It isn’t often that there is something to get excited about in the mobile industry, as it is basically reflective of the desktop market, which usually debuts a product almost a full quarter before it hits the mobile side. Additionally, the term “mobile computing” is plagued with the connotation that there is a sacrifice of performance for mobility, as that has been naturally intuitive. (Desktop replacements fall out of this typical bound, as the term itself conjures up images of oversized and overweight notebooks.)

In fact, the only substantial news on the mobile front, recently, is the emergence of Centrino technology based notebooks. This is something that we continue to rave about because of the low power consumption, which in turn leads to lower heat emissions, lower cooling requirements, lower noise emissions, and all the while without compromising performance. The scale of the Pentium-M has reached further than previously anticipated, as they are now used in place of the Pentium 4-M (and Pentium 4 in some cases) for desktop replacement notebooks. Dell’s latest Inspiron refresh is indicative of this.

While Intel has been continuing to bathe in the glory of Centrino, we await to hear word from AMD on their latest mobile processor. AMD has never been that large in the mobile market and the lack of support for the big three: IBM, Dell, HP/Compaq has been a major factor in our inability to review a current AMD based notebook.

Meanwhile, on the graphics end, it seems to be a no bar winner in the mobile race, for now, as Mobility Radeon 9600 took a significant lead over its NVIDIA counterpart (GeForce FX Go56X0). This was clearly seen in our Mobility Radeon 9600 and GeForce FX Go5650 coverage. Interestingly enough, it was Voodoo, who was the first system vendor to showcase Mobility Radeon 9600 in working and shipping samples with their Envy M:460. This is the backdrop for what Voodoo recently handed to us, a M:855 system, which is the first production AMD based notebook we have seen in sometime. The kicker is that this isn’t based on the Athlon XP or XP-M, neither of which took off in the mobile market; rather this is powered by the new Athlon 64 DTR processor. This is big enough news as it is, and in order to complete this review on a timely basis, we have split the review into two parts...

Voodoo Envy M:855 – Hexing up a Storm
POST A COMMENT

24 Comments

View All Comments

  • bgallemore - Tuesday, November 11, 2003 - link

    Thanks for getting part 1 done so quickly. It is the only review I have found so far. While I am waiting for part 2... how about this for a request. A review of:
    1) Voodoo m:855 Athlon64
    2) Alienware Area 51m P4 (EE if they will put one in it)
    3) Dell Precision M60 w/128MB Quadro FX Go700

    They are all about the similar prices and represent the best of thier worlds.
    Reply
  • Madcat207 - Friday, November 07, 2003 - link

    Rahul-

    I appoligise (to everybody actually) for my comments. I was upset that the review was lacking what i was hoping for, and i appoligise. In the future, i willl bite my tongue before accusing anybody of anything.
    Reply
  • ssamurai26 - Friday, November 07, 2003 - link

    Very well written well thought out response, thank you Voodoo. Reply
  • gordon151 - Thursday, November 06, 2003 - link

    Poor starving college kids gets no love from VoodooPC. Keep wishing! Reply
  • EdvardGrieg - Thursday, November 06, 2003 - link

    Thanks Rahul,

    I tried to mention the same type of things in my post. How about a new notebook for a poor-starving college student ;-)

    ~Aaron
    Reply
  • voodoopc - Thursday, November 06, 2003 - link

    Hi Guys,

    First let me start by saying - much respect goes out to the editors of Anandtech, as they have been very professional about this entire review process, and in no way did VoodooPC "pay" to get reviewed. Quite frankly that's a ridiculous suggestion and to the person who suggested this, please read this entire message before making your decision.

    Sager is a great company, and they have an excellent relationship with Clevo, their ODM.

    I give companies like Sager major respect - because their volumes are overwhelming, and their products are for the most part really good. Companies like Sager will purchase the notebooks directly from Taiwan/China and install a processor, hard drive, and memory here in North America. This saves them a ton of money, and it's certainly a cheaper alternative for many people. Voodoo doesn't profess to be the most inexpensive PC company in the world, and as such we cater to a smaller niche than Sager or Prostar. Even though we don't "fabricate" the components, we do assemble the notebooks from the ground up in North America (we're the only company who does this). We also make major thermal modifications to many of our notebook platforms - and we include things like Upgrade Assurance, our performance is also higher than our competition (or we like to think so :-) )

    I would also like to point out that it's really hard to do a head to head comparison on various notebooks, simply because the specs are usually almost always different. There are many things to consider, like Thermal Overhead, Chipset Termination, MB Layout, etc.

