Peacekeeper has been updated since we first started gathering notebook performance data, so we don't have results for all of the systems here. When running at full steam, the UL30A just trails our single-core Aspire Timeline config. That makes sense given that the Asus' processor is 100MHz slower.
Of course, the more interesting story is what happens when you enable the UL30A's Battery Saving mode. With its CPU clock speed capped, Peacekeeper performance drops by almost exactly a third.
The Aspire Timeline again proves a little bit faster than the UL30Aor a lot faster, depending on whether you have Asus' most aggressive power-saving mode enabled. In Battery Saving mode, the UL30A only just scores higher than an Eee PC.
Next up, we have 7-Zip's built-in benchmark, which tests file compression and decompression performance. We used the 32-bit client and let the test run up to 10 iterations.
Again, the Timeline's clock speed advantage delivers the winbut only just. Once more, the UL30A's Battery Saving config turns in a much lower score.
Our next batch of tests highlights the UL30A's video playback performance. The chart below includes approximate CPU utilization percentages gleaned from the Vista Task Manager alongside subjective impressions of actual playback.
I used Windows Media Player to handle our DivX video, QuickTime for the others, and Firefox for our windowed YouTube HD test. QuickTime doesn't exploit the GMA 4500MHD's video decoding capabilities, so the CPU will be doing all the work there.
|UL30A-A1||UL30A-A1 (Battery Saving)|
|CPU utilization||Result||CPU utilization||Result|
|Star Trek QuickTime 480p||9-17%||Perfect||32-77%||Perfect|
|Star Trek QuickTime 720p||24-40%||Perfect||57-100%||Smooth|
|30-73%||Perfect||74-100%||Some dropped frames, loss of AV sync*|
QuickTime 1080p (MPC-HC)
|DivX PAL SD||8-17%||Perfect||22-34%||Perfect|
|YouTube HD windowed||43-57%||Perfect||74-85%||Perfect|
In performance mode, playback was perfectly smooth for all five videos. CPU utilization was reasonably low, as well.
Switching to Battery Saving mode increased CPU utilization quite a bit, but that's to be expected given the associated clock speed drop. Playback was still perfect with our 480p QuickTime movie, our DivX BitTorrent download, and even with YouTube HD. 720p QuickTime content played back smoothly, too, although with the odd stutter here and there. 1080p playback proved more problematic, with noticeable dropped frames and the occasional loss of AV sync.
It seems a little unfair to make the UL30A's effectively underclocked processor handle all the number crunching associated with HD video decoding when the GMA 4500MHD is designed to handle such a task. Media Player Classic Home Cinema supports the Graphics Media Accelerator's video decode mojo, and as a free download, it's worth a shot. I primarily tested with MPC-HC in Battery Saving mode, but I observed much lower CPU utilization with our three QuickTime movies. Even at 1080p, CPU usage didn't exceed 37%. Playback was perfectly smooth at all three resolutions, as well.
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