Asus UL30A & Lenovo ThinkPad Edge 13 CULV Notebooks

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Notebooks Compared:

Gateway EC1803h:

Asus UL80Vt:

Asus UL30A:

Lenovo ThinkPad Edge 13:

Our UL30A sample shipped with a Seagate Momentus 5400.6 hard drive and Atheros ethernet (10/100 only) and 802.11n adapters.

Our ThinkPad Edge 13 sample shipped with a Fujitsu hard drive, a Realtek gigabit NIC, Intel WiMAX and 802.11n adapters, and a Qualcomm 3G card.

Measurement and Analysis Tools

H.264/VC-1 Video Test Clips

H.264 and VC-1 are codecs commonly used in high definition movie videos on the web (like Quicktime movie trailers and the like) and also in Blu-ray discs. To play these clips, we use Cyberlink PowerDVD with hardware acceleration turned on, naturally.

1080p | 24fps | ~10mbps
1080p H.264: Rush Hour 3 Trailer 2c is a 1080p clip encoded in H.264 inside an Apple Quicktime container.

1080p | 24fps | ~8mbps
WMV-HD: Coral Reef Adventure Trailer is encoded in VC-1 using the WMV3 codec commonly recognized by the "WMV-HD" moniker.

x264/MKV Video Test Clips

MKV (Matroska) is a very popular online multimedia container used for high definition content, usually using x264 (a free, open source H.264 encoder) for video. The clips were taken from two longer videos — the most demanding one minute portions were used. To play them we use Media Player Classic Home Cinema, configured in the most suitable manner depending on the GPU. For Intel/ATI graphics the player is configured to use DXVA (DirectX Video Acceleration), for Nvidia graphics we use CoreAVC to enable CUDA (Compute Unified Device Architecture) support, and for those that support neither, CoreAVC is used with default settings, which renders using CPU power alone.

1080p | 24fps | ~14mbps

x264 1080p: Spaceship is a 1080p x264 clip encoded from the Blu-ray version of an animated short film. It features a hapless robot trying to repair a lamp on a spaceship.

1080p | 24fps | ~22mbps

x264 1080p: Crash is a 1080p x264 clip encoded from the Blu-ray version of an science fiction film. It features the aftermath of a helicopter crash.

Flash Video Test Clip

Many users watch media online in Adobe's Flash format on sites like Hulu and YouTube. Now that the latest 10.1 beta version of Flash supports GPU acceleration, only slower systems like those powered by a single core Atom without a proper IGP struggle with Flash in HD. Our test clip is a HD movie trailer from YouTube played in Firefox.

1280x544 | 25fps | ~2mbps

Flash HD: Iron Man Trailer #1 is the first trailer from the feature film of the same name. It's a YouTube HD video, though technically it is not quite 720p.

Real-world Benchmark Test Details

  • Eset NOD32: In-depth virus scan of a folder containing 32 files of varying size, several of which are archives with many files within them..
  • WinRAR: Archive creation with a folder containing 68 files of varying size (less than 50MB).
  • iTunes: Conversion of an MP3 file to AAC (48KHz, 256kbps).
  • TMPGEnc Xpress: Encoding a 1-minute long XVID AVI file to VC-1 (1280x720, 30fps, 20mbps).

Our first test procedure is designed to determine the overall system power consumption at various states (measured using a Seasonic Power Angel). To stress CPUs we use either Prime95 (large FFTs setting) or CPUBurn depending on which produces higher system power consumption. To stress the IGP, we use FurMark, an OpenGL benchmarking and stability testing utility.

Our second test procedure is to run the system through a video test suite featuring a variety of high definition clips. During playback, a CPU usage graph is created by the Windows Task Manger for analysis to determine the average CPU usage. High CPU usage is indicative of poor video decoding ability. If the video (and/or audio) skips or freezes, we conclude the IGP (in conjunction with the processor) is inadequate to decompress the clip properly. Power consumption during playback of high definition video is also recorded.

Lastly, we run a short series of performance benchmarks — a few real-world applications as well as synthetic tests.

All nonessential pre-installed software is removed prior to testing, and certain services and features like Superfetch and System Restore are disabled to prevent them from affecting our results. Aero glass is left enabled if supported. All tests are conducted with WiFi disabled (as well as other wireless connectivity features) unless necessary, and screen brightness is set to a reasonable level unless otherwise noted. We also make note if energy saving features like Cool'n'Quiet and SpeedStep do not function properly.

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