I’ve already covered the 2021 Asus ZenBook 13 UM325 in a previous review, the smallest member of the ZenBook family that’s available with an OLED screen, Ryzen 5000 U hardware from AMD, and a very competitive price tag for what it is.
However, this generation’s mobile Ryzen 5000 hardware confusingly consists of either Zen2+ (Lucienne) or Zen3 (Cezanne) sub-lineups. While in the previous article we’ve tested the entry-level Ryzen 5 5500 Lucienne configuration, in this one, we’re going to touch on the top-variant powered by the Ryzen 7 5800U Cezanne hardware.
So that means I’m not going to cover aspects such as the build quality, ergonomics, typing experience, or the screen of this ZenBook 13 in this article, and instead, we’re going to explain what kind of performance you should expect from the Ryzen 7 5800U APU in this sort of an ultra-compact chassis.
This will help you figure out if you should reach for this top variant of the ZenBook 13, or if you’d be better off with the mid-range and more affordable Ryzen 5 models (or even the Intel Tiger Lake variants, with their own advantages in certain loads).
Update: In the meantime, our review of the 2022-ZenBook S 13 update is available here, built on the newer Ryzen 7 6800U hardware platform.
Specs as reviewed – Asus ZenBook 13 OLED UM325
||Asus ZenBook 13 UM325SA
||13.3 inch, 1920 x 1080 px, OLED, glossy, non-touch, Samsung ATNA33XC11-0 panel
||AMD Cezanne Ryzen 7 5800U CPU, 8C/16T
||AMD Vega, 8 EUs, 2.1 GHz
||16 GB LPDDR4x-3733 (soldered)
||1 TB M.2 PCIe x4 SSD (SK Hynix HFM001TD3JX013N)
||Wireless 6 (Intel AX200), Bluetooth 5.0
||1x USB-A 3.2 gen1, 2x USB-C gen2 with data, DP and charging, HDMI 2.0b, microSD card reader
||67 Wh, 65W charger
||304 mm or 11.96” (w) x 203 mm or 7.99” (d) x 13.9 mm or 0.55” (h)
||2.5 lbs (1.14 kg)+ .45 lbs (.21 kg) charger and cables, EU version
||white backlit keyboard, NumberPad, HD IR camera, no audio jack
Design, inputs, and screen
Check out our previous review available here for specific details about this ZenBook 13, such as the build quality and ergonomics, IO, inputs, and the OLED screen.
Hardware and performance – Ryzen 7 5800U version
Our test model is a top-specced variation of the ZenBook 13 UM325, code name UM325SA, built on an AMD Ryzen 7 5800U 8C/16T processor with Vega 8 graphics, paired with 16 GB of LPDDR4x-3733 memory and 1 TB of fast SSD storage.
This is a retail unit provided by AMD for this review and tested with the software available as of mid-May 2021 (BIOS 301, MyAsus 220.127.116.11 app).
Specs-wise, the ZenBook 13 UM325 is based on the 2021 AMD Ryzen 5000 U hardware platform, with options starting with the 6C/12T Ryzen 5 5500U processor tested here and going up to the 8C/16T Ryzen 7 5800U on this review unit.
As you probably know by now, even if the naming is not very clear about it, there are two main types of Ryzen 5000 U processors:
- those based on the Lucienne Zen2+ architecture, such as the Ryzen 5 5500U and Ryzen 7 5700U, available on the ZenBook 13 UM325UA configurations;
- those based on the Cezanne Zen3 architecture, such as the Ryzen 5 5600U and Ryzen 7 5800U, available on the Zenbook 13 UM325SA models.
The latter are the updated architecture with improved IPC and overall performance over the Zen2+ variants, which is only a lesser update of the Zen2 Ryzen 4000 platform from 2020.
Back to our review unit, the Ryzen 7 5800U is the most powerful APU in the AMD lineup at this moment, with 8C/16T Zen3 cores and a VEGA iGPU with 8 CUs running at up to 2.1 GHz when supplied with enough power. That’s the catch, though, especially in this sort of a compact chassis.
As far as the software goes, this ZenBook gets the standard MyAsus app which allows control over the power profiles, battery and screen settings, updates.
There are three performance/thermal profiles to choose from:
- Performance – allows the CPU to run at 15+W in sustained loads, with fans ramping up to 36-38 dB;
- Standard – allows the CPU to run at 13+W in sustained loads, with fans ramping up to 35 dB;
- Whisper – limits the CPU at 7+W to favor lower fan-noise of sub 30 dB.
