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


View All Comments

  • MonkeyPaw - Monday, January 04, 2010 - link

    Personally, I'm disappointed with the "unchanged" battery life. The reality is, most IGP-based notebooks don't need to be faster to most people. A few friends of mine recently bought notebooks, and they have what I call average requirements: email, browser, iTunes, office, photo management. My advice to them was that anything they buy today will be more than fast enough for their needs (they were currently running outdated machines), and that their decision should be based on things like battery life and bonus features. Even my own notebook purchase was based less on total processing power and more on price, then battery life.

    I think Intel had it backwards. Start by improving battery life, then slowly improve performance. That may have been their plan, but it looks like 32nm has a ways to go for them before that can happen.
  • JarredWalton - Monday, January 04, 2010 - link

    I would expect the LV versions to be competitive, but it wouldn't surprise me if the initial 32nm parts are not where they would like in terms of power use. The rev 2 of Arrandale will hopefully address that shortcoming. Reply
  • secretanchitman - Monday, January 04, 2010 - link

    thats the thing though - who knows what apple is going to do now, since they currently use ion/9400m in the macbooks/macbook pros. they do use intel + discrete ati in the current imacs, yet the lowest end imac has a 9400 in it. the problem with arrandale is that it has the gpu integrated on, and integrated graphics suck compared to nvidia and ati gpus.

    im hoping that intel made special versions of arrandale without the built in gpu, or they are able to turn it off, and use separate graphics instead. lets be honest, the 9400m is much better than anything intel offers now.
  • taltamir - Thursday, February 04, 2010 - link

    what does it matter? apple can't run games anyways... neither can any laptop.
    The difference between intel and nvidia/ati is that a laptop with nvidia/ati can get playable FPS on the absolute LOWEST settings which look like crap. the intel can NOT get playable FPS, period.
    Either would be a horrid experience for a gamer... get a desktop if you want to game.
  • filotti - Tuesday, January 05, 2010 - link

    Actually, the article says that the performance of the integrated GPU is equal to the performance of the 790GX IGP. This means that it should be equivalent to the 9400m too. Reply
  • mino - Saturday, January 09, 2010 - link

    Raw performance? Probably comparable to 785G in 3D benchmarketing.

    Drivers to be able to use the performance. Non existent.

    This is pretty much a beefed up HD4500. Nothing less, nothing more.
  • marc1000 - Monday, January 04, 2010 - link

    The desktop versions have a 16xPCIe slot, so I believe it IS possible to pair the mobile versions with discrete grapchis too. Not that manufacturers will be that much interested in doing so. After all, it seems that Intel aimed for the same level of performance that 9400 has, so Apple would not have reasons to go "non-Intel". I guess this is the primary reason why they made the GPU perform exactly at this level. It's the "good enough" philosophy. Reply
  • Penti - Tuesday, January 05, 2010 - link

    Of course you can, HM/QM/QS57 supports switchable graphics too and has x16 or the same 16 (maybe) lanes on-die as the desktop parts for discrete graphics. It also has 8 lanes on the chipset. Apple, HP, Dell, Fujitsu etc will be interested in more high-end business models and consumer products. Reply

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