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12 inch MacBook benchmark test: this is the real deal.

There is no question that the Intel Core M is one of the best inventions Intel has ever conceived. even AMD enthusiasts can’t ignore the Core M’s energy efficiency and performance.

What better way to put the Core M to the test, than to bring in the top four consumer laptops, for the ultimate cage match?

Benchmark tests, MacBook, Ativ Book 9, Yoga 3 Pro and Transformer

In a recent round of benchmark tests, CNet Labs has put on the bench, side to side, the new 12 inch MacBook, and three of its true competitors, all of which, for the purpose of the benchmark, feature similar memory and CPU specs:

Asus Transformer T300 Chi

Weighing in a 3.7lb, with a 12.5 inch display, the T300 Chi embodies the new trend of hybrid laptops able to convert into tablets, in the case of this particular device, by detaching the display from the keyboard. The Asus T300 Chi features a 1.2GHz Intel Core M-5Y71, 8GB DDR3 SDRAM and Intel HD 5300 graphic card.

Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro

The fundamental difference between the Asus Transformer T300 and the Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro, is the ability of the Yoga to flip its display completely, and fold with the touch screen facing out. This configuration allows for it to be used like a tablet. The Lenovo features a 1.1GHz Intel Core M-5Y70 and, just like the Asus, 8GB DDR3 SDRAM, and Intel HD 5300 GPU.

Samsung Ativ Book 9

Unlike the Lenovo and the Asus, the Samsung Ativ Book 9 is the only one featuring 4GB DDR3 SDRAM, while sporting other similar specs: 1.1GHz Intel Core M-5Y31 and HD 5300 graphic card.

The Ativ Book 9’s performance has been often praised for performance, and the fact that the majority of its internal components, such as the logic board, are designed and manufactured by Samsung.

Let the test begin!

Handbrake Multimedia Multitasking test

Handbrake is an open source software developed to encode high definition video, which is notoriously a resource-intensive task on any device, especially on consumer laptops not specifically designed for production duties.

In this particular test, the 12 inch MacBook was able to complete the encoding session first, in 465 seconds, a small margin separating it from the Asus Transformer at 468, with the Samsung Ativ Book 9 following closeby at 563, and the Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro finishing last at 682.

Adobe Photoshop CS5

Image processing is another real-world test where CNet was able to measure performance.

In this instance, the best performer turned out to be the Asus Transformer, which completed the test in 238 seconds, while the Lenovo took 294 seconds, the MacBook 307, and the Ativ Book 9 finished last, completing the test in 311 seconds.

Apple iTunes

We were amazed to see the 12 inch MacBook finish second, behind the Asus Transformer, during an iTunes encoding test, which took the Asus 109 seconds to complete, while the MacBook took 130 seconds.

The Ativ Book 9 actually matched the MacBook to the dot, finishing also at 130 seconds, while the Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro finished last, taking 142 seconds to complete the test.

Video playback

Battery life is a huge factor in measuring the performance of a laptop, and in this test, the MacBook left all of its competition in the dust. The 12 inch MacBook was put through a continuous video loop, with maximum brightness settings, for as long as 747 minutes, before draining its battery completely. That is over 12 hours.

The Samsung Ativ Book 9 put up a good fight, giving in at 457 minutes (7 hours), while the Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro died at 346 minutes (5.7 hours), and the Asus Transformer pushed through for 314 minutes, or a little over 5 hours.


Don’t be fooled by price, or screen size. There are fundamental differences that must be factored in, to each of these laptops, that correlate to energy efficiency, speed and performance. For instance, when looking at the Samsung Ativ Book 9, with only 4GB of memory, it still fared better in the Handbrake test, than the Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro with similar CPU and GPU specs.

It also comes down to the specific scenario in which users will put a laptop to the test. In most cases, production tasks are largely uncommon, but when needed, these devices will do the job, within reasonable expectations of speed and performance, which will be far behind a Mac Pro, but still good enough to batch process images for the web, or encode YouTube videos, as part of the most hardware-intensive tasks we can think of for the average user, aside from gaming.

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