Many users have held a mistaken assumption in recent years that although there are thin portable computers on the market – but these, because they are thin and designed, cannot present improved performance since the processor cannot be cooled when it comes to such a thin space. But more and more thin laptop models that are coming to the market do not compromise either on design or on performance – and actually prove that this initial assumption is actually wrong.
And let there be no doubt, in a survey conducted in 2019 among 11 thousand users, from ten countries, it was found that performance is still the most important variable in choosing a laptop. In the United States, 80% of the participants rated this feature as the most important, the second most important feature is battery performance (52%), in third place in the United States was the build quality (51%) and in fourth place was the display (46%).
So how do you combine good performance with a winning design? In the case of ASUS this combination is made possible by a strategic decision. The company’s engineers decided to base themselves on Intel’s latest processors – the 12th generation H series of Core processors known as Alder Lake – and added the IceCool cooling system that works on the company’s laptops.
We will touch on this cooling system later, but first we will dive into the performance sector, and understand what the new features are that characterize the current generation of Intel processors.
Alder Lake processors combine several powerful, high-performance cores, along with several cores for day-to-day uses called ‘efficient cores’. Thanks to this combination, Intel calls these processors ‘hybrid processors’, and this is a revolutionary change for the company, which until now launched processors with all their cores being equal in their capabilities and performance.
Intel claims that the efficient cores provide up to 40% more performance than processors launched six years ago, at the same power level. The performance core should provide up to 19% more performance on average compared to the 11th generation. Intel has also integrated into the processors a new technology called Thread Director that helps the operating system choose which cores are suitable for running this or that workload in order to improve performance on the one hand and save power on the other.
In fact, if you look at the overall performance of the processor, you get amazing results. For example, Intel’s Core i7-12700H processor is slightly more than twice as fast as the previous generation Core i7-1165G7 processor – if you compare the processing performance of two Asus Zenbook 14X series computers, one equipped with the new processor and the other with the old processor.
The key to success: efficient cooling
How do you guarantee that the 12th generation processors will work at their full capacity? The answer is – through efficient cooling, even when it comes to a laptop with a thin and dense case.
Asus IceCool relies on more cooling pipes than competitors to dissipate internal heat build-up inside the laptop case. These pipes include coolant that flows from the processor area, cools near a fan that spreads the heat out, and returns to the processor area again when it is cold. The IceCool tubes are even thicker (for better cooling performance), and in the fans ASUS used IceBlade technology that gives the blades a special shape to give the system an improved and more efficient cooling.
All this improves the thermal structure inside the laptop, thus preventing overheating of the processor or high power consumption that would slow down its activity.
Both powerful and elegant
Here are some examples that illustrate how ASUS combines the variety of important parameters to achieve perfect results. The Zenbook 14 OLED (UX3402), for example, is characterized by extraordinary dimensions: 16.9 mm thick and 1.39 kg in weight.
It is based on Intel’s 12th generation processors, the most powerful of which is the i7-1260P with a clock speed of 2.1 GHz. Integrated graphics card, Iris Xeand its 75 watt/hour battery offers a working time of up to 18 hours, and when charging it needs only 49 minutes to reach 60%.
Its touchscreen, a 16:10 2.8K OLED NanoEdge type, is characterized by ultra-thin bezels with a screen-to-body ratio of 90%, which gives the Zenbook 14 OLED its slim and compact appearance. The colors are accurate and meet the PANTONE and DisplayHDR True Black 500 standards, which indicate that the screen displays the deepest black possible. The screen also takes care of eye health, with low blue light emission according to SGS and TÜV Rheinland standards.
The Zenbook 14 OLED is also extremely durable, meeting the American military standard MIL-STD-810H. It is therefore built to ensure survival in harsh environments, it is drop tested and under other stress tests.
Tools for creators
ASUS Vivobook Pro 14X OLED (N7401) combines the performance together with additional features that are in demand among content creators (graphic artists, video editors, etc.).
It is also powered by Intel’s 12th generation processors, the most senior of which is the i9-12900H – a processor with 14 cores, which will be suitable for complex tasks. Thanks to Intel’s proprietary Turbo Boost technology, the processor is able to reach a clock speed of up to 5 GHz, and thanks to NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 3050 Ti video card, the computer can offer particularly impressive graphics options.
IceCool Plus technology allows the computer to reach maximum performance with efficient cooling capabilities. It includes 2 tubes for heat dissipation, 89 curved fan blades and the ability to select the cooling mode to control the noise level.
The battery, with a capacity of 70 watts/hour, also charges quickly – when the computer completes charging 50% of it within half an hour.
It also comes with a 16:10 2.8K OLED HDR Dolby Vision screen, and in its case the screen/body ratio is 87%. The refresh rate is 120 Hz. The screen has a brightness of 600 nits, deep blacks, a high contrast ratio and compliance with a variety of standards for color verification and eye health.
It is characterized by a metallic structure, comes in black and silver colors and meets the American military standard MIL-STD-810H – which gives it rigidity even in challenging conditions. In the upper left corner of the touchpad is the ASUS DialPad: this is a virtual rotary control that gives full control over parameter adjustments in specific Adobe software.
The expanded screen
The Zenbook Pro 14 Duo OLED (UX8402) has two screens. One is 14.5 inches, and the other is 12.7 inches. A special tilting mechanism, known as AAS Ultra, reduces the separation between the screens and helps them work together and display a continuous image or alternatively – operate different controls on one screen and a different display on the other screen.
The main screen works in OLED technology with a refresh rate of 120 Hz, with a 2.8K resolution and a 16:10 ratio. It supports the Dolby Vision standard, is PANTONE certified for accurate color rendering, has the VESA DisplayHDR True Black 500 standard for the deepest black colors and supports 100% of the DCI-P3 color space.
The i9-12900H model processor (Intel’s 12th generation) includes 14 cores and a clock speed of 2.5 GHz, and you can choose a GeForce RTX 3050 Ti graphics card from NVIDIA.
The ASUS IceCool Plus cooling system uses two silent IceBlades fans with up to 97 curved blades. These cool the two 8mm heat pipes coming out of the CPU and the graphics card. The tilting mechanism of the secondary screen, the AAS Ultra, improves airflow and heat removal by 38%.
The battery has a capacity of 76 watts/hour, and it will be enough for up to 9.5 hours of activity. Its thickness amounts to 1.79 mm, its weight is 1.7 kg and it comes in black color and has a metallic structure. The outer surfaces have an anti-fingerprint coating, and the lid includes an illuminated logo.
Both are possible
The three examples mentioned in the article prove that you don’t have to give up a lightweight and thin design if you are interested in a laptop with high performance. Thanks to Intel’s 12th generation Core processors, as well as thanks to powerful cooling systems from ASUS, the company’s selection of laptops becomes one of first-class performance as well as having a unique design suitable for everyone, from ‘light’ users to demanding content creators.
The article was written in collaboration with ASUS