Is HP Mini 311 Really Powerful With Nvidia’s Ion LE Graphic Chip?

HP Mini 311

HP Mini 311, with Nvidia’s Ion LE graphics chip inside brings a new standard for netbook. But, is HP Mini 311 really powerful? Rumors out there say that Ion will improve graphics performance netbooks and offer better HD video playback, but now we have some hard data. Here is a comparison between the Mini 311 and the average netbook with Intel’s graphics, as well as more expensive ultraportables powered by Intel’s ULV processor.

PCMark 05, which measures overall application performance in Windows XP gives Mini 311 1,917. It is almost 500 points above the current netbook average of 1,423. The highest netbook score in that test is 1697 for the Dell latitude 2100.

The Mini 311 produced an even more impressive score in 3DMark06, which measures graphics performance: 1,386. That showing is over 1,200 points above the netbook average. The only netbook to beat this score was the ASUS N10Jc, and that had switchable Nvidia graphics. The only other system that comes close is 256 points away, the AMD-powered Gateway LT3103u.

Compared to ultraporable notebooks with Intel’s integrate graphics, the Mini 311’s 3DMark06 score trounces the Intel GMA 4500 graphics inside the MSI X340 and ASUS UL30. The Mini 311 is 501 points better than the overall ultraportable average. In fact, this system has an almost identical 3DMark06 score to the latest MacBook Air.

So what about high-def video playback? The Mini 311 can play a 1080p iTunes trailer (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs) via HDMI from the system to a 32-inch Samsung HDTV. The result is great, it can deliver satisfactory detail and great color, only some instances of motion blur, but the clip took 30 seconds to cue up. On the other hand, a Dell Mini Inspiron 10 with an HDMI port, played the same 1080p clip stutteredly so much that it looked like a slideshow.

The HP Mini 311 is also sufficient to edit video files. The typical netbook takes about a half hour to transcode a 114MB file from AVI to MPEG-4. Using vReveal, a program that can tap into Ion’s graphics muscle, the HP Mini 311 converted the same file in 6 minutes and 14 seconds. That’s approximately five times as fast. The average ultraportable notebook takes 14:16; so in this case Ion is more than twice as fast as ULV-based notebooks with Intel graphics.

Now, we are coming closer to the conclusion, is HP Mini 311 powerful enough? Well, the Nvidia’s Ion LE graphics chip vastly improves graphics performance and provides a boost to overall performance. What about if you want to play games? It is said that you can run the Far Cry 2 benchmark on the Mini 311. Something you don’t actually expect on netbooks. With the resolution set to 1024 x 768, the machine averaged 12 frames per second. That’s 4 fps above the ultraportable average and well above the ULV dual-core ASUS UL30 and Aspire Timeline 3810T (5 and 3 fps respectively).  Unfortunately the benchmark wasn’t able to complete the test at the native resolution of 1366 x 768.


Here are the complete specification of HP Mini 311:

• Genuine Windows® XP Home Edition with Service Pack 3(1)
• Intel® AtomTM Processor N270(3) • 1.60GHz(4) • 512KB L2 • 533Mhz FSB(4a)
• 1024MB DDR3 System Memory (1 Dimm) • Max supported =3072MB
• NVIDIA ION LE for Windows XP with up to 319MB total graphics memory
• 160GB (5400RPM) Hard Drive (SATA)(7)
• HP Black Swirl Imprint finish & HP Webcam with integrated digital microphone(15)
• 11.6″ Diagonal HD LED(8) BrightView Widescreen Display (1366 x 768)
• Integrated 10/100BASE-T Ethernet LAN (RJ-45 connector) (9)
• 802.11b/g WLAN(10a)
• 5-in-1 integrated Digital Media Reader for Secure Digital cards, MultiMedia cards, Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro, or xD Picture cards(17a)
• Altec Lansing Speakers
• 92% full sized keyboard • touchpad with scroll zone
• Touch Pad with dedicated vertical Scroll Up/Down (note: no on/off button)
• 3 Universal Serial Bus (USB) 2.0
• Headphone-out/Microphone in combo jack (compatible with 3.5mm 4-conductor jack with stereo audio and mono mic)
• 1 VGA (15-pin) • 1 RJ -45 (LAN)
• Unpackaged: 11.4 in (L) x 8.03 in (D) x 0.78-1.20 in (H) • Packaged: 13.6″(W) x 4.3″(D) x12.2″(H)
• Unpackaged: 3.22 lbs(12). • Packaged: 5.3 lbs
• Kensington® MicroSaver lock slot • Power-on password • Accepts 3rd party security lock devices
• 65W AC Adapter • 6-Cell Lithium-Ion battery
• HP 90W AC Adapter – KG298AA#ABA • HP PT06 Mini Battery – VP502AA • HP USB Essentials Port Replicator – NK398AA#ABA
• 1-Year Limited Hardware Warranty with Toll Free Support (NA) • 1-Year Free Hardware Technical Support • 30-Days Free Limited Software Support with 1-Year (from date of
purchase) Free Limited Software Support with Product Registration.

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