Getting to Work
Many media editing programs now support GPU accelerated computing, including Adobe and Sony programs, which is great because both suites recognize that the CUDA-capable GT650 was available to use. This shaved off lots of time from rendering and processing 1080p and RAW footage from both the internal SSD and external drives.
These applications typically demand lots of processing power and memory, and 8 GB of RAM is just enough to support these programs. While I typically run upwards of 16 GB on my main desktop rig at home for more intensive projects, the content I create on this laptop has no more than 2-4 video layers at a time, and still have enough left over to run lots of processes in the background. The 3610QM is a real performer when called upon, crunching out lots of tasks while somehow fitting into such a small package.
The glossy screen is bright and easy to read, and has a decent viewing angle. However, the LCD’s color and contrast skews at any angle other than looking straight on, and may not have the best color accuracy. Setting up playback through the HDMI port to an external monitor was a breeze, and didn’t cause a hiccup in performance. Once I had a 24’’ 1080p preview monitor at my side, having an 11-inch control display wasn’t so bad. Again, I probably wouldn’t be doing any serious editing on a such a small screen, but at least the option is available with a simple connection. Playtime
To prevent turning into a dull boy, I treat myself to a few rounds of Battlefield 3 now and then. With NVIDIA’s Optimus Technology, the 11-S switches its graphics processing to the GT650, pushing about 40-60 FPS in Battlefield 3 at around Medium to Medium-High settings, without post processing. Of course this depends how large the map is and your viewing distance, but one thing's for sure - an 11-inch screen is far from ideal for competitive gaming.
Objects and enemies are very tiny, and I found myself frequently squinting and craning my head to see distant enemies. I made some console tweaks to make the HUD less intrusive, but ultimately enemies at far distances had the upper hand in visibility.
That doesn’t mean all hope is lost for mobile gamers. Most games in all categories work just fine. Portal 2, Dead Island, Diablo III, and a bundle of Indie releases tested flawlessly at comfortable performance and visual quality settings without hiccups. I found that games that work the best on this laptop are ones that don’t require much viewing depth.
Casual movie and television viewing in 720p looks fine on this 11-inch screen, but it’s best experienced when plugging into larger, richer displays. The GPU drove streaming HD and Blu-Ray quality media into a 65’’ Samsung LED HDTV through the HDMI port, smooth as butter. Although the audio signal from the HDMI port would randomly drop out, so I had to plug a separate set of speakers through the onboard controller instead. Mobility in Mind?
While building your EON 11-S, there are many CPU choices to select, from Intel’s power-efficient i5 dual cores to their more power-hungry i7 quad cores. But at what point will users start balancing between performance and mobility?
The battery percentage immediately spirals downward when unplugging the A/C power, giving me at most 2 hours of uptime. This is even after setting the laptop to ‘power save’ mode in the Control Center, downclocking the chip to half speed. Furthermore, models equipped with an i7 chip come with a necessary 120W A/C power adapter brick that adds a bit more luggage to my commute.
This may be cumbersome to those who are accustomed to smaller A/C adapters, but it’s a small tradeoff for better performance. Of course, power users would probably not be running intensive computing or gaming while on battery. But I hoped there could be a more aggressive power saving mode for when we just need to update statuses, create documents, and maybe some light multitasking.
Because of the added horsepower, there’s also more heat. The left shoulder becomes pretty toasty while the CPU churns, even during basic multitasking. Any peripherals or devices that are hooked up to the left side can become equally as warm when the system is under load. So I’ve jumped several times when my metallic USB drive or headphone connector was hot to the touch, after work or gameplay.
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