Round Up: Five Powerful, Light Ultraportables

Testing: Performance - PCMark Vantage

On this page we present PCMark Vantage benchmark results, along with a summary performance score.

Performance PCMark Vantage v1.00 with November 2007 Hotfix

FutureMark’s PCMark Vantage tests a computer’s components in a variety of simulated application environments, and also conducts a hard disk drive test. It computes an overall score based on specific tests of the CPU, graphics processor and hard disk drive. Applications and hard disk drive benchmarks include:

Memories Suite The tests in the Memories Suite have been selected to represent the Windows Vista Memories Consumer Scenario. The combination of test sets covers the common Memories scenario usage. The Memories Suite gives a separate PCMark Memories Score which does not affect the overall PCMark Score.

TV and Movies Suite The tests in the TV and Movies Suite have been selected to represent the Windows Vista TV and Movies Consumer Scenario. The combination of test sets covers the common TV and Movies usage. The TV and Movies Suite gives a separate PCMark TV and Movies Score which does not affect the overall PCMark Score.

Gaming Suite The tests in the Gaming Suite have been selected to represent the Windows Vista Gaming Consumer Scenario. The combination of test sets covers the common Gaming usage. The Gaming Suite gives a separate PCMark Gaming Score which does not affect the overall PCMark Score.

Music Suite The tests in the Music Suite have been selected to represent the Windows Vista Music Consumer Scenario. The combination of test sets covers the common Music usage. The Music Suite gives a separate PCMark Music Score which does not affect the overall PCMark Score.

Communications Suite The tests in the Communications Suite have been selected to represent the Windows Vista Communications Consumer Scenario. The combination of test sets covers the common Communications usage. The Communications Suite gives a separate PCMark Communications Score which does not affect the overall PCMark Score.

Productivity Suite The tests in the Productivity Suite have been selected to represent the Windows Vista Productivity Consumer Scenario. The combination of test sets covers the common Productivity usage. The Productivity Suite gives a separate PCMark Productivity Score which does not affect the overall PCMark Score.

HDD Suite The tests in the HDD Suite are a combination of tests covering the common HDD usage. The HDD Suite gives a separate PCMark HDD Score which does not affect the overall PCMark Score.

The above test descriptions are taken directly from FutureMark’s PCMark Vantage Reviewer’s Guide v1.1. You can find the guide here.

Here are the results of the PCMark benchmarks for the five ultraportable notebooks in our roundup.

Note that overall and Memories scores were computed only for the Sony and Toshiba notebooks, both of which have Intel GMA 950 graphics processors. We were unable to find a way to get PCMark Vantage to calculate these scores for the other three notebooks, all of which have Intel GMA X3100 graphics processors. So, in computing our own overall performance scores for the five notebooks (see below) we exclude both the PCMark Overall and Memories scores from our calculations.

Remember that this benchmark and the ones that follow, except for the hard disk drive test, are based on the performance of all components. The Lenovo is a clear winner here, though it’s important to note that, overall, these scores and the other application-oriented scores reported here are quite low compared to scores obtained by higher-powered mobile and desktop computers.

While the TV and Movies benchmark ran on all five notebooks, playback of both sound and images was choppy. This doesn’t mean that playback of other, less demanding content—commercial DVDs, for example—would suffer from similar unevenness.

For those who know gaming and the standard PCMark/3DMark game tests, these are abysmal numbers; motion was very, very choppy. You’re not going to play serious games on these notebooks.

The Lenovo’s fast CPU and the Sony’s solid state disk drive gave them an edge in the Music benchmark.

The Lenovo’s CPU again gave it a slight advantage in Communications performance.

Sony’s solid state disk drive helped it walk away with the honors in the Productivity benchmark.

And, again, Sony’s solid state disk drive gave it a towering advantage in the now misnamed "Hard Disk Drive" test.

Overall Performance Index

Our overall performance index was calculated using all PCMark Vantage scores except for the Overall and Memories scores, because those scores could not be computed for the three notebooks with X3100 graphics processors. The Windows Experience Index benchmarks are excluded because the method for calculating them produces scores that are relatively much lower than the PCMark scores. Thus, WEI scores would have very, very little impact on an overall performance score.

