General Performance – Dual-Core Sandy Bridge vs. the World

So now we get to the numbers, and this is where some of the competing solutions will really take a beating. Let’s just cut straight to the chase and look at the graphs. We’ve highlighted the K53E in our standard bright green, with the ASUS U41JF in black, Apple's dual-core i5-2415M MBP13 in gold, and the quad-core i7-2820QM in yellow.

One interesting piece of information prior to the benchmark discussion is that despite having a theoretical maximum Turbo speed of 3.2GHz, we rarely see the i5-2520M hit that mark in testing. Using CPUID’s TMonitor utility, in the single-core Cinebench result we see both cores fluctuate between 800 to 3100MHz. It appears the Windows task scheduler isn’t quite sure how to best distribute the load, which is a common problem. However, in the multi-threaded Cinebench test the two CPU cores run at a constant 2.9GHz, as expected.

Futuremark PCMark Vantage

Futuremark PCMark05

3D Rendering - CINEBENCH R10

3D Rendering - CINEBENCH R10

Video Encoding - x264

Video Encoding - x264

Starting with the new MBP13 comparison, the K53E with i5-2520M comes out an average of 20% faster. Some of that can be attributed to the hard drive differences, as PCMark Vantage shows Apple’s HDD choice is particularly poor, but the CPU intensive tasks are also 15 to 25% faster. It’s interesting that ASUS’ UL41JF happens to put in an overall showing in these applications that matches the MBP13, but that’s in a large part thanks to the 15% overclock. Looking at stock Arrandale CPUs, the i5-2520M turns in slightly higher performance results than the i7-640M, the highest-clocked Arrandale CPU we’ve tested. Even the old i7-720QM in the Dell Studio 17 fails to match the performance of the i5-2520M, which leads by an average of 18% in the above benchmarks (with the only loss coming in Pass 2 of x264 encoding).

Move up to quad-core SNB and an SSD, and of course the dual-core parts look a lot weaker. The i7-2820QM average lead in the above charts is 74%, but part of that is the thanks to the 104% lead in PCMark Vantage. Remove the PCMark results, though, and the 2820QM is still 65% faster than the 2520M. On the other side of the charts—literally—is AMD’s E-350. We know it’s not meant to compete with Sandy Bridge (or even Arrandale or Core 2 Duo), but keep in mind that the cheapest price for such a laptop is going to be around $450. On average, the i5-2520M lays the smack down hard and ends up roughly four times faster than an E-350. Ah, but the E-350 has a much better IGP, right? Well, maybe it’s better, but it’s certainly not faster than Intel’s HD 3000 when it’s bottlenecked by the CPU; here are some 3DMark results before we get to the games to give you an idea of how graphics performance compares.

Futuremark 3DMark Vantage

Futuremark 3DMark06

Futuremark 3DMark05

Futuremark 3DMark03

While we would never take 3DMark as the end-all, be-all of graphics performance comparisons, it does give a general idea of what we can expect. The K53E with i5-2520M turns in performance that’s 9% faster than the MBP13 on average across the four versions of 3DMark. That’s actually pretty accurate, as we’ll see in the gaming tests. Likewise, the i7-2820QM results end up being 12% faster than the 2520M, possibly from more aggressive IGP Turbo modes. Again, that matches what we’ll see in the games. On the other hand, even a middling dGPU like the GT 420M/425M still comes out 40-50% ahead of the HD 3000, and AMD’s HD 5650 is 60% faster on average.

What about AMD’s Fusion E-350 platform? If the 3DMark results hold in our actual gaming tests, Intel’s “horrible” HD 3000 IGP offers over twice the performance of the HD 6310M. In fact, even an Arrandale IGP would come within 10% of the E-350 results in 3DMark. It’s not that we love Intel or want them to pummel AMD, and we understand that the E-350 competes in a lower price bracket. Still, many people like to get carried away in discussions of how much better AMD’s graphics are compared to Intel’s IGP. That’s certainly true when you’re looking at discrete GPUs, and compatibility is still better with AMD and NVIDIA drivers, but the latest SNB IGP changed the status quo. HD 3000 works in about 90% of games (roughly estimating), performs well enough to be playable in about 80% of titles, posts scores that are competitive with HD 5470 and GT 320M (and often twice what the current Brazos can achieve), and you get it for free with any 2nd Gen Core i-series CPU. As a friend of mine is fond of saying, it’s hard to compete with “free”.

ASUS K53E Impressions and User Experience Sandy Bridge Gaming Performance, One More Time
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  • MrSpadge - Saturday, April 09, 2011 - link

    I'm totally with you here, Jarred.

    In this review and in the Brazos review it was made very clear that you can totally forget about Atom. And there's a reason you don't include a Pentium 1 laptop from 1995 in these reviews.

    And the i5-25xxM being about 4 times as fast as Brazos in CPU intensive tasks is certainly worth mentioning. You have to say it, because it's ******* true. Whether this matters to someone or not is an entirely different qeustion and up to everyone individually. I think you really made this totally clear.

