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.

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
How we tested
Editor's choice
About RMIT

Asus A6000
CPU -- AMD Turion 64

The A6000 is a goliath in comparison to the diminutive Asus W5000, carrying an extra kilogram of weight at 2.85kg. Many of the styling cues are carried over from the W5000, but some features are unique to both.

The A6000 has a 15.4in widescreen display that is stiffer than the W5000, taking quite a jolt before the image is unsettled. Opening the display is a two-handed affair with a lock on both sides of the display.

With a native resolution of 1280 x 800, the A6000 should be easy on the eyes after prolonged use. It has a glossy finish to the display resulting in a gorgeous crisp image but causes problems with reflections and fingerprints.

Graphics grunt was supplied by an nVidia GeForce Go 6200 processor with an impressive 256MB of memory.

Previously, the 6200 didn't perform well against several of the ATI-based notebooks in the older 3Dmark2001 test, however, in the new 3Dmark2005 the 6100 was the fastest.

Asus has fitted a slightly larger keyboard than the W5000 -- the alpha keys are no larger but many of the other keys such as Enter, Shift, Backspace and Tab are a more usable size. There was one annoying problem with the keyboard that should be easy for Asus to sort out and that is the keyboard legend for two of the keys is actually incorrect. Specifically, the shift legends on the [2] and the ["] keys, but the keyboard is electronically mapped correctly.

The touchpad features the same snazzy brushed aluminium buttons but this time the pad is wider and has a vertical scroll function on the far right side. The speakers are located under the front corners of the notebook and the audio is satisfying loud, but not as good as the HP or Samsung.

The LAN is only 10/100Mb, the WLAN on the other hand is 802.11g. The memory card slot caters for the same cards as the W5000 with SD, MMC and Memory Stick covered. There are four USB2 ports, the standard microphone and headphone audio out, and a SPDIF output for connecting to a surround-sound amplifier.

At the top of the bezel there is a voice recorder microphone and a small fixed camera, although our unit was not provided with drivers for the camera. The CD/DVD writer can be directly controlled for playback from a small control panel on the front of the notebook -- this means it can still be accessed when the display is closed.

It was equipped with a generous 1GB of DDR1 memory in the form of two 512MB modules, and can be upgraded to 2GB.

The A6000 was the only notebook we tested that featured the new AMD Turion 64 mobile processor. The Turion was clocked at a high 2.2GHz, making it the fastest clocked CPU of the group. Performance in both the Business application and Content Creation application benchmarks was significantly higher than the other notebooks, admittedly this was with 1GB of memory, but then again the Dell was also configured with 1GB of memory and it was soundly outperformed by the Asus.

In the "raw" CPU performance tests the Asus was again considerably faster than the Intel-based units were. Battery life was not as high as we had hoped at three hours and 14 minutes. The Asus ran quite hot, but with such a high clocked CPU you would probably expect it to.

Product Asus A6000
Price TBA
Vendor Asus
Phone 1300 ASUS88
Four USB2 ports and good support of memory cards.
Blistering performance, large widescreen display, good audio, low-res integrated camera but below average battery life.
2-year limited global hardware warranty. 1-year battery pack warranty.
Rating N/A
Asus A6000

Topics: Processors, Hardware, Intel, Laptops, Mobility

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