Performance – Storage Devices, Synthetic GPU, Gaming

Performance – Storage Devices

On that subject, let’s turn to our array of storage device benchmarks to see just how the IdeaPad Flex 14’s drive compares with the field. Specifically, the included SSD in our review unit was a Samsung 840 Series 128 GB:

This drive’s performance is mixed compared to the best SSDs, but any SSD is typically an improvement over a mechanical drive in terms of performance. Let’s first turn to AS SSD for a reliable report of the drive’s overall performance within the context of solid-state storage:

The overall score of 786 is quite good, especially when you consider that the write speeds for the drive are absolutely nothing special. Having said that, 4K performance is still good, and more than anything that defines the perception of speed during general operation.

Next, let’s take a look at ATTO’s results:

Particularly odd of this drive is its refusal to budge beyond the ~130 MB/s mark on its write benchmarks. The drive quickly climbs to this point at the 2 KB mark (incidentally, a good value for that transfer size) and then sticks there throughout the duration of the testing. On the bright side, recorded read speeds are consistently good, launching into the 500s and remaining there for everything above 16 KB.

As it compares to the competition:

The Flex has no trouble in the realm of read speeds, but again, its write performance pales in comparison to that of most other solid-state drives.

Let’s see how CrystalDiskMark feels about it:

Nothing much to remark about here; once again, results are consistent with our other findings.

And, finally, although it’s of limited importance when assessing SSDs, here’s HD Tune’s results:

Gaming Performance

Odds are, if you’re in the market for a Flex 14, its ability to play games isn’t your predominant concern Sporting integrated Intel HD Graphics 4400 (200 MHz to 1 GHz clock rate), performance ought to be better than comparable Ivy Bridge models, but nowhere near the level of even basic discrete adapters. Still, it’s nice to know whether a notebook can handle an occasional gaming session regardless of its class. Let’s start with our synthetic benchmarks to see how it ranks amongst its peers.

Synthetic GPU Benchmarks

First up in our lineup of synthetic GPU tests is always 3DMark (2013 version):

Although performance here is once again marginally better than the Yoga 11S, with scores of 3832 and 496 in Cloud Gate and Fire Strike respectively, the Flex 14 clearly can’t handle anything major.

To further reiterate this position, let’s look at 3DMark 11:

The Flex 14’s score of 614 here is better than both the ThinkPad Twist and the Yoga 11S (again, thanks to Haswell specifically)—but it’s not going to score you tolerable FPS results in most modern games. Nothing shocking here, but it comes with the territory.

Gaming Benchmarks

Let’s say you want to try and play a few games on this baby anyway. Okay, that’s fine; we’ve got your back. Let’s see how our standard lineup of game benchmarks treats the Flex 14.

Still one of my all-time favorite PC games, let’s start off with Just Cause 2. Why? Just Cause. [/fires self]

Depressed yet? Yes, it’s better than the Yoga 11S, but nearly every modern configuration is. Such is the life of a ULV CPU. You’d have to drop the resolution down to 1024×768 to get relatively consistent frame rates near 30 fps on the Flex 14.

How about StarCraft II?

Significant improvements over the Yoga 11S once again, though things are still questionable on Medium settings (and unplayable anywhere north of that).

Next on the agenda is Diablo III:

Not so bad, especially for a low-voltage CPU. These frame rates are almost playable, though we did experience a bit more stuttering than would be ideal during gameplay. To mitigate this, you could drop the detail settings all the way down to Low, but it’ll only buy you 5 FPS on average per our testing:

Still, that’s nearly 8 FPS higher than the Yoga 11S managed, so if you’re in a pinch and you’ve just got to get that Belial run in before getting back to work, it’s nice to know that it’s at least possible on the Flex 14.

Finally, although no one in their right mind would likely attempt it, we loaded up Bioshock Infinite to see how it holds up on this configuration. We don’t actually have any comparative data to work with as this is the first 768p non-gaming model we’ve reviewed using this title, and as such, it’s the first time we’ve benchmarked the game at 768p for our database records. But the average FPS of 18.07 lays that dream to rest anyway.

The bottom line is, modern ULV CPUs simply aren’t cut out for gaming. A few years ago, we would have laughed at the concept of playing games on any integrated GPU, however—and the sheer fact that some older games can be enjoyed on the Flex 14 with acceptable frame rates on Low settings is impressive in its own right.

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