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ChrisC, Computer Enthusiast
Category: Computer
Satisfied Customers: 1686
Experience:  Over 15 years experience as a computer technician.
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we are looking at a laptop that has Intel® Pentium® 2020M 2.4GHz

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we are looking at a laptop that has Intel® Pentium® 2020M 2.4GHz 2MB Cache Processor, versus one that has Intel® CoreTM i3-3120M 2.5GHz Processor 3MB Cache processor. All things being equal, the faster one with more cache is better, correct? how much difference does .1 Ghz and 1MB cache make?
Hi, my name is XXXXX XXXXX welcome to JustAnswer!

You're right that the faster CPU with greater amount of cache memory is a better processor. The 2.5 GHz refers to what are called "clock cycles," which has to do with how many instructions the processor can process in one second. So the 2.5 GHz CPU can do slightly more calculations per second than the 2.4 GHz.

In regard to the cache memory, the cache is a fast form of memory that holds data the CPU is about to calculate. More cache = more data. So 3 MB is better than 2 MB.

But let's look at it from a real-world perspective. How much difference is any of this actually going to make? The answer is: Not enough for you to notice.

A good analogy would be car engines. One engine may be slightly more powerful than another, but this extra power may only mean fractions of a second when it comes to the time it takes both cars to go from 0-60. For the average driver, they are essentially identical.

So to sum all this up, it will be hard to see much difference in the performance of the two machines, especially since both CPUs have the same number of cores (2).

If the prices are essentially the same, by all means go with the 2.5 GHz i3. But if there's a significant price difference, you might as well save the money in my opinion.

Let me know if you have any other questions on this and I'll help you out in any way I can. And please remember to rate the answer for me before you run.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

hi we just saw a laptop that has 3rd generation Intel® Core™ i7-3630QM with Turbo Boost Technology up to 3.4GHz 6M Cache Processor. it's about $40 more than the other two. for 2-3x the cache capacity and 'up to' .9 GHz faster than another model, is this worth the $40 difference? And, what does 'up to' 3.4 GHz mean? (this description is not like this for the other two, which are listed at 2.4 GHz an 2.5GHz)

Hi CJ,

Now we are talking about the kind of performance where you can actually see a difference, especially if you ever do anything that really requires some processing power like Photoshop, video editing, high-end gaming, etc.

Not only is the i7 almost a full GHz faster with more cache memory, but it also has four cores as opposed to two. If you aren't sure what cores are, each core is essentially its own CPU. So four is better than two. Only certain kinds of software can take advantage of multiple cores, but with software that knows how to do this you should definitely see a performance boost.

So yes, if it was me, I would pay the extra $40 and go with the i7.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

hi, so the third model's processor is 2.4GHz, but it can go 'up to 3.4GHz.' So normally it goes at 2.4GHz, but sometimes it speeds up. At what point would the computer go 'up to' the faster processor speed?

The processor will go up when Turbo Boost is engaged.

Remember I mentioned that some software can take advantage of multiple cores while others can't? Turbo Boost will kick in when a program can only use a single core so that as much power as possible can be dedicated to running the application.

I took a look at a few things and wanted to add that in some cases Turbo Boost will kick in even when using multiple cores. For more information on it, you can take a look at the following article:

You can also find a lot of info just by searching for, "How does Intel Turbo Boost work?"

Let me know if you have any other questions on this. And please remember to rate the answer for me.
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