Articles: Mobile

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Every thing goes from young and mature to old and obsolete and so notebooks based on the first-generation Centrino platform began to lag behind in terms of functionality and technical characteristics. At the beginning of 2005, with a short delay from the schedule, Intel introduced its more advanced mobile platform codenamed Sonoma that included Dothan-core processors, a tri-band wireless network adapter PRO/Wireless 2915ABG (or a dual-band PRO/Wireless 2200BG for countries where the 802.11a range is prohibited for public use) and modified chipsets of the 915 family that had already been used in desktop PCs.

The notebook-oriented chipsets 915PM, 915GM, 915GMS and 910GML feature all modern interfaces, including those that have hitherto been unavailable for notebook users (like PCI Express and Serial ATA). The 910GML chipset is specifically meant for inexpensive notebooks with the Celeron processor. The 915GM and 915PM are in fact the same thing, but the former has an integrated graphics core. They both have a PCI Express x16 controller for a discrete graphics adapter. The North Bridge has a 533MHz front-side bus and the integrated dual-channel memory controller supports both DDR1 and DDR2 memory types. The North Bridges are coupled with a mobile modification of the ICH6 South Bridge. The typical power dissipation of the 915GM and 915PM is 5.5W and 6W, respectively, but when it comes to building an ultra-portable model and every watt of power is critical the 915GMS chipset with a heat dissipation of 4.8W is employed. This latter chipset is meant for Pentium M processors of the Low Voltage and Ultra Low Voltage modifications. Its FSB frequency is lowered to 400MHz and its memory controller is single-channel and supports DDR2-400 only.

The sub-notebook I am about to discuss today – Samsung’s updated Q30 model with the Plus suffix – is based on the 915GMS chipset and the Intel Pentium M 733 ULV processor (Dothan core, 1.1GHz clock rate). You may remember that we have recently tested the older Q30 model on our site (without the “Plus” in its name), so what’s the difference between them? The platform! The Q30 Plus is based on the Sonoma platform, while the Q30, on the first-generation Centrino with an 855 series chipset. The Plus model also features Intel’s newer graphics controller called Graphics Media Accelerator 900 (or GMA 900) as opposed to the Q30’s Extreme Graphics 2.

Besides subjectively appreciating the usability qualities of the Samsung Q30 Plus sub-notebook in this review, I will also compare its battery life with that of the older model (for details see our article called Your A4-Size Business Companion: Choosing the Best Compact Notebook. Part I) to see which mobile platform from Intel is more voracious in terms of power consumption. I will also take the results of the recently tested Sony VAIO VGN-T2XRP/S (for details see our article called Small but Stylish: SONY VAIO VGN-T2XRP-S Notebook Review), configured much alike to the Samsung Q30 Plus, to see the difference between the two implementations of the Centrino platform as well as between the two generations of integrated graphics from Intel.

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