The Test

To keep the charts clean and simple I omitted a lot of the config details of each of the notebooks. For your reference, here's the configuration of each of the notebooks in our tests:

 

Alienware M11x (SU7300 + GT335M + HDD + 63Wh)
Alienware M11x R2 ( i7-640UM + GT335M + HDD + 63Wh)
Alienware M11x R3 (i7-2617M + GT540M + HDD + 63Wh)
AMD Llano (A8-3500M + HD6620G + SSD + 58Wh)
AMD Trinity (A10-4600M + HD7660G + SSD + 56Wh) 
ASUS N56VM (i7-3720QM + HDD + 56Wh)
ASUS U30Jc (i3-350M + G310M + SSD + 84Wh)
ASUS Zenbook Prime UX21A (ULV IVB + HD4000 + SSD + 35Wh)
ASUS Zenbook UX21E-DH71 (i5-2677M + HD3000 + SSD)
ASUS Zenbook UX31E (i7-2677M + HD3000 + SSD + 48Wh)
Dell XPS 13 (i7-2637M + HD3000 + SSD + 47Wh)
Dell XPS 14z (i5-2430M + HD3000 + HDD + 58Wh)
HP Folio 13 (i5-2467M + HD 3000 + SSD + 60Wh)
Dell Inspiron 11z (SU4100 + GMA4500 + HDD + 56Wh)
Dell Adamo 13 (SU9400 + GMA4500 + SSD + 40Wh)

 

 

Performance

As I mentioned earlier in this review/preview, the deal ASUS worked out with Intel prevents us for discussing clock speeds or specifications of the ULV Ivy Bridge silicon in the Zenbook Prime. Obviously the silicon is going to fit within the same 17W TDP as its predecessor so don't expect huge differences in clock speeds.

PCMark 7 - PCMarks

If you take into account Quick Sync and its SSD, the Zenbook Prime is an extremely quick solution. Looking at the breakdown of PCMark scores you get a much more realistic look at where the ULV IVB fits into things.

PCMark 7 - Lightweight

In some areas the Sandisk U100 holds the Zenbook prime back, here it's actually slower than its predecessor. Despite all of its issues throughout most of last year, SandForce was always fast.

PCMark 7 - Productivity

PCMark 7 - Entertainment

PCMark 7 - Creativity

PCMark 7 - Computation

PCMark 7 - Storage

I threw in a PCMark Vantage graph as we have a lot of older data in that benchmark that can help put things in perspective:

Futuremark PCMark Vantage

It's amazing the sort of performance gains we're able to show over the older Core 2 based ultra portables like the Dell Inspiron 11z and Adamo 13. Again we see a slight performance deficit versus the SandForce based UX21E.

Cinebench R11.5 - Single-Threaded Benchmark

Cinebench R11.5 - Multi-Threaded Benchmark

x264 HD Benchmark - First Pass

x264 HD Benchmark - Second Pass

The Display in Numbers & in Practice GPU Performance & Diablo III on an Ultrabook
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  • Rasti1964 - Wednesday, June 06, 2012 - link

    The lack of a gigabit LAN port is a killer for me too. A gigabit to USB 3.0 adapter would be the solution but: Where to find such thing?

    I´ve searched the web for some hours now without success.

    Could you please tell us how to get this adapter?
    Reply
  • Saareem - Thursday, May 24, 2012 - link

    "Just like last time, the UX21A comes with a sleeve case, VGA dongle and USB to 10/100 Ethernet adapter."

    I'm quite surprised how many actually fails to read that sentence. There is usb-to-ethernet connecter available for the Zenbook Prime and not-Prime in Zenbook accessories buy a small price and it come's with those ultrabooks for free. Perhaps you could find a usb-to-gigabit ethernet adapter somewhere, but routers having a gigabit-ethernet are still a little bit uncommon, so I don't see much point there.

    Definately not a killer, at least.
    Reply
  • Finraziel - Friday, May 25, 2012 - link

    Ehm, I don't know if maybe you're in a different part of the world where gigabit routers are uncommon, but I've had gigabit routers for years and actually only bought one myself when they got cheap. Friends of mine had gigabit routers for years before that already. I'd think someone with the money to buy a zenbook prime can afford the 15 euro or so that I see gigabit routers for.
    Looking in our local pricewatch though (which is very complete usually), I find one usb 2.0 to gigabit connector, no usb 3.0 yet, and it's 30 euros.

    I had to transfer quite a bit of media for a friend who went to work abroad for a few months and would have very limited internet access last weekend, so I put a lot of movies and stuff on his laptop, but hadn't realised in time that it didn't have a gigabit port. Unfortunately that meant I couldn't put all that much on it in the time we had... when you're used to gigabit, not having it is severely limiting. I expect this would also be something that would annoy me, even if it would probably be one of the only things that would annoy me on this great machine.
    Reply
  • Freddo - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - link

    I wish ASUS released an Intel Atom Zenbook. High quality form factor with an energy efficient CPU that allow for a 100% fanless computer. I don't really need that much performance from a portable computer anyway. Reply
  • phoenix_rizzen - Wednesday, May 23, 2012 - link

    There's no ION chipsets for Atom anymore, and the IGP in Atom sucks balls worse than even SNB IGPs, so there's no way it would push a 1920x1080 display with any smoothness.

    Atom is dead, and should be buried.
    Reply
  • jpk - Saturday, May 26, 2012 - link

    Amen to that. Reply
  • Freddo - Sunday, May 27, 2012 - link

    The Cedarview Atoms are perfectly capable of 1080p video playback, which is probably the most advanced thing I would use them for anyway. I'm not exactly looking into playing Crysis here, it's a small portable chat/surf computer, nothing more. Reply
  • vegemeister - Friday, June 08, 2012 - link

    The Atom GPU is a PowerVR thing with really crappy proprietary drivers. Do not want. Reply
  • mooninite - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - link

    I wish the Zenbook came with 6GB or 8GB of RAM. 4GB is actually limiting these days. I need to be able to run a Virtual Machine (VirtualBox) on my laptop at times. Plus games will demand more than 4GB.

    ASUS, people do more than web surf and face book on their laptops. RAM is cheap enough that it should barely creep into your bottom line if you offered a Zenbook with more RAM.
    Reply
  • phoenix_rizzen - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - link

    The UX32 has a SO-DIMM slot and supports 6 GB of RAM (2GB onboard + 4 GB DIMM). And it has a discrete GPU to boot. :) Reply

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