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Results: Real-World Productivity And Media Apps

MSI GT70 Dragon Edition 2 By Xotic PC: Haswell Goes Mobile

The Core i7-3940XM in Dell's M6700 is much closer to the GT70's Core i7-4930MX than we expected. Then again, each Extreme Edition processor has exactly the same base and maximum Turbo Boost clock rate. Meanwhile, the M4700’s Core i7-3740QM falls behind due to its lower clock rates, regardless of utilization. 

Our Premeire Pro CS6 test shows how quickly each CPU can encode an H.264-based 720p video file.

With a difference of roughly 1%, the Dell Precision M6700 is once again very close to the speed of the MSI Dragon. This is essentially the difference between Ivy Bridge and Haswell. It's tempting to think that the M7600 is keeping up without the benefit of an overclocked Turbo Boost mode, but remember that these threaded benchmarks fully tax each CPU, giving them very little opportunity to hit their top Turbo frequencies. As expected, the lower-clocked M4700 trails. 

Photoshop CS6 shows slightly more distance between the two Extreme Edition processors, but it’s still only a difference of two seconds, equalling the difference between Intel's two architectures. The -3740QM is only about 10% behind. As with Premiere Pro, IPC and clock rate both play a role in defining performance. in this threaded workload.

The difference between the Core i7-3940XM and -3740QM is similar to what we saw in Premiere Pro, which makes sense given the threaded nature of HandBrake. The -3940XM is a little further behind the Core i7-4930MX, and it’s possible that the shorter test allowed the GT70's Haswell-based processor to hit a higher Turbo Boost frequency.

Moving on to Cinebench, the multi-core result reflects all four cores fully taxed, while the single-core number allows each processor to hit its maximum Turbo Boost clock rate.

Its high 4.1 GHz Turbo Boost ceiling allows the MSI GT70's Core i7-4930MX to outperform everything else. It's 4% faster than the -3940XM in the M6700 and over 10% faster than the M4700's -3740QM. Swapping over to Cinebench’s multi-core benchmark, we see similar results as previous threaded tests. The -4930MX is fastest by virtue of its Haswell architecture, but not by much. A 4% advantage in single-core processing falls to just over 2% in the multi-core test. 

Further exploring single-threaded performance, we turn our attention to the iTunes benchmark.

We see clear gains from the GT70's overclocked -4930MX. Results reflect clock rate differences and the small IPC throughput advantage of Haswell over Ivy Bridge. 

Single-threaded performance in the LAME audio encoding test further highlights the clock rate advantage that MSI's GT70 Dragon Edition 2 holds over our two comparison machines. Once again, results are right in line with the small architectural differences and a slight Turbo Boost overclock. 

Looking at the benchmarks overall, MSI's GT70 is the certainly the fastest notebook of the bunch. But with an overclocked version of the best mobile CPU Intel can make, it had better be. The advantage in threaded workloads is actually smaller than we expected, and it's possible that this platform isn't utilizing all of the chip's potential performance. Heat didn't appear to be an issue, but we'll be testing to see if MSI's operating parameters are out of the ordinary.

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