Thursday marked the official launch of Windows 7, so perhaps we can finally put those Mac versus PC commercials behind us. Whatever your feelings towards Vista, the fact remains that it garnered a less than stellar reputation. As we discussed in our Windows 7 RC1 article, many people have the impression that Windows Vista is awful but they can't tell you why. Microsoft hopes to change things with the launch of Windows 7, a.k.a. Windows Vista 2.0.

One of the sore spots for Windows, and Vista in particular, has always been battery life. We have discussed this previously, but the simple fact of the matter is that Mac OS X on a MacBook is easily putting any Windows laptop to shame when it comes to mobility. There are many potential contributing factors, including better optimization of the hardware/software combination, tweaks to perhaps enable lower voltages by default on Intel CPUs, and the ability to keep the CPUs running in deeper sleep states more of the time. We will have an updated comparison with OS X in the near future, but to date everything appears to be in favor of Apple MacBook; Windows 7 improves the situation.

Microsoft has a white paper detailing some of the changes in Windows 7 that should result in improved battery life. We have already explored this topic previously, but those are only preliminary results. Moving forward, the laptops we review are going to shift to Windows 7 instead of Windows Vista, and today marks the onslaught of the Windows 7 laptop releases. One of the first Windows 7-based laptops to arrive in our labs for testing comes from ASUS.


We looked at the ASUS UL50Vt running on Windows 7 Home Basic and found that ASUS could deliver nearly 7 hours of battery life while surfing the Internet -- and that's using our heavy Flash-based tests. One of the more interesting aspects of the ASUS UL series is that they allow overclocking of the ULV processors -- typically 1.73GHz instead of the default 1.30GHz, though in low-power states it's also overclocked from 800MHz to 1066MHz. The overclocking is achieved by simply raising the FSB from 800MHz to 1066MHz; since the chipset and other components can all run a 1066FSB already, the only component that's truly overclocked is the CPU, and it has no difficulty running at 1.73GHz.

We have the final release version of the ASUS UL80Vt in our hands, and we have begun testing. Today we provide a quick look at what the laptop offers and our initial impressions.

ASUS UL80Vt Overview
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  • gohilurvish - Sunday, October 25, 2009 - link

    I like the article and also the battery life figure by particular Asus model but I dont agree to compare it with MacBook (I am not Apple fan-boy).
    From what I know is, all 9400M based MacBook/pro has C2D Penryn processors and with <55WHr battery it provides 6-7Hrs of battery life with wireless productivity.
    If these lineup moves to ULV processor and 80+WHr I am sure it can deliver 15+hrs or battery life.
    I think its OS and other hardware that helps giving longer battery life for MacBook.

    For winodows PC, this is my choice now (obviously not for computational heavy work).
    Reply
  • fk49 - Sunday, October 25, 2009 - link

    This is a great first look and much more in depth than most of the previews that come out. I did notice that the main CPU comparison was with the P8600 of the 14z which is definitely meant for a higher price point. For the full review, could you include benchmarks comparing the SU7300 to more CPUs? Especially in the gaming benchmarks, as the G210m will definitively beat the integrated solutions available but what's not clear is how CPU-limited games might be when the UL80vt competes against laptops with dedicated GPUs. Thanks and again, great review! Reply
  • darwinosx - Sunday, October 25, 2009 - link

    Since everything is compared to the Mac laptops that is obviously the gold standard. That should tell you something. For a minor amount more you get a dramatically better laptop build, screen, cpu, multi-touch trackpad, and of course OS. Not to mention support. Put one of these next to a MacBook at your local Fry's or wherever. The Mac Book walks all over it. Yes Windows 7 is decent. But I want a lot more than decent when it comes to my notebook or desktop computers. I make quite a good living as an IT Architect and I don't have time or interest in buying the lowest common denominator to save a little money. Reply
  • simas - Monday, October 26, 2009 - link

    Mac Book /OSX = No games.

    and buying overpriced laptop label just to by Microsoft OS to be able to play a game is too wasteful. There isn't anything OSX delivers in the laptop that I can not get from Windows 7 so why pay the premium?

    for Asus - they are close, dual core CPU, switchable graphics, 4+ GB of ram, decent CPU speed and good battery life. Get a better LCD and I would buy it.

    Reply
  • Kelv00n - Sunday, October 25, 2009 - link

    Quoting: "I make quite a good living as an IT Architect and I don't have time or interest in buying the lowest common denominator to save a little money."

    1) You're clearly an Apple fanboi; ergo anything not Apple is the lowest common denominator; ergo your comments add nothing to a proper evaluation of this machine and are therefore useless to other readers who are not facetious like you.

    2) No one cares about how big your wallet (and what it compensates for) is, and as many commentators here have observed, this laptop fills a nice role for people like non-trust fund college kids who have to a) consider weight and performance since they have to lug the piece around, and b) work to pay their own way through college.

    Asus has been making lots of right moves lately. They just need to ditch the glossy trend and work on their build quality. This laptop is hitting the sweet spot for the holy trinity of weight, performance and price. I'm going to wait for the next iteration, which hopefully will have a better LCD, but it looks like my new laptop will be ASUS-branded.
    Reply
  • fk49 - Sunday, October 25, 2009 - link

    Even so, comparisons to Mac performance is something some of us would like to see. The Macbook does cross the $1000 line and as a student, the price difference with the UL80 is meaningful. About half the kids at my school have Macs while Asus has a pretty niche market, so it would be interesting to see if an aggressively designed and priced product aimed at the tech-savvy can beat the mainstream "standard". Reply
  • Voo - Sunday, October 25, 2009 - link

    Well I won't be using Mac OS X any time soon and I don't think many Apple fans would even consider it.


    So the interesting comparision would be a MacBook with Win7 against this one.
    Reply
  • Voo - Sunday, October 25, 2009 - link

    Argh..
    "and I don't think many Apple fans would even consider using this notebook."
    Reply
  • MournSanity - Sunday, October 25, 2009 - link

    If I may make a feature request for the full review...
    I heard that this laptop can also be overclocked from the BIOS. Can you look into this feature and tell us how/if it works in conjunction with the Turbo33 setting? Thanks.
    Reply
  • MournSanity - Sunday, October 25, 2009 - link

    I ask this because I recall seeing on a taiwanese review of this laptop a picture of it overclocked to something like 2133 mhz(8x266?). It would be very cool if this machine can be stably overclocked that high for when you want to do some heavy lifting. Reply

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