Toshiba Satellite P855-307 review

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Toshiba Satellite P855-307

Intel’s latest processor range, previously known as Ivy Bridge, has been a long time coming. Delays and embargoes meant we were waiting for the first chips to arrive for months, but now that we’ve finally got our hands on an Ivy Bridge laptop, we can finally see how the mobile variants compare to their desktop counterparts.

Toshiba’s Satellite P855-307 is the first Ivy Bridge laptop we've seen, and from first impressions the CPU upgrade has made a huge difference to performance. The laptop's quad-core i7-3610QM runs at 2.3GHz, but can Turbo Boost to a maximum of 3.3GHz. It also has hyper-threading, effectively doubling the core count to eight within Windows. This, combined with a massive 8GB of RAM, helped the Satellite P855 achieve a phenomenal 94 overall in our multimedia benchmarks. This is essentially on par with last year’s desktop PCs, meaning you’ll have absolutely no trouble running any application.

Ivy Bridge processors have Intel’s integrated HD 4000 graphics, which are a welcome step up from the HD 3000 GPU found in Sandy Bridge chips, but Toshiba has still opted to add dedicated graphics to the Satellite P855. The GeForce GT 630M is at the lower end of Nvidia’s newest mobile graphics range, but it’s still perfectly capable of playing high definition video, as well as games thanks to 2GB of dedicated video memory. Our Dirt3 test produced a silky smooth 43fps, even with antialiasing enabled, so you should have no trouble playing the most up-to-date titles.

Naturally, there’s a downside to all this power – even with Nvidia’s Optimus technology disabling the dedicated graphics card when on battery power, the Satellite P855 could only manage a little over four and a half hours away from the mains. This is barely any different to laptops equipped with the equivalent Sandy Bridge processor, so you’ll still need to keep the power brick to hand when working on the move.

As Toshiba is predominantly aiming the Satellite P855 at multimedia users, it’s unsurprising to find a Blu-ray optical drive, but the massive 1TB hard disk is certainly a welcome addition. There’s also a multi-format card reader and four USB3 ports –a first for any laptop we’ve reviewed.
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