We need to get a bit more in-depth here, though. The Performance profile allows the hardware to run at up to 30W of power for a minimal amount of time and around 25W for 10-30 seconds in sustained loads before the system gradually reduces the power allocation to keep everything thermally in check. Eventually, the APU ends up running around 15W after 7-10 minutes of sustained demanding loads.
On Standard, the system allows the APU to run at higher power for only a few seconds and then quickly limits it to around 15W and even further down to 13W in longer sessions. These two profiles allow us to compare the performance of the Ryzen 7 5800U at 15W of power (on the Standard profile) and somewhere in between 15-25W (on the Performance profile), which we’ll get to in a bit.
I’ll also add that the Standard profile keeps the fan mostly idle with light use and quiet with heavier loads. The laptop feels snappy with daily multitasking, video streaming, text-editing, and the likes on Standard, and a bit sluggish with multitasking on Whisper, so I wouldn’t use that profile much.
OK, so on to demanding tasks; we start by testing the CPU’s performance by running the Cinebench R15 benchmark for 15+ times in a loop, with 2-3 seconds delay between each run, in the Performance mode.
As mentioned above, the Ryzen 7 5800U processor runs at high power and clocks for a few runs and then gradually drops towards 18-19W, with clock speeds of ~2.6 GHz and temperatures of 72-75 degrees Celsius. The fan ramps to about 36-37 dB at head-level in this test, and the laptop returns scores of ~1300 points.
On standard, the CPU drops quicker and stabilizes at 15W of power in this test, with clock speeds of ~2.4 GHz, temperatures of 66-70 degrees Celsius, slightly quieter fans at sub-35 dB, and scores of around 1250 points. That’s roughly 50 fewer points for 4-5W reduced power consumption, so the platform is efficient in this sort of load even at 15W. A higher power implementation (~25W sustained) should return roughly 1450-1500 points.
We haven’t tested the Whisper mode, but we did test the behavior on the Performance mode while running on battery power, in which case the system stabilizes at 14-15W and still solid performance for this class.
All these findings are detailed in the charts below.
To put these in perspective, the Ryzen 7 5800U in this laptop is fairly power-limited, at ~19W sustained on the Performance mode. That’s why it trails the Ryzen 7 4800U at 26W that we tested in the Lenovo Yoga Slim 7 or the Ryzen 7 5700U in the IdeaPad Flex 5, but still outmatches everything else out there. At the same time, the 4C/8T Intel Tiger Lake i7-1165G7 of this generation is no match for the AMD APUs in this kind of multi-threaded test, not even at higher power settings.
We then went ahead and further verified our findings by running the longer and more challenging Cinebench R23 and Prime95 tests. In these cases, the Ryzen 7 5800U in this ZenBook 13 stabilizes at ~15W on the Performance mode and ~13W on the Standard mode, suggesting that the performance degrades further than suggested by our CinebenchR15 loop test in the longer-duration sustained loads.
That aside, 3DMark stress runs the same test 20 times in a loop and looks for performance variation and degradation over time in combined CPU+GPU loads, and this laptop failed it by a fairly big margin. This also suggests that the GPU performance degrades once the heat builds up.
Overall, these results make perfect sense to me, given how in this laptop the Ryzen 7 5800U runs at higher power for a while and then gradually drops and stabilizes at ~15W of sustained power in both CPU-only and combined CPU/GPU loads, which takes a toll on the overall frequencies and performance. That can’t be a surprise for anyone in this sort of ultra-compact chassis with a minimalistic thermal design.
Next, here are some benchmark results. We ran the entire suite of tests and benchmarks on the Standard and Performance profiles on the Ryzen 7 5800U and the Performance profile on the Ryzen 5 5500U. Here’s what we got.
