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Battery Life

When we get to the battery running time we also hit probably the most pleasant surprise about the Sony EE34. We're used to seeing pretty dismal battery life out of most AMD portables, and with the remarkably small battery the EE34 is equipped with (39Wh? Seriously?) the prognosis really only gets worse. So surprise surprise, the EE34 actually doesn't do half bad.

Would you look at that: the 25W Athlon II P340 is actually able to pull nearly four hours of running time while surfing the internet! Not too shabby and a long way from the dismal numbers the other AMD-based notebooks (barring the nimble HP dm1z) pull. It's still not quite enough to bring it up to the running times of the Intel machines, but if you look at the relative battery life you'll see the EE34 doing a pretty stellar job with what it has given that it ships with a battery so small a netbook would be embarassed to be caught with it.

Heat and Noise

Given the integrated graphics and reasonably low wattage processor Sony ships the EE34 with, it should come as no surprise that the notebook actually runs fairly cool and quiet.

These temperatures are actually really good. We're used to seeing AMD mobile chips run hot, but the 61C on the cores is actually frosty even by Intel mobile standards. There may not be much to cool, but what there is, the EE34 seems to do a good job of cooling it.

The surface temperatures of the EE34 are all pretty reasonable, with the hottest point typically being the space above the memory access panel. The cooling system actually seems to be remarkably efficient; when placed under load the fan remains very quiet but pulls a lot more heat away, resulting in parts of the notebook actually running cooler under load than idle. It's strange, but overall the EE34 remains comfortable to use and nicely inobtrusive.

Middling Gaming Even at 720p Another Bad 720p Screen
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  • silverblue - Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - link

    I really doubt that AMD will release a faster IGP than the 4250 on this type of platform, or even one with more shaders, simply because it detracts from the Fusion initiative. Had they not gone the Fusion route, we probably would be seeing IGPs on the same level as, say, the 3850, by now (one can hope, though Llano should easily meet that).

    At the very least, it'd have been nice to see a 40nm version of the 4250 and not the 55nm versions we've been seeing for a couple of years, especially since Intel is producing their HD Graphics on a lower node.
    Reply
  • nitrousoxide - Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - link

    Llano IGP has 320 shaders, and should run at really high frequency. So it's reasonable to expect Mobility 5650 (or GT425M) level performance. Reply
  • mino - Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - link

    320 ? Umm. More like 400(+) ... Reply
  • duploxxx - Wednesday, February 23, 2011 - link

    ain't that funny arguing about shader count while you actually don't know for sure??? :)

    Liano will have 160-240-320-400 shaders in notebook depending on model, now you know.

    And now it doesn't run really high frequency but indeed the highend will be around Mob 5650 perf and will run circles around anything integrated Intel can offer.
    Reply
  • StevoLincolnite - Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - link

    That might be true for lower resolutions... Just remember it still has to use system memory which is slower and of higher latency when compared to a discreet cards own memory subsystem (Plus system RAM's bandwidth is shared between all components.)

    Only so large and complex you can make an IGP before it is essentially pointless, on the bright side compute tasks should be decent.
    Reply
  • silverblue - Wednesday, February 23, 2011 - link

    It'll handle higher loads than Brazos, though Brazos wasn't really positioned as a gaming option.

    A triple channel memory interface would be immensely helpful but unfortunately incredibly unlikely to happen. The real value of Llano should be proven by throwing faster RAM at it; those RAM tests which yielded very little improvement should no longer apply.

    I can't see Llano achieving 5650 performance in bandwidth-limited situations, however one might argue that anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering aren't options suited to such platforms so if you leave those out, it should perform quite well.
    Reply
  • nitrousoxide - Wednesday, February 23, 2011 - link

    1366x768 gaming isn't that bandwidth limited. My laptop runs at 1600x900 with 128bit D3 running at 800MHz. So that's only 25.6GB/s available bandwidth but still managed to run Black Ops/Need for Speed Shift at highest settings and rarely dropped below 30fps. While Llano won't be that fast to handle HD gaming, at 1366x768 (which is the standard resolution for most 14 inch laptops) it should really provide decent gaming experience. Reply
  • drew_afx - Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - link

    Thanks for the thorough reviews on this site
    it's really informative and accurate
    but since a lot of people like myself visit here to
    decide on which tech product to choose from,
    is it possible to include a comparison chart of carrying weight?
    I can see the specs on the first page, but
    those i5's and i7 laptops w/ more than double the
    charge capacity of sony's battery should be packing at least
    a solid pound more. Efficiency wise, it would be better to compare
    laptops by weight too, since power vs weight is always good comparison
    in cars(efficiency of engine). As the review noted, this range of laptops is
    suitable for college students who need multitasking, but don't need
    gaming or video encoding power w/ more weight.

    Another good measure of laptop comparison can be the
    practical part of design. Does the vents on the bottom get blocked
    when put on lap?(the pictures w/temps were very helpful) Is it single or dual heatsink/fan?
    Is it easy to disassemble and clean vents later? Can it be
    held with one hand comfortably, both when opened and closed without flexing?
    any sign of lcd distortion when pressed on the back cover? hinge quality?
    keyboard & mouse clicking noise level? I think one of the reasons for
    apple's success in educational notebooks is due to meeting these practical design
    criteria.
    Reply
  • Malih - Wednesday, February 23, 2011 - link

    interesting, it's good to include these kindof daily usage annoyances test, cause that's what we're facing everyday, it will complete the review as buyer's guide Reply
  • Screammit - Wednesday, February 23, 2011 - link

    Positioning of the vents is one of the first things I look at when I make a laptop purchase. I greatly prefer that the main intake or outtake is not on the bottom. Reply

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