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  • Gigantopithecus - Monday, March 14, 2011 - link

    It will be interesting to see if MSI offers the X370 in the North American market; though at $700+, I can't imagine why you'd want to buy it. MSI isn't exactly known for the build quality of its netbooks, and their logo on something this thin makes me very leery.

    I've not handled a YB so I appreciate your comments regarding its keyboard. You don't paint a particularly compelling picture, especially since the Lenovo X120E and HP DM1Z both offer very solid keyboards. Again, it has a Sony logo on it...but is that logo worth hundreds of dollars?

    I'm not sure whether these even have WWAN slots, but if they do, would you mind checking to see if they support mSATA drives? That feature on a Brazos netbook would be very groovy...
  • Arnulf - Tuesday, March 15, 2011 - link

    Thank you for testing those older game titles ! Reply
  • Kaboose - Monday, March 14, 2011 - link

    Good to know i can do some mining while on the go for cheap, My habit is usually to find a mountain and make myself a nice cave with an extensive mine system. This type of laptop will be perfect for me because I don't go outside much anyway. Reply
  • ImSpartacus - Tuesday, March 15, 2011 - link

    Mining is very important!


    I like to go straight down in a cylindrical path until I hit bedrock and then move out from there. All the good stuff is deep in the ground.
  • Pirks - Wednesday, March 16, 2011 - link

    two cubical pervs, yuck Reply
  • nitrousoxide - Monday, March 14, 2011 - link

    These two offer some overclocking features, USB 3.0 and a not-so-big-not-so-small form factor (12.1''). Can't wait for their shipment. Reply
  • nitrousoxide - Monday, March 14, 2011 - link

    Will user experience be significantly improved? Reply
  • DanNeely - Monday, March 14, 2011 - link

    That article is still in work, but the page 1 text says that any current SSD will help. Reply
  • ninjackn - Tuesday, March 15, 2011 - link

    Maybe I was expecting too much but I shoved an ocz agility into my acer 1410 (with a su2300) and didn't really notice much. It booted faster but I generally sleep/resume so it was hard for me to notice any significant differences. Reply
  • Quizzical - Monday, March 14, 2011 - link

    I've got an Acer Aspire 5253-BZ602 (upgraded with a 64 GB SSD and 4 GB of memory), which isn't one of the models reviewed here, but it should be roughly equivalent for gaming performance, as it is based on the same Zacate E-350 APU.

    I think the processor is likely to be the dominant factor in whether games can run smoothly. Usually, if the video card isn't terribly powerful, you can turn down video settings and be fine. (Well, within reason; people who buy a GeForce 6150 SE from Wal-Mart today are likely to be disappointed.) But if it's a processor bottleneck, you're stuck.

    I tried running Guild Wars, and it ran nearly the same as it does on my desktop (capped by vsync), and at nearly the same settings (shadows off because they're annoying, everything else in game maxed, including anti-aliasing, but 1366x768 resolution instead of 1280x1024). Of course, Guild Wars is so light on processor usage that my desktop processor declares itself idle and downclocks while the game is running, and without affecting performance. The bigger impediment to gameplay was that a monitor resolution a meager 768 pixels high is awkward with the default UI, though that's adjustable.

    I also tried Champions Online, which is known to be a lot more processor intensive. Even at extremely low graphical settings (safe mode in the launcher, /renderscale 0.1 for an effective resolution of 137x77), it was stuck at about 20 frames per second. I could turn up video settings quite a bit from there without the frame rate budging much.

    I don't like the idea of Civilization 4 on a netbook, though. Even my desktop Core i7 doesn't run the game that well--and not nearly as well as my old Pentium II ran Civ 2. It's a processor issue, not a graphics issue; the game can render smoothly at high settings on a Radeon X1300 Pro. Civ 4 only proves that no matter how fast your hardware is, a sufficiently badly coded game can still run poorly.

    So I'd expect that one proxy for whether the Zacate E-350 APU can run a game smoothly is whether a high end desktop can hit 200 frames per second or so at low settings, without running into a processor bottleneck first.
  • Nimiz99 - Monday, March 14, 2011 - link

    I like your review of those games for the e-350.

