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Core i7-2820QM: Sandy Bridge Shines In Notebooks

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  • Performance
  • Sandy Bridge
  • Notebooks
  • Intel i7
Last response: in Reviews comments
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January 28, 2011 5:00:03 AM

We were impressed with Sandy Bridge's performance on the desktop, but how does it behave in a notebook? Today we break down performance, including surprising power consumption results. The new Core i7s even use less power than older Core i5s in daily use.

Core i7-2820QM: Sandy Bridge Shines In Notebooks : Read more

More about : core 2820qm sandy bridge shines notebooks

January 28, 2011 5:40:03 AM

Second!!! really a thousand dollars for a mobile cpu
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January 28, 2011 5:53:55 AM

What are the numbers for battery life for idle, surfing the web, and watching HD video? Several reputable sites have posted up numbers and I'm not seeing a chart that states these numbers, just lots of performance numbers to reiterate the obvious that it's more powerful and more efficient than Arrandale CPUs.
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January 28, 2011 5:59:24 AM

This isn't a production notebook so battery life pertaining to this specific notebook is rather pointless in relation to other models. There are other factors at play: LCD panel, battery density, etc... However, platform power consumption numbers are posted on the second to last and last page.

Andrew
TomsHardware
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January 28, 2011 6:04:58 AM

ackuThis isn't a production notebook so battery life pertaining to this specific notebook is rather pointless in relation to other models. There are other factors at play: LCD panel, battery density, etc... However, platform power consumption numbers are posted on the second to last and last page.AndrewTomsHardware


That isn't what I was looking for. On Anandtech and Tech Report, a Compal notebook with a Core i7 2820QM achieved between six and seven hours of battery life when web browsing. I was looking for a comparison to help me make a more informed decision.

Something like these is what I was referring to.

http://www.anandtech.com/show/4084/intels-sandy-bridge-...

http://techreport.com/articles.x/20294/8

Battery life is not pointless in any way. A pre-production model or not, it's relevant. If helps give us, the consumers, a better perspective to how laptops with these CPUs will perform with regards to battery life.

I'm surprised it wasn't included.
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January 28, 2011 6:14:24 AM

Fair point and I completely agree that battery life is not pointless. But on our point, we did go over power as far as browsing and Flash video if you read our conclusion.

On an platform level, you can expect a new Sandy Bridge Core i7 to achieve roughly double the battery life of a notebook with an Arrandale Core i5.

What I disliked about the previous benchmarks (including the ones you referenced) was that they automatically handicapped the benchmark against the Sandy Bridge mobile platform. Forget the whole DTR argument. A 17.3" panel will generally consume more power than a 15.6" (Look at the notebooks it was compared against.) When you isolate it down to the platform level then you can say all-else-being-equal (LCD, hard drive, wireless card, etc...), a notebook based on a Sandy Bridge mobile processor will ~ double battery life. Those other sites showed a roughly 33% improvement because of the other variables at play.

Remember though that when you are talking about H.264 playback, this is all run through the hardware decoder. You are getting very little battery burn no matter what hardware you are running. What really matters then is the total platforms power consumption and the density of your battery (2.6AH vs 2.9AH cells).

But back to your main point, if that is what you want to see on a DTR, then we will include it next time. Frankly, I'm more interested in the battery life of non-DTR mobile CPUs. "Normally" people don't care about battery life on a 17.3" mobile workstation.
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January 28, 2011 6:35:06 AM

Damnnnnn...those are some amazing benches for a laptop CPU. Beats some of the desktop i7s and probably all of AMDs desktop chips
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January 28, 2011 7:05:38 AM

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If AMD is paying attention, it needs to get its act in order. Brazos is one step up from being a pawn in the AMD Fusion chess set.


