Given the HD4000 integrated GPU is DX11 capable I gave 3DMark11 a spin. Apart from the fact that the graphics hardware can actually run the benchmark, the scores are nothing much to shout about – Entry pre-set (1024 x 600) 1208; Performance pre-set (720p) 642; Xtreme pre-set (1080p) 205. For good measure I also ran a DX11 game, using the built in benchmark of the Aliens v Predators at the screen's native resolution, it returned an average frame rate score of 9.2fps.
When pushed during benchmarking, especially the graphics tests, the unit's fan got really upset and became much more noticeable. However, this isn’t a concern in a demonstration unit like this, as chances are, manufacturers will be able to profile the cooling more efficiently in retail units.
The six-cell 47Wh battery lasted well running Futuremark’s Powermark suite, notching up 165mins (Balance), 266mins (Productivity) and 172mins (Entertainment). The scores reflect what you get without going too deeply into any power saving measures, apart from using Balanced power mode in Windows 7. Needless to say, with more severe power saving tweaks, it should run for a good while longer.
Getting the system back from hibernation took around 10secs – sure that's over the mark a little, but this isn't a production sample – while waking from sleep is under 2secs. You can also take advantage of Intel’s Smart Connect Technology which periodically wakes the system up from sleep or standby mode to download e-mails and update your social network. The technology is even clever enough to alter the timings if the battery is getting low or if the unit is getting too warm.
The UM-77 chipset provides two USB 3.0 ports, one on each side of the chassis, although you might see some manufacturers offer a single USB 3.0 port and team it up with a Thunderbolt port. Indeed, it will be interesting to see how adoption of this new interface technology, beyond Apple, kit affects the price of Thunderbolt peripherals. Alas, this Ivy Bridge review sample was USB-only.
By utilising the 7-series chipsets, this next generation of Ultrabooks offers more functionality than previously experienced and greater versatility too. As tests on Intel's demo unit highlight, having Ivy Bridge technology in the Ultrabook form factor gives it a substantial leap forward in terms performance over the first generation examples. That said, not all Ivy Bridge models will be so well-equipped and it remains to be seen how well the Ultrabook price premium plays out on lower spec machines. ®
Ivy Bridge for Ultrabooks
Re: screen resolution
Bah. How about a 16x10 aspect like 1440x900, or 1680x1050?
Intel should make the 1600x900 a minimum requirement for 13" models.
So many better choices
Ultrabooks don't sell because they are a poor choice for most people unless all you want is bling. I don't see more than 4 GB. RAM being an issue for most folks these days as consumers tend to replace laptops every few years because they are so slow compared to a desktop. 4 GB. of RAM is sufficient for most desktop and laptop users though there are exceptions. If your use requires or benefits from more RAM then buy a laptop with that option. Objective testing shows only minute gains for most apps when going from 4 GB. to 8GB. so don't expect to really get much performance for the additional costs.
Ultrabook with unusual utility
The usual Ultrabook recipe we see is an Ivy Bridge ULV processor, 4GB RAM (often non-upgradeable), and a mystery SSD at 128 or 256 GB. A few connectors and then anything between a crappy, dark screen or a really nice IPS screen.
I found only one Ultrabook with a concept that really differs from this. Gigabyte's U2442V and U2442N. They sport an SSD AND a conventional hard drive. (not talking about a hybrid here, its really 2 drives). And if you find the ULV processor too weak for your taste, you can go to the U2442N and get a regular Ivy Bridge quad core processor and a Kepler based Nvidia GT 640M GPU to go with it. This isn't quite as thin as Asus' MacBook Air alike Zenbooks, but it hardly weights anymore (1.4 KG vs 1.6 KG). The screen is 1600x900, though its only a TN screen and not quite bright enough for outdoor use.
Personally, I don't care in which direction size and weight gets reduced. "Thin" isn't the hot feature for me, if they shave off size and weight in other directions, I'm quite happy with that. Like making less wide display bezels.
Re: Obviously pretty damn quick
I'd just moved on from Wordperfect 5.2 in a DOS box around then, skipping up to Word 6 at around 95... always remembered the "Help for Wordperfect Users" option in that. Embrace indeed.
Numbers needed - nice graph or chart - the benchmarks move on apace - today's PCMark on it's own needs more RAM and disk space than the old system ever had in total...