Application and Futuremark Performance

Starting out with PCMark 7 performance, it's important to note that the Sandy Bridge reference notebook we reviewed enjoys the benefits of an SSD (just like the Compal PBL21 we have in for review), so its results are going to be somewhat skewed. Still, the i7-2630QM is mostly a known quantity so everything should line up reasonably well.

Honestly, these results seem...a bit bizarre. PCMark 7's subscores seem to be all over the place, with the PBL21 hopping all over the board. The computation score clearly isn't getting the most out of the hardware, and Dell's similarly equipped XPS 15 (minus the SSD) often manages to beat the Compal. Let's see if PCMark Vantage and our other CPU-related benchmarks smooth things out some.

The beauty of the other benchmarks is that they're much more precise and less prone to variance. Cinebench R10 lines up beautifully, and we can see the PBL21's i7-2630QM is performing right where it should be. x264 encoding favors Dell's XPS 15 in the first pass, then flip-flops to the PBL21 in the second. It's worth noting that the i7-2630QM also demolishes the respectable last-generation i7-640M dual-core in the Compal NBLB2. Things are essentially where they need to be, though, so let's take a look at 3DMark.

3DMark at least seems to favor the NVIDIA GeForce GT 540M compared to the AMD Mobility Radeon HD 5650 that powered the last generation Compal laptop. It's worth noting the formerly "entry high-end" GeForce GTS 350M is essentially matched by the GT 540M as well, and the Clevo's GTX 460M is roughly twice as powerful as the GT 540M. If raw gaming performance is what you're gunning for, the GT 540M may not be quite enough.

Compal's Shark Evolves Gaming Performance
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  • Hrel - Monday, July 11, 2011 - link

    I wish compal would release a 15.6" with a GTX560 in it... sigh. Oh well, just ordered the Clevo.

    I'd be curious to know if DDR3-1333 with CAS latency 9 is faster or if 1066 with latency 7 is faster. Like I said, I just ordered this laptop and intend to add or swap out the RAM. Came with 1333, so I know it's CAS 9. It's always made sense to me to reduce latency whenever possible. But I'd like to know for sure. What do you think, 1333 at CAS 9 or 1066 at CAS 7? Gaming, video editing, web surfing. Media playback is the usage model. Tests would be great, but that's asking a lot.

    It annoys me that they put so much RAM on GPU's in notebooks. Like you said it can't use anywhere near that much. They just wanna sell more RAM and don't want you to have a choice. So they just let the price creep up. Similar feeling to the old RAM price fixing issues from a decade ago. Same idea, just forcing quantity on you instead of straight price.

    Finally, I'd like to see the Seagate Momentus XT compared to a laptop 7200rpm drive. Anand's review of it compared it to a 5400rpm drive, hardly a reasonable comparison considering the XT runs at 7200rpm AND has 32MB of cache. I ordered it already anyway, but I like numbers:)

    On to the rest of the review!
    Reply
  • Hrel - Monday, July 11, 2011 - link

    I like the keyboard mostly. The NBLB2 never bothered me except where the ctrl key is. They 10-key on this looks good, all the numbers and enter key at least. The other keys I just couldn't fit to the right. I'm ok with that. I can still do the number part as fast as ever, just have to alter brain patterns to hit the + - / * keys.

    I hate one mouse button, give me two actual buttons please.

    I know it's silly but I want a fingerprint scanner. Seriously, how much can they cost? 15 bucks? I got that.

    Overall I agree. Much improved but still in need of work.
    Reply
  • Hrel - Monday, July 11, 2011 - link

    Final thing I should mention. If you google "cyberpowerpc coupon" you will find multiple coupon codes that STILL work. Can save you about 20-80 bucks depending on some variables. Basically paid for shipping and then a little thank you for me. Reply
  • GuinnessKMF - Monday, July 11, 2011 - link

    The latency is a measure of how many clocks, so comparing latency directly is misleading. 1333mhz, 9 clocks is 6.75 microseconds (my units might be off, but I'll be consistent), and the 1066 with CAS 7 is 6.56 microseconds, less than a 3% degradation in actual latency, but you're looking at about a 25% throughput improvement. Different applications demand different performance characteristics, but I think for the most part a DDR3-1333 at CAS 9 is going to be an improvement over DDR3-1066 CAS 7. Reply
  • PlasmaBomb - Monday, July 11, 2011 - link

    It would be nanoseconds (ns), and I don't think 3% is enough to be worried about (you probably won't notice it due to benchmarking variations). Other than that thumbsup. Reply
  • tzhu07 - Monday, July 11, 2011 - link

    Tacky build quality and design + glossy screen on a laptop = auto-fail

    Bleh.
    Reply
  • DanNeely - Monday, July 11, 2011 - link

    "Unfortunately, the PBL21's keyboard is more of a lateral move than anything and I'm beginning to think that despite the ability to cram a 10-key into a 15.6" chassis, manufacturers should probably just avoid it."

    Yeah, if there's only room to fit 3 columns naturally I'd much rather see the ins-pgdn keys and the arrow T in a proper desktop layout than anything else.
    Reply
  • wurizen - Monday, July 11, 2011 - link

    why does a modern gpu like the gt 540m have trouble playing in 1080p when console games like the PS3, which is like 5 yrs old have no problem w/ it? Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Monday, July 11, 2011 - link

    Consoles typically render at 720p (sometimes lower) and then upscale the image. The lion's share of the time they're not ACTUALLY rendering at 1080p. Reply
  • wurizen - Monday, July 11, 2011 - link

    huh? aren't ps3 games already 1080p? no need to upscale. are you saying ps3 developers render their games at less than 1080p and tell you it's 1080p? i think you can sue them for that. Reply

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