||AMD Ryzen 7 5800U – Performance
||AMD Ryzen 7 5800U – Standard
||AMD Ryzen 5 5500U – Performance
|3DMark 13 – Fire Strike
||3333 (Graphics – 3704, Physics – 17721, Combined – 1123)
||2942 (Graphics – 3211, Physics – 15030, Combined – 1031)
||3341 (Graphics – 3667, Physics – 15080, Combined – 1179)
|3DMark 13 – Night Raid
||14026 (Graphics – 15624, CPU – 8880)
||12798 (Graphics – 14257, CPU – 8103)
||13196 (Graphics – 14798, CPU – 8180)
|3DMark 13 – Time Spy
||1325 (Graphics – 1163, CPU – 6319)
||1161 (Graphics – 1021, CPU – 5264)
||1251 (Graphics – 1106, CPU – 4904)
|3DMark 13 – Wild Life
|Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Medium
|Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Extreme
||5300 (CPU: 18746, 3D Graphics: 2593, Disk: 23774)
||5016 (CPU: 17882, 3D Graphics: 2505, Disk: 24094)
||4613 (CPU: 13895, 3D Graphics: 2424, Disk: 22688)
||6070 (E – 10599, P – 9642, DCC – 5939)
||6014 (E – 10313, P – 9528, DCC – 6009)
||5094 (E – 9154, P – 7567, DCC – 5180)
|GeekBench 5.3.1 64-bit
||Multi-core: 1429, Single-Core: 6875
||Multi-core: 1437, Single-Core: 6058
||Multi-core: 1146, Single-Core: 174
|CineBench R15 (best run)
||CPU 1552 cb, CPU Single Core 231 cb
||CPU 1394 cb, CPU Single Core 222 cb
||CPU 1146 cb, CPU Single Core 174 cb
|CineBench R20 (best run)
||CPU 3461 cb, CPU Single Core 553 cb
||CPU 3117 cb, CPU Single Core 546 cb
||CPU 2351 cb, CPU Single Core 457 cb
|CineBench R23 (best run)
||CPU 8777 cb, CPU Single Core 1428 cb
||CPU 7701 cb, CPU Single Core 1395 cb
||CPU 6037 cb, CPU Single Core 1168 cb
|x265 HD Benchmark 64-bit
We also ran some Workstation related loads on the same profiles:
||AMD Ryzen 7 5800U
|AMD Ryzen 7 5800U
|AMD Ryzen 5 5500U
|Blender 2.90 – BMW Car scene- CPU Compute
|Blender 2.90 – Classroom scene – CPU Compute
These further show the performance differences between the two power modes and how the gaps shrink in the longer tests, such as Blender or Cinebench R23, where the power allocations also end up a lot closer than in the short burst tests.
At the same time, these findings also show a significant increase in single-core and IPC performance between the AMD Cezanne and Lucienne platforms, which will be noticeable with everyday multitasking and certain less-intensive activities.
On the other hand, given the limited power allocation that the Ryzen 7 5800U benefits from in this implementation, the GPU ends up struggling in the specific tests, to the point where it doesn’t do a lot better than the Vega 7 iGPU in the Ryzen 5 processor, despite the extra CU and higher potential clock speeds. As you’ll see down below in the gaming tests and logs, the Vega iGPU cannot run at its designed Turbo Clocks in this product, explaining the small performance variations between the Ryzen 7 5800U and Ryzen 5 5500 configurations of this ZenBook 13.
Furthermore, it’s worth adding that the Intel i7-1165G7 variant of the same ZenBook 13 ends up outperforming both these AMD models in GPU-heavy loads and in games, despite still suffering from the same kind of power limitations. That’s also an excellent performer in single-core tests, but on the other hand, massively trails the AMD hardware in everything multi-core.
With that out of the way, we also ran a couple of DX11, DX12, and Vulkan titles on the Performance profile, FHD resolution, and Low/Lowest graphics settings, and we’ve thrown in a few other platforms tested recently for comparison. Here’s what we got:
|Ryzen 7 5800U + Vega
Ryzen 7 5800U 15W
|IdeaPad Flex 5,
Ryzen 7 5700U 24W
Ryzen 5 5500U 15W
Core i7-1165G7 19W
|ZenBook Duo UX482,
Core i7-1165G7 25W
Ryzen 5 4600U 25W
Ryzen 7 4800U 26W
Ryzen 7 4700U 13W
|Bioshock Infinite (DX 11, Low Preset)
||78 fps (54 fps – 1% low)
||75 fps (56 fps – 1% low)
||70 fps (52 fps – 1% low)
||70 fps (40 fps – 1% low)
||83 fps (58 fps – 1% low)
||63 fps (50 fps – 1% low)
||81 fps (58 fps – 1% low)
||66 fps (50 fps – 1% low)
|Dota 2 (DX 11, Best Looking Preset)
||54 fps (32 fps – 1% low)
||53 fps (41 fps – 1% low)
||49 fps (33 fps – 1% low)
||56 fps (44 fps – 1% low)
||64 fps (56 fps – 1% low)
||53 fps (40 fps – 1% low)
||39 fps (28 fps – 1% low)
|Far Cry 5 (DX 11, Low Preset, no AA)
||26 fps (22 fps – 1% low)
||24 fps (21 fps – 1% low)
||23 fps (18 fps – 1% low)
