Hands on with the Ivy Bridge mobile processor

The new Ivy Bridge processors will offer longer battery life and better performance than previous models. This hands-on overview shows that to be the case.

When Lenovo recently sent me the new ThinkPad X230 laptop to test, it came with an usual caveat. The laptop was one of the first ones with Intel's new Ivy Bridge mobile processor, but I couldn't talk about it. Intel had an embargo on the Ivy Bridge, so I was free to cover the ThinkPad but not admit what processor it had inside. That embargo is now over, so I can finally offer my thoughts on the new Ivy Bridge from Intel.

The X230 was shipped to me with the Intel Core i5 3320M processor. This is a dual-core processor capable of four threads that clocks at 2.6 GHz. It has HD 4000 integrated graphics which is the best graphics from Intel for mobile solutions to date.

See related: First peek at Intel's Ivy Bridge chips for upcoming Ultrabooks | Free Wi-Fi could boost Ultrabooks in business laptop market | Mac, PC solid state drives aren’t compatible | Quick look at the Lenovo ThinkPad X230 (hands-on) | AMD’s ‘Trinity’ challenge to Intel’s Ivy Bridge: Will it convince OEMs?

A great place to start for information about what Ivy Bridge brings to the PC is the overview from ZDNet's Laptop and Desktops. It gives a detailed look at the Ivy Bridge mobile processors compared to previous models. As this article points out, the 3320M processor in this ThinkPad is not the ultra-low voltage Intel will produce for Ultrabooks, rather this is the standard mobile processor running at 35 watts.

In place of benchmarks for this processor I have been using, since I don't have an earlier processor to compare, I will give my impressions of using the ThinkPad with Ivy Bridge. The battery life on the X230 is a solid 7 hours over time, with typical power management. I can squeeze 8 hours using stringent (but capable) power management settings. The Ivy Bridge processor does run longer than previous processors I have used.

The graphic capability of the Ivy Bridge is quite good, as all graphic-intensive applications run well on the X230. I haven't found any non-game applications that don't run well using the Ivy Bridge, but of course it won't match discrete graphics chipsets.

My usage of the Lenovo ThinkPad X230 with the Ivy Bridge mobile processor speaks well for Intel and this new generation of mobile chip. The laptop runs for almost all day and performance is quite good. Intel has hit a home run with the Ivy Bridge mobile processor based on my experience.