Application and Futuremark Performance

It should go without saying that the Sony VAIO S' performance in PCMark is going to be less than impressive. Not only does it not have an SSD, but the hard drive is (as I've belabored) punishingly slow. Thankfully, the Futuremark benches don't seem to be indicative of how well the VAIO S can perform in real world applications (outside of those that hit the storage subsystem), as you'll soon see.

Once you get to the storage subscore (where our SSD-equipped Sandy Bridge reference platform excels), you can see just how bad things are with the VAIO S' 5400RPM drive. Now you understand what I mean when I tell you that when you order the notebook, get at least a 7200RPM hard drive upgrade—or plan on doing an SSD upgrade on your own.

Under PCMark Vantage the VAIO S fares at least a little better. You'll notice I've included benchmarks for Atom and the E-350 in this chart and others; when we get to the battery life testing you'll see why. It's true those platforms cost at least a third as much as the VAIO S, but the VAIO S itself can still be had for under a grand, and there are some very good arguments to be made for going that route.

Into our proper application tests, the VAIO S starts to hit its stride. The Core i5-2410M at its heart may be Intel's slowest Sandy Bridge i5, but it's still a Sandy Bridge i5 and the scores reflect that. Performance is right where we want it to be, and the single memory channel in our review unit doesn't seem to hamper it too badly.

Back with Futuremark, the 3DMarks seem less kind to the VAIO S again, but this time they have it coming in behind Intel's HD 3000 integrated graphics hardware. This isn't wholly unexpected since the AMD Radeon HD 6470M is fairly anemic to begin with, but it's not really representative of real world performance either. End users might benefit more from Intel spending time optimizing for actual games instead of 3DMark.

Good Computer, Too Much Bloat Gaming Performance
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  • Malih - Friday, September 9, 2011 - link

    a Sony VAIO S with Llano in it would be awesome Reply
  • KPOM - Friday, September 9, 2011 - link

    This compares pretty favorably to the 13" MacBook Pro, and since it's a Sony it should hold up pretty well. That they can cram a discrete GPU into this is small package is impressive and ought to get the engineers at Apple motivated to do the same for the next MacBook Pro, unless the Ivy Bridge chip is substantially better in the graphics department, in which case I wouldn't be surprised to see the 13" Pro dropped. Reply
  • hardwareguy - Friday, September 9, 2011 - link

    The 13" MBP already doesn't have discrete graphics. I think they keep it around for people who need a little more connectivity or hdd space than the Air offers. Reply
  • Roland00Address - Friday, September 9, 2011 - link

    I am still baffled why sony sent the 160 shader version and not the 480 shader version. The price between the two is barely anything. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, September 9, 2011 - link

    I'd guess the SA is going to run pretty damn hot/loud as the major issue. I've actually got an Acer TimelineX 3830TG; run a game and the CPU throttles after about a minute because the CPU+GPU overwhelms the HSF. Part of that is Acer's BIOS, no doubt, but GT 540M and HD 6630M should generate comparable heat so unless Sony has better ventilation.... Reply
  • waldojim42 - Saturday, September 10, 2011 - link

    Heat was never really an issue when I had the 6630 version. In reality, the machine would turbo up to about 3.2Ghz in most games, and be quite happy to run there all day. Doesn't change the fact that the fan can be annoying though. Nor does it change Sony customer service... or lack thereof. Reply
  • nutral - Friday, September 9, 2011 - link

    I actually have this laptop, with the sheet battery.

    I also got in the amd 6630, wich is actually pretty good for gaming, i can run call of duty or deus ex on it pretty well. It does get hotter with the amd,, but it's not that bad.

    The bloat is kind of bad, i reinstalled windows 7 right when i got it and also put in a intel 80gb ssd, in the cd drive i put in the 500gb harddrive and i also exchanged the 1000wifi for a 6200 and put in 4gb extra.

    Right now it is a power machine, works very long on a battery and still very light and thin. i usually don't even have to take the charger with me.

    with the 6630M this does become a pretty good road notebook, with some gaming.
    Reply
  • waldojim42 - Friday, September 9, 2011 - link

    You guys really needed to test the SA. I did purchase the SA, with the Intel 2620 i7 and the AMD 6630. It did not get that warm, and still ran all day. The fan is still annoying though. I really do think you guys would have a totally different view of the machine though, if you considered the amount of portable power the i7/6630 delivers.

    I no longer own it though, as that fan died within 30 days. They then took over a month waiting on a motherboard to arrive. I finally coerced them into a refund, but was without a machine or my money for over 2 months.
    Reply
  • OCedHrt - Saturday, September 10, 2011 - link

    Sony provides a Fresh Start option for free (for the most part) for all their CTOs without the Sony bloat. Not sure if them not sending a unit configured like that is a good thing or bad thing. Reply
  • I am as mad as hell - Saturday, September 10, 2011 - link

    First off, we don't own any Apple products in my household, except an old iPad Nano.

    Now to the rant: All of those Windows PC based OEM's are spineless and make super boring products. The notable exceptions are ACER and Samsung.

    Gosh, can any of them make a decent laptop that puts Apple to shame?

    It's not that hard. There is just lack of creativity and commitment to excellence.

    A good PC Laptop should have the following mandatory specs besides the obvious ones:

    High Quality NONE GLOSSY! IPS or better LCD display
    Non-Glossy Bezel
    1x SSD boot drive with at least 64GB Ram
    1x HDD with at least 500GB capacity
    Back-lit Keyboard
    Built-in Logitech/Microsoft Mouse
    Wireless RF Headset receiver for Sony, Sennheiser, etc... wireless RF sets)
    Built-in 3D cameras (1 one the front, 1 on the back)
    External SATA port
    HDMI port
    One Laptop model option with optional external Blu-ray burner (don't need to use an optical drive all the time)
    High Quality Speakers (making good use of the saved space, by not having an internal optical drive)
    External Speaker port on the backside
    USB ports away from the left/right front side of the base. They should be placed more to the back left/ right side of the laptop (2 on each side)
    Paint that won't wear off!

    Dear Windows OEM's,
    Got that, good!
    Reply

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