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Acer Ferrari 5000 dual-core AMD laptop

No driving licence needed, but only Tifosi need apply...

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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.

Acer_Ferrari_5000_front

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.

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