Intel Core i5-3427U: Ivy Bridge For Ultrabooks

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Performance Summary and Conclusion

Performance Summary:  Intel's new Core i5-3427U 17 Watt Ivy Bridge Ultra processor compared favorably to previous generation Sandy Bridge standard voltage CPUs in terms of CPU performance. The new chip often offered 85+% of the CPU throughput of the standard power dual-core, as we saw in our Cinebench CPU tests for example, but with much lower power consumption.  In multimedia workloads, especially video encode/decode, the new low power 17W Ivy Bridge Core i5 dual-core was dramatically faster than a standard power 35W Sandy Bridge processor and the same holds true under casual gaming conditions as well.  Finally, compared to AMD's Trinity APU, a yardstick Intel's chip is competitively aligned with, Intel's CPU lead continues to extend while their graphics game has come up significantly, even within their ultra low voltage architecture. Intel can't match AMD's integrated graphics performance or game compatibility, but Intel absolutely obliterates AMD on the CPU side of the equation.

The New Thin - Ultrabooks Powered by 22nm CPUs - Intel's Ivy Bridge ULT Processor

And so the stage is set.  Intel has lowered price points for Ultrabooks to start at $699, though we're hopeful manufacturing partner execution to the bar that has been set is better achieved versus the first generation of UItrabooks.  Remember that $999 price point?  Too often it was exceeded and there are still scant few options beneath the $1K mark. Performance-per-watt, however, has once again been dramatically enhanced, with power consumption, size and thermal design performance optimized for even thinner, lighter and more stylish designs. With these key system level performance characteristics in hand, along with solid cost reductions, AMD's Trinity has some pretty stiff competition.

In fact, for ultralight notebooks, we'd say it could very well be game, set and match for Intel with this design cycle. In more midrange multimedia-targeted notebooks, where graphics performance is more critical, Trinity-based machines could offer a price aggressive option in the market, though there will be a trade-off in CPU performance that will take careful marketing to convey at the retail level.

Regardless, though the landscape is quickly changing in the notebook arena, Intel appears to be ahead of the curve again, offering more power-efficient CPUs like the Core i5-3427U with leading-edge features like DX11 graphics, and video transcoding and encryption processing engines on board.  When you stop to think what Intel's new Ultrabook architecture is capable of, considering its size and weight specifications, what the company has achieved is an unquestionable feat of design and manufacturing prowess that virtually no other company in the market can match currently.

  • Low power consumption
  • Excellent performance-per-watt
  • QuicSync video transcode rocks
  • 13-inch Ultrabook prototype, only 56 Watts under full CPU/GPU load, 11.5 Watts idle
  • Lower cost CPU and platform
  • Historic target system price points not met aggressively

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