Gateway EC1803h: Netbook or Ultra-portable?

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Notebooks Compared:

Asus 1005HA-P (High Performance mode):

Dell Vostro 1400:

Gateway EC1803h:

CPU-Z screenshot taken at full load.

EC1803h device listing.

Measurement and Analysis Tools

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 ATITool or 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.

WiFi and Bluetooth (if applicable) are left enabled and screen brightness is set to a reasonable level (40% for the EC1803h, and 50% for the 1005HA and Vostro 1400). All nonessential pre-installed software is removed prior to testing.

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).

H.264/VC-1 Video Test Clips

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. We use Media Player Classic Home Cinema with DXVA hardware accleration if the system supports it. Otherwise we use Media Player Classic with CoreAVC, a software decoder to help render the clips using CPU power alone.

720p | 24fps | ~11mbps

x264 720p: Undead Battle is a 720p x264 clip encoded from the Blu-ray version of a major motion picture. It features a battle between undead warriors.

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.

Flash Video Test Clip

Many users watch media online in Adobe's Flash format on sites like Hulu. Unfortunately, Flash does not currently support GPU acceleration, so it's a pure CPU test. We chose a single clip, a HD movie trailer from Youtube to be 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.

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