HP Spectre X2 Review: A Core m Powered Surface Alternative

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Benchmarks: PCMark 8, Sunspider, Lame MT

In our custom LAME MT MP3 encoding test, we convert a large WAV file to the MP3 format, which is a popular scenario that end users work with on a day-to-day basis to provide portability and storage of their digital audio content. LAME is an open-source MP3 audio encoder that is used widely in a multitude of third party applications.

Lame MT
Audio Encoding On Skylake Mobile

In this test, we created our own 223MB WAV file (ripped from a crazy-long Grateful Dead jam) and then convert it to the MP3 format using the multi-thread capable LAME MT application, in both single and multi-thread modes. This is what we would consider a "lightly-threaded" benchmark test since it technically only makes use of two simultaneous threads for processing.

Run times are recorded below, listed in seconds. Shorter times equate to better performance.

The Spectre X2's performance in the multi-threaded test wasn't quite as good as some of the full Core i-based machines, due to the Core m's lower power envelope and need to scale clocks down on both processor more quickly. In the single-threaded tests, however, the Core m's relatively high turbo frequency allows it perform right in line with a Core i5-based Surface Pro 3.

SunSpider JavaScript Benchmark
JavaScript Performance Testing

Next up, we have some numbers from the SunSpider JavaScript benchmark. According to the SunSpider website:

This benchmark tests the core JavaScript language only, not the DOM or other browser APIs. It is designed to compare different versions of the same browser, and different browsers to each other. Unlike many widely available JavaScript benchmarks, this test is real-world, balanced and statistically sound. 

We should note that this is more of a platform test, in that different browser versions, associated with different OS types can and do affect scores.

The fastest machines of the group are all tightly packed at the top of the chart. The Core m-based Spectre X2 falls in between previous-gen Core m products and the Haswell-based Core i5.

PCMark 8
Productivity and Sytem Level Benchmarking
PCMark 8 v2 is the latest version in Futuremark’s series of popular PC benchmarking tools. It is designed to test the performance of all types of systems, from tablets to desktops. PCMark 8 offers five separate benchmark tests--plus battery life testing for mobile platforms—to help consumers find the devices that offer the perfect combination of efficiency and performance for their particular use case. This latest version of the suite improves the Home, Creative and Work benchmarks with new tests using popular open source applications for image processing, video editing and spreadsheets. A wide variety of workloads have also been added to the Work benchmark to better reflect the way PCs are used in enterprise environments.

We tested three of the benchmark modules: Home, Work and Storage


The HP Spectre X2 performed surprisingly well in the PCMark 8 tests. The system's fast SSD, along with its relatively high single-core performance and Turbo clocks actually push it to the head of the pack in the Work test suite. This is interesting to note, because the Core m7 inside the machine won't be the highest performing offering in all workloads. In office-type tasks, however, it can be quite speedy.

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