Nuggets: PC power for laptops but it'll cost ya

The ACI Precedent range may do pretty much everything a desktop can, but the price will give your bank manager heart failure
Written by Graeme Wearden, Contributor

With the Precedent range, ACI is attempting to provide the power and features of a traditional desktop machine in a portable package. No mean feat, and it's made a good attempt with the Precedent. However, at £2,818 (inc VAT) this is the sort of gadget you would want someone else to pay for.

The coal-black case gives the Precedent a serious executive look -- ideal for those occasions when you're secretly playing games on the train. Pick it up, though, and you'll find that 3.4kg is the uncomfortable side of portable. To be fair, this isn't really excessive for a high-spec notebook, and if you carry this baby around a lot you may never need to join a gym. Some of the weight is due to the magnesium alloy lid, which is strong enough to protect the screen from a few hefty knocks

ACI has chosen Intel's SpeedStep chip as its friend for high-speed performance. This means that when using battery power the Precedent plods along at 600MHz, but plug it into the mains and it rockets up to 750MHz. There's a stonkin' 256MB of RAM backed inside the case, which is probably why the notebook does everything so quickly. An 18Gb hard drive should take some filling up, too.

The graphics are pretty excellent. The 15in TFT screen is pin-sharp at 1024x768, easy on the eye, and looks good in most conditions. We ran the Transambient DVD (well, any excuse as it totally rocks), and it looked a treat, at both 600MHz and 750MHz.

Some people really hate touchpads but don't be put off by the Precedent's Symantic Touchpad. It didn't get in the way when typing, and was really responsive without being oversensitive.

Of course, you can plug in a mouse if you like, as the Precedent has all the standard interfaces including one USB port and two Type II PC Card slots. ACI has thrown in a floppy drive, as well as a 24-speed CD/6-speed DVD drive which can be replaced with a second battery module. The standard battery life is around three hours, which isn't anything special.

So, we like the Precedent rather a lot, and it's the sort of notebook you don't want to hand back to the manufacturer. However, there's the small matter of the price (£2818 inc VAT, in case you're forgotten). Rumour has it that we're going to be seeing an 850MHz SpeedStep notebook from another vendor pretty soon, for around two and a half grand inc VAT. Still, the Precedent isn't just about raw speed -- it's a nice all-in package, and if you're thinking of upgrading your PC, you might wanna consider going the whole hog and joining the mobile revolution.

  • ACI Precedent notebook
  • £2818(inc VAT)
  • PIII 750/600MHz
  • 15.1in TFT screen
  • 18Gb hard drive
  • 256Mb RAM
  • 56K PCI fax/modem
  • www.aciplc.com

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