Performance

Now for the good parts. We’re actually pretty familiar with the computing platform behind the Edge. The ultra-low voltage IVB parts are commonly found in ultrabooks and are some of the AT mobile team’s favorite mobile processors right now. I’m not the only one, Dustin just rhapsodized about the ULV Core i5s in his review of the updated Dell XPS 13 last week. The usable performance and reasonable power draw on offer are just that fantastic, and these CPUs really represent the sweet spot of the market right now. I’m not sure that the additional CPU headroom of the i7s is really necessary or worth the additional cost; the 100-200MHz clock speed bumps are pretty incremental. The only really compelling thing about the i7 SKUs is their ability to hit 3.0-3.1GHz on Turbo, a solid 400MHz higher than the corresponding i5 parts.

The other thing is that I’m seeing a lot of cases where there will be two SKUs on offer – one with an i5, 4GB RAM, and a 64GB/128GB SSD, and then a high end one that offers spec bumps across the board – i7, 8GB, and 128GB/256GB. We’re moving away from the early 2000s Dell/HP/Gateway-era of pick your component computing, so the decision between i5 and i7 chips might actually be hinge on the rest of the package, as is the case with the Edge.

Anyways, that’s diverging a bit. We’re very familiar with both of the CPUs used by the Edge from various ultrabooks; in particular, the i5-3317U is the heart of my trusty ASUS Zenbook Prime and I just recently looked at the i7-3517U in my review of the Vizio CT15. The i7-3517U has a base clock speed of 1.9GHz and a max turbo of 3.0GHz, along with HD 4000 onboard graphics (350MHz base clock, 1.15GHz max). It performs roughly where we’d expect, and I’d also like to highlight the relative lack of differences between the i5 and i7 ULV SKUs here.

PCMark 7 - PCMarks

Cinebench R11.5 - Single-Threaded Benchmark

Cinebench R11.5 - Multi-Threaded Benchmark

x264 HD Benchmark - First Pass

x264 HD Benchmark - Second Pass

JavaScript Performance - Mozilla Kraken Benchmark

WebXPRT - Overall Score

Graphics Performance

Nvidia’s mobile GPU heirarchy can get very, very convoluted, particularly at the low end, with a mix of new, old, and gap-bridging parts all under the same name. As such, there are many variants of GT 640M and GT 640M LE, with a mix of SKUs spanning the 28nm Kepler, 40nm Fermi, and 28nm die-shrunken Fermi cores. An interesting and related side-note: a few days ago, Anand asked the mobile team if we had seen any Kepler-based GT 630M notebooks. It took a bit of searching, but eventually it was determined that none of the GT 630M SKUs are actually Kepler based, only 28nm and 40nm variants of the Fermi core. When the lineups are so jumbled that even we can’t keep track of them, there’s something wrong. Why are some GT 640Ms so slow, while others are nearly equal to the DDR3 GT 650M? Why are there still 40nm GeForce 600M parts? I wish Nvidia could simplify and streamline their mobile GPU lineup, it’d make our lives easier as well as being a lot more transparent for consumers.

The GT 640M LE in the Edge is thankfully a Kepler part, so a 28nm GK107 core with 384 cores, 16 ROPs, and 32 TMUs, just like all Keplers from the GTX 660M on down. This is the absolute bottom of the range, so it has the slowest memory configuration (900MHz DDR3) and a 500MHz core clock, with boost up to 570MHz. The next big hardware jump comes with GDDR5 VRAM in the GT 650M, and a combination of clock speeds and GPU boost make up the differences between SKUs.

The 1366x768 panel comes into play here – Kepler, even at 500MHz, is more than capable of pushing 768p displays at high settings in modern games. High quality textures really start to tax the slower memory in the low-end Kepler cards as you increase resolution, so even with higher clock speeds, 1080p gaming will be non-ideal at best and downright bad at worst. Don’t expect much to be playable, as even the DDR3 variant of the GT 650M basically failed the 1080p portion of our gaming tests. The GDDR5 GT 650M and the GTX 660M (which comes in GDDR5 form only) do better here, but there’s a pretty substantial gap between those two chips and the rest of the GK107 mobile parts at 1080p.

