System Performance

By opting to employ an Intel Core i5 instead of Core i7 (ULV, of course), and then only operating the DDR3 in single-channel mode, HP puts the Folio 13 at a bit of a disadvantage compared to the competition. The Toshiba Portege Z830 is the only one that really has things worse off, but it's also the least expensive of the lot. Here's how the performance charts pan out:

PCMark 7 - PCMarks

PCMark 7 - Lightweight

PCMark 7 - Productivity

PCMark 7 - Entertainment

PCMark 7 - Creativity

PCMark 7 - Computation

PCMark 7 - Storage

Futuremark PCMark Vantage

Ultimately the Folio 13 bounces around the middle of our PCMark charts, buoyed somewhat by the decent Samsung SSD included. You can certainly make the case that all of the above systems are "fast enough" for most users, and the SSDs in the ultrabooks definitely help in that regard. As long as you're not doing any heavy number crunching or trying to play games, ULV Sandy Bridge is likely more than sufficient.

Cinebench R11.5 - Single-Threaded Benchmark

Cinebench R11.5 - Multi-Threaded Benchmark

x264 HD Benchmark - First Pass

x264 HD Benchmark - Second Pass

Unfortunately, once we get to the CPU-isolated tests, the Folio 13's i5 gets absolutely buried, only really able to best the Toshiba Portege Z830's i3. The difference between the two is wide enough to make the i3's lack of turbo boost felt, but the i7 systems almost all put in stronger showings across the board with the exception of the Dell XPS 13, which may be struggling with thermal limitations. If we ignore the full-voltage CPUs, the difference between the i5-2467M and the fastest i7-2677M ranges from as little as 11% in the second pass of our x264 test to as much as 28% in our single-threaded Cinebench result. That's certainly noticeable, but it may not be worth the added cost--HP obviously felt the i5-2467M was a good balancing point, since they didn't bother to support any of the other ULV chips.

Futuremark 3DMark Vantage

Futuremark 3DMark06

3DMark once again reminds us that these aren't gaming machines; the thin-and-lights equipped with dedicated graphics fare worlds better. Llano likewise easily surpasses the ULV HD 3000, and in fact outside of single-threaded performance the quad-core Llano chips generally offer comparable to superior performance; of course, getting Llano into an ultrabook form factor with an SSD would require some changes to the design and pricing strategry for such laptops.

In and Around the HP Folio 13 Battery, Noise, and Heat
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  • Jamezrp - Tuesday, April 17, 2012 - link

    I agree with pretty much everything said, but what about comparing the scores to the MacBook Air? That's probably the most popular ultrabook available, and frankly all of these tests were done on it. I hate to have to go back and forth to see the comparisons, especially since I own a MBA and am thinking of trading it in, potentially for a different ultrabook, or maybe just for the next model.
  • Pneumothorax - Tuesday, April 17, 2012 - link

    Just keep your MBA for now. With the exception of exception of sonys $2000 overpriced ultra book, you have the best screen, keyboard, and trackpad currently. It's funny how everybody claims apple is overpricing their stuff and claiming they're making 50% profit, but how come no pc manufacturer has released a sub $600 ultra book with a hi res screen, decent trackpad, and blacklit keyboard?
  • snuuggles - Thursday, April 19, 2012 - link

    Agreed. I personally despise OSX, but the hardware is quite clearly superior to anything I've seen. It's not even a close call.
  • ImSpartacus - Tuesday, April 17, 2012 - link

    Unless you have the $2000 original MBA, you should keep your machine.

    Wait another year, then Win8 Ultra-Mega-Tablet-Books will be reasonably mature.

    You have a solid machine, don't waste it.
  • kmmatney - Tuesday, April 17, 2012 - link

    I'd rather get a refurbed MacBook Air for $1099 than this. Much better screen, and thinner and lighter. I've never owned a Mac in my life, but I have to give them credit for making a product that still sets the standard.
  • jabro - Tuesday, April 17, 2012 - link

    This is really not a mystery:

    "HP also inexplicably uses only one memory channel on the i5's controller...."

    HP is being cheap, just like most laptop makers. These days a 1 x 4GB DDR3 DIMM configuration is cheaper than a 2 x 2GB module configuration, and the "upgrade" option to 2 x 4GB comes with a very premium price. In fact, you are seeing the 1 DIMM configuration in TONS of the laptops on sale today. The prevalence of the single DIMM/single memory channel configuration is just another example of why, in many ways, PC laptops today are not as good as they used to be a few years ago (just like the dearth of true 8-bit color LCP panels, or 16:10 ratio screens, and decent keyboards, etc.). Yes, PC laptops are cheap, but there seems to be less and less differentiation in the market with each year. While I do acknowledged that there are some exceptions at the high end of the price range, I think that this is also partly why Apple has cleaned up in the high end of the laptop market (bless them, they still ship 16:10 monitors in the MB Pro line).
  • Dustin Sklavos - Tuesday, April 17, 2012 - link

    The difference is there isn't any way to configure the Folio 13 in dual channel, and that's what I'm getting at.
  • jabber - Tuesday, April 17, 2012 - link

    HP/Compaq have a history of doing this. Even back as far as 2004/5 they were producing AMD and Intel based laptops only using single channel ram setups when dual channel was available.

    I know, I had a couple of them over the years. Bizarre.

    It's annoying when you know that your prized laptop is missing it's last 5% of performance due to HP not spending 5c to allow it.
  • arthur449 - Tuesday, April 17, 2012 - link

    What's really impressed me lately about HP's notebooks, compared to others, is their keyboard. Starting with the HP DM1Z (AMD E-350 "Brazos" debut) they've had surprisingly large and capable keyboards in their smaller laptops. The fact that this ultrabook includes a backlit version is also somewhat impressive as, last I checked, that HP only made that option available on their ENVY product line.

    And, while I don't have any physical experience with this particular computer, the lack of SATA 6Gbps and dual channel memory don't seem like they're hurting its overall usability.

    You're right Dustin. There are no perfect ultrabooks on the market right now. They're all creatively finding some way of shooting themselves in the foot. But, if I had to choose one, it would probably be this one, simply for the keyboard and cool ('n quiet) operation. That is, I would choose this one if it didn't have that hilariously awful LCD panel. As it stands now, this ultrabook and those that include panels like it can go die in a fire.
  • apinkel - Tuesday, April 17, 2012 - link

    I agree that the folio is the best of the PC ultra-book lot at this point in time.

    Every ultrabook keyboard has been a non-starter for me. Sounds like this one actually has a bit of travel and is decent enough. I also need an ethernet port so I'm glad they included that here. I've currently got an x301 with a ULV 1.4ghz chip and since it's performance is enough for my needs I'm sure this machine would be more than sufficient.

    The screen (16:9 and too low-res) and the clickpad are the only knocks I have with this machine.

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