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Test Results

Five Multimedia Notebooks, Tested
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We’ll report our test results in the form of a summary table (Table X), then follow each set of benchmarks with some description, discussion and analysis.

Table X: Multimedia Notebook Round-up Benchmark Summary Acer
Benchmark 8920G M70S D90X HDX 9203WK VGN-AR790U/B
Sysmark 2007 135 121 146 139 147
PCMark Overall 5371 6117 7541 5714 5165
PCMark CPU 6459 6212 8502 6678 6197
PCMark Memory 5154 4949 5586 5133 4999
PCMark Graphics 5300 5542 9293 7923 4487
PCMark HDD 4543 4595 6740 4639 5409
3DMark 1024 low 6233 4108 14143 9482 4846
3DMark 1280 low 5038 3764 13481 7992 3884
3Dmark 1920 low 3920 3308 12667 6205 2795
3DMark 1024 High 4546 2678 13276 7398 3676
3Dmark 1280 High 3549 2424 12181 6018 2842
3Dmark 1920 High 2637 2099 9854 4521 1888
iDHCAT 3.0 139 124 227 129 132
MobileMark Productivity 254 201 Fail 133 130
MobileMark Reader 138 160 72 135 100
MobileMark DVD 111 122 67 116 65

Table X makes three very interesting and potentially valuable points:

  • The Sony VGN-AR790U/B posts a surprisingly high SYSmark 2007 result — it’s higher than both the HP HDX and the Eurocom D90X. Given that the Sony unit has a T9300 and the HDX a T9500, while the other devices are on par, it’s interesting that the Sony outperforms the HP. The fact that the Eurocom has a faster quad-core processor and the Sony runs a little ahead says that SYSmark 2007 doesn’t really assess the true abilities of the processor or its faster drives.
  • When it comes to the rest of the benchmarks except for MobileMark (more on that in the next item), the range of equipment inside the various notebooks dictates their ranking for PCMark, MobileMark and Intel’s Digital Home Theater Capabilities Assessment Tool version 3.0. That said, both the Asus and the Acer units post very respectable showings, especially given their street prices.
  • In a single word, multimedia notebook battery life is miserable. Here again, the Asus and Acer units put on a surprisingly strong showing in the MobileMark tests, and are the only machines to break 200 minutes of battery life on the relatively undemanding Productivity test. The Web surfing (Reader) and DVD playback (DVD) tests otherwise evoke times that range from slightly over one hour — nowhere near enough time to watch a full-length DVD on battery power — to just over two hours to as long as just over two-and-a-half hours for the simple surfing scenario. This only confirms the notion that notebooks like these aren’t really meant to operate in battery-only mode. Rather, the battery serves more as a kind of built-in uninterruptible power supply (UPS) rather than as a genuine permanent power source.

With these preliminaries behind us, let’s take a closer look at the various benchmarks by category, where we’ll explain what these instruments measure and what this set of measurements has to tell us.

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  • 1 Hide
    urimiel , November 15, 2008 7:36 AM
    I am really sorry to be the one that points this out. I am Tomshardware reader for quite many years now. This is the first time I have seen an article or any kind of presentation like that. You guys are posting bar graphs and change the legend of each color bar for every different graph... this does not make sense.
  • 0 Hide
    fudgeboy , November 15, 2008 9:59 AM
    Quote:
    You guys are posting bar graphs and change the legend of each color bar for every different graph
    wow, and thats like the basic fundamentals of presentation. the writers on this site really need to go back to high school. they should have a standard layout over the whole thing (like you would if you were doing an experiment)
  • 0 Hide
    Master Exon , November 15, 2008 11:02 AM
    Basically purple is always at the top, regardless of who purple represents. Kinda dumb, but they really should have had the manufacturer's name on the bar itself.

    Hey, when will TH compare $300-$450 netbooks? You already did the $2000 ones.
  • 0 Hide
    cangelini , November 15, 2008 5:34 PM
    urimielI am really sorry to be the one that points this out. I am Tomshardware reader for quite many years now. This is the first time I have seen an article or any kind of presentation like that. You guys are posting bar graphs and change the legend of each color bar for every different graph... this does not make sense.


