Mobile Sandy Bridge Application Performance

We’ll start off with a bang and show application performance, along with media encoding performance comparing Intel’s QuickSync technology with CUDA video encoding. We’ve got a variety of laptops and notebooks in our charts for comparison, including dual-core and quad-core AMD (not their fastest mobile chips, unfortunately), plenty of Arrandale options, and a few Clarksfield notebooks as well. And just for good measure, we’ve included results from a desktop Core i7-920 as a point of comparison. Normally that would be raining on Intel’s parade by showing how previous generation desktop hardware is still quite a bit faster; this time, however… well, I’ll let the charts tell the story.

Futuremark PCMark Vantage

Futuremark PCMark05

3D Rendering - CINEBENCH R10

3D Rendering - CINEBENCH R10

Video Encoding - x264

Video Encoding - x264

So, is anyone as impressed as I am? Sure, hex-core Gulftown is still the fastest game in town, and the desktop Sandy Bridge chips are obviously going to beat the mobile chips, but check out the scores relative to the i7-920 in my own “for play” system. (Incidentally, my “for work” system is actually running QX6700 still, and it does even worse! But all I do there is type documents and surf the web.) Let’s talk percentages here just to put it all into perspective.

Since PCMark Vantage and 05 are susceptible to heavy SSD influence, we’ll just skip those scores; suffice it to say that Sandy Bridge is no slouch there. Turn to CPU-intensive benchmarks, however, and we can really see the changes. Starting with single-threaded Cinebench, the new i7-2820QM checks in 35% faster than the outgoing i7-920XM, 32% faster than a desktop i7-920, 43% faster than the i7-740QM, and 19% faster than the previous generation’s fastest dual-core part.

Use applications that are thread-friendly and the gap widens even more. In Cinebench SMP, the closest competitor in our charts is the desktop i7-920, and 2820QM maintains a healthy 23% lead—in fact, looking at our desktop reviews, the stock (but with Turbo) 2820QM is roughly equal to an i7-930 overclocked to 3.5GHz. It also leads the i7-920XM by 84%, and an i7-640M by 104% (!). x264 encoding tells a similar story: the second pass is 9% faster than i7-920 desktop, 65% faster than i7-920XM, and twice as fast as i7-640M—and that’s without using the new QuickSync technology! [Whoa, nice segue Batman!]

Meet the Compal Sandy Bridge Notebook Mobile Sandy Bridge QuickSync and 3DMarks
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  • seamusmc - Friday, January 07, 2011 - link

    I'm a notebook noob, up till now I've avoided them as much as I could. I have evaluated them over the years and have a pretty good dell precision 4500 at work, however, I had to build a desktop because the laptop, as provided, just doesn't cut it. With a SSD and 8 GB of ram it would probably suffice but I run a lot of Virtual Machines for testing.

    Anyhoo, enough of my background: I am very interested in the Sandy Bridge line specifically the retail chips, 2720 and 2820.

    However all I'm seeing announced from the OEM's are 2630 based solutions. Are the OEM's going to have an option to upgrade to the retail chips? Are the 2720 and 2820 going to be available any time soon or is it just the 2630 that will have broad availability?

    Who will have the retail chips available?
    Reply
  • GullLars - Saturday, January 08, 2011 - link

    This review unit came with an Intel SSD, which probably made a huge impact on general usage, but can we expect SSD boot drives for most Sandy Bridge laptops?
    If i were Intel, i'd make a branding program where Sandy + Intel SSD (310, G2, or newer) gave a fancy sticker for marketers to drool over, guaranteeing smooth and snappy operation without hiccups from spinning platter IOs.
    Reply
  • IntoGraphics - Monday, January 17, 2011 - link

    "We might get some of the above in OEM systems sent for review, and if so it will be interesting to see how much of an impact the trimmed clock speeds have on overall performance."

    Looking forward for this to happen. Very important to know for me. Because I will be using Adobe Illustrator CS4, Cinema 4D R12 Prime, and Unity 3D.
    I hope that the performance impact between an i7-2720QM and a i7-2820QM, is as minimal as it was between the i7-740QM and i7-840QM.

    It's going to be a toss up between the SB Dell XPS 17 and the SB HP Envy 17 for me, combined with a Dell or HP 30" monitor. Just too bad that both notebooks will not offer 1920x1200 resolution.
    Reply
  • psiboy - Wednesday, January 19, 2011 - link

    Your gaming benchmark is a joke! Anyone who has a radeon 5650m in there laptop isn't going to set game setting to "Ultra Low" a good mid range setting would have been more realistic and probably playable... but the Intel HD graphics on Sandy Bridge would not have looked so good then.... "Lies, damned lies and statistics!" all manipulated so the uneducated are taken in to think they can game on Intel IGP's....

    BTW: Dirt 2 looks like crap on Ultra Low...
    Reply
  • katleo123 - Tuesday, February 01, 2011 - link

    It works on new motherboards based on Intel’s forthcoming 6-series chipsets
    Visit http://www.techreign.com/2010/12/intels-sandy-brid...
    Reply
  • welcomesorrow - Friday, June 10, 2011 - link

    Hi,

    I would mostly appreciate your suggestions regarding the bottleneck of overclocked QSV.

    I have Core i5-2400s on Intel's DH67BL (H67) mother and have been using Media Espresso 6.5 to transcode ts files (MPEG-2) into H.264 by QSV. DH67BL allows me to overclock the graphics core from its default 1.1GHz to 2GHz. I observe linear shortening of transcoding time from 43 seconds/GB (1.1GHz) to 35 seconds/GB (1.6GHz), but beyond that there is no further improvement. Thus, it is expected to be transcoding in 30 seconds/GB at 2GHz but in reality it takes 35 seconds/GB.

    QSV encoding in Media Espresso 6.5 is already ultrafast, and first I thought it might be hitting the I/O bandwidth of HDD, but it was not the case because SSD or even RAMDISK did not improve the situation.

    Any idea about what is becoming the bottleneck of overclocked QSV? My guess is that it has something to do with either Sandy Bridge's internal hardware (such as data transfer) or Media Espresso's logic or both.
    Reply

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