Processor Spychology. That's how Intel and laptop manufacturers have fun at the customer's expense

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According to statistics, Intel has in its hands over 85 percent. notebook processor market, which is close to the monopoly in this segment. Despite everything, he regularly serves more chips, trying to raise the bar even more. Is it wrong? Not at all – the bad news is that all this progress is taking place in the atmosphere of playing ping-pong with laptop manufacturers.

It is known, the scheme is simple: Intel sells the processor to someone who then sells the equipment equipped with it. And business is booming. These are the laws of the market. Dot.

However, hence, it must first make enough noise that will arouse the desire for the chip. Because, after all, third-party companies are constantly monitoring the objects of consumer interest and if they can go to the competition – which has recently clearly revived.

Of course, I'm going here to the parameters given over and over. Take for example Core i7-9750H, a model quite popular among high-performance mobile equipment, which replaced the i7-8750H in the catalog. It offers 3 MB more cache and 400 MHz higher clock than its predecessor. Does it mean it is more efficient? Exactly not. Not always and not everywhere.

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What prompted me to write this article was the fact that we recently transferred some dozen laptops from the i7-9750H and i7-8750H with colleagues from the editorial team. Although most of them had no problems with temperatures, virtually everyone worked differently. It also happened that the older chip won with the newer. And all for sure a small detail, which no manufacturer even deigned to mention in the specification: configuration of the power supply system.

You can't do it without electricity

As you should know, apart from the multiplier limited clock frequency, each processor has an energy budget allocated that it cannot exceed. Efficient mobile systems Intel verifies at 45 W, while allowing a limit of 35 W. It is already known in the latter case that power is not enough for the processor to go at full speed – with the maximum declared frequency. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Although maybe in this case the more accurate term would be top of the volcano.

A lower circuit current means less heat energy to dissipate, so the laptop does not heat up excessively. It's nice. The problem is that it works in a way that is far from the declared processor specification. Very far.

In the screenshot above, you can see how the i7-9750H behaves with muzzle at 28 W peak power. The layout which appears in Intel's portfolio as Up to 4.5 GHzhere literally works half-heartedly. At the same time blue is also worth giving a paw, because they give the turbo for only one core, and with the load of all six the upper limit is 4.0 GHz – which by the way leads to the conclusion that the real advantage over i7-8750H is only 100 MHz. The older model, working without restrictions, can reach 3.9 GHz on all cores.

Hard life of an enthusiast

But there are tools like ThrottleStop, so anyone interested will configure the platform as you like, you will say. They are indeed, but they don't always work. Intel gives you the ability to block the power limit on the allowed limited value. As a reminder, for the i7-9750H used in this example, it is associated with a value of 35 W. Still too low.

Sure, laptop builders were not born yesterday and limits are used for a reason. Often, the cooling system does not allow for more, otherwise forced by the controversial pursuit of the thinnest casing profile. Only that nobody talks about restrictions openly. In this case it is hard to be an enthusiast who wants to squeeze the last juice out of the equipment. Attractive specifications are thrown in the specifications, knowing that after buying 99 percent. recipients will not verify any of them. Slim, pretty, doesn't burn your knees. You don't need more to be happy.

Producers have fun this way, hey!

From an analytical point of view, we are dealing with a really interesting example of business spychology. Intel winds people up with numbers. Laptop manufacturers must put this into practice. Both know perfectly well that the given catalog parameters in the mobile scenario are pure abstraction, but the client consistently winds pasta on his ears. They can always bounce the ball back.

In case the blue say that the notebook manufacturer has kicked the design, and the latter will counter the loose translation of the laws of physics in the style of ladies, it is less than 2 cm thick, and we have thrown in more copper here than Chile has, and besides it is 30 percent. better than a year ago.

And you, dear consumer, obediently buy a pig in a poke. And may you only not be too interested in what was crammed under the fancy housing with nice stickers. You have a top processor, enjoy it. Never mind if it really delivers top performance. A little paradoxically, the described phenomenon can also take the second extreme form, when low-voltage systems are trimmed to the limit. However, this is a topic for another publication. Although the crux of the matter does not change: the equipment does not work as we expected.

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