Talking about a good notebook, we mean a light notebook so that it could be easily carried in a bag on your shoulder, an economical notebook so that it could work for a few hours on its battery, and a top-performance notebook so that you could play your favorite game on it at home. Alas, these notebooks cannot be one and the same model because it is virtually impossible to meet all these requirements in a single machine. Most manufacturers offer at least two distinct series: you can have either a lightweight and economical or a top-performance notebook.
This classification is acceptable for a majority of users, though. If the notebook is bought as a replacement of a desktop PC, its mass, weight and battery life don’t matter much. And if you are going to use it as a traveling assistant, you want it to run office applications that don’t require high performance from the CPU or the graphics card.
But what if you cannot choose between these two product classes? Do you have to buy two notebooks or give up some of your requirements? The solution was found a year ago by Sony’s engineers and implemented in the SZ series: the notebook had two graphics cores, one with low performance but also with low power consumption, and the other with high performance. This solution looks obvious because a top-performance GPU is one of the hungriest consumers in a modern computer and power-saving technologies help but little with that. On the other hand, it is a daunting engineering task to accommodate two video outputs and the logic to select what output the display is connected to within the limited dimensions of a notebook’s body.
Anyway, this solution seems to have been accepted by the manufacturers. And today we are offering you a review of the ASUS U3S notebook that features two graphics cores, too.
The letter U in the product name indicates a product from the Superior Mobility series like the recently reviewed U1F. The U3S is more advanced and larger, though. Besides the two graphics cores (you can choose the core to use by means of a slider switch on the right panel), the notebook features Intel’s Santa Rosa platform with a Merom-core Core 2 Duo processor. The notebook may be optionally equipped with a 3G module, a GPS module (it is present in our sample), and an Intel Turbo Memory module. You can’t have all the three modules at once, however, because the mainboard has only two expansion slots, one of which is already occupied by a Wi-Fi adapter. The remaining slot is usually used for a GPS module.
The ASUS U3S resembles the U1F externally except that it provides two extra inches of the display diagonal. This should make it a more comfortable work tool because the U1F’s 11.1” display seems too small for many users. The 13.3” LCD matrix of the U3S is an optimal compromise between comfort and dimensions.
Now we are going to check out the notebook’s design and accessories and benchmark its two graphics cores in our tests.