Board Upgrade and results (i5-1135G7 -> i5-1240P)

Okay, so I went ahead and upgraded my machine yesterday from the 11th Gen i5 to a 12th Gen i5 (600 bucks and about 48 hours from order to delivery to NYC). The board was swapped but the CNC top case will be done at a later time.

The original 11th Gen machine has been running Windows 11 Professional and joined to Azure AD with Intune Mobile device management (Office 365 device compliance, etc). the fingerprint sensor was used as an unlocking source, as was the TPM (for storing O365 workplace join key and the Bitlocker key) and full FDE (AES-256).

A few observations on the hardware upgrade process:
a) The upgrade was fairly straightforward since I watched the procedure video on iFixit
b) Most of the screws and retainers went on and off just fine, although prying the old 11th Gen motherboard had some hairy moments
c) The 12th gen board fits just fine, although I had to jiggle the connectors and make sure all 5 mounting screws fit correctly. It took me a few minutes to figure out that the board was not resting entirely flat, preventing the screws from fitting.

After the board swap the machine first needed a Bitlocker recovery key (since the key is stored in the 11th Gen TPM). Once it’s booted up Intune company portal complained about a TPM failure (since the O365 workplace enrollment keys were stored in the TPM of the 11th Gen board). An application reset forced it to require a re-login and re-enrollment. The fingerprint sensor also needed new prints to be added. The Windows license key re-organized around the new board, which was fine. After about 30 minutes waiting for Microsoft to re-enroll the machine and push/check the compliance policies, the machine is back up and running. It did take another 15 minutes to grab updated drivers, but otherwise, fairly typical experience if you are technically inclined or in the IT trade. Note that most end users will not have to deal with O365, Azure AD or Intune compliance.

Some performance observations:
a) The CPU is significantly faster. There’s no question about it.
My 11th Gen ran about 7-10% slower than my HP mt46 mobile thin client (it’s the same as the EliteBook 845G7 with the Ryzen 3 Pro 4450U), but the 12th Gen completely mops the floor with both machines on very preliminary testing. 7zip runs significantly faster compressing/decompressing archives.

b) The machine stayed quieter…until it didn’t.
The 11th Gen will often idle a bit hot compared to the mt46 or ran the fan all the time. Not so the 12th Gen. It’s either super-quiet, or it’s LaGuardia Airport at rush hour when it’s maxed out and the fan spins up.

c) With the exception of SSD performance (slight improvement but imperceivable in everyday use), everything else stayed the same, or got worse.
The 80 EU Xe-LP Graphics on the 1240P seemed to perform worse than the 80 EU Xe-LP Graphics in the 1135G7. Firing up Dolphin and using it to run Rogue Squadron 2 (Nintendo GameCube title) on the 12th seems slightly more stutter-y than the 11th (both seem to run worse than the Vega 5 in the mt46, despite the XeLP 80EU being theoretically more powerful).
The SSD performance is slightly better, but only for sequential reads and writes…which can be a caching thing. Everything else is roughly similar.
Passmark Performance Test did report more memory latency on the 12th than the 11th, and ironically enough, the overall Passmark numbers went down a bit on the new board. Both scored lower than the mt46.

For those interested:
Baseline on the 11th Gen
https://www.passmark.com/baselines/V10/display.php?id=157306264476

Baseline on the 12th Gen
https://www.passmark.com/baselines/V10/display.php?id=164422409452

HP mt46/EliteBook 845G7
https://www.passmark.com/baselines/V10/display.php?id=157475921441

I like the extra horsepower and the better race-to-idle characteristics of the 12th Gen, but it’s not the across-the-board improvement that I might have assumed. I do not regret buying the upgrade, but if you have the 11th Gen and are okay with the CPU performance, then it’s not a must-have. Meteor Lake/13th Gen is on its way, but it’ll require new DDR5 SODIMM units to pull off.

Of course, this does make my 300 dollar “eBay special” mt46 look good in comparison, though…

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To clarify for any future readers, Raptor Lake/13th Gen Core still uses a split DDR4/DDR5 controller like Alder Lake/12th Gen Core. That is confirmed for the desktops at least, Mobile might transition completely to DDR5 but it is not confirmed, and will most likely still be a DDR4/DDR5 split.

