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Benchmark Results: Mobile Gaming Performance

Core i7-2820QM: Sandy Bridge Shines In Notebooks

This time, we are comparing the HD Graphics 3000 engine on Intel's Core i7-2820QM to the original HD Graphics on the Core i5-540M and AMD's Radeon HD 4225 on Toshiba's T235.

We wanted to include a reasonable representation of what you should see in mobile gaming. Frankly, I can't recall using a notebook that has a native resolution of 1680x1050. It is a fairly uncommon resolution for a mobile system. Even most 17.3" desktop replacements top out at 1600x900 and most 15.6" notebook top out at 1366x768. More importantly, you are unlikely to play at the native resolution (especially on a notebook armed with integrated graphics). Usually, mobile gamers play at a resolution between 800x600 and the native res with mid-range quality settings.

That is the reason why we choose 1280x720 with the same quality settings used on the previous page for our follow-up testing. This is a more reasonable benchmark, which represents the true mobile side of the equation: Far Cry 2 (Quality: Medium), Left 4 Dead 2 (Quality: Extra), Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (Quality: High). Most of us are willing to give up a bit in the resolution department to get good texture quality.

Assuming you aren't turning up the AA and AF settings, the Arrandale-based configuration is actually quite competitive with the Radeon HD 4225. Granted, this is the lowest-clocked version of the integrated Radeon HD 4200-series, and it isn't necessarily mated to the most potent CPU. But I specifically choose a Nile-based platform as a point of comparison because it is the most powerful of the widely available integrated graphics solutions from AMD.

Ion 2 probably would have put up a better fight, but there are few systems with that graphics subsystem, and the Fusion-based Zacate APU is just becoming available as of this month. Either way, where previous integrated solutions left you barely able to play at reasonable resolutions, Sandy Bridge is relatively smooth at mid- to high-quality settings.

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