How Intel Laptop Performance & Efficiency Evolved From Nehalem To Broadwell

Written by Michael Larabel in Computers on 20 December 2015 at 11:40 AM EST. Page 1 of 8. 20 Comments.

Last week I published a 7-way Linux laptop comparison with processors ranging from Sandy Bridge to Broadwell. Out of interest from readers in an even larger comparison, I've re-tested a Nehlaem-based "Clarksfield" laptop as well as a "Westmere" laptop to show how the raw performance and performance-per-Watt compare to the Sandy Bridge, Ivy Bridge, Haswell, and Broadwell devices.

The intent of this article is basically to be the mobile equivalent of what I did earlier this year in Comparing Today's Modern CPUs To Intel's Socket 478 Celeron & Pentium 4 NetBurst CPUs. The laptops tested were those I had available and unfortunately don't have any laptops still working pre-Westmere.

The seven Sandy Bridge to Broadwel laptops used in the original comparison were:

HP EliteBook 161C - What was Intel's Software Development Vehicle (SDV) for Sandy Bridge, sent over by the Intel OTC folks a few years back. This laptop has the Core i5 2520M CPU with HD Graphics 3000, 160GB Intel SSD, and 4GB of RAM.

ASUS K56CA - A ultrabook with Core i3 3217U processor having HD Graphics 4000. This ultrabook also had 4GB of RAM and was using a 24GB SanDisk SSD as the main storage medium plus a 500GB hard drive for extra storage capacity.

ASUS UX32VDA - Another ASUS ultrabook, this one with a Core i7 3517U Ivy Bridge processor and HD Graphics 4000. This ultrabook has 4GB of RAM and dual 128GB SanDisk SSDs.

Apple MacBook Air - A Haswell-based Core i5 4250U with HD Graphics 5000. This MacBook Air has 4GB of RAM and 120GB of SSD storage.

ASUS UX301LAA - An ASUS Haswell ultrabook with Core i7 4558U with Iris Graphics 5100. This ultrabook has 8GB of RAM and dual 128GB SSDs.

ASUS X555LAB - A newer ASUS laptop with Core i3 5010U Broadwell with HD Graphics 5500. This laptop has 4GB of RAM and a 500GB HDD.

Toshiba FF50 06F2 - A newer Toshiba laptop with Core i5 5200U Broadwell CPU with HD Graphics 5500. This laptop has 8GB of RAM and a 1TB Toshiba HDD.

In taking things further for this article, the two older laptops were:

Lenovo ThinkPad W510 - A ThinkPad with Core i7 720QM processor, 160GB HDD, 4GB of RAM, and NVIDIA Quadro FX 880M graphics.

Apple MacBook Pro - An older MacBook Pro with Core i5 520M processor, SSD, 4GB of RAM, and Intel integrated graphics.

All of these laptops were tested with Ubuntu 15.10 x86_64 with upgraded to the Linux 4.4 Git kernel.

All of the benchmarks were done in a fully-automated and reproducible manner using the open-source Phoronix Test Suite benchmarking software. Up first are all of the raw performance results followed by the power consumption and performance-per-Watt results. If you don't want to go through all eight pages manually, use Phoronix Premium to see the article ad-free and on a single page.

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