Sometimes an excellent operating system can be made even better
Pioneer Computers Australia DreamBook Power D90 SLI (Quad Core)
- Desktop Quad Core CPU, SLI graphics, High resolution screen, Windows Vista Ultimate
- Heavy and large, Price
It's not an entirely practical solution for all types, as for this price you can get a very powerful desktop PC. However, if you're after a system with power and require portability, if not light and easy mobility, then this system has some merit.
Price$ 6,732.00 (AUD)
Although it's part desktop PC, Pioneer is touting the DreamBook Power D90 as the world's first Quad Core notebook. Offering its 2.40GHz Q6600 Intel Quad Core desktop CPU and SLI NVIDIA GeForce Go 7950GTX 512MB graphics chips the D90 is a fair behemoth both physically and in the performance stakes. Built for power it's anything but portable and its 6.8kg weight with power supply in-tow will make sure this one stays on the desk for most of its life.
The plain black chassis has more bulk than the Toshiba Qosmio range and could hardly be called sleek and stylish. Fortunately it's not called the DreamBook Pretty D90, it's the DreamBook Power, and power's something the D90 has in droves.
As can only be expected it performed well in our tests, scoring a total of 93 in WorldBench 6. This is one of the highest score we've seen from a notebook at this time, but is still quite a bit behind the best desktop machines. Not all programs currently available will utilise all four cores of the CPU, but even in such instances the CPU and RAM will make multi-tasking much faster.
In our MP3 encoding test the DreamBook Power D90 took 62 seconds to convert 53 minutes worth of Wav files to 192Kbps MP3 files. For this test we use iTunes, which takes advantage of the multiple cores, while in our CDex test, an application which uses just one core, the time increased to 112 seconds.
It's no surprise again that it performed well in our gaming tests. In FEAR, using a resolution of 1280 x 960 and at maximum quality settings (including 4x antialiasing and 16x anisotropic filtering) the DreamBook Power D90 averaged 55 frames per second (fps) and even managed 36fps at a resolution of 1600 x 1200. In 3DMark 2006, using the default settings, it scored 5385; a great score for a notebook. In 3DMark 2001 Se it scored an easy 26486.
As well as SLI graphics and a Quad Core desktop CPU the D90 offers an impressive feature set, including a digital TV tuner and IceTV 30 day trial, a 1.3 megapixel camera (built into the screen), a high-resolution 1920 x 1200 LCD panel, three 250GB 2.5in hard drives, and 4GB of DDR2 667MHz RAM, not to mention four loud speakers (two on the front edge and two beside the keyboard). To take full advantage of both the CPU and the 4GB of RAM Pioneer has opted to install Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit edition. Using the 64-bit edition allows Windows to take advantage of the hardware, however, be aware that Vista does not support some devices you may wish to install, and our experience has shown that the 64-bit version is even more temperamental than the 32-bit version, at least for now.
Aside from being extremely large, the D90 has a fairly standard notebook design. Flipping it over reveals four fan vents to cool the internal components. A further two grills on the rear eject hot air. Despite the mass of fans it seems to run with a respectable degree of noise; certainly no more than a desktop PC. We did notice that a lot of heat rose through the keyboard when the system was set to High Performance mode, even when idle, which can be irritating.
Gamers will enjoy the full sized keyboard with a number pad, and this is surrounded by a number of shortcuts for mail, Internet and some programmable keys too. The speakers will reach quite significant volumes, but the lack of a subwoofer is a little disappointing. A DVD re-writer is included should the three notebook drives get full. This is also great for watching movies on the high quality screen, which not only offers a high resolution, but has a good viewing angle.
VGA, DVI and S-Video ports are included as is a media card reader supporting MMC, SD and MS cards, and an express card slot. There's one FireWire port, four USB 2.0 ports and a set of audio ports on the front edge. A 56k modem is installed and there's both a gigabit Ethernet port for LAN and Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g and draft-n for wireless networking.
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If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.
If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.
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