Performance Summary and Conclusion
Performance Summary: The Asus K53E with Intel's Core i5-2520M at the helm, offered a very satisfying experience for us, no matter what we asked of the machine. General computing and business apps were met with bandwidth to spare and the notebook excelled in multimedia and content creation usage scenarios, where Intel's integrated graphics engine was very much up to the task for anything you'd expect from this class of notebook. In general, the Core i5-2520M was anywhere from 15 - 25% faster almost across the board, versus its previous generation 2.5GHz Arrandale counterpart, all with roughly the same power draw and more intelligent, more granular power management capabilities.
About a year or back, in a trendy, mood lighting splashed French restaurant in New York City, we spent time with the Intel Product Marketing and Technical Marketing teams discussing their upcoming Arrandale product launch. At the time we were ribbing the Intel team about the integrated graphics solution that their then-current mobile product offered the end user. Back then, surprisingly and reluctantly they agreed that their 945 series mobile chipset (or desktop for that matter) just didn't have enough juice on the multimedia side of things to get the job done for many end users. They of course however, offered that the upcoming Arrandale Core i7/5/3 series of mobile platforms would offer the average end user a more capable experience with the ability to handle HD video and offer a bit of light duty gaming that would satisfy a large majority of the market demand. Looking back at those claims, we'd say now that Arrandale was close but not quite what we wanted to see and obviously folks like NVIDIA continued to make a business of propping up the chipset with solutions like Optimus. Now, all that seems to have changed significantly for the better with Sandy Bridge.
Asus K53E and Intel Core i5-2520M
The Asus K53E and its Sandy Bridge-based Core i5-2520M processor offers the kind of processing power, features and capabilities you'd hope for in a notebook of its 15-inch footprint and weight. Thanks to Intel's new processor the machine rips through video and audio transcoding with aplomb, literally faster than any notebook architecture or discrete mobile GPU we have seen thus far; and that's a monumental feat if you really think about it. From a general productivity performance standpoint, this notebook offers more available bandwidth for multitasking and general computing, than previous generation Intel notebook platforms on the market and all with power consumption management that end users demand for mainstream mobile computing. Price-wise, the Asus K53E with its projected $899 MSRP is hard to beat in the 15-inch category. We hate to say it (or not) but the K53E is the kind of machine that "PC folk" thumb their noses at "Mac folks" with. 15-inch MacBook Pros start at $1799, about 2X the price of this machine. Sure, with the Mac you get discrete Radeon HD 6490M graphics but whether or not you need it is up to you. You also get a higher resolution display (1440X900 native) and a solid aluminum chassis that is arguably gorgeous, along with a Core i7 mobile quad-core chip -- but again, if you're willing to fork over two times the coin.
Certainly Intel doesn't mind either way you'd go, because Sandy Bridge is in both machines. So as far as they're concerned, you can't go wrong, though AMD might argue that a bit for thin and light machines, with something called Fusion. And of course Asus has higher-end SKUs with Core i7 Sandy Bridge chips under the hood as well, if you're looking for something in between this and the MacBook. In any case, with their early hiccups out of the way, Intel's Sandy Bridge 2nd Generation Mobile Core processor family is set to take the notebook market by storm now; and the Asus K53E? Well, let's just say Intel is no dummy sending over a machine like this to showcase it's new dual-core notebook chip.
- Unmatched performance-per-watt profile for mobile CPUs
- Robust graphics core
- Quick Sync video encoding rocks
- Strong hardware encryption engines
- Ridiculously low idle power consumption
- Turbo Boost 2.0
- The price is right, Bob!
- Intel's legacy in graphics driver development
- No USB 3.0 yet