Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Asus G1 Laptop Review

The Asus G1 is a gaming notebook described on the Asus website as the "notebook series that redefines mobile gaming with advance graphics solutions, exclusive display technologies and unique design details."

The standard straight out of the box specification from ASUS for the G1 are as follows:

* Processor: 2.0GHz Core 2 Duo T7200
* Memory: 2GB DDR II 667MHz
* Hard Drive: Seagate (Momentus) 160GB 5400rpm SATA
* Graphics: NVidia GeForce Go 7700. PCI Express, 512MB true dedicated VRAM
* Screen: WSXGA+ 1680x1050 Resolution, Glossy finish.
* Optical Drive: DVD Super Multi Light Scribe Drive
* Operating System: Windows XP Professional with Vista upgrade option included
* Warranty: 2 years Collect & Return UK Warranty & 2 Years (no carriage) Global Warranty.
* Other built in features and ports: 1.3 mega pixel Web Cam, Bluetooth 2.0, Intel Wireless ABG, 4in1 card reader, PCMCIA slot 1 type II, Infa-red port, mini Firewire port (IEEE 1394), SPDIF Output (&Headphone), Mic input, Audio Input, S-Video output (TV out), RJ45 Gigabit LAN, RJ11 Modem, 4x USB 2.0 ports, DVI output, VGA output, Kensington lock port

My requirements for a notebook were as follows:

* Gaming: I'm used to a 256MB X700 GPU in a desktop, and used to playing most games at medium settings (since my X1800GT, Opteron desktop has been shelved for the past few months, but that's another rather painful story)
* CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo 1.83GHz or faster with 4MB L2 Cache was a must. In real life usage, I do notice my AMD Athlon 64 3500+ processor up to full pelt quite a lot, I've found I want more out of my computer as time goes by and that means more programs running more of the time.
* Memory: The game Warcraft eats the stuff, as does having multiple programs running, so having as much memory as possible was my goal
* Screen Size: Screen size was a big factor in my buying decision. With my previous notebook usage I predicted 50% usage on desk and the remaining 50% on my lap. I've ruled out 17” as an option since even the lightest 17” machine was too cumbersome for me to use for any length of time on my lap. I felt an ideal size would be 14" widescreen, however I'd have to sacrifice pixels, which was a no go for me. I'm spoiled at work and at home with desktop areas of 2880x1050 and 2560x1024. So I was keen for a reasonably high resolution screen. Try finding a screen less than 15.4" or 15" in size at anything more than 1280x800 or 1280x1024 in resolution, they’re hard to come by. Glossy screen was a plus point also.
* Hard Drive: For me size was not important, just speed. I’ve been reading up on the effects of the hard drive on system performance and the results are surprising. I'm looking into getting a solid state HDD or Hybrid HDD as soon as possible and when it’s cost effective – future upgrade is likely.
* Optical Disk Drive: I was not bothered about this until the guy I sit next to at work light scribed a disc a few days ago and although it took 25mins to scribe, the end result meant that Lightscribe disc/drives are seriously cool gadgets to play with!
* Input / Output Ports: I wanted all the regular ones in full force, I also wanted a FireWire 2 port for external HDD backup, however I'm not aware of this being an option on a notebook so I had to compromise on that one.
* Docking Station: Would be nice, but not important, as a USB port replicator would suffice.
* OS: Ideally Windows XP Pro, but not too bothered.
* Battery Life: Not a major factor for me, 2.5hrs would be nice but 1.5hrs would suffice, more than that is a bonus. I use a notebook on plugged in power while gaming as I need a flat surface for an external mouse.

Build and Design

The looks of this machine are aimed firmly at a certain demographic…boys who play games. I won't wax about the looks as you can see from the pictures, in short the looks suit me. I like the way it looks and I will enjoy the attention the green lights will bring.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Review: New MacBook is fast

The new MacBook competes on performance, price and features, one reviewer claims.

Announced last week, already on store shelves and measuring up well not only to its predecessor but to its big brothers in the MacBook Pro lineup, the new MacBook is even better value than the model it replaces. With a notable speed boost from the new Core 2 Duo processor, more standard RAM and larger hard drives, the MacBook arrived just ahead of the holiday shopping season. It's as if Christmas had arrived early.

A prediction: Apple will sell a ton of these, an expectation not at all lost on Apple bigwigs who rushed to tout their new consumer line as soon as it was released. Yes, they readily acknowledged, they wanted to get the updated model out before the holiday shopping season. That makes sense given the upsurge in sales of Apple's laptops this year.


Saturday, June 03, 2006

Dell Inspiron E1505 Notebook Computer for Home (Core Duo 1.66GHz/40GB/512MB)

The Dell Inspiron E1505 makes a good basic home or small-business laptop and has a solid set of multimedia capabilities, though comparable competitive models can be found at slightly lower price points.

Review Continued

Laptop Reviews

CNET review: Apple's 17-inch MacBook Pro is a dream (CNET rating: 7.3 out of 10)

"Following on the heels of the 15.4-inch MacBook Pro and replacing the 17-inch PowerBook G4, the 17-inch MacBook Pro delivers many of the same beloved features as its little sibling, such as a scrolling track pad, the Sudden Motion Sensor, and an excellent software package, and adds a huge, bright 17-inch display that's great for graphics work... Of course, such performance doesn't come cheap: the 17-inch MacBook Pro's default configuration costs $2,799 (upgrades on our review unit brought the price up to $3,099). But for graphics professionals and other Mac users who have money to spare, the 17-inch MacBook Pro is a dream," Michelle Thatcher reports for CNET Reviews. "With the MacBook Pro, Apple hasn't radically redesigned the PowerBook form factor, it has just made a few refinements to it. Measuring 15.4 inches wide, 10.4 inches deep, and 1 inch thick, the sleek, aluminum MacBook Pro looks very similar to the 17-inch PowerBook G4 it replaces. At 6.8 pounds, the 17-inch MacBook Pro is a hair lighter than its predecessor and the lightest laptop of its size on the market... For the sake of comparison, the Dell Inspiron E1705 weighs 8.2 pounds, while the Toshiba Qosmio G35 weighs 10.2 pounds."

