Benchmark Results: Synthetics
Because all three of today’s notebook systems use different processors to reflect their disparate prices, we wanted to put the synthetic benchmarks up front. This gets the benchmarks that don’t relate to real-world program performance out of the way first, while also giving us a look at raw CPU performance.
3DMark shows the X8100 Leopard in a slim lead over the M17x, even though both share the same graphics hardware. A quick behind-the-scenes look reveals that the M17x’s GPU scores are around 300 3DMarks lower, and that points to Alienware’s older drivers (rather than its lower-model CPU) as the culprit.
PCMark Vantage takes advantage of Eurocom’s super-fast Crucial SSD drive, followed by AVADirect’s somewhat-fast Corsair SSD. Alienware’s pair of 7200 RPM HDD drives fall behind, even in RAID 0.
This is where things get really interesting: both of Sandra’s CPU tests show the M17x’s Core i7-920XM in a performance lead over the Leopard’s i7-940XM. We checked both systems to assure that everything was running correctly, and verified that the base clock, stock base multiplier, and Turbo Boost mode were all correctly set. That means that either the 920XM system is using Turbo mode more effectively, or the 940XM-based system is clock-throttling. Either of these would result in a legitimate win for the “lower-rated” system.
Eurocom uses CAS 7 DDR3-1333, while Alienware and AVADirect use CAS 9. All of the systems in today’s test were set to DDR3-1333.