AMD’s Fusion APU Zacate hasn’t been out of the factory all that long and already it has found its way into a netbook. Sony’s Vaio VPCYB15 is the first netbook to arrive at the PCF Ranch packing AMD’s fancy new processor. The E-350 is a dual core processor with out-of-order instruction handling and an integrated GPU that can be rated as not too shabby.
The VPCYB15 is an 11.6-inch netbook (although Sony brands it as a notebook) which comes in a choice of colours which include detached-retina-green and screaming-princess-pink. There is a silver option that should be considered if you don’t want to be noticed from space by the CIA or fashion police. The VPCYB15 has an isolation keyboard and while the keys are well-sized it feels cramped and uncomfortable. The touch pad is also small and will be a lesson in patience for those with large fingers; it is very responsive, which helps to save it from a closed fist beating.
The integrated HD 6310 is the best integrated GPU that AMD has ever produced. It boasts 80 stream processors (proper unified shaders, not the fixed engines found on the Intel integrated GPUs) and is gifted with AMD’s UVD3 (Unified Video Decoder). Combine this with the dual core processor and you have a recipe for HD netbook goodness. Sadly the VPCYB15 chokes when decoding 1080P video files and, while the screen can only deliver 720P resolutions, the inability to deliver HD playback means this little notebook only talks the talk.
The battery life of the VPCYB15 is rated for four hours, which during this review proved to be on the money. However, this is rather poor figure especially when one considers that the Asus Eee PC 1005PE has a real world battery life of 10 hours. That said, the 1005PE will barely be able to handle 720P video playback and Sony does sell an optional battery with an eight hour life for road warriors.
Netbooks are fast becoming endangered with the introduction of tablets and low-voltage notebooks, which makes it almost unforgivable that the Sony Vaio VPCYB15 does not deliver everything that its hardware is capable of. Overall AMD’s E-350 delivers better performance on a netbook than Intel’s Atom processors, but at a cost:consumption ratio which is rather counterproductive. While this iteration is wanting, the platform’s success is still in the air.
LCD 11.6” wide
CPU AMD Dual Core E-350 1.6GHz
Graphics integrated Radeon HD 6310
Sound Stereo speakers
OS Windows 7 Starter 32-bit