Less than a week ago I received a new laptop, one that is far faster than my old one, which is one month away from being four years old. Needless to say, this will be a very one-sided laptop comparison, but it will show just how quickly computer technology advances over a short amount of time.
|Model||Dell Latitude D610||Dell Studio XPS 16|
|Bought||May 2006||April 2010|
|Processor||Intel Pentium M, 1.73 GHz||Intel Core i5 M430 @ 2.27 GHz|
|RAM||1 GB (2×512 MB)||4 GB (2×2 GB)|
|Primary Storage||Fujitsu 40 GB Hard Drive||Samsung 128 GB Solid State Drive|
|Graphics Card||(Integrated)||ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4670, 1 GB|
|Operating System||Windows XP||Windows 7|
|Screen (Resolution)||14.1″ SXGA+ (1400×1050)||15.6″ FHD Widescreen (1920×1080)|
|Wireless||Dell Wireless 1370 WLAN||Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6200|
As expected, the newer laptop is far superior. I’m not sure whether Moore’s Law held, but there is an apparent exponential increase in processing power. The increase in cost comes mainly from the Solid State Drive (SSD); when choosing specs on the laptop, I found that a 128 GB SSD costs $154 more than a 500 GB normal hard drive. More on this in the next paragraph.
My first reaction to the new laptop had to do with the SSD, a relatively new technology, though it has been in existence for years. Basically, your standard old hard drive is a spinning disk, and for the computer to access any given information, it would have to move mechanical parts at very fast rates. But with the SSD, there are no moving parts. And because of this, when I first turned on my new laptop, I heard a very peculiar sound—the sound of silence.
The second thing different was Windows 7. It took a while to get used to, but I still like XP’s relative simplicity.
Third was the widescreen resolution. I was accustomed to a 4:3 ratio, and 16:9 was a bit different. I like it though, as the screen is significantly larger, and it’s far easier to have multiple documents on the screen at once.
Fourth was sheer speed. With a much more advanced processor, the new laptop seemed to load everything instantly; this is also a consequence of SSD. Programs install super fast, webpages load faster—just about any conceivable action is done more quickly. What are really remarkable are the start-up and shut-down times, primarily due to the SSD. Time from cold boot to log-in screen is cut in half, and the time between log-in and having the desktop loaded becomes nearly instant. Shutting down the computer feels many times faster.
The fifth and final difference I would like to point out (there are of course many more minor ones) is the graphics card. While StarCraft and WarCraft III ran fluently on the old integrated graphics, StarCraft II (or rather, as of today, the beta) did not. In fact, I’d like to show the difference between the two, by showing two screen-recorded videos of StarCraft II. This video is from my old laptop:
And from the new one:
In the second video, StarCraft II is running in far higher graphics level and resolution (check out the HD resolutions), and yet runs much more smoothly. Overall, this computer is doing a lot better.