laptops catching up to desktops... time it takes...?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by whyrichard, Mar 19, 2010.

  1. whyrichard macrumors 68000

    Aug 15, 2002

    I am curious... how long does it take for a desktop computer's performance to be eclipsed by a new laptop?

    In otherwords, if i buy a new mac pro today, how long do you estimate it taking for laptop technology to eclipse the performance of today's mac pro?

    Or put another way, If i buy a new macbook pro today, what year desktop is it equivalent to?


  2. MrBrekke macrumors 6502


    Oct 1, 2009

    interesting question.

    i would still say wait for the updated MP.

    the you would have dual xenon chips in it.
    just my guess but for a laptop to get to that power you would need to wait 5 -10 years.

    but when you put it the other way around a MBP today equals a 3 year old desktop. not a Mac pro.

    MP are a workstation so it plays in a different league. :)
  3. drummerlondonw3 macrumors 6502a


    Feb 10, 2008
    never in reality as the thermal performance of a desktop can never be replicated in a laptop.

    if you think that the 21.5 imac cannot handle the core ix chips there is no hope for a MBP to reach the same performance.

    increases in ram and ssd's have closed the gap but the MP will still blitz any lappy
  4. Bennieboy© macrumors 65816


    Jan 15, 2009
    on the case of the mac pro, i dont think that will ever happen, laptops for portability and desktops for power, one day the laptop might have the power but you wont ever have the upgrade option for the mac pro, it'd defy the purpose ;)
  5. flopticalcube macrumors G4


    Sep 7, 2006
    In the velcro closure of America's Hat
    According to Primatelabs, the current top-performing MacBook Pro is about equal in CPU terms (actually slightly faster) than the original quad core 2GHz Mac Pro. That is a 3 year time span from the initial introduction of each one.
  6. Eddyisgreat macrumors 601

    Oct 24, 2007
    Never? My 2k8 MBP runs circles around every desktop I had prior to it, the oldest being about two years old, of course none of those were workstation class machines.
  7. alskdj macrumors member

    Oct 8, 2009
    macbooks are pretty much on par with the mini's, if that helps.
  8. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    Depends on what we compare. If we take e.g. 3.33GHz six-xore Gulftown, we have to wait years before there is mobile CPU with same speed.

    flopticalcube's 3 years sounds pretty fair. Mobile Nehalems came 1.5 years later than first desktop Nehalems but they are still slower than the first gen Nehalems. When 32nm quad-core mobile CPUs come, they will probably defeat the first gen Nehalems.

    Clarksfield may go 32nm later on this year but there is no info about it yet so it's still unsure and its clocks are quite low atm, needs to be at least +2GHz as a default, +2.5GHz in high-end to be close to the first gen Nehalems.

    Sandy Bridge will bring mainstream priced quad core mobile CPUs in early 2011 so they will likely outperform first gen Nehalems
  9. jazer macrumors member

    Feb 2, 2010
    Well, thats because of Apple... I expect them somewhere around 2012 for the MBP.

    But others have them already
  10. vistadude macrumors 65816

    Jan 3, 2010
    Maybe 3 years for processing, but almost never for overall performance. My 2010 macbook cannot play games with any graphic level comparable to my 2001 Pentium 4 desktop.

  11. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    That is a desktop CPU in a "laptop", doesn't count :D

    But seriously, we can't compare extreme high-end laptops like that which use desktop parts because they are not normal. That CPU is 130W, 85W hotter than the MBPs use, no way we will see one in MBP.

    2012 may be the time for mobile six-cores because Haswell should be out then, bringing 8 cores as a default for desktops, but they may not be as fast as Gulftowns are, nobody knows yet.
  12. chaosbunny macrumors 68000


    Mar 11, 2005
    down to earth, far away from any clouds
    What gfx card do you have in your Pentium 4? Just curious because I got a free 3 ghz p4 tower that I'm giving to a friend who hasn't too much money right now. It has a very old nvidia card though, so we are searching what's the best card we could put in it, it only has AGP though.

    Back to the topic, I guess that's a good indicator, when you can't upgrade a desktop anymore (= when you'd have to buy a new component for almost everything but maybe the case). I doubt we can bring this old p4 to a level where it beats my 2008 mbp in anything, but we are hoping that we can play some more modern games together. That's still pretty impressive for a 2004 machine though.

    But not everybody needs some kind of top of the line performance. 10+ years ago a laptop wasn't good for anything but simple tasks, no one did graphic design or something like that on a laptop. Today, most graphic designers I know have mbps. C2D laptops can do quite demanding tasks very well, I use mine for CS4, Final Cut Express, Cinema 4D and some gaming, and am very happy with it. Most people won't ever do such things on their machines, for youtube, facebook, emails and word you will not notice a difference between a macbook and a mac pro.

    As far as I know, there are now more laptops sold than desktops, and I believe this trend will continue. The portability, space and energy savings for the loss of often not even needed performance are worth it for more and more people.
  13. Freyqq macrumors 601

    Dec 13, 2004
    That's the video card alone. The other components are much faster for sure.

    I'd say 5 years for a top of the line desktop to be eclipsed by a decent laptop.

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