Lenovo Ideapad S10 Netbook Full Evaluation

Under The Hood

Like just about every other netbook at this price point, the IdeaPad S10 is equipped with Intel's hot new Atom N270 processor. The N270 is a 1.6 GHz single core processor which supports Hyper-Threading, and gives you enough processing power to handle most basic applications. The chip has 512k of L2 cache, runs at a 533 MHz front side bus speed, and supports SSE-2/SSE-3 multimedia extensions. The chip does not support SSE4, hardware virtualization, or execute disabl bit like the majority of Intel's new chips. Lenovo doesn't deviate from Intel's baseline clock speeds like some other manufacturers have started to. At full load, the chip clocks up to 1.6 GHz, whereas under light loads the chip drops down to 800 MHz.

Atom N270 Full Speed @ 1.6 GHz

Atom N270 Idling @ 800 MHz

Lenovo claims that their system has an "Advanced Thermal Engineering" feature to deal with internally created heat in such a small form factor. The system has one vent on the left side and a series of vents on the bottom and front of the notebook. While we never ran into any stability issues with the IdeaPad S0 under heavy application loads, we did notice that the keyboard does get substantially warm. Since there has been a lot of back and forth about the IdeaPad S10's keyboard heat, we decided to run a quick benchmark test against the similarly configured Asus EeePC 1000H. From overnight cold boots, we fired up both systems at the exact same time and started them up with benchmarks to max our their heat-producing components, namely the CPU and GPU. We measured keyboard temperatures with an infrared probe. Here's what we found out.

The Lenovo IdeaPad S10 is equipped with a small internal cooling fan which will only kick on under prolonged intensive usage. Throughout the majority of our testing, the fan did not run and the IdeaPad S10 was essentially silent. When the fan does kick in, it is noticeable and vaguely annoying, although the volume and pitch are for the most part, tolerable.

The graphics subsystem is powered by Intel's GMA 950 graphics processor, a fairly aged integrated graphics solution which siphons off a chunk of your system memory for graphics purposes. The GMA950 chip is adequate enough to handle the basic Windows XP GUI, although don't expect to be playing high-resolution movies or gaming on the S10 - it simply isn't happening. The GMA950 can, however, drive multiple displays if you use the S10's 15-pin VGA output port, which is nice enough.

The S10 does not have an optical drive, nor does Lenovo offer a companion drive option at this time. The system is equipped with a 160 GB Serial ATA hard drive in a 2.5" form factor, which can easily be removed or upgraded by opening up a panel on the bottom of the system. Our sample unit's 160 GB hard drive was from Western Digital, to be more specific, the WD Scorpio Blue, which runs at 5,400 RPM and has an 8 MB cache buffer. It's a surprisingly speedy little drive, considering it's a 5,400 RPM model, and we've got some disk benchmarks to show that later on.

HDD and Memory Slots

ExpressPort 34 Expansion Slot

In terms of network connectivity, Lenovo provides the bare basics on what you would expect from a netbook model. The system is equipped with both 10/100 wired and a 802.11 B/G wireless network interfaces, along with a BlueTooth wireless interface for connecting to phones and such. Lenovo leaves out the 802.11N from the mix, and WiMax is nowhere to be seen. However, since the system does have an ExpressPort 34 expansion slot, you can add these cards in if you wish.

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