Intel's Core i7-2630QM is a quad core Sandy Bridge based CPU that can handle 8 threads, delifering more performance in threaded applications. Turbo Boost can dynamically change clocks from base 2GHz to 2.6GHz (full load on all four cores), 2.8GHz (full load on two cores) or 2.9GHz (one core).
The QM moniker with Sandy Bridge series means it’s a quad core CPU, whereas the seventh letter/number, which is ‘0’ in this case (i7-2630QM), denotes TDP. Namely, ‘0’ means 45W or 35W CPUs, ‘9’ is 25W TDP whereas ‘7’ stands for 17W models. The exception for now is the 2635QM, which also comes with 45W TDP.
Sandy Bridge architecture came after Arrandale and, along with many other optimizations, comes with integrated Intel HD Graphics 3000.
Turbo Boost 2.0 handles integrated graphics as well. In the case of 2630QM, graphics card can overclock from 650MHz to 1100MHz. The Core i7-2635QM is very similar in this respect, although it can boost graphics up to 1200MHz. Of course, Intel’s new graphics cards’ performance is much better than the HD Graphics from Arrandale.
However, the G74SX does not use Intel’s integrated graphics. It comes with Nvidia’s GTX 560M. Nvidia Optimus is not included, which means the GTX 560M runs all the time.
As CPUZ shows, the 2630QM is placed in rPGA socket, while the 2635QM uses BGA QC socket.
The following screenshot shows that the Core i7-2630QM has 4 cores and 8 threads. This 17 incher additionally has 12GB of DDR3 memory.
We had to repeat the tests several times because results varied. Namely, Turbo Boost didn’t always overclock the cores to same values. We only had the laptop for two days so we couldn’t figure out why this was so, but gaming tests revealed that all four cores run at 2.6GHz so we didn’t worry much about Cinebench.
Asus G74SX has two 750GB HDDS, although we’d rather have seen an SSD drive running the system. That’s not to say that the drives are slow and HD Tune results rate read speeds at almost 100MB/s.