Benchmark Results: Synthetics
We’ll begin by getting the synthetic benchmarks out of the way, which should help us at least determine how the “otherwise identical” notebook hardware performs when only the graphics is changed.
3DMark doesn’t reflect the performance of many games, but it’s still used as a metric for gauging system performance by many enthusiasts. A higher non-Turbo clock and a separately-calculated “CPU Score” throws the i7-920 numbers off so far the data isn't meaningful here, while the GeForce GTX 480M edges out the Mobility Radeon HD 5870 in otherwise-identical systems.
PCMark loves systems with high-end storage performance, so the unmatched drive of the desktop system means its numbers are irrelevant its second synthetic bench.
Like most other synthetics (and again, unlike most games), Sandra’s use of four cores (without Intel Turbo Boost) makes the desktop processor’s higher non-Turbo clock generate incomparable results. So far, we’ve at least proven that all three notebook systems are on equal footing.