- Fast performance, Stable,
- Floppy port in bad location, poor memory slots.
All things considered, this board is a great performer, but we found some of its physical features to be awkward
Price$ 183.00 (AUD)
Featuring the standard nForce4 chipset, this board was a very fast performer and was very stable during our tests. The installation of Windows XP on a RAID 0 array went smoothly, although we were required to make our own driver disk, which was not supplied. This package was lighter than most in terms of accessories: the board only ships with one SATA cable and one SATA power cable as well as one IDE and one floppy cable. This is not surprising considering its price tag.
Although its performance was good, we did have some issues with the board itself. The floppy drive port is located along its bottom edge of the board just under the last PCI slot, which makes it difficult to access if the board has already been mounted. The location of the fan-cooled nForce4 chipset is also very close to the PCIe slot, which may hinder cards that have cooling solutions on their top side. Another quibble relates to the memory slots, whose release levers do a poor job of releasing the memory modules from their slots.
The rear port cluster contains a useful slew of legacy ports (serial, PS/2 and parallel) as well as USB 2.0, Gigabit Ethernet and both analog and digital audio ports (the analog ports exhibited noticeable background noise and interference, especially each time the mouse was moved). It lacks FireWire, which may not be a concern for you unless you have an early model iPod or like hooking up to your DV camcorder to your PC.
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Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.
This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.
It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.
As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.
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