Performance and Benchmarks
The ASUS U30JC performed remarkably well in our tests thanks to the Intel Core i3-350M processor, Intel GMA HD integrated graphics, and NVIDIA GeForce 310M dedicated graphics. Overall system performance was very good in both graphics modes. In fact it produced almost identical PCMark05 scores in each mode, and with application specific GPU settings you didn’t have to worry about always toggling the graphics mode. Under the NVIDIA control panel, the user can narrow down 3D-specific applications and choose either the default global setting, integrated graphics, or dedicated graphics. The global setting is useful if you want to lock it in one specific mode by default.
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):
Gaming performance was very good with the NVIDIA GeForce 310M dedicated graphics. We used Left 4 Dead 2 to get a feel for real-world performance, playing through one level with the resolution set to 1366 x 768 with high-detail settings. If the system only offered Intel GMA HD graphics, users wouldn’t see anywhere close to this level of performance.
Heat and Noise
The U30JC handled its thermal load very well with the increased chassis size compared to the UL30A and vocal cooling fan. Under a full CPU and GPU load with the graphics card locked into dedicated mode, the U30JC didn’t form any hot spots and kept temperatures around 85 degrees Farenheit. The cooling fan was very audible during this test, but under normal use, spun at a slower speed. The difference between these two primary speeds would be comparable to a loud whisper and a soft whisper that you can barely hear.
Battery life is one area where you can see the strength of a notebook with switchable graphics. Systems with a purely dedicated graphics card are always operating at a higher power consumption rate, which is bad for battery life. Switchable graphics allows the notebook to scale down when it doesn’t need higher performance. We tested the U30JC in both graphics modes with the wireless active, screen set to 70% brightness, and Windows set to the balanced power profile. In dedicated graphics mode, the system stayed on for eight hours and 15 minutes and set to integrated graphics mode the system stayed on for seven hours and 35 minutes (no those numbers aren’t switched around). While set to integrated preferred in the control panel the notebook actually consumed slightly more power than when it was set to dedicated preferred without the graphics being stressed. When we stressed the GPU using the dedicated graphics while on battery power, the power consumption spiked upwards of 35 watts and took the estimated time remaining down to just over two hours. This was while playing Left 4 Dead 2 at the same settings level as in our performance test.
Overall the ASUS U30JC is a solid sub-$1000 notebook with good performance, very good battery life, and an appealing design aesthetic. Compared to the UL30A, the U30JC is larger with the onboard optical drive, which gives it a taller and thicker appearance. The color is a dark shade of silver, and uses brushed metal inside the notebook instead of the painted plastic that the UL30A offered. With a current retail price of $899 and online sale prices as low as $870, the U30JC-A1 is a good value. System performance is great with the Intel Core i3-350M processor and NVIDIA GeForce switchable graphics, and when you aren’t looking for high performance, battery life is just as great. In the 13-inch laptop category, the U30JC is easily one of my favorites.
- Great performance
- Great battery life
- Good looks
- Thicker than previous UL30A