The Intel Core i7-2920XM is the fastest quad-core processor for laptops in Q1-2011. Due to the Extreme Edition branding, the CPU should be easy to overclock (unlocked multiplicator). It is based on the Sandy Bridge architecture and offers Hyperthreading to handle 8 threads at once (for a better usage of the pipeline). Compared to the previous Clarksdale quad-cores, the i7-2920XM is now manufactured in 32nm, offers an integrated graphics card and AES functions. Compared to the slower clocked 2820QM, the 2920XM is specified with a higher TDP.
Sandy Bridge is the evolutionary successor of the Arrandale architecture. The most noteable improvements are the new 256Bit AVX instructions, the improved Turbo Boost and the integration of the graphics card into the 32nm CPU core. Furthermore, the integrated memory controller was improved and supports up to 8 GB DDR3-1333.
The Core i7-2920XM offers an integrated graphics card (Intel HD Graphics 3000) which proved to be clearly faster than the old Intel HD Graphics in the Arrandale CPUs and on a level with entry level dedicated graphics cards like the GeForce 310M. The HD Graphics 3000 also supports Turbo Boost and clocks between 650 MHz and 1300 MHz. As the graphics card shares the fast last level cache, the processor is a bit slower with activated GPU.
Due to the high Turbo Boost and Hyperthreading, the performance of the Core i7-2920XM can reach levels of the fast desktop Core i5-2500K processor. Compared to the previous generation, the i7-2920XM is up to 42% faster than the old Core i7-940XM processor. Therefore, the performance should be sufficient for even the most demanding tasks like HD video editing or 3D games. Extensive benchmarks can be found at the end of this page and in our review of the new Sandy Bridge quad core processors.
The high TDP rating of the 2920XM enables the usage of the quad core only in large and heavy laptops (usually 15" and up). Compared to the previous generation of quad-cores, however, the TDP improved, as the integrated GPU is now included.
The Intel Core i7-2637M is power efficient ULV (Ultra Low Voltage) processor for thin and light laptops. The base frequency of 1.7 GHz is relatively low, but due to Turbo Boost 2.0, the CPU may clock up to 2.8 GHz (on core loaded, 2.5 GHz with both cores loaded). However, this depends on the cooling and power consumption of the laptop. Due to HyperThreading, the i7-2637M is able to handle 4 threads in parallel. Compared to the slower i7-2617M, the 2637M offers a higher clock speed (processor core and turbo, graphics turbo).
Sandy Bridge is the evolutionary successor of the Arrandale architecture. The most notable improvements is the improved Turbo 2.0 and the integration of the graphics card into the 32nm CPU core.
The integrated Intel HD Graphics 3000 clocked at 350 or 1200MHz (Turbo Boost). Due to the slower clock rate without the Turbo, compared to HD Graphics 3000 in 35W and 45W processors (usually clocked at 650 base speed in non LV processors), the performance should be noticeable lower.
The performance of the CPU should be a bit higher than a similar clocked Arrandale Core i5. Thanks to the high Turbo Boost frequencies, the performance should be similar to the Core i3-2310M. However, the laptop cooling system has to keep the processor relatively cool for the Turbo Boost to work often.
The TDP of 17W (includes the integrated GPU and memory controller) allows the use of the 2637M CPU in small subnotebooks.
Average Benchmarks Intel Core i7-2920XM → 100%n=22
Average Benchmarks Intel Core i7-2637M → 61%n=22
- Range of benchmark values for this graphics card - Average benchmark values for this graphics card * Smaller numbers mean a higher performance 1 This benchmark is not used for the average calculation
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