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Core i7-2820QM: Sandy Bridge Shines In Notebooks

Benchmark Results: Mobile Gaming Performance

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.

  • cmartin011
    Second!!! really a thousand dollars for a mobile cpu
  • one-shot
    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.
  • acku
    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.

  • one-shot
    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.

    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.
  • acku
    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.
  • bearclaw99
    Damnnnnn...those are some amazing benches for a laptop CPU. Beats some of the desktop i7s and probably all of AMDs desktop chips
  • SteelCity1981
    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....
  • _Pez_
    amd is losing ground.. they are taking too long releasing new products.. Intel is expensive.. damm!
  • hardcore_gamer
    I think bulldozer will be able to compete in terms of TDP because of the two integer units / core
  • Vadim_79
    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