    So for example, if you compare the Sager 5680 with a Voodoo m:855 you'll notice a number of differences. The Voodoo has unreal battery life (in our tests - not sure about Anandtechs tests yet), where as the Sager doesn't due to the fact that it's using a desktop processor from Intel. The thermals in the Voodoo allow our system to remain cooler, and as such our thermal overhead will allow for some pretty awesome upgrades in the future. Our notebook is lighter, and it uses a 1400X1050 Display that's suited for gaming (low response time). The Sager has one of the nicest looking screens on the planet (1600X1200 WVA) - it's amazing, but it also kills the battery life, increases the weight, and the response time is slower.

    My point is, all notebooks are not created equal. What is important to understand is every user is unique - and as such as user needs to choose a notebook that suits their needs.

    In my opinion, the best CPU(s) on the planet for notebooks are either the Pentium M or the Athlon 64 for Notebooks. The Athlon 64 allows you to truly get desktop performance and still maintain some of the mobility you may be looking for.

    FYI MADCAT it is true that VoodooPC was the first to introduce M10 to North America (and even Europe!) with our m:460 notebook. If you have any doubt you should email someone in the mobility side of ATI for verification before you drop a judgement.

    We have since made changes to that product and we're planning to release a newer version soon. This doesn't make us "special" - because there are many reasons why we were the first to release M10. I can't get into too much detail, but what I can say is that NVIDIA had the majority of design wins at the beginning.

    Anyways, just some thoughts - please know that Anandtech was our first choice for an online review because of their integrity and committment to unbiased honest journalism. Unfortunately I cannot say the same for the vast majority of online sights, so please continue to support these guys.

    Who knows, maybe in PART 2 they'll say our notebook blows, and the battery life is not all that we profess - if so we're going back to the drawing board. :-)

    If anyone has any questions on our products or our company please feel free to drop me a line anytime.

    (I'm now preparing to duck, waiting for someone to flame me)


    Rahul Sood
    President & CTO
    VoodooPC
    (888)708-6636
    Reply
  • gordon151 - Thursday, November 06, 2003 - link

    "the only people reviewed were those who could pay enough to get reviewed..."

    Or maybe the people who just send them systems that they can review. I'm sure you envision Anandtech editors as people who snap their fingers and systems fly in their laps ;P.

    Anyhow I wanted to see a comparable DPR 3.2Ghz P4 notebook review, but eh I'm not going to go cry about not seeing it in the review as they more or less just couldn't get one.
    Reply
  • EdvardGrieg - Thursday, November 06, 2003 - link

    I don't think it is fair to say that only the people that paid enough got reviewed...not all manufactures have the surplus to send out reviews, and Anand is one of the few good 3rd party review sites. Ever read Cnet? Now there is a site to take with a grain of salt <rolls eyes>

    Anyway, as far as not showing the ATi performance relative to the other laptops I would imagine that that is because the 8600 performed above all those other laptops, and as such it would be redundant to show the ATi beating all of them time and again.
    Reply
  • rehlers - Wednesday, November 05, 2003 - link

    I find it frustrating that I have yet to see a review done with the nVidia 5650 using the latest drivers. Sure, Dell is slow in releasing "official" drivers, but it took me all of 2 minutes to find an INF file patch to make the 52.16 drivers work on my Inspiron 8600, I'm sure the Anandtech staff could have found them as well. I realize the ATI 9600 is faster than the nVidia 5650, but I would like to see the latest drivers on one compared to the latest drivers on the other. Reply
  • Madcat207 - Wednesday, November 05, 2003 - link

    "Well, seeing as this is the first 9600 based production notebook they have in the lab in the moment, its kinda hard to bench it against any others. WHEN they review the Sager, I'm sure they will have the Voodoo benchie in there. "

    Funny, i have had my Sager 5680 with a 9600Pro for more than a month now. This Voodoo system is in no way the first to have that chip....

    Anyway, in no way am i a troll.. i call it as i see it. as i see it, the only people reviewed were those who could pay enough to get reviewed...
    Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now