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.


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

LG LW60 Express
CPU -- Intel

With a similar-sized footprint to the HP, the LG is actually a more svelte-looking notebook with smooth lines and silver colour scheme; but we do feel the silver finish will mark far more easily than the HP's charcoal grey.

The case is robust and stiff and even though the display is flexy it takes a good deal of force on the back of the display to unsettle the image. LG managed to cram quite a lot of features into the LW60, some unique to LG, but this has resulted in extra mass. At 2.93kg only the Samsung was (slightly) heavier.

The 15.5in widescreen display is glorious, only overshadowed by the Samsung's 17in display. That said, in our opinion the 15.5in display is a far better trade off in terms of overall notebook size than the large Samsung.

With a resolution of 1280 x 800, the display is still large enough to deliver screen fonts that are sharp and easily readable. The glossy finish on the display results in the excellent colour and clarity, but similar to other glossy displays in this review, it also marks with fingerprints readily and is quite reflective. The display is powered by an ATI Mobility Radeon X600 with 64MB of dedicated memory which can drive external monitors up to 2048 x 1536 -- in our 3D performance testing it rated in the top two.

The LG is not as wide as the Samsung but to its credit a dedicated numeric keypad has been added onto the right side of the standard keyboard. We have to admit this alone would go a long way towards making this our favourite keyboard of the bunch but with keys that are large and well laid out, solidly supported and have very good travel and feedback -- this keyboard wins hands down. Our only improvement would be beter colour differentiation of the keys.

Of note are the "InstantON" buttons for DVD and music (CD) and the volume control buttons above the keyboard that will fire up DOS-based apps if the notebook is off rather than laboriously boot into Windows to play a DVD. Controlling the DVD and CD playback is via the keyboard -- there is a faint grey legend on the keys for transport and play control -- or via the nifty remote control unit that is just the right size to dock in the PC Card slot.

The wide touchpad has a vertical scroll area on the far right and to aid users there is a raised section in the pad.

Bluetooth is an optional extra and WLAN covers a, b, and g but the wired LAN is only 100Mb. The LG has four USB2 ports, Firewire, PC Card slot, PCI-Express slot and memory card slot that supports SD, MMC and Memory Stick.

The audio quality isn't quite as good as the Samsung or HP but is well above average and quite loud -- the output from the front-mounted speakers is not annoyingly tinny like many of the other products in this review. It is worth noting that the three audio sockets on the LG are user configurable so a socket can, for example, drive surround speakers, be the microphone input or the SPDIF input or output.

The maximum DDR2 that can be fitted to the LG is apparently 2GB and there is a single upgrade slot available -- the notebook shipped with 512MB and a 1.73GHz Intel processor. Raw benchmark performance results in Sandra Pro were typical of this class of CPU although the Memory Bandwidth scores were equal highest with the Toshiba. The LG was the fourth fastest in the Content Creation application test but was inexplicably just below average in the Business Application ones.

With a 11.1V 4.8Ah battery pack the capacity is a little lower than some of the other notebooks with 14.4V 4.8Ah battery packs and this is reflected in a slightly lower battery life in our tests. Even so, with a time of three hours and 52 minutes the LG still managed fifth place overall.

With peak spot temperature of 33.5°C and exhaust fan temperature of 29.7°C, the LG proved to have above average heat dissipation.

Product LG LW60 Express
Price AU$3299
Vendor LG
Phone 1800 725 375
Web www.lge.com
 
Interoperability
Very good connectivity with 4 USB2, Express card slot, no Gigabit LAN but A/B/G WLAN and optional Bluetooth.
Futureproofing
Good performance, large hi-res display, very good audio, large swag of multimedia features.
ROI
Moderately priced but feature packed.
Service
½
1 year.
Rating
½
LG LW60 Express

Topics: Processors, Hardware, Intel, Laptops, Mobility

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