When you are choosing for a portable computer, you have to consider a lot of various factors. If you are spending most of your life traveling, you will surely want a small and light sub-notebook, but for other applications such parameters as the size of the display and overall performance may be more important, making you choose from among larger models. Large notebooks are also “colder” because it is easier to take heat away from the components in a large case. And what’s very important about full-size notebooks is that they are still portable. As opposed to desktop computers, you can carry them about, even though spending more effort than with ultra-portable models.
Our today’s guest is the Acer Aspire 9303WSMi notebook, a sturdy 17-incher that offers both high performance and mobility. This model’s special feature we haven’t yet met with in our tests is the dual-core processor for notebooks from AMD.
The AMD Turion 64 X2 is the first mobile dual-core CPU that supports both 32-bit and 64-bit computing and is compatible with Microsoft’s 64-bit Windows Vista operating system (Intel’s new processors on the Merom core have the same features, but were announced a few months later).
Socket 754, utilized for the single-core Turion 64, is now replaced with Socket S1:
The following table shows the differences between AMD’s mobile solutions:
The crucial thing is that the new CPU has two execution cores. This is implemented in AMD’s classic way: each core has its own L2 cache and communicates with the other core via an internal bus. In this respect the Turion 64 X2 design seems to be inferior to Intel’s Core Duo in which the cores have a larger and shared L2 cache that simplifies communication between the cores and disables unused cache blocks to save power. The Turion 64 X2 allows its cores to be managed independently. This technology is called Multi-core Power Management. AMD Digital Media XPress technology means that this CPU supports MMX, 3DNow!, SSE, SSE2 and SSE3 instruction sets (the same sets as are supported by Intel’s CPUs except for AMD’s proprietary 3DNow!). The memory controller has been taught to work with DDR2 SDRAM with clock rates from 400MHz to 667MHz. It now also supports dual-channel mode, thus providing a peak memory bandwidth of 10.7GB/s.
The model nomenclature hasn’t changed much. The letter T stands for two cores and the rest is the same: the numbers denote the CPU frequency and the letter indicates the TDP. We’ve got the TL52 model in which the letter L means a heat dissipation of no higher than 35W (and the power dissipation this particular model is only 31W). AMD prices its products somewhat lower than Intel does, but Intel offers a whole platform while AMD, only the CPU.
And this CPU demands a special chipset. It is Nvidia’s GeForce Go 6100 in our notebook and we’ll talk about it below. Right now we will examine the notebook from all sides and will then test it in comparison with the ASUS V6J, which is based on Intel’s Yonah-core 1.66GHz Core Duo processor, has a little less of system memory, and is equipped with a similar graphics subsystem (for details see our article called ASUS V6J Notebook on Intel Dual-Core Processor).