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  • veri745 - Thursday, June 24, 2010 - link

    I'm REALLY looking forward to review of the Danube and Nile platforms, but these Tigris notebooks are just not interesting. horrid battery life in a 15.6+" form factor...blech. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, June 24, 2010 - link

    I agree, but it does help set the stage for the next review, plus there are lots of Tigris laptops floating around. They perform well enough and often can be had for a song, provided you're not after long battery life in an ultraportable chassis.

    Anyway, the Toshiba A665-S6059 just arrived this evening, and I unpacked it a couple hours back. It's radically different in looks from the A505D, and it throws in a lot of other extras. Quad-core P920, HD 4200 + HD 5650, textured lid/palm rest, and a thinner chassis to boot. Granted, it costs $875, but it looks like it idles at around 13-14W. That's still only good for 3.5 hours of battery life, but blame it on the paltry 48Wh battery. We'll have the review ready for next Friday is the plan....
    Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Thursday, June 24, 2010 - link

    Oh, I see, Jarred. Keeping all the fun ones to yourself? ;) Reply
  • pmonti80 - Thursday, June 24, 2010 - link

    What I would love is laptops with AMD's new CULV equivalent. Don't remember the name though. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, June 24, 2010 - link

    That's the Nile platform, which is the lower wattage version of Danube. We're working to get one of those for testing as well. An no worries, Dustin... we'll get you some other stuff. ;-) Reply
  • Roland00 - Thursday, June 24, 2010 - link

    Here are the specific models of the new Nile Platform

    The Nile platform (2010) are 9W, 12W, 15W processors with DDR3 support. All these processors are Champlain processors with the new memory controller.
    9W, AMD V105, Single Core*1.2 Ghz, 512 kb L2 cache total
    12W, AMD K125, Single Core*1.7 Ghz, 1 mb L2 cache total
    12W, AMD K325, Dual Core*1.3 Ghz, 1 mb L2 cache per core, 2mb total
    15W, AMD K625, Dual Core*1.5 Ghz, 1 mb L2 cache per core, 2mb total
    15W, AMD K665, Dual Core*1.7 Ghz, 1 mb L2 cache per core, 2mb total

    The Danube platform (2010) are 25W, 35W, 45W processors with DDR3 support
    Reply
  • VivekGowri - Thursday, June 24, 2010 - link

    Ooooh. Quad core + HD 5650 for $850 sounds like fun. It doesn't look all that great though (and the screen is pretty sadly low res - 1366x768 is not okay on a 16" display) and Toshiba is quoting 2.5 hours of battery life. That's not a good sign right off the bat. I'm scared for the results battery life tests, though it doesn't sound like they should take very long ;)

    Should be interesting to see how AMD's "more cores for less money" strategy works in the mobile space. Just gonna place a bet that it won't work as well as the desktop chips for two reasons: power consumption and heat. Will wait for benchmarks though, it should have a lot of fun with the encoding benches.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, June 24, 2010 - link

    Initial idle battery life testing is under way, and it's looking like 3.5 hours is going to be about right. Obviously, Internet and x264 will put a much bigger load on the system. 2.5 hours seems about what you'd get if the HD 5650 stayed active.

    Quirky system, though: I haven't found a way to disable the dGPU other than unplugging the laptop. I mean, sure, if you're plugged in having the GPU enabled is reasonable, but I do wish there were a way to manually engage/disable it. Also, the lack of AMD driver updates is disheartening... and there's not even an ATI CCC with the current drivers, so I'm not sure what version of the drivers it's running.

    $850 is a tough sell given the competition, but at least it looks like battery life won't be bad. The 1.6GHz clock speed may prove a bigger issue for some, but for heavily threaded workloads the quad-core CPU should come close to (or surpass even) some of the i3/i5 processors.
    Reply
  • HHCosmin - Thursday, June 24, 2010 - link

    hello. i'm the proud owner of an acer timeline 3820TG featuring an i5 540m and a switchable (manually) 5470 which i do not really need... but that is a different story. i read some reviews and they were complaining that you cannot turn off the discrete card when plugged in. that is not true and it's also not so obvious.
    goes like this: when you plugin the lappie the discrete ati gpu goes active. then you can go to the ati control center (or something) and there it says that the discrete ati gpu is active. you also have two buttons: one is to enable the "power saving gpu" and one is for the... err power hungry and hot gpu. :) you have to press the button that sys about enabling the power saving gpu and wait. it takes a bit of time to make the switch and the desktop may go dark.. etc but after a while it will say that the integrated gpu is active. all this is on a special page... and you just have to find it. good luck!
    Reply
  • fabarati - Thursday, June 24, 2010 - link

