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Testing: Performance - PCMark Vantage

Round Up: Five Powerful, Light Ultraportables
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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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