Driven by the tough market competition, notebook manufacturers are looking harder into the existing niches to find some free space to wedge one more product into. As a result of such exploration, the class of slim & light portable computers has emerged among traditional mobile devices. They differ from sub-notebooks with their larger screen (a diagonal of over 10-12”) and a powerful enough hardware configuration. In comparison with large notebooks, they are lighter and smaller, but deliver almost the same performance, except that they usually have an integrated rather than discrete graphics core inside. A slim notebook makes a good companion on any trip, providing the opportunity of comfortable work without much eye strain or long file-load times.
A sample of a notebook from the Taiwanese brand ASUS with such characteristics came to our labs for tests. The ASUS W6F model is a dual-core reincarnation of the older ASUS W6A. The W6 series was initially positioned as mobile and high-performance, and the tuned-up new model is a worthy continuation of the line. The new mobile platform codenamed Napa brought about a considerable improvement in performance while keeping the mobility and battery life parameters on the same level. In its hardware configuration the ASUS W6F stands close to the ASUS V6J model we’ve recently tested on our site (for details see our article called ASUS V6J Notebook on Intel Dual-Core Processor) – I’ll take its results for the sake of comparison in the Performance section.
The only significant difference of the new model is that it uses Graphics Media Accelerator 950, a new integrated graphics core from Intel. Compared with the previous Accelerator (GMA 900 which is used widely as part of the Sonoma platform), GMA 950 supports higher memory and core frequencies. The new core also supports more memory, now up to 224MB, allocated dynamically by means of Dynamic Video Memory 3.0 technology. Everything else has remained the same. GMA 950 has 4 pixel pipelines and can map 4 textures per clock cycle. Like GMA 900, the new core supports Pixel Shader 2.0 whereas Vertex Shader 3.0 and T&L are executed on the CPU. GMA 950 (and GMA 900 too) are fully DirectX 9 compatible, though. More information about this graphics core can be found here.
And now let’s have a closer look at the ASUS W6F (W6K00F01 model).