We haven’t yet finalized our 2013 Gaming test suite, so I just ran our 2012 test suite. I did almost all of my testing on the road, sans access to 1080p displays, so I only have 1366x768 gaming results (that’s our value gaming suite, which runs medium detail settings at 768p). I also ran at high detail settings, to see what kind of differences there would be. Once our new suite is finalized, I’ll update with results at 1600x900 and 1080p.

Batman: Arkham City - Value

Battlefield 3 - Value

Civilization V - Value

DiRT 3 - Value

Elder Scrolls: Skyrim - Value

Portal 2 - Value

Total War: Shogun 2 - Value

The Edge does pretty well, honestly – Kepler is a great mobile GPU, even clocked so low. At high settings, almost everything was playable, except for Battlefield 3 and Civ 5. I think Civ 5 is CPU limited on the Edge, while BF3 is one of the more strenuous games we test, so both of those were expected. Lower the settings to medium, and pretty much everything is playable.

The higher clock speeds of the GT 650M (DDR3) in the Clevo W110ER really make themselves felt, with substantially better gaming performance than the Edge throughout our benchmark suite. For a comparison with Surface Pro and the other IVB tablets, look at the ASUS Zenbook Primes - the UX31A with the 1.15GHz HD 4000 (i7-3517U) and the UX21A with the same HD 4000 clocked at 1.05GHz (i5-3317U). There's a small performance delta between the two due to the maximum frequency difference, but either way, HD 4000 seriously struggles to be playable in most of our benchmarks unless you lower either the resolution or detail settings. Again, Kepler at 500MHz is still a pretty capable card at 1366x768, so concern over frame rates is probably a moot one unless you’re gaming on an external display. 

Dock and Keyboard Battery Life and Mobile Gaming
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  • Havor - Saturday, March 30, 2013 - link

    "And YOU don't see the appeal, but for someone like myself that travels regularly"
    I am a piping supervisor, and i really do see the potential, only my opinion of this device is, nice product but to heavy and to expensive, so no cigar!

    I stopped being a early adopter years a go, and learn to wait, as i done +40 years before with out them, so i don't really need it today aider, even do i would like to have it.
    Reply
  • perry1mm - Sunday, March 31, 2013 - link

    Most of what you replied with was not only badly typed, but poorly worded, and incomprehensible. Your replies don't even accurately respond to what I stated.

    "I am very well off, I am a supervisor in the offshore, and my wife is a deputy director of a local part of the national institute.

    Still i think $1000 is way to mouths for what you get in return, like i said, not saying that the price is to high for what it cost to make a device like this, saying if you wait 1~2 generations, you get way more for a lot less."

    Ok, you basicaly contradicted yourself here: Earlier you say $1000 is not good value, I said it is not much if you're in the market for a laptop/tablet, and then you say it's too much for what you get in return...well for some there is no other option and future generations of the product can only be hoped for and anticipated for possibly a year or two. I mean, you might as well tell someone that wants the PS4 to wait for the PS5 since it will be greatly improved. It's not very logical when the competition is similarly priced, it does what it is intended to do, and is not even that costly. $1000 for any type of laptop that can be used for gaming is about average.

    And you say you're a supervisor for whatever and make good money...well then you're just a cheapass and shouldn't even be commenting because it's simply you personally that has an issue with money, not that this is actually overpriced or bad value. It's actually VERY GOOD VALUE in an objective look at the current market of tablets/laptops/portable devices. There are very few comparisons for the performance and portability. You're basing value off of "It's a lot of money for what you get" yet you can't tell me something at comparative pricing that offers the same, so the value isn't bad as you seem to think. You're just willing to compromise for a lesser experience because it appears you're probably cheap.