AMD's Brazos platform is very impressive especially the E-350 series that's paired with an Radeon HD 6310 in gaming performance. Soo impressive in fact that the gaming performance rivals that of Core i5 661 in a lot of games and even goes toe to toe with the Core i5 2500k in some games like Call OF Duty Black Ops! As show here....

http://www.anandtech.com/show/4134/the-brazos-review-am...
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January 28, 2011 7:38:15 AM

amd is losing ground.. they are taking too long releasing new products.. Intel is expensive.. damm!
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January 28, 2011 7:55:56 AM

I think bulldozer will be able to compete in terms of TDP because of the two integer units / core
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January 28, 2011 8:56:17 AM

I just bought myself an Asus N53SV a couple of days ago, so far it's been great, it can handle any game i throw at it due to the combined intel 3000 and gf540m. Whenever i use the notebook for things like surfing the web it uses the intel 3000, so i get better battery life. I game with the notebook plugged in and set to maximum performance on a 42 inch plasma through hdmi. And it beats my desktop as far as framerates are concerned
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January 28, 2011 9:26:45 AM

SteelCity1981 said:
Quote:
If AMD is paying attention, it needs to get its act in order. Brazos is one step up from being a pawn in the AMD Fusion chess set.


AMD's Brazos platform is very impressive especially the E-350 series that's paired with an Radeon HD 6310 in gaming performance. Soo impressive in fact that the gaming performance rivals that of Core i5 661 in a lot of games and even goes toe to toe with the Core i5 2500k in some games like Call OF Duty Black Ops! As show here....

http://www.anandtech.com/show/4134/the-brazos-review-am...



Do you really want to play Call of Duty Black Ops at 1024 x 768 at low quality? I wouldn't ever want to punish any TomsHardware reader that harshly. :) 

Andrew
TomsHardware
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January 28, 2011 9:59:36 AM

I'm really not sure that's the intention. Sure, it supports DirectX 11, but we all know that below the 5700 series, there's little point using it. The true strength of Brazos' GPU is slightly older games or ones that don't require masses of bandwidth because that single channel memory interface will strangle it in the end.
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January 28, 2011 10:02:56 AM

silverblue said:
I'm really not sure that's the intention. Sure, it supports DirectX 11, but we all know that below the 5700 series, there's little point using it. The true strength of Brazos' GPU is slightly older games or ones that don't require masses of bandwidth because that single channel memory interface will strangle it in the end.


I think you hit the nail on its head right there. AMD never really positioned the Brazos platform as a "gaming platform." It can't handle it. It works better as a more powerful enhancement over an Atom.

Same thing goes for the HD Graphics 3000. If you have a DTR, it is likely you are going to get a discrete chipset anyways.
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January 28, 2011 10:11:54 AM

It can play modern games without textures flickering all over the place, but most won't be too smooth, and you certainly wouldn't want to enable AA thanks to the bandwidth issue unless you're really limited by CPU performance (and even then...).

It's fantastic that you can play some modern games in low detail with a decent framerate with something as small as your fingernail and use very little power doing it, but people shouldn't get their hopes up that this is, say, a console killer. Let's wait and see what Enhanced Bobcat is like for that sort of thing.
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January 28, 2011 10:16:49 AM

The 7-zip chart needs to be fixed.
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January 28, 2011 10:54:43 AM

On a lighter note, "RLUMark" is unpronounceable. I would like to suggest "IRLMark," (pronounced "Earl-Mark") for "In-Real-Life" for your realistic benchmark.
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January 28, 2011 11:13:22 AM

Quote:
Do you really want to play Call of Duty Black Ops at 1024 x 768 at low quality? I wouldn't ever want to punish any TomsHardware reader that harshly.


Well the same can be said when benchmarking an Intel Core i7/5/3 2xxx using its integraded graphics unit on game like Call Of Duty Black Opts. But I think you are missing the point in regards to the AMD's E-350 and the Call of Duty Black Ops benchmark. Of course no one is really going to play a game like Call Of Duty Black Opts on a integrated graphics unit with everything on low settings unless they are really that desperate. The point of doing that benchmark was to show the capabilities of the E-350's integrated graphics unit and for a processor aimed at the budget and ultra budget markets that can compete with mid-range processors with integrated graphics units built in, that's pretty impressive to say the least.
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January 28, 2011 11:50:21 AM