    I agree, for certain games processor is everything ...but again I think these notebooks are for gaming on the go and shouldn't be a desktop replacement. Im sure eventually we'll get there, right now ppl buying these should know their intended purpose on-the-go/couch consumption.
  • ET - Wednesday, March 16, 2011 - link

    Thanks for mentioning Guild Wars and Champions Online. I've pretty much stopped gaming for the last month or two, but I will hopefully get back to it (once my 2 year old hits 18 :), and running MMO's anywhere is certainly something I'd like to do. In the past I occasionally played City of Heroes on a 1.2GHz Pentium M with GMA 500 graphics. Not much fun, but still worked okay for door missions. So an E-350 will certainly be an upgrade, and 20 FPS in Champions Online sounds decent enough. Reply
  • ash9 - Monday, March 14, 2011 - link

    Seems a SSD drive can add .5 to 1 hour worth of added battery life - couple that with tuned applications could mean renewed life for X86 (graphics /science)- comparing Fusion with any of the CPU offerings, including ARM - one has to realize that the Fusion platform's computing power per wattage/ battery life (mobile) has got to beat all others hands down - lest we forget price. Try and run a Monte Carlo simulation on an Ipad2.

  • DMisner - Monday, March 14, 2011 - link

    Please don't forget to review the Thinkpad X120e! Reply
  • mgl888 - Monday, March 14, 2011 - link

    +1 to this!

    Thanks for the gaming benchmarks.
  • Tasslehoff Burrfoot - Tuesday, March 15, 2011 - link

    +1 Reply
  • blacklist - Monday, March 14, 2011 - link

    until now i was expecting all the brazos netbooks to be release in order to buy the best one. i thought the x370 would be the chosen one but... well, the facts are the facts and clearly it is a mediocre ultraportable if that $700+ msrp is real. now i'm waiting for the lenovo s205 to be reviewed (please, don't forget to review it) and find if it's as good as it looks. if not, then i will have to settle for the dm1z. Reply
  • deputc26 - Monday, March 14, 2011 - link

    "Contrary to what you might expect, the 64Wh battery actually more than doubles battery life, suggesting the cells may be higher quality than in the 4-cell option." I doubt that the cells are different.

    One characteristic of Li-Co batteries (and pretty much every other chemistry) is that energy density changes with C rate. Which means that doubling a cell's size will more than double capacity given a static load.
  • tipoo - Tuesday, March 15, 2011 - link

    This is true. The slower you deplete a batteries energy, the more energy you will draw out of it in total. Reply
  • PMing - Tuesday, March 15, 2011 - link

    I bought this little beauty last week, and have a rather mixed experience with it. The battery should have been better, Sony only provide a measle less than 5 hours of usage, while the new AMD Zacate should be able to perform longer with bigger battery. The keyboard is not exactly spacious enough visually, but it's better once I got used to it. Yet even first generation of Dell Mini 10 outperforms Vaio YB in terms of keyboard ergonomics.

    The AMD E350 beats Intel Atom to the bottom, especially in terms of video performance. I don't play games, so I'm not sure how it will handle them.

    In my region I only got a basic Windows 7 Starter 32-bit, 2 GB memory and 320GB HDD, that is for a steep USD 550. But I guess that is the price you pay if you need a VAIO logo stamped on the lid of your laptop.
  • arthur449 - Tuesday, March 15, 2011 - link

    One of the biggest issues I see with isn't the lack of information in the bar graphs; it's the time it takes to look at the graphs and determine what you're looking at. The color coding for this review is extremely helpful in this regard.

    Green: Models being reviewed
    Black: Models in direct competition
    Blue: Other/Older models with similar performance in the database

    In the future, it would be great to add the ability for users to choose from a list of pre-tested systems in their account preferences. Those systems chosen would fill in the models typically listed in Blue, while the Black (chosen by author / editor) and Green would appear regardless. So, for example, users could choose a notebook, smartphone, GPU, CPU, SSD, and monitor that directly compares to what they consider a benchmark in that particular market.

    Anyhow, that's just my 2 cents.

    TLDR: I like what you did with the graphs.
  • 7Enigma - Tuesday, March 15, 2011 - link

    Agreed, it was a very easy read. Keep up the good work guys, this review (and more importantly the text discussions regarding the data) were excellent. Reply
  • yudhi717 - Tuesday, March 15, 2011 - link

    the X370 already on sale in Indonesia at $489, there is also the U270 Light at $399, I don't know the configuration / spec. Reply
  • Samus - Tuesday, March 15, 2011 - link

    I've had mine for two months and already noticed two design flaws. The right speaker grill is peeling off, and the screen bezel interfers with the keyboard and the keys are slowly chipping away at the bezels' plastic.

    A Thinkpad it is not, but flaws aside, I enjoy the laptop, but have reservations in recommending something with such build quality.
  • JGabriel - Tuesday, March 15, 2011 - link

    I applaud the addition of a section on older, less intensive, games. While I doubt anyone is planning to play the latest DX11 shooters on this type of platform, it's good to know what kind of performance can be expected from slightly older eye candy like Oblivion, HL2, and Quake 4.

    It might be a nice touch to add Prey and/or Portal to the list. Portal, in particular, seems like the kind of lighter weight game that might be popular on this type of platform.
  • duploxxx - Tuesday, March 15, 2011 - link

    I found this a very strange review, for the first brazos review you compare the HP all the time against the atom, which is the target to start with.

