Performance – Competitors, Processor, General, Hard Drive

Performance – Competition

For comparison we’re going to be using a selection of other mainstream laptops we’ve recently tested. In a way it’s a dramatically biased set of competitors because these are all based on older Sandy Bridge processors and they’re all dual cores – and thus, they are certainly going to lose in many benchmarks. But so far we’ve only tested two Ivy Bridge laptops, so this is the data we have access to right now. 

Our selection of competitors is include the Dell XPS 15z, the HP dm4t Beats Edition and the Lenovo ThinkPad T420. Here are the specification tables. We’re also going to add the Alienware M14x, which is the last quad-core Sandy Bridge based laptop we reviewed.

Performance – Processor

We will start with the typical SiSoft Sandra processor benchmarks.

As mentioned in our previous Ivy Bridge for mobile review, the performance of the new Core i7-3720QM is way ahead of anything we’ve tested, and this gap appears most prominently in these highly optimized benchmarks. Without a doubt, if you use processor intensive applications that are well optimized, this new quad-core is an incredibly good choice.

7-Zip basically reaffirms the SiSoft results, with a slightly smaller margin of victory. In Peacekeeper, we see that the Core i7-3720QM performs amazingly well for a quad-core product, almost defeating the dual-core Core i7 in the Dell XPS 15z. It will be interesting to see, once the Ivy Bridge Core i5 processors hit, if they are even faster – or if this result is evidence of better performance in poorly multi-threaded applications.

Performance – General

Our general benchmarks provide a good example of real-world performance in common applications. Our first test is Windows Live Movie Maker, software that is often used for basic video editing. Our benchmark takes a look at how quickly the software can encode and save to 1080p.

This is a shockingly linear graph that seems to represent overall processor performance well. As the laptops add clock speed – and cores – the results gradually become better and better, cumulating in the 201 second result of the ASUS N56VM. As you can see, the gap between the slowest and quickest processor is quite significant – the kind of difference that the average user would notice in the real world.

Now let’s consider BatchBlitz. This is a freeware batch photo editing program that’s not well optimized for multiple cores, throwing a bit of a wrench at these laptops.

The lack of solid multi-thread support causes the BatchBlitz results of the Sandy Bridge processors to waver back and forth – and then the ASUS N56VM with its Ivy Bridge processor swoops in to dominate the pack. Clearly, the Turbo Boost feature is allowing the Core i7-3720QM to strut its stuff even when only a few threads are engaged.

Now let’s consider the boot and resume times.

There’s nothing unusual here. Only the HP dm4t, which has a solid state drive for quick boot times, is able to buck the trend of 40-second boots. The N56VM is slightly quicker when resuming from hibernate, but it’s hardly a noteworthy achievement.


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