Intel Arrandale Core i5 and Core i3 Mobile Unveiled

Article Index

Summary and Conclusion

Performance Summary:   The new Core i5 540M Mobile processor and its accompanying Asus K42F notebook, was significantly faster across the board versus Intel's legacy Core 2 Duo Mobile processor architecture, even something as high-end as a Core 2 Duo X9000 2.8GHz chip.  The Core i5 excelled especially in highly threaded applications like our Cinebench 3D rendering and X264 video encoding tests.  In terms of power consumption, the Core i5 Mobile system we tested lasted about as long as similarly configured Core 2 Duo notebooks that were much more modestly equipped from a processor standpoint.  Performance-per-watt and overall power draw of the Core i5 notebook we tested was markedly better than any Intel notebook platform we've worked with to date.

Intel is introducing a wide range of mobile processors today, with several new models in the Core i7, Core i5 and Core i3 families of mobile products.  Here' s a quick run-down of high level specs and pricing...

When it comes to notebook platforms and processors, Intel has a proverbial stranglehold on the market right now and it's hard to see that changing anytime soon with what the company is bringing to market today.  In that regard, pricing on the other hand, is another thing all together.  Frankly, Intel just plain needs more competition here though we're sure they'd beg to differ.  Never the less, when we consider the specs of the class of machine we tested in the Asus K42F, we're left wondering why it's a little on the pricey side. The $999 price point is usually marked for higher-end machines with discrete graphics, more premium design aesthetics or both.  We're hopeful street prices will fall in line a bit more in the future. 

Beyond that, if we consider the one area that Intel was lacking in historically, with respect to their notebook platform architecture, we'd have to say that they've made significant strides as well with this release.  Arrandale, offers a very respectable 3D graphics, video and multimedia experience as compared to competitive IGP offerings on the market today.  The long and short of it is, if you aren't looking to get into high res or leading-edge gaming, Intel's new Graphics Media Accelerator HD engine in Arrandale will suit you just fine. 

For notebooks, let's face it, there is a niche' market at best for true gaming machines.  From a market-share standpoint, business class machines, mid-range multimedia notebooks and thin-n-lights comprise the lion's share of the pie.  In that light, Intel is sitting pretty with their new Arrandale core.  We say bring on the new low voltage Arrandale's too.  Thin is very much in these days.  18 Watts, with the kind of performance and efficiency Arrandale brings to the table, looks to be a sweet spot the market would be eager to get a taste of.

  • Killer performance-per-watt
  • Solid integrated graphics
  • Dual cores with hyperthreading
  • Turbo Boost single threaded speed to 3.06GHz
  • Appears pricey upon initial release

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