use on battery power.

Of course the article is just about another intel GPU that will probably be slower than whatever 2-4 year old ati/nvidia GPU you already have, but you'll be able to use it for a couple of hours on battery power in a 2-4 year old game. For example, the last generation intel x4500 just about equals that 5 year old radeon 9700 I mentioned performance wise. Intel has never really given a rat's ass about "state of the art GPU performance" since they lost the AGP card wars.

Re:MacBook Pro (3, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 5 years ago | (#29752565)

So the worst thing you can say about Win7 is that it performs better but uses slightly more power in some rigs?

Desperation sets in...

Re:MacBook Pro (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29753701)

The "uses more power to get the same job done" is just a minor issue. Based on my hardware monitoring program, it appears that my CPU is getting overclocked for brief periods of time during high usage under Win7. I don't know if the program is right or not and since the system has been stable and most CPUs can actually run fine breifly at the overclocked speeds I'm seeing, I'm not overly concerned. It is something I'm paying attention to however.

Re:MacBook Pro (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 5 years ago | (#29756541)

Are you sure that's not a feature of your mobo? Check your BIOS settings.

Re:MacBook Pro (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29759673)

That's possible, sorta, but it'd be a bug. There is a bios function that allows slight overclock based on load, but I have that disabled. The processor is unlocked for a couple of multipliers up from where I set it to and the processor, motherboard and memory could be running a whole lot faster in a standard tower case. The hardware monitor, intel chipset drivers, windows own hardware management, or bios could be doing it as all have the ability to do so.

It would be unfounded speculation to assume that Windows7 is tweaking/overclocking the system, but it wouldn't be the first time a company did something like that. As the system doesn't have this behavior when it boots on the Myth or WinXP-MCE partitions, it could just be a glitch between Win7 (it's still beta until SP1 comes out AFAIC) and the motherboard manufacturer's monitoring app (which never seem to be bug free and perma-beta).

Re:MacBook Pro (0, Troll)

ozmanjusri (601766) | about 5 years ago | (#29753787)

So the best thing you can say about Win7 is that it performs slightly better but uses more power in the same rigs?

Desperation sets in...

Indeed.

Re:MacBook Pro (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29754751)

Troll?

Microsoft reputation managers are SO desperate to stifle any negative impressions of Win 7!

Re:MacBook Pro (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29753237)

Yes it's a bit disingenuous to give the credit to intel instead of nvidia. A bit more to give credit for slapping a brand name on it to the intel adopters. FTR there were several brands that used the nvidia version and Asus even included the hybrid SLI feature that Apple could not.

Also there are even older notebooks that allow you to choose whether to boot into a slow but power thrifty intel integrated "GPU" (ha!) or a faster dedicated GF8000 series card with a physical switch. But of course those don't do it during use

Good grief (3, Funny)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | about 5 years ago | (#29750547)

I've built several high-end PCs from scratch and spec'd several more at component level, during a period of well over a decade and most recently just a couple of years ago, and I still have absolutely no idea what any of the fine summary meant.

Does anyone actually label/number components in any sort of logical way at all any more? Codename this, year that, version.subversion.minorversion.veryminorversion the other (revision C17, of course; the C16s and B17s didn't have the double overclocked doobreeflips in the L7 cache).

It's a wonder anyone can build a PC that runs at any speed at all any more. Sheesh.

Re:Good grief (3, Informative)

crazipper (1250580) | about 5 years ago | (#29750645)

Quick summary:
Lynnfield = the internal name for the new Core i5/Core i7 CPUs for LGA 1156.
Core parking/ideal core = two optimizations from Microsoft in Win7 that are supposed to save power by consolidating background tasks onto as few CPU cores as possible, and then putting the idle cores to sleep.
Clarksfield = Core i7 Mobile; basically, the Lynnfield stuff with a different interface, more aggressive Turbo Boost, etc.
Nehalem = Another Intel internal name referring to the whole family of 45nm CPUs based on this architecture. Members include Bloomfield, Lynnfield, Clarksfield.

