Testing, Processor Performance

Testing And Competition

For the most part we will be testing this laptop with the same benchmarks we’d use on any other. There are some exceptions – we’ll be excluding boot time and hard drive benchmarks, for example, because the processor is not a significant contributor to these results.

For comparison we’ll be using the Alienware M14x, the the HP dm4t Beats Edition, the Acer Aspire Timeline Ultra M3 the ASUS K53T. This gives us a good selection of previous-generation hardware including a Core i7-QM, a Core i5, a Core i5 low-voltage and an AMD A6 quad-core.

Below you will find tables for each system that can be used to reference the full specs.

Now, let’s get in to the meat of this review and the information you came here to read – how fast is Ivy Bridge?

Processor Performance

We’ll start, as always, with SiSoft Sandra. These two benchmarks give a good indication of a processor’s maximum performance in a synthetic best-case scenario. Let’s see where the new Core i7-3720QM stands.

In both of these benchmarks we see the new Core i7-3720QM absolutely demolish every competitor. It’s nearly three times as fast as the Core i5 dual-core in the HP dm4t and over six times faster than the AMD-A6 quad-core found in the ASUS K53T. It appears AMD’s already struggling mobile processors have been set up for a wallop – hopefully the upcoming Trinity based systems can close the gap a bit, though it’s hard to see how that could be accomplished.

Now let’s wander into our semi-synthetic benchmarks, 7-Zip and Futuremark.

7-Zip tells a similar story to SiSoft, though the margins of victory are smaller. The new Ivy Bridge quad is only over three times quicker than both the AMD-A6 in the ASUS K53T and the Core i5 low-voltage dual-core in the Acer Aspire M3. 

Peacekeeper is always interesting because it gains so little benefit from multiple threads. The high Turbo Boost clock of this quad-core still allows it to claim victory even in this scenario, but the margin is much smaller. This is the first time we’ve seen a quad-core processor dominate Peacekeeper. Dual-cores usually win because of their higher clock speed, but the formidable 3.6 GHz maximum clock on the Core i7-3720QM brings home the win.  

Real-World Benchmarks

This is the part of the review where we temper our primary synthetic results with some real-world scenarios. First among these is Windows Live Movie Maker. If you’re going to slap together a YouTube video on a Windows machine this is probably the tool you’ll use for it. Our benchmark records how long it takes to save a standardized high-resolution video clip to 1080p.

How’s that for a linear graph? Here we can see that once again the new Ivy Bridge quad-core defeats every other contender soundly by saving the clip over a minute more quickly than a previous-gen Core i7-QM. 

Next up we have Sunlit Green BatchBlitz. This is a useful freeware tool for batch photo conversions. It’s simple, light-weight and quick, but it doesn’t always make perfect use of multiple threads. I consider this a plus – many apps have similar issues, so it’s useful to take a look at how multi-core processors perform when their maximum potential is untapped.

Again we have a serious win for the new quad-core, despite the fact that all available threads weren’t pegged. This result, combined with the high Peacekeeper score, indicates to me that Intel is improving its Turbo Boost feature. It appears that the feature is now able to behave more aggressively. Since Turbo Boost is based off a system’s electrical and thermal limits it make sense that a die shrink would allow Turbo Boost more headroom.

« PreviousNext »