Gateway EC1803h: Netbook or Ultra-portable?

Complete|Mobile Systems
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TEST RESULTS

AC Power Draw

Test Results: System Power
Test State
Gateway EC1803h
Asus 1005HA
Standby/Sleep
1W
1W
Idle
(screen off)
9W
9W
Idle
(screen on)
11W
9W
CPU Load
21W
13W
CPU + GPU
Load
23W
16W

Compared to the Atom powered 1005HA, the EC1803h uses about 2W more when idle. Much of the extra energy is used to drive the screen though — the idle power draw was within one watt of each other when the screen was disabled. On heavy load, the Core 2 Solo eats up a lot more power, but the Gateway's GMA 4500MHD graphics is more efficient than the ancient GMA 950, using only 2W when stressed compared to 3W.


CPU-Z screenshot taken when idling in Balanced mode.

Strangely when the system was idling using the Balanced and Power Savings power schemes, the CPU ran at 1.6GHz with a core voltage of 0.875V according to CPU-Z. In High Performance mode it idled at 1.2GHz but with a higher voltage (0.925V). The two states measured about the same according to our power meter, so we left it at the default setting (Balanced).

Video Playback

Test Results: Video Playback
Test State
Gateway EC1803h
Asus 1005HA
Avg.
CPU
System Power
Avg.
CPU
System Power
Rush Hour
(1080p H.264)
38%
18W
91%
15W
Coral Reef
(WMV-HD)
71%
20W
56%
14W
Undead Battle
(720p x264)
52%
19W
84%
15W
Spaceship
(1080p x264)
52%
19W
100%
16W
Iron Man
(Flash HD)
91%
19W
88%
15W
Grey boxes: watchable
Red boxes: unwatchable, failure

With a GPU supporting hardware acceleration, the EC1803h is much more capable at playing HD video than the usual Atom/GMA950 based solutions. Our 1080p H.264 clip was easily rendered and with DXVA support, we were able to play both 720p and 1080p x264-encoded files with only 52% CPU usage. The 1005HA was only able to play our x264 720p clip with a software decoder (CoreAVC), and only when using AC power (it underclocks when unplugged from the wall). The EC1803h played the Iron Man HD trailer on Youtube fairly smoothly, but there were a few brief moments of choppiness. The SU3500 processor isn't quite enough for HD Flash content, but it's far from unwatchable.



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