Sony VAIO VPC-EB1S0E review

A powerful performance from the Core i3 chip, but this high-end VAIO fails to make the best use of it

4
Price when reviewed 
626

Page 1 of 2 Sony VAIO VPC-EB1S0E review

As the first of Sony's new E Series laptops to reach PC Pro, the VAIO VPC-EB1S0E didn't have to do much to grab our attention. But as well as a box-fresh design and new graphics chipset from ATI, there's one component that makes this laptop truly exciting: Intel's Core i3 mobile processor.

With the quad-core mobile Core i7 making a triumphant debut a few months back, we were eager to find out how its budget dual-core sibling would stack up. It lacks some of the fancy features found on the pricier models, such as the excellent Turbo Boost technology, which dynamically overclocks certain cores at the expense of others when a task would benefit. But it does support hardware virtualisation, and we're pleased to see Hyper-Threading present, allowing the two cores to handle as many as four threads at once in appropriate applications.

Sony VAIO VPC-EB1S0E

While the 2.13GHz Core i3-330M model at the Sony's heart is the cheapest of Intel's Core i3 range, you're not likely to find that a problem in everyday use. An overall score of 1.35 in our application benchmarks makes the Core 2 Duo look geriatric, and a closer look at the numbers only reinforces the i3's superiority. In particular, its score of 1.61 in our multitasking test puts it in a different league from its predecessors.

The Core i3-330M's strength isn't only its speed, though. The 32nm die and TDP of just 35W theoretically make it efficient too, so we were keen to put the VAIO through the wringer away from the mains. With this in mind, a light-use battery life of just 3hrs 16mins is disappointing; pushing it to the limit reduced this further to 1hr 12mins.

It isn't the result we'd hoped for, but there are other factors in play than just the processor. Rather than making use of the Core i3's on-chip graphics to keep power draw to a minimum and maximise battery life, Sony has seen fit to pair the Core i3 with discrete graphics in the form of ATI's entry-level Radeon HD 5470. Graphics chips guzzle power, so it's tough to gauge the Core i3's real-world efficiency on this showing.

Page 1 of 2 Sony VAIO VPC-EB1S0E review

Warranty

Warranty1yr on-site

Physical specifications

Dimensions369 x 250 x 40mm (WDH)
Weight2.600kg
Travelling weight3.0kg

Processor and memory

ProcessorIntel Core i3-330M
Motherboard chipsetIntel HM55 Express
RAM capacity4.00GB
Memory typeDDR3

Screen and video

Screen size15.6in
Resolution screen horizontal1,366
Resolution screen vertical768
Resolution1366 x 768
Graphics chipsetATI Mobility Radeon HD 5470
Graphics card RAM512MB
VGA (D-SUB) outputs1
HDMI outputs1
S-Video outputs0
DVI-I outputs0
DVI-D outputs0
DisplayPort outputs0

Drives

Capacity500GB
Optical disc technologyDVD writer
Replacement battery price inc VAT£0

Networking

Wired adapter speed1,000Mbits/sec
802.11a supportno
802.11b supportyes
802.11g supportyes
802.11 draft-n supportyes
Integrated 3G adapterno
Bluetooth supportyes

Other Features

Modemno
ExpressCard34 slots1
ExpressCard54 slots0
PC Card slots0
USB ports (downstream)4
eSATA ports1
PS/2 mouse portno
9-pin serial ports0
Parallel ports0
3.5mm audio jacks2
SD card readeryes
Memory Stick readeryes
MMC (multimedia card) readerno
Smart Media readerno
Compact Flash readerno
xD-card readerno
Pointing device typetouchpad
Audio chipsetIntel HD Audio
Integrated webcam?yes

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use3hr 16min
Battery life, heavy use1hr 12min
Overall application benchmark score1.35
Office application benchmark score1.26
2D graphics application benchmark score1.35
Encoding application benchmark score1.18
Multitasking application benchmark score1.61
3D performance (crysis) low settings55fps
3D performance settingLow

Operating system and software

Operating systemWindows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
OS familyWindows 7

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