    Now you drag along any culv - SNB - macbook or wathever against it most of them in a way higher price range and start complaining about performance against others?

    Its OEM who define how they will build the systems, with a small margin of AMD defining the upper limit, not like Intel who hard limits all bits and pieces on there platform.

    So now you have it, OEM create some designs which to my opinion are not meant to be for brazos, those are netbook cpu's.

    Anything higher can soon be equiped with E2 and A4 LInao which will knock down any CULV performance wise but AMD should do some platform research and speedbinning for lower TDP bins to compete on all aspects.
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, March 15, 2011 - link

    How many Atom systems do you need to see? I put in three netbook Atoms, plus the Mini 311 (Atom) where I had results, plus the nettop D525 in the 1215N. Then I added to that CULV, ULV, SNB, MBP13, and a several others for good measure. It's called perspective, and never once did I say that Brazos should be faster than Sandy Bridge. The problem for some of these systems is that we're going to start seeing dual-core Sandy Bridge priced around $700 for a decent setup (4GB RAM, 500GB HDD) and that's useful to put into the charts.

    My thinking here is that I wanted to include every reasonable contender in the IGP space. So that's why the MBP13 comes along (both versions), and why CULV is in there, and why Arrandale and SNB are in there. CULV and the MBP13 also compete pretty directly against Brazos in battery life, which is another good reason to bring them along. It's one thing to get two or three times the performance but 1/3 the battery life for twice the cost; it's quite another to get double the performance, similar battery life, and pay only 50% more, don't you think? But of course, I should only show Brazos against systems where it can come out ahead, because that's what it's "meant to compete against."

    What's funny is that you state that the "first Brazos review compared HP to Atom". Um... did you look at the graphs? I have over twice the number of Atom systems in this time; I just added some other points of reference. The result? In my 15-item application charts Brazos sits around the middle, compared to third from last in Dustin's HP review. In games, we already know Brazos is going to get clobbered, but it's still important to show how modern titles run on the platform. However, I added a whole page of 23 additional, older/less demanding titles (several days of work there!) just to give a clearer picture.
  • sebanab - Tuesday, March 15, 2011 - link

    I'm very happy to hear you will also be covering the Ontario.
    I own one (Ao522) and there is one issue I would like to bring to your attention:
    With Brazos, AMD has also introduced what they call "Dynamic contrast and brightness adjust". Problem is that the features are on all the time and can't be turned off. And they can get really annoying while surfing the web.
    I think it's a bug while there are some options regarding this in CCC but they don't have any effect.

    I'm also very curious for the X120e , while I have heard that the LCD is actually acceptable.
    (also please check the fan speed settings)
  • L. - Tuesday, March 15, 2011 - link

    I've personally come to hate HP for their lack of decent products, and their very efficient modern capitalist view (read : designing computers to break right after the 1-year warranty), and my guess is that should heavily influence someone's choice in a new computer/toy.

    On my side, every HP laptop I have seen has had issues (except one that is 12 years old), several from an outsourcing deal at a client's had their mini-fans die twice in a year, my father's hp laptop had to go in RMA even before the first year, my little sister's HP just the same, my godfather's laptop ... again.

    So seriously, I don't know what everyone's perception of HP is, but from my side those people are unable to provide reliable laptops (and I would never not build a desktop).

    In that sense, if anyone comes to me asking for a reference for laptops, I always start with : "Take a decent brand, like Dell, or Asus, or ..."

    Also, my personal experience again, but I had two MSI motherboards and both of them lived only one year, another reason for me not to go there either.

    As a summary : my point of view is surely of little interest, but a track record of actual reliability of manufacturers could be an interesting input to your reviews (as in how HP fails at delivering stuff that holds for 5 years, or how that HDD company's failure rates are unacceptable etc.) as that has some influence on customer's perception of service (like if my HP laptop is in RMA every 6 months for 2 weeks, I need a second laptop).

    Also, thanks for the reviews.
  • olbrannon - Tuesday, March 15, 2011 - link

    It too runs the 350 brazos w/ Windows 7 @64 bit

    I love the size if the screen and the keyboard is -huge- paid $399 + tax. One of the game's I am not seeing here that I play is Dragon Age. It seems quite playable with only some occasional lags on loading areas and some minor frame dropping on occasion. No hdmi out thought only vga. I also have Neverwinter Nights 1 & 2 haven't tried to play them yet.

    I did get a chilpad for it though. thing can get kind of warm running these games.

    It's my first purchase ever of an off the shelf system of any kind quite happy with it so far.

