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.