ASUS F3Sv (pre-production model)
- 1GB turbo memory, new Centrino Pro technology
- Pre-production model only
Centrino Pro has definitely brought some interesting benefits to the game and the Asus F3Sv is a prime example of what can be done with this hot new hardware.
After Intel's success with Centrino, as well as its Core 2 Duo CPU for notebooks codenamed Merom, we've been eagerly anticipating the release of Centrino Pro with the latest platform codenamed Santa Rosa.
Among the first Centrino Pro-based notebooks to hit Australia is a pre-production model of the ASUS F3Sv, a model Australia can expect to see in the near future (see also the Fujitsu Lifebook E8410).
The Santa Rosa platform offers up a number of new enhancements including faster wireless networking with 802.11 AGN, improved graphics performance with the Integrated Intel 965 Express chipset family (X3100), Turbo Memory and a range of new CPUs based on the Core 2 Duo Merom CPU. Centrino Pro notebooks, such as the Asus F3Sv, will also ship with the new management feature called Intel Active Management Technology (AMT).
Faster Core 2 Duo?
The ASUS F3Sv is installed with the new T7300 CPU, 2GB of DDR2 RAM and NVIDIA's new 8600 GS graphics card for notebooks. Performance was solid across our tests, except battery life, which didn't change much from the previous platform. The new T7300 CPU runs at 2.0GHz, like the previous generation's T7200 CPU, which we've seen in notebooks for some time now. However, the new CPU and platform offer some hidden advantages.
The most obvious change is the increased front side bus (FSB) speed, which has been lifted from 667MHz on previous Centrino models to a faster 800MHz on the Santa Rosa platform. This increase in bandwidth allows the CPU and chipset to transfer data to and from the memory at a faster rate, providing an increase in overall performance. Like the high-end T7200 to T7600 model CPUs, the new processors use a 4MB L2 shared cache like we've seen in the desktop space.
In our benchmarks the F3Sv performed very well. It scored an overall of 80 in WorldBench 6. By comparison, the high-end Dell XPS M1710 gaming notebook with 2GB of RAM, a GeForce Go 7950 GTX and a 2.33GHz T7600 Core 2 Duo CPU, scored 81.
The new setup also performed very favourably in comparison to the Acer Aspire 9425WSMi, which scored 74 in WorldBench 6. The Acer Aspire 9425WSMi has the same frequency CPU (2.0GHz), but uses the T7200 from the current generation of processors, 2GB of DDR2 RAM and a GeForce Go 7300 graphics card. In areas relating to both CPU performance and graphics, such as Photoshop, DirectX, multitasking and rendering tests, the ASUS showed significant improvements over the similarly built Acer notebook (though the graphics cards are not necessarily a fair comparison).
We also encoded 53 minutes worth of WAV files to 192Kbps MP3 files using a freely available, single threaded application called CDEX. The FS3v was able to complete the task in 139 seconds, while the aforementioned Acer took 143 seconds. This small difference may seem minor but still shows a distinct performance boost.
Turbo Memory is an optional feature of Santa Rosa notebooks which offers both performance and power saving benefits. Our ASUS F3Sv is installed with 1GB of Turbo Memory which helps to explain the better performance in the multitasking test in WorldBench 6.
With a low-latency flash memory cache available for loading and executing applications, we hope to see faster multitasking and Windows load times, as well as quicker resume times from hibernation. Physically, the Turbo Memory sits between the system memory and the hard drive, giving quick access to both, as well as faster response times. Rather than accessing the hard drive for every data request, regularly used applications are now loaded into the faster, more power efficient flash memory. In theory, without the hard drive spindles being constantly set in motion we are also going to see very small decreases in power usage which will help towards extending battery life.
Without comparing two identical systems, one utilising Turbo Memory and the other one not, it's impossible to truly gauge the performance boost. However, the performance results of the Asus F3Sv with 1GB of Turbo Memory and a T7300 2.0GHz CPU suggest it had about an eight percent improvement in multitasking over the Dell XPS system with no Turbo Memory and a 2.33GHz T7600 CPU from the current generation of processors. Against the T7200 2.0GHz -based Acer, it verged on a nine percent improvement in multitasking tests.
While the Santa Rosa platform offers a more powerful integrated 965 Express graphics chipset with Clear Video technology aimed at increasing the brightness and clarity of images, many notebooks are likely to come with either NVIDIA's or ATI's latest mobile graphics solutions. Our ASUS test machine is installed with an NVIDIA 8600GS. It scored 2459 in 3DMark 2006, a figure that suggests it can handle some newer games albeit at medium settings. In 3DMark 2001 SE it scored a whopping 16415, so older games will run without a hitch.