SteelCity1981Well the same can be said when benchmarking an Intel Core i7/5/3 2xxx using its integraded graphics unit on game like Call Of Duty Black Opts. But I think you are missing the point in regards to the AMD's E-350 and the Call of Duty Black Ops benchmark. Of course no one is really going to play a game like Call Of Duty Black Opts on a integrated graphics unit with everything on low settings unless they are really that desperate. The point of doing that benchmark was to show the capabilities of the E-350's integrated graphics unit and for a processor aimed at the budget and ultra budget markets that can compete with mid-range processors with integrated graphics units built in, that's pretty impressive to say the least.


I'll agree with that sentiment. However, simply stating that it the E-350 can perform similarly still doesn't address how similar it is in higher resolutions or a realistic quality setting. Or even in real life. It's a different market altogether. As Chris has often said, "Sorry your princess is in a different castle."

That said, he actually covered all of this in his original desktop Brazos review. And it isn't right in my mind to make that type of comparison anyways. On the i7-2820QM, it's a mobile CPU that is going into a DTR notebook and is almost guaranteed to have discrete chip. On the mobile side things come out as systems, rarely do you get to simply pick and choose CPU + Graphics. What is the point about talking about the graphic short comings on this CPU when it is certainly always going to be paired with a powerful GPU?

With the E-350, you are talking about nettops and netbooks. You won't be able to game anything larger than 1366 x 768 even at the most optimistic notebook configuration. So 1024 x 768 is a reasonable expectation given that is the resolution most often seen on the netbook side. Remember, AMD is hitting low prices with their 100 CPU/mobo combo, so this it is truly meant as a budget option.

Meanwhile the i7-2820QM is certainly always going to be in a 15.6" LCD system or larger. Brazos is $500 and under. That is the target. With the i5-2820QM you are looking at systems that are going to be priced at least $1,000 plus its going to come with a discrete chip. Realistically, we are talking about at least $1,500. The i7-2630 is down the ladder on the Asus N53SV and probably ran around 1k, but I'm sure vadim_79 can jump and share the final price tag.
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January 28, 2011 11:54:12 AM

silverblue said:
It can play modern games without textures flickering all over the place, but most won't be too smooth, and you certainly wouldn't want to enable AA thanks to the bandwidth issue unless you're really limited by CPU performance (and even then...).

It's fantastic that you can play some modern games in low detail with a decent framerate with something as small as your fingernail and use very little power doing it, but people shouldn't get their hopes up that this is, say, a console killer. Let's wait and see what Enhanced Bobcat is like for that sort of thing.


That Enhanced Bobcat will be a 2012 move. And that would be "some modern games." CodBO isn't DX11. And I doubt anyone wants to attempt to play Crysis on a Brazos system even at 1024x768

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/amd-fusion-brazos-p...

You will be wanting to look toward Krishna. Ontario and Wichita will still be ala Atom flavors.

AMD's mobile plans hang on Llano and the Sabine platform. I'm teething to see them in action.
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January 28, 2011 11:55:46 AM

Onus said:
On a lighter note, "RLUMark" is unpronounceable. I would like to suggest "IRLMark," (pronounced "Earl-Mark") for "In-Real-Life" for your realistic benchmark.

I may just have to steal that idea! Thanks
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January 28, 2011 12:02:10 PM

Why ddin't you pit it against a 740qm or 720qm ?

and no I didn't read the article, since it doesn't compare to that, so if you wrote it somewhere in there, sorry.
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January 28, 2011 12:07:27 PM

:hello:  It isn't theft to take what was freely offered :sol: 
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January 28, 2011 12:07:41 PM

neiroatopelcc said:
Why ddin't you pit it against a 740qm or 720qm ?

and no I didn't read the article, since it doesn't compare to that, so if you wrote it somewhere in there, sorry.


