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Benchmark Results: PCMark 7

Core i7-3720QM: Ivy Bridge Makes Its Mark On Mobility
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In PCMark 7, the Ivy Bridge-based Core i7-3720QM at 2.6 GHz (with a 3.6 GHz maximum Turbo Boost frequency) outpaces the Sandy Bridge-based -2820QM by ~40%, and it surpasses the Arrandale-based Core i5 by ~275%. The -3720QM's score is even more impressive compared to AMD's A8-3520M, as the Llano-based APU barely manages to outperform Intel's Core i5-460M.

Drilling down, the testing reveals some interesting finds (which actually start to call PCMark's weighting into question). Even though the Core i7-3720QM clearly leads the pack, its performance advantage is evident in only a few scenarios.

PCMark 7 Results
i7-3720QM
i7-2820QM
i5-460M
A8-3520M
Video Playback
23.12 FPS
23.16 FPS
23.14 FPS
22.99 FPS
Video Transcoding
169 531.73 KB/s
17 416.99 KB/s
1828.96 KB/s
2460.25 KB/s
Storage: Gaming
15.22 MB/s
14.87 MB/s
12.13 MB/s
14.11 MB/s
Graphics DX9
22.99 FPS
17.47 FPS
13.29 FPS
4.19 FPS
Image Manipulation
11.55 Mpix/s
9.3 Mpix/s
4.00 Mpix/s
7.41 Mpix/s
Storage: Importing Pictures
26.37 MB/s
26.58 MB/s
25.42 MB/s
24.12 MB/s
Web Browsing
15.17 pages/s
14.24 pages/s
6.7 pages/s
9.34 pages/s
Data Decrypting
145.54 MB/s
101.31 MB/s
39.10 MB/s
49.95 MB/s
Storage: Windows Defender
5.37 MB/s
5.25 MB/s
4.22 MB/s
4.97 MB/s


The Core i7-3720QM particularly shines in tests involving:

  • Video Transcoding
  • DX9 Graphics
  • Web Browsing

Because transcoding is so demanding, Intel built fixed-function hardware into its Sandy and Ivy Bridge-based architectures to address it, and the effect of that hardware is made apparent in PCMark 7, grossly inflating the synthetic's score compared to what you'd get from, say, an SSD or discrete graphics card.

With regard to 3D performance, the HD Graphics 4000 engine delivers ~30% higher results than HD Graphics 3000 in the DX 9 benchmark. Futuremark says that the Web browsing test has a 50/10/40% workload distribution between CPU, RAM, and GPU, making it an interesting measure of productivity.

Even though the AMD A8-3520M has four physical cores (compared to the Core i5-460M’s two cores), PCMark 7 works the Llano-based APU harder than the dual-core chip (indicated by overall CPU usage). And yet, our power consumption graph makes it clear that the APU still uses less power.

The Core i7-3720QM and Core i7-2820QM don't exhibit the same spikes in utilization, likely as a result of QuickSync offloading the demanding transcode workload from the general-purpose compute cores. Nevertheless, their higher performance incurs a greater power consumption penalty, and they both use more than AMD's A8-3520M.

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