Preliminary Tests Of Intel Sandy Bridge & Ivy Bridge vs. Broadwell

Written by Michael Larabel in Processors on 27 January 2015. Page 1 of 7. 24 Comments

Chances are if you have a Haswell ultrabook/laptop, you're probably not looking at upgrading to a new Broadwell design unless your Haswell laptop had hardware issues, you really need a longer battery life via more power efficient hardware, or you just fall in love with one of the new Broadwell devices. If you're running an Ivy Bridge or Sandy Bridge laptop on the other hand, it might be time for an upgrade to get faster Intel graphics and greater power efficiency. Here's some preliminary figures I have for showing off the new Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Core i7 5600U compared to some older SNB and IVB laptops.

As daily Phoronix readers know, over the past week I've been running a number of Linux benchmarks on the new Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon with Intel Core i7 5600U Broadwell processor, 8GB of RAM, HD Graphics 5500, and 128GB Samsung SSD. So far this high-end ultrabook has been running great with Linux and I've been carrying out many benchmarks to be featured in Phoronix articles in the days ahead -- among them, a large Linux laptop/ultrabook comparison of all the devices I have around my office. While that comparison is still ongoing and will require a few more days to complete, in this article is some reference data compared to a Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge laptop for making an interesting comparison if you're thinking about upgrading from one of these older generation Intel Core laptops.

As Broadwell is just a "tick" to Intel's microarchitectural model, most Haswell laptop/ultrabook owners probably won't be upgrading to Broadwell without really good reason especially as the hardware is just about a year old or so. Broadwell is great if you care about the best possible power efficiency right now, are in need of VP8 hardware decoding, or are just overdue for a device upgrade. The upcoming large comparison though will feature Haswell laptop numbers and also go back even further than Sandy Bridge and all the way back to the "Merom" days to see how the raw performance and power efficiency has evolved with the hardware I have available.

For this preliminary comparison, the X1 Carbon was benchmarked against a ASUS Zenbook UX32VDA with Intel Core i7 3517U Ivy Bridge processor, 4GB of RAM, Intel HD Graphics 40000, and dual 128GB SSDs. The HP EliteBook 161C served as Intel's Sandy Bridge SDV laptop and featured an Intel Core i5 2520M, 4GB of RAM, and 160GB SSD. The full specifications of these devices are shown later on.

Courtesy of Intel ARK, here's a look at how the three mobile CPUs being tested for this article compare... They are all dual-core parts with Hyper Threading, have a turbo frequency of 3.0~3.2GHz, and 3~4MB cache. With the larger comparison there will also be a Core i3 Ivy Bridge and two Haswell laptops, among the other older devices, it should end up being about a nine way Linux laptop comparison.

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