Introduction

AMD has attracted much attention in performance of the market and desktop processors. The success of ZEN2 architecture is linked with disadvantages of Intel year by year. After all, no one can reject a product with both excellent performance and high cost performance, right?

As some users have higher requirements for lightness and duration of laptops than for performance, AMD explores this market. This year, AMD launched Athlon series processors based on ZEN+ architecture “suddenly”. Name of Athlon occurs again in the list of low power consumption processors after having been silent for many years. It naturally make people feel curious.

As the name implies, lightweight laptops are a series of laptops featured by light hand feeling. These laptops are more attractive than the heavy gaming laptops for ordinary users. With acceptable hand feeling and long duration, these laptops often meet user demands in office applications and daily entertainment.

I got Maibook S431 laptop this time. It is a lightweight laptop using AMD Athlon Gold 3150U processor. The point is it has a very low price. Then how about the craftsmanship and user experience of the laptop? Is it worthy of buying? I’ll explain in this article.

The article will include the following contents:
  • Introduction
  • Unpacking and Use
  • Disassembly
  • Processor Performance Test
  • Performance Comparison and Conclusion
  • Graphics Performance and Game Test
  • Screen Performance Test
  • Temperature and Noise Test
  • Battery Duration Test
  • Summary
Unpacking and Use

I received a huge parcel in the afternoon of one day, and it was outer packing box of S431. Generally there is no problem with transportation with a kraft-paper box.

After unpacking, open another layer to see the main body wrapped by flocked cloth. It is mainly silver with sides A, B and C of aluminium alloy material. The touchpad in the middle occupies a very large area.

The power adapter attached to the laptop has an output of 19V and a power of 39.9W. There is also quick guide and warranty card in the package.

I feel the bezel is really thin at first sight. I can see it slim with naked eyes, and the actual width of the left and right bezels is about 3.1mm.

The weight of the laptop is 1.3kg and the screen is 14 inches. The laptop in my hand is 8GB+256GB.

The metal material offers strong promotion of hand feeling. Compared with laptops using plastic as surface material, it will not have a sense of low price in delicate hand feeling.

Apart from the foot pad, the middle thickness of the laptop is 18mm, in line with the positioning of lightweight laptops. The mold technology is good. I didn’t encounter misalignment or big gaps in the interface.

The maximum opening angle of the screen rotating shaft is 135°. The selling price is not high, but it is well equipped. Even kensington lock holes are provided.

Lock holes, USD interface, 3.5mm headphone jack and MicroSD card reader are arranged on the left of the laptop.

There is HDMI interface, Type-C interface and USB interface, power jack and charging indicator light on the right of the laptop.

Side D adopts plastic casing for skid resistance and insulation on the one hand, and for the design demand of Bluetooth and Wifi antenna on the other hand. As we may only touch this side when we carry it, I don’t think it has much to do with the performance of hand feeling and texture.

Luckily, the MicroSD card slot is self-push type, while many existing laptops are designed as direct-insert type.

At first I think the top is designed terribly, wondering why there is a bulge for the camera.

Then when I used it, I found that the blind opening design is very convenient for people who is used to opening and closing the laptop with one hand. It is a design returning to the original meaning. After all, practicability is more important than beauty of the laptop.

A self-contained fingerprint identifier is same with that of numerous mobile phone manufacturers, which is based on contact capacitance technology. Therefore, its unlocking is same as fingerprint unlocking effect with mobile phone, which has advantages in speed and safety over password.

The keyboard looks like Apple. The actual experience is similar to MBP with a non-butterfly type keyboard, with long key travel. Therefore, there is a sense of rhythm when beating, and character input is satisfactory.

It’s good that the touchpad is large. We can use various touch control methods offered by Win10 conveniently, but I wonder whether typing will touch mistakenly sometimes. I tried and didn’t encounter the problem. If you are really worried about that, the official organization also offers [Fn]+[Esc] to directly disable the touchpad.

The screen of Maibook S431 is IPS screen of 1080P 60Hz, with not bad impressions. Among the equivalent IPS products, its color is not poor, and it can meet most of the usage scenarios. I feel satisfactory when watching movies.

A minor obstacle in design is the arrangement of the power line and Type-C on the right. If you use mouse with right hand, there is a bigger distance between the hand and the computer. The effect will be better if the left and right interfaces are exchanged.

Disassembly

To disassemble the laptop, you need to remove all screws at the bottom, and then overcome the force of friction of clips.

I can see the inside of the laptop after disassembly. The battery occupies about 2/5 of the bottom. As the circuit is covered by PVC sheet, it is not disordered at a glance.

The battery is 8.7V lithium battery from LeCroy, with a capacity of 4830mAh. The capacity can theoretically offer satisfactory duration. I will test it later.

After I remove the black plastic sheet on it, I can see its true appearance. CPU has its own double thermal copper tube radiators, able to adapt to any situation of AMD.