    MrS
    Reply
  • kevlno3 - Saturday, July 30, 2011 - link

    be frank , CPU not your sport car. you hardly notice the different in your 80% of time while you using it for work.
    I would said we happy to see the technology improve , but we better make up our mind to look at value of money.
    RM1.4k for Llano , within another 3-4 months time vs RM2k core i5 or RM1.4k core i3 2310. what do u think? core i5 only help u fast loading the program. core i3 can't handle the game. Llano A3400 will handle both easily. of course if you keep look at benchmark , u unable to sleep even you have a Core i7. i just throw my intel extreme cpu.
    Reply
  • lenghui - Monday, April 11, 2011 - link

    I agree with you, Jarred. I am a AMD fan, but the includsion and comparison of E-350 is valid and does not take away anything from your well written article. Keep up the nice work! Reply
  • tuskers - Wednesday, April 13, 2011 - link

    Fact-check: a simple search on Amazon for "E-350" can get you a 15.6" laptop for $357.70, as of this posting. Not exactly "around $450" or "$500 for similar components" as the article claims. And that's without even really looking for an affordable one. On the other hand, nothing in retail channels comes up for $600 on Amazon.

    In the article you artificially creep the price of what you're testing down, and creep the price of an E-350 solutions up, in order to make your claims that they're worth comparing. They're different segments: the E-350 was invented to be an ultraportable chip, and you're comparing it to a mainstream (or even desktop replacement) chip.

    People don't choose the E-350 because it's has a good graphics chip-- it merely has a good graphics chip for its market segment, compared to intel's CULV/UM, Atom, and Atom/Ion solutions.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, April 13, 2011 - link

    Sony YB pricing is coming down, and it looks like the MSI X370 should start selling in the US for around $550 as well. And really, E-350 shouldn't ever go to $500, let alone $550, which is the point I have been making.

    So now Acer has a 15.6" E-350 system for $335 or whatever. Great. Twice the price gets you more than double the performance, and Acer's 15.6" designs have NOT impressed me in the past. Is it cheap and fast enough for some people, yes. You're still getting what you pay for.

    Acer Aspire 5253-BZ602:
    AMD E-350
    HD 6310M
    250GB 5400RPM HDD
    15.6" 1366x768 LCD
    2x1GB RAM (so if you want to upgrade, you throw out a 1GB SO-DIMM)
    6-cell battery (quoted battery life of just 3.3 hours... not sure what they ran for that test though)
    Win7 Home Premium

    For that much money, sure, it's a fair price, but as I've said this is what I felt netbooks should have been from day one. Atom just sucks too much, and while there are performance compromises with E-350 it's at least going to handle multimedia content. If I'm going to actually use a laptop on a daily basis, I'll save up and spend more money on a good quality device. Just because something is really cheap doesn't make it a great bargain.
    Reply
  • kevlno3 - Saturday, July 30, 2011 - link

    in fact , battery life is because except Asus giving you 56wh in common, non of them give you this high capacity battery pack . Acer will only provide you 48wh , to avoid hurt his flagship timeline 66wh ,claim can go up to 8 hours.
    currently i using Dell , 48wh. i3 2310 only can last 3hours.
    my friend K43U , E350 last 6 hours office work. 4 hours in facebook game. (i recommend him to buy it, but i fall in the Intel trap) i need to sell my N4110 fast , just 2 days using it. i hope to see Llano base notebook sell at RM1.4k without the HD6650
    Reply
  • kevlno3 - Saturday, July 30, 2011 - link

    infact Malaysia are selling RM1499 for HP DM1 , Asus K43U is just about RM1099. currently Malaysia ringgit is grow up , USD 1 convert to RM 3 (before this is RM3.8) you keep telling the fake answer , USD 600 ,it's RM1800 .(pervious is RM2.4k ) we can buy Core i5 with HD6470 RM1899 from Dell ,even Timeline 4830TG for RM2449, but not the E350. in fact i just get my brand new Dell N4110 ,core i3 2310+ HD6630 just RM1600.
    currently Acer 5560G , is selling RM1800 A3400 + HD6650.
    I dont think the 2310 (or even core i5) cpu is so good to keep battery life go long. in fact is only the Asus quality factory given 56wh instead of 48wh battery to extend the battery life. Currently my Dell N4110 hardly get even 3h10mins when setting 30% brightness , wifi on , power saving mode.
    Reply
  • kevlno3 - Saturday, July 30, 2011 - link

    Dell N4110 core i3 2310 , HDD 500GB 7200rpm , HD6630 , 4GB . 14" LCD. this model you should do a review & tell whole world the Dell had a worse design ever . they put the 7200rpm HDD at the left palm rest area ,after 5mins turn on , it's start cook my palm. battery life even just 3hours 10 minutes.(HD3000 only) ,idle upto 5hours. power saving mode , 30% brightness , wifi & bluetooth on. only start maxthon 3 browser , no back ground program , no antivirus , no firewall. (this model seem like cant only turn on wifi)
    in air condition room you wouldn't notice that much about the left palm area heat issue. but i wonder how much lousy engineer work inside Dell.
    Reply
  • kevlno3 - Saturday, July 30, 2011 - link

    actually i dont mind you put the E350 , i like to know more review before i do a purchase. but in term of battery life the major reason not the CPU ,but the factory who willing give u the 56wh above battery pack.
    i buy Dell major reason is the person who doing promotion to sell it at RM1.6k . but the core i3 2310 not perform as what i read in most review. i read the Toshiba intel B940 can acheived 5h28mins . most of the review also show core i3 2310 will go up to 4-5 hours. but in fact it's just 3hours.
    now 2h15mins -56% , but in fact starting battery drop so fast , & it's doesn't me 4h 30mins even i just unplug the adapter.
    Reply
  • fic2 - Friday, April 08, 2011 - link

    "lots of people rip on Intel's graphics as being unfit for just about anything"

    Lots of people rip on Intel's graphics because until Sandy Bridge they weren't fit for anything.
    Reply

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