The next table summarizes the technical characteristics of the reviewed notebooks:
Testbed and Methods
The notebook’s hard drive was formatted in NTFS before the tests. Then we installed Microsoft Windows XP Professional SP2 with DirectX 9.0c, system drivers (from the included CD), and Windows Media Encoder 9.0 with Windows Media Player 9.0. By the way, we couldn’t use Windows XP SP1 because its power management system fails to work correctly with a dual-core processor.
The following settings were used in the tests:
- Power-saving services – Off
- Audio subsystem – Off
- Network services – Off
- Maximum screen brightness
- Maximum resolution of the display selected (1400х1050)
- Windows Taskbar is Unlocked
- Windows Taskbar hides automatically
- Classic Desktop theme
- No background image on the Desktop
- No screensaver
- Pop-ups blocked
- Security level set to Low
Two power modes were used. First, we selected the Always On power mode for the maximum performance and the shortest battery life. Then we switched to the Max Battery mode for the maximum battery run-down time.
- Performance benchmarks: synthetic (SiSoftware Sandra 2005, PCMark 2004), office and multimedia (Business Winstone 2004, Multimedia Content Creation Winstone 2004), and games (3DMark 2003 3.60, Quake 3, Unreal Tournament 2003)
- Battery life tests (Battery Eater Pro 2.60)
There are three test modes in Battery Eater:
- Classic – the system bears the maximum and evenly distributed load
- Reader’s test (the pages are browsed through each 15 seconds)
- Idle mode
I used the first two modes as they are in Battery Eater, but in the Idle mode (when the test utility doesn’t put any load of its own on the notebook) I played a DVD movie.