The Forgotten Bottleneck: Part 2 Chipsets

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Chipsets are the second forgotten bottleneck . Please note: We will not be discussing Desktop Chipsets in this article.

One of the many things that I learned about while working at my previous job. Is just how different two laptops with more or less identical specs and software setups can ‘feel” completely different.
Obviously, this isn’t something I have benchmarked. But having happened 10’s or even 100’s of times over the two years that I worked there I can confidently say this is a “thing”.

You clearly Do not understand how modern CPUs Work.

Now since this cant be quantified with hard data, and is a subjective piece. I will go through some modern Cpu basics in order to prove that know I’m not a bumbling starter who doesn’t understand how TDP and Thermals affect Modern CPU performance.

Cpu’s come from the manufacturer with a Thermal Design Power usually shortened to just TDP. Unfortunately to add to the confusion Intel and AMD use different methods to calculate TDP.

For a bit more of a deep dive

The takeaway from this is that 15 watts are always 15 watts. But two 15 watt TDP CPUs even from the same manufacturer can draw vastly different amounts of actual power.

Boost Clocks (PL1/2 Tau etc.)

These are closely related to what the manufacturer sets the overall TDP of the CPU too. These are also a moving target, with both companies again differing on how boost is used and calculated. So for yet another deep dive here is some more great work from Anandtech.

With all that in Mind

We will get in two laptops with the same specs. Similiar cooling solutions, similiar software configs,even from the same manufacturer and yet they feel completely different. Can it be thermal designs and screen response rate, perhaps? But as this happens with laptops that sometimes feel slower even with better thermal solutions and with higher-end screens this seems to not be the case. What it is and how to measure it needs more in-depth testing which I’m not equipped to do currently. I do hope to one day get to the point where I can test this. But this weird phenomenon continues to exist. If you are a technician who has experienced this please leave your comments below.

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