||26 fps (18 fps – 1% low)
||32 fps (26 fps – 1% low)
||21 fps (18 fps – 1% low)
||28 fps (24 fps – 1% low)
||21 fps (17 fps – 1% low)
|Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor (DX 11, Lowest Preset)
||51 fps (34 fps – 1% low)
||47 fps (38 fps – 1% low)
||48 fps (38 fps – 1% low)
||65 fps (47 fps – 1% low)
||83 fps (65 fps – 1% low)
||41 fps (30 fps – 1% low)
||33 fps (24 fps – 1% low)
||45 fps (36 fps – 1% low)
|NFS: Most Wanted (DX 11, Lowest Preset)
||60 fps (56 fps – 1% low)
||60 fps (52 fps – 1% low)
||60 fps (49 fps – 1% low)
||60 fps (46 fps – 1% low)
||60 fps (56 fps – 1% low)
||33 fps (20 fps – 1% low)
||60 fps (46 fps – 1% low)
||56 fps (34 fps – 1% low)
|Shadow of Tomb Raider (DX12, Lowest Preset, no AA)
||33 fps (18 fps – 1% low)
||28 fps (22 fps – 1% low)
||26 fps (15 fps – 1% low)
||28 fps (16 fps – 1% low)
||35 fps (22 fps – 1% low)
||28 fps (20 fps – 1% low)
||38 fps (22 fps – 1% low)
||27 fps (16 fps – 1% low)
|Strange Brigade (Vulkan, Low Preset)
||39 fps (33 fps – 1% low)
||36 fps (31 fps – 1% low)
||36 fps (31 fps – 1% low)
||44 fps (28 fps – 1% low)
||56 fps (46 fps – 1% low)
||33 fps (27 fps – 1% low)
||41 fps (36 fps – 1% low)
||37 fps (32 fps – 1% low)
|The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (DX 11, Low Preset, Hairworks Off)
||21 fps (17 fps – 1% low)
||24 fps (18 fps – 1% low)
||22 fps (12 fps – 1% low)
||21 fps (16 fps – 1% low)
||28 fps (22 fps – 1% low)
||21 fps (14 fps – 1% low)
- Dota 2, NFS, Witcher 3 – recorded with MSI Afterburner in game mode;
- Bioshock, Far Cry 5, Middle Earth, Strange Brigade, Tomb Raider games – recorded with the included Benchmark utilities;
We’re still looking at 60+ framerates in the older titles, but rarely 30fps in the more demanding AAA games launched in recent years. The performance logs down below show how the CPU/GPU clocks degrade once the system drops in power from 25 to 15W on the Performance mode, with a loss in frequencies and frame rates.
Also, given how the performance degrades over time and the methodologies used for recording the numbers above, the Dota 2, NFS, or Witcher 3 framerates in the table are indicative of the real-life performance you should expect. However, with the other titles that rely on a shorter-duration predefined benchmark, you should expect this Ryzen 7 5800U variant of the ZenBook 13 to return 10-25% poorer results in longer gaming sessions once the heat builds up and the system stabilizes towards 15W.
Based on these findings, I feel that the Ryzen 5 models are still the best bang for your buck in this ZenBook 13, preferably the Ryzen 5 5600U Zen3 Cezanne variant. Paying extra for the Ryzen 7 5800U might not be justified by the increase in performance. unless multi-threaded abilities are required, in which case the extra 2Cs/4Ts make a difference. Even in that case, though, I’d argue that your money would be better spent on a beefier Ryzen 7 5800U implementation that allows 25+W of sustained power in those loads.
Noise, Heat, Connectivity, speakers, and others
Asus went with a basic thermal module here, with a single heatpipe and single fan, the same kind we’ve seen implemented on most of their past ZenBook, VivoBook, and ExpertBook lineups.
Furthermore, the software is also designed to minimize fan noise. As a result, on the Standard profile, the fan rests idle most of the time with light daily use, spins at only about 35 dB with multitasking while plugged in, and ramps up to about 36-37 dB head-level when running games and other combined CPU+GPU loads.
Internal temperatures are kept at bay, but that’s primarily because the hardware package is power-limited in taxing loads, with the toll in performance mentioned in the previous section.
As it is, our ZenBook UM325 sample ran cooly with daily use (and remember that’s with mostly passive cooling) and averagely hot with taxing loads. While running a game for 30+ minutes we measured temperatures in the high-40s and low-50s on the hottest parts of the keyboard deck and low-50s on the bottom, but also 50s on the screen’s chin, right next to the exhaust. That thicker chin soaks up most of the exhausted heat, and the actual panel only hits temperatures in the low-40s, which should be fine long-term.
