What's the difference between mobile and desktop processors?

He says TDP is the main indicator of performance. My current quad core 3GHz i5 cpu has a TDP of 80W, as does my 2002 Athlon XP. They are not even remotely similar in performance. These facts are 100% verifyable, in one paragraph I have shown that the entire basis of his answer is factually incorrect.

Booo :(

There really needs to be a way to overule voting where something can be clearly shown to be entirely wrong?

This misinformation is really damaging to the credibility (as well as the usefulness) of stackexchange as a whole and unsurprisingly happens the most in superuser where the audience is least technical or capable of assesing the merit of an answer. People can say any old nonsense, add a graph and it gets upvoted like crazy.

Once they snowball better answers don't just rise to the top, they never get looked at at all.

Fact is not a popularity contest, we need a sanity checking mechanism.

  • 1
    Except the answer isn't technically wrong. You can't compare an Athlon XP to any of the Intel Core products.
    – Ramhound
    Commented Sep 10, 2014 at 18:40
  • @Ramhound You can't compare an ARM processor from a mobile to them either! In what way is it not technically wrong when I have just shown that TDP does not equate to performance and he is saying that it does?
    – JamesRyan
    Commented Sep 10, 2014 at 18:54
  • Because if it takes 90 watts to run a CPU at 3ghz and only 45 watts to run a different CPU at 3Ghz which one has better performance?
    – Ramhound
    Commented Sep 10, 2014 at 20:01
  • You are missing the point of the rest of what is said in the answer, when comparing processors of a similar age and class (i.e. the fabrication size as was mentioned) then TDP is a very valid way to roughly determine CPU complexity. You can't expect anything from 2002 (45nm or larger features) to compete with something from 2012 (22nm features) and get anything close to meaningful results. You need to reread the answer and notice that he states that TDP and fabrication size are both highly important (and must effectively be taken together) when comparing CPUs.
    – Mokubai Mod
    Commented Sep 10, 2014 at 21:08
  • @Mokubai I am not missing that. If you take fab size and tdp that gives basically a rough idea of the number of transistors (which is available as a stat anyway). However this completely ignores architecture which makes a HUGE difference. The whole point of the question was to compare CPUs in mobile to desktop, he brought up TDP specifically to compare differing types of CPU but his method as you point out is meaningless.
    – JamesRyan
    Commented Sep 10, 2014 at 22:16

1 Answer 1


You're free to post a better answer rebutting it. Or voting accordingly. "Completely" is rather extreme, I must say.

I'd also add that votes are not just a reflection of technical merit (and I personally liked that answer) but also of popularity.

They're something the community does and generally wrongness is not something that moderators are expected to deal with anyway.

  • I'm free to stand in front of a train that I'm late for, it doesn't make it stop. The votes are already way too high.
    – JamesRyan
    Commented Sep 10, 2014 at 15:22
  • Completely is not at all extreme, my current quad core 3GHz i5 cpu has a TDP of 80W, as does my 2002 Athlon XP. You think these are of similar performance?
    – JamesRyan
    Commented Sep 10, 2014 at 15:33
  • 2
    @JamesRyan You're missing the point.. there's nothing moderators will do (or can do) in such a case. Regardless of what Journeyan Geek thinks. I'm happy to ignore the technical content of this answer as long as it's attempting to answer the question. Downvote, post a comment explaining what's wrong, and post a better answer instead if you can.
    – slhck
    Commented Sep 10, 2014 at 15:40
  • @slhck you are missing the point, there SHOULD be a mechanism to overrule misinformation that has got a bandwagon. I want to be on a site where experts can show that the world is curved and not be swamped by the idiocracy voting that it is flat.
    – JamesRyan
    Commented Sep 10, 2014 at 15:48
  • 2
    @JamesRyan How do you suggest this should be done? From my experience, if you can make a good point with an answer of your own, over time this should float to the top, or the OP might accept that instead. Unless we have an "expert committee" that could decide something like this, I see absolutely no fair way of overruling any community voting.
    – slhck
    Commented Sep 10, 2014 at 15:55
  • Well one way might be to reset voting so an alternate answer stands a chance of being looked at. Or in an instance like this where it can be shown to be significantly factually inaccurate moderators should have a responsibility to arbitrarily delete it. IMHO misinformation is far more damaging than abusive content.
    – JamesRyan
    Commented Sep 10, 2014 at 16:02
  • 3
    @JamesRyan Again, moderators cannot judge whether something is "significantly factually inaccurate". Especially in the case of something technically so complex. We're community moderators—we deal with people, their behavior, and we can usually determine quite well whether something is on topic (in case of questions) or acceptable as an answer (in case of answers), even without deep technical knowledge. We are not supposed to judge any more than that, on a technical level.
    – slhck
    Commented Sep 10, 2014 at 17:35
  • @slhck Look at the datasheet for the 2 cpus I mentioned and read their quoted TDP. Reading is not too technical for a moderator to do is it? Some questions might be too technical for you to judge but it doesn't have to be all or nothing - thieves can pick your locks but that doesn't mean you leave the door wide open when you leave the house.
    – JamesRyan
    Commented Sep 10, 2014 at 19:06
  • 2
    @JamesRyan Sorry to put it that bluntly, but I'm not going to look up any datasheets. I won't unilaterally decide whether something's correct or not. That's not how it works. If at all, you'd have to have multiple privileged users look at it. And you don't want to open that can of worms—just think about the enormous amount of time needed to review the technical accuracy of posts when we even struggle keeping the simple review queues clean, where the decision is much easier. If we had such a process, anyone could disagree with anything and require others to look at it.
    – slhck
    Commented Sep 10, 2014 at 19:33
  • @slhck ok so when everyone sits around whining about poor question quality and why knowledgable users are leaving. This is why.
    – JamesRyan
    Commented Sep 10, 2014 at 19:38
  • @JamesRyan We've never talked about question quality here, and I'm sure it's quite decent on SU. Let me reiterate: If you think the answer is wrong, create your own and point out where the others are incorrect. It's not too late for that. Another alternative: talk to the poster of that answer on chat. Convince him that it should be fixed, if you think he's wrong and you're right. That's all a moderator can do here.
    – slhck
    Commented Sep 10, 2014 at 19:46
  • @JamesRyan - Yes; I would agree attitudes likes yours is the reason people are leaving.
    – Ramhound
    Commented Sep 11, 2014 at 11:14

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