Actually the more interesting comparison would have been against the i7-920XM, as that is the part it is replacing. That said, we didn't have one available in the Bakersfield lab at the time of testing.
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January 28, 2011 12:11:53 PM

And, on the subject of integrated graphics, I do NOT think it is a foregone conclusion that Sandy Bridge DTRs will be paired with discrete graphics. Businesses are not going to provide that to their employees; it will be nice for these people to know if they'll actually be able to play games during extended business travel.
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January 28, 2011 12:12:42 PM

Onus said:
:hello:  It isn't theft to take what was freely offered :sol: 


I wish the pubs were run that way.
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January 28, 2011 12:14:22 PM

Quote:
simply stating that it the E-350 can perform similarly still doesn't address how similar it is in higher resolutions or a realistic quality setting. Or even in real life. It's a different market altogether. As Chris has often said, "Sorry your princess is in a different castle."

That said, he actually covered all of this in his original desktop Brazos review. And it isn't right in my mind to make that type of comparison anyways. On the i7-2820QM, it's a mobile CPU that is going into a DTR notebook and is almost guaranteed to have discrete chip. On the mobile side things come out as systems, rarely do you get to simply pick and choose CPU + Graphics. What is the point about talking about the graphic short comings on this CPU when it is certainly always going to be paired with a powerful GPU?

With the E-350, you are talking about nettops and netbooks. You won't be able to game anything larger than 1366 x 768 even at the most optimistic notebook configuration. So 1024 x 768 is a reasonable expectation given that is the resolution most often seen on the notebook side. Remember, AMD is hitting low prices with their 100 CPU/mobo combo.



The fact that the E-350 can compete at all in the same realm as a Core i5 on any game setting is highly impressive within itself, considering the E-350 is aimed at a much lower market. Of course the Core i5's will win out in the end the higher resolutions becomes when processing power becomes more and more of a factor in which the E-350's cpu simply can't match any Core i5 in raw cpu power, but it was never meant to either. It was to show its overall capabilities compared to the Atom and using a midrange cpu to compare it will showed how much capability the E-350 has to offer.
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January 28, 2011 12:14:28 PM

Onus said:
And, on the subject of integrated graphics, I do NOT think it is a foregone conclusion that Sandy Bridge DTRs will be paired with discrete graphics. Businesses are not going to provide that to their employees; it will be nice for these people to know if they'll actually be able to play games during extended business travel.


True but I rather test those lower clocked i7 and i5 to validate that statement. I wouldn't want to make that an automatic conclusion of this article. This one is the second fastest of the mobile Sandies. The i7-920XM was the part it effectively replaced, and that was almost never seen outside of a discrete pairing.
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January 28, 2011 12:19:26 PM

Could the i7-920XM have been seen without a discrete GPU? I thought only the i5 (and i3) had HD graphics...

With Sandy Bridge, that is no longer an issue, since they ALL have integrated video.
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January 28, 2011 12:20:06 PM

SteelCity1981 said:
Quote:
simply stating that it the E-350 can perform similarly still doesn't address how similar it is in higher resolutions or a realistic quality setting. Or even in real life. It's a different market altogether. As Chris has often said, "Sorry your princess is in a different castle."

That said, he actually covered all of this in his original desktop Brazos review. And it isn't right in my mind to make that type of comparison anyways. On the i7-2820QM, it's a mobile CPU that is going into a DTR notebook and is almost guaranteed to have discrete chip. On the mobile side things come out as systems, rarely do you get to simply pick and choose CPU + Graphics. What is the point about talking about the graphic short comings on this CPU when it is certainly always going to be paired with a powerful GPU?

With the E-350, you are talking about nettops and netbooks. You won't be able to game anything larger than 1366 x 768 even at the most optimistic notebook configuration. So 1024 x 768 is a reasonable expectation given that is the resolution most often seen on the notebook side. Remember, AMD is hitting low prices with their 100 CPU/mobo combo.



The fact that the E-350 can compete at all in the same realm as a Core i5 on any game setting is highly impressive within itself, considering the E-350 is aimed at a much lower market. Of course the Core i5's will win out in the end the higher resolutions becomes when processing power becomes more and more of a factor in which the E-350's cpu simply can't match any Core i5 in raw cpu power, but it was never meant to either. It was to show its overall capabilities compared to the Atom and using a midrange cpu to compare it will showed how much capability the E-350 has to offer.


