There are things that endure and are better left unchanged whatever current fashion dictates because they are just good as they already are. These words can be said about the A6 series of portable computers manufactured by ASUS.
The classic and restrained exterior of this series has remained mostly intact whereas its hardware stuffing has been changing dramatically. The A6 series has tried on almost all the processors meant for use in notebooks. About a year ago we tested the ASUS A6Q00K model that was based on the then-new Turion 64 processor from AMD, the first processor from this company that was developed specifically for mobile computers. A6 series notebooks with Intel’s Pentium M and Celeron M inside are still selling, too. So it might have been expected that ASUS wouldn’t wait for long to update its popular and rather affordable series after the early 2006 release of the Napa platform. Several models on the new dual- and single-core processors from Intel – Core Duo and Core Solo, respectively – were soon available in shops.
But while the dual-core Napa is pressing upon and ousting older single-core solutions, the new Intel Core Solo has remained in the shadow. We want now to fill the informational vacuum by testing a portable computer from the A6 series that is based on the Core Duo’s single-core brother. Its model name is ASUS A6Q00Jc011.
When the multithreaded environment oriented series of CPUs was introduced to the public, the 1.66GHz Core Solo, the only single-core Yonah-based processor then announced, was regarded as nothing more but an analog of the Celeron M. In other words, as a cheap or value product with a number of innovations associated with the Napa platform missing.
However, the Intel Core Solo turned to be a full-fledged 65nm processor that supports all the technologies implemented in the whole new CPU series that can be applied to a single core, namely: the time-tested power-saving technology Enhanced Intel SpeedStep that allows reducing the CPU clock rate under low loads; the new technology Dynamic Cache Sizing which turns off idle sections of the cache memory; the so-called Intel Digital Media Burst (this means that besides the SSE and SSE2 instruction sets, the Core Solo supports SSE3 whose 13 new instructions are widely used in multimedia applications and in modern 3D games). This CPU is supplied along with Intel’s Calistoga 945GM/PM chipsets and Intel’s WLAN adapters PRO/Wireless 3945BG or 3945ABG. The single-core platform is codenamed Napa, and notebooks based on it carry the traditional “Intel Centrino” logo or the “Intel Core Solo inside” sticker.
The Intel Core Solo is meant for users who didn’t need to run multithreaded applications but want to have a high-performance processor with support for the most advanced mobile technologies of today. The single-core processor is unlikely to become more popular than the Core Duo because the lack of the dual-core capabilities is not fully compensated by the 15% difference in price and the slightly lower power consumption (the latter parameter is only different when the Core Duo uses both its cores simultaneously; otherwise its power consumption is roughly on the same level). So, it seems the Core Solo is going to be demanded mostly in cheapest notebooks where the manufacturer tries to save just on everything.
First I’ll give you a brief overview of the exterior design of the ASUS A6Q00Jc011 (for note: the letter “Q” denotes the type of the matrix; the letter “J” means the Napa platform; the letter “c” is indicative of an Nvidia graphics adapter). Then I will compare its performance with that of the ASUS V6X00J we’ve recently tested in our labs (for details see our article called ASUS V6J Notebook on Intel Dual-Core Processor) – it has a 1.66GHz processor and an Intel Calistoga 945PM chipset, too, and a lot of other similarities in configuration. The main difference between these two notebooks is the number of CPU cores. The ASUS V6X00J has an Intel Core Duo inside.