Toshiba A505D-S6987 3DMarks

While we were pleasantly surprised by the Turion II Ultra M600 that Toshiba chose to equip the A505D-S6987 with, the Mobility Radeon HD 4200 hanging off the RS880M Northbridge is a largely known quantity at this point. Little more than a DirectX 10.1 refresh of the venerable Radeon HD 3200 part—right down to the 40 shaders and 500 MHz core clock—expectations are low. At this point it's worth bringing up two things Toshiba neglected to equip this Radeon with, though: a dedicated frame buffer and membership in AMD's mobile driver program. The first is splitting hairs, but the last is an unkind cut that wound up causing us some trouble during benchmarking.

Futuremark 3DMark Vantage

Futuremark 3DMark06

Futuremark 3DMark05

Futuremark 3DMark03

It's almost cruel to run a battery of benchmarks like these on the HD 4200, and while the notebook remained relatively cool it wouldn't have been surprising to see the poor chip just burst into flames. Scores were high enough, and the faster processor in the A505D allowed the HD 4200 to pull a little more weight than usual, but it still struggles to compete with NVIDIA's GeForce 9400M, and the Mobility Radeon HD 4330 proves just how much an extra 40 shaders and dedicated video memory can help. When the Radeon HD 3200 dropped it was a very healthy jump in integrated graphics performance, but this DirectX-10.1-and-otherwise-name-only refresh is in dire need of an update. An no, we're not talking about the HD 4250 or HD 4270; we'll likely have to wait for Fusion to see the sort of IGP update we're looking for from AMD.

Toshiba A505D-S6987 General Performance Toshiba A505D-S6987 Gaming


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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....
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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!
  • fabarati - Thursday, June 24, 2010 - link

    Does it have AMD's Turbo-whatever? If it does, does it work well? Reply

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