*Daily Use – streaming Netflix in EDGE for 30 minutes, Standard Mode, fans at 0-35 dB
*Gaming – Performance mode – playing Far Cry 5 for 30 minutes, fans at 37-38 dB
There’s the latest-gen WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5 with an Intel AX200 module on this laptop for connectivity. It performed well with our setup, both near the router and at 30+ feet with walls in between.
Audio is handled by a set of stereo speakers that fire through grills on the underside, and they’re identical to the ones on the other ZenBook 13/14 models of this generation. The angled shape of the D-Panel allows the sound to bounce off the table without distortions, and I also haven’t noticed any vibrations in the arm-rest at higher volumes.
Unlike other ZenBooks tested recently, the DTS Audio Music profile makes a positive difference on this unit, allowing for a richer and cleaner sound. The volumes are only about average, at about 76-78 dB at head-level in our tests. The audio quality is also about the average you should expect from this class, fine for movies and music, but not impressive by any means and lacking in the lower end.
The same can be said about the HD camera placed at the top of the screen. It’s fine for occasional calls, but the quality is muddy and washed out.
There’s a 67 Wh battery inside the ZenBook 13 UM325, which is larger than what you’d normally get on a 13-inch notebook. With the efficient AMD Ryzen 7 5800U hardware implementation and the OLED screen, this notebook will last for a fair while on a charge.
Here’s what we got, with the screen’s brightness set at around 120 nits (~60 brightness).
- 8 W (~8+ h of use) – text editing in Google Drive, Standard + Better Battery Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 5.8 W (~12 h of use) – 1080p fullscreen video on Youtube in Edge, Standard + Better Battery Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 5.2 W (12+ h of use) – Netflix fullscreen in Edge, Standard + Better Battery Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 11 W (~6-7 h of use) – browsing in Edge, Standard + Better Performance Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON.
The laptop ships with a compact 65W charger that plugs in via USB-C. It’s a single-piece design with a compact brick and a long and thick cable, and a full charge takes about 2 hours, but quick-charging allows it to fill up to 60% in ~50 minutes.
Price and availability- Asus ZenBook 13 OLED
The Ryzen 7 5800U variant of the Asus ZenBook 13 UM325SA is still hardly available in stores at the time of this article, and I’d reckon the 5600U/5800U models will continue to be rare nuggets in the weeks and months to come. The few shops that lists them in countries such as the UK have them out-of-stock at this time.
The Ryzen 5 5500U and 7 5700U Lucienne models, on the other hand, are available to buy in some markets, starting at 800-900 EUR over here, with the OLED screen, Ryzen 5 processor, 8/16 GB of RAM, and 512 GB of SSD storage. Not bad, but the same variants go for a lot more in Germany or France, for instance, so the pricing might not be that competitive everywhere.
Stay put for updates, and in the meantime, follow this link for updated prices and configurations in your region.
Final thoughts- Asus ZenBook 13 OLED review
Having tested this Ryzen 7 5800U configuration of the ZenBook 13 UM325, my conclusions haven’t changed from the initial article: If you’re after a modern Ryzen-powered ultrabook with an OLED display, this ZenBook 13 UM325 should be on your list.
Given the ultra-compact form factor and the limited thermal design, though, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend the Ryzen 7 configurations of this laptop, but rather the Ryzen 5 models, especially the Ryzen 5 5600U based on the Zen3 Cezanne architecture, if (when?) available in your region. For what is worth, you do get a performance boost in multi-threaded loads with the extra cores in the Ryzen 7 processors, but that dwindles in longer duration workloads or even games, as the system cuts of the allocated power in order to keep the temperatures and noise levels at bay in this slim chassis.
If interested, we’ve tested the Ryzen 5 5600U platform in a similar 15W implementation on the HP Pavilion Aero 13 (reviewed here), which is arguably the most interesting rival of this ZenBook 13 series.
Other than that, this ZenBook 13 is a highly portable and premium made product, with good inputs, an awesome looking and efficient OLED screen, as well as long battery life. Due to its small size, though, you’ll have to accept the slightly miniaturized keyboard layout, the minimalistic IO, and I’d also recommend researching and understanding the particularities of OLED panels on laptops, and especially the prevention measures that you need to take in order to prevent burning or image retention.
That’s about it for this review of the ASUS ZenBook 13 OLED UM325SA. Let me know what you think about it in the comments section below.
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