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The appearance of the Centrino platform turned out a kind of catalyst for the tremendous growth of the notebook market. Manufacturers were eager to grasp at the Intel’s bundle including a processor, chipset and wireless network controller. Intel’s Centrino technology is the today’s most advanced solution for the mobile PCs. This solution consists of a special mobile processor, core logic and a chip for wireless 802.11 network optimized and tested for working together smoothly. Besides the wireless capabilities, it allows developing thinner and lighter notebooks that can last longer on their own batteries – that’s a new unprecedented level of mobile performance.

Today we are going to take a look at a Centrino-based solution, the ABS Zensation Z3 notebook. If you haven’t yet heard about ABS Computer Technologies Company as a notebook supplier, I would like to say that this Californian company assembles and sells PCs since 1990. Also note that the notebooks shipped by ABS today are not manufactured by ABS completely. For example, the reviewed notebook is based around the ASUS M3N platform – I guess it is a more popular name among the users. ABS’ warranty covers the notebook at large as well as its components and you can get technical support on a 24/7 basis. So ABS Zensation Z3 boasts a good breeding and the owners of this system won’t find themselves facing technical problems unaided.

Cutting it short, the ABS Zensation Z3 is a mobile computer that combines good performance with elegant simplicity. Its high-performance Pentium M processor, good graphics of the Intel 855GM chipset and integrated WLAN controller come to you at $1359. The company serves this product for young businessmen who value stylish design, high performance, network opportunities and long autonomous work. Let’s now discuss the offer from ABS Computer Technologies in greater detail.

Specifications and Accessories

As ABS Zensation Z3 is based on Centrino technology, let’s take a look at its two constituents: the Pentium M processor and the i855 chipset.

Intel’s Pentium M features a new micro-architecture optimized for mobile PCs and ensuring high performance and low power consumption. In other words, your notebook will work longer on its own batteries. The key points of the new architecture are: Micro-ops Fusion for faster execution, Advanced Branch Prediction for better prediction results and a Dedicated Stack Manager for reducing the total amount of micro-ops. Each of these innovations brings such benefits as higher performance and lower power consumption.

Intel manufactures this 77-million-transistor CPU using the advanced 0.13-micron technological process. Its “mobile” nature shows itself in the power-optimized 400MHz FSB, the power-economical 1MB L2 cache that can disable idle blocks, and other special functions for low overall power consumption. The processor supports streaming SSE2 SIMD-extensions and the improved Intel SpeedStep technology that allows choosing between several operational frequencies and voltages.

i855 chipset family includes two models specifically designed for mobile PCs: the i855PM is intended to work with an external graphics card, while the i855GM contains an integrated graphics core called “Intel Extreme Graphics 2”. The new chipsets also support the improved Intel SpeedStep technology and the Deeper Sleep mode and feature an integrated timer that automatically turns off the chipset’s clock generator when the chipset is idle. Intel 855GM chipset can also switch its graphics subsystem into a low power consumption mode. Both chipsets support the I/O Hub architecture, up to 2GB of DDR266 SDRAM, the USB 2.0 bus and the 400MHz FSB.

And here is the list of the particular characteristics of the ABS Zensation Z3:

  • Intel Centrino Mobile Technology;
  • Intel Pentium M processor (Banias) with a frequency of up to 1.7MHz;
  • Intel 855GM+ICH4 (Montara) integrated chipset;
  • 14.1” XGA display (1024x768 resolution);
  • Up to 64MB of the system RAM can be allotted for graphics memory (Intel GM Graphics Controller);
  • SO-DIMM DDR266 memory expandable to 1GB (max 2 modules, 512MB each);
  • Hard disk drive with up to 80GB storage capacity (UltraDMA/100);
  • No floppy drive;
  • Modular optical drive DVD-R/RW, CD-RW/DVD Combo (8x 24x/10x/24x), DVD-ROM (8x) + “hot swap”;
  • Integrated V.90 56K modem;
  • 10/100 BaseT LAN integrated wired network;
  • Wireless network: Intel PRO/Wireless LAN 2100 or EnGenius Technologies Dual Band Wireless Adapter 802.11g/b;
  • I/O ports: 4 USB 2.0, 1 IEEE1394, 1 PCMCIA Type II, IrDA, VGA, SPDIF, headphones, microphone, parallel and one PortBar III (68-pin connector);
  • Power-saving technology, ASUS Power4Gear;
  • A touchpad with scroll buttons and the lock function;
  • AC’97 stereo sound with 3D effects;
  • 19V, 3.42amp, 65W power adapter;
  • Battery life: up to 5 hours (up to 8 hours with an additional battery);
  • 4/2.5hrs battery recharge time (with the notebook turned off/on);
  • 309x254x29mm dimensions;
  • 2.27kg weight.
 
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