System Performance

The Toshiba KIRAbook may be using the current "entry level" low voltage Intel Core i7, but it's still an extremely fast processor. The Ivy Bridge-based i7-3537U features a nominal 2GHz clock speed and is able to turbo up to 2.9GHz on both cores or even 3.1GHz on a single core, power and thermals depending. The HD 4000 graphics are also able to jump to 1.2GHz, but that advantage is likely to be much more modest. Finally, the SSD in the KIRAbook is a very capable one and should help it out in PCMark.

PCMark 7 (2013)

PCMark 7's leanings towards SSDs are essentially correct; as a whole, the i7-3537U in the KIRAbook is faster than any of the other ultrabooks tested, and the SSD is definitely snappy. It's remarkable that the vastly more powerful CyberPower Fangbook (which includes a 256GB Samsung 840 Pro) doesn't bludgeon the KIRAbook harder.

Cinebench R11.5 - Single-Threaded Benchmark

Cinebench R11.5 - Multi-Threaded Benchmark

x264 HD 5.x

x264 HD 5.x


CPU-centric benchmarks are also mostly in the KIRAbook's favor, but the first pass in x264 isn't as strong as it ought to be. The entry KIRAbook will be equipped with the same CPU as the Dell XPS 13 in these charts, so you're looking at a measurable decrease in CPU performance going that route. If the extra $400 for the upgrade to our review unit meant more than just Windows 8 Pro, a touchscreen, and the i7-3537U it might be easier to justify, but the i5-3337U is still a totally serviceable CPU.

Futuremark 3DMark (2013)

Futuremark 3DMark (2013)

Futuremark 3DMark (2013)

Futuremark 3DMark 11

3DMark performance of the KIRAbook is pretty much par for the course; any differences between the ultrabooks listed can probably be chalked up to thermal design differences between individual chassis rather than differences in the CPUs themselves.

In and Around the Toshiba KIRAbook Display, Battery, Noise, and Heat
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  • l_d_allan - Thursday, May 9, 2013 - link

    Valuable review, but I'd find it helpful to also see "corrected De2k after calibration". Or did I miss that spec?
  • wendoman - Thursday, May 9, 2013 - link

    > if it's running Windows, you need to charge less for it

    WTF??? Apple OS X has no apps!
  • VivekGowri - Thursday, May 9, 2013 - link

    Yeah, but from a "what sells" perspective, consumers at large seem hesitant to drop MacBook Pro money on any PC notebook unless it's an Alienware or similar. PCs have inherently less brand value, and so PC manufacturers can't charge equal (or in this case, more) money to a comparable Mac and hope to have a sales success. The PC industry destroyed that part of itself in the race to the bottom, and now nobody wants to pay more than $700 for a general purpose notebook. While it may not be fair, PC manufacturers cannot use Apple's price points and hope to win unless they ship a significantly more compelling product (see Zenbook Prime vs MacBook Air).
  • mayankleoboy1 - Thursday, May 9, 2013 - link

    "The PC industry destroyed that part of itself in the race to the bottom, and now nobody wants to pay more than $700 for a general purpose notebook"

    Very good point.
  • ananduser - Thursday, May 9, 2013 - link

    Vivek...why should be pay more than 700$ for a general purpose notebook. Why shouldn't tech be a commodity ? Are we supposed to pay premiums on looks only(as Dustin said) ? We should care about the unit as it is and not that "it doesn't look as posh" crap that Dustin highlighted.

    I doubt that consumers that agree to pay more on macs are the same that are pondering a pc. Generally speaking macusers and pcusers are mutually exclusive. A macuser buys a mac for OSX that is exclusive to Apple. A pc user feels constrained about Apple's spartan choices and one size fits all solutions.

    The main issue OEMs have is this. Ultrabooks are a more expensive choice within any OEM's lineup. In Apple's case you do not have a lower priced choice at all. The lineup starts with the MBA so if you want the entry level access to Apple's world you have to buy an ultrabook whether you like it or not. Thus it seems that people are validating ultrabooks when in fact they are aiming for the cheapest Apple unit and not the chipset type.
  • Hrel - Thursday, May 9, 2013 - link

    "Posh" is such a fantastic word
  • p_giguere1 - Thursday, May 9, 2013 - link

    They are.
    Apple has a philosophy of "Trust us to make sure every detail is perfect so you don't have to".

    Your average consumer feels comfortable blindly buying any Apple product without reading this sort of comprehensive review or getting explained what a chipset or an ultrabook are. I can't blame them, that's exactly what Apple is trying to do and they are successful at it: delivering constant quality in order to gain trust and fidelity.

    Any ultrabook that would have the exact same price and specs as a MacBook Air would sell much less than it. Would it be strictly because of Windows vs OS X, proving OS X is more popular at the same price point? I don't think so. It would be because the Mac would be pretty much guaranteed to have no major flaw and deliver decent and constant quality across all components, even the small ones people don't usually consider or are even aware exist until they have trouble with it. Apple cares about details and people are willing to pay more for this peace of mind.

    On the other hand, ultrabooks, while costing more and offering better specs than you average $500 laptop, aren't guaranteed to be flawless and very well though-out computers. Some are, some aren't, and trying to figure out which one are is a pain in the ass a lot of consumers don't want to deal with. Somebody who doesn't already follow tech websites doesn't have the time and knowledge to start reading (and understanding) tens or hundreds of laptop reviews.

    Bottom line: Time and peace of mind are worth something and reputation matters to people. People are willing to pay more for Apple's reputation of constant quality alone and it's perfectly normal.
  • bji - Thursday, May 9, 2013 - link

    A well-thought out and logical post concerning Apple value vs. PC value in the Anandtech comments section? Is this even possible? Did Hell just freeze over or something? I am so confused!
  • ananduser - Thursday, May 9, 2013 - link

    This site is not about the average customers that blindly purchases macs. Furthermore time and peace or mind are not guaranteed with macs as are not guaranteed with any PC.

    Regardless of the willingness of the average Joe to spend whatever he wishes on macs, this site should not refrain, for example, from calling the vanilla mbp13" a poor choice(to say the least).
  • zepi - Thursday, May 9, 2013 - link

    Imo Anand should grade their laptops over couple of axes, like "portability, performance, display quality and ergonomics". Price shouldn't even be mentioned or at most the MSRP could mentioned somewhere somewhere in small pring.

    As a customer I can sometimes find deals that are way under the MSRP if sales have been underwhelming and sometimes MSRP can be way too low considering the amount of units manufacturer can deliver.

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