That’s surprisingly relatable. I got mine delivered 2 days ago and sounds like a Category 2 hurricane (causing damage to my ears and my soul) when I’m doing anything moderately CPU-intensive. I don’t know how else to explain it except that it sounds like a storm. Has that been your experience?

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Technically Raptor Lake is 13th Gen, but it’s more of an Intel response to Ryzen 7000 and an Alder Lake tweaked for desktop usage. AFAIK Raptor Lake has the DDR4/DDR5 controller, while Meteor Lake (I am not sure if it’s 13th gen Mobile, or 13.5 Gen Intel, or if Intel’s going to skip a gen and call it 14th Gen, skipping one like they did between Coffee Lake and Ice Lake on mobile machines) have leaked slides back in July that only mentions DDR5 support on the mobile SKUs. If going by Intel’s past behavior, they only support hybrid memory controllers up to 2 generations (Skylake + Kaby Lake for DDR3->DDR4, and Penryn Core 2+Cantiga chipset for DDR2->DDR3. Coffee Lake might support LPDDR3+DDR4 but LPDDR3 is soldered to the machine and not consumer upgradeable). I would bet that they push vendors to go DDR5 to demonstrate performance parity/gains over Ryzen 6/7000s.

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Yup. I got confused since you said Meteor Lake/13th gen haha mb.

Yeah, that’s one of the reasons to go 12th gen - it is actually quieter more often than the 11th - it’s almost like those 4 Gracemont Atom cores taught the machine to sip power versus using the “Cove” heavy cores and it became much nicer to work with. That being said, I just spun the machine up in CEMU for Zelda BOTW - the fan is on full tilt and it is a hurricane, so to speak.

Oh yeah, if you plan to go 12th gen for gaming and rely on the Xe graphics? Eeeeeh, probably not a good idea. I can’t quite nail down why but there’s a performance regression. Scenes in BOTW that ran between 25-30 fps on the 1135G7 is now 18-23 on the 1240P. Doesn’t seem like a heat issue, doesn’t seem like outdated drivers…but something is holding it back.

That GPU issue is strange. I suspect it might be due to some small optimization made to it to support ddr5.

Do you find battery life is noticeably different?

Or conversely, it could be higher latency due to DDR4 usage. It’s hard to nail down and I am hoping that a firmware update fixes this down the line.

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Eh, I’ll need to run this for a bit longer and it’ll have to depend on how it’s being used. The 11th Gen had a fairly mediocre battery life even on low duty office work, and I’ll have to see if the Gracemount cores on the 12th Gen will help it sip power. I kinda doubt it’ll be big gains.

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Okay - the new Xe graphics drivers (came out today) seemed to have improved the performance of the GPU to the point where it’s at rough parity with the 11th Gen - the latency is still sitting at 50ns versus the 40ns in the 11th Gen, but at least the GPU regression seemed to have been mitigated somewhat…BOTW on CEMU ran at least 5-7 fps better on average.

Here’s the updated results:
https://www.passmark.com/baselines/V10/display.php?id=164876720870

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The driver marked (Latest) on the Intel website is this one: Intel® Graphics – Windows* DCH Drivers

It is date 27th September.

Could you please point me towards the driver which you are mentioning?

Likely this one here:

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Launch driver for Intel® Arc™ A770 and A750 Graphics

Would be slightly unusual if so, but I am prepared to stand corrected!

Read the release note.

See what I already posted here:

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I see now. Thank you.

After spending more time with the new MOBO, have you found any difference in battery life on average?

I think the expectation is lower battery life not more, I was curious how much one loses with the upgrade.

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Are you selling your 11th gen board? I need to buy one.

Eh, in terms of the battery runtime? Mixed results. If it’s light office work, slight improvement. If it’s heavy usage? Takes a bit of a dive. Either ways, I am not sure if it’s the battery (it might be damaged by one incident early in the machine’s life where it went into standby, spun up the CPU and ran for 90 minutes heating up the machine while it’s in my bag…it’s either the chassis flex or some old firmware funkiness) or something else.

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