AMD vs. Intel: 10 notebooks tested

AMD vs. Intel: 10 notebooks tested

Summary: We put two of the toughest chip makers up against each other to see which has the biggest heart for notebooks.

SHARE:

Contents
Introduction
Acer TravelMate 4150LMi
Asus A6000
Asus W5000A
Dell Latitude D610
HP NC8230
LG LW60 Express
MSI Megabook S260
MSI Megabook S270
Samsung M40 plus
Toshiba Tecra M3
Specifications
How we tested
Editor's choice
About RMIT

Acer TravelMate 4151LMi
CPU -- Intel

The Acer sports a conservative and clean design. It has a standard 4:3 aspect ratio 15in display which results in a more traditional notebook footprint than the widescreen units, although at 2.86kg the Acer is just as heavy as larger units. The notebook chassis is robust and stiffer than some widescreen notebooks, and the display surround is also quite strong -- it takes quite an impact to unsettle the display.

The display's native resolution is just 1024 x 768, so given its size the screen fonts are quite large and easy to read. Graphics oomph is provided by Intel's 915GM chipset, which sadly in 3D terms does not cut the mustard when compared to the ATI and Gforce implementations in some other notebooks. 3D performance was quite low, almost half the average, but is buoyed up by the more exuberant graphics processors.

The keyboard is not the smallest you will find but it is not far from it. The alphanumeric keys and the space bar are certainly adequate in size but cursor keys, and in particular the top row of function keys, are quite small. Acer has also imparted a slight curve into the keyboard. There is a neat row of user-definable keys above the keyboard -- assigning the keys to your own functions is simple using Acer's eManager.

WLAN support includes 802.11B and G, the LAN support excludes gigabit and the fastest speed support is 100Mb. A neat feature is the ability to enable and disable Bluetooth and the WLAN using two backlit buttons at the front of the palm rest.

The Acer goes one better than most notebooks with four USB2 ports (rather than three), there is also a Firewire port, and for the digital camera user a 6-in-1 card reader that can cope with most card types including Memory Stick, SD, and xD. The Acer also has a Dual layer DVD +/- and CD-RW combo.

Audio quality is very good with a strong volume level from the pair of front-mounted speakers but not as good as the HP or Samsung which had richer bass quality.

Acer supplied a typical (for this review) memory configuration of 512MB DDR2 that can be expanded to 2GB, presumably by tossing away the 512MB module supplied in one of the two slots and fitting a pair of 1GB modules.

The Acer and the Megabook s260, had the lowest-clocked CPUs at 1.6GHz, and we found the Acer's "raw" CPU scores were the lowest of all the Intel-based notebooks tested. Raw hard drive performance was also low but the Acer still managed average scores in content creation applications tests and above-average performance in business application benchmarks. Acer's battery life claim of five hours was conservative as we got an impressive five hours and 51 minutes -- over an hour longer than its nearest competitor.

Temperatures generated by the Acer were higher than average with an "exhaust" temperature of 36°C and a heat spot under the base of the notebook that hit 38.5°C.

Product Acer TravelMate 4150
Price AU$2299
Vendor Acer
Phone 1300 566 367
Web www.acer.com.au
 
Interoperability ½
An average array of connectivity features.
Futureproofing ½
Quite good performance and exceptional battery life but the display is nothing special in this lineup.
ROI
Inexpensive and very good value for money.
Service
1-year pickup + return service plus 1-year international travellers warranty.
Rating
Acer TravelMate 4150LMi

Topics: Processors, Hardware, Intel, Laptops, Mobility

Andrew Shepherd

About Andrew Shepherd

IPD:23666

Anthanasia Zafiris

About Anthanasia Zafiris

IPD:23666

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

8 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • hmm lets see he said.......If you simply need a powerful notebook without too many bells and whistles, such as widescreen display, and more importantly you want to minimise the damage to your credit card then definitely look at the Acer TravelMate 4150 priced at just AU$2299. I believe this is a ridiculous price and I think this article does not do justice considering what has been reviewed. This guy is an intel spokesman!
    anonymous
  • How about Clevo D900T ($2999)for a barebone system packs a punch with more features than most of what you have evaluated. Please expand beyound your current limited known Companies.
    anonymous
  • I know AMD v's Intel but Apple smoke them all

    You know a G4 15" is lighter, faster, and has long battery life. Ok it does not run x86 natively and is fractionly more expensive than the editors pick. At $3,649 for a fully loaded (much better graphics than those tested too) or $3199 for a base model. Seriously, for normal business use there is not much it cannot do against XP.
    anonymous
  • good review!

    Well I just bought an LW60Express, not the base model either, and I am very pleased, specially as I paid less than $2400. :)
    Jondalar-650a3
  • LG LW60

    I bought an LG LW60 with 1Gb RAM for just under $2300 (about 2 days before this review came out), and I pretty much agree with the review of it... The display and keyboard are excellent, and having the keypad is a HUGE improvement over other similar sized laptops.<br/><br/>

    The Instant-On works pretty well, though if you are watching DVD's on the train (on the way to/from work...) I have noticed that if there is too much bouncing around it just hangs and has to be switched off/on, whereas the Windows apps such as Power DVD just skip for a bit. Oh yeah, the remote control that stores in the pcmcia slot is brilliant, it even works with Power DVD, WMP, etc.
    <br/><br/>
    Overall, the review is spot-on with this laptop... I am certainly very happy with it.
    anonymous
  • Asus a6000

    You need to clarify which model of the a6000 you are using they all come with a letter designation after the a6000 (i.e a6000u/n/k/l etc)

    They are very different machines depending on this letter.

    The nvidia graphics on the a6000 is only available on the very highest spec and is not available everywhere.

    All the other models (infact any amd 64 notebook/setup) using the sis graphics have a MAJOR MAJOR problem.

    The SIS graphics 661/MX (aka mirage series) use the memory controler to allocate video bandwidth. on the SIS m760 setup the chipset memory controller is not present (because of the amd64 intergrated on chip).

    The problem here is that the combination results in a severe lack of bandwidth to the graphics chip (espeically when the cpu is throttled). Meaning simple XV overlay of video etc is corupted alot. It also means that Dual head must be droped in resolution.

    This is a serious bug, and is a testament to ASUStek's engineers (there are also other brands with similar issues) hastily putting together a platform...
    anonymous
  • LG LW60 Express

    I went out and bought the LG after reading your comparisons. There's very little information about the computer up here, and I don't think its even available in the U.S. Anyhow I took a chance and I'm very happy with my decision. I can't seem to get the type of battery performance out of it that your reviewer did but other than that I have to say for the price, the look and performance of the machine can't be beat. Cheers for the review, if I hadn't come across it I would have probably gone with a Toshiba.
    anonymous
  • Apple = Intel
    becherovka-089d0