Shootout: What’s The Best Ion Netbook?

Round 4: Video Performance

The next generation of Adobe Flash Player, version 10.1, offers hardware acceleration for the first time. That means netbooks with an Ion chip can stream YouTube and Hulu videos smoothly at full screen. (Broadcom has announced its own video acceleration chip for netbooks, but we haven’t yet had a chance to test it.)

With the beta of Adobe’s Flash Player 10.1 installed, we played the 720p Star Trek HD trailer and a 1080p Nvidia test video at full screen to measure the framerates. All four netbooks averaged 24 frames per second while playing the 720p clip. The real difference came when playing the 1080p clip. Here the Eee PC 1201N outshined the competition, notching a full 30 fps. The Mini 311 and IdeaPad S12 tied at a respectable 22 fps. Surprisingly, only the Samsung N510 couldn’t really handle full HD, chugging along at 7 fps.

Flash10

WINNER: ASUS Eee PC 1201N. Right now there isn’t a lot of streaming HD Flash video content out there, but Ion allows standard-definition Hulu and YouTube videos to stream at a better frame rate, too. The 1201N is the most future-proof of these systems, easily handling all of the video we threw at it (with help from Flash 10.1).

Round 5: Gaming Performance

One of the most fun advantages of putting Ion in a netbook is that it can handle mainstream gaming in something that’s portable. We tested several games, including Far Cry 2, World of Warcraft, and Spore. Gameplay on Ion netbooks isn’t going to blow you away, but it’s impressive for the size.

We only did formal testing of Far Cry 2 on the Mini 311 and the IdeaPad S12 and both managed a measly 10 fps at 1024 x 768 (autodetect mode) and 6 fps at the maximum resolution. Clearly, this DirectX 10 title is too graphics intensive for Ion and better suited to heartier rigs.

While playing World of Warcraft we measured the framerates of each netbook. Not surprisingly, the Eee PC 1201N’s more powerful CPU helped push the game to an average framerate of 48 fps in autodetect mode. The Mini 311 and IdeaPad S12 both made decent showings with scores of 35 and 36 fps, respectively. Once again, the Samsung N510 lagged behind, reaching 30 fps. The W.O.W. average for more expensive ultraportable notebooks: 36 fps.

At the maximum resolution, all of the netbooks scored 14 fps (8 fps above the ultraportable average) except for the N510, which brought up the rear again with 12 fps.

WOW-test

WINNER: ASUS Eee PC 1201N. You’ll want the 1201N when you join your raiding party or usher your single-celled organism into space-faring domination.

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  1. Rogue Says:

    After reading the article, I don’t agree with that the Mini-311 is all it’s cracked up to be.Yeah I know it didn’t win, clearly it was the 2nd place champion. But I just wanna say, it’s the FPS that is the proof in the pudding for an ion netbook. Usability of the tool chosen for the job. When you’re watching a 1080p video, the fps will matter, not the keyboard or the ergonomics. When you’re gaming in WoW, even my 10″ ASUS 1005HA-PU17 has enough keyoard to be comfortable enough with a usb mouse attached.. The ASUS battery life is 1 hr less than the 311, not worthy of making a point. You won’t be raiding an instance for hours on a plane..you’ll do it in an airport at the laptop tables, in the admirals club, or at the lounge..or more commonly in a hotel room..all attached to an outlet. Or even if not, running on battery, unless you’ve chosen a flight with a 6hour layover..or decided to trek the kids across BFE..4 hour life at full gaming speed is more than hefty at this performance level. The ASUS EeePC 1201n is the blowout winner.

  2. Edwin Doherty Says:

    I have had the Samsung Rogue since Jan 7th, it previously worked good until about a couple of months ago. my phone doesn’t receive texts messages until about 20-30 mins after the other person sent them. almost all of the time i will get multiple messages at once, when i do get them. whenever i send a image message occasionally it will send just fine and other occasions it may take a few minutes, hours, or a day to get to the other person. i have heard of others having issues with their phone randomly turning off, mine does that too. my first samsung rogue got so bad i had to get a replacement, that was almost 2 weeks ago. I am still having the same problems with my new one! I am so disappointed, i just want to get a new type of phone. i payed retail for the rogue and am so mad that it turned out to be a crappy phone :/ just my rant…

  3. Andrew Says:

    Disagree with Rogue on the simple fact that the Mini 311 has an incredible community at MyHPMini which have developed a software Overclock that allows overclocks to ~2.0Ghz and an Unlocked BIOS that gives you access to all of the ION Chipset options and Allows (thanks to lowering the memory multiplier) overclocks to 2.2Ghz+ If you get an ION LE you can also unlock it to an ION as well as overclock the ION Chip, a lot. It can take 3Gb of RAM and you can adjust how much DDR3 VRAM you give it in the unlocked BIOS. My 311 is running at 2.23Ghz with the ION VRam set to 512Mb with the Chip itself overclocked. I have 3GB of ram a and a 320Gb 7200RPM HDD. I have also now upgraded to the new 9 cell battery which weighs the same as the standard (less excess plastic) but has 60% greater Capacity. Yes 60%. It is without a doubt the Best ION Netbook On the Market and the fact that you can pick one up for about £230 from Amazon makes it an absolute steal.

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