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.

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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

Asus W5000A
CPU -- Intel

The Asus W5000A was the smallest and lightest of the notebooks tested at a mere 1.85kg. And it's not like Asus has cut any corners or dropped any features to reduce the size and weight, the charcoal grey notebook is quite robust. We are only left wanting additional stiffening in the case lid as it is too easy to flex the display, and the slightest bump at the rear will unsettle the image.

Unusually, there is no lock for the display instead it is held shut by hinge resistance. The 12.1in widescreen display sports 1280 x 800 native resolution, which is quite high given its small size. The image is bright and sharp but those with less than perfect eyesight may find it a bit of a strain after prolonged use. The display surface has a glossy finish but the image quality and apparent clarity is improved over those with the matt finish.

A surprise addition is the small 1.3 megapixel camera and microphone embedded in the top of the display bezel -- perfectly located for video conferencing duties. The camera can rotate 180 degrees and there is a snapshot button located on the right bezel along with a zoom control and a microphone disable button.

If you need to add an external monitor, the integrated Intel graphics processor is capable of driving the external display to 1920 x 1080, perfect for HD TV. The W5000A was one of the fastest of the Intel graphics configured notebooks in the 3D tests but it was still a long way behind the third-party graphics solutions.

The keyboard fits snugly in the small case and its usability is just as good as many of the larger notebooks we tested with quite large keys and good travel and feedback. And in a criticism that can be levelled at many notebooks, the keys on the keyboard could have better colour differentiation.

The small, attractive touchpad provides adequate feedback but lacks the bells and whistles of some of the other units that include additional scrolling functionality.

The speakers are mounted at the base of the display bezel, a location not noted for it's audio prowess, and unfortunately the low, squeaky sound proves no exception. However, the unit does have a SPDIF output for surround sound when connected to a surround-sound amplifier and speaker set.

Bluetooth is an option and the WLAN includes 802.11b/g, while LAN connectivity tops out at 100Mb. Connectivity is good with three USB2 ports, Firewire, and a slot for SD, MMC, and Memory Stick Pro memory cards. The single PC card slot actually has a hinged dust cover rather than the cheaper, easy-to-lose, slide-in plastic ones, and we understand the W5000A also includes a wireless radio frequency mouse receiver.

Our unit had a DVD ROM CD-RW combo drive but no burner. The 512MB of DDR2 memory of which half is mounted on the motherboard and the other 256MB in the single upgrade slot. A further upgrade, after removing the 256MB module, only extends to 768MB which is well short of the other products in this review.

With a 1.86GHz processor the W5000A performed well in the raw CPU benchmarks but performance in business applications was below average. In contrast the Content Creation application performance was surprisingly good, placing the notebook third overall.

The Asus has a similar battery capacity to the Dell Latitude, with the vendor claiming three hours of usable battery life but we were only able to extract two hours and 26 minutes -- this is in stark contrast to the four hours and 34 minutes we got out of the Dell.

The Asus was one of the coolest running notebooks with a exhaust fan temperature of just 24.5°C and a peak spot temperature under the base of just 31.5°C.

Product Asus W5000A
Price AU$3299
Vendor Asus
Phone 1300 ASUS88
Web www.asus.com.au
 
Interoperability
A good array of conectivuty and also includes Bluetooth.
Futureproofing
Poor audio quality, good performance, display is nice but detail too fine and could result in eye strain, good heat dissipation and best camera implementation.
ROI
Average value.
Service
2-year limited global hardware warranty.
Rating ½
Asus W5000A

Topics: Processors, Hardware, Intel, Laptops, Mobility

Andrew Shepherd

About Andrew Shepherd

IPD:23666

Anthanasia Zafiris

About Anthanasia Zafiris

IPD:23666

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Talkback

8 comments
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  • 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