Mobile ION Does Gaming… Sometimes

We tried all of these games on the Gateway EC5409u and 1201N. With its GMA 4500MHD GPU and with the latest drivers, the EC5409u performance is in the single digits on most titles, even at minimum detail levels. We wanted to show results for the 1201N and its closest competition in a large number of titles, including older and newer games. (We brought back a few older gaming tests to see if 1201N could run them acceptably; we didn't try to pull together results from previously tested laptops on those games.)

Assassin's Creed DX9

Batman: Arkham Asylum



Empire: Total War

Fallout 3

Far Cry 2


Mass Effect

Devil May Cry 4

Enemy Territory: Quake Wars

FEAR2: Project Origin

Half-Life 2: Episode 2


So the good news is that the 1201N can definitely handle gaming… but the bad news is that it's only in some games. Falling into the "acceptable performance" category are titles like Empire: Total War, Fallout 3, Devil May Cry 4, Spore, Sims, and any other less demanding titles. A few titles are borderline, like Batman: Arkham Asylum, Borderlands, Crysis, FEAR2, Half-Life 2 EP2, Oblivion, and Enemy Territory: Quake Wars. Games that really stress the CPU performance end up in the dog house. Assassin's Creed, Far Cry 2, GRID, and in particular Mass Effect all fall into the "need more CPU power" category. Still, the 1201N is a universally superior gaming solution compared to any laptop using current Intel graphics.

As for the potential of ION, we can see that with the Studio 14z. It's always a good deal faster than the 1201N, and in several titles it's even more than twice as fast. 3DMark put the 14z as being ~40% faster than the 1201N, but only Empire: Total War matches that figure.

General Performance: Dual-Core Beats Single-Core Windows OS Performance
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  • bsoft16384 - Saturday, December 26, 2009 - link

    Maybe someone can answer this for me - does the Eee PC 1201N support x86-64? The desktop Atom CPUs (Atom 330) do, but the mobile Atom CPUs have it disabled. Since this laptop apparently has a desktop Atom CPU, presumably it supports 64-bit as well?
  • JarredWalton - Saturday, December 26, 2009 - link

    Yes, it supports 64-bit, but the default OS is 32-bit. Since it apparently only supports up to 3GB RAM, however, it's probably not important to install a 64-bit OS. There are a few apps where 64-bit code can boost performance by ~5%, but the higher memory requirements would likely decrease performance in other apps.
  • vavutsikarios - Saturday, December 26, 2009 - link

    I would like to see how the 1291N compares to Acer Ferrari one.

    They are same size (the acer has the same 1366x768 on a 11.6 screen), exact same price, have comparable CPUs and graphics capabilities, same HDD and memory size, same OS.

    They are, obviously, direct competitors.
  • vavutsikarios - Wednesday, December 30, 2009 - link

    Correction: the Acer comes with the Win 7 Home Premium 64bit version, so it's not the exact same OS.

    Despite that, I still can't think of any other machine that feels so much similar, hardware-wise, with the 1291N.
    I mean, the absence of intel graphics is by itself enough to differentiate those machines from the majority of netbooks out there. And then you add Win7, and they become even more different, and even more similar -with each other.
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, December 30, 2009 - link

    I've already sent in a request; we'll see if Acer fulfills it.
  • sprockkets - Thursday, December 24, 2009 - link

    What is preventing someone from putting out a CULV + an nvidia 9300 chipset???
  • MonkeyPaw - Friday, December 25, 2009 - link

    I'm sure something like that may exist, but you couldn't really call it a netbook anymore, but an Ultra-portable. Once you go there, you typically end up paying 4-5 times more than you would for a netbook.
  • JarredWalton - Friday, December 25, 2009 - link

    The 9300 and 9400 are essentially the same, but regardless no one has created a CULV with NVIDIA IGP so far. There are discrete GPUs with some CULV laptops, but that's as close as we get. Anyway, 9300M is just 9400M with lower clocks.
  • evident - Thursday, December 24, 2009 - link

    This thing is almost pushing $500. If you look around you can find a nice intel pentium dual core 14" laptop for the same price. granted, the netbook is alot smaller and that itself is worth something, but i still feel that the compromise is still too great. IMO, the sweet spot for an ion netbook would be $200.
  • Penti - Thursday, December 31, 2009 - link

    Just buy a Intel CULV (Core2 based) if you like a small notebook. Atom is great, (think embedded space), but with ION, large screen etc I don't really get it. But at least netbooks (with Ion or Broadcom Crystal HD) will be more useful when Flash 10.1 hits none beta release. GMA 4500MHD is still a pretty good fit for accelerated flash (video) though, and the faster cpu helps with a lot of things. I think it would be more interesting to shrink the atom devices to the MID size. Finishing up Moblin would also be nice. Maemo has showed you can create a pretty good consumer Linux MID already. But they become pretty pointless as stand alone internet devices though.

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