    "This tablet falls in the category as the first LCD TVs, they ware around $5000 for a 40", and just like this tablet, the asking price was not to high for what it cost to make one, I am saying, you have to be a idiot to pay $1000~$1500 for something that will be outdated in 2 years by way better devices."

    ROFL, NO IT DOES NOT. $1000-1200 is about on par with any other decent specced laptop that can play games nowadays with a mobile GPU. That analogy to LCDs is way off because they were exclusive products at the time offering completely new experience in displays, versus this simply being a more compact device with specs that can be found in other products (laptops) that have a basis for pricing...and it isn't much better for what they offer.

    "Got a ASUS G75VX for work, and a Transformer for on the road, ware i depending on use use the dock with, nut yeah i cant play FPS games on the Transformer, still there are lots of other fun games other the Angry Birds that i can also play on it.

    The G75 is a real desktop replacement, i can use when i am @work, I am "on the go enough" about +50% of the year, but i cant really see any real benefits over a normal tablet."

    Again, you're compromising for the sake of your personal experience in regards to portability and in-convenience. When you try something like the Edge or Sony Vaio Duo you'd probably learn it's much more efficient, convenient, and having multiple devices in most circumstances just aren't as compact, portable, or high-spec.

    "The Surface Pro with it's i5 and 4GB RAM is sorely lacking in performance.
    I never said the Surface Pro was a good deal, I say your a idiot or have to mouth money if you if you buy this, as you can be a early adopter of tech that is not ready for prime time, if you buy it anyway i and many others will think something of you, if you tell the total price of what you got in your hands."

    I wasn't saying you did. I was simply posting my own comments about the Surface Pro to put in perspective another device in relation to the Edge. It's not being an early adopter just because it's a Win 8 device that is "new." There have been plenty of high-end Windows tablets in the past few years. The one's we're seeing now are just more refined, and I'd even go as far to say suitable for most people in use and pricing.

    "you must be the one smoking pot if you think this would be $500-600 with a controller grip

    Read correctly, i did not say the device was was overprices for the tech you get, i say the its just not worth it, as in 2 years from now you get the same for half the price and weight, whit 50% more powerk"

    THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT YOU SAID!!! WTF DO YOU THINK "JUST NOT WORTH IT" and "But unless they get the price down to around $500~600 with a included game controller grip, i dont see lots of people buying this overpriced tablet." YOU LITERALLY SAID EXACTLY WHAT YOU JUST REPLIED YOU WEREN'T SAYING. You can't even follow your own damn comments, you obviously have trouble comprehending mine.

    Not only that but 2 YEARS to get it for half the price. Seriously, GTFO! Nobody waits 2 years for something that they can use now on a daily basis in a convenient way. It would be completely stupid to wait two years, hell even a year for many people, if they are in the market for a product like this or similar.

    You really need to re-read your own comments before you reply, cuz you are way off in nearly everything you continue to say. Just stop while you're already way behind.
    Reply
  • Havor - Sunday, March 31, 2013 - link

    Damn man get a life, you act like i just insulted your mother or so.

    And if you are even to stupid to read understandably whats the point of arguing.

    Basically the concept is nice, and the tech is cutting edge what you can make now, but he is still way to heavy, expensive and don't lest very long. (just like the Surface Pro)

    But if you wane buy one, go ahead, i wait 2 years or so, and get a faster one, for half the price and almost half the weight, till then i use what i got, as my Transformer dose everything this tablet dose except High End gaming.
    Reply
  • perry1mm - Monday, April 01, 2013 - link

    ROFL, get a life. I work in the wireless industry and enjoy everything I do. That took me like 5 mins to reply to and since there is no "quotations" it doubled the length of the reply.

    Obviously you lack any real support for your criticisms and responses.

    I didn't get the Edge and I won't, I simply read the review and understand the product and it's purpose, use, and value for what it is capable of.

