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

Intel Core i7-2820QM Mobile Sandy Bridge Processor

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The Packard Bell machine that Intel sent us for testing with Sandy Bridge, had easy access to primary system components via a couple of panels on the underside of the notebook.  However, since we were under the gun with this piece, we weren't able to do a full tear-down for you.  You can thank Intel for pulling in NDA times and making us work over the holiday break .  Our significant others certainly did.  Break?  What break?




Intel Core i7-2820QM Mobile Processor and H67 Express IO Hub Chip

The Core i7-2820QM comes packaged in a 1224 pin rPGA (Pin Grid Array) with alternative BGA (Ball Grid Array) versions available for direct solder to the PCB.  Regardless, like previous designs, a half twist with a flat head screw driver will release the processor from its socket.  On the top right you can see Intel's new H67 Express IO chip for the rest of the system's multitude of connectivity options.

 HotHardware's Test Systems
 Intel, old and new, head-to-head

System 1:
Intel Core i7-2820QM
(2.3GHz - Quad-Core)
Intel NAR00 LA-6211P Mobile Motherboard (H67 Express Chipset)
Intel HD Graphics 3000
2x2GB DDR3-1333
On-Board Ethernet
On-board Audio
Intel 160GB SATA SSD
Windows 7 x64 Ultimate

System 2: 
Intel Core i5 540M
(2.53GHz - Dual-Core)
Asus K42F Notebook
2x2GB DDR3-1066
Intel  HD Graphics 2000
On-Board Ethernet
On-board Audio
Intel 160GB SATA SSD
Windows 7 x64 Ultimate

System 3: 
Intel Core i7 920XM
(2GHz - Quad-Core)
Clevo Style-Note W870CU Notebook
2x2GB DDR3-1333
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 280M
On-Board Ethernet
On-board Audio
Intel 160GB SATA SSD
Windows 7 x64 Ultimate

 System 4:
Intel Core 2 Duo X9000
(2.8GHz Dual-Core)
Dell XPS M1730 Notebook
2X2GB DDR2-800MHz
NVIDIA GeForce 8800M GTX
On-Board Ethernet
On-board Audio
Intel 160GB SATA SSD
Windows 7 x64 Ultimate



Our Sandy Bridge Mobile Test System...

Preliminary Testing with SiSoft SANDRA 2011B
Synthetic Benchmarks

We began our testing with SiSoftware's SANDRA 2011B, the System ANalyzer, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant. We ran three of the built-in subsystem tests that partially comprise the SANDRA 2011 suite with Intel's new Core i7-2820QM  Sandy Bridge processor (CPU Arithmetic, Multimedia, and Memory Bandwidth).  All of the scores reported below were taken with the processor running at its default clock speed of 2.3GHz with Turbo Boost scaling to 3.4GHz depending on thread-level workloads.



SiSoft SANDRA CPU Test


SiSoft SANDRA Multimedia Test


SiSoft SANDRA Memory Bandwidth Test

In terms of raw CPU throughput, the new Core i7-2820QM mobile processor shows it's faster than Intel's previous generation Core i7 975 desktop chip under SANDRA's Processor Arithmetic and Multi-Media tests.  These early simple test results are obviously encouraging.  In terms of memory bandwidth, Intel's new mobile processor architecture is also able to keep pace with the triple channel DDR3 memory and processor cache performance of an X58 chipset-based system in some cases, offering over 18GB/s of aggregate memory bandwidth.  Remember that the Core i7-2820QM is doing this with a dual channel DDR3 configuration as well.  Again, Intel's Sandy Bridge mobile architecture is stacking up very well in these tests.

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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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