Tablets, netbooks, notebooks, and Desktops, why is the speed different

When people purchase a computer, there are some people out there that do not understand why desktops are always faster.  Therefore, I will explain.

When a person buys a car, it always has a radiator.  The radiator’s purpose is to keep the engine from overheating.  The Bugatti Veyron has 10 radiators with a top speed of 407.9 km/h.  Therefore, what is the top speed of a car with no radiator?  10 km/h, 30 km/h?  Unfortunately, I do not know the answer, but I am pretty sure it is not very fast.

Therefore, a radiator is required to keep the car from overheating when traveling at higher speeds.  Furthermore, a fan is usually pushing cold air through the radiator to cool the liquid inside.

When you look at a computer, the computer is identical to a car.  The Macbook Air, Intel’s ultra-thin notebook, netbooks, and Apple’s IPad are very thin.  Furthermore, there is not much room there for a radiator, heatsink and/or a fan.  Therefore, they must be designed to eliminate heat by:

  • slowing down when the inside gets too hot.
  • limiting the maximum speed of the computer, so that overheating is not possible.
  • limiting the stuff a user can do on that particular device.  Examples are no multi-tasking, no multiplayer-games, and no high definition videos.
  • some other method.

In the case of the thin notebooks above, thicker notebooks are more powerful since they have extra space for heat dissipation equipment.

Therefore, desktops will not be replaced anytime soon.  There is currently too much heat that needs to be dealt with.  For the ones who want “power machines” desktops are here to stay for now.

There are various methods available for computers to deal with the heat problem without slowing them down, but I am certain they all require space.  Heatsinks, radiators, and fans are the most common solutions, but they are very difficult to install into anything smaller than a notebook.  http://aprivatebeach.com/blog/2010/05/overclocking-amd-phenom-ii-processor/ uses a method that is very effective, but dangerous.

Therefore, when you see a high-end notebook that is 1cm thick, do not expect it to work as fast as a high-end desktop.  After all, desktop CPU heatsinks can be as tall as 10cm or more.  Something that will be difficult to stuff into a 1cm notebook.

In the future, this may change.  Heat may no longer be an issue.  The article can be read at http://www.networkworld.com/news/2010/053110-future-of-computing-may-lie.html

Computer radiator for liquid cooled PC without a fan

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