Performance is right where you would expect, solidly in the middle of the Ultrabook class. Ultrabooks are approaching CULV levels of dull performance metrics—all of them perform roughly the same, because there are only a handful of CPU parts (only three of which are commonly seen in review units) and they’ve all got roughly the same baseline performance specs otherwise (the differences between 4GB and 6GB RAM are rarely statistically significant in our benchmark suite). Obviously, some Ultrabooks come with optional dedicated graphics cards, like the ASUS Zenbook UX32Vd and Acer TimelineU M5, but other than that, the spec sheet a lot of times boils down to SSD vs cached HDD. Here's our current list of candidates:

Laptop Configuration Overview
Laptop CPU Graphics Storage Battery
Acer TimelineU M3 Intel i7-2637M GT640M/HD3000 256GB SSD 55Wh
AMD Trinity Prototype AMD A10-4600M HD7660G 128GB SSD 56Wh
ASUS Zenbook Prime UX21A Intel i7-3517U HD4000 256GB SSD 35Wh
ASUS Zenbook Prime UX31A Intel i7-3517U HD4000 256GB SSD 50Wh
ASUS Zenbook UX31E Intel i7-2677M HD3000 256GB SSD 48Wh
Clevo W110ER Intel i7-3720QM GT650M/HD4000 750GB Hybrid 62Wh
Dell XPS 13 Intel i7-2637M HD3000 256GB SSD 47Wh
HP Envy 14 Spectre Intel i7-3667U HD4000 2x128GB SSDs 56Wh
HP Folio 13 Intel i5-2467M HD3000 128GB SSD 60Wh
Ivy Bridge Ultrabook Prototype Intel i5-3427U HD4000 240GB SSD 47Wh
Toshiba Satellite U845 Intel i5-3317U HD4000 500GB+32GB SSD 54Wh

The U845 falls at the midlevel of the class, with the i5-3317U, a 1.7GHz dual core 17W Ivy Bridge part with a max turbo clock of 2.6GHz and a GPU clock of 1.05GHz. This is the standard CPU in sub-$1000 Ultrabooks, and typically the only step lower would be the SNB i3 or i5 that’s used in the base U845 and other entry level systems. Performance is adequate if uninspiring, with the lack of a dedicated SSD definitely being noticeable during regular use.

Cinebench R11.5—Single-Threaded Benchmark

Cinebench R11.5—Multi-Threaded Benchmark

x264 HD Benchmark—First Pass

x264 HD Benchmark—Second Pass

Toshiba has always been pretty bad at bloatware, so much so that I once wrote them a letter about it halfway through my review of the Portege R700. Unfortunately, things have not gotten too much better since then, with Toshiba loading the U845 with a Norton Internet Security trial, NetZero, and about 30 different Toshiba utilities that are for the most part pointless. (Okay so I went back and counted—the actual number is 29, but close enough right?) Of those 29, I’d say they could dump about 18-20 of them. This is 2012, bloatware should not be acceptable as standard operating procedure when selling a computer. Microsoft’s Signature optimization on PC hardware sold at the Microsoft Store proves that. There is simply no excuse.

Toshiba Satellite U845: Design Toshiba Satellite U845: Battery Life
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  • Bull Dog - Tuesday, October 09, 2012 - link

    While I understand where some of the other commenters are coming from with regards to seeing a 1366x768 display and not bothering to read further, I am disappointed by the apparent lack of appreciation for Vivek's hard work in actually reviewing the product.

    I too, abhor low-rez, low-quality panels as much as the next guy. These low quality LCD screens need to die, three years ago. And this notebook in particular is even worse than "normal'.

    That all being said, I still enjoy reading through the review in it's entirety. My thanks to all the hard work that the Anandtech crew does to make these reviews happen.
    Reply
  • KaarlisK - Tuesday, October 09, 2012 - link

    Basically, the idea is to replace the mSATA SSD with a 128/256gb SSD, disable SRT, and use it as a laptop with two drives. Is this possible (does the bios/Intel RST driver allow this option?)? Reply
  • nbgambler - Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - link

    I second this... This, and a reasonably priced mSATA drive, would go a long way to un-mass market a lot of these laptops! Reply
  • StrangerGuy - Tuesday, October 09, 2012 - link

    We need to slap designers repeatedly in the face until they get the message of:

    NOBODY WANTS GLOSSY SURFACES OTHER THAN THE SCREEN...GET IT?
    Reply
  • hybrid2d4x4 - Tuesday, October 09, 2012 - link

    That should say "NOBODY WANTS GLOSSY SURFACES." (emphasis on the period) Reply
  • Belard - Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - link

    Only the power light can be glossy. Reply
  • Calista - Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - link

    You guys seem to have such short memory, it was only a few years ago that glossy plastic was all the rage while dull matte plastics was considered low-end. And yes, I'm sure you bought those products as well, support the very same design you now moan at. Reply
  • Hrel - Tuesday, October 09, 2012 - link

    I agree with others. The whole idea of the "ultrabook" brand is to guarantee consumes a higher level of quality and refinement than most are used to; ie those cheap 300-500 dollar notebooks. Intel places requirements on ultrabooks, to use that brand, I cannot fathom why one of those requirements isn't AT LEAST a 1600x900 screen with a brightness of AT LEAST 300cd/2 and a contrast of at least 300:1, preferably 500:1.

    I don't really want to pay for an SSD. But use a Seagate Hybride 500GB or 750GB drive. They'll probably have a hybrid 1TB 2.5" drive out soon too. I have the 500GB one in my gaming laptop right now. Let me tell you, the difference between loading levels on my desktop (RAID 0) and on my laptop is night and day. I don't even want to play Mass Effect on my desktop anymore because the load times are literally 10 times longer. At the same time I couldn't possibly get by with anything below 500GB; even that is kind of a pain to have to manage. So having only an SSD in anything is out of the question, because 512GB SSD's are just too expensive.
    Reply
  • nbgambler - Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - link

    By no means blazing fast write speeds, but for the gamers among us, a sub $300 512GB SSD ($0.58 per GB) solves most storage problems I can think of!

    http://www.amazon.com/OCZ-Technology-2-5-Inch-Max-...
    Reply
  • Belard - Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - link

    OUCH!! $300.... we are getting there. But honestly, a hybrid setup still works pretty good. $150 80~160GB SSD + $100 1 or 2 TB HD.

    Yeah, the point of the "ultrabook" is a level of quality and specs... which this thing is not.

    There is a reason Apple is selling a lot of $1000~2500 notebooks... as much as I hate Apple, their hardware is consistent.

    Toshiba Satellite U845
    Zenbook UX31E.
    ACER M3-581TG... Notice something about these? The NAMES!
    What the hell is a M3-581TG or UX31 or U845? "OMG!! I got the M3-581TG, I've been dreaming about this notebook for weeks" - doesn't happen. Who really knows those names?

    Go to Apple: MacBook Air (11 or 13") , MacBook Pro, iMac, Mac, etc.

    How about ThinkPad? They at least keep the model names for years. T400~T430...
    Reply

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