Gaming Performance, Conclusion
Performance – 3DMark 11
The synthetic benchmark 3DMark 11 is a decent tool for judging the relative performance of different GPUs. We have yet to have the GT 650M in for review so this is the first time we’ll record a result for it. How does it compare to the other GPUs in competitive laptops?
3DMark 11 seems to suggest that the GT 650M is a massive step up from the GT 640M LE and not much slower than the GTX 670M. If that ends up being true in our gaming benchmarks it will be interesting because it will mean this tiny 11.6” gaming laptop is capable of hanging with the 17.3 flagship for the ASUS product line. Let’s get to the games and see what reality tells us.
Performance – Real World Gaming
Dawn Of War 2
We start with Dawn of War 2: Retribution. This older strategy game remains interesting because of how heavily it depends on the processor and how seriously it can take a modern system despite its age. There’s just a lot going on here – AI and physics calculations galore.
At the native resolution of the EON11-S all of the laptops perform somewhat similarly despite major differences in graphics performance. The GT 630M powered ASUS N56VM nearly matches the GT 650M powered EON11-S. There seems to be a bit of a processor performance barrier that is choking the GPUs.
Even so, the game is entirely playable on every option here. The only major performance difference I would note is the minimum framerate. It’s much higher on the ASUS G75V than the other options and is indicative of a slightly smoother gameplay experience.
This popular turn-based strategy game is stunning to look at but also puts a heavy load on computer hardware. It’s not just another strategy game that will run easily on anything – if you want to play it at high detail, you need some serious hardware. We test with most details set at medium but texture quality set to low. We do not have results for the ASUS G75V in this benchmark.
While the GT 630M and GT 640M LE perform similarly in this game the GT 650M zooms ahead, offering substantially higher average and maximum framerates. There’s not much noticeable difference in gameplay quality at this detail, to be honest, because the game’s turn-based nature tends to conceal the benefit of high framerates. However, it’s clear that the GT 650M will allow gamers to enjoy Civilization 5 at higher detail.
Blizzard’s beautiful new action-RPG can run on most modern laptops with low FX and low detail. At high detail, however, it can be a fairly demanding game. It is also a gorgeous game that I feel really should be experienced at high detail – it makes a massive difference in the game’s feel.
Performance in Diablo 3 is excellent, nearly reaching an average of 100 frames per second. The game feels wonderfully smooth on this laptop – there’s never any hint of GPU-related slowdown or pause, even in some of the more demanding sections of the game.
The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim
Skyrim remains one of the most popular games from 2011 and a demanding title for laptop GPUs. It’s not quite as bad as one might think, but the average low-end GPU does have trouble providing an enjoyable experience even at medium detail, which is what we test at. Our benchmark involves real-world gameplay from the same save point.
In this game we see that the GT 650M is once again quite a bit quicker than the GT 640M LE, but we also see that the GTX 670M blows its little brother away. Gaming on the ASUS G75V is nearly twice as fast in Skyrim. At medium detail both the GT 650M and GTX 670M are playable but it’s clear that the GTX 670M will remain playable at a much higher level of detail.
We wrap things up with Battlefield 3, my favorite first-person shooter from last year and a game that is among the most visually stimulating I’ve ever enjoyed. This game actually is not that difficult for many laptops to run at medium detail, but the fast pace of action makes differences in performance more noticeable. Let’s see how the competitors tack up.
There are substantial differences between GPUs in this game. The EON11-S and its GT 650M provides a minimum framerate that is as high as the GT 640M LE’s average, but the GTX 670M also offers a minimum framerate just slightly higher than the GT 650M’s average.
It’s clear that the EON11-S is capable of gaming, even in today’s most demanding titles. But it’s also clear that a larger and more powerful gaming laptop provides some significant advantages over this pint-sized powerhouse.
Games and portability have never mixed. I suspect I don’t have to lecture our readers about that. The Origin EON11-S is small, so it makes compromises. It does not match the performance of the ASUS G75V. But it does game well, and it can handle just about anything at its native resolution and high settings. Games that were never the most demanding, or are more than a few years old, should be playable at maximum detail.
The question becomes the same as with every laptop review – is this a good laptop? No. The keyboard is far too small for many people to use on a daily basis, too much heat is produced and battery life isn’t great. Using this laptop every day isn't optimal.
So, should you buy it? Maybe. The departure of the Alienware M11x – which had many of the same flaws, by the way – means there is no other choice in this market. If you want to purchase a gaming machine that you can pack in a small bag, this is it. End of story.
My personal solution to gaming on the go was to buy a Nintendo DS and deal with the fact some people who see me with it will assume I’m the world’s largest eight-year-old. I’m okay with that – besides, I can always go for some Zelda.
But that’s not going to work for everyone. Hardcore gamers who need a small gaming machine should not hesitate to buy this laptop.