    Does it have AMD's Turbo-whatever? If it does, does it work well? Reply
  • jaydee - Thursday, June 24, 2010 - link

    On the Quad-core P920, HD 4200 + HD 5650, could you please include the 3D CAD benchmark? That would be awesome. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, June 24, 2010 - link

    Not sure which benchmark you want... link please? Reply
  • Hrel - Thursday, June 24, 2010 - link

    so were you guys ever able to talk to Cyberpower and get ahold of that Compal notebook I keep pestering you to review? Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, June 24, 2010 - link

    No response from them. :-( Reply
  • Hrel - Sunday, June 27, 2010 - link

    darn, at least you tried. Maybe I'll go pester them for a while:) Reply
  • seagull7 - Thursday, June 24, 2010 - link

    Awhile back I didn't have a lot of money and needed a laptop that was powerful enough to do sql server and Visual studio c# development on. I bought a 15.6" Turion powered, 3200 graphics laptop off Toshibas refurb site. It was cheap, and it works perfectly for what I need it for.

    While very inexpensive, it has stood up to daily use for a year now and I tote it home from work everyday. I sometimes hook it up to the LCD TV at home to play netflix movies.

    My only gripe is that Toshiba laptops can't use AMD's driver releases. You are stuck with Toshiba's version of AMD drivers. While I have no problems with Toshiba's drivers for 90% of what I use the laptop for, it would be nice If I had AMD's more full featured drivers. Toshiba's driver has no driver control panel so I can't set anything manually. My next laptop will not be a Toshiba for this reason alone.
    Reply
  • Slaimus - Thursday, June 24, 2010 - link

    These older AMD chips (M3xx/M600) are really completing against the older Intel T4xxx and T6xxx chips which are in the same price range. Against those the results will probably look less grim. Reply
  • blackshard - Thursday, June 24, 2010 - link

    Well, as you see in this review, from a performance standpoint, the M600 competes well against a P8600.
    One of the biggest problem here is that this Toshiba is really low-end: low-end battery (worst 6 cell battery even seen), low-end display. Maybe low-end motherboard and low-end components.

    The fact it is has significant less battery life than a M300 processor when idling means that there's something wrong in the toshiba platform, even since M600 processor is supposed to have a bit more refined power management (more power states) and also because usually M300 and M600 idles at a very close frequency and voltage.

    In my opinion a similar notebook not coming from toshiba, but with similar specs has to be tested to really understand AMD chips power usage.
    Reply
  • Hrel - Thursday, June 24, 2010 - link

    If someone could do a review on the laptop that I currently suspect is the best "bang for your buck" out there. It's made by compal, and available on Cyberpower.com who's machines you've reviewed before. If you'd like it configured like I did, which I think is the best bang for buck, do this: Go to the website. mouse over 15.6" Laptops and click on the $999 Xplorer X6-8500. It has a 1080p screen. (I'm not sure why the people who run this site do this, but even though the other configurations use the same chassis when personalized they come out to cost more than this one; annoying since it makes me configure all 3 or 4 machines built on the same base chassis to figure out which one is cheapest/best for me.) Then I configured it with the Core i7-620M CPU. (to get it over 1K so I can take advantage of the 5% off.) 4GB 0DDR3-1333, hopefully 7-7-7-21, probably not, but hopefully. ATI MR HD5650 1GB GDDR3 320GB 7200rpm HDD (I did this cause I'm gonna take that HDD out and use the Seagate Momentus XT 500GB, thanks for that review!!) Everything else on that page I left untouched. The only thing I did on page 2 was switch to Intel wifi with bluetooth; Though I'm curious if the MSI option is equal/better; 17 bucks isn't nothing. It has HDMI out and a fingerprint reader. This page says 3 USB ports, the specs sheet says 4USB ports; not sure which is true. (I do wish they were USB 3.0 ports, but I was hoping you guys would test some stuff and tell me if that even matters for use with an external hard drive, mechanical disk 7200rpm. Transferring large files like movies and games mostly.) On page 3 I select "none, format only" for the OS. And select "LCD perfect assurance" cause even 1 dead pixel is unacceptable to me. This brings the total to $1008.90 after 5% off, or $992.75 if you get the MSI network card. So yeah, I really hope you guys can get a hold of one of these for review; as a loner or given as a review unit or maybe someone will just buy one and review it cause it's really tempting me right now... like a lot! If you're review is good I'm gonna start saving up and hopefully be able to buy it around Christmas. Thanks guys! A loyal reader. - Brian Reply
  • Penti - Thursday, June 24, 2010 - link

    Really do the costumers a disservice offering only this poor AMD models to the customers.

