System Performance

The Intel Core i7-3517U is the second fastest ultrabook processor Intel offers, behind the i7-3667U capable of going all the way to 3.2GHz on a single core. That, coupled with the pair of 128GB SSDs in striped RAID, should allow the Acer Aspire S5 to produce some fairly impressive performance numbers. Intel's HD 4000 graphics are also finally capable of DirectX 11, allowing us to run 3DMark11 and produce comparison results with slightly heavier ultraportable gaming systems.

PCMark 7 - PCMarks

PCMark 7 - Lightweight

PCMark 7 - Productivity

PCMark 7 - Creativity

PCMark 7 - Entertainment

PCMark 7 - Computation

PCMark 7 - Storage

For the most part, the SSD solution in Acer's notebook does indeed seem to be the fastest we've yet tested. That gives it a slight edge against the otherwise comparable ASUS Zenbook Prime UX21A. For reference, even in Microsoft's Performance Advisor, the striped SSD maxes out the score at 7.9.

Futuremark PCMark Vantage

PCMark Vantage tells the same story, favoring faster SSD solutions against virtually anything else.

Futuremark 3DMark 11

Futuremark 3DMark Vantage

Futuremark 3DMark06

Unfortunately, 3DMark performance remains less than impressive. Pay attention to 3DMarks Vantage and 06 in particular; the faster, standard-voltage CPU in the Sony Vaio Z2 gives the last generation HD 3000 more breathing room and allows it to outperform the otherwise substantially faster HD 4000 graphics core.

Cinebench R11.5 - Single-Threaded Benchmark

Cinebench R11.5 - Multi-Threaded Benchmark

x264 HD Benchmark - First Pass

x264 HD Benchmark - Second Pass

More fundamental CPU performance is about where it ought to be. The S5 and ASUS UX21A tend to trade blows, and I suspect this largely has to do with how each notebook manages its own thermals. For testing, the trap door of the S5 wound up being open the entire time, allowing the S5 to run its processor a little harder.

In and Around the Acer Aspire S5 Battery, Heat, and Screen Performance
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  • kamm2 - Tuesday, July 10, 2012 - link

    If it is on your lap or a soft surface, how many times will the door be up against something preventing it from fully moving before it breaks?
  • jabber - Tuesday, July 10, 2012 - link

    I'll happily drop the Thunderbolt/HDMI/USB3 ports, even Bluetooth, if you can use the saving to spend on a better screen. A couple of USB ports and a headphone port and I'm happy.

  • SteveLord - Tuesday, July 10, 2012 - link

    I do not get why people whine about screens so much (minus cases where the device itself is overpriced for it., like this one.)

    Ultrabooks are not limited to consumers. And your average user wouldn't notice or know the difference between a 768p and 1080p screen anyway.

    But like I said, they should at least be much cheaper.
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, July 10, 2012 - link

    The big issue for me is that on an Ultrabook, you're more likely to travel with it. I know from experience that using laptops on a cramped airplane seat when the person in front of you reclines results in an oblique angle that makes the TN displays look horribly washed out. IPS would fix that, and I'd be fine with a 1280x800, 1440x900, etc. display in a 13.3" Ultrabook if it had wide viewing angles. It's the combination of a crappy resolution with crappy TN panels and low contrast, all exacerbated by a glossy screen that acts like a mirror--that's what people are whining about.
  • Death666Angel - Tuesday, July 10, 2012 - link

    I would change the SSD RAID and just get one 256GB SSD. The screen needs to be better. I don't care about Thunderbolt (either desktop or notebook) unless it can be used for external graphics cards with the notebook. Intel WiFi with 450mbps support would be be good. And last but not least, make it a bit bigger and/or heavier and give me a bigger battery. I can't say that I care about lugging about 1.2kg or 1.5kg, but an extra hour or two of uptime would be noticed.
  • vision33r - Tuesday, July 10, 2012 - link

    All these PC makers are only trying to maximize their profits by shortchanging key components.

    The screen is 60% of the value of a laptop, specs are 30%.

    There are people buying old Thinkpads with the 16:10 IPS displays that are made 5-6 years ago. Sure they have old Core Duo but specs aren't everything and plenty fast for today's needs besides gaming.
  • kmmatney - Tuesday, July 10, 2012 - link

    I have an old Dell Inspiron 17" at work from 2007 with a 16:10 screen 1920 x 1200, with a Core 2 Duo (Merom T7200) that is plenty fast enough, especially with an SSD. I'm a programmer, and also am constantly running virtual machines, and I can't really say that a Core 2 Duo has been much of a hindrance.

    I finally ordered a Dell Inspiron 17R Special edition through, with 1080p screen, 8GB RAM, Core i7 IvyBridge, Nvidia GeForce GT 650M 2G, etc.. for $1099. I look forward to it, but will miss my old 16:10 screen - especially those 120 vertical pixels!.
  • jackoatmon - Tuesday, July 10, 2012 - link

    You would have to be braindead to buy this thing. Just the RAM is a total deal breaker. 4 gigs of RAM si OK, but not for $1400.
  • Penti - Tuesday, July 10, 2012 - link

    Stop with that 2 x SSDs, I don't want two bad SSDs in software raid-0. Stop it and use the space for removable SO-DIMM DDR instead. With this price they should have a 1600x900 screen at least, or an IPS panel instead but they can't afford it because they have a second SSD.
  • niva - Tuesday, July 10, 2012 - link

    We all wish it had a better display. I'm particularly nuts about displays and will not buy anything less than 1080 right now, but I also prefer the older style 1920x1200 displays which are being phased out of production now big time.

    That being said, with an integrated Intel 4000 HD graphics card in this thing, can it even hope to push older games at 768 resolution? If you plan on gaming with this thing you're probably better with the lower native resolution.

    I for one don't game on laptops, but I know people these days are pretty much not even building/buying desktops, yet insist on playing on their laptops.

    Just giving some thoughts as to why they may have went with this (other than cost savings of course.)

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