    Your Transformer tablet doesn't have an SSD, full desktop applications, games, processing capabilities, accessories, and as you said...you use a laptop to compensate for that. Good job, my phone does everything your Transformer does, so that must mean it's as good as the Edge, right? Dips***.
    Reply
  • Havor - Monday, April 01, 2013 - link

    Man if you don't get it, and only get a hard-on from the tech, thats to bad, but even for 99.999% of the readers this tablet will just not be a option.

    I use to own a Ferrari 328 GTS, as i was thinking it was cool, and yes it was, but it was a pain in the ass for daily use, and a normal luxury car is a much better option.

    Same go's for this tablet, i think my "Transformer Infinity" tablet is 600g, and i think its all ready pretty heavy for long use, the Edge is a other 50% heavier, what makes it really useless for any long use in on hand, and unless you lay it down or hold it with two hands, good luck holding it longer then 5min!

    "I didn't get the Edge and I won't, I simply read the review and understand the product and it's purpose, use, and value for what it is capable of."

    I get its purpose, don't get me wrong, and i am looking forward to it, but again.

    To heavy! (biggest problem)
    To expensive! (specially if with all the extra's you need, you will go over $1500)
    To short battery life!

    Al three on them self are more or less game stoppers for me, all three together is just just a total no go, till those problems are fixed, i am not gone get a Razor Edge like product.
    Reply
  • perry1mm - Monday, April 01, 2013 - link

    I have no problems with the last half or that comment, but your pathetic attempts at insults or perspectives are pointless and unnecessary.

    Nothing I said implied I get a hard-on from tech. Literally nothing. I actually gave numerous reasons why there is nothing else on the market that can fit all-around usability of this device, and acknowledged the downsides if you can't manage a workaround or are in a situation where this isn't the product for you...that's fine, but don't say it's bad value because it isn't. You're comparing apples to oranges to clementines.

    The difference between your Ferrari example is that it offers NOTHING in usability for daily driving from a Toyota Corolla, so again you offer a terrible example and comparison from your supposed experience.

    Meanwhile this device I have repeatedly offered situations that someone would benefit from it, how it has abilities you simply can't get from other devices, along with various other examples of things that make it's value comparable to other so-called alternatives. I'd go into them again but it seems whenever I offer them you ignore them to spout garbage analogies rather than acknowledge what I f***ing say.
    Reply
  • perry1mm - Monday, April 01, 2013 - link

    Oh and since you're going to come back and say, "I didn't say Toyota Corolla, I said a normal luxury car." I wasn't saying you did, I simply offered a random lower-cost vehicle in comparison. The difference is for someone that is in need of a laptop that plays particular PC games and wants to continue that on their travels (such as myself when I go away for work trips, travel to see family, or go on shorter vacations that I'd like to sit down and play a game for a couple hours a day...I can plug into an outlet and do so, while putting it in power saver for on-the-go browsing, and eventually someone could use an extended battery much like I do with my Sony Vaio Duo that adds little weight).

    You obviously are thinking on the basis of carrying it around and using it as a tablet on-the-go for hours at a time rather than from the perspective of a tablet for various needs with the whole package of versatility and options...instead you narrow your view and can't think of how someone would use it outside of yourself.
    Reply
  • aNaNDaMiDe - Thursday, April 18, 2013 - link

    what's your problem with cannabis, friend? an MRI will show increased brain activity in the frontal cortex when high. Yes, cannabinoids affect short term memory (the most important function of cannabinoids in the brain is to forget, so you don't have to retain every mundane detail of every moment) but what does that have to do with a review? I almost agreed with your opinion, but I don't like you, you must be poking smot. oh yeah, that means what u think it means Reply
  • damianrobertjones - Thursday, March 28, 2013 - link

    "Pick up and play anywhere" - Wouldn't that be called a laptop? Reply
  • Hrel - Friday, March 29, 2013 - link

    If your laptop weighed 3 lbs and had an integrated xbox360 controller. Reply

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