Intel Arrandale: 32nm for Notebooks, Core i5 540M Reviewedby Anand Lal Shimpi on January 4, 2010 12:00 AM EST
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Performance - A Huge Improvement
There's no need for an introduction. Arrandale is going to deliver the single largest performance improvement we've seen from a new mobile processor in years. Hyper-Threading brings the many of the benefits of having a quad-core processor without the added power consumption. Turbo is also extremely useful in mobile since it's one of the most TDP-constrained environments you can imagine.
First up we have SYSMark 2007. There just isn't a better way of summing up the performance improvement:
|SYSMark 2007||Core 2 Duo P8700 (2.53GHz)||Core i5-540M (2.53GHz)||Arrandale Advantage|
Overall performance is almost 20% faster on a 2.53GHz Core i5-540M vs. a 2.53GHz Core 2 Duo P8700. The smallest performance difference we see here is "only" 11% while 3D rendering kicks the gap up to nearly 30%.
Cinebench R10 gives us a look at single threaded performance on the platform:
|Cinebench R10||Core 2 Duo P8700 (2.53GHz)||Core i5-540M (2.53GHz)||Arrandale Advantage|
If you do any 3D rendering on your notebook but don't want to give up the form factor to go quad-core, Arrandale is your answer.
It's not all for 3D professionals. Video encoding performance, something arguably a lot more consumer-facing, gets a huge improvement as well. In our x264 HD 3.03 encoding test performance improved 26% and 46% in the first and second encoding passes respectively. Like I said before, Arrandale is fast.
|x264-HD 3.03||Core 2 Duo P8700 (2.53GHz)||Core i5-540M (2.53GHz)||Arrandale Advantage|
|1st Pass||35.6 fps||45.0 fps||26.4%|
|2nd Pass||8.7 fps||12.7 fps||45.9%|
Photographers often like to carry around their work on notebooks so I thought I'd run our Photoshop CS4 script on the Arrandale and Core 2 platforms to see how they handled it. Surprisingly enough there was very little performance difference between the chips. The Core i5-540M was only 7% faster than the equivalently clocked Core 2. Not all of your performance gains are you going to be huge from Arrandale, but they have the potential to be (and most will be from what I've seen).
|Photoshop CS4||Core 2 Duo P8700 (2.53GHz)||Core i5-540M (2.53GHz)||Arrandale Advantage|
|Speed Test||35.3 seconds||32.9 seconds||7.3%|
Arrandale, like Clarkdale, brings the GPU on-package. Not only is it on the same package as the CPU but at 45nm it's a lot better than the previous GMA X4500 HD graphics that was in all high end Core 2 based notebooks. We saw in our Clarkdale article that Intel has basically been able to deliver integrated graphics performance equal to that of AMD's 790GX, so you can expect some decent gains here as well.
I ran our World of Warcraft test on both test systems, running at 800 x 600 at the lowest quality settings:
|World of Warcraft||Core 2 Duo P8700 (2.53GHz)||Core i5-540M (2.53GHz)||Arrandale Advantage|
|800 x 600 - Low Quality||19.1 fps||43.8 fps||129%|
Arrandale's integrated graphics is more than twice as fast. Dare I say that it's even playable? We still need to look at compatibility across a larger selection of games, but so far the latest IGP from Intel is doing much better than previous efforts.