GPU Performance

Peak synthetic GPU performance sees a sizeable boost compared to the previous generation Zenbook. 3DMark 11 requires DX11 hardware and thus the original Zenbook won't run on it, but the rest of the 3DMark tests give us some perspective.

Futuremark 3DMark 11

Futuremark 3DMark Vantage

Vantage shows us a 63% improvement over the HD 3000 based Zenbook UX21.

Futuremark 3DMark Vantage

Here we see just how much better Intel's graphics cores have gotten over the years. The Inspiron 11z could barely run the entry level 3DMark Vantage suite, whereas the Zenbook Prime delivers nearly an order of magnitude higher score here.

Futuremark 3DMark06

Gaming Performance

We can say that the silicon in the Zenbook Prime's CPU features Intel's HD 4000, the upgraded 16 EU Ivy Bridge GPU. The result should be much improved gaming performance. Once again we are thermally limited so there are some cases where you won't see tremendous increases in performance.

At a high level, for any modern game, you shouldn't count on being able to run it at the Prime's native 1080p resolution. You need a discrete GPU (or Haswell) to pull that off. The former is a tall order for a machine that's already mostly battery. The good news is that 1366 x 768 is playable in many games.

Batman: Arkham City - Value

Not all games will see huge performance gains, but the latest Batman title runs 30% quicker on the new Prime.

Civilization V - Value

DiRT 3 - Value

More CPU constrained and thermally bound environments won't show any improvement over the Sandy Bridge based Zenbook UX21.

Elder Scrolls: Skyrim - Value

The 61% increase in performance over the original Zenbook takes the Prime into the realm of playability at these settings.

Portal 2 - Value

Portal 2 is an interesting case as we are significanty CPU and thermal bound here. The Prime can reach frame rates as high as 39 fps, but after a couple of runs you see degradation into the 32 - 37 fps range. On average, there's no improvement in performance compared to its predecessor - there's no beating the laws of physics.

Total War: Shogun 2 - Value

Diablo III

Last week Intel proudly showed me a demonstration of Diablo III running on Ivy Bridge's processor graphics, from a standard notebook all the way down to an Ultrabook. Eager to repeat the experiment myself, I fired up Diablo III on the Zenbook Prime.

Default settings at 1920 x 1080 were understandably unplayable. Dropping the resolution down to 1366 x 768 and clutter density down to medium however gave me an average of around 17 fps outdoors and 20 fps in early crypts. Given that Diablo isn't a twitch shooter, these frame rates were actually playable - all I needed was an external mouse.

As a primary gaming system, any Ultrabook this size is going to fall short. However, if you need to get your Diablo fix in while on the road, the Zenbook Prime will deliver in a pinch.

General Performance Battery Life, Configurable TDP, Thermals & Noise
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  • puppies - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - link

    Name a single game that you will run on this product that uses more than 4GB of RAM.

    Your usage needs are so far from the norm that you might aswell forget finding something that satifies your criteria.

    Or is this some weak attempt at trolling by pointing out what a low power ultra book can't do because it was never designed to do it in the first place.
    Reply
  • r3loaded - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - link

    "ASUS, people do more than web surf and face book on their laptops."

    Actually, that's what the vast majority of people do. What, you thought those spoilt students with MBPs were using them for computationally intensive tasks?
    Reply
  • ImSpartacus - Wednesday, May 23, 2012 - link

    I can vouch that most users do just that. We can include this user as well (with his MBP). >_> Reply
  • rosege - Thursday, May 24, 2012 - link

    I agree - hence im looking at the UX32VD-DB71 - though would really have liked 8GB - think the onboard should have been 4 then have the option to add another 4

    only 4gb in the other models is a major weakness imho
    Reply
  • sheltem - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - link

    Why can't Asus just include two mini displayports and call it a day? I understand why people still use full size VGA, but mini VGA is just retarded; you're going to need a dongle anyway. Reply
  • MobiusStrip - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - link

    That is pretty annoying. A DP-to-HDMI adapter is under $5. Reply
  • ka_ - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - link

    Not sure but I understand Displayport essentially is the same as thunderbolt which essentially let any connected device bypass the entire security of your system the same way firewire did, so no thanks until that issue is resolved.

    I do agree however that having mini connectors - expecially for HDMI which already is small is a worry. Most mini-firewire connectors I have had in the past failed over time as I happen to bring my machine back and forward to work and clients. I think I will connect a screen way more frequently than I connected my external Firewire devices in the past.

    VGA I understand had to be shrunk here, but why shrink the already small HDMI port?
    Reply
  • Kevin G - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - link

    Thunderbolt tunnels PCI-e which has access to memory as any add-on board would. DisplayPort on the other hand mainly handles video output with options for audio and basic IO tunneling (think keyboard, mouse, touch screen etc.). Reply
  • Penti - Wednesday, May 23, 2012 - link

    DisplayPort has nothing to do with Thunderbolt you freaking egghead! It's not connected to any system bus. When used in conjunction with Thunderbolt (PCIe) it uses a cable that carries both signals in the same Thunderbolt (Not DP!) cable. DP-devices can however never connect to the Thunderbolt hardware, which is why it also costs quiet a bit. You can get your normal TMDS SINGLE/DUAL-LINK DVI-D, VGA, HDMI or just plain digital DisplayPort via adapters as it's all compatible with those. A DisplayPort to HDMI cable, or DVI (same signal no sound) or adapter costs nothing and comes included in many computers or graphics adapters. All modern monitors uses it now and there are adapters and converters for legacy stuff as well. Most modern GPU's don't have the option to have dual or quad dual-link DVI any more. I also don't know why you would like to clutter up your notebook with 3-4 different ports that will need cables and so on any way.

    There are no issues to be resolved with Thunderbolt any other extension involving system buses has worked the same way, there are eventually software fixes to be had, but we will not fully virtualize the address space here and just as we can shut off USB-ports enterprises will probably be able to shut off Thunderbolt functionality in firmware. However they are essentially invisible PCIe switches now that the firmware doesn't touch and that is it's strength. It's no different then to put in an Expresscard accessory in your computer. If you have physical access you have physical access, you could just as well open it up and connect to the PCIe bus of the Mini PCI-Express slot. You also don't need the DMA-vector for cold boot attacks against your encrypted hard drive so it is an entirely pointless discussion. Plus it's just as hard to use as a attack and delivery mechanism as any internal PCIe chip is. You better not use any add in boards in stationary computers either I guess. This is not an Apple we don't ask for DisplayPort for the sake of DP + Thunderbolt, we ask for it because it is the only modern video interface and is natively compatible (well the gpus are, and the cabling can be adapted to whatever you need and are designed to carry those signals) with HDMI, DVI and VGA. Which is all you need. You do need DisplayPort, or a business laptop with a docking station and dual-link DVI support or active DisplayPort to dual-link DVI converter to drive anything over 1920x1200 on a laptop (3GHz HDMI 1.4a will go higher and is supported as of very lately but not by computer displays yet.). You can't try to force all that through a HDMI-connector with the same universal compatibility, versatility, better to have two mini-DP's if you like to drive a couple of displays without daisy-chaining.
    Reply
  • KZ0 - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - link

    Truly impressive. Just DPI scaling remaining, then. Only thing holding me back is that I can't really complain about my current computer. Reply

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