Acer Ferrari 5000 dual-core AMD laptop
No driving licence needed, but only Tifosi need apply...
Review Acer's Ferrari-branded notebooks have always favoured AMD-made engines, and the very latest model, the 5000, features the latest Turion 64 X2 twin-core processor. This fifth-generation Ferrari laptop brings yet more features, as well as higher performance, but like the titular sportscars, you'll need quite deep pockets to be able to buy one...
But there's no question you get a lot of laptop for your lolly, whether you're a Ferrari fan or not. In the UK, for example, you'll only be able to buy the top-of-the-range model.
The design is the most striking part of the Ferrari 5000, and people will definitely be glancing at your notebook if you own one of these. The lid is made from carbon fibre, to reduce the weight but still provide protection for the screen. The screen itself measures 15.4in and is a shiny model with a native resolution of 1,680 x 1,050. It looks very good during indoors use, but the coating can get very reflective if you park it in bright sunshine.
The processor is the top-of-the-line 2GHz, 512KB L2 per core Turion X2 TL-60. It also has a thermal profile of 35W which makes it the hottest mobile processor from AMD. The Ferrari 5000 was actually running quite hot, even when it was sitting idle on the Windows desktop. It's well ventilated, but the air coming out of the vent on the right hand side was hotter than I expected. No white smoke when you rev it up, at least. Acer's power management software seems to bypass AMD's Cool'n'Quiet power management system. You can set up your own custom profiles, but by default the Ferrari 5000 will run at full speed when connected to a wall socket, hence all the extra heat produced.
The processor is paired up to 2GB of 667MHz DDR 2 memory configured in dual-channel mode. This is something that previous generation of mobile AMD processors haven't been able to support due to the usage of Socket 754. Not so with the S1 socket used in the Ferrari 5000.
It's worth noting that the HyperTransport bus is still running at 1.6GHz rather than the 2GHz that the CPU's desktop counterparts operate at, which means that the Turion X2 parts aren't quite comparable to a desktop Athlon 64 X2 processor with the same clock speed.
Interestingly, Acer is using the ATI Xpress 1150 chipset in the Ferrari 5000, which features integrated graphics among its features. But fear not, as Acer doesn't use the integrated graphics core but an ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 with 256MB of dedicated graphics memory. A further 256MB of system memory can also be allocated to graphics duty if need be thanks to ATI's HyperMemory technology. The core of this specific Mobility Radeon X1600 is clocked at 500MHz while the memory is operating at an effective frequency of 980MHz.
Thanks for your comments.
It's not easy getting hold of old kit to compare against new, so doing a comparison against the old version wasn't possible. And yes, Core or Core 2 Duo is a lot faster than AMD's mobile processors, there's no doubt about that. We've got a Core 2 Duo notebook on its way, so expect a review up as soon as we're allowed to publish the results.
The quality from the web camera was ok during the 3 seconds it did work before the software locked up...
Noting like the nostalgia of a 3000LMi.
I'm posting this using a Ferrari 3000LMi, the first one ever bought out by Acer. It has a crap screen, had the slowest HDD(until I updated to a 7200rpm model) and it creaks when you touch type on it, but, it's sexy as all hell being splattered in 'Ferrari red' unlike the overpriced new stuff which is non descript carbon fibre - people whom sometimes think the CF looks unfinished in appearance.
There's also something about the HDD's that Acer insist on using, if you change the drive over to a more up to date model the laptop runs cooler with the venting fan coming on less than original/stock setups.
What can I say about the new Acer Ferrari... next laptop I get will be a whitebox jobby, no more marketing/label/branding billboard for me. Oh how I've evolved.
2.0 GHz Turion TL-60 disappoints
Just today, there was a test of four "Yonah"-based notebooks at www.mobilityguru.com, more precisely at: http://www.mobilityguru.com/2006/08/02/four_notebooks_ready_for_business/
The performance charts can be found here:
The Lenovo Thinkpad T60 notebook eqipped with a 2.0 Core Duo "Yonah" processor scored a Mobilemark 2005 score of 227 and a PCmark05 CPU score of 4604, compared to 199 and 4073, respectively, for the Acer Ferrari 5000 featuring a Turion X2 TL-60 at 2.0 GHz.
In other words, "Yonah" 2.0 GHz is about 15% faster than Turion X2 2.0 GHz.
Adding insult to injury, "Yonah" is the "old" processor, to be replaced this very August by its successor "Merom" (Core 2 Duo).
Now, Merom is rumored to be another 10% to 15% faster than Yonah at the same clock frequency.
Conclusion: AMD has never achieved better performance than Intel in the notebook sector, not with the Turion and also not with the brand new Turion X2.
If you're in the market for a fast notebook computer, wait four weeks and get yourself a "Merom"-based one.
webcam and pictures
well it's unfortunate the webcam didn't work at the time of the review. i think this is one of the important features aside from the dual-core that sets it apart from the 4000 series.
review seemed like it was too short and the lack of pictures didn't help either. it would've been nice if there was a comparison between the 4000 and 5000 series in terms of performance.