The solid state disk of Kingston is used. Even the master control is from Kingston. The chip model is FH64B08UCT1 and a single chip is 64GB. There are 4 chips on the side. It is a typical single sided solid state disk. Compared with double sided solid state disk, its three-dimensional space is smaller and heat dissipation is more concentrated. (As the manufacturer keeps the producer confidential for the time being, the label is removed.)

It is special that the size of the two speakers of this laptop is a little surprising, and it is not at all like the speakers of lightweight laptops. Of course, what is also special is the super long right Shift key.

There are 8 memory chips on the right side of the CPU, each with a capacity of 8GB. The S431 mold has a small disadvantage that the memory is not very expandable. Because it can only be on-board, it can only be expanded up to 16GB. There is a button beside the memory which is the reset button of the computer. After it is pressed, the BIOS information will be cleared.

The entire circuit design is shown below, which is a conventional design, but I think it is above the average level.

Performance Evaluation

Processor Performance Test

We are familiar with the name Athlon. The most classic X2 640 is capable of opening kernel, so it was highly praised at the beginning and became one of the cost-effective U products. There are even many teachings on how to operate and how to choose a motherboard. What a reminiscent and interesting era.

Of course, nowadays this series of Athlon is positioned almost as Intel Pentium, focusing on low power consumption.

Here we will mainly measure the performance of AMD Athlon Gold 3150U, which is a dual-core four-thread processor with a base frequency of 2.4Ghz and a maximum frequency of 3.3Ghz. The overall configuration of this laptop is shown below.

This APU is characterized by a 15W TDP, and because it is an improvement of the ZEN’s G1 architecture, the efficiency should be good. The performance of the G1 ZEN has also opened the door to AMD’s success. Therefore, I have confidence in ZEN+.

On the official website, in addition to the Athlon Gold 3150U, the Athlon series of processors also include the Athlon Sliver series of 3050U and 3050e. The suffix e is a product with strictly controlled power consumption, which is actually only 6W.

In the CPU-Z, you can see that it runs at 2.6Ghz by default when connected to the power supply. Because this is a modified version of the G1 Zen, the technology is 12nm.

Compared with the built-in A10-7850K, you can see that the CPU of the lightweight laptop is stronger than the A10-7850K, especially the single core score not being low.

SuperPi mainly tests single-core performance, and is one of the old brand test tools.

Wprime is one of the most commonly used processor multi-threading test tools. Compared with SuperPi, it has better support for multi-threading.

Fritz Chess Benchmark is also a multi-threading performance test. This item can also measure multi-threading performance. Athlon 3150U scored 5,971 in this link.

Use Win-RAR’s built-in test tool for testing, and the speed is around 2,400KB/s.

Let’s take a look at 7-Zip, which is also a compression software, with a score of 12,296MIPS.

Because of the low power consumption, the performance of this laptop is not greatly attenuated when the battery is used, and the full core can still run at 3.2Ghz.

Super-Pi is one of the most traditional software for testing single-core performance. Athlon Gold 3150U takes 15.3 seconds to calculate 1M pi.

Compared with Super-Pi, wPrime will be more accurate for multi-core performance measurement. It can be seen that it takes 62 seconds at 32M and 531 seconds at 1024M.

To test the productivity performance of this laptop, firstly run Cinebench R15, the single-core running score is 118cb, and the test performance score under dual-core four-thread is 328cb.

Then for the CinebenchR20, single-core operation is 290cb, and the score is 656cb under dual-core four-thread. You can see that the dual-core four-thread has obvious performance improvement.

In H265 rendering test, this processor seems to be able to handle some temporary tasks, and the average transcoding speed is about 7.2FPS.

The onboard memory of this computer comes from Hynix’s chips. It runs at 2400Mhz. What is more interesting is that although it is on-board, it still constitutes a dual channel to make up for the lack of memory performance of the early Zen architecture.

When using AIDA64 to test the storage performance, the memory latency is still too high. But the software that the user will run on the laptop is not highly dependent on the memory, so this part does not affect the daily life even it is a weak link.

The score in the GeekBench 3 test is 7,417.

And the score in GeekBench 4 is 7,444.

So how does it perform in the same level? This year, Intel also launched a dual-core processor, i3 10110U, which is also low-voltage and low-power consumption. I will compare it with this product of the same level.

From the comparison of basic parameters, the basic frequency of 3150U is higher, while the maximum frequency of i3-10110U is much higher, but there is a difference that the i3 is still produced with the 14nm++ technology.

It can be seen that compared with Athlon Gold 3150U, the score of the latest version of Master Lu of i3-10110U will be slightly lower.

Graphics Performance and Game Test

It is a thin, light, power-saving and low-cost laptop, so its graphics performance must be common, but I still want to try it out. How is the performance of this AMD core graphics card? In theory, it should be better than Intel AMDs.

