Application performance of the AMD Athlon Neo X2 L335, a 1.6 GHz dual core based on AMD's old K8 architecture, isn't likely to be full of many surprises, and the Radeon HD 3200 graphics are a known quantity at this point. The MSI U230 should surpass the Acer Ferrari One, thanks to the faster CPU, but otherwise they're about the same.

Futuremark PCMark Vantage

Futuremark PCMark05

Internet Performance

3D Rendering - CINEBENCH R10

3D Rendering - CINEBENCH R10

Video Encoding - x264

Video Encoding - x264

The important takeaway is to look at how the L335 coupled with the HD 3200 outclasses not only Atom-based netbooks (including dual-core Atom and Ion-based machines), but also produces a commanding lead over the Acer Ferrari's 1.2 GHz Athlon X2. It's true it can't compete with Intel's CULV platform, but that's a given; we've known for a long time that K8 can't compete clock-for-clock with anything Conroe-derived onward, what we're looking for here is a compromise between the sometimes painful sluggishness of the Atom and the price of a CULV-based dual core, and MSI's Wind U230 more or less delivers one.

Futuremark 3DMark06

Futuremark 3DMark05

Futuremark 3DMark03

The other interesting item to note is the graphics performance. Sure, AMD can't touch the performance of CULV with their Neo processors, though they can often come close with a 300MHz advantage over the 1.3GHz SU4100 and SU7300. However, in the graphics department even the HD 3200 is head and shoulders above the GMA 4500MHD. And let's not even talk about the pathetic GMA 3150 in Pine Trail! Besides being faster for gaming (though you'll struggle in most 3D games at the native 1366x768), the HD 3200 also manages to handle HD video decoding much better than the 4500MHD. YouTube 720p content works quite well on the U230, with relatively low CPU usage, though the 4500MHD can usually manage to run such content without dropping frames. The real kicker is that both CULV and AMD's Ultraportable platforms typically provide HDMI output—something you'll need ION to get on Atom.

That's the good news. The bad news is that the added performance comes with a drawback or two….

Screen Analysis Battery Life and a Wrinkle or Two
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  • shabby - Wednesday, August 04, 2010 - link

    Maybe if this was $299 it might sell, i just cant imagine anyone paying this much to get such shoddy battery life. Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Wednesday, August 04, 2010 - link

    You're not paying for the battery life, you're paying for the performance and form factor. Reply
  • vol7ron - Wednesday, August 04, 2010 - link

    so basically a "keep it plugged in like a desktop...and if you have to move from your bed to the couch, it won't die on you between plugs"? Reply
  • wintermute000 - Wednesday, August 04, 2010 - link

    Way to troll, boy genius. Since when has 4 hours been in the 'keep it plugged in like a desktop' ballpark? Reply
  • RamarC - Wednesday, August 04, 2010 - link

    gotta agree that $479 for so-so battery life is too much regardless of the compact form factor. heck, i just got a core-i3 14" laptop that has almost 4 hrs battery life for $499. Reply
  • shabby - Thursday, August 05, 2010 - link

    What performance? It can barely keep up with the culv laptops. Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Thursday, August 05, 2010 - link

    It beats the tar out of Atom, CULV laptops are barely in its price bracket (please don't quote me refurbs on NewEgg), and Intel's IGP sucks royally compared to the HD 3200 in the U230. Reply
  • dmjazzijeff - Wednesday, August 04, 2010 - link

    Dustin, by fiddling with the voltages and such, did you notice any appreciable gain in battery life? The drop in temps would be nice, of course, but increased battery life would be nice as well. I realize that the majority of a portable's power consumption is the screen and rotating media - I'm curious how much of this laptop's so-so battery life is processor related. Reply
  • megakilo - Wednesday, August 04, 2010 - link

    I would really like to see some results and reviews of the new Nile platform. The Congo platform uses a K8 CPU. Nile has a 45nm K10 processor. Reply
  • whatthehey - Wednesday, August 04, 2010 - link

    Isn't that what they said in the conclusion? Interesting laptop, and at least it's not the putrid pile of feces that the Ferrari One is, but for $480 it needs to do more than outperform Atom. CULV performance and battery life with a decent IGP is what we're looking for. Reply

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