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

  • silverblue - Friday, January 8, 2010 - link

    Hmm. Reply
  • silverblue - Friday, January 8, 2010 - link

    Nope, it's just me (damned similar names)... however, the Clarkdale article has vanished from the front page. :| Reply
  • dnenciu - Thursday, January 7, 2010 - link

    I don't know why are reviewers so happy about Arrandale.

    You basically get 20% improvement compared to the same "clockspeed" c2d.

    What about the fact that Arrandale only goes 2.53Ghz and 2.66 for the extreme edition.

    C2D already goes to 3.33Ghz

    Yes turbo boost increases the 2.53Ghz to 3.06 but that is only if one core is used and the laptop has proper cooling.

    The c2d at 3.06 Ghz can run two cores at that speed.

    So what we are seeing is last years performance and same battery life.

    And also last years integrated GPU. That now you don't even have a choice to replace with a 9400m.

    I really feel underwhelmed by this chip release.

    Lets hope that they can improve it in the next release because for me this one is a big flop. :(
  • iwodo - Monday, January 4, 2010 - link

    I record CoreiX series was proved to be much more efficient then C2D in some previous Anand article. Now we are actually getting different results. So Westmere gets more performance by using more energy and transistors.

    And this isn't an fair comparison either, C2D platform uses an 65nm of IGP and 45nm of CPU. While Westmere gets one process node improvement in both.

    So in terms of pure Power / Peformance, it looks like C2D still has an edge. I would love Intel make an 32nm of C2D. ( Which would play well with ION2 and Apple would love it. )

    I hope SandyBridge would come soon as an True successor to C2D. Nahamlem to me is just an CPU made for Server.

    Side Notes - Intel GPU, although performance is fast enough in lowest settings, still gives worst Image Quality compare to other IGP. Which gains an unfair advantage. I hope some Internet review will point this out.
  • JarredWalton - Monday, January 4, 2010 - link

    On the desktop, Core i7 (and particularly Lynnfield) provided great idle power results. My testing of Core i7 notebooks on the other hand shows that the quad-core variant is a power guzzler. Reply
  • zicoz - Monday, January 4, 2010 - link

    How does this compare to the Clarkdale on the HTPC front? Does it support LPCM and bitstreaming? I have this dream of building a HTPC from laptop parts, and if this supports the same stuff as the Clarkdale then this could be it. Reply
  • jasperjones - Monday, January 4, 2010 - link

    Anand writes:

    "The first mainstream Arrandale CPUs are 35W TDP, compared to the 25W TDP of most thin and light notebooks based on mobile Core 2. Granted the 35W includes the graphics, but it's not always going to be lower total power consumption."


    From the benches shown here I infer: the 540M is substantially faster than the fastest available C2D. Which is to say, the T9900 (unless I forget some Core 2 Extreme model) whose TDP is 35W. There is no P-series C2D that provides the performance of the 540M. Thus, an apples-to-apples comparison is really vs. a T9900 (or Core 2 Extreme) which has 35W TDP and *no* integrated graphics.

    And even if you aren't d'accord with my statement above: logically, you can't just compare the P8xxx/P9xxx models' TDP of 25W with Clarksfield's TDP of 35W. After all, Clarksfield includes essentially all Northbridge functionality. The Northbridge for Penryn is rated 12W TDP. So, really, 35W < 25W + 12W = 37W (or, 35W < 35W + 12W = 47W).
  • jasperjones - Monday, January 4, 2010 - link

    ^^^ of course, I mean Arrandale, not Clarksfield. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, January 4, 2010 - link

    Even then, TDP ratings aren't actual power requirements. They're more like a limit on the thermal output, so you need 35W of cooling on a 35W CPU, even though at idle it probably uses only 5W.

    As far as performance, Arrandale in most cases is about 20% faster. The T9900 is 3.06GHz compared to 2.53GHz on the P8700, which is a 20% performance boost. That would make the T9900 about equal to a 540M. At that level of performance, I would expect the battery life advantage to be more like 5-10% for Arrandale. (Despite the 35W vs. 25W TDP, my experience is that for typical battery life testing scenarios, the 35W TDP CPUs are not substantially worse than 25W CPUs.)
  • Wolfpup - Monday, January 4, 2010 - link

    I'm still surprised that we don't get 32nm quads yet, though I suppose from Intel's perspective it makes sense-probably make the most from their mid range "high end dual cores".

    I'm glad to see there are some new chipsets with this too. PM55 has USB problems, that OEMs don't seem to be addressing super well. There's some talk that the newest drivers from Intel combined with a hotfix from Microsoft that isn't even for this chipset fixes it, but not 100% sure if it really does.

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