    I don't except Nile and Danube to bring any kind of parity though, they could compete with C2D hardware at best, however you should be able to build a few decent ultraportables out of Nile-platform.

    I've long missed any decent AMD models from the manufacturers, they skimp too much on the battery and quality. I've seen no business laptops other then semi-business ultraportables with AMD chips. AMD really needs something like a good 14-15.4" business laptop with a decent AMD CPU, DASH support and integrated plus switchable graphics and DP plus dock station support. Otherwise it's not really interesting at all. You can get a Core i3 laptop for 600 dollars, a business Intel laptop for like 800 dollars with Core i5, 4GB and docking support. Also upgradeable battery, or battery choices. Something like 50 USD for a larger battery is well worth it. Why would you buy an AMD in that climate. I would consider it if they just built the best they could on the AMD platform, but they don't. For a consumer laptop switchable graphics is really needed, a small chipset update (well really Hybrid Crossfire X is there, so it's really there already, but shut off in mobile version) would accommodate that. Otherwise they would have to compete in the 400 dollar range. I'm glad AMD takes laptops more seriously with Liano, and Ontario/Bobcat though. But in a 350-400 dollar device only the OS stands for 120-150 USD. It doesn't leave enough room, and they need to be able to compete against Core i3 ULV processors by then.

    Hopefully manufacturers seize the moment when AMD starts getting real laptop-chips out. Bobcat need to be able to compete with Atom. A good graphics/chipset solution would accommodate that though. Danube is just a stop gap which brings the K10 core in all it's glory to notebooks. I would really like DisplayPort on cheap laptops too. Displays are starting to creep above 1920x1200 more and more which is the limit for todays HDMI 1.3 graphics cards. DP is no problem with RS880m or Core i3/5 with HM55/QM57.

    I thought they did a good job creating a complete server platform with SR5690 and SP5100. But they should put AMD-Vi/IOMMU into the desktop and notebook chipset too. Too bad they kinda loose out there too. But they need to do the same with the mobile platform and get manufacturers on board. A 48-50Wh battery is no longer accepted. 60-70 and upgradeable to 80-90Wh should pretty much be standard. 85Wh would roughly give twice the battery life. I would rather skip the optical drive and have a larger battery. At least in the ~13" devices. But really it's hard to compete you get a much better product for just a few hundreds more. And a real business laptop comes at 1500 dollars. Building a laptop with AMD processor and ATI graphics like HD5650 would be pretty attractive today though. Maybe HD5730 to give it an edge. But it would have to compete with 900 dollar Core i5 / HD5650 lappys. I wouldn't buy something like http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N8... that though. It can't really compete there, Champlain isn't fast enough. P520 should be pretty good for a low end laptop. If put together smartly.

    HP Probooks with AMD is mostly a joke though, but it at least in the form of ProBook 6455b and 6555b, support one off my personal requirements DP-port. The 6555b with HD+ screen even has decent resolution of 1600x900. I would rather have something other though.

    Something like Toshiba Satellite L655D just don't cut it. Too. Something like HP Compaq Presario CQ62Z / HP Pavilion dv6z with P520 for $540 USD / $580 USD might be acceptable though. Still trails to close too Core i3 laptops though. It's not worth 600 bucks, they need to knock off 50-100 dollars, most of that should be on the processor (P520) which they should be able to lower 60 bucks or so. It should be a good 150-200 dollars less then a Core i3 2.26GHz laptop i think. It would be competitive then.
    Reply
  • Penti - Thursday, June 24, 2010 - link

    $500 USD might be a good mark for them for a P520 AMD laptop with 4GB ram, HDMI, BT and integrated graphics. For 600-680 you will get a Core i3 or even an i5 laptop on sales with integrated graphics. Add 175 for HD5650 and you'd get a very competitive low/mid gaming laptop. They would at least be able to sell chips then. Reply

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