The 8600 GS is one of NVIDIA's latest DirectX 10 graphics cards with a unified shader architecture and PureVideo HD, which reduces overheads on the CPU when decoding video, specifically High Definition HD-DVD or Blu-ray titles.
Power efficiency and battery life
As with the original Centrino platform, and the switch to Core 2 Duo, much of the focus with Santa Rosa has been on improved efficiency rather than raw power, allowing the hardware to perform faster without greatly impacting on battery life.
Two of the new features are Enhanced Dynamic Acceleration and a dynamic bus switching feature. Enhanced Dynamic Acceleration allows the Santa Rosa platform to power-down one core of the CPU if no multi-threaded applications require it, and use that freed headroom to boost the still-active core for running single-threaded applications. This feature can theoretically offer faster performance in single-threaded applications, on top of reducing power wastage. As well as throttling down the CPU, the dynamic bus switch allows the FSB to be throttled down when maximum performance isn't required, so there will be even less unnecessary wastage of unused power. The new system also offers an enhanced deeper sleep by preventing instructions from unnecessarily waking the powered-down core.
In our DVD run-down test, where we loop a DVD to run down the battery, the result of 70 minutes was hardly impressive. This test is considered a worst case scenario because a DVD movie will use the optical drive and the speakers, as well as the core components. Despite the new efficiency features of Santa Rosa our initial results indicate that, like the move to from Core Duo to Core 2 Duo, the battery life has remained much the same while performance has increased, which is something in itself.
Wireless N and Active management Technology (AMT)
The latest generation of wireless networking is the pre-n 802.11 N standard, which offers a theoretical maximum transfer speed of 300Mbps, up to five times the current wireless speed and twice the range. The new Wi-Fi standard uses MIMO technology with three antennas built into the lid of the notebook.
In Centrino Pro machines, like the Asus F3Sv, the 4965AGN wireless card now supports another function called AMT, similar to the desktop vPro technology. AMT uses what's called an out of band (OOB), or sub-operating system portal to communicate with the notebook. This system allows administrators to remotely access, patch and diagnose any number of computers in a business fleet. What's different to vPro is that AMT in Centrino Pro offers the same management wirelessly.
Apart from the dazzling new technology this notebook is also quite pleasant to use. The 15.4in screen offers a fairly bright and clear image, although the screen's viewing angle isn't very impressive. The image clarity starts to wain as you move off a central viewing position, but it isn't so bad that you'll need to meticulously prop yourself in the optimum front-on position every time you use it. The keyboard is easy to type on and the touchpad is quick and responsive.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Subaru XV 2017 review
- 2 Samsung 2017 QLED Q7 TV: Full, in-depth review
- 3 Kogan Atlas UltraSlim Pro laptop: full, in-depth review
- 4 Gigabyte Aorus GA-AX370-Gaming 5 AMD Ryzen AM4 motherboard review
- 5 Kogan curved 4K UHD 55-inch LED LCD TV review
Latest News Articles
- Windows 10's power-throttling feature will benefit battery-hungry laptops
- Microsoft's next Surface may be a Chromebook competitor for schools
- US says laptop ban may expand to more airports
- Intel's Cannonlake PC chip shipments may slip into next year
- Razer’s updated Blade Pro is the first ever THX-certified laptop
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- Samsung Galaxy S8 phone: full, in-depth review
- Ryzen 5 vs Intel Core i5 CPU Australian review
- Mass Effect Andromeda review: One for the fans
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- TPBusiness AnalystVIC
- CCSystems Engineer - WintelQLD
- FTInside Sales Consultants - SMSF SoftwareNSW
- TPBusiness Analyst | HealthcareQLD
- CCTechnical Business Analyst - Infrastructure - VirtualizationNSW
- FTProduct LeadVIC
- FTService Delivery ManagerNSW
- FTSalesforce AnalystQLD
- TPEOI - Developer/Tester/Software EngineerACT
- TPBusiness AnalystVIC
- TPInfrastructure ArchitectQLD
- TPSecurity Controls Specialist - ISO 27002VIC
- CCVMware AdministratorNSW
- CCOrganisational Change LeadNSW
- CCSenior Project Manager - Applications - Data ReportingNSW
- FTSalesforce Business AnalystNSW
- CCProject Manager - Security - TelcoVIC
- FTSenior Functional Analyst - FinanceQLD
- TPService Desk AnalystVIC
- CCLead SAP SRM DeveloperACT
- FTSenior Capacity Planner | Contract through till DecemberVIC
- CCSAP FIORI Technical SpecialistQLD
- FTNetwork Consulting ArchitectVIC
- FTSenior Java DeveloperQLD
- FTMid-Level .NET DeveloperVIC