Asus Zenbook UX21 Ultrabook, The New Thin

SiSoft SANDRA, ATTO and Cinebench

We began our testing with SiSoftware's SANDRA 2011, the System ANalyzer, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant. We ran four of the built-in subsystem tests that partially comprise the SANDRA 2011 suite (CPU Arithmetic, Multimedia, Memory Bandwidth and Physical Disk Performance). All of the scores reported below were taken with the Zenbook running at its default settings with full performance mode enabled and the notebook plugged into the AC adapter.

Synthetic General Performance Mertrics

SANDRA CPU and Memory Performance

SANDRA Multimedia and Physical Disk Performance

SANDRA's numbers show the new Core i7 dual-core CULV chip is faster than a similarly clocked Core i5 in both Integer and FPU metrics.  Memory Bandwidth with the system is a very robust 16.33GB/s on average and the Zenbook offered competitive Sandy Bridge throughput that leaves previous generation Arrandale bandwidth numbers in the rear-view.  Good stuff. 

However, check that bottom right graph, if you look at nothing else here.  This is the physical read performance test from the Zenbook's 128GB ADATA SSD.  It's based on a SandForce 2200 series 6Gbps SATA controller and at 500+MB/s, it's the fastest notebook drive or SSD we've seen in action to date.

A Double-Take at The UX21's SSD Performance with ATTO -
With these kind of read numbers, we had to check the rest of the story in ATTO.  Below are read and write throughput metrics on various transfer sizes.

Once you approach 16 - 32K transfer sizes, raw 500MB/s read-write performance is realized with the Zenbook, peaking at 514MB/s for writes and 555MB/s for reads.  It's no wonder the system felt so responsive and booted so fast.  Glorious bandwidth.  Gotta love it.

Cinebench R11.5 64-bit
3D Rendering Performance

Maxon's Cinebench R11.5 benchmark is based on the company's Cinema 4D software used for 3D content creation and tests both the CPU and GPU in separate benchmark runs. On the CPU side, Cinebench renders a photorealistic 3D scene by tapping into up to 64 processing threads (CPU) to process more than 300,000 total polygons, while the GPU benchmark measures graphics performance by manipulating nearly 1 million polygons and huge amounts of textures.

We'll spend a bit of time analyzing the numbers here because they're interesting. First, let's look at the OpenGL scores. The Zenbook isn't a machine that is designed to handle the workloads of a high-end professional 3D rending tool like Cinema 4D.  However, Intel's graphics drivers have been slowly improving since their Sandy Bridge architecture first launched.  Though it can't compete with the likes of a discrete mobile GPU from NVIDIA or AMD, it actually out-paces the Core i5 2410M, which is slightly stronger from a CPU standpoint in this test, due to its higher base clock speed.  The i5 2410M is also a 35W TDP CPU, versus 17W for the i7 2677M, however. Both chips have 1.2GHz max dynamic graphics core clocks, though the ThinkPad Edge was running previous generation Intel graphics drivers. 

From strictly a CPU performance view, the Zenbook puts up a reasonably solid number, falling in between the i5 2410M and its high base clock and the Core i7 2620M with its 3.4GHz max Turbo Boost speed.

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