Re:Good grief (2, Insightful)

Seth Kriticos (1227934) | about 5 years ago | (#29750815)

They obviously don't. Some cohesive naming might give you at least an indication on what you are dealing with.

My favorite is the nVidia one: GF 6xxx -> GF 7xxx -> GF 8xxx -> GF 9xxx -> GT 2xx .. WTF?

Now don't ask me why. I think it's stupid.

Re:Good grief (1)

reub2000 (705806) | about 5 years ago | (#29753219)

It gets even better. The GeForce 256 could be confused with the GeForce 2XX line. Of course, once you try to play the latest game, all the confusion will be gone.

Re:Good grief (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29750893)

Eat a niggerdick [goatse.fr] . All your friends do.

Isn't this what we want? (5, Insightful)

Korin43 (881732) | about 5 years ago | (#29750555)

Isn't this what we want? I mean, it's higher power under load because it switches to "fast mode" faster. Isn't that good? Yes it uses more power, but if the goal was to use as little power as possible, we'd just lock the processor in "slow mode".

Re:Isn't this what we want? (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 5 years ago | (#29750601)

Although both desktop and mobile CPUs use speed-stepping (dynamic clocking) depending on system load, it's my understanding that laptops use a more advanced method depending on the state of its power source. For example: if plugged in, expect the CPU run at its best under full load. However, while under battery power the CPU will do everything it can to conserve power under the same software load conditions.

No matter how you slice it, it's always going to be trade off between power consumption and performance.

Powering the chipset and backlight (5, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | about 5 years ago | (#29750913)

while under battery power the CPU will do everything it can to conserve power under the same software load conditions.

In many notebooks, the CPU does not dominate battery consumption; the northbridge, southbridge, and LCD backlight draw a significant fraction of the power. So when CPU usage hits 90%, clocking it up to full power is warranted because it gets the work done faster, meaning that the chipset and LCD don't run as long while the user is waiting for the CPU to finish.

Re:Isn't this what we want? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29750627)

...which can be done with a bios switch.

Re:Isn't this what we want? (2, Insightful)

JesseMcDonald (536341) | about 5 years ago | (#29750959)

... if the goal was to use as little power as possible, we'd just lock the processor in "slow mode".

Not necessarily. You also have to consider that higher performance settings may allow the processor to complete its task(s) and return to a minimal-power idle configuration more quickly, for an overall improvement in average power consumption. It all depends on the power/performance ratios for each performance level and the amount of overhead involved in switching between them. Plus, of course, a bit of clairvoyance in accurately predicting future requirements.

Re:Isn't this what we want? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29751109)

Plus, of course, a bit of clairvoyance in accurately predicting future requirements.

Clairvoyance != precognition.

Re:Isn't this what we want? (1)

JesseMcDonald (536341) | about 5 years ago | (#29752183)

You're right. They aren't synonyms. Clairvoyance is "the power or faculty of discerning objects not present to the senses" or "ability to perceive matters beyond the range of ordinary perception", according to Marriam-Webster, whereas precognition is specifically the ability to perceive the future.

However, I never claimed they were synonyms. Future events are among those "matters beyond the range of ordinary perception", so precognition necessarily implies clairvoyance.

Re:Isn't this what we want? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29753673)

However, I never claimed they were synonyms. Future events are among those "matters beyond the range of ordinary perception", so precognition necessarily implies clairvoyance.

"I never claimed they were synonyms, just that they can mean the exact same thing!" Brilliant!

Really, that's up there with BIll Clinton and his "I did not have sex with that woman" whopper.

Re:Isn't this what we want? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29756749)

However, I never claimed they were synonyms. Future events are among those "matters beyond the range of ordinary perception", so precognition necessarily implies clairvoyance. "I never claimed they were synonyms, just that they can mean the exact same thing!" Brilliant!

Set theory --- FAIL!