    Speakers aren't bad for such a small laptop either
  • lammers42 - Tuesday, March 15, 2011 - link

    "Contrary to what you might expect, the 64Wh battery actually more than doubles battery life, suggesting the cells may be higher quality than in the 4-cell option."

    I've been telling everyone this for a long time . . . if you have the choice choose the higher capacity battery . . . they seem to use better performing cells.

    It still doesn't explain why there is such a big difference between the different manufacturers in the quality of batteries of approximately the same capacity used which is evident from the relative battery life chart you show. As you get more Brazos systems to test it will be interesting to see if that will hold true.
  • Tasslehoff Burrfoot - Tuesday, March 15, 2011 - link

    Brazos platforms should be under 350$ and at least under 400$. These manufacturers are getting carried away and they're even making fail noteboooks to top that off -_-

    All Zacate notebooks I've seen this far have either had disappointing specs (too little memory or too small resolution with too large display size or usin some lower processor model than the E-350) or horrible looks...

    ...or both.

    Where is my all black matte ~12'' brazos lappie with sturdy chassis, 1440x900 resolution and an outstanding battery life? Why can't anybody get this simple thing right?
  • blacklist - Tuesday, March 15, 2011 - link

    the closest approximation to what you want is probably the lenovo x120e. or just wait for the upcoming lenovo s205. Reply
  • silverblue - Wednesday, March 16, 2011 - link

    3GB is more than enough for something this size, in my opinion. You're not going to be throwing massive workloads at the thing. I don't see why you'd want a 1440x900 resolution unless you're not gaming or the games aren't particularly tough on the hardware to begin with; what would you personally use a Brazos machine for, if I may ask? Reply
  • heraldo25 - Thursday, March 17, 2011 - link

    I'm wondering how the E-350 and C-50 would fare against the first generation of Pentium M processors, are there any benchmarks like that? Reply
  • L. - Friday, March 18, 2011 - link

    The first generation of pentium M processors were extremely bad iirc.

    If this beats a cheap C2D , it beats a pentium M. (or I don't remember which one is the pentium M, either way beating a cheap C2D is decent performance indeed).

    But in all fairness, comparing the brazos to a pentium M is an insult to the brazos because the pentium M was a p3-P4 design mix, two designs that never handled multithreading in a decent fashion, and never got close to either AMD in that regard, or the subsequent C2D, which in most non-single-thread applications was much much faster.

    So if you want comparisons, start with a decent chip, like a cheap C2D, or if you want to go back even more, barton athlons (yes, because those could do multithreading).
  • silverblue - Saturday, March 19, 2011 - link

    I'd be more interested in comparing to Athlon 64s, both the single core variants and the X2s, considering AMD said Brazos should be close in performance to a similarly clocked Athlon 64 (90% I believe). Reply
  • JarredWalton - Saturday, March 19, 2011 - link

    I suppose it depends on which Athlon 64 chip you're looking at. The K625 is actually clocked at 1.5GHz compared to 1.6GHz on the E-350. If we just focus on tasks that are pure CPU benchmarks:

    Cinebench 10 Single-Core: K625 is 47% faster
    Cinebench 10 Multi-Core: K625 is 47% faster
    x264 First Pass: K625 is 40% faster
    x264 Second Pass: K625 is 29% faster

    If they were aiming for 90% of the recent K10.5 Athlon II X2 chips, then, they didn't come anywhere near their goal. However, K10.5 is around 5-10% faster than K10, and K10 is probably another 15% faster than K8, so 90% of the original Athlon X2 parts is probably about right.
  • GTKevin - Tuesday, March 29, 2011 - link

    Has anyone released a brazos platform laptop with a rotatable touchscreen so that it can be used as a tablet? I know the form factor will be bulky compared to a dedicated tablet, but for someone who is currently tabletless and likes to read ebooks in his free time, such a product would be very useful. Reply
  • aop - Tuesday, April 05, 2011 - link

    Any hope on you guys taking apart a Fusion laptop like HP DM1z and make article about it's internals? It would be nice to see how the cooling is done and what kind of layout do the motherboards have etc. Reply
  • klaasvdb - Tuesday, May 10, 2011 - link

    Is the Vaio upgradable to 4GB of RAM? Because it uses a 32 bit system. And so, can you install the 64bit version? Will 4Gb have an influence on the grapgic part? Because it uses chared memory.
    And is the CPU easy to replace with another one?
    For the moment, it has no much sense, because it is the best processor for its socket I think.
    Are there any new CPU's planned for this socket?
  • jvossman - Monday, October 01, 2012 - link

    wondering if you had a pdf guide or followed a video. My 1 yr old dropped my 2 month old x370 grrrrrrrrrr and now the front tabs have snapped up and the little chrome bar underneath the touchpad does not work.

    Thanks very much!
    John Voss
    Miami FL

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