Intel Core i7-3720QM - Ivy Bridge For Mobile Review: Monster Kill!
Battery Life, Conclusion
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.
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.
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.
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.