ASUS N10Jc, A Performance Netbook

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Gaming & Video Performance

The ASUS N10 is the first netbook to be equipped with discrete graphics. Sporting a GeForce 9300M, the N10 is the first netbook that can take a crack at modern games. But lets not kid ourselves, the GeForce 9300M is a multimedia chip at best. However the N10's native resolution of 1024x600 may be low enough to give the little 9300M a chance. Why you would want to play games on a 10.2" 1024x600 screen is an exercise best left to the reader.

We put the N10Jc through a few games at its native resolution of 1024x600. We only tested with the discrete graphics enabled since the performance of the Intel GMA 950 in games is very well documented, and frankly it isn't meant for modern gaming.

We start off with a bit of an oldie, but a goody; FEAR. Unfortunately FEAR doesn't support the N10's native resolution and we had to resort to using 800x600 for our benchmarks. However the resolution can most likely be set manually via the configuration files to the native resolution of 1024x600, although we did not try this. FEAR ran superbly well on the N10. Even with all of the image quality settings cranked up, the GeForce 9300M still managed playable frame rates.

Performance in Company of Heroes was respectable, although you'll need to turn down all the graphics settings to get playable frame rates. This obviously compromises image quality, which was already an issue due to the screen's low resolution. Even when set to a high image quality level, Company of Heroes doesn't look very good on the N10. There just seems to be many more jaggies than normal, probably due to the low resolution of the screen.

The last benchmark we ran is none other than Crysis. We know at least some of you had a "but will it run Crysis?" question tucked away and ready to let loose on the message boards, so we thought we'd answer it for you. The answer is yes, the ASUS N10 does indeed run Crysis, but not especially well. At its native resolution of 1024x600, our sample unit was able to chug along in Crysis at an average FPS of 19.37 with the graphics set to 'low' and AA/AF disabled. At these settings the game was technically playable although its not exactly an amazing experience. However, if you ever had the urge to play an incredibly graphically demanding game on a tiny portable device, now you can.

ASUS N10 Video Performance
HD Video Playback

With its limited 1024x600 native screen resolution, the N10 isn't exactly HD ready. However it does sport both a VGA-out and a HDMI output port so HD video playback is still relevant.  While the N10's GeForce 9300M may be up to some lite gaming with the N10's native resolution of 1024x600, the 9300M is really a multimedia chip best used for HD video playback. To that end, we decided to check out some HD videos on the N10.

ASUS N10 HD Video Playback

After testing both a WMV HD file in Windows Media Player and a H.264 file in Quicktime, it's pretty clear that the GeForce 9300M is more than up to the task of HD video. During WMV HD video playback at 720p, the 1.6GHz Atom processor averaged about 50%-55% CPU utilization which is quite high, but not bad for a netbook. We also tested  a 720P video encoded with H.264 and played back using Quicktime. The H.264 video averaged about 75%-80% CPU utilization. In both cases the CPU was never pushed to 100% utilization, as would be the case if no video card acceleration was available, given the Atom's meagre single 1.6Ghz core. Overall, despite the high CPU utilization, HD video playback worked flawlessly using the GeForce 9300M without a single dropped frame and no video playback imperfections. The ASUS N10 will definitely handle your multimedia viewing tasks without hiccups.

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