Introducing the Toshiba Satellite P755D

While the launch of Trinity isn't too far away, it's important to remember there are still plenty of Llano notebooks available today with a lot to offer on their own. AMD's APU may be weak on the processor performance side, but the GPU side achieves something Intel historically couldn't touch: decent gaming performance at a budget price.

The problem now is that with Ivy Bridge also due soon, Sandy Bridge-based notebooks are going at fire sale prices while any of NVIDIA's 500 series graphics that haven't been rebranded also need to be purged, resulting in a substantial number of notebooks with gaming potential hanging out in Llano's neighborhood. Toshiba's Satellite P755D features AMD's fastest 35-watt Llano processor and a Blu-ray drive at a reasonably low price, but is it still going to be competitive?

As product lines age, parts get refreshed and good deals begin to appear near the end of a generation of hardware in preparation for the premiums that the next generation often commands. The same can be said for the Satellite P755D; the review unit we have on hand is essentially where the AMD-equipped versions of Toshiba's P750 series peak, condensed down to one model to make room for the new blood due over the next few months.

Toshiba Satellite P755D Specifications
Processor AMD A8-3520M
(4x1.6GHz, Turbo to 2.5GHz, 32nm, 4MB L2, 35W)
Chipset AMD A68M
Memory 1x4GB Samsung DDR3-1333 and 1x2GB Samsung DDR3-1333 (Maximum 2x8GB)
Graphics AMD Radeon HD 6620G
(400 Stream Processors, 444MHz core clock)
Display 15.6" LED Glossy 16:9 768p
LG Philips LP156WH4-TLA1
Hard Drive(s) Toshiba MK-6475GSX 640GB 5400RPM SATA 3Gbps HDD
Optical Drive TSST TS-LB23D BD-ROM/DVD-RAM
Networking Atheros AR9002WB 802.11b/g/n
Realtek PCIe Gigabit Ethernet
Bluetooth 3.0
Audio Realtek ALC269 HD Audio
Stereo speakers
Headphone and mic jacks
Battery 6-Cell, 11.1V, 47Wh
Front Side SD Card Reader
Right Side Headphone and mic jacks
2x USB 2.0
Optical drive
AC adaptor
Kensington lock
Left Side Exhaust vent
VGA
Ethernet jack
HDMI
USB 3.0
USB 2.0
Back Side -
Operating System Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit SP1
Dimensions 13.4" x 9.01" x 1.1-1.4"
340mm x 229mm x 28-36mm
Weight 5.4 lbs
2.45kg
Extras Webcam
USB 3.0
Blu-ray reader
Harmon/kardon speakers
Warranty 1-year limited
Pricing $699 MSRP
S
tarting at $678 Online

As I mentioned before, AMD's A8-3520M is the fastest APU in their mobile lineup before jumping up to the 45W TDP chips. This is a fully equipped Llano chip featuring all four cores running at a nominal 1.6GHz and able to turbo up to 2.5GHz depending on the workload and thermals. The GPU half sports the full 400 shaders, 20 texture units, and 8 ROPs, and shares a 128-bit dual-channel DDR3-1333-specced memory bus with the CPU half.

Toshiba's other big selling point with the P755D is offering a Blu-ray reader at a price the competition generally just doesn't. While this may not be of use to many users, I can tell you that I've known at least a few people who have deliberately sought out Blu-ray drives for their notebooks. Toshiba knows about those customers, and I get the feeling that the P755D is geared towards serving them specifically.

The rest of the notebook is pretty par for the course for an entry-level system, but thankfully USB 3.0 is at least becoming increasingly pervasive. It's joined by three USB 2.0 ports, HDMI, VGA, and an ethernet jack, but the battery is the kind of middling-capacity hardware you'd expect from a notebook in this end of the market. You'll also have to cope with Toshiba's slow 5,400-RPM 640GB mechanical hard drive, which gets the job done but is definitely going to be the bottom rung on the performance ladder.

Where things get a bit sketchy is that $699 price tag. Fire sale Sandy Bridge notebooks have resulted in systems from Lenovo (never thought I'd see the day the vendor of ThinkPads would aggressively chase the bottom dollar) and Acer with i5 processors and dedicated NVIDIA graphics coming in $30 to $80 below the Satellite on NewEgg. The flipside is that none of those notebooks feature a Blu-ray drive, and while that accessory is going to be of questionable value to a lot of users there's a subset that will be willing to take the performance hit to get that flexibility.

