Intel Core i7-3720QM Ivy Bridge Mobile Review

Article Index

Test Methodology, HD Video and Quick Sync Transcoding

Test Methodology: As you'll note in the following pages of benchmarks, we've compared the Intel Ivy Bridge mobile-equipped Asus N56VM notebook  versus a few different machines, both standard notebooks and in some cases Ultrabook class products.  In every test case, we tried to leave each notebook as delivered to us from the manufacturers. This meant, after any pending Windows updates were installed, we disabled Windows update and also disabled any virus scanning software that may have been installed, so it wouldn't kick in during benchmark runs.  That said, it's virtually impossible to ensure identical system configurations between notebooks; so we'll caution you that reference scores from the various test systems are listed in order to give you a general feel for performance between these similar class of machines and not for direct, apples-to-apples comparisons.

HD Media Playback and Video Convserion
Preliminary Tests with Intel HD 4000 Graphics and HD Video

As a quick sanity check on CPU utilization, we first fired up a 1080p QuickTime video clip from the Apple QuickTime Movie Trailer gallery.  Here we've captured a scene from the movie Battleship by Universal so you can get a look at how Intel's new Ivy Bridge Core i7-3720QM handles unoptimized HD video decoding workloads.

1080p H.264 Encoded QuickTime Trailer Playback

Windows Task Manager Performance monitor shows the new quad-core, eight-thread capable chip is oscillating between 10 - 11% CPU utilization.

Cyberlink MediaEspresso
1080p AVCHD to 720p H.264 Transcoding and Compression

Cyberlink's MediaEspresso is a video conversion tool that imports various video media files types and converts them to other standard video types for publication, portability and streaming.  In this test, we take a 224MB high definition 1080p AVCHD video clip and convert it to a 720p H.264-encoded video file.  Here we're going to look directly at Intel's Quick Sync video transcode engine in the new Ivy Bridge processor architecture and compare it to Intel's previous generation Sandy Bridge Quick Sync engine and competitive GPU-based solutions as well. 

MediaEspresso in action with 12% CPU utilization running on Ivy

Times are measured in minutes:seconds with lower times representing faster throughput in the video conversion process.

The highlight numbers you want to take-away from this graph are shown at the very top.  Intel's previous generation Sandy Bridge Core i7-2820QM quad core clips in at a blistering 14 seconds flat, only to be beaten by the new Core i7-3720QM Ivy Bridge CPU in half the time at 7 seconds.  Beyond that, you can see just how much workload this video conversion task is for other platforms.  Even NVIDIA's CUDA-powered time of 0:53 is just a hair faster than Ivy Bridge in software-only mode with hardware Quick Sync acceleration disabled.

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