Centrino Duo dual-core notebooks
The first wave of Centrino Duo notebooks has arrived in Australia. We show you which ones deserve your cash.
Last month we saw the potential of Intel’s new Core Duo chip, which sported two Pentium M cores that share 2MB of Level 2 cache - all the while averaging just one Watt of power consumption. The first notebooks we saw then were very high end and put the performance of Intel’s best desktop processors to shame. However, only a few models are yet available in Australia and we’ve got most of them here.
This month’s offerings range in price from $2237 to $3199. All but the 17in Toshiba have 15in screens and all weigh around 3kg. As such, they can all be considered mid-range notebooks - there are no ultra portables and no break-away power demons. In fact, none of them sport exciting 3D graphics chips either so we’ve treated any 3D performance as a bonus feature point this month, rather than calculating a quantitative benchmark. Despite the lack of 3D, these are still some very powerful notebooks for the money. If you want to do some heavy number crunching or some serious encoding on the move, these offer better performance than many desktop PCs on the market.
But most people will simply see the benefits of dual-core notebooks through their greater responsiveness. Even with today’s widelyavailable and powerful machines, the bane of ‘hanging’ computers, which are struggling to do two things at once, are still a common sufferance. Dual-core greatly reduces this.
We’ve also included an AMD rival. AMD doesn’t have anything to compare to the portable power of Intel’s dual-core mobile chips yet, but its desktop dual-core processors are something else. This month Pioneer sent us a notebook which uses AMD’s super fast X2 4800+ dual core processor. But will it perform as well in a laptop as on a PC? Check out the special review in this feature.
But before flicking on to the award winner, be sure to read How We Test to find out what we threw at each machine before handing over the laurels. Also, don’t forget to check out the Feature Table at the end of the feature for a thorough rundown of what each notebook manufacturer provides.
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This Group Test appeared in the April, 2006 issue of PC & Tech Authority Magazine