The setup for the performance section of this review couldn’t be more ideal. The recently reviewed Sony Vaio Y, which contains an AMD E-350 APU, is the Eee PC 1215N’s direct competitor. Both of these system have dual-core processors, both of these systems have two gigabytes of RAM, and both of these system have enhanced graphics capability. Now is the time to find out if AMD’s Fusion APUs have what it takes to de-throne Intel’s most powerful Atom. So, let’s get right into the SiSoft benchmarks.
Surprisingly, the dual-core Atom D525 processor in the ASUS Eee PC 1215N manages to outrun the AMD E-350 in the SiSoft benchmarks. With that said, however, the gap is extremely small – often less than 15% – and the E-350 wins in some areas. It’s hard to reach any definitive conclusion from these results, so let’s take a look at our general application benchmarks.
The ASUS Eee PC 1215N offers faster performance than the AMD powered Sony in 7-Zip, but loses by a few points in the PCMark Vantage Benchmark. The Eee PC 1215N also slightly lost the Truecrypt benchmark, and lost the Peacekeeper benchmark.
These benchmarks tell us that the AMD E-350 APU and the Intel Atom D525 w/Ion discrete graphics are closely matched opponents when it comes to general usage, but the E-350 does seem to have an overall advantage. In my subjective usage, I could not tell any difference between the performance of these two laptops, but it is starting to look like AMD‘s E-350 is superior.
It appears these laptops don’t want to make it easy on me. As you can see, the ASUS Eee PC 1215N whooped the Sony Vaio Y in 3DMark 06, scoring exactly 500 points higher. However, when it came to actual games, the ASUS Eee PC 1215N slightly lost.
With that said, there’s little reason to fuss about an extra frame or two in a game like Just Cause 2. The ASUS Eee PC 1215N, like any other netbook, isn’t capable of delivering a pleasant gaming experience in modern 3D titles. You can play older games, like World of Warcraft and Half-Life 2, at acceptable framerates, but demanding 3D titles made within the last few years are going to give you trouble.
You may then be wondering – if Ion can’t play new 3D games well, why bother? The answer is HD video playback. A netbook processor is choppy when playing back HD video, and even the integrated graphics in the recently reviewed AMD APUs had their limits. Let’s take a look at how the ASUS Eee PC 1215N handles YouTube HD.
Since both Internet Explorer 9 and Firefox 4 were recently released, I decided to exclude the AMD E-240 powered Toshiba from this comparison (as I no longer have it available for testing) and re-test the Sony Vaio Y with these updated browsers alongside the ASUS Eee PC 1215N.
The results, as you can see, were nearly identical, with a slight lead going to the Atom/Ion combination. Both of these netbooks are capable of playing 720p video smoothly, but 1080p is choppy, thanks to framerates that dip into the mid-teens. Since both of these laptops have a display resolution of 1366×768, the lack of smooth 1080p playback isn’t a big issue; however, if you were planning on using one of these netbooks to send video to your 1080p HDTV you will be dissatisfied.
Now that Youtube is out of the way, we have just one more benchmark to visit – boot and resume times.
These results are good for a netbook. When placed against the AMD E-350 powered Sony Vaio Y, the Eee PC 1215N boots slower but is faster during resume.
Overall, I think these results spell out a victory for AMD’s E-350, albeit a minor one. The E-350 appears to be slightly quicker in actual games, and it also offered better results in our general performance benchmarks.