I intend to buy a new laptop this year, following the lauch of the much-anticipated Sandy Bridge. I bought my last laptop, which sports a Core 2 Duo T8300 2.4 GHz processor, in 2008, and, although it still handles most tasks quite well, I could definitely benefit from a significant speed boost. However, this decision became more imminent since my laptop had its screen damaged last week. I can certainly have my screen repaired, but that there is no point in fixing it if I am going to replace the laptop anyway.

I've noticed that there are some new laptops with a quad-core Sandy Bridge processor. I've read some tests and even the i7-2630QM (which represents the low-end of these processors) seems to be faster than any Clarksfield (even the almighty i7-940XM).

In addition, this processor seems to be more power-efficient than the Arrendale. I've read reports that a Sager NP5160 sporting an i7-2630QM has a battery life of 4.5-5 hours or even 6 hours (with NVIDIA GT540M disabled). That's a lot of time, considering that the battery of previous Sager notebooks would be drained after only 2 hours of use or even less.

I understand that this increase in battery life comes, to a large extent, from the gymnics Intel has done with its integrated graphics. However, as far as I am concerned, quad-core processors still consume more power than dual-core processors. A Core i7-2630QM has a TDP of 45W; the dual-core Sandy Bridge, on the other hand, will have a TDP of 35W. I have no doubt that the dual-core Sandy Bridge would be more power-efficient than the quad-core. But I wonder how much more efficient it will be.

I am not aware of any tests or reviews of dual-core mobile Sandy Bridges nor of any report of Intel on this respect. No real facts, just thoughts posted in forums. I've read thoughts that a dual-core Sandy Bridge would allow notebooks with an 8-hour battery life. But I've also read that most of this power efficiency comes from the integrated graphics and that a dual-core Sandy Bridge would not allow a significant increase in battery life over the quad-core Sandy Bridge (it would be about half an hour). While I believe the truth is in the middle, I would like to further investigate this matter, so I can decide whether to buy a laptop with a quad-core Sandy Bridge now or wait until the dual-core is available.

Any thoughts on this issue? I would much appreciate if someone had more information (real facts) on this. Thank you in advance.