Asus ZenBook 3 Review: An Intel Kaby Lake-Powered Ultrabook

ZenBook 3 PCMark 8, 3DMark, Far Cry 2 Performance

ASUS' ZenPad 3 isn’t intended for gaming, but it has Intel's DX12-class Intel HD 620 series graphics engine on-board, so there’s no reason you can’t blow off some steam after work with a few casual titles. We ran these graphics-related benchmarks to see what the entertainment experience looks like on the ZenPad 3. 

Our benchmarks here include Futuremark’s PCMark 8, 3DMark (Cloud Gate and Skydiver) and Far Cry 2. PCMark 8 v2 is a cross-platform suite that gauges a system’s capabilities in several usage categories. The venerable 3DMark also has a suite of cross-platform tests, but the ones we run here are tailored to assess mainstream graphics performance. And finally, Far Cry 2 gives us a chance to see how the laptop handles a fairly lightweight game, that's a few generations old. 

PCMark 8 Benchmarks
Productivity And System-Level Benchmarking

We selected three tests from the PCMark 8 benchmark suite: Home, Work, and Storage, and ran the two former tests in their Open CL "Accelerated" modes to leverage both CPU and GPU resources. 


The ASUS ZenBook 3 performed very well according to PCMark 8. In fact, the machine led the pack in all three tests by a narrow margin -- not bad for an ultra thin and light notebook. 

3DMark Cloud Gate And Sky Diver
Synthetic DirectX Gaming And Graphics Testing

We used the Cloud Gate benchmark, which targets mainstream laptops like the ZenBook 3 with on-processor graphics, to get a sense of how it compares to similar systems running a 3D graphics workload. We also ran Sky Diver, which is a tougher test aimed at gaming laptops and PCs to see if Kaby Lake brought anything extra to the table.  

cloud gate


The ZenBook 3 finished near the top of the chats in both 3DMark tests, but couldn't catch some previous-gen offerings. Kaby Lake doesn't add any additional compute resources on the GPU, and in the ZenBook 3 in particular, there are some tight thermal constraints to deal with, so this kind of performance isn't unexpected.

Far Cry 2 Benchmark
Light-Duty DX10 Gaming

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, DirectX 10-based benchmark gives us a good look at a system’s light-duty gaming performance.


Graphics performance looked a little better according to FarCry 2. In this game, the ZenBook 3 trailed only the XPS 15, which has a more powerful quad-core processor with a slightly more powerful graphics engine (HD 530 vs HD 620).

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