Intel Core i7-2820QM Mobile Sandy Bridge Processor - HotHardware

Intel Core i7-2820QM Mobile Sandy Bridge Processor

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Intel's Turbo Boost dynamic clock gating and overclocking technology has been around since the early days of Intel's original Nehalem architecture.  With the Sandy Bridge mobile architecture, Intel is taking things up and down a notch or two, depending on your workload at the time.

Sandy Bridge mobile chips have the ability to scale core clock speeds at a single, dual and four-core level, depending on thread level and workloads.  The range of speed bins can vary widely as well, with our 2.3GHz Core i7-2820QM test chip offering top clock speeds of 1GHz+ faster in pure single-thread processing mode.  At a basic level, the power management intelligence that Intel built into these chips, allows the architecture to scale clock speeds for optimal throughput depending on thread-level workload conditions, while still remaining within their thermal and power envelope requirements for platform design goals.

Core i7-2820QM Overclocking
Intel Style with Turbo Boost 2.0


Intel Core i7-2820QM Sandy Bridge - Idle - Click for high res.

Here we see the Core i7-2820QM Sandy Bridge chip at idle on the desktop. As you can see, the core clock speed has ramped all the way down to a sleepy 800MHz while core-level thermals sit around a cool 40ºC temperature.


Intel Core i7-2820QM Sandy Bridge - Full Load - All Threads 3.1GHz - Click for high res.

Here you're looking at Core i7-2820QM under 100% full load, with all eight threads pegged.  The Sandy Bridge mobile architecture takes the entire processor core complement up to 3.1GHz across all cores.


Intel Core i7-2820QM Sandy Bridge - Two Thread Load - 3.3GHz - Click for high res.

And finally, here's an example of Sandy Bridge mobile under a lightly threaded condition, specifically our Lame MT audio conversion test, which utilizes only two threads in its processing workload.  The Core i7-2820QM takes its two active cores up to 3.3GHz to chew through this test with the fastest score we've seen yet from any mobile chip.  More details on the performance results in this scenario, coming up.

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Holy Cow!! Wow, this chip is just freaking amazing!! I knew I had to stay awake a little longer tonight!

Amazing performance for this particular model over the last generation extreme mobile processor, plus better price, this just smokes everything else from the past generation.

WOW, 3.1 GHz on full load on all cores, 3.3 and two cores, 800ghz on Idle, incredible.

Quick Sync....Geezus!!

Edit: Excellent Review Dave!!

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Nice Review Dave!! Cant wait for these things to come out!! I am in the market for a HP TM2T type device and it would be a great match for it!!

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Thanks folks! Yeah, these are impressive chips to be sure!

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Looks like another pacesetter from Intel. I would love to be in the market for a new Laptop, and have the cash to get one of them, but it would have to have discrete graphics on it .

Sandy Bridge is impressive.

AMD, it's your turn,............

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Hmm; I would say yes and no for me personally, because of a couple of factors. Personally I do not forgive the SATA, and USB3 exclusion.  This is for a specific reason though as well as because they are missing. I am not saying I do not appreciate the chip, and capabilities of it. I am just saying on a personal level because I know in 6 months those will be included as well as more functionality. The more functionality also includes there new comm interface software/hardware as I think it is scheduled to be out in 6 as well on there boards, as is there new BIOS scheme on the PC side of things I think. With that in mind I could comfortably say I won't be buying an Intel processor for at least a year or on the next tock, not tick:)

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>> AMD, it's your turn,............

Exactly what I was thinking, RealNeil.

I do expect the AMD solution to perform better graphically. But, as both are still significantly behind an actual video card, I think I'd prefer the Intel solution for the desktop (and maybe the AMD in a laptop - if the hype doesn't turn out to be overinflated).

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3vi1:
as both are still significantly behind an actual video card
  Good Point!

There is a lot to be said for a discrete Video Card. Swapping them as we see fit, and upgrading them when we can afford to, (without replacing major components like your CPU and MainBoard) is a huge plus for gamers. For me, it's a concept that will probably live on forever.

It seems as though Sandy's brought some improved performance to the table that will please more of the masses. The video trans-coding capability must have been a target for Intel to go after this time around and they seem to have it nailed. All in all I think that they'll sell well, but I'm hoping that AMD throws down the gauntlet soon and gets a larger piece of the pie. We really need them around to help keep prices under control.

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Very nice review Dave, these are really interesting chips.  These will really make a big improvement over the 720 in my current laptop when I’m looking at upgrading later this year. 

However, the use of the phrase "Orders of magnitude" within the review makes no sense.  Orders would imply at least two, which would come out to a x100 increase in performance.  In the test that the phrase was used, not even a single order of magnitude (x10) was reached.  Maybe it is just the engineer in me, but that one phrase just seems to torque me the wrong way.  Great review otherwise.

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