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Five Multimedia Notebooks, Tested

Test Results

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.

Benchmark8920GM70SD90XHDX 9203WKVGN-AR790U/B
Sysmark 2007135121146139147
PCMark Overall53716117754157145165
PCMark CPU64596212850266786197
PCMark Memory51544949558651334999
PCMark Graphics53005542929379234487
PCMark HDD45434595674046395409
3DMark 1024 low623341081414394824846
3DMark 1280 low503837641348179923884
3Dmark 1920 low392033081266762052795
3DMark 1024 High454626781327673983676
3Dmark 1280 High354924241218160182842
3Dmark 1920 High26372099985445211888
iDHCAT 3.0139124227129132
MobileMark Productivity254201Fail133130
MobileMark Reader13816072135100
MobileMark DVD1111226711665

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.

  • urimiel
    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.
    Reply
  • fudgeboy
    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)
    Reply
  • Master Exon
    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.
    Reply
  • cangelini
    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.
    Reply
  • FrozenGpu
    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?
    Reply
  • TheGreatGrapeApe
    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.
    Reply
  • Is the image for this on the Toms Hardware site supposed to say "Multiedia" on the laptop screen or is that a typo?
    Reply
  • johntmosher
    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?
    Reply
  • maric423
    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.
    Reply
  • 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 :)
    Reply