This is not the first 'desknote' that we've reviewed (see Protac DeskNote, June 2002, page 37) but in our estimation the Aspire 1703SC is the first system that truly expounds the virtues of true desknote-ism.
A desknote is part notebook, part desktop but not quite either. They're notebook-like in that they feature much of the same design and aesthetics as notebooks (and sometimes share hardware), but desktop-like in that they're more powerful than a notebook and lack batteries, requiring mains electricity to run. This means that a desknote is a portable desktop.
Where the Protac DeskNote was a really chunky notebook without a battery, the Aspire 1703SC is, well, huge. You certainly couldn't get away with a 17in TFT panel in a portable at the moment, but in a desknote it suits perfectly.
Inside, the unit has a 2.66GHz Pentium 4 with 256MB of RAM (although 64MB of this is shared with the video), an 80GB hard drive, a DVD/CD-RW combo drive and SiS M650 graphics. With this base configuration the unit was unable to ace the 3DMark2001 SE Pro test, with a score of 1,081, but it did passably in SYSmark2002 proving to be capable of some business nous.
Plenty of configuration options are available or coming soon however, so you can up the ante to, at press time, a 3.06GHz P4, 1GB RAM, 120GB HD, and NVIDIA GeForce4 448 Go graphics. Coming soon are NVIDIA FX 5600 and 5900 cards, although these are specially built and not off-the-shelf jobs. This said, the base configuration is priced at only $2,999 and is user upgradeable in part (such as CPU and hard drive).
The Aspire 1703SC is a groundbreaking machine. The 17in display looks gorgeous, and it's a delight to use for work and play – even if it's too heavy to be truly portable.