Re:Isn't this what we want? (3, Insightful)

SpelledBackwards (587772) | about 5 years ago | (#29751473)

Exactly. People seem to forget that power drain and energy consumption are not the same thing - power consumption is in energy consumed per some amount of time. For a completely unrelated example: If you run a 30 W load over 1 second, it will use 30 joules of energy (because a 1 W power draw means it consumes 1 J per second). But if you run a 500 W load over 1/100 sec, you'll only use 5 J of energy. Batteries store energy, not power, so what is likely to be more important for mobile platforms is which one used the least amount of energy over the time span of the test, not comparing peak power or power in short bursts of activity. That is, if you're concerned about battery life. Peak power might play a bigger role in talking about current load and CPU/battery temperature issues.

Re:Isn't this what we want? (1)

PingPongBoy (303994) | about 5 years ago | (#29759221)

If you run a 30 W load over 1 second, it will use 30 joules of energy (because a 1 W power draw means it consumes 1 J per second). But if you run a 500 W load over 1/100 sec, you'll only use 5 J of energy.

Idealistic math ... and I get the instinctive thought (because you don't explicitly say wtf you are throwing these numbers out for) that the 30 J run and the 5 J run achieve the same goal. Such thoughts are misleading!

I don't claim to know which power states are the most efficient on a CPU. To speak of a real-life case, my stinkin laptop has an AMD processor, and I found out that it has a lot of different power states, and even the other components have a lot of power states (or so it seems) so that the entire system really dogs it when it is in a low power state. The slow states just spin the disk longer - doesn't appear to save any energy. So I run in the fastest state.

The upshot is that it may be better if software could decide (or at least let you tell it) whether it needs to run fast. Windows has so many things busy busy busy even when you are just doing some simple typing. Services need a pill to keep them quiet. And some of them don't need to run at maximum speed even when you want some performance, so if you want to save energy, there should be known states of maximum efficiency (including reduced disk thrashing), and the software should pick the optimum times to run.

Re:Isn't this what we want? (2, Insightful)

izomiac (815208) | about 5 years ago | (#29752097)

Not really. A CPU running at half speed uses something like 70% of the power that it does at full speed. So it's better to run at full speed for a short time, then go into power saving mode than to run at slow speed for a long time. This has been called "race to idle" [lesswatts.org] , and reminds me of the de facto motto of my old military school, "hurry up so we can wait".

That said, Tom's Hardware did make a pretty big blunder on SSDs and battery life before, even having the gall to start that article with "Could Tom’s Hardware be Wrong? No, our results are definitely correct.". I haven't RTFA, but I'd be quite hesitant to take their word on anything to do with power consumption without carefully examining the methodology of their tests.

Re:Isn't this what we want? (2, Insightful)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 5 years ago | (#29753351)

Not really. A CPU running at half speed uses something like 70% of the power that it does at full speed. So it's better to run at full speed for a short time, then go into power saving mode than to run at slow speed for a long time. This has been called "race to idle", and reminds me of the de facto motto of my old military school, "hurry up so we can wait".

Actually, that's probably only true if you keep the voltage constant. If you can reduce the voltage to the CPU as you reduce the frequency ("DVFS" - Dynamic Voltage and Frequency Scaling), the power consumption at lower speeds is far lower than running the CPU twice as long. Power consumption varies by the square of the voltage.

This is not a new technique - and is the core of many technologies like SpeedStep and the like. A frequency agile CPU is handy. But a frequency and voltage agile CPU is very handy. However, this complicates the power management software considerably - do you crank the speed up (and power consumption) to wait, or can you run it at a reduced rate and save power? An idling CPU consumes less power (especially if you can "slow-idle" it - reduce clock dramatically AND voltage - I remember an old embedded PowerPC that was so frequency agile, you could go from 200MHz operational to 33MHz when you entered the idle loop, and back to 200MHz when you left). But it's tricky since it takes time to do a speed/voltage switch and power.

Activities where the CPU being as slow as possible would be media playback (where you want the frame to be ready just before it's needed, so you can stay in the busy-low-voltage-low-frequency range and not switch, which will save more power than cranking the CPU up, decode the frame, then crank it down and idle). But if you're doing something interactive, say, rendering a web page, it's more optimal to crank the CPU up, render the page, then crank the CPU back down and idle. A user is waiting for the output, and finishing their work fast may result in being able to stay in a low power state longer, or finish their work faster so the whole laptop can be put to sleep. The problem is, at the scheduler level, it's hard to tell what workload it is.

