Asus UL30A & Lenovo ThinkPad Edge 13 CULV Notebooks

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TEST RESULTS

During testing the screens were adjusted to a suitable, equivalent brightness level (7/16 for the UL30A, 11/16 for the Edge 13). Also note that the UL30A was overclocked by 3% by default in the BIOS (5% maximum).

AC Power Draw

Test Results: System Power
Test State
UL30A
Edge 13
UL80Vt*
Sleep
1W
1W
1W
Idle
(screen off)
6W
8W
6W
Idle
(typ. brightness)
8W
(7/16)
11W
(11/16)
8W
(7/16)
Idle
(max. brightness)
11W
12W
 
CPU Load
23W
26W
34W
CPU + GPU
Load
26W
29W
37W
*UL80Vt's processor overclocked to 1.73GHz.

Running on AC power, the Edge 13 used about 2~3W more when idle and 3W more on load than the UL30A. While the ThinkPad's display was fairly dim and its brightness had to be set higher compared to the UL30A, this wasn't the cause of the higher power draw as there was still a difference of 2W when both screens were turned off. It is possible the extra hardware in the Edge 13, the WiMAX, WWAN, and Bluetooth adapters were the root of the problem, though all the connectivity options were disabled during testing.

According to CPU-Z, both machines idled with a core voltage of 0.875V, but on load, the CPU on the UL30A only used 0.975V compared to 1.025V on the Edge 13. This alone could explain the difference in load power.

Video Playback

Test Results: Video Playback
Test State
UL30A
Edge 13
Avg.
CPU
System Power
Avg.
CPU
System Power
Rush Hour
(H.264 10mbps)
18%
14W
12%
14W
Coral Reef
(WMV 8mbps)
31%
16W
30%
16W
Spaceship
(x264 14mbps)
18%
16W
19%
17W
Crash
(x264 22mbps)
22%
16W
20%
17W
Iron Man
(Flash 2mbps)
22%
15W
25%
15W

During video playback, the power difference between the two systems dwindled to 1W or less. As both laptops use Intel's integrated GMA 4500MHD, they were perfectly capable of rendering high definition material with ease. Some may write off notebooks without discrete graphics, but as along as playing games isn't on the menu, the current incarnation from Intel is perfectly adequate. As we found in our UL80Vt review, it's also the more power efficient choice. The UL80Vt, which has the ability to switch between GMA 4500MHD and GeForce G210M graphics, used much less energy using the Intel integrated video.

Performance

Test Results: Benchmarks
Model
Gateway
EC1803h
ThinkPad
Edge 13
Asus
UL30A
Asus
UL80Vt†
CPU
C2S 1.4GHz
C2D 1.3GHz
C2D 1.33GHz
C2D 1.73GHz
RAM
3GB DDR2
4GB DDR3
4GB DDR3
4GB DDR3
Boot-up
0:53*
1:25
0:57
1:13
NOD32
11:14
11:30
11:05
8:46
WinRAR
5:38
5:35
5:27
3:35
iTunes
8:46
8:04
8:02
6:13
TMPGEnc
20:01
10:47
10:22
8:10
PCMark05
2214
3196
3452
3656
3DMark05
979
1516
1396
1393
3DMark06
603
907
822
823
*EC1803h running Vista 32, boot-up time taken with Windows 7 32.
UL80Vt running on integrated graphics (switchable).

Our timed benchmarks favored the UL30A slightly as by default it is overclocked by 3%. The synthetics were a mixed bag with ThinkPad winning in 3DMark but losing in PCMark. The UL80Vt overclocked to 1.73GHz was substantially faster, and larger mainstream notebooks have 2GHz+ processors, so both the UL30A or Edge 13 are lackluster in the speed department. Going with a CULV processor means sacrificing performance for a thinner, lighter notebook with long battery life. Luckily most of the tasks performed by the majority of users don't require a lot of horsepower, so the difference may not be perceptible on a day-to-day basis.

The UL30A we received shipped with Vista and it had a boot time of 1:12 which improved to 0:58 once we removed most of the nonessential pre-installed software. On a clean Windows 7 install, it booted up one second faster. The Edge 13 booted up in 1:25 and its time did not improve with software removal.



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