What is the difference between Mobile CPU and Desktop CPU?

May 17, 2017

For each new generation, Intel provides a Desktop version of the processor as well as a mobile version. We explain the difference between the two so you have all information in hand to make your choice!

Comparing Mobile CPU vs Desktop CPU

A desktop version will have a higher speed processing and better cache than a mobile CPU which will feature a reduced speed. Compare the two models below: the mobile core i7 CPU has the same clock rate as the Desktop i5 core. The Desktop has twice more cores than the mobile core i7 and a small improvement on the GPU Clock rated speed.





Clock Rate


GPU Clock



Intel Core i5



2.7 GHz

HD 620

1100 MHz



Intel Core i7



2.7 GHz

HD 620

1050 MHz


It means that Desktop CPUs are more powerful. They can handle more devices: that’s why they are designed for full size PC or workstations like our Airtop.

Heat and Power Consumption

Due to their higher number of cores, computers with Desktop CPU are usually more powerful but therefore generate more heat and have a bigger power consumption than PCs powered by mobile processors.

As an example, our Airtop with desktop CPU draws from 65W whereas our fanless computers with mobile processors like Intense PC3 draws from 25W and Fitlet RM from 10W only.

Because computers with mobile CPUs generate little heating, it is easier to get a fanless design with smart passive cooling. Fanless computers using desktop CPU can also be cooled but they will require a different design as more heat is generated.

Airtop is cooled by Natural AirFlow - a revolutionary new cooling system!

Mobile CPU for which applications?

We recommend mobile CPUs for applications requiring low processing performance such as firewall, CCTV client, thin clients, remote controlling, M2M communication, real-time monitoring, SOHO…

Of course, it depends on your overall requirements and needs: Ask our Team!

Articles related to this topic:
Operating System: the difference between 32-bit and 64-bit
Introducing Airtop! Desktop PC just got “cool” again
What is the Function of the BIOS on a mini PC?