Have a L501x that has been great (except for the USB 3 issues (that I knew about before buying thanks to Internet Forums)) but now is time to look around for a replacement.
I can find websites that compare power of processors (i7-740 QM vs today's Intel processors) and I can find the speed of memory (2010 vs today) but can't find a simple metric to compare old and new.
I know there is not one simple number (today's laptop is X times better) but you would think there would be summaries instead of wading thru benchmarks?
On the other hand seem like processor changes have been striving for less power consumption rather than throughput???
That would be correct - there simply hasn't been a major leap in CPU horsepower, but current CPUs are more efficient and run as well or better as older ones, consuming far less power and generating far less heat than older ones did. There really isn't a single metric that indicates overall performance - just about anything at the i5 or equivalent or faster is capable of most functions in a mainstream system. Avoid the very low power CPUs (Celeron/sub-i3s) and watch the video requirements and you can't go far wrong with any mainstream CPU.
Now that AMD is fielding more efficient CPUs that run as well or better than Intel's out of the gate (and which will find their way into mobile systems soon), Intel will be forced to follow suit just as it was the last time AMD caught up/surpassed Intel -- so the situation may soon change (again).