Pentium M vs. Pentium IV chip?
May 18, 2004 7:06 AM   Subscribe

Being endlessly frustrated with a new computer game (City of Heroes) refusing to work with my laptop (Dell Inspiron 5150), I am considering buying a new laptop. While I know what I want for most of it, the option of a Pentium M vs Pentium IV chip confuses me. The M clocks in in the 1.~ range while the other is 3.~+. Which is faster? Which should I get for a gaming laptop?
posted by robocop is bleeding to Computers & Internet (14 answers total)
M is slightly faster at the same clock speed, but not a factor of 3. if you want speed and don't care about battery life, get a PIV (and if you're looking at laptops with desktop chips, why not an AMD?!)
(i gather PIV will be dropped for something more like M on the desktop eventually, but that's a different kettle of fish...)
posted by andrew cooke at 7:14 AM on May 18, 2004

The M uses less power and runs at a lower temperature. If you want power get a pentium IV. But really if you want power get a desktop. Keep the current laptop and you can get a pretty fast desktop for MUCH MUCH less than replacing the laptop.
posted by RustyBrooks at 7:21 AM on May 18, 2004

Get a decent graphics card for a gaming laptop, I somehow doubt coh needs more than 1 gig. It may need some more RAM when there are multiple entities on the screen though - what exactly is the problem with the game? ie slow, refuses to load etc?
posted by Mossy at 7:24 AM on May 18, 2004

Response by poster: The problem with the game is endless crashes and lockups. I'm not sure why, but whenever I try to use a certain menu or feature in the game, the system locks up and requires a hard reboot.

It is, shall we say, extremely annoying. The only thing worse is the horrible lack of tech support. It'd be easy to just walk away if the game itself wasn't so much fun!
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:30 AM on May 18, 2004

I just got an Alienware m-51 laptop with a p4 and a Nvidia 5700 graphics card (which is easily upgradable thanks to a hatch in the case) lastweek and I love it.
posted by Mick at 8:11 AM on May 18, 2004

I had this problem with my laptop with some of the newer games as well -- mostly it seemed to be due to bad graphics drivers supplied by HP. Going with the latest drivers from the source (in this case, ATI) extended the life of my machine for games a bit...
posted by ph00dz at 8:20 AM on May 18, 2004

Same experience as ph00dz, but with a Toshiba laptop. Take a look at your driver situation, and maybe the 5150 will provide. And have Van Halen playing while you work, it might give your machine the extra little boost it needs.
posted by COBRA! at 8:49 AM on May 18, 2004

i run COH on toshiba 2.8 ghz laptop with a 32 megabyte craptastic Nivida lap top card. COH runs fine but was crashing for awhile because the general driver patch that i got from Nvidia doesn't actually support that graphic card. I had to go to the toshiba website to download the correct driver. I would try updating your graphics driver before buying a new lap top.

on a side note, the tech support for COH was great for me. I was having the same problem as you after updating my drivers, didn't know what was wrong, sent an email to COH folks at 6 on a sunday night and i had my answer and a fix by 10 that same night.

and if anyone is on the guardian server, look me up.
posted by Stynxno at 9:16 AM on May 18, 2004

Response by poster: Stynxno, which driver are you using?

In theory, I'm using nVidia GeForce FX Go5200, Driver, Windows XP, Multi Language, Inspiron 5150, v., A05, which has a build of 3/11/04, but still no dice.

As for customer support, my interactions have been mainly revolving around them not answering my questions and telling me how to cancel my account rather than helping me play.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:17 AM on May 18, 2004

Personal Digression time: City of Heroes RAWKS. I'm not much of a gamer, save for Strategy/Simulation games like Civ3 or the Maxis Sims line, but this game is amazing and loads of fun. I'm totally hooked.

I'm usually on the Liberty server. If you see a Mutant Blaster, currently Level 7, with a mostly-blue outift and thigh-high boots, that'd be me. Feel free to say hi. :-)
posted by Asparagirl at 11:52 AM on May 18, 2004

I got hooked on guild wars last week - thank god it was only a 3 day alpha..

This certainly sounds like a driver issue - have you tried uninstalling the latest nvidia drivers and going with an older set/the default ones from windows update? Or uninstall/reinstall?

Try the drivers here:

As they appear to be the latest build - 1st april this year.

Also ensure that you have the latest directx and that your hd is fully scanned and defragged.
posted by Mossy at 3:17 PM on May 18, 2004

Ok, I am going to come out of the closet here...

I am tech support at NCSoft for COH and Lin2.

Send me an email to and I'll help you out.
posted by jopreacher at 4:29 PM on May 18, 2004

jopreacher: i might need you at some point ;)

robo- i have the same graphics card as you.

here's the email that i received from them with a link to the correct driver:

Thank you for submitting your DX Diag to us. We can further ascertain what may be the issue from these results. Did you install the default drivers from the website? If so, these may not be the proper drivers for your GeForce Go 5200 video card. We recommend to download the latest drivers from Toshiba. Based on the information contained in your DX Diag, we have determined the latest drivers for your particular display can be found at

Please cut and paste that link into Internet Explorer.. Then download these drivers.. UNINSTALL the old drivers, and then install this set of drivers. Let us know if the drivers help resolve the issue or not.

hope this helps!

and Asparagirl, if you ever hit up the Guardian server, my level 17 blaster will help ya out.
posted by Stynxno at 9:07 PM on May 18, 2004

Response by poster: Thanks muchly for the help. I'll try those drivers when I get home tonight.

And if anyone's on Justice, say "Hi" to Shock-Tart!
posted by robocop is bleeding at 10:40 AM on May 19, 2004

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