Asus UL80Vt: A CULV Laptop with Hybrid Graphics

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Asus UL80Vt: A CULV Laptop with Hybrid Graphics

December 31, 2009 by Lawrence Lee

Product Asus UL80Vt-A1
Manufacturer ASUS
Street Price US$800~$850

Our first experience with an Intel CULV (Consumer Ultra-Low Voltage) processor, the Core 2 Solo SU3500, was an eye-opener. It was significantly faster than the Atom N270 and its energy demands were not much higher. As a result, it made a perfect base for the Gateway EC1803h, an 11.6" ultra portable laptop with netbook-like dimensions. Fast forward two months and the market is rife with slim, dual core CULV laptops from a variety of companies like Acer, which recently updated their entire ultra-thin Timeline series to dual core. Asus is also aggressively pursuing this emerging market, releasing a whole line of notebooks ranging from 12" to 15" in size utilizing the new Core 2 Duo SU7300 1.3GHz processor.

The Asus UL line is interesting in that they are split into two families. Those with the model number "A", like the UL30A, are cheaper versions, sporting integrated GMA 4500MHD graphics. Those with the model number "V" have both integrated Intel graphics and a discrete GeForce G210M GPU which can be turned on and off thanks to Nvidia's HybridPower feature. When you need the gaming prowess of a real graphics card, you can turn on the G210M, and when you're just surfing the web or watching video, you can switch back to Intel graphics to save power. The "V" series also gives you the option of overclocking the processor by bumping up the SU7300's 800MHz front side bus to 1066MHz, resulting in a final clock speed of 1.73GHz, which is just a touch slower than a mainstream mobile Core 2 Duo. We'll be looking at the UL80Vt, a 14" laptop that Asus claims can run for 12 hours — a lofty goal even though the energy efficiency of a CULV processor and switchable graphics is complimented by a hefty 5600mAh, 84Wh battery

The UL80Vt.

The exterior of the UL80Vt is as impressive as the hardware inside. It has a very slender profile, just over one inch thick on average and weighs just 2.17kg (4.77lb) on our digital scale — most 14" laptops typically weigh 5~5.5lb. The chassis is made of plastic and every visible surface is glossy and thus partially reflective. The top cover is anodized brushed aluminum, so while it won't accumulate any distinct fingerprints, you will still get finger and thumb-shaped smudges.

From the back.

ASUS UL80Vt-A1 Specifications
14" LED Backlit LCD (1366x768)
Intel Core 2 Duo SU7300
(1.3GHz, 3MB L2, 10W)
Chipset Intel GS45 Express
Intel GMA 4500MHD (integrated) + Nvidia GeForce G210M 512MB DDR3 (discrete)
4GB DDR3 (dual channel)
320GB 5400RPM HDD
Optical Drive DVD Super Multi
Networking 802.11n, Gigabit Ethernet
0.3 megapixel (640x480)
Card Reader
8 in 1 card reader (SD, MMC, MS, MS-Pro, XD, Smart Media, mini SD w/ adapter, MS-Duo)
ELAN Multi-Gesture
8-cell 5600 mAH
Physical Dimensions
33.8 x 24 x 1.40~2.68 cm (W x D x H)
2.0 kg (with 8-cell battery)
Operating System
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

The rest of the hardware is rather standard: 4GB of RAM, a 320GB hard drive, 802.11n, gigabit ethernet, memory card reader, multi-gesture trackpad. However, the UL80Vt lacks Bluetooth and is equipped with a grainy, low quality 0.3 megapixel webcam.

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