The same could be said for i3 Arrandale and i7 Clarksfield on the graphic side. Yet, no one would really make that comparison. They are meant for different applications.

On that note, Intel graphics has never been something to fawn over. AMD and Nvidia graphic card owners don't proudly proclaim that fact. Hell the Nile did better than HD Graphics. The fact that the E-350 comes close isn't surprising at all. It has a Cedar core. Having a computer that "beats" an Intel integrated graphics solution is basically a requirement at this point.
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January 28, 2011 12:21:13 PM

These new Intel mobile CPU prices are a joke.

I f_cking hate Intel with a passion.
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January 28, 2011 12:23:47 PM

Onus said:
Could the i7-920XM have been seen without a discrete GPU? I thought only the i5 (and i3) had HD graphics...

With Sandy Bridge, that is no longer an issue, since they ALL have integrated video.


You're right so that is a given. But the other half is that mobile workstations generally employ a decent discrete graphic solution. We don't see DTRs though with a measly discrete chip though. It generally comes with top tier mobile GPU.
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January 28, 2011 12:24:20 PM

Wow... I never expected such performance from Intel's mobile lineup. Sandy Bridge is a total home run. As much as some of us dislike AMD, I think they should stick around a while longer to keep Intel's prices down a lil bit, even though I am one of those silly enough to spend $1,000 on the i7 980X which is outperformed already by numerous Sandy Bridge processors.
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January 28, 2011 12:30:18 PM

ackuThe same could be said for i3 Arrandale and i7 Clarksfield on the graphic side. Yet, no one would really make that comparison. They are meant for different applications. On that note, Intel graphics has never been something to fawn over. AMD and Nvidia graphic card owners don't proudly proclaim that fact. Hell the Nile did better than HD Graphics. The fact that the E-350 comes close isn't surprising at all. It has a Cedar core. Having a computer that "beats" and Intel integrated graphics solution is basically a requirement at this point.



Clarksfield never had an intergrated graphics unit built in. Arrandale intergated graphics units were expected to be what they were. AMD's Brazo platform however is surprising in the way how it can compete in areas with markets higher then what its targeted for and smash the competition that it was targeted for at the same time, that's something AMD hasn't done in a while.
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January 28, 2011 12:32:25 PM

Previously, they had to. Not any more though. Sandy Bridge offers integrated graphics that is good enough for business.
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January 28, 2011 12:39:14 PM

Quote:
The i7-2630 is down the ladder on the Asus N53SV and probably ran around 1k, but I'm sure vadim_79 can jump and share the final price tag.

I paid 1300$ for it
p.s. it's got a gf gt540m besides the intel hd3000

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January 28, 2011 1:28:54 PM

Great. We're back to mobile CPU pricing circa 2001. I can remember spec'ing a dell laptop then, and changing the CPU speed by 200-500 MHz. The price increased by about a dollar per MHz, if not more. AMD was non-competitive in the mobile space at that time too.

The problem is, who is going to walk into a Best Buy or Walmart or something, and choose a $2000 laptop over a $1000 or even $500 laptop? That type of decision is mostly for the "money is no object" customers, and we are *not* in a "MINO" economy.
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January 28, 2011 2:07:58 PM

Can someone tell me how to get the print view?
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January 28, 2011 2:33:46 PM

Wow the performance is impressive, now if only there was a way to get desktop gaming graphics performance on a laptop.
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Anonymous
January 28, 2011 3:01:05 PM

y the hell could intel not have just used the wasted silicone for the stupid IGP to boost performance, who the bloody hell buys a i7 and not have discrete gfx, that's money savings on a retarded level, a workstation class CPU needs to be paired with a workstation class GPU, otherwise it's not a workstation class CPU, it's just a fast CPU
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January 28, 2011 3:04:18 PM

I've never owned a laptop and am considering getting one of these. I have a great desktop at home for gaming but it would be nice to be able to take a PC with me anywhere I go.

