ASUS U30Jc Performance

As an update of the older UL30a, the U30Jc is a great improvement in performance. It includes discrete (switchable) graphics like the UL30Vt, only with Optimus to make the switching seamless. It also bumps the CPU up from CULV to a full Core i3 model, with substantially faster performance and a better IGP. Where it differs from the UL30a is in the inclusion of an optical drive, which does make the U30Jc thicker and heavier than the older model. It's a good feature if you want to watch DVDs or load games onto the system without using an external drive, but it's a change not everyone will like. On the other hand, the performance improvements are a clear win.

Futuremark PCMark Vantage

Futuremark PCMark05

Internet Performance

3D Rendering - CINEBENCH R10

3D Rendering - CINEBENCH R10

Video Encoding - x264

Video Encoding - x264

In terms of application performance, the U30Jc lags slightly behind the i5 equipped laptops like the Acer 5740G, ASUS N61Jv, Dell Inspiron 1564, and Lenovo ThinkPad T410. That's right in line with the difference in CPUs: the i3-350M runs at a constant 2.26GHz; the i5-430M has the same 2.26GHz stock clock but Turbo Boosts up to 2.53GHz, and the i5-520M has a 2.40GHz stock clock and can Turbo up to 2.93GHz. Compared to the older Core 2 platforms, we see the i3-350M easily beating the SP9300 and P8600 processors in the HP 5310m and Dell Studio 14z. The gap ranges from 15% in single-CPU Cinebench up to 40%+ in multi-threaded Cinebench, with other results falling in the 25%-35% range. PCMark05 has the 14z nearly on par with the U30Jc, but it tends to weight things a bit funny so we'd pay more attention to the 31% difference in PCMark Vantage.

ASUS U30Jc Design and Build ASUS U30Jc Gaming Performance
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  • GoodRevrnd - Wednesday, May 19, 2010 - link

    Isn't 4.8lbs a bit heavy for a 13" laptop??
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, May 19, 2010 - link

    MacBook 13.3" is 4.7 pounds, so I'd say no. Then again, I regularly travel with a 5+ pound laptop (or three). LOL
  • GoodRevrnd - Saturday, May 22, 2010 - link

    Weren't there Acer 14" Timelines that came in at ~ 4.2lbs? I guess I'm just spoiled by my 3.5lb Vaio Z (overpriced though it was).
  • JarredWalton - Sunday, May 23, 2010 - link

    Yes, you can find lighter laptops, even laptops that have a slightly larger display. The difference is they don't have the same level of performance -- no discrete GPU and usually a very low power CULV processor. The Timeline series is exactly that, which is fine for many, but moving to a Core i3 CPU means you need a much larger battery to get roughly the same battery life, plus a larger heatsink to deal with the CPU+GPU heat. An extra .6 pounds seems pretty reasonable in that light, and I doubt you can find anything lighter while keeping relatively equal specs.

    For example, the 11.6" Alienware M11x weighs 4.4 pounds; the Sony VAIO Z VPCZ112GX packs an i5-520M and GT 330M GPU into a 3 pound chassis... but it has a smallish battery with only ~4 hours Internet (according to some), it lacks Optimus I think (but does switchable), the fan noise is apparently very loud, it doesn't have a DVD, and it costs twice as much as the U30Jc. So yeah, there are ways to get lighter laptops with a decent amount of performance, but there are usually issues going that route as well.
  • vicbdn - Wednesday, May 19, 2010 - link

    I was debating between the UL30VT and the U30JC. In the end I still couldn't get over the the DVD-Rom drive, thicker frame, and lower battery life and went with the UL30VT. If you compare the two aesthetically, the UL30VT looks a lot sleeker IMO and other reviews have called the U30JC bulky in comparison. It's almost a ultraportable but not quite from my perspective.

    Too bad Asus is slow on releasing the UL30JT, and who knows how long before the ship a silver version.

    I don't do anything that requires the extra processing power though. Just my 2c.
  • Ipatinga - Wednesday, May 19, 2010 - link

    I would love to see Asus, on this notebook, offer an adaptor where you could remove the optical drive and put a hdd/ssd.

    This notebook is great for a friend of mine, but optical drive is useless... a second hard drive (actually, an SSD as primary and an HDD for big storage purposes) is kickass.

    Please Asus... show us some love :)
  • jasperjones - Wednesday, May 19, 2010 - link

    Just wanted to say thanks for the review. Jarred, your reviews are the best in the business, period. Keep 'em coming! Anything interesting in the pipeline?
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, May 19, 2010 - link

    Thanks! Kind words are always appreciated. :-)

    I'm waiting on the ASUS N82J, which will be similar to this but 14" with a GT335M I think. That would be sweet! I've also got an MSI GX640 I'm beating up. It's fast, but the build quality is nowhere near as good as the ASUS G73Jh. The LCD is an old WSXGA+ CCFL unit, but at least it has a 500:1 contrast ratio.

    Other than that, I have an updated Intel vs. AMD mobile platform comparison I'm trying to get done. (Things haven't changed much, in case you're wondering.) Now if I can just find more hours in a day....
  • Hrel - Thursday, May 20, 2010 - link

    1366x768... no need to keep reading. Useless screen resolution. 1600x900 or more or I don't wanna see it.
  • Furuno - Thursday, May 20, 2010 - link

    Great article! I've been keeping my eye on ASUS's PL80JT with it's CULV i5 as battery life is my main concern when purchasing a laptop, but since this one cost almost half of th PL80JT, I might start looking on this one...

    I have one request for your laptop review thought, can you please include a battery life for presentation? I know it will be close to idle, but since I usually use my laptop as a presentation tool with the monitor switched off (only outputting to the projector), I'd like to see the battery life in this situation.

    Best regards,

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