Lenovo IdeaPad U300s Ultrabook Review

Article Index

SiSoft SANDRA and ATTO Disk Tests

Test Methodology: As you'll note in the following pages of benchmarks, we've compared the Lenovo IdeaPad U300s versus a few different machines, both standard notebooks and ultrabook class products.  In every test case, we tried to leave each notebok as delivered to us from the manufacturers. This meant, after any pending Windows updates were installed, we disabled Windows update and also disabled any virus scanning software that may have been installed, so it wouldn't kick in during benchmark runs.  That said, it's virtually impossible to ensure identical system configurations between notebooks; so we'll caution you that reference scores from the various test systems are listed in order to give you a general feel for performance between these similar class of machines and not for direct, apples-to-apples comparisons.

Synthetic Benchmarks: CPU, RAM, HD
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).

SANDRA Processor Arithmetic and Multimedia Performance

SANDRA Memory Bandwidth and Physical Disk Performance

The IdeaPad U300s performed about as expected in the CPU and Multimedia tests but there were two shortcomings here that were significant.  First, the Memory Bandwidth test reports memory bandwidth for the U300s that is almost half of what we've seen from competitive Sandy Bridge-based ultrabooks.  Offerings from Asus, Dell and Toshiba dropped in at around 16GB/sec versus Lenovo here at 9GB/sec.  The reason?  Lenovo has a single channel 4GB DDR3-1333 memory installation in this machine, versus the other dual channel configurations.  Why?  We have no idea but we've reached out to Lenovo for insight.  We'll advise on details as they're available but it's really a shame to see the machine setup this way.

The other, less significant shortcoming is its SSD performance, which only pulls about 234MB/sec or so in the read test that SANDRA runs on a formatted drive.  This isn't a bad score by any means; a standard 2.5" hard drive could barely break 100MB/sec in this test.  However, we've seen SSDs in Dell and Asus machines breaking the 500MB/sec barrier.  Let's look a bit closer at SSD performance with ATTO.

ATTO Disk Benchmark
Storage Subsystem Read/Write Throughput
ATTO is another "quick and dirty" type of disk benchmark that measures transfer speeds across a specific volume length. It measures raw transfer rates for both reads and writes and graphs them out in an easily interpreted chart. ATTO's workloads are sequential in nature and measure raw bandwidth, rather than I/O response time, access latency, etc. This test was performed on formatted drives with default NTFS partitions in Windows 7 x64.

Lenovo IdeaPad U300s - ATTO Test

Dell XPS 13 - ATTO Test

Asus Zenbook UX21

Toshiba Portégé Z835-P330

As you can see, the Lenovo U300s' SSD pulls in 3rd place essentially here versus the other ultrabook SSDs. It's significantly faster than Toshiba's rather pokey drive in the Portégé Z835 and ATTO reports roughly 150MB/sec write and 250MB/sec read performance for the 256GB JMicron-based drive in the U300s.  In contrast, the best SSD performance we've seen to date in an ultrabook is delivered by the AData SSD in the Asus Zenbook line at 500/550MB/sec write and read, respectively.

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