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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  • ananduser - Thursday, May 9, 2013 - link

    Don't forget OSX. OSX only runs on macs. If you want or need OSX you have no choice but to get a mac. Windows compatibility ads to the desirability. Mac sales really "exploded" when they switched to Intel. If they were mutually exclusive with Windows I doubt they would've passed the 1-2 million/year volume.

    About crap ... the mbp 13". 1280x800 resolution(TN panel), 5400 rpm, integrated graphics. All for 1400$(in Europe). Ironically it is the most purchased item within Apple's line up.
  • solipsism - Thursday, May 9, 2013 - link

    » "Mac sales really "exploded" when they switched to Intel."

    That doesn't mesh with the time lines as Intel Mac sales jumped immediately but the ability to do dual boot or run a VM came later. Sure, people could have assumed this would soon be a viable option but that hardly seems like the primary reason to drop $2k for a notebook

    The MBP were a new design in a time when PPC had long sense drop the ball for mobile chips. The boost in performance per Watt and the anticipation was tremendous. Mac users knew these were coming, they just came much sooner than Apple had promised.

    » "If they were mutually exclusive with Windows I doubt they would've passed the 1-2 million/year volume."

    I'm not so sure. As Silma says, they are goal oriented. I think if they only sold Windows they would be the best Windows notebook vendor on the market.

    On top of that it doesn't really jibe with your previous comment that they only became popular because of Windows.
  • ananduser - Thursday, May 9, 2013 - link

    I always thought that if Apple would start pumping Windows only macs they would eat(at least in the States) Dell and HP's lunches.

    They are still "relatively" popular in the States alone(even there 11% or 12%); don't overdo it. Apple is after margins not share, so in absolute terms I believe I am right. Windows compatibility definitely made many people switch that were on the fence due to some win exclusive software. There isn't a single macuser without parallels/vmware and a Win license, metaphorically speaking ofc.
  • B3an - Friday, May 10, 2013 - link

    "Don't forget OSX. OSX only runs on macs. If you want or need OSX you have no choice but to get a mac."

    It's easy to get OSX running in a VM. Or theres always the hackintosh route. How can you not know this...
  • KPOM - Thursday, May 9, 2013 - link

    Macs also have better trackpads. Until the Chromebook Pixel, no non-Mac notebook came close to the Mac. It can't be that much more expensive to put in a decent trackpad.
  • andrewaggb - Thursday, May 9, 2013 - link

    yeah. My issue is nobody seems to make an end to end good computer. With desktops I could build my own and choose what I was willing to compromise on (if anything). But laptops you can't do that.

    At this point in my life I'm not interested in compromising on much of anything in my work computer. At least not if it's just cost related (like a wifi card and touchpad). Obviously there are heat/weight/performance tradeoff's that a little money can't fix, but otherwise I'd really like a premium machine start to finish. As a software developer/enthusiast/occasional gamer, ideally it would have an excellent screen, keyboard, touchpad, connectivity (network, audio/video,usb etc), graphics, fast encrypted storage, everything :-). I really don't think it's impossible or unreasonable, but nobody seems to have built a laptop that caters to me yet. Macbook pro's are close but I have extremely little interest in mac os. I have a mac mini for occasional mobile development and that's it. My most important apps are visual studio, eclipse, sql server, postgres, chrome, and internet explorer. Half of those are windows only.
  • bji - Thursday, May 9, 2013 - link

    As a software developer I greatly prefer OS X to Windows. It's probably because I come from a Unix background and my primary development environment for nearly 20 years was Linux. I find that OS X gives me nearly the same set of nice development tools (oriented towards my preferred development style) as Linux did, while also giving me a first class graphical environment and graphical development tools.

    Of the software that you listed, unless you are truly wedded to Visual Studio, there are equivalent or identical software choices available on Mac OS X and Linux. I know that a development environment can be a very personal thing and it's hard to switch, so if you have to have Visual Studio, I guess you're stuck on Windows. If you can handle a different IDE then nothing that you listed sounds like a reason to stick with Windows.
  • andrewaggb - Thursday, May 9, 2013 - link

    My primary employment is enterprise .net apps running on microsoft sql server databases :-). To be honest, I really like Visual Studio and c# is my favorite programming language. Windows is ok. It would be nice if it had a bourne shell and gcc and great posix support, but virtualization is so easy these days it's not a big deal anymore. I write most of my linux applications (c/c++/ or mono .net) in visual studio as well. I certainly could use a different IDE for those but it's a workflow thing :-)
  • robinthakur - Monday, May 13, 2013 - link

    I just run server 2008r2 in a virtual environment on my MBP and it works great for Visual Studio Development. This is a handy setup for me because you need a Mac to run Xcode and iOS development.
  • ahamling27 - Saturday, May 11, 2013 - link

    About 4 years ago now, (wow I can't believe I'm still using this laptop) I was in this same predicament. But I found the Gateway P-7811FX and I'm still using it as my laptop of choice. Sure it's not an ultrabook (it's nowhere close) but it has a dual core 2.2 ghz proc, and that hasn't changed a whole lot anymore. It's a 17" screen which turns some people off, but it's 1920 x 1200 resolution is impossible to find today. Sure you can argue that a 1080p 17" screen is only 120 pixels less top to bottom, but you tend to still find more 768p monitors than anything, 4 years later.

    Plus it has 2 bays for hard drives. I don't have an SSD in it, because I threw in a couple 500 GB WD Blacks in raid 0, and I don't want to mess with that. But it's plenty snappy.

    Also the Nvidia 9800m GTS can play most games, just nothing like Crysis 3.

    Anyway, my point is, there was a time before "Ultrabooks" that they did try and make some great laptops for a great price, hell I only paid $999 for that Gateway. Now that they have a buzz word, I think it gives laptop manufactures a excuse to charge more for a laptop that really should be priced lower.

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