Anyway my only complaint here is that you guys didn't compare other mobile GPUs to the HD 3000. I want to see how 310M stacks up against it, being as popular as it is.
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Anonymous
January 28, 2011 5:08:15 PM

Great analysis! I have to say that I have been wondering about what is up with Sandy M parts. The numbers just don't add up. I also thought it was odd that Intel held off so long on the dual cores. I have put forward the idea that Intel is actually using a different process on their mobile parts--32nm HKMG on SOI wafers. They have beenr rumored to be interested in this process. SOI lowers the power. I have read in 30% range, but that is a wild guess. IOW, everything would look normal except wattage would be lower, as all of the tests have shown. I noticed on some sites that there were rumors that Sandy M would dramatically improve battery life. This would be a coup because they could use it on their server parts, too, where performance per watt is critical. This might also explain Dirk's quick departure from AMD. If Intel pulled this off and nobody has figured it out, they will have a very large advantage. Good article!
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January 28, 2011 5:16:05 PM

silverblueI'm really not sure that's the intention. Sure, it supports DirectX 11, but we all know that below the 5700 series, there's little point using it. The true strength of Brazos' GPU is slightly older games or ones that don't require masses of bandwidth because that single channel memory interface will strangle it in the end.


Well, I have to disagree with you there... I'm waiting for the Lenovo x100e to hit the stores already (here in Chile), because I have my "gaming" rig to do so in full blown bling bling shiny happy colors, but I ain't taking that 20+kilo (44pounds) beast to a friends house and have a little LAN party, watch some videos (on the go BTW) and, yes, game with him. You can't do that with even a "super gaming" notebook these days cause they weight a friggin' TON and battery life doesn't exist when u want to game or do "funny" stuff on the go.

Small and handy for almost every task you throw at it; that's Brazos so far. That's the little big appeal it has on that price segment that Intel can't beat at this moment. That's why it's kind of important having in mind what "Brazos" stands for in the long run. I'm really curious about what Llano is going to do in the Notebook area.

All in all, Intel is just bulling us with price 'till Llano gets here. Damn you Intel!

Cheers!
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January 28, 2011 5:17:39 PM

ackuDo you really want to play Call of Duty Black Ops at 1024 x 768 at low quality? I wouldn't ever want to punish any TomsHardware reader that harshly. Andrew TomsHardware


Argh, sorry; I meant to quote Mr. Andrew.

Cheers!
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January 28, 2011 5:25:19 PM

neiroatopelccWhy ddin't you pit it against a 740qm or 720qm ? and no I didn't read the article, since it doesn't compare to that, so if you wrote it somewhere in there, sorry.


Well the workstations that we can buy at work are limited to i5's and the 740qm (unless we want to go envy and other non business models), so for me personally that's the interesting one to compare to.
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January 28, 2011 7:06:12 PM

Wow, amazing specs from a mobile CPU. This just further reinforces to me how much I don't need the bleeding edge mobile power.

On another note, very well done Mr. Ku. Your articles are always thorough and excellent.
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January 28, 2011 7:35:24 PM

cknobmanThese new Intel mobile CPU prices are a joke.I f_cking hate Intel with a passion.

These aren't really any different than they've been for years...

Intel's had the top mobile parts at ~$1k, with the high end mainstream stuff at $300-500 for quite some time.
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January 28, 2011 7:41:27 PM

Amazing numbers.I remember the difference gap between the first Core "i" CPUs was notable between the desktop and mobile models but Sandy bridge has changed that.In some tests,they even outperform the desktop i5/i3 and perform close to the i7 2600k.
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January 28, 2011 9:13:56 PM

[looks at charts]

[thinks "HTPC"]
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Anonymous
January 28, 2011 10:08:46 PM

And what a joy Sandy-Bridge has as a background feature that everyone seems to be ignoring. I wonder what the potential savings on power will be when someone shuts it off remotely. No amount of power savings in the world is going to convince me to hand control of my cpu over to someone else.
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