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Old 11-20-2007, 07:36 PM
General Schvantzkoph
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Default Re: New Laptop for work

On Fri, 16 Nov 2007 17:22:34 -0800, rickman wrote:

> I am looking at a low end Dell laptop, the Vostro 1500, as a new
> computer for work. I may supplement this later with a new desktop unit
> for crunching FPGA designs, but I will also be using this laptop for
> this sort of work. I am looking for advice on the differences in CPUs
> for FPGA work and anything else that is relevant.
>
> I know that parallel ports are going the way of the serial port and the
> dodo bird, but I can live with that. Most tools are available as USB
> devices now.
>
> This particular computer comes with WindowsXP rather than Vista. From
> what I have heard, that is an advantage. But I notice that the internal
> bluetooth adapter is specific for XP and others from Dell are specific
> for Vista. Any idea what is up with that? Is there any significant
> advantage to using XP pro over XP home?
>
> This machine also has the "Intel(R) Integrated Graphics Media
> Accelerator X3100". Is that just another way of saying "integrated
> video"? Several of my other machines have had integrated video and it
> does seem to drag down the CPU noticeably. Any idea if I will notice
> the drag on the Core 2 Duo? They also offer an Nvidia Gforce 8400 GS
> adapter for $100 and an 8600 for $200 more. Any idea if these are worth
> it? The 1500 says it has "VGA video output & S-Video". Does that mean
> I can connect two monitors for dual display?
>
> The CPU is a T5270 (1.4 GHz, 2 MB cache) with upgrades to various
> processors for significant money. The first stepup is to a T5470 (1.6
> GHz) for $75 and others range up to $575! I am thinking I can live with
> the slower processor. The memory is 2GB.
>
> I was looking at the Vostro 1000 earlier this week with an AMD TK-53
> processor (1.5 GHz, 512 KB cache) and a smaller hard drive. It was $50
> more so the 1500 looks like the better deal. Are there any significant
> differences in the two CPUs for FPGA work? I guess the small cache of
> the TK-53 would make it significantly slower for FPGA work.
>
> I saw a thread from earlier this year discussing some of this. I wonder
> how much laptops have improved since then.


I'm waiting until January when the Penryns come out. The Penryns have 6M
caches and amazingly low power. NCVerilog seems to be very sensitive to
cache size, my benchmarking shows dramatic performance increases with
each jump in cache size. I don't know if we've reached the point of
diminishing returns after 4M but it seems like it would be worth the wait
for the 6M Penryns to find out.
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