Acer Aspire S7 Ultrabook Review

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Gaming Benchmarks

Most ultrabooks aren't meant to be serious gaming systems – though we’ve seen some ultrabooks with discrete graphics that can certainly hold their own. The Acer Aspire S7 has an integrated Intel HD 4400 graphics controller, which is generally recognized to be a much better graphics core than Intel's previous generation IGP, so we were interested to see how the system would perform against other ultrabooks.

Futuremark 3DMark 11
Simulated Gaming Performance

3DMark 11
Although Futuremark’s 3DMark 11 has been around for several years, it still provides a good look at a system’s gaming capabilities. It's also handy tool for benchmarking machines that still run Windows 7. We ran this benchmark on the Performance preset, at 1280 x 720 resolution. If you download the free version of this benchmark, make sure you're using the Performance preset to avoid comparing scores that were run with different test configurations.

Here, we get a good look at what the Intel HD 4400 brings to the table. The fastest ultrabook of the bunch is the Zenbook Prime with it's discrete NVIDIA GeForce 620M GPU, but the Aspire S7 and Lenovo's Yoga 2 Pro aren't far behind with Intel HD 4400 graphics.

Futuremark 3DMark Cloud Gate
Simulated Gaming Performance

3DMark Cloud Gate
 The flagship benchmark in Futuremark’s catalog, 3DMark is a popular choice for testing everything from gaming PCs to mobile devices. Of course, the technology differences between a game machine and a smartphone are significant, so 3DMark has a separate test suite for each device category. The Cloud Gate test is aimed at entry-level PCs and laptops, and has two subtests: a processor- intensive physics test and two graphics tests. We run the test suite at its default 1280 x 720 resolution and at default rendering quality settings. Keep in mind that 3DMark Cloud Gate scores aren’t comparable to scores from say, 3DMark Fire Strike (gaming PCs) or Ice Storm (smartphones and tablets).

As you would expect, the Aspire S7 also fared well in Futuremark’s newest benchmark. For comparison purposes, we brought in the score from Samsung’s ATIV Book 6, which is laptop we recently tested. The ATIV has a discrete graphics card, which gives it an unfair advantage, but even in the shadow of the ATIV, the S7’s graphics performance looks pretty good.

Ubisoft Far Cry 2
DX10 Gaming Performance

Far Cry 2
When it comes to lush vegetation in a steaming, sinister jungle, no one pulls it off quite like Ubisoft does in its Far Cry series. Far Cry 2 uses high-quality textures, complex shaders, and dynamic lighting to create a realistic environment. The game’s built-in benchmark gives us a good look at a system’s performance with DirectX 10.  

The Aspire S7’s performance in Far Cry 2 seals the deal.  With Intel's HD 4400 graphics core, it’ll easily beat out systems running the older HD 4000 and it’s certainly equipped to make casual gaming fun. But in the end, you have to set expectations accordingly with integrated graphics solutions.

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