Intel i7-3720QM Review; Ivy Bridge Goes Mobile
After what seems like such a short time with Sandy Bridge, Intelís new Ivy Bride is here and it is poised to take the mobile world by storm. Not only is this new generation supposed to extend the Core-seriesí lead over the competition in a number of areas but in the mobile space at least, it should offer some unique benefits over its predecessor.
Even with the introduction of competing solutions like Sabine (the mobile version of Llano) and ultra portable Brazos platforms, few would argue that Intelís dominance of the notebook market is nearly absolute. But there have been some signs of that supremacy eroding in a few areas. With the notebook and Ultrabook market expanding at a breakneck pace, more and more focus is being put upon a combination of CPU and GPU performance coupled with great battery life and portability. AMDís aforementioned Fusion architecture -which included the Sabine and Brazos APUs- addressed this by effectively combining the central processing elements of a CPU and a relatively high performance GPU onto the same die. Considering more and more applications are taking advantage of the massive parallel processing capabilities of GPU architectures, at times the result of this synergy was something to behold but fell short in a number of areas, mostly due to a lack of CPU performance.
Intel has faced very much the same limitations as AMD did but on a completely different front. While the performance and overall efficiency of their central processing architecture was leaps and bounds ahead of AMD, their graphics cores always seemed to be several steps behind. Sandy Bridge was arguably their first step towards half way respectable GPU functionality but the Ivy Bridge-based i7 and i5 series processors are supposed to move closer to that elusive balance between CPU and GPU harmony. They also do this while consuming about the same amount of power as the previous generation.
Even though notebooks and desktops with Ivy Bridge processors will be available soon after this article is published, our goal here is to give you a little inside of the mobile portion of Intelís revised architecture. To do accomplish this we brought in a engineering sample of ASUSí new G75VW-3D which is equipped with Intelís new i7-3720QM quad core, eight thread processor, a GTX 670M and 16GB of memory. Unfortunately, since this configuration will never be sold through retail channels, this article will focus upon the i7-3720QM with a review of the retail unit in the coming weeks.
It is also important to note that the 3720QM is actually a processor destined for the retail channel so we may not be seeing much of it on vendorsí systems but that isnít to say it will never be available. With that being said, it is positioned in the top half of Intelís Ivy Bridge lineup and it will be most prevalent in gaming, entertainment and content creation notebooks.
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