Graphics PerformanceClick to enlarge
While the ASUS K40 had an Nvidia GeForce G102M GPU (with 512MB of video memory), the K42F is equipped with the new integrated Intel GMA HD. While not as powerful as a high-end graphics card, it has a few new tricks up its sleeve, including 3D support for DirectX 10 and OpenGL 2.1, as well as hardware-accelerated decoding for Blu-ray.
The K42F notched a 3DMark06 score of 1,885, about 300 points higher than the K40 and over 400 points above the thin-and-light notebook average. However, the K42F’s score was about 200 points below the Dell Studio 14z, which has a more powerful Nvidia GeForce 9400M G GPU. Still, when we output Iron Man to a 1080p 32-inch Samsung TV, Intel’s GMA HD was able to keep up admirably; action remained smooth even at full screen, and colors were excellent.
Intel GMA HD graphics are good for entertainment and mainstream games, but you’re not going to take it to any LAN parties. In World of Warcraft, the K42F managed a playable 33 frames per second at 1024 x 768, but it dropped to 9 fps at max resolution and effects. The notebook mustered just 13 fps when playing Far Cry 2 in its 1024 x 768 autodetect mode (where the average is 18 fps), and dropped to 5 fps at full resolution and graphics upped to Very High. The Dell Studio 14z saw significantly faster scores of 26 and 11 fps.
When we converted a 114MB MPEG-4 video file to AVI using HandBrake, the K42F took 3 minutes and 36 seconds to complete the task, approximately four minutes faster than the thin-and-light notebook average. Using Oxelon Media Converter, which takes advantage of the Core i5’s multithreading capability, the same test took just 51 seconds. That’s one of the best times we’ve seen, and beats out the Alienware M15x (54 seconds), ASUS G51J-A1 (1:01), Dell Studio 17 with Core i7 (1:19), and Origin EON18 (56 seconds).
Wi-Fi and Battery Life
The 802.11a/g/n Wi-Fi radio inside the K42F pushed data along at a rate of 20.8 Mbps when the notebook was placed 15 feet away from our access point, and 19.6 Mbps at 50 feet. These numbers are both in the vicinity of the category averages of 20.6 Mbps and 16.5 Mbps.
On our LAPTOP Battery Test, the K42F lasted 4 hours and 44 minutes, just above the thin-and-light notebook average (4:38) and almost an hour longer than the K40 (3:51, though that system was equipped with discrete graphics). However, the Dell Studio 14z, which also has discrete Nvidia graphics, lasted 5:25. You’ll find other 13-inch and 14-inch notebooks that last even longer on a charge, like the ASUS UL30A (9:55), but they’re powered by weaker Ultra-Low Voltage processors.