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.
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.
|Dimensions||369 x 250 x 40mm (WDH)|
Processor and memory
|Processor||Intel Core i3-330M|
|Motherboard chipset||Intel HM55 Express|
Screen and video
|Resolution screen horizontal||1,366|
|Resolution screen vertical||768|
|Resolution||1366 x 768|
|Graphics chipset||ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5470|
|Graphics card RAM||512MB|
|VGA (D-SUB) outputs||1|
|Optical disc technology||DVD writer|
|Replacement battery price inc VAT||£0|
|Wired adapter speed||1,000Mbits/sec|
|802.11 draft-n support||yes|
|Integrated 3G adapter||no|
|PC Card slots||0|
|USB ports (downstream)||4|
|PS/2 mouse port||no|
|9-pin serial ports||0|
|3.5mm audio jacks||2|
|SD card reader||yes|
|Memory Stick reader||yes|
|MMC (multimedia card) reader||no|
|Smart Media reader||no|
|Compact Flash reader||no|
|Pointing device type||touchpad|
|Audio chipset||Intel HD Audio|
Battery and performance tests
|Battery life, light use||3hr 16min|
|Battery life, heavy use||1hr 12min|
|Overall application benchmark score||1.35|
|Office application benchmark score||1.26|
|2D graphics application benchmark score||1.35|
|Encoding application benchmark score||1.18|
|Multitasking application benchmark score||1.61|
|3D performance (crysis) low settings||55fps|
|3D performance setting||Low|
Operating system and software
|Operating system||Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit|
|OS family||Windows 7|
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