Intel Core i7 Mobile CPU (Clarksfield) Review

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Gaming: L4D and ETQW

 Left 4 Dead
Left 4 Dead (L4D) is a co-operative, survival horror, first-person shooter that was developed by Turtle Rock Studios and then purchased by Valve part-way into development. Like Half Life 2, the game uses the Source engine; however, the visuals in L4D are far superior to anything seen in the Half Life universe to date. The game pits four survivors of an apocalyptic pandemic against hordes of aggressive zombies. We tested the game with all of its graphical settings at their maximum, with 4x anti-aliasing and 16x anisotropic filtering, and set to an in-game screen resolution of 1,920x1,200 (which required us to use an external display with the Core i7-920XM whitebook).

Left 4 Dead
DirectX Gaming Performance

As we saw with the Core i7-920XM's whitebook's 3DMark Vantage performance, it's L4D performance is not going to win any fragging awards--especially when compared against robustly-configured desktop gaming rigs. But a frame rate of 62.7 at 1,920x1,200 with all graphics bells-and-whistles turned on is very impressive for a non SLI-laptop, and is a more than playable frame rate.

Enemy Territory: Quake Wars
OpenGL Gaming Performance

 Enemy Territory:
Quake Wars
Enemy Territory: Quake Wars (ETQW) is based on a radically enhanced version of id's Doom 3 engine and viewed by many as Battlefield 2 meets the Strogg--and then some. In fact, we'd venture to say that id took EA's team-based warfare genre up a notch or two. ETQW also marks the introduction of John Carmack's "Megatexture" technology that employs large environment and terrain textures that cover vast areas of maps without the need to repeat and tile many smaller textures. The beauty of megatexture technology is that each unit only takes up a maximum of 8MB of frame buffer memory. Add to that HDR-like bloom lighting and leading edge shadowing effects and ETQW looks great, plays well, and works high-end GPUs vigorously. The game was tested with all of its in-game options set to their maximum values with soft particles enabled, in addition to 4x anti-aliasing and 16x anisotropic filtering. We tested ETQW at a resolution of 1,920x1,200 (using an external display with the Core i7-920XM whitebook).

The same story repeats here as well: strong playable performance, but nothing earth-shattering that would give enthusiast desktop systems anything to worry about.

Low-Resolution Gaming: Enemy Territory: Quake Wars
Taking the GPU out of the Equation

When testing processors with ETQW, we also drop the resolution to 800x600, and reduce all of the in-game graphical options to their minimum values to isolate CPU and memory performance as much as possible. However, the in-game effects, which control the level of detail for the games' physics engines and particle systems, are left at their maximum values, since these actually do place some load on the CPU rather than GPU.

On this very CPU-intensive test, the Core i7-920MX held its own quite well against all of the comparisons systems. Only the Core i5-750 and Core i7-920 desktop processors were faster--and by a fairly small margin.

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