As with the other laptops we’ve looked at recently, we’ll be evaluating the U2442’s performance with a battery of synthetic and real world tests. Given the U2442’s gaming performance, we’ll be testing it in a larger than normal range of games than we have previously. I’ll also use the laptop day-to-day, both travelling and at home.
Let’s begin with the synthetic benchmarks, then go into my overall impressions afterwards.
3DMark is a popular cross-platform graphics and physics benchmark. In order to look at the difference between the integrated HD4000 graphics and the discrete card (either of which can be used), I ran the tests on both devices. We’re using the x64 tests in the app available on Steam.
In the HD4000 test, we saw slightly higher scores than we did on the Aspire S7, which uses the same CPU and GPU but has only 4 GB of DDR3 memory and slightly more crapware aboard. It’s also worth noting that the S7 has a higher resolution screen (1920 x 1080 instead of 1600 x 900) but the tests should be resolution-independent.
With the discrete graphics engaged, we’d expect to see much better scores in this benchmark and indeed that’s exactly what we got. In the least stressful benchmark, Ice Storm, the difference was about 15% – 42430 vs 36812. In the middle version, around 12% – 4463 vs 3955. But in the final, most demanding test the discrete GPU provided more than double the score, a difference of 121% – 1147 vs 517.
|Ice Storm||Cloud Gate||Fire Strike|
CineBench is another cross-platform benchmarking tool that stresses the CPU and GPU. Here we saw similar results to the Aspire S7, and much better results than the Aspire V5 with the integrated graphics.
Again, engaging the discrete graphics card should bring about improved performance and we do indeed see that – although we may have faced some thermal throttling in the latter half of the test, as we see worse CPU performance for the discrete graphics option where we wouldn’t expect that.
CrystalDiskMark is my go-to tool for benchmarking hard drives, particularly SSDs. This benchmark has the average of five runs for a number of file sizes, with scores for read and write speed. The Gigabyte U2442 uses the Crucial M4 SSD – coincidentally, the first SSD I owned and the one I used as a comparison in my first SSD review for this site.
The results here are pretty much what you’d expect – much faster than the mechanical hard drive we saw in the Aspire V5, and pretty close to the RAID0 array of SSDs we saw in the Aspire V7. As you’d expect, results are very close to what I got using the M4 in my desktop PC last year – slightly slower across the board, perhaps due to a slower SATA connector, but no significant difference except in the 512K write test, where the M4 in the Gigabyte laptop proved almost twice as fast.
GeekBench is another cross-platform benchmark that examines processor and memory performance. Here I got a score of 6194, higher than the Aspire S7 (5820) and the Aspire V5 (5153) by a decent margin. The U2442 definitely seems to be the strongest Ultrabook I’ve ever tested, and that’s great to see.