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CPU Core Details

CPU Codename Haswell Ivy Bridge
MoBo Socket BGA 1168 BGA 1224
Notebook CPU yes yes
Release Date 01 Sep 2013 20 Jan 2013
CPU Link GD Link GD Link
Approved

CPU Technical Specifications

{
CPU Cores 2 2
CPU Threads 4 4
Clock Speed 2.1 GHz 3 GHz
Turbo Frequency 3.3GHz 3.7 GHz
Max TDP 15 W 35 W
Lithography 22 nm 22 nm
Bit Width 64 Bit 64 Bit
Max Temperature 100°C 105°C
Virtualization Technology no no

CPU Cache and Memory

L1 Cache Size 128 KB 128 KB
L2 Cache Size 512 KB 512 KB
L3 Cache Size 4 MB 4 MB
Memory Types
Max Memory Size 16 GB 32 GB
Memory Channels 2 2
ECC Memory Support no no

CPU Graphics

Integrated Graphics no no
Base GPU Frequency - -
Max GPU Frequency - -
DirectX - -
Displays Supported - -

CPU Mini Review

Mini Review Core i7-4600U 2-Core 2.1GHz is a super energy efficient mobile processor based on the 22nm, Haswell microarchitecture. <br/> <br/> It offers 2 Physical Cores (4 Logical), initially clocked at 2.1GHz, which may go up to 3.3GHz and 4MB of L3 Cache. <br/> Among its many features, <b>HyperThreading, Turbo Boost and Virtualization</b> are activated. <br/> <br/> The processor integrates powerful Graphics called <b>Intel HD Graphics 4400</b>, with 20 Execution Units, initially clocked at 200MHz and that go up to 1100MHz, in Turbo Mode which share the L2 Cache and system RAM with the processor. <br/> Both the processor and integrated graphics have a rated board TDP of 15W. <br/> <br/> It is a powerful processor whose performance is good. It's thus capable of running most applications smoothly without any problem. Core i7-3540M 2-Core 3.0GHz is a high-end mobile processor based on the 22nm, Ivy Bridge microarchitecture. <br/> <br/> It offers 2 Physical Cores (4 Logical), initially clocked at 3.0GHz, which may go up to 3.7GHz and 4MB of L3 Cache. <br/> Among its many features, <b>HyperThreading, Turbo Boost and Virtualization</b> are activated. <br/> <br/> The processor integrates mildly powerful Graphics called <b>Intel HD Graphics 4000</b>, with 16 Execution Units, initially clocked at 650MHz and that go up to 1300MHz, in Turbo Mode which share the L2 Cache and system RAM with the processor. <br/> Both the processor and integrated graphics have a rated board TDP of 35W. <br/> <br/> It is a powerful processor whose performance is good. It's thus capable of running most applications smoothly without any problem.

Gaming Performance Comparison

In terms of overall gaming performance, the Intel Core i7-3540M 2-Core 3.0GHz is massively better than the Intel Core i7-4600U 2-Core 2.1GHz when it comes to running the latest games. This also means it will be less likely to bottleneck more powerful GPUs, allowing them to achieve more of their gaming performance potential.

Both the Core i7-4600U 2-Core 2.1GHz and the Core i7-3540M 2-Core 3.0GHz were released at the same time, so are likely to be quite similar.

Both CPUs exhibit very powerful performance, so it probably isn't worth upgrading from one to the other, as both are capable of running even the most demanding games at the highest settings (assuming they are accompanied by equivalently powerful GPUs).

{ The Core i7-4600U 2-Core and the Core i7-3540M 2-Core both have 2 cores, and so are quite likely to struggle with the latest games, or at least bottleneck high-end graphics cards when running them. With a decent accompanying GPU, theCore i7-4600U 2-Core and the Core i7-3540M 2-Core may still be able to run slightly older games fairly effectively.

Both the Intel Core i7-4600U 2-Core 2.1GHz and the Intel Core i7-3540M 2-Core 3.0GHz have the same number of threads. Both the Core i7-4600U 2-Core and the Core i7-3540M 2-Core use hyperthreading. The Core i7-4600U 2-Core has 2 logical threads per physical core and the Core i7-3540M 2-Core has 2.

Multiple threads are useful for improving the performance of multi-threaded applications. Additional cores and their accompanying thread will always be beneficial for multi-threaded applications. Hyperthreading will be beneficial for applications optimized for it, but it may slow others down. For games, the number of threads is largely irrelevant, as long as you have at least 2 cores (preferably 4), and hyperthreading can sometimes even hit performance.

More important for gaming than the number of cores and threads is the clock rate. Problematically, unless the two CPUs are from the same family, this can only serve as a general guide and nothing like an exact comparison, because the clock cycles per instruction (CPI) will vary so much.

The Core i7-4600U 2-Core and Core i7-3540M 2-Core are not from the same family of CPUs, so their clock speeds are by no means directly comparable. Bear in mind, then, that while the Core i7-3540M 2-Core has a 0.9 GHz faster frequency, this is not always an indicator that it will be superior in performance, despite frequency being crucial when trying to avoid GPU bottlenecking. In this case, however, the difference is probably a good indicator that the is superior.

Aside from the clock rate, the next-most important CPU features for PC game performance are L2 and L3 cache size. Faster than RAM, the more cache available, the more data that can be stored for lightning-fast retrieval. L1 Cache is not usually an issue anymore for gaming, with most high-end CPUs eking out about the same L1 performance, and L2 is more important than L3 - but L3 is still important if you want to reach the highest levels of performance. Bear in mind that although it is better to have a larger cache, the larger it is, the higher the latency, so a balance has to be struck.

The Core i7-4600U 2-Core and the Core i7-3540M 2-Core have the same L2 cache size, and the same L3 cache size, so in terms of cache-related gaming performance, we have to look back to the clock rate, where the Core i7-3540M 2-Core wins out.

The maximum Thermal Design Power is the power in Watts that the CPU will consume in the worst case scenario. The lithography is the semiconductor manufacturing technology being used to create the CPU - the smaller this is, the more transistors that can be fit into the CPU, and the closer the connections. For both the lithography and the TDP, it is the lower the better, because a lower number means a lower amount of power is necessary to run the CPU, and consequently a lower amount of heat is produced.