"Though the keys are a bit shallow, they're comfortable to type on, and we love the keyboard's backlighting feature, which adjusts to changes in ambient light levels. We don't like that the keyboard is located 5.4 inches back from the laptop's front edge; we wish it were centered to encourage a more ergonomic typing position. The touch pad lets you scroll through long documents, Web pages, and spreadsheets by dragging two fingers down or across the pad, a terrific feature that's unique to Apple laptops," Thatcher writes. "The 17-inch MacBook Pro offers a decent selection of ports and connections, though it comes up a bit short of what you'll find on a similarly sized PC laptop, including the Inspiron E1705. That said, the MacBook Pro features three USB 2.0 ports; FireWire 400 and FireWire 800 ports; an ExpressCard slot; and a DVI port (VGA with included adapter) for connecting to an external monitor. It's also equipped with Bluetooth 2.0+EDR (enhanced data rate), and you can access the Internet via 802.11g Wi-Fi radio, and Gigabit Ethernet... Unlike most PC laptops, the MacBook Pro lacks a built-in media reader for flash memory cards, and there's no S-Video output or built-in modem--both of which the PowerBook had."

CNET's rating: "Very good" 7.3 out of 10, Average user rating: 9.0 out of 10.

Full review here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader "Cathy" for the heads up.]

MacDailyNews Take: Knocking 2.7 points off because of a made-up port issue is typical CNET. Hence the large discrepancy between the 9.0 user rating and CNET's 7.3 out of 10. Apple 17-inch MacBook Pro users who need a modem will get the $49 Apple USB modem. 17-inch MacBook Pro users who want a media reader will use the ExpressCard slot. 17-inch MacBook Pro users who want to output to S-video or Composite will use Apple's $19 DVI to Video Adapter. The Dell Inspiron E1705 to which CNET compares the MacBook Pro regarding ports comes with USB overkill (6 ports) and no FireWire 800 port. We'd rather have the MacBook Pro's FireWire 800 port, three


Laptop Review

Monday, May 22, 2006

Ars Technica reviews Apple MacBook

"On May 16, the MacBook replaced the nearly seven-year-old iBook and brought with it a new era of consumer-grade portables from Apple. For the first time since the clam-shell style iBooks were discontinued at the beginning of 2001 is an Apple portable available in more than one color. Apple has been toying with the idea of offering both black and white devices since the iPod nano and subsequently the video-capable iPod, and now they've begun offering their consumer-grade portable laptop, the predictably named MacBook, in similar glossy black and white models," Clint Ecker writes for Ars Technica. "An oft-bandied-about factoid is that if you were to configure the midlevel model to ship with an 80GB hard disk to match the high-end model, you'd still notice that it's approximately US$150 cheaper. The only difference is the color of the shell, of course. This is undoubtedly done on purpose and is the direct result of Apple's experience selling iPod and iPod nanos in two color options. It didn't take long for Apple, and casual observers of Apple's operations to notice that the black models were selling out faster. A lot faster. Obviously the demand for black Apple products is much higher than the white products, and Apple is simply responding as most companies would when faced by high demand for a product. People who are set on getting that black MacBook are going to have to wrestle with the US$150 artificial mark-up. Apple is banking that most people will willingly hand over even more cash to get a unique item."

Lets go over what is in every MacBook Pro that you won't be getting on the MacBook:
• Aluminum shell
• Lighted keyboard
• Ambient light sensor
• Auto-dimming display
• ExpressCard Port
• PCIe graphics system
• Higher-resolution display
• Matte display option
• Larger hard drive

The 17-inch version of the MacBook Pro goes a step further and adds a third USB 2.0 port and a FireWire 800 port. The price difference between a similarly configured MacBook and MacBook Pro (2.0GHz, 512MB, 80GB HD) comes to about US$650. Personally, I feel that the upgraded graphics, display resolution, expansion port, and lighting features are probably worth US$650 to people who need them, but since I do not, I'm very content to stick with my MacBook.

Ecker notes, "The MacBook comes standard with options to use two-finger scrolling (both vertically and horizontally) as well as a new option to use the presence of two fingers on the pad as a modifier for the mouse button. When holding two fingers on the track pad, the click can be interpreted as a right-click instead of a left-click. This feature is strangely absent from the 15" MacBook Pros but is intact on the 17" MacBook Pro and the MacBook."

"Apple's new consumer level laptop is full of new features (iSight, widescreen display, MagSafe power connector, optical audio connections, etc.) and the prices are reasonable. The machine's value is increased exponentially by Apple's foresight to sanction the installation of Windows XP alongside the venerable OS X. Being able to boot into Windows to check out a new Windows app or to play a fun Windows-only game makes me that much happier I made this purchase," Ecker writes. "For me, the MacBook is more than enough computer, but I'll get used to it. Apple has thrust themselves back into a state of competitiveness when it comes to the consumer laptop space, and even offers prospective users features that other computer manufacturers cannot. Someone who buys a Dell or HP laptop cannot legally or easily boot OS X and Windows, and other laptops just


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