How about using XP sp3 for comparison??? (5, Informative)

voss (52565) | about 5 years ago | (#29750791)

I cant be the only one who might think xp sp3 might actually win

Re:How about using XP sp3 for comparison??? (3, Informative)

selven (1556643) | about 5 years ago | (#29751235)

Windows 98 might win.

Re:How about using XP sp3 for comparison??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29755265)

ur mom might win

Re:How about using XP sp3 for comparison??? (2, Informative)

Civil_Disobedient (261825) | about 5 years ago | (#29756149)

Of course it would win. Which is why they won't allow it in the tests.

Situations like this are why I run Intel chips (3, Insightful)

dave562 (969951) | about 5 years ago | (#29751047)

I primarily use Microsoft software (I know, get out the pitchforks) and over the years I have occasionally run AMD chips after being overcome by various AMD biased friends of mine. I've never been able to put my finger on it, but Windows simply doesn't run as well on AMD chips as it does on Intel chips. I always end up switching back to Intel. This article is just an example of why. Intel and Microsoft are in bed with each other, and Microsoft will always be putting out the code to take full advantage of the Intel chips. It wouldn't surprise me if Intel gives Microsoft the heads up on new features far in advance. It wouldn't surprise me if Microsoft works with Intel and encourages them to develop certain features in their processors that will help the Microsoft code base execute faster.

Re:Situations like this are why I run Intel chips (3, Insightful)

dave562 (969951) | about 5 years ago | (#29751475)

What is flame bait about my post? Intel and Microsoft work closely together to optimize the user experience. Must be AMD fans with mod points today.

Re:Situations like this are why I run Intel chips (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29751915)

Riiight.

Certainly Intel and Microsoft work closely together, they have many reasons to. But I've used many AMD and Intel systems, and honestly they're pretty interchangeable in terms of user experience.

Claims that Windows only runs right with Intel is at best, inaccurate. Are you forgetting things like the adoption of the AMD64 architecture as The Way Forward for Microsoft in terms of 64bit support, over Intel's offerings..

Re:Situations like this are why I run Intel chips (1)

rantingkitten (938138) | about 5 years ago | (#29755469)

Well, you specifically asked them to get out the pitchforks, didn't you?

Re:Situations like this are why I run Intel chips (2, Insightful)

Com2Kid (142006) | about 5 years ago | (#29751957)

My Win7 quad core AMD system that boots in under 10 seconds, is rock solid stable, and runs every game I throw at it blindingly fast would care to disagree with you. :)

Link to my PC build out. I was going more for cosmetics (30 lbs of brushed aluminum, I don't much like the blue LEDs though, I am burnt out on blue LEDs) than for power, I have friends who consider a 10 second boot with Win7 to be slow. Not that I boot very often, more likely I am coming out of Hibernate which I can do in ~3-5 seconds, which is pretty good timing for 8GB of RAM.

I've never been able to put my finger on it, but Windows simply doesn't run as well on AMD chips as it does on Intel chips. I always end up switching back to Intel.

Intel makes very stable chipsets. If you tried AMD during the days that they were relying on Via chipsets (or used some of AMD's early chipsets) I can see how you could easily get this impression. Intel is good at putting together barebones kits and working with OEMs to put out stable systems.

Also don't skimp on the mobo, get a good middle of the range one, and read reviews on it. AMD's platforms have always offered a lot of diversity, which can be both a strength and a weakness; depending on how educated the system builder is about the relative merits (including stability) of those choices.

AMD is often seen as a cost cutting measure (and their CPUs are very financially efficient) but a lot of people, both OEMs at individuals, take cost cutting a bit too far and once they go with AMD they also skimp on the power supply, motherboard, and even RAM.

