Intel Core i3 vs. Core 2 Duo - Is Core i3 Worth the Upgrade on a Laptop?

Aldrin D. from San Francisco, CA emailed TP this inquiry yesterday:
"TP, I know you're also a Thinkpad fan so I'm sharing this with you. I have a Thinkpad T61 that runs on 2.0 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300 processor. This tank still works like the day I bought it in 2007. However, between then and now, I've managed to save up some money to buy a new Thinkpad. I'm thinking of getting a Thinkpad T510i, which runs on 2.13 Ghz Intel Core i3-330M processor. I'd like to ask if this would be a worthy upgrade or if I should just wait for a newer Thinkpad with more powerful chip to be released? Thanks!"

Hi Aldrin! Thanks for the inquiry.

Yes, I'm a big fan of Thinkpad systems. I'm working on one now actually. This thing is just incredibly reliable and is built like a tank. Plus, the keyboard is joy to type on. I absolutely understand why you'd want to replace your Thinkpad with another Thinkpad. :)

Now, on to your inquiry:

I always turn to Passmark for CPU performance comparisons. I believe the chip benchmarks they gather are very credible.

Here's a comparative chart showing Passmark test results of 2.0 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300 and 2.13 Ghz Intel Core i3-330M processors:

Passmark measures the overall processing power of a CPU in rendering Mathematical operations, compression, encryption, SSE and 3DNow instructions, among so others. Simply put, it's an all-in-one benchmarks test.

As you can see on the chart, the CPU that you're eyeing is almost twice as powerful (at least PassMark benchmarks-wise) as the CPU of your current system. Now, should you upgrade to T510i? That's all up to you. :)

Aldrin, just to give you an idea of the power of the new Intel Core CPU's, I've decided to include Corei5 mobile chip in the comparative chart. This processor runs other Thinkpad systems out in the market now like T410. You might want to check it out:

Note though that not all Core 2 Duo chips perform less than Core i3. Here's a graph showing PassMark scores of various Core 2 Duo models in comparison vs. score of two Core i3 Mobile variants:

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1 comment:

  1. nice comparison. but in a nutshell, the best and simplest to understand review comparison can be found on