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Our testing methods
We'd like to thank Asus for sending us a Sandy Bridge-based UX31E ultrabook to compare with the Intel system. We actually reviewed (and benchmarked) the UX31E back in October of last year, but we've since refreshed our benchmark suite, and so we couldn't use the old data. This time, Asus sent us a faster model featuring the Core i7-2677M, which happens to be the most comparable chip to the Core i5-3427U in the Intel reference machine.

We ran every test at least three times and reported the median of the scores produced. The test systems were configured like so:

System AMD A8-3500M test system AMD A10-4600M test system Asus N56VM Asus N53S Asus UX31E Intel Core i5-3427U test system
Processor AMD A8-3500M APU 1.5GHz AMD A10-4600M 2.3GHz Intel Core i7-3720QM 2.3GHz Intel Core i7-2670QM 2.2GHz Intel Core i7-2677M 1.8GHz Intel Core i5-3427U 1.8GHz
North bridge AMD A70M FCH AMD A70M FCH Intel HM76 Express Intel HM65 Express Intel QS67 Express Intel UM77 Express
South bridge
Memory size 4GB (2 DIMMs) 4GB (2 DIMMs) 8GB (2 DIMMs) 8GB (2 DIMMs) 4GB (2 DIMMs) 4GB (2 DIMMs)
Memory type DDR3 SDRAM at 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM at 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM at 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM at 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM at 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM at 1600MHz
Memory timings 9-9-9-24 11-11-12-28 11-11-11-28 9-9-9-24 9-9-9-24 11-11-11-28
Audio IDT codec IDT codec with 6.10.0.6277 drivers Realtek codec with 6.0.1.6537 drivers Realtek codec with 6.0.1.6463 drivers Realtek codec with 6.0.1.5677 drivers Realtek codec with 6.0.1.6612 drivers
Graphics AMD Radeon HD 6620G + AMD Radeon HD 6630M
with Catalyst 12.4 drivers
AMD Radeon HD 7660G with Catalyst 8.945 RC2 drivers Intel HD Graphics 4000 with 8.15.10.2696 drivers
GeForce GT 630M with 296.54 drivers
Intel HD Graphics 3000 with 8.15.10.2462 drivers
GeForce GT 630M with 296.54 drivers
Intel HD Graphics 3000 with 8.15.10.2559 drivers Intel HD Graphics 4000 with 8.15.10.2725 drivers
Hard drive Hitachi Travelstar 7K500 250GB 7,200 RPM WD Scorpio Black 500GB 7,200 RPM Seagate Momentus 750GB 7,200-RPM Seagate Momentus 750GB 7,200-RPM SanDisk U100 256GB SSD Intel 520 Series 240GB SSD
Operating system Windows 7 Ultimate x64 Windows 7 Ultimate x64 Windows 7 Professional x64 Windows 7 Home Premium x64 Windows 7 Home Premium x64 Windows 7 Home Premium x64

Thanks to Asus for volunteering a quad-core Sandy Bridge laptop, as well, and thanks to AMD and Intel for providing the other machines.

We used the following versions of our test applications:

The tests and methods we employ are usually publicly available and reproducible. If you have questions about our methods, hit our forums to talk with us about them.