    Heya guys--sorry about that. I should have caught this in editing. The charts are now correct with each notebook appearing in the same place with the same corresponding legend data.
  • 1 Hide
    FrozenGpu , November 16, 2008 3:52 PM
    Master ExonBasically purple is always at the top, regardless of who purple represents. Kinda dumb, but they really should have had the manufacturer's name on the bar itself.Hey, when will TH compare $300-$450 netbooks? You already did the $2000 ones.


    Pretty pretty please with a cherry on top?
  • 0 Hide
    TheGreatGrapeApe , November 17, 2008 7:33 AM
    To me the $300-450 laptops aren't worth an in depth review, just a quicky 2 pager (is it capable as a netbook yes/no) that's a disposable laptop you buy a kids or as a couch laptop or travel one.

    I want to know what my $2K+ buys me, the $300 laptop is the price of one of the options on these things. That's the bigger risk. What's anyone really expecting in a $300-400 laptop, certainly not heaving gsaming, video editing or programming.

    It may seem elitist, but with the limited amount of info out there on laptops period, netbooks shouldn't consume much of the reviews time, nor space, I'd rather see more $1,000 and $2,000 and then $3,000+ reviews those 3 categories have more variability and value than the cheapest ones. Who can't figure out if a $400 laptop is worth it from a visit to the best buy or whatever?

    Personally I want to see an IBM W700 review, tell me if it's worth the $3,000+ (is the built in Wacom pad good enough, the keyboard stiff enough, is it worth it to get turbo memory now that it's faster & bigger or just go SSD and be done with it, etc), not something to tell me which of the cheap laptops is slower than my previous laptops that you could buy at a discount store for as much and which might be just a tiny bit faster but still just suited for M$ office and websurfing and light photoshoping.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , November 17, 2008 2:32 PM
    Is the image for this on the Toms Hardware site supposed to say "Multiedia" on the laptop screen or is that a typo?
  • 0 Hide
    johntmosher , November 17, 2008 10:19 PM
    I have been wanting to find a 20 inch laptop so I was excited to see the HDX review.....But still can't find it for sale online at HP.COM
    Got a sales link?
  • 0 Hide
    maric423 , November 18, 2008 4:41 PM
    johntmosherI have been wanting to find a 20 inch laptop so I was excited to see the HDX review.....But still can't find it for sale online at HP.COMGot a sales link?


    According to the HP Sales guys, its out of production (I got interested and looked for it too). The replacement machine is supposedly the HP HDX 18t, which is only an 18.4", and doesn't have the same hinge structure. Not really a comparable machine. You can still find a few HP Pavilion HDX 20" from third parties if you search around, but I wasn't thrilled about the idea of buying a system they'd already stopped making.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , November 21, 2008 8:00 AM
    Can you please test one more little thing? Linux compatibility.

    Its easy, just toss in an ubuntu live CD, and tell us if things like sound, webcam, wifi etc work out of the box. If they don't, don't bother much trying to get it to work. But Acer for instance is notorious for having buggy ACPI implementation in the bios that detects the OS and only work with Vista. With Linux (possibly even XP) standby will be highly unreliable. Dell and IBM do a much better job at it, and that deserves to be known.

    Doing such tests should be very straightforward and accomplish two things:
    1) inform us linux users (we buy notebooks too you know :)  )
    2) put some pressure on oem's to test their BIOS and hardware with linux

    Id appreciate it. No one does this, please be the first :) 
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , December 15, 2008 1:21 PM
    Bought the 8920G recently, the ATI version, first power on - entered BIOS and set it to boot from CD, started F10 Live.

    Did not do too extensive tests, but webcam, wifi, bluetooth, wired ethernet worked out of the box. Sound did not work, the card seems to be recognized but I never got a sound out of it.

    BEWARE: I started Vista only once till the Acer Arcade initial Setup screen, I did not proceed any further (I do not accept the M$ EULA), however after that I was not able to access the BIOS anymore! The "Press F2 to enter setup" message disappeared. Reflashing did not help, only made things worse because I lost the CMOS setting and could not boot from CD anymore (and at that time the hard drive was already formatted to get rid of Vista).