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  • mtoma - Thursday, April 12, 2012 - link

    Hello!
    You keep saying that you put first a good display, an you show us many specific part numbers of some displays, and their respective manufacturer: AU Optronics, LG, Philips, and so on.
    Where you get those specific informations about the displays? How can I get the same info about my laptop/display?
    And, how/where I can calibrate some monitors (laptop/deskto, doesn't matter)?
    Thank you!
    Reply
  • jamawass - Thursday, April 12, 2012 - link

    Ok, great progress with that reply. Also since the blu-ray rom is the selling point in this otherwise mediocre laptop could you have mentioned what blu ray software it ships with? I presume audio would be 2.0 and not 5.1/7.1 with bitstreaming over hdmi and what would be the options to upgrade to these capabilities? Is the picture quality over hdmi same as the reference platform? What's the battery life with blu ray playback? Thanks Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, April 12, 2012 - link

    See, now you're getting somewhere: specific questions that we could answer. I'll have to defer to Dustin here, but my guess is the software is an OEM tool, perhaps with tweaks. Toshiba in the past has had reasonable Blu-ray software when I tested an A660 series, but very likely you'd need to shell out for and/or download additional software to get full bitstreaming capabilities. I'm guessing that's what you're talking about with the 2.0 vs. 5.1/7.1 comment.

    For Blu-ray playback battery life, it will be quite a bit worse than our H.264 playback result as the spinning of a disc plus decryption tasks is far more demanding than straight H.264 decoding; Dustin didn't test this aspect AFAIK, but I'd be surprised if the P775D lasted more than two hours for Blu-ray viewing.

    Unfortunately, I'm not much of an A/V enthusiast so I don't have a home theater system for testing bitstreaming and such, and neither does Dustin AFAIK. On the hardware front, the Toshiba should perform just as well as Llano in general for HTPC scenarios (http://www.anandtech.com/show/4479/amd-a83850-an-h... We can't test every single scenario with every laptop or we'd never get any reviews finished, so we generally focus on the laptop-centric elements (build quality, display, battery life, and performance) and let others like Ganesh discuss how platforms stack up in the HTPC space.

    If you'd really like an answer to the above (e.g. you're not just trolling and posting flame bait), email Dustin and see if he'll run/test the other elements. Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure you're firmly in the trolling category so I've likely wasted far too much time with my responses already.
    Reply
  • jamawass - Thursday, April 12, 2012 - link

    Thanks for the response. I don't think questioning a review is trolling or flame baiting but since you're a journalist you probably know better. I won't bother Dustin with additional requests but would suggest that blu ray playback run time be included in future reviews in similarly equipped laptops. Probably A/V aspects of these laptops could be done in a seperate review? Reply
  • zorxd - Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - link

    "The Toshiba Satellite P755D is, first and foremost, a notebook for the budget consumer market. It's not necessarily meant to be a particularly exciting piece of hardware; it's meant to fill a niche,"

    Most people buy laptops in this price range or lower. The niche is the Anandtech editor who is paying $1000+ for a laptop.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - link

    The niche is: I want a budget laptop, but I'm willing to pay more for a laptop with Blu-ray. And if you only buy $700 laptops, prepare to be disappointed repeatedly by cheap build quality and crappy displays. Reply
  • zorxd - Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - link

    90% of laptops out there must have cheap build quality and crappy displays then. $700 is probably more than the average paid for a laptop these days. It's like if you were saying that if I pay under $40k for a car, that I should prepare to be disappointed by build quality and comfort. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - link

    I'd say it's more like 95% (or more!) of consumer laptops that have cheap build quality and crappy displays. Walk into Best Buy, and almost every Acer, ASUS, Dell, HP, Sony, etc. laptop is made of plastic and has a lousy low-contrast LCD. Business laptops on the other hand are built better (though many still have crappy displays), but you usually buy direct from Dell/HP/Lenovo for a business laptop.

    The car comparison incidentally doesn't work very well, as the difference between $20K and $40K cars is a couple orders of magnitude more than the difference between a $700 and $1000 laptop. Laptops are more in the range of disposable income, where cars are a long-term investment/purchase. Why not compare it to buying houses while we're at it? Anyway, if you want to talk cars, it would be better to say: If you buy a used car for $1500, you will likely end up with some serious compromises and reliability concerns. "You get what you pay for."
    Reply
  • mikato - Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - link

    I fully appreciate that it's natural for a good tech site like this to review high end laptops mostly. However I don't plan to buy a high end laptop anytime soon. I do game a lot but I definitely won't get a laptop for gaming! I am much more likely to recommend a laptop for my dad, my sister, or buy one for my wife and in that case I'd like to know more about $700 or even less laptops that are out there (I've done all that and never owned a laptop myself actually). I don't think I'm alone wanting more info on sub $1000 laptops. I see you said you don't get any i3s and such, but it would be great if Anandtech could find a way to do reviews or roundups like this, or just some general tips on things to look for. I enjoy reading up on AMD's current APU tech and Intel's on-die graphics as well. Reply
  • rootheday - Thursday, April 12, 2012 - link

    On page 5, the review says:
    "Llano presently remains your best option for gaming on the battery"

    Do you actually run the gaming performance tests on the battery? or while plugged in?

    My experience is that AMD down clocks their mobile GPUs while on DC by ~30% - something that Intel doesn't do. I wonder if your conclusion about Llano gaming experience vs Intel HD would be different for the "gaming on battery scenario"...
    Reply

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