As might be expected, based mostly on its solid state disk drive, the Sony aced the overall performance score, and the Lenovo came in second on the strength of its faster 1.6 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo CPU.

Calculating The Performance Score for Each Notebook

In the discussion of each notebook, you’ll remember that we presented a score between 1 and 5 for each notebook’s performance. As with battery life, we gave a score of 5 to the notebook scoring the highest on our Overall Performance Index, then set all other scores by dividing their performance figures into the leader’s number and multiplying by 5. Here the Sony got a score of 5 as the highest performing notebook for overall performance, based on its overall score of 2843. Then the score for the Lenovo, for example, was determined by taking the latter’s score of 1952, dividing it into 2843 and multiplying by 5 to yield a score of 3.48.

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  • Anonymous
    Thanks for writing this article; I have been interested in how these things perform.
  • Anonymous
    these are all at the high-end of the price spectrum, have you considered the asus eee pc or acer aspire one? i have one of these, and while it's not exactly a gaming powerhouse it does all you need in a small laptop... mind you the linux distros these things come with can be a real pain
  • JJeng1
    A possible reason for the fingerprint reader placement. Look into the options of the fingerprint software, as sometimes the reader doubles as a scroll wheel.
  • Regulas
    Rubbish, get the the new Macbook, 13" screen plenty of power no viruses and no bloated Vista for the low end of cash stated in this review.
  • bjornlo
    Rubbish, get the the new Macbook, 13" screen plenty of power no viruses and no bloated Vista for the low end of cash stated in this review.

    Typical ignorant fanboi BS.
    Get your facts straight. Nothing wrong with a Mac other than total cost of ownership and slightly reduced software choices... although the default browser is very unsecure (but fixable, DL any other). But, there is nothing special about them except their style and slightly better ease of use for the "technologically challenged".
  • Placebo
    First of, Macs are rubbish. Buying one is alright for the creative crowd, whose fav. software is exclusive for OSX. Other than that, the company would have already closed up, if not saved by the mighty (LOL) Ipod-brand.

    Regarding the otherwise brilliant review, how come the Dell M1330 isn't mentioned, or even tested, its not even on the site?!?!

    Best selling product in the category for almost two years. Anyone buying should look into it. Had one for around a year, can honestly say its the best electronic device i ever owned.

    Its cheap, lightwight and with supurb spec! for notebooks :-)Sry... they jus do a better job.
  • cruiseoveride
    Linux > OSX >> Windows

    I wish the IBM one was cheaper.
  • boostercorp
    i guess i never understood why you'd need such a small underpowered laptop and also never knew who would buy such a thing.
    But if you're on the road alot like me it would be more handy then dragging around a 8 pound 17" laptop like i 'm currently doing.

    i only hoped they'd be a little less expensive cause i bought my 17" for € 899 and got a shedload of stuff i didn't need like that fingerprint scanner ,bluetooth ,ir , ...
  • Anonymous
    Can we post a review of ultraportables with eSATA and Express Card ? I think the ASUS U6V (not sure) has one, the Dell E4200 and E4300 have eSATA but no Express Card. The Lenovo X200 and X300 series have some great features. I really hope manufacturers start making machines with eSATA and Express Card and not one or the other. Oh and How about the Toshiba dynabook R6 ?
  • enforcer22
    "Rubbish, get the the new Macbook, 13" screen plenty of power no viruses and no bloated Vista for the low end of cash stated in this review."

    O your right and look i cant do anything i want to do with it either.. I also cant get it to look like a computer instead of a over priced pos paperweight. Linux is as usless to me as that over priced thing keeping my desk up to.
  • Anonymous
    have you actually read this article. NO! If you read the very first page, you will understand why we need these so called "ultraportables", and can't stand the new fashion of eee pc's, that can barely surf the net.

    We need these things to be small, so they can be with us at all times, but also powerfull enough to run heavy software. For an example, i would need one to be able to run apache server, illustrator cs4, firefox, dreamweaver cs4 and perhaps even photoshop at the same time.

