Sony VAIO Pro 13: Performance

In most areas, the performance of the VAIO Pro 13 is more than sufficient. Loading up Windows and common applications, surfing the web, and even video encoding (especially with an application that supports Quick Sync) are all plenty fast. There are faster laptops out there, certainly, but they don't have anywhere near this level of portability. Here's our standard selection of performance metrics, and you can see that the VAIO Pro 13 is basically in line with other Ultrabooks. Note that most of the other Ultrabooks have used Core i7 ULV processors, so here the VAIO Pro 13 is at a disadvantage. The cores specs for the tested laptops are listed in the table below, and additional benchmark results are available in Mobile Bench.

Overview of Laptops in Charts
Laptop CPU GPU Storage RAM LCD Battery
Acer R7-571-6858 Intel Core i5-3317U HD 4000 500GB HDD + 24GB SSD 1x4GB + 1x2GB 15.6” 1080p Glossy AHVA Touchscreen 4-cell 54Wh
Acer S7-391-9886 Intel Core i7-3517U HD 4000 2x128GB RAID 0 SSDs 2x2GB 13.3” 1080p Glossy AHVA Touchscreen 4-cell 35Wh
Acer V7-482PG-9884 Intel Core i7-4500U GT750M DDR3 / HD 4400 1TB HDD + 24GB SSD 1x4GB + 1x8GB 14” 1080p Glossy AHVA Touchscreen 4-cell 54Wh
AMD Kabini Prototype AMD A4-5000 HD 8330 256GB SSD 1x4GB 14” 1080p Matte IPS 6-cell 45Wh
Apple MacBook Air 13 (2013) Intel Core i5-4250U HD 5000 128GB PCIe SSD 2x2GB 13.3” 1440x900 Glossy TN 4-cell 54Wh
Dell XPS 12 Intel Core i7-3517U HD 4000 256GB SSD 2x4GB 13.3” 1080p Glossy IPS Touchscreen 4-cell 47Wh
Dell XPS 13 Intel Core i5-3337U HD 4000 256GB SSD 2x4GB 13.3” 1080p Glossy IPS 6-cell 47Wh
Sony VAIO Pro 13 Intel Core i5-4200U HD 4400 128GB PCIe SSD 2x2GB 13.3” 1080p Glossy IPS Touchscreen 3-cell 37Wh

PCMark 7 (2013)

Cinebench R11.5 - Single-Threaded Benchmark

Cinebench R11.5 - Multi-Threaded Benchmark

x264 HD 5.x

x264 HD 5.x

Futuremark 3DMark (2013)

Futuremark 3DMark (2013)

Futuremark 3DMark (2013)

In our general performance graphs, here we get another results showing that Haswell isn't really any faster than Ivy Bridge in most tests (unless it has a GT3/GT3e iGPU, or in specific tests that leverage the new instructions). Move to the 3DMark results and the VAIO Pro 13 doesn't really look so hot. It's now clearly slower than the Core i7 Ivy Bridge Ultrabooks, which isn't something I'd expect from 20 EUs. Either Intel actually has slower EUs in Haswell than in Ivy Bridge, or Sony is curbing performance of the iGPU to keep within their desired thermal range. Our gaming results continue this trend:

Bioshock Infinite - Value

Company of Heroes 2 - Value

Elder Scrolls: Skyrim - Value

GRID 2 - Value

Metro: Last Light - Value

Sleeping Dogs - Value

StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm - Value

Tomb Raider - Value

Other than in StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm and Tomb Raider, the VAIO Pro 13 ends up being slower than every other Intel Ultrabook that we've tested. The Acer V7 isn't technically an Ultrabook, though it's close enough in many respects, but we can see just how much even a moderate dGPU adds in terms of performance. We also have some results for Crystalwell (i7-4750HQ) in Mobile Bench that we're not including here, and GT3e is much faster as well (though the Clevo W740SU doesn't do all that well in the battery life department). Perhaps GT3 would help the VAIO Pro 13, but several games seemed to have issues maintaining higher iGPU clocks – Metro for instance showed cyclic higher/lower performance during the benchmark runs. It's mostly a moot point, though, as outside of light gaming the HD 4400 simply isn't fast enough to handle a lot of games.

Sony VAIO Pro 13 Subjective Evaluation Sony VAIO Pro 13: Excellent Battery Life
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  • JarredWalton - Thursday, October 17, 2013 - link

    While I understand the importance some users will place on the SSD speed, the reality is that we often have component lotteries on laptops. I can run a few SSD performance numbers, but keep in mind that the time to review a laptop is already rather long, so adding more low level tests just bloats that. We're one of the few sites that continues to focus on long-form content these days, and even then we still have to draw the line somewhere. My feeling is that I can leave low-level SSD benchmarks to Anand and Kristian, where they can fully characterize the performance in a specific test bed, and I can mostly focus on the overall laptop experience.
  • fr33h33l - Thursday, October 17, 2013 - link


    A lot of users and reviewers have complained about the loud fan noise on the Vaio Pro 13 but you didn't seem to have any such issues.

    Did you use the Silent fan settings in your review? Can you tell whether the lack of loud fan noise in your review is due to CPU throttling (i.e. loss of performance) or has Sony resolved previous issues in this area?

    Would you know whether there would be a noticeable difference in this regard between the i5 and i7 config?

  • JarredWalton - Thursday, October 17, 2013 - link

    The CPU and Fan setting (in the VAIO Control Center) is set to "Performance" -- so apparently fan noise has been addressed with an updated BIOS/firmware, and perhaps resulted in more throttling.
  • BMNify - Thursday, October 17, 2013 - link

    It is not that expensive if you consider the very expensive Vaio Z series which was replaced by this vaio pro.
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, October 17, 2013 - link

    Which had a dGPU and thus better graphics performance (by far!)
  • ketacdx - Thursday, October 17, 2013 - link

    Awesome review Jarred, thank you! I had fallen in love with this laptop at BestBuy in Canada last week where it was on sale for $1199 with 8GBs of RAM, touchscreen and 128GB SSD, however upon looking into it more, maybe I should wait...Problem is I am stuck with a Samsung Series 5 with an AMD A10 4655M and although the CPU isn't the best, I don't want to spend $1200+tax for a slightly lower GPU....decisions
  • Durandal7 - Friday, October 18, 2013 - link

    On battery life: why does this review assign 559, 414 and 327 minutes to the MBA13 on light/medium/heavy web browsing, whereas Anand's original review:
    shows 11.03 hours, 8.93 and 5.53 hours (662 minutes, 536 and 332 minutes respectively)? Are they different benchmarks? Is the MBA running windows in this test?
  • JarredWalton - Friday, October 18, 2013 - link

    Interesting. I grabbed the numbers for the MBA13 from Mobile Bench, but I honestly don't know where those figures came from. I will have to ask Anand -- it's possible he ran the tests under Windows, or maybe he retested and got better battery life the second time. It's also possible there was an error in putting scores into Bench, but really I don't see any relation to what's there and what's in the MBA13 article.

    I'll update when I have more information....
  • juhatus - Friday, October 18, 2013 - link

    And now that the windows 8.1 is available maybe you could run more thest to see it those S0ix-states really matter on haswell?

    Btw anyone updated to 8.1 already on SVP13? Any problems? Im a bit hesitant to upgrade still..
  • JarredWalton - Friday, October 18, 2013 - link

    I'll give the update a shot today. As for the MBA13 numbers that Durandal7 asked about, they are indeed from Windows 8 on the MBA, so I need to edit the text. As usual, running OSX delivers much better battery life than under Windows for the Apple hardware.

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