Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Benchmarks, Part 2

Remember a million years ago, when we were younger, the world was brighter , and I'd said something about running benchmarks on my Acer 522?  Well, it turns out I had a lot more testing to do than I'd thought.  OK, not really, but now that I have a decent machine, I finally took some time to play through Half-Life 2.  And Episode 1.  And Episode 2.  And Portal.  And Portal 2.  But I did finally get the numbers... and here they are!  Not many surprises really.  The CPU is still the limiting factor, but with more RAM and the 64-bit install of Windows, the graphics shine a little more.  (This uses the Fusion platform, with integrated CPU/GPU and shared RAM.)  The biggest change is in loading times, most credit going to the SSD.

Windows Performance Index - still 2.8, as the CPU score is the lowest and didn't change.  Everything else is better though, except graphics. I'm not sure what happened there, but I think it's due to Aero being fully implemented in Home Premium.  Before, WPI was judging my system's graphics based on Starter's stripped-down Aero.  It's got full Aero now, and wow, it looks good.  Primary Hard Disk jumped up the most, to 7.7 out of a possible 7.9.

Processor - 2.8->2.8
RAM - 3.9->4.9
Graphics - 4.2->4.0
Gaming Graphics - 5.5->5.6
Primary Hard Disk - 5.5->7.7

Crystalmark - 34372->51975

Portal loading time - 0:50->0:30
Portal FRAPS - unchanged

Windows boot, power button to posting desktop - 0:55->0:35
Windows shutdown time - 0:23->0:14
Hibernate - 0:18->0:21
Wake from hibernation - 0:23->0:21

Startup and shutdown times dropped 0:29 together, but hibernation and wake times increased 0:01.  The SSD has much faster reads and writes, but there's four times as much stuff in RAM to swap on and off of the HDD during hibernate/wake - the swapfile is four times bigger now.  Still, hibernating/waking is faster than shutdown/startup, and doesn't require I close all programs first.  I'm a little concerned for the SSD reading and writing a 4GB swapfile a few times a day but not enough to stop doing it that way.  The Crystalmark increase mostly reflects the move to a SSD, not much gain in the other categories.  I'd read some talk about running 3DMark11 on SSDs possibly being bad for them.  Not sure how much truth there is to that but I still gave it a pass, I had plenty of other benchmarks going on up in here.

Portal loaded much faster, as did individual levels, but in-game performance was pretty much the same before and after.  One thing I hadn't realized before: I wasn't running Portal at native 1280x720 but instead at a mostly-stretched 1024x600.  I was able to crank up the graphics pretty high without much of a hit to FPS.  Enabling full 720p, 2xAA, HDR, and some other stuff only knocked a few frames off the total.  Same for Half-Life 2, Episode 1, Episode 2, and Portal 2.

Over all?  I'm pretty happy with the performance I'm getting.  I've managed to turn it from a higher-end netbook into a fairly-decent gaming machine.  It's not going to blow the doors off of newer games but it's solidly capable.  I'm sunk into it for almost $800 (original machine plus upgrades) but in the absence of anything better in the 10" range I'm happy with the payoffs.  I know that could've gotten an Alienware M11x or a 12" netbook with higher-end Fusion chipsets, but really, I don't like using any netbook over 10".  I plan on keeping this one a good while, or at least until OEMs catch on that there's a market for higher-end 10" laptops.

Last thought: If you want any more proof this netbook now means Serious Business, check out all the official decals on the bottom.

Where is your god now?

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