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Widescreen Notebooks: More Than Just Expensive DVD Players?

A Look At Our Test Candidates

We asked the vendors to send us their latest notebooks that had a 15.4" widescreen display, a dedicated PCIe graphics chip and a Pentium-M CPU. Notebooks with this mix of equipment are well-suited for a broad spectrum of usages. Whether the device is to be used as a desktop replacement for everyday work, as a portable video player or for gaming - depending on the graphics chip - this class of devices is a jack of all trades.

Prices range from $1,500 for a Gateway M460XLb, to $1,600 for Dell's Inspiron 6000 on up to a hefty $1,900 for the Acer TM8103WLMi. In the following report we will see what the differences are between the devices and whether the price differential is justified.

Manufacturer
Model
Acer
TravelMate 8103WLMi
Dell
Inspiron 6000
Gateway
M460
URLwww.acer.comwww.dell.comwww.gateway.com
Type2-Spindle / Modular2-Spindle / All in one2-Spindle / Modular
Dimensions (WxHxD)14.37 x 1.57 x 10.43"
36.5 x 4 x 26.5cm
14.09 x 1.69 x 10.39"
35.8 x 4.3 x 26.4cm
14.17 x 1.49 x 11.3"
36.0 x 3.8 x 28.7cm
Weight (unit + battery)6.75lbs
3063g
7.22lbs
3279g
7.29lbs
3311g (battery I + II)
Weight (battery)0.96lb
439g
0.83lb
378g
1.37lbs/622g - 0.66lbs/299g (battery I - II)
Weight (charger + cable)0.87lb
398g
0.93lb
425g
1.102lbs
500g
Weight (drives)n/an/a0.459lbs
208g (DVD-Drive)
Weight all7.72lbs
3502g
8.16lbs
3704g
8.86lbs
4019g
Battery I CapacityLi-Ion 8 cells (14.8V,4800mAh,71Wh)Li-Ion 6 cells (11.1V,4800mAh,53Wh)Li-Ion 12 cells (14.4V 6600mAh 95Wh)
Battery II Capacityn/an/aLi-Ion 6 cells (10.8V 3600mAh 39Wh)
AC adapter65W65W90W
Pointing Device(s)TouchpadTouchpadTouchpad + Stick
Display and Graphics Controller
Display Size15.4"
39.1 cm
15.4"
39.1 cm
15.4"
39.1 cm
Display Resolution1680 x 10501680 x 10501280 x 800
Graphics controllerATI Radeon X700ATI Radeon X300ATI Radeon X600
Core clock375.75 MHz216 MHz398.25 MHz
Memory128 MB GDDR3128 MB GDDR3128 MB GDDR3
Memory clock297 MHz DDR216 MHz DDR249.75 MHz DDR
System
BIOS:3C19 (03/01/05)A05 (02/23/2005)60.1 (01/13/2005)
CPU:Intel Pentium-M 750
(1.87 GHZ, 2 MB L2-Cache, FSB533)
Intel Pentium-M 740
(1.73 GHz, 2 MB L2-Cache, FSB533)
Intel Pentium-M 750
(1.87 GHz, 2 MB L2-Cache, FSB533)
Chipset (Northbridge)Intel 915 PM (Rev. 3)Intel 915 PM (Rev. 3)Intel 915 PM (Rev. 3)
Chipset (Southbridge)ICH6-M (82801FBM)ICH6-M (82801FBM)ICH6-M (82801FBM)
Memory:2x 256 MB DDR2-400 (Dual Channel)
Micron (CL 4.0-4-4-12)
2x 512 MB DDR2-400 (Dual Channel)
Micron (CL3.0-4-4-4)
2x 256 MB DDR2-400 (Dual Channel)
Samsung
Drives
Hard drive:HitachiHitachiHitachi
Model:IC25N080ATMR04-0IC25N080ATMR04-0HTS548080M9AT00
Size:80 GB80 GB80 GB
Performance:(P-ATA / 4200 rpm/ 8 MB/ 12 ms)(P-ATA / 4200 rpm/ 8 MB/ 12 ms)(P-ATA / 5400 rpm/ 8 MB/ 12 ms)
Optical drive:MATSHITA DVD-RAM UJ-831SNIC DVD+-RW ND-6500AQSI SDW-082
DVD (DVD/+R/+RW/RAM/+DL):(8x/4x/4x/4x/2.4x)(8x/4x/4x/4x/2.4x)(8x/8x/8x/8x/4x)
CD (CD/R/RW):(24x/24x/16x)(24x/24x/16x)(24x/24x/8x)
Floppy Drivenonenonenone
Hard drive bay2.5", 9.5 mm height2.5", 9.5 mm height2.5", 9.5 mm height
Card-Reader:O2Micro (Chip-Card),SD, MMC, MS, MSProSD, MMC, MS, MSProSD, MMC, MS, MSPro
Connectors
PS2 Mouse/Keyboardnone / nonenone / nonenone / none
USB 2.03x (R) 1x (L)2x (R) 2x (B)4x (R)
IEEE1394/Firewire1x (L)1x (R)1x (R)
Serial COM Portnonenonenone
Parallel LPT Portnonenonenone
Microphoneyesnoneyes
IR portyes (F)nonenone
Bluetooth-Radioyesyesnone
VGA / DVI out1x (B) / 1x (B)1x (B) / none1x (B) / none
TV out1x (B) S-Video1x (B) S-Video1x (R) S-Video
AC Poweryes (R)yes (R)yes (B)
PC-Card Slot(s)1x (L)1x (R)1x (R)
LAN CableBroadcom NetXtreme 57xx GBitBroadcom 440x GBitBroadcom NetXtreme 57xx GBit
LAN WirelessIntel Wireless Pro 2915ABGIntel Wireless Pro 2915ABGIntel Wireless Pro 2200BG
AudioMic (F) Headphone (F)
Realtek (High Definition Audio)
Mic (F) Headphone
Sigmatel C-Marjor
Mic (F) Headphone (F)
Conexant AMC
Modem1x (L)
SoftV92 Data Fax Modem
High Definition Audio Bus
1x
Soft Conexant D110 MDC V9.X
Soft Data Fax Modem
Software
OSWindows XP ProfessionalWindows XP ProfessionalWindows XP Professional
SoftwareNorton AntiVirus 2004
NTI CD Maker
Power DVD
Plantinum Secret
Microsoft Works 7.0
Paint Shop Pro 8
Mc Afee Firewall, Virus, Security
Sonic DVD Record NOW
Power DVD
B=Back side, F=Front, L=Left side, R=Right Side