Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
We tested the original Modern Warfare by running a custom timedemo, first at 800x600 with the lowest detail options, then again at 1366x768 with everything cranked up except for vsync, antialiasing, and anisotropic filtering, which were all left disabled. With the Eee PC and Aspire One 522, we opted for respective native resolutions of 1024x600 and 1280x720 instead of 1366x768.
Both of the graphics processors in the A53T's Dual Graphics team, the Llano IGP and the discrete Radeon GPU, were enabled throughout our gaming tests. However, since Dual Graphics only supports games that use DirectX 10 and 11, some of the games we tested couldn't make use of both GPUs.
Far Cry 2
In Far Cry 2, we selected the "Action" scene from the game's built-in benchmark and ran it in two configurations: first at 1366x768 in DirectX 10 mode with detail cranked up, and then at that same resolution in DX9 mode with the lowest detail preset. Vsync and antialiasing were left disabled in both cases. Again, the Eee PC and Aspire One 522 were run at 1024x600 and 1280x720, respectively.
Asus has no pretentions about the Zenbook UX31's gaming chops, and it's pretty clear why. In three of our four gaming benchmarks, the Zenbook's Intel HD Graphics 3000 IGP fails to produce frame rates we'd consider playable.
Off the beaten path
Despite those discouraging results, we still felt like trying some seat-of-the-pants testing with a handful of other games—if only to satisfy our curiosity.
We kicked things off with Rage, wondering how id's new shooter would handle texture scaling on such spartan integrated graphics. The answer? It didn't. No matter how many times we tried, Rage kept crashing in the middle of the opening Zenimax logo animation.
Ubisoft Montreal's Deus Ex: Human Revolution was more cooperative. The Zenbook cranked out frame rates in the 20-40 FPS range while I ran around the Detroit City Streets map. However, obtaining those frame rates required bumping down the resolution to 1024x768 and selecting the lowest graphical settings on offer. Even at those settings, the game didn't feel terribly smooth or look particularly pretty.
We rounded out our subjective game tests with Portal 2's "Smooth Jazz" challenge, which ran quite a bit better than Deus Ex. At 1366x768 with antialiasing and vsync disabled, trilinear filtering, low shaders, medium effects, and high model and texture detail, frame rates ranged from 30 FPS in large areas and when looking through portals to over 100 FPS in smaller nooks and crannies. Portal 2 was, for the most part, playable and enjoyable.
In short, the Zenbook will let you run many recent games, but playing them is another matter. You're probably better off sticking with older, less demanding titles and indie games. Being able to play Portal 2 on this thing is a nice perk for sure, though.
|Samsung's 28'' display serves up single-tile 4K at 60Hz for $800||106|
|Good Friday Shortbread||4|
|Friday night topic: where are the good ultraportables?||12|
|Deal of the week: Radeon R9 290X cards for... more than list?||9|
|Release roundup: Bits, pieces, and whole PCs||20|
|AMD posts another loss but beats Wall Street forecast||60|
|GlobalFoundries licenses Samsung process tech, grants AMD access to FinFETs||94|
|MSI shows next-gen Intel motherboards||42|