The Radeon Vega core display that comes with Athlon Gold 3150U is also based on 12nm, with 192 SPs, sharing 1GB of DDR4 memory as video memory.

This GPU, code named Picasso, also appeared on Ryzen 5 3400G. It is a good GPU architecture. I will test 3DMARK first, and run FireStrick. The score is 1,146, and CPU physical score is 5,353.

The score is 4,074 in SkyDrive, CPU physical score is 4,483.

In the game test, I mainly tried some light-loaded games. The average frame number of “League of Legends is 72, and the screen settings are the highest except for shadows. It may also have about 60 frames in team fights, so you can play smoothly.

The average frame number of Oxygen Not Included is 35. Although it is a light-loaded game, it seems that the demand of Oxygen Not Included is greater. However, reducing the material resolution of the game can increase the frame number to about 50.

During the CSGO test, I found that the change in the number of frames is acceptable. After changing the resolution to 1600×900, all special effects were changed to medium. After turning off anti-aliasing, the average frame number during play is about 45. The perception is okay because the screen is small.

Risk of Rain 2 is a very popular game some time ago. After changing the resolution to 1600×900, turning off the tree display and adjusting the special effects to medium, the average frame number can barely reach 30. Continue to reduce the resolution, there is no obvious increase in the number of frames, which may be a shortcoming of the CPU.

Screen Performance Test

In fact, before the arrival of the goods, I was mainly worried about the traditional problem that domestic laptop manufacturers would have on cheap laptops-shrinking screens.

Maibook S431 uses an IPS screen with a resolution of 1080P, so at first glance I feel it is lucky! There is no such thing as inaccurate black field, causing eyes to be blind by light.

I use Color Munki to test the existing screen. This one is a spectrophotometer, so the test effect for IPS screens will be better than the colorimeter.

And the software I use is DisplayCal, and this tool can be used for better calibration.

After the final test, you can see that the sRGB color gamut volume of this model is about 99%.

The sRGB image is as follows, and you can see that the blue and red parts are slightly missing.

Looking at the relationship between brightness and RGB again, you can see that the correction is mainly carried out for a relatively large fluctuation between 15% and 80%, and 50% of the gray level does not require much correction.

On the side of the relationship between RGB input and output, you can see that the correction file calibrates the output to a larger extent, but the good thing is that the output RGB is basically on the same curve. Therefore, there are no serious blue or yellow problems when leaving the factory, and the main color will be slightly bright.

Temperature and Noise Test

Thanks to the ultra-low power consumption and the good heat dissipation design of the Maibook S431, it is found that the temperature was not high after the monitoring process is implemented. I used the AIDA64 pressure test tool to fully load the CPU. In addition to selecting the CPU, I also selected the FPU. After five minutes, the CPU temperature stabilized at 81°C.

During the pressure test, use a thermal imager to observe. The room temperature is 25°C. It can be seen that the temperature distribution on the keyboard is to the right, and the side C is mainly kept at around 40°C, so there is no need to worry about the risk of low temperature burns.

Measure the noise at the maximum speed of the fan, and the volume at this time is around 46db.

Battery Duration Test

Since the main feature of the laptop is that it is thin and light, and there is no network cable interface, this model must have a long battery life to meet its positioning. After all, the attribute of battery life is important for people who carry it out, and these users should be the majority of buyers of this laptop.

During the whole process, I conducted a total of two tests to determine how long the battery of the S431 can last under normal use. The test method is to manually record the battery level and real-world time during normal use, and finally get the chart.

The first test was conducted in the evening. I installed some necessary software on this computer. The main software used was a browser.

The second test was conducted in the afternoon. I wrote some texts and browsed webpages and videos outside. It took 2 hours and 27 minutes for the battery level of S431 to go from 95% to 18%.

It can be seen that the battery consumption is average, basically distributed around the predicted curve. Through the test data, it can be estimated that the maximum use time of S431 is about two and a half hours.

Summary

This laptop provides a very good choice at the price of 3,000. The main advantage is that it is portable, and offers good texture, easy to use. With full-size fingerprint recognition, and huge touchpad, it is suitable for being taken out. The screen parameters are average, but I will not feel uncomfortable when viewing this IPS screen with the naked eyes.

The weight of the main body is 1.3kg, which is quite satisfactory in lightweight laptops. The battery duration is 2.5 hours, the high load temperature is less than 40°C, and using battery does not have a great impact on the performance. These conditions all mean that this unit is very suitable for being taken out and used in vehicles.

On the S431 laptop, I found that the Athlon Gold 3150U can actually play a very good role. The low temperature, the upper air supply, and the mute are all determined by the mold design. I can actually play League of Legends and some games with mild performance requirements at above 60FPS.

I think the bottom price, good workmanship, low temperature and excellent heat dissipation can be strong reasons for people to buy it.


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