Mobile Sandy Bridge rocks; gaming doesnt get much better on a single-GPU notebook.
Optimus-like technology would have been nice; glossy screen isnt for everyone.
By now, Intel’s Sandy Bridge CPUs need no introduction. Since their debut late last year, the procs have been on the hot list of every red-blooded power user. But getting at them hasn’t been easy. Particularly the mobile parts, which hadn’t even hit the market in new notebooks before the now-infamous SATA 3Gb/s port issue brought product flow to a grinding halt.
Thanks to AVADirect, however, our days of waiting and wanting are over. The company’s 15-inch Clevo P150HM features a shiny new 2.2GHz Core i7-2720QM. It’s not the fastest proc in the SB mobile lineup, but you’re still looking at four cores, eight threads, and a maximum Turbo frequency of 3.3GHz. If that sounds promising, peep the benchmarks.
If you like to wrench on your notebook, bottom panels on the P150HM offer easy access to the memory modules and drive bay.
For our new zero-point notebook, we appointed the Asus G73Jw-A1 that we reviewed in January 2011. That machine’s 1.73GHz Core i7-740QM will provide a good marker for how this new generation of CPUs performs against last-gen Nehalems. And based on the performance of the Clevo P150HM, there’s no need for nostalgia. While the Core i7-2720QM isn’t quite 30 percent faster than our zero-point’s proc in base clock speed, it enjoyed leads ranging from 46 percent to 70 percent in the computing benchmarks—such is the power of Turbo Boost 2.0.
While all Sandy Bridge chips have a graphics core right alongside the CPU core on the same die, it gets no love in the Clevo P150HM. Graphics are handled solely by a GeForce GTX 485M, which performed admirably in our gaming tests. It bested our zero-point’s GTX 460M by more than 30 percent in both Far Cry 2 and Call of Duty 4. When we bumped up the resolution in FC2 to the notebook’s native 1920x1080, keeping all settings at Ultra High, the frame rate barely dropped, hitting 66.9fps.
It would have been nice if the notebook came with Nvidia’s Optimus technology, so when graphics-card power wasn’t called for, the Sandy Bridge GPU could take over and conserve some power. The P150HM surely would have lasted longer in our battery rundown test. Still, by exceeding two hours during DVD playback, it did better than many other similarly configured rigs.
While not as big and burly as the last few Clevo notebooks we’ve reviewed, the 15-inch P150HM is far from dainty. Aesthetically it’s no-nonsense—plain black rubberized surfaces, a full-size island keyboard, and an unobtrusive smattering of blue LED indicator lights. Its simplicity is offset by a glossy LCD screen framed by a glossy black bezel.
Its simple looks are also offset by its price. But what you’re paying for are all the internal goodies. Besides offering killer computing and mobile graphics performance, the P150HM gives you 256GB of fast SSD storage and a Blu-ray drive to boot. Indeed, this machine could ably serve as a primary computer.
|CPU||2.2GHz Intel Core i7-2720QM|
|RAM ||8GB DDR3/1066MHz|
|Drives ||Crucial C300 256GB SSD|
|Optical ||HP CDDVDW TS-L633N|
|GPU||Matshita Blu-ray burner|
|Connectivity ||HDMI, DVI, USB/eSATA, Ethernet, two USB 3.0, two USB 2.0, FireWire, headphone, mic, S/PDIF out, speaker out/line in, 9-in-1 media reader, webcam, Bluetooth, 802.11g|
|Lap/Carry ||6 lbs, 15.6 oz / 9 lbs, 3 oz|
|Zero Point ||AVADirect Clevo P150HM|
|Premiere Pro CS3 (sec)||899||526|
|Photoshop CS3 (sec) ||131 ||84|
|Proshow Producer (sec) ||876 ||597|
|MainConcept (sec) ||1,782||1,148|
|Far Cry (fps) ||48.5 ||67.3|
|Call of Duty 4 (fps)||62.2||84.3|
|Battery Life (min) ||96||124|
Our zero point notebook is an Asus G73Jw-A1 with a 1.73GHz Intel Core i7-740QM, 8GB DDR3/1066, two 500GB Seagate 7,200rpm hard drives, a GeForce GTX 460M, and Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit. Far Cry 2 tested at 1680x1050 with 4x AA; Call of Duty tested at 1680x1050 with 4x AA and 4x anisotropic filtering.