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

MSI Megabook S260
CPU -- Intel

The S260 is the first of the MSI notebooks delivered to the lab. In terms of form factor, both MSI notebooks are similar to the Asus W5000 -- the S260 is arguably the best looking of the three with its pearl white finish. With the white colour scheme, including the keyboard, the MSI does look "Macish".

The S260 has quite a small foot print but is surprisingly heavy for it size, weighing in at just over 2.1kg.

In general, the unit is quite robust. While the display flexes too easily, we were surprised that it is reasonably well protected against impacts from the rear and it takes quite a thump to actually unsettle the display.

The display, like the Asus W5000, is gorgeous. It's a widescreen, 1280 x 800 pixel, with a glossy finish so the colours are outstanding, as are fingerprints and reflections of course. The screen fonts are sharp but because the display is only 12in along the diagonal they are also very small and for those with poor sight may be a bit of a chore to browse for extended periods.

It's interesting to note that while the display and chipset appear so similar when compared to the Asus W5000, the MSI does not have such a high external display resolution with 1600 x 1200, the maximum compared with the Asus's 1920 x 1080. Sadly the MSI appeared to be a little weak in the 3D tests when compared to the other vendors.

The keyboard fits snugly across the width of the notebook and its usability is just as good as many of the larger notebooks with quite large keys and good travel and feedback. The only colour differentiation is some of the special function legends and the numeric overlay. The Touch Pad is a vanilla unit in terms of functionality and is relatively large with two small buttons, which while they lack travel certainly have a positive and "clicky" feedback.

With speakers mounted at the base of the display bezel, much like the Asus W5000, you cannot really expect a Hi Fidelity audio experience. Unlike the Asus however the MSI has plenty of volume and is not quite as squeaky, although there is certainly not much of a mellow bottom end to speak of. With a compatible amp the MSI's SPDIF output can provide 5.1 surround sound.

Network connectivity is not as good as some of the other vendors -- wireless coverage includes 802.11b/g but not "a", and the wired LAN tops out at 100Mb. Otherwise, the connectivity is not bad with three USB2 ports, Firewire port, PC Card slot and a slot for SD, MMC and Memory Stick cards.

The S260 comes with a dual layer DVD burner -- just the thing for creating your own movie blockbusters. Along with the Acer, the MSI S260 had the lowest-clocked CPU at just 1.6GHz. In most of the raw performance tests, the MSI and Acer were neck to neck, as one would expect, except for the memory bandwidth tests where the Acer soundly outperformed the S260. This appears to be a telling factor in the Business application and Content Creation application testes where the S260 was again outclassed by the Acer.

The battery fitted to the S260 had twice the capacity of the one fitted to the S270, 4400mAh compared to 2200mAh, so it comes as no surprise that the S260 had a significantly longer battery life. At four hours and 37 minutes the S260 was only one minute behind the Samsung, which was in second place overall.

The S260 was efficient at dissipating heat with the exhaust from the heat exchanger peaking at just 27.5oC and the peak hot spot under the unit just 33°C.

Product MSI Megabook S260
Price AU$2499
Vendor MSI
Phone 02 9748 0070
Web www.msi.com.tw
 
Interoperability ½
Below average in this group.
Futureproofing
Good performance, display is nice but detail too fine and could result in eye strain, average audio, good heat dissipation.
ROI ½
Good performance, display is nice but detail too fine and could result in eye strain, average audio, good heat dissipation.
Service ½
2-years on-site pickup and return (Australia only) plus International. 1-year battery.
Rating
MSI Megabook S260

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