How much does CPU affect 3G speeds?



Daniel (aka: ThoughtFix) has a nice review of the Sprint Novatel U720 USB modem; this is the device that supports Sprint’s EV-DO Rev. A network. A USB modem is a great option for a UMPC or other mobile device that doesn’t have a PC-Card slot, so you should check out the review.

Now Daniel does live in an area that has the Rev. A network implemented, so when I saw the bandwidth results, I was a little surprised; they were generally lower than what I’ve seen on my EV-DO Rev. 0 tests. It’s not uncommon for me to be near 1 Mbps on the download side BUT (big caveat here): wireless throughput is always subject to various factors like location, signal strength at the time, etc…

Still, this one quote from Daniel has me wondering if the CPU is one of those influential factors as well: "With the limited resources of the UMPC (both CPU and graphics) it seems that CPU intensive applications give too little CPU power to the Sprint application, causing disconnection." If correct and the lack of CPU power can cause disconnection, can it also influence the actual throughput? It’s something I never thought of before and may pursue a little research on…regardless, if you’re on the go with a mobile device and need 3G connectivity, give Daniel’s review a look.




I’ve had the opposite experience here in Orange County, CA. Using the Sprint U720 without Y cable on my Q1P, I’ve had ~2100kbps down and and ~650kbps up.

Whereas on my Treo 700W I’ve averaged ~400 down on PIE. The highest I’ve been able to hit on my 700W is 700kbps. Normally it’s around 300-400kbps.



It may not be just a slow CPU causing slow EVDO speeds… our experience with the u720 is that two other factors seriously affect speed: available power at USB port, and RF interference from the laptop. The u720 ships with a Y cable, and though i doubt it will help the UMPC give up more power, it may help to see if RF is having an affect.

As for average speeds, my Sprint AC595 gives me a consistent 800-1000kbps here in north dallas where Sprint is still Rev-0.

Even better results come from my Verizon AC595 because Verizon’s Rev-A is already deployed here. I usually see 1500-1800kbps downloads, and in several places i’ve tested from, i’ve gotten over 2000kbps down and 900kbps up!

To help people see where Verizon Rev-A is already active, we started a new google mashup at

Brought to you by the EVDO Experts at and

Mike Cane

I wouldn’t be at all surprised if CPU speed affects this. CPU speeds affect many things. It takes close to a minute to list the files on my S320’s MStick. Put that same MStick in a CLIE running a triple-digit CPU and it takes a few minor seconds, if not an eyeblink.


I am always surprised when I see Sprint EV-DO Rev A speeds posted somewhere. I have never seen speeds listed that were even half my average Rev 0 speed with Verizon, at least in Houston. While exact location in relation to the towers is always a big factor I average at least 500 kbps on Verizon Rev 0 everywhere, and that figure is accumulated over a couple of years. I’ve not seen Sprint Rev A numbers reach that average speed anywhere, which really surprises me. Can someone with SPrint Rev 0 or Rev A post their bandwidth speeds here, please?

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