Performance and Benchmarks
The dual-core Atom processor paired with NVIDIA’s ION puts the ASUS Eee PC 1201N somewhere in-between the performance level of a netbook and CULV notebook. In overall system performance we didn’t see a huge bump compared to other Atom netbooks, but it was still slower than CULV systems. The one test we saw a huge bump in performance was wPrime, which got half the time as a single-core Atom. Even with the processor advantage it didn’t feel much faster than a regular netbook. The NVIDIA ION did help the 1201N decode 720P and 1080P video, but users would see the same thing from a single-core Atom and NVIDIA’s ION. After spending some time working on the issue, HD flash playback was flawless in YouTube for both 720P and 1080P content … but that was ION helping, not the processor. With Internet Explorer, you may not be able to enter GPU-accelerated playback mode on many clips that naturally start in 854x mode. As a workaround, append “&fmt=22” to the end of 720p clip URLs and &fmt=37 to the end of 1080p clip URLs. The videos will then play in GPU-accelerated HD mode. Nvidia expects this problem to be fixed either with an updated NVIDIA driver or newer Flash Player 10.1 beta release in the coming months.
wPrime processor comparison results (lower scores mean better performance):
PCMark05 measures overall system performance (higher scores mean better performance):
3DMark06 comparison results against netbooks @ 1024 x 768 resolution (higher scores mean better performance):
Heat and Noise
Under stress the Intel Atom N330 and NVIDIA ION raised the outside case temperature of the 1201N into the “warm but just under being uncomfortable” category. After 15 minutes with both the CPU and GPU stressed, some parts of the reached temperatures as high as 96 degrees Fahrenheit. Under normal conditions at or near idle the same spots were about 10 degrees cooler. The system fan worked harder in this netbook compared to models we have tested without the NVIDIA ION or dual-core Atom, but it still stayed within reasonable sound levels. While at or close to idle the fan noise would be comparable to a very quiet whisper and under load would be a slightly louder whisper.
The ASUS Eee PC 1201N has a dual-core Intel Atom processor and NVIDIA ION graphics both working against it when it comes to battery life. In our tests we saw power consumption figures around 12-14 watts … which is what we generally see in full-size notebooks instead of a 12.1″ netbook. In our tests with the screen brightness set to 70%, wireless active, and Windows 7 set to the Balanced profile, the ASUS 1201N stayed on for 4 hours and 24 minutes. This is almost two hours less than the HP 311 with a single-core Atom and NVIDIA ION.
I think the ASUS Eee PC 1201N was designed to fit a market segment that didn’t really need to be filled. It has the CPU performance of a CULV notebook but without the power efficiency or higher performing chipset. A basic CULV notebook still beats it in overall system performance and if a CULV notebook was configured with dedicated graphics, instead of the usual Intel X4500 integrated graphics, it would beat the 1201N in 3D performance as well. Battery life is significantly under other ION systems that don’t use the dual-core Atom and well below most CULV notebooks. The biggest reason I can see users wanting to buy the Eee PC 1201N is they want something better than a netbook but don’t want to make the step up to a CULV notebook.
- Great build quality
- Responsive touchpad
- Nice display
- Only slightly faster single core Atom with NVIDIA ION
- Poor battery life compared to single core netbooks