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 160 191 19.4%
E-Learning 143 159 11.2%
Video Creation 190 241 26.8%
Productivity 160 178 11.2%
3D 150 194 29.3%

 

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
Single Thread 2814 3894 38.4%
Multiple Threads 5954 8544 43.5%

 

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.

The Platform Battery Life - Technically, No Better
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  • Alberto - Monday, January 04, 2010 - link

    According to www.legitreviews.com/article/1169/15/ and www.legitreviews.com/article/1169/16/ the idle power is very interesting, lower then the older plataform of around 30%.
    Likely the difference between the two articles is due to a different bios. Moreover Legit has done a lot of tweaks to make the two plataforms comparable (cpu apart). In the battery test, the Monteniva laptop has a 6 cell battery instead of a 8 cell, but the 30% figure seem confirmated.
    Reply
  • HotFoot - Monday, January 04, 2010 - link

    One thing I've often wondered about battery tests is variability in the batteries themselves. Of course, over time batteries wear out and life goes down - but what about the difference between new batteries, even ones of the same rated capacities?

    I would be interested to see a review such as this one, but where the battery life is tested twice - swapping batteries between platforms and taking the average. Some adaptation will probably be needed. Or, maybe a standard battery testbench used for all battery life tests - which would involve adapters for each notebook.

    My point is uncertainty. I know it's not an academic paper, but if the variability in results is 10% or higher (which my gut tells me it very well may be with batteries), the conclusions drawn from the results could be radically different. Maybe it's not that bad, and a few tests into the subject would demonstrate that.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, January 04, 2010 - link

    I had http://www.anandtech.com/mobile/showdoc.aspx?i=361...">two Gateway laptops that had the same battery design, only one was Intel-based and the other was AMD-based. After a request similar to yours, I swapped the batteries and retested. Variability was less than 2%, which is the same variability between test runs. Reply
  • kazuha vinland - Monday, January 04, 2010 - link

    Your unit was obviously just a prototype, but can we expect to see the first Arrendale laptops arriving this or next month? Reply
  • webmastir - Monday, January 04, 2010 - link

    love reading your reviews - very insightful. thanks. Reply
  • 8steve8 - Monday, January 04, 2010 - link

    when can we expect reviews of these ULV processors?

    when can we expect laptops with these ULV processors?
    Reply
  • strikeback03 - Monday, January 04, 2010 - link

    And seriously, wtf was intel thinking with these names? 5 processors, all at different speeds, with either 640 or 620 in the name. If a 620LM was the same speed as a 620UM but just used less power I could see it, but there are 3 processors with 620 in the name, running at 1.06, 2.0, and 2.66GHz. The consumer also has to know that a 620M is faster than a 640LM. Reply
  • ET - Monday, January 04, 2010 - link

    I'd love to see more comprehensive mobile benchmarks, but it looks like finally Intel graphics isn't the complete crap it used to be. Reply
  • yuhong - Monday, January 04, 2010 - link

    On Intel codenames, "Clarksfield" can be easily confused with the desktop "Clarkfield". Reply
  • yuhong - Monday, January 04, 2010 - link

    Oops, I mean Clarkdale by Clarkfield. Reply

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