The Toshiba Satellite P50 has an Intel fourth generation Core i7-4700QM (2.4GHz) quad-core processor, as well as a new NVIDIA GeForce GT 745M GPU. The GPU on the P50 is a basic mid-tier class so as to keep the price of the machine affordable, but yet provide it with enough power for some gaming needs.
For comparison, we brought out the MSI GE40 gaming-class 14-inch Ultrabook, another Haswell platform bassed machine which runs a more powerful NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760M GPU. The Lenovo Ideapad Y500 is also a gaming machine, but it’s running a third generation Intel Core processor, and a last generation NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M. However, the Y500 is also capable of using two GPU’s at the same time using an SLI configuration which boosts its performance almost two-fold. While these notebooks aren't the best options for direct comparisons (the Toshiba Satellite P50 is a multimedia machine, not exactly gaming oriented), until we've gathered more appropriate new notebooks for test, these should suffice for the moment.
PC Mark 7
The Toshiba Satellite P50 didn’t manage to outperform the MSI GE40 mainly due to its lack of an SSD. Without an SSD, even the system's slightly faster and more powerful processor was unable to help make up for it when competing against the MSI GE40. However, it did manage to outperform the Y500 in both configurations (with and without SLI) by a decent margin in some of the compute-intensive workloads. This is directly attributed to the Toshiba machine's newer hardware, namely its new fourth generation processing platform.
PC Mark 8
PC Mark 8 is a new benchmark that has multiple practical scenarios that stresses different aspects of a noteook. The Home benchmark tests for casual usage like web browsing, document editing, gaming, photo editing and video chatting. The Work workload (mostly document editing and web browsing) requires less computations, and so places less stress on the processor. The Creative workload puts stress on both the processor and the GPU via web browsing, photo and video editing, group video chat, gaming and media transcoding tasks.
Like in PC Mark 7, the Toshiba P50 loses out to the MSI GE40’s super raid configuration in the storage-centric benchmark. However it manages to close the gap in the other remaining benchmarks that are more task intensive. The charts shows that while it may not have the advantage of an SSD, it’s still able to perform other tasks reasonably well.
Gaming - 3D Mark 11, 3D Mark 2013 & Far Cry 2
Next up, we've three benchmarks all oriented towards gaming. We start off with the 3DMark 11 synthetic benchmark to test the gaming capabilities of the notebooks using the "performance" profile to find out how Toshiba's GeForce GT 745M GPU kept up with MSI's GeForce GTX 760M and the Lenovo’s GeForce GT 650M (and its SLI configuration). The results showed the the Toshiba P50's GPU was only marginally better than that of the last generation GPU on the Lenovo machine - up until we toggled the Y500's SLI mode. that gave it almost double the graphics horsepower.
The results are more or less the same with the latest 3D Mark 2013 synthetic benchmark too. However, because of an incompatibility between the Y500’s SLI mode and 3DMark 2013, the Lenovo machine was unable to produce better results with an additional GPU on board.Further to that, we noticed the Y500 with a single last generation GPU was actually faster than then the Toshiba's newer GPU. Meanwhile, the MSI GE40's GeForce GTX 760M managed a 40% lead over the Toshiba's GeForce GT 745M.
As for actual gaming, we used the benchmark tool from Far Cry 2 to gauge real-world performances of the notebooks. Here, the results are again somewhat the same as those reported in the synthetic benchmarks as the MSI machine kept a 40% lead over the Toshiba machine. However, the Lenovo Ideapad Y500’s SLI capabilities kicked in this time round and it managed to produce far better results with its additional GPU, even much more than the gains sneen in 3DMark 11.
The bottom line that you need to take away from these benchmark results, is that while the Toshiba Satellite P50 doesn’t have a top-of-the-line card, it has a decent enough GPU that is able to handle gaming needs for those who're not too demanding. For example, you get enough firepower to enjoy your games, but you need to keep your in-game quality settings to a medium level in order to obtain smooth game play.