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AMD's Fastest Mobile Dual-Core

Okay, so that's not technically accurate: as of this writing there's a 45-watt Phenom II X620 BE running at 3.1GHz, but I challenge our readership to find a notebook employing that chip. That leaves us with the L645D enjoying the mobile equivalent of an Athlon II X2 250, a $60 desktop chip that still offers enough horsepower to do general computing fairly comfortably. Remember that AMD is the reigning budget champion on the desktop. So that said, can a 3GHz AMD chip close the gap with Intel's hardware?

The two main take-aways here are that at 3GHz, AMD can at least hang with the i3-370M for the most part, and that AMD's mobile tri-core and quad-core chips were probably ill-advised. The extra headroom afforded by only having two cores allows the N660's 3GHz core clock to meet or beat the P920 with its four 1.6GHz cores and the N830 with its three 2.1GHz cores in even heavily threaded workloads. Ultimately the N660 is going to seem a little slow by comparison, but it's still offering a healthy amount of performance for most tasks and I wouldn't be completely aggravated doing more processor-intensive work (like video editing) on it.

Unfortunately, though the extra 800MHz on the processor gives the L645D a leg up on Sony's EE34, the HD 4200/4250 starts to show its age again. Intel's HD graphics in the Dell Latitude post numbers on par with it in most disciplines (beating it soundly in 3DMark Vantage), but when we get to actual game testing we'll find that to be less the case.

This is where it would be good to point out that Toshiba loses one of the main points of leverage AMD's integrated graphics have over Intel's solutions: driver quality. As Jarred has mentioned in the past (and it does bear repeating), Toshiba has inexplicably opted out of AMD's mobile driver program, leaving you at their mercy. Sony doesn't get off any lighter: they opted out, too. There's really no good reason for this (especially since downloading the actual driver on another machine and then installing it on these notebooks still works), and it actively sabotages one of the strongest aspects of AMD's graphics hardware.

 

Lose the Gloss, Toshiba Still Not Enough to Game
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  • ET - Saturday, March 12, 2011 - link

    It's not as if even E-350 graphics are all that great. It's hardly enough to run modern games at low settings. Maybe the Brazos gets a D, the 4250 a D-. "Terrible graphics" may be a little strong, but not terribly off the mark. Older generation Intel graphics would get an F, though the newest generation beat the 4250 in most game tests in this review.

    And don't get me wrong, I think that the E-350 is a good compromise of performance, price and power, and I think that its graphics are a decent match for the underpowered CPU. I even bought a Thinkpad X120e and I intend to play games on it. But honestly, a powerful CPU really should be accompanied by a decent GPU. Hopefully Llano will see to that. The 4250, even if it's better than older Intel IGP's, isn't a decent GPU.
    Reply
  • ET - Sunday, March 13, 2011 - link

    My mistake regarding Intel IGP. I looked at the HD Graphics instead of 3000. Now that I took a second look, it's clear that even older gen Intel IGP (HD Graphics) are faster than the 4250 in most games, and current gen destroy both 4250 and E-350's 6310. So yet, 4250 is terrible. :) Reply
  • notanakin - Wednesday, March 09, 2011 - link

    I'm just wondering what the point of the Blu-ray drive is - surely this is not a machine for viewing Blu-ray disks, given the poor screen and size. And does anyone store/backup onto Blu-ray? Reply
  • Meaker10 - Wednesday, March 09, 2011 - link

    HDMI output, its a mobile bluray player for hooking up to a decent TV. Or watching on the go since the screen is still better than DVD quality. Reply
  • Shadowmaster625 - Wednesday, March 09, 2011 - link

    There was no mention of how quiet this thing is when playing blu rays. Reply
  • Ushio01 - Wednesday, March 09, 2011 - link

    You can now get a blu-ray player for less than $50 Toshiba can easily buy them for far less than that. This year blu-ray will become a commodity for notebook's rather than an option. Reply
  • piroroadkill - Thursday, March 10, 2011 - link

    Try and find slim laptop drives that are that price. Reply
  • ET - Wednesday, March 09, 2011 - link

    was the mention of Jarred working on low end gaming benchmarks. I'm looking forward to that very much.

    Anyway, looks like decent value for money as long as you don't want any gaming. I agree that I'd love to see higher res as standard at 14" and up. 1600x900 would be more reasonable at 14". Still, I'm not really in the market for such a laptop, and at 11.6" this resolution is decent.
    Reply
  • mino - Wednesday, March 09, 2011 - link

    Second this! Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, March 09, 2011 - link

    So, here's the full game list I'm using. Some are newer but not too demanding, others are quite old. Can anyone recommend one more title, so I end up with a nice, round 20? LOL... Comments are welcome:

    Batman: Arkham Asylum
    Battlefield 2
    Civilization IV
    Civilization V
    Company of Heroes
    Crysis: Warhead
    Fallout 3
    Far Cry
    FEAR (original)
    Half-Life 2
    Half-Life 2: Episode Two
    Minecraft
    Oblivion
    Quake 4
    STALKER (original)
    Supreme Commander
    Torchlight
    Unreal Tournament 3
    World of Warcraft
    Reply

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