Indeed, an AMD system with a very well performing CPU that has been hooked up to a crash prone motherboard running no-name RAM all powered by a flaky PSU, can indeed give one a very negative impression of AMD as a whole. :)

AMD MoBos are typically cheaper than comparable quality Intel MoBos, so you can save some money there, but don't be cheap with any other parts of the system. You will still save a good chunk of change (how much depends on which company has done price drops most recently) and you will get a stable, reliable, very well performing system.

Re:Situations like this are why I run Intel chips (1)

Krahar (1655029) | about 5 years ago | (#29752261)

I've never been able to put my finger on it, but Windows simply doesn't run as well on AMD chips as it does on Intel chips. I always end up switching back to Intel.

It's real for you because it is in your head - you are seeing what you expect to see.

Re:Situations like this are why I run Intel chips (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29752439)

Intel have a larger market share so prioritizing taking advantage of/optimizing for Intel features makes economical sense.
I don't think Microsoft intentionally pessimizes their system for AMD system so the feeling of not running well is probably a combination of processor performance (AMD processors have lower IPC than Intel at the moment), chipset performance (AMD have had problems with ATA/SATA performance for example) and a psychological factor. There's also the fact that optimizations of common applications are (if at all) done only/mainly for Intel systems, again for market share reasons.
Microsoft works with AMD and other hardware manufacturers too, they have no reason for helping Intel reach a monopoly position as they would loose money. Their insistence on having Intel scrap their internal x86 64bit project(s) and adopt the AMD design is in my opinion proof that they do value the AMD cooperation and want to keep both players in the game.
But I'm just an anonymous coward, what do I know? ...

Re:Situations like this are why I run Intel chips (1)

indi0144 (1264518) | about 5 years ago | (#29753335)

>> but Windows simply doesn't run as well on AMD chips as it does on Intel chips

What does it mean "doesn't run as well"? Do the AMD CPU behaves obstinate and uncooperative? Started an union? You found high profile political assassination plans on a core-dump? It was going to stab you last night? Bad AMD bad!

Also you say that intel and Microsoft working together as if it's a GOOD thing, what? in 5 year you can run Windows 8 ONLY in intel: chipsets-SSD-CPU-Video Card? Sure THEY would like that.

Any Phenom II can deliver some of these features like shutting down unused cores and underclocking in idle even on Windows XP -- Even a Phenom I can use the "super-turbo-mumbo-jumbo-addinchestoepenis" feature in Windows 7, I've seen it with mine (Ph X3 8650): System is idle so underclocks to 1.3Ghz as soon as I start something like a game or CAD app the CPU goes back to the normal 2.3Ghz and stays there until reaches idles again, and that works out of the box in W7. In XP it's a manual setting and you have to install a driver for it, yet it works flawlessly.

Me? an AMD fanboy? Nah I just like to run any VM without first kissing any manufacturers ass, and for that mere approach by AMD they have my bucks and the ones from the people I build rigs, I've ever hear complains about the "companion AMD CPU" trying to stab them btw.

still worth the upgrade (2, Insightful)

sabhead (1656845) | about 5 years ago | (#29751119)

its still worth it to upgrade to windows 7. vista is just too terribly slow. i think a lot of people are holding back from purchasing computers because no one wants to be stuck with vista.

Re:still worth the upgrade (1)

Krahar (1655029) | about 5 years ago | (#29751523)

So use XP and be merry!

Re:still worth the upgrade (1)

SpitfireSMS (1388089) | about 5 years ago | (#29753189)

Iv said it several times and Ill say it again.
The only thing wrong with Vista is the system requirements.
My laptop with a 2GHz amd x2 processor and 2GB of RAM ran vista very poorly, even though vista only "requires" 1GB.
I cant imagine running it with 1GB.

But Vista works fine when you have 3+GBs
Not only was it speedy on my desktop powerhouse, but it was stable too. More so than I have found XP to be.

Windows 7 is absolutely great if you have a system that can run Vista decently, and win7 on my laptop actually ran a lot better than Vista.
The only issue Im having with 7 right now is stability.
Several months after the install, I have come back to my computer after class only to see a BSOD.
Still some kinks I suppose, and considering im running the release candidate its not unheard of.

