Intel 'Sandy Bridge' mobile platform
Second-gen Core i7 CPU leaves its tyre marks
Review Sandy Bridge is the codename for Intel's second generation of Core processors that covers Core i3, i5 and i7 for both side of the desktop-mobile divide. If you've been following the news lately, you'll know that Dell has discovered flaws in the Cougar Point chipset that, while not revealing a fault in the actual Sandy Bridge CPU, has implications for Sata devices used in this new generation of silicon. In the process of reviewing this whitebook sample, issues affecting storage did come to light as, you'll discover.
Intel's Sandy Bridge 17in whitebook review sample bore a marked resemblance to Packard Bell's Easynote LM
I have dabbled with Core i5 and Core i7 Sandy Bridge desktop processors and I must confess, I’m mightily impressed by the dynamic overclocking of Turbo Boost 2.0, the power management features and the minuscule power draw. It's a strange experience watching an overclocked Core i7-2600K system running at 4.2GHz as it draws a mere 155W at the mains socket and shreds the Cinebench 11.5 benchmark into tiny pieces.
I had anticipated waiting until late February or March to get my hands on a Sandy Bridge notebook, however, Intel came knocking with an unbranded whitebook that showcases the new technology. This chimera of a laptop is made by Compal yet shows Packard Bell branding on the mouse buttons. At a guess, I’d say that the whitebook is based on the same chassis as a Packard Bell EasyNote LM.
The specification is high end and consists of a Core i7-2820QM processor, an Intel HM67 chipset, and 4GB of DDR3-1600 RAM in two modules that operate in dual channel mode. The machine came preinstalled with 64-bit Windows 7 Ultimate Edition on a second generation 160GB Intel X25-M SSD.
CPU-Z reveals all
On the face of it the weakest part of the specification of the unit is the Intel HD Graphics 3000 that is part of the Core i7 processor. Despite running at a sprightly 650MHz, the graphics only pack 12 shaders. At 1600 x 900 the screen resolution of this showcase laptop was a little disappointing, not quite managing Full HD .
Next page: Core competency
Flash isn't necessarily less overall power if you don't account for the amount of work done. If you ran the system full tilt, you would spend less time waiting for disk. This implies more time the CPU spends in an active rather than a sleep state, and therefore at a higher power drain.
To test, you would need an application that has a fixed transaction rate versus time so that the SSD based machine would spend additional time in a low power state.
SandyBridge or "An study in trifle"
Whatever happened to Intel as we knew it over the years.
First they mess up their ticks from their tocks.
Then they go about releasing the weaklings and pushing the battleships further back in the queue.
Enthusiast Sandy Bridge (i.e. LGA 2011) has been on the cards for ages and yet months before its (intended) release there's nothing in terms of information out there.
Nehalem/Westmere have stayed at the top spot for longer than any other Intel CPU.
And don't start on Intel's Wireless Display or Toshiba's et al. Display Link. Neither do full-HD, their range is pitiful and the delay from compression/decompression means they're useless for anything other than media players. For gaming or other general work, there's (frustratingly) still no beating an HDMI cable on the back of a GPU :(
^ series chipset, UEFI and battery life
Frymaster - you're quite correct that the 6 series chipset/SATA300 issue should have nowt to do with battery life on HDD and SSD but it isn't impossible so we thought it best to make mention.
Robert Carnegie - I was focussing on the benefits (or otherwise) to the end user. In that context the UEFI implementation in this laptop is pretty damn similar to a BIOS. As for what it does - for instance support for hard drives larger than 2.2TB - well that's a tick in the box and make me pleased however it is invisible to the end user, at least for the time being. It's a bit like reviewing a motherboard and referring to whether the graphics slots are PCI Express 1.0 or 2.0. The standard and data bandwidth are all well and good but do they make your game play better or not? In this case the set-up screen is effectively a BIOS that you can control with the touchpad.
Enki and Irneb
You're both quite possibly correct. The fact is that I came across some strange test results and felt it better to put them on the page instead of sweeping them under the digital carpet. I discussed exactly this theory with Intel using a car analogy about how many miles you travel on a tank of fuel (work done) and how long you take to get there (battery life). If their tech people had come back and said 'yup, that's how it rolls with SSD, more work and less battery' I would have understood. Instead there has been a resounding silence.