Sandy Bridge: Breaking Hearts and Records

We've had a chance to look at some faster Sandy Bridge kit previously, but the Intel Core i7-2720QM we requested in our review unit promises to supplant the commonly seen older i7-720QM and i7-740QM floating around in the marketplace today. Those chips sport Turbo clocks that peak on a single core below what the 2720QM is capable of on all four cores, so our application testing is liable to be a bloodbath for last generation's gaming notebooks.

Even ignoring the way PCMark tends to skew in favor of SSD-equipped notebooks, it's still impressive to see the Core i7-2720QM take nearly every chip on the block to task. Only the Clevo X7200, with its hex-core, 130-watt i7-980X is able to best it: last generation's i7-820QM can't catch up.

Futuremark's 3DMark suite bears out the equally improved performance of NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 485M: it trounces the 480M and Mobility Radeon HD 5870 by extension, and is only eclipsed by the X7200 with its pair of 480Ms in SLI. Of course, if you were completely insane you could always order the X7200 with two 485Ms and get in the mobile space what was, at least for a time (and arguably may still be), one of the best desktop GPU pairings available. Sure it'll cost you an extra $1,400 for the upgrade over the stock 460M, but that's still an awful lot of performance to be able to pick up and move.

Fast Hardware in a Candy Shell? Gaming: What the GTX 480M Should've Been


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  • TyphoidMary - Monday, February 28, 2011 - link

    Is it just me, or is the way nVidia maps its chips to its model names one of the universes great imponderables? Why did they pare the desktop GF104's, but not the notebook chips? This would seem to give the shaft to anyone who bought the desktop parts. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, February 28, 2011 - link

    So the GF114 is a full GF104 "plus enhancements". I'm not entirely sure what the big difference is; I think it's really just a respin of GF104 with some tweaks to improve clocking and power. So in a sense, GF104 and GF114 are much closer than GF100 and GF110. Now, why a 480M or 460M are nothing at all like the desktop 480 and 460 is another matter entirely. Reply
  • blanarahul - Thursday, March 29, 2012 - link

    Another peculiar thing. All laptop Graphic Cards have 2-3 times more memory than they need. In this case 1 GB was more than enough but they had to give it 2 GB for marketing. Reply
  • Jambe - Monday, February 28, 2011 - link

    Is a matte plastic and/or matte paint finish prohibitively expensive? Being super-serious here.

    I do not want gloss on my laptop at all. The only place it is tolerable is on the screen. Seriously, the hand-rest area should be entirely matte. That thing looks gross.
  • JarredWalton - Monday, February 28, 2011 - link

    The coating (if I'm not mistaken) is a rubberized paint similar to the ASUS G73/G53 series. In person, those smudges don't show up so much, but flash photography does bad things to them. I've got the little brother P150HM and it's a matte plastic (or coated plastic) surface. Reply
  • Kaboose - Tuesday, March 1, 2011 - link

    The Only thing i have noticed about the finish on my G73 is that it will show white smudges if you get a little something on it and try to rub it off, I touched it with "Cheeto" fingers and once i rubbed off the cheesey goodness it left a little white smudge, besides that however I love the rubberized feel! Reply
  • bennyg - Thursday, March 3, 2011 - link

    The rubberised finish on the palm rests on my g51j is something special, don't know if it's what's on the g53/g73 but it's great. The finish is still factory-flawless when you give it a good rub with a hard cloth and it's still comfortable after hours on end.

    All the glossy plastic though makes me postal. Worse though is the double-sided adhesive tape used under the grille at the top of the keyboard. I better not ever get any dandruff...
  • MobiusStrip - Tuesday, March 1, 2011 - link

    Glossy on the chassis is tacky, but a glossy screen is a deal-breaker. This fad is the most moronic regression in computing ever.

    The sham claims of "deeper blacks" and "richer colors" don't even hold up to common sense. With everything covered in a sheen of reflection, you have anything but those attributes. Even in a totally dark room you have reflections covering the screen, because the screen illuminates YOU.

    So unless you're buying a computer to use as a mirror, avoid glossy screens.
  • DooDoo22 - Monday, February 28, 2011 - link

    Why have you not drawn any comparisons to this unit and the MBPs that use the same processor? Is it because you have not gone through the new MBPs yet? Reply
  • sean.crees - Tuesday, March 1, 2011 - link

    Not every notebook review needs an apple plug.

    I'm sure Anand will do a review of the new MBP's soon, and you can see all the comparisons you want then.

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