How have Laptops changed since 2008?

So how have laptops changed since 2008? People are always excited about the new stuff, but today let’s take a step back and look at the past. Let’s see how laptops have changed in the last decade.

 

We are going to compare an Alienware Area 51 M15X one of 2008’s best gaming laptops to today’s Alienware R3 15. Let’s get started.

So first of all here are the specs if that’s what you’re interested in:

M15X:

  • 2.8GHz Intel Core 2 Extreme X9000
  • 4GB of DDR2 at 667MHz
  • 200GB 7,200 RPM HDD
  • 512MB Nvidia GeForce 8800M GTX

The laptop itself has a 15.4” 1200p screen and weighs 7.8 pounds or 3.53 kilograms. The OS is Windows Vista Premium

R3 15”:

  • 2.9GHz – 4.8GHz Intel Core i9-8950HK
  • 16GB of DDR4 at 2400MHz
  • 256GB PCIe M.2 SSD + 1TB 7200RPM HDD
  • 8GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080

This laptop features a 15.6” 1080p GSYNC screen and weighs 7.69 pounds or 3.49 kilograms.

CPU’s have come a long way. The Core i9 8950HK is 490% better than the Core I9 8950HK. Also, we have jumped from 45 nm to 14 in 10 years. This helps laptops greatly to deal with heat and power usage, but still, both of these chips have a TDP of 45W, bear in mind that the i9 has 6 cores compared to the Core 2 Extreme 2 cores and the i9 cores have a higher clock speed. Essentially we have been able to quintuple the performance for 45W TDP CPU’s. This truly is a great feat.

RAM has also been upgraded not just in capacity, but speed also! The clock speed has quadrupled and the capacity also has quadrupled, take note that you can put up to 32GB of RAM in the R3 15″. The efficiency has also increased DDR2’s standard voltage is 1.8V while DDR4’s standard voltage is 1.2V.

But what has changed in the storage? The memory technology we use. In recent years we have switched to flash-based storage rather than the old slow mechanical hard drives, that is in laptops mostly but desktops and gaming laptops still frequently use hard drives to store games or media like videos, photos etc. We have seen a rise in new technologies like Intel’s 3D XPoint which is almost as fast as RAM but is limited to slow interfaces. M.2 Drives have also become popular because they are compact flash-based storage that is faster than conventional SATA SSD’s.

So last but not least GPU’s. One of the most important parts of a computer for Gamers and Video Editors. GPU’s have evolved much faster than CPU’s RAM etc. The GTX 1080 is 1512% faster than the GTX 8800M. Why? thanks to new memory like GDDR5X and compression that allows streaming more data through the memory bus. And most importantly new architectures like Pascal which have smaller transistors(16nm vs 61nm).

As you can see the answer isn’t always to give something more power, but make it more efficient so it can use what it already has to its maximum potential. Also, a cool fact 1080p has been around for a decade and is still being used today!

 

Design

The design is important so let’s see how that has aged. Here are pictures of the two laptops:

The M15X looks thick and very square. The laptop itself is thick coming in at 4.3 CM. And it uses plastic for it exterior chassis. Compared to the Alienware R3 this thing is quite ugly sure the R3 is still thick at 3.05 CM, but the aluminum on the outside makes it miles better than the M15X. Also, I prefer the keyboard lighting on the R3 because it’s much more minimalistic and if you want you could set it to white and disable the other RGB lights to make it look more “normal” in a business setting.

Lets recap:

Laptops have gotten more powerful in the last decade because of efficiency increasing technologies and lower transistor size. 1080p Is still used today even after a decade. And today people prefer more premium materials like aluminum and glass on their products.

Nvidia’s Pascal architecture is one of the reasons why laptops have gotten so powerful, even the Maxwell architecture couldn’t allow for such performance to be cramped inside a laptop. It’s quite amazing that we have desktop grade graphics in a laptop give or take 5-10% performance loss.

Thanks for reading and if you have any topic that you would like me to cover be sure to post it in the comments!

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