Lenovo IdeaPad U310: A More Affordable Ultrabook

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Cinebench and Gaming

If you're planning to do heavy gaming, an ultrabook is not what you're looking for. That said, an ultrabook user may well want to take a break and blow off some steam with light-duty gaming, so we loaded a few graphics intensive apps onto the Lenovo IdeaPad 310 and took it for a spin.

Cinebench R11.5 64-bit
3D Rendering Performance on the CPU
Before we dove into the games, we ran Cinebench, which is a 3D content creation benchmark from Cinema 4D. While building a 3D scene, it measures your system's CPU and GPU performance.

The U310 had a strong showing in Cinebench with its OpenGL score of 12.91, which handily defeated scores from similar systems.  Keep in mind however, that the U310 is sporting Intel's latest Ivy Bridge chip here versus previous generation Sandy Bridge processors in the other machines.  The U310 has Intel HD 4000 graphics in its arsenal as well.  We threw in our Intel whitebook score here to give you a sense of where other similarly equipped Ivy Bridge machines might weigh in. Regardless, the U310 didn't fare as well in the CPU test, with a score of 2.39, but even that is one of the better Cinebench scores for the category.

Far Cry 2 and Left 4 Dead 2 Gaming Tests
DX 9 and DX 10 Light Duty Gaming Performance
Far Cry 2 uses a power graphics engine to bring a tropical island to life – an extremely dangerous island.  The game includes a benchmark tool, which we paired with the build-in "Ranch" demo to get a feel for what the U310 can do.

We knew going in that Far Cry 2 was going to be rough on the 310, as it would be on any ultrabook. Even so, the U310 put up a frame rate of 17.18, which, while arguably very slow, wasn't a bad score for the category. The single-channel memory may have been a factor here. If the U310 had dual-channel memory, we may have seen better game performance.

We also ran a benchmark in Left 4 Dead 2, the popular zombie-bashing game. Left 4 Dead 2 isn't nearly as graphically intensive as Far Cry 2, so you're more likely to be running it on your ultrabook when you take a break.

We ran the Left 4 Dead 2 benchmark at a few different resolutions and found that the U310 can handle the game reasonably well at a resolution of 1280x600. Not surprisingly, the frame rates dropped quickly as we moved into better resolutions, but the test establishes that you can get a little gaming going even with a productivity-oriented ultrabook. If there's a particular game you'd like to play, you may want to check Intel's list of games that have been tested with the Intel HD 4000. Intel points out that the list isn't comprehensive and that many games that are not on the list are still playable, but it ought to give you some reassurance to know that you're not giving up your secret Counter-Strike addiction if you pick up the U310.

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