    See some of us make a living from the nets and are not stuck in the office, so we want a computer that can perform in the tasks we need to accomplish, but also easily travel the world with us. One!
  • onesloth
    For the price range of these machines, this article should have included the MacBook Air. It meets all he requirements the author chose, with the exceptions of not having a screen too small to read nor keyboard too small for serious typing.
  • Anonymous
    Is there a reason the P8020 and the Sony TT weren't reviewed here? I know they're new, but it would be more informative to review the latest models, especially considering the advances in Intel's Centrino 2 package.
  • Anonymous
    Mac Book Air beats all these hands down. While you can install Vista on a MacBook Air? Why would you. A notebook with OS X has a way better battery life and it runs faster then Vista. It's also more secure.
  • Anonymous
    Not having the Thinkpad X200 feels like a big slap in the face. It is a 12.1" notebook with an optional LED Backlit 1440x900 screen, something none of these offer. Plus it runs normal, not low-voltage, Core 2 Duo processors for outstanding performance. I just don't understand at all why it was not included.
  • Anonymous
    @Anonymous 11/06/2008 1:47 AM

    take it easy, i was ASKING why not, the article doesn't specify those particular programs - and while yes, they're not 'powerful' they are portable, so i asked about it.
    the atom isn't so bad, i have a core2 laptop (19 inches and about 10 kilos) and while it outstrips the atom one in performance, they can both run the same stuff, it's just one is a bit faster than the other...

    perhaps you should think about going back to the office, all those programs you're running will suck the life out of any battery, get a desktop, a comfy chair and a window.
  • Anonymous
    Windows is an operating system for those who need the absolute best software compatibility they can get. Windows has trouble running at times and it is has security wholes. Windows was designed to be played with and be customized to how you want it (lol staying with in copyright of course) to be for you.

    Mac OSX is a very stable operating system that comes with most all of the software you need and is by far the easiest to use. I still can not get used to the fact everything is done for me though. If you are technically challenged, do not care for Windows, or if you love Apple products then the Apple Macintosh is for you. The big flaw with Apple is there is ABSOLUTELY NO DIY COMPUTER BUILDING. I do not care for the hardware you get stuck with and can not change. Hardware customization is very important for those actively upgrading.

    Finally, there is Linux. Linux is the best running operating system you can get and is also the ultimate OS in customizing (if you have the know how). Linux has so many distributions to choose from such as Fedora Core, Red Hat Enterprise, Ubuntu (the most common from what I have seen), etc. Linux has been the choice operating system for many programmers due to the ease of customizing, low requirements, compatibility with most hardware, and most of the time the OS is free. Lol Linux is probably the only OS you can get for free only due to the fact that it has been in what I would think to be a never-ending "Beta." Linux is not very common due to the lack of it being less-user friendly for the technically challenged, however recent distributions have begun to solve that issue with Windows emulation and user-friendly GUI. Linux does not suffer from spyware and virus attacks due to Windows being the most pre-dominent OS on the market.

    One note on Mac OSX. OSX has a core and kernel with Linux FreeBSD coding at the heart. That's right Mac users you use Linux. This version of FreeBSD is just tweaked with ALOT of eye candy and a very-user-friendly GUI. This makes it very secure for the most part. However, concern has been growing within advanced users as the popularity of Apple computers are increasing. Windows is attacked not only because Microsoft can't build a brick wall to stop a virus, but also because of the fact it is the most used OS. If Mac OSX becomes the dominant OS of the world, expect spyware and viruses to begin infiltrating your hard disks. In the mean time make the switch from using Safari to Firefox. You will save the headache of someone stealing your logins or even worse your financial info. Sorry Apple users but Safari sux just as much as Internet Explorer. Make the switch to Firefox.
  • Anonymous
    is it just me or...
    @Sony Vaio TZ298: Style and Usability page
    it states about using SSD HD yet at "Noise and Heat" section it mentions about "the drives were spinning" as far as i know SSD HD does not spin.
    or it might be the author plugs in supplied external optical drive.
    correct me if i'm wrong.