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Intel Core i7-3720QM - Ivy Bridge For Mobile Review: Monster Kill!

Author: Matt Smith
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Intel

Battery Life, Conclusion

Battery Life

As mentioned, Ivy Bridge introduces two need production technologies from Intel – 22nm and Tri-Gate. Both of these promise better power efficiency, which means we could see better battery life.

The ASUS N56VM is not a laptop that’s built for endurance. It’s large, it has a bright 1080p display and n average-sized 56Wh battery. Our test system also did not come equipped with the ASUS power saving software that we normally see from the company. 

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As you can see, this new Ivy Bridge processor doesn’t offer an endurance advantage. Its scores are right in line with other quad-core laptops. It seems that, at least in high-end laptops, we may not be seeing any notable improvements in life when compared to the previous generation.

You should not take this as a definitive verdict – after all, this is a powerful version of Ivy Bridge for mobile and it’s paired with a laptop that isn’t built with maximum endurance in mind. We will need to look at more hardware to see if there is a positive pattern.

Availability

Intel is leading with the Core i7-3720QM because the company will only offer a handful of quad-cores initially. For whatever reason, Intel's introduction of Ivy Bridge for mobile looks like it will be a slow one. The quads come first in April and May, likely followed by a couple dual-cores in May. The rest of the line-up will fill out over the summer.

In my opinion, Intel is taking its time because they want to ensure that production is up to par. They're introducing both a new production process and a new type of transistor - no small project. This means that it will probably be a few months before we see widespread availability of Ivy Bridge dual-cores in the laptop market. We're eager to take a look at a dual-core version of Ivy Bridge for mobile and we'll of course publish a review of that product as soon as we can get our hands on a laptop equipped with it.

Conclusion

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Ivy Bridge for mobile has easily exceeded my expectations. Because this is not a new architecture I was expecting to see gains between 5 to 10 percent. Instead, the new Intel Core i7-3720QM runs away from every previous processor in multiple benchmarks. Granted, it is among the most powerful versions of Ivy Bridge we'll see in a laptop - but it's still quick even if handicapped.

I was most impressed by our real-world Windows Live Movie Maker and SunlitGreen BatchBlitz tests. These show that the new processors should provide a real, noticeable improvement in mundane applications.

Intel HD 4000 is better still. Intel’s IGP is now on par with a low-end discrete GPU. Most modern games are enjoyable so long as you keep detail settings at low to medium if you don’t exceed a resolution of 1366x768. Intel has finally produced an IGP that can handle most games at the native resolution of the average laptop. 

Ivy Bridge is proving to be an even more exciting release for laptops than for desktops. Intel HD 4000 can be replaced with a much quicker video card for under $100 in a desktop, but most laptop manufacturers ask between $100 and $200 for an upgrade from Intel’s IGP to a mid-range discrete GPU that, in some cases, will prove to be only slightly more powerful. 

In addition to that, the new production process will help laptop manufacturers further reduce the thickness of high-end laptops. The powerful ASUS N56VM that was used as the reference system is only an inch thick. We also just received a new ASUS G75 for future review that is substantially thinner than the previous model. Will the 2-inch-thick gaming laptop soon be a thing of that past? I think so.

I can think of nothing bad to say about Ivy Bridge for mobile.  It’s quick, it has a great IGP and it should allow for thinner, quieter, cooler laptops. Intel’s streak of success remains unbroken. 

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April 23, 2012 | 01:49 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Will Ivy Bridge allow gaming engines to be able to leverage openCl to utilize the intrigrated GPU for compute tasks for games that reguire more cpu/OpenCL compute power intensive processing, while simultaneously using the descrete GPU!

April 23, 2012 | 02:16 PM - Posted by Matt Smith

While OpenCL will allow access for compute tasks, I don't know for certain if it will be possible to use it while simultaneously using a discrete graphics solution. I'm -GUESSING- no, due to how drivers work, but that's a guess. I don't have much knowledge of Open CL.

April 23, 2012 | 04:01 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

From the information that I received from watching a interview online of Intel's Head of GPU development, Intel not only increased the number of execution units in the HD 4000 GPU to 16, but Intel also tweaked the execution units to allow them to run better than than execution units from the previous Sandy Bridge HD 3000 Graphics?

April 23, 2012 | 06:22 PM - Posted by Matt Smith

Yes this is correct, though I don't think Intel has ever gone into detail about what the tweaks were.

April 23, 2012 | 04:30 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I know pcper.com Is just starting to review Ivy Bridge laptops, but could you please, If you review a laptop that only has Intel HD graphics, tell the reader if the reviewed laptop uses the stock Intel HD graphics driver software, or if the reviewed laptop is using OEM customized(MODDED) Intel graphics drivers. Some OEM's do not update their customized Intel HD graphics very often, if at all, and, at the Intel driver update website, Intel will not be able to update OEM customized Intel HD graphics! This is a problem for many gamers or other users of graphics software on laptops that utilze Intel integrated GPUs.

May 1, 2012 | 12:20 PM - Posted by Matt Smith

I will look into this when I next review a dedicated HD 4000 laptop.

May 1, 2012 | 03:11 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Thank you, This could be an article idea in itself, Which laptop OEMs provide the best or worst Updates to their laptop OEM's supplied software! A review of laptop OEM's Graphics Drivers, laptop OEM's supplied update software etc. Someone should contact an Intel representative and ask them why Intel allows laptop OEMs to customize their HD graphics drivers in the first place! A servery should be conducted of readers to allow laptop owners to express their opinions with their laptop OEM's quality of service after the sale, with an emphasis on Laptop owners satisfaction and laptops owners ability to update the graphics drivers, etc, which the laptop OEM's should be regularly updating!

April 24, 2012 | 12:42 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

yes, then you get stuck with old crusty drivers cause the OEM is lazy.

well all OEM's are right? right.

April 25, 2012 | 06:14 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

This guy Knows how to review a Processor, he talks execution units, pipline stages, the Whole ball of wax!

http://techreport.com/articles.x/22835

April 30, 2012 | 02:43 PM - Posted by Chuck (not verified)

Hey, does anyone know where I can buy a new 3720QM?!

May 1, 2012 | 12:20 PM - Posted by Matt Smith

Just the processor?

May 1, 2012 | 11:19 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

The specs for HD graphics list 2560x1600 as maximum resolution but with the HD3000 that is only for displayport output. DVI is limited to 1920x1200.

Does anyone know if the HD4000 supports the higher resolution via DVI?

May 7, 2012 | 12:40 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

"...ASUS N56VM, but this is not a full review...That will be published later..." when... when... WHEN!!!

Please :-)

May 10, 2012 | 05:18 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Just bought a small form desktop sandy bridge quad core and
monitor for much less.
Makes no sense with high spec laptops

December 18, 2012 | 07:43 PM - Posted by Davida Guilbeau (not verified)

Rattling nice pattern and superb subject matter, absolutely nothing else we want :D.

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