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Specifications on a Laptop

I bought an IBM ThinkPad. It says Centrino on the Laptop but when I go to Control Panel and click 'System', the following specs appears.

Intel Pentium M Processor 1500 MHz, 239 MHz

Is the above the same thing as Centrino? Will the above processor be sufficient for running databases etc?


Hardware Zero Knowledge
Saturday, October 4, 2003

Sounds alright, how much RAM?

Mark T A W .com
Saturday, October 4, 2003

RAM = 256 MB

Hardware Zero Knowledge
Saturday, October 4, 2003

What do you mean by running databases, exactly? Developing applications with a database backend? In that case, I would opt for five hundred and twelve megabytes of RAM as a minimum, more if you can afford it. Especially if you are doing development targeted at the .NET framework and will be running the database server on the same machine / in a VM under the same machine. More RAM is essential if you're running something like Oracle/SQL Server/Sybase, etc. The processor spec. seems adequate, however.

One thing to check, sometimes the first thirty-two or sixty-four megabytes of memory on laptops is 'shared' memory and is used by the graphics card. So even though you have two hundred and fifty six megabytes of RAM, there is only one hundred and ninety two usable.
You don't say what operating system you will be running the databases under. Running (Start | Run) 'winver' will tell you how much physical memory is available to Windows.

Eponymous Biro
Saturday, October 4, 2003

"Centrino" is the brand name for the Pentium M chips (the "M" is for mobile).

Beth Linker
Saturday, October 4, 2003

If you develop on it, you'll need 512 to be more in line with what most developers find suitable for development. Most major IDEs, plus books on lines, plus Office, plus database.. will have trouble fitting themselves in 512. Unless you are a minimalist and run tiny IDEs and office suites and MySQL... you can't avoid having to upgrade your memory. In the case of a laptop.. you'll be happiest max-ing out your memory capability instead of having to upgrade once more--because everytime you upgrade you'll more likely have to throw some laptop memory away (compare to PCs.. where you can use it in a second pc, sell it again or give it to a friend).

Li-fan Chen
Saturday, October 4, 2003

I have a laptop on the side that runs EditPlus (my mini"IDE"), no IIS, Sql Server 7.0 desktop on a Windows 98 laptop with 64 megs of ram.. with books online.. and I don't run big queries.

So if what you use is clearly minimalistic, don't worry about it.

Li-fan Chen
Saturday, October 4, 2003

A for your information:

Keep in mind that Pentium-M processors have two speeds: One for speedstep(when you're on powersaver mode) and one for "maximum performance" when you're using the AC/DC adapter. -- Some have more, but never mind that.

Some programs cannot determine(correctly) if it's one or the other; that is, in my case for instance, some programs report my speed as 1200 Mhz, whereas others (correctly) report it as 1800 Mhz.

Mickey Petersen
Saturday, October 4, 2003

You can develop database applications with MySQL for a database and things like perl or PHP for the actual coding and things like Apache for the webserver quite well on a lowly Pentium III 500Mhz with 256MB of RAM. I do it all the time.

Saturday, October 4, 2003

I have a 3 year old HP laptop (P3-600 with 256 RAM) that I have SQL Server (Standard), IIS, WindowsXP, both Visual Studios installed on.  At times it's a bit poky (VS.NET startup), but it's definitely doable.

That said... I'm looking to upgrade.  :)

Guy Incognito
Saturday, October 4, 2003

Centrino is the latest version of Pentium's mobile chip. It is completely different from the Pentium it is designed to eventually replace. It is the Pentium M's that have speedstep (mine for example does 1.6GHz on mains power and 1.2GHZ on battery). Mobile Athlons have an equivalent feature.

Centrino, has I believe only one speed, and as you can see it is much lower than that of a Pentium M. (now running at 2.4GHz or higher) let alone desktop Pentiums which run at over 3GHz.

The two advantages of Centrino are wifi buitl into the Motherboard and a very long battery liife (which explains the low specs). Intel claim you can get six or seven hours of battery life on normal use.

I'm a little surprised you would want to use one for development work, unless you live in a country with highly unreliable power supplies.

Stephen Jones
Saturday, October 4, 2003

>Centrino, has I believe only one speed, and as you can see it is much lower than that of a Pentium M. (now running at 2.4GHz or higher) let alone desktop Pentiums which run at over 3GHz.<

Centrino (Pentium M) clock speeds aren't directly comparable to Pentium 4 clock speeds -- Centrinos run much faster.  For example, these benchmarks show a Pentium M 1.6 notebook running as fast, or faster, than a comparable notebook with a 2.2 Ghz Pentium 4 CPU.

I think a Pentium M would be great for a development notebook.  (My notebook, with a slower Pentium 4 1.6 processor, does just fine with Visual Studio .Net.)

Hardware Zero Knowledge, I'm guessing that your notebook has two RAM chips of 128 MB each.  You can do what I did -- replace one chip with a 512 MB chip -- and get a total of 640 MB, which should be sufficient.  If you've got money to burn, go all the way to 1 GB of RAM.

Robert Jacobson
Saturday, October 4, 2003

By the way, it's usually cheaper to buy memory upgrades from a third party, like, than from the manufacturer.  Crucial has a handy memory configurator to tell you which type of RAM you need based on the make and model of your notebook.

Robert Jacobson
Saturday, October 4, 2003

I think the reason that Centrino is as fast or faster than an older Pentium m that has a higher Ghz is because the Centrino chips have 1mb cache, whereas the old pentiums only had 512k and that makes up for the difference in hz.

Sunday, October 5, 2003

Interesting article on Centrino:,14179,2914713,00.html

A Pentium M is not a Centrino by itself.  Centrino seems to be a marketing term for a specific combination of processor, chipset and wireless adapter.

This is also mentioned in the Tom's hardware article.

Scott Stonehouse
Monday, October 6, 2003

Unless I'm confused,
  - anything called a "Pentium-M" *is* a Centrino[1]
  - non-Centrino mobile processors have names like "Mobile Pentium 3" and "Pentium 4M"
  - the Pentium-M is *not* the same as either a P3 or a P4; there are internal differences that go way beyond the cache sizes
  - Pentium-M clock speeds are broadly comparable with P3 ones rather than with P4 ones, and in particular a Pentium-M at any given clock speed will perform considerably better than a P4 at the same clock speed
  - given that you've already got the machine, the best way to tell whether it has enough memory is to try it. If you see a lot of HD activity and poor performance, get some more RAM. If not, don't.

[1] More precisely: uses the same processor that Centrinos use. You can't call a system "Centrino" unless it also uses the Intel 802.11 kit.

Gareth McCaughan
Monday, October 6, 2003

That is a good machine. You'll be fine. If you got some spare change, spend it on an extra 256 Mb of Ram.

Just me (Sir to you)
Monday, October 6, 2003

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