Re:still worth the upgrade (0)

Civil_Disobedient (261825) | about 5 years ago | (#29756275)

Why not "upgrade" to Windows XP 64-bit? It's faster than Vista and Win7, supports as much RAM as you can throw at it, has the same drivers support as Vista, and less invasive DRM.

Unless you actually like the condescending, childish Fisher-Price interface of Vista?

confused (2, Funny)

zmollusc (763634) | about 5 years ago | (#29751303)

Is Clarksfield Chi anything like a Charleston Chew?

Fukck a Shit (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29751319)

which Gathers [goat.cx]

Clarksfield Chi (1)

russlar (1122455) | about 5 years ago | (#29751797)

Obviously not a P-series Intel chip

power isn't the problem (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29752337)

The power isn't so much the problem.
The problem [ducks] is that it's running windows [runs]...
[aw crap, here we go again]
[I hear the sock puppets winding up]

more power, but more energy? (1)

YesIAmAScript (886271) | about 5 years ago | (#29752717)

It uses more power, but if it gets the job done more quickly, it could still use less energy. Much like any current computer will get a sizable job done using less power than an Apple ][, even though the power supply and power draws are much bigger on the modern PC.

Also, the article tries to compare the laptops and gives system performance in minutes/mAh. But the article doesn't give the voltage of the battery packs. What is the minutes/mWh?

Test is pointless (1, Insightful)

Trerro (711448) | about 5 years ago | (#29752941)

Windows 7 is an upgrade to Vista, and it performs better. This isn't news.

The problem is that Vista is a HUGE downgrade from XP, and so far everything I've read says that 7 is simply less of an XP downgrade than Vista was. I couldn't care less if it's prettier - it either needs to have some major functionality that XP doesn't (and it doesn't), or it needs to offer a serious performance boost over XP (and it appears to do the opposite.)

Re:Test is pointless (2, Interesting)

armanox (826486) | about 5 years ago | (#29753207)

In the few test situations I've run Windows 7 in (My laptop (1.7GHz Celeron M, 1.5G RAM, ATi XPress 200m), my desktop (2GHz Pentium Dual-Core, 3GB RAM, ATi Radeon HD 4550), a Dell GX270 (3.2GHz P4 HT, GeForce 6200, 2GB RAM), and a Dell SX280 (3 GHz P4 HT, 1GB RAM, Intel i915 Graphics) I have seen it out perform XP, especially as RAM increases. With 1 GB they seem fairly even, at 2 7 is faster, and above 2 XP can't compete. Also, much better drivers for 64-bit 7 then XP.

Re:Test is pointless (0)

coolmoose25 (1057210) | about 5 years ago | (#29753469)

Mod Parent Up. I'm running the Win 7 beta 64 bit. Rock solid. Right now have 4 gig of ram. All of it used by the OS. Paging never happens. Granted that I haven't spun it up much lately, but if I do see swapping, I'll spring for the additional 8 gig of ram for a total of 12. I'm pretty sure that XP, even the 64 bit version, would choke on that basis against Win 7...

Re:Test is pointless (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 5 years ago | (#29756797)

I have 12GB of RAM in my gaming machine (Win 7 RC 64bit) and it started paging right off the bat, with over 10GB of RAM free. I just disabled the swap file entirely.

Re:Test is pointless (0, Troll)

Civil_Disobedient (261825) | about 5 years ago | (#29756285)

much better drivers for 64-bit 7 then XP

Ah, well at least you're honest about your lying.

Power User? How about begrudging windows users? (1)

tji (74570) | about 5 years ago | (#29758779)

For those of us that use Windows in a VM on our primary Linux or Mac OS X desktop, what is the best OS?

For a long time, I stuck with my good old Win2K VM. But, too many apps were not supported on Win2K, so I moved to XP.

There was clearly no reason to go to Vista from XP. But, how about now with Win7? Any advantages to Win7 for basic VM use, office apps & IT tools?

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