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Configuration

The ASUS W2P00VB is based on the second-generation Centrino platform whose basic points have remained the same since the first Centrino, viz. a Pentium M processor, a mobile chipset with an integrated graphics core or with support of a discrete graphics controller and dedicated graphics memory, and a wireless network controller.

We think it’s going to be interesting to compare the technical characteristics and the test results of this notebook with those of an older platform. We took an ASUS W1J00Ga as an opponent to the W2P00VB.

So, both models are based on discrete chipsets: the ASUS W2P00VB on the i915PM (Alviso), and the ASUS W1J00Ga on the i855PM. Intel’s new mobile chipset i915PM supports the PCI Express bus with its increased bandwidth and the ability to turn some of the lanes off under low loads or in the sleep mode. Then, the ASUS W2P00VB employs a new ATI RADEON Mobility X600 controller with 64 megabytes of dedicated graphics memory and a PCI Express interface, while the ASUS W1J00Ga uses an ATI Mobility RADEON 9700 across an AGP interface, with 64MB memory.

More about the differences between these two machines, the central processor of the W2P00VB works with a 533MHz FSB (this is one of the improvements of the new version of the Centrino platform) whereas the W1J00Ga has a 400MHz FSB. The former uses DDR2 SDRAM clocked at 533MHz, and the latter works with DDR333 SDRAM. Each notebook has two memory slots preoccupied with two 512MB modules (the maximum supported memory amount is 2048MB). One of the slots is accessed from the bottom of the case. We couldn’t find the location of the second memory slot on either notebook.

Yet another innovation in the new Centrino, and accordingly in the ASUS W2P00VB, is the next-generation standard of integrated audio, Intel High Definition Audio. This is an important aspect since the reviewed notebook is intended for work and entertainment alike. That is, it is expected to serve for watching TV and video, for listening to music and for playing games, so the quality of the sound must be up to the mark. So, Intel’s HDA technology was developed for high-quality multi-channel recordings with support of 7.1 speaker systems. Such features as simultaneous playback of two audio streams and reproduction of older audio files in the 7.1 format are supported, too. This technology also provides for dynamic reassignment of audio ports (the function of a port is automatically adjusted depending on the device attached, so you can plug any audio device into any available port and the system will do the rest).

Cutting it brief, Intel’s High Definition Audio supports more audio channels of a higher quality than previous standards had. The following table compares it with the AC’97 standard:

AC’97

HAD

20-bit, 96kHz
stereo

32-bit, 192kHz
multi-channel

Fixed bandwidth

Dynamic bandwidth

Assigned DMA channel

General DMA channels

Codecs enumeration during BIOS boot-up

Software codecs enumeration (bus driver)

Limited codec configuration

Unlimited codec configuration

12MHz synchronic impulses provided by main codec

24MHz synchronic impulses provided by ICH6-M

No ISOCH support

ISOCH power saving functions

Besides the stereo speakers, both notebooks use a subwoofer for reproducing bass.

Unlike in the W1J00Ga, the optical drive in the W2P00VB is trayless, slit-loaded. Unfortunately, it proved to be rather noisy at work.

The cooling systems of the two notebooks, on the contrary, are very quiet. We measured the temperatures of the notebooks with an infrared thermometer as they were crunching through the Multimedia Content Creation Winstone 2004 test:

  • ASUS W2P00VB: 30°C top, 47°C bottom and 44°C on the output of the cooling system
  • ASUS W1J00Ga: 36°C top, 42°C bottom and 39°C on the output of the cooling system
 
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