Evesham Zieo N500-HD 17in laptop
Evesham tempts us with Intel's 'Santa Rosa' notebook technology
Review Evesham has moved fast to pack its Zieo N500-HD laptop with a long list of 'Santa Rosa' Centrino Duo features. The 2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7500 processor runs on the new 800MHz frontside bus and the chipset is a combination of 965 northbridge and ICH8M. Ordinarily, a new southbridge adds a handful of new features such as extra USB ports, but Centrino Duo is heavily skewed towards power management and longer battery life.
ICH8M introduces Active Management Technology 2.5, which requires AMT compliant firmware, Bios and drivers that enable all sorts of clever tricks. The CPU speed can be varied by dynamic switching of the FSB, or one core can be switched off when the system is running software that isn';t threaded. Indeed, when the system detects that it's idle, we're told that all or part of the CPU and chipset can be switched off to save power.
Power management is a major aspect of both Centrino Duo and Windows Vista and we'll come back to it shortly.
The new southbridge boosts the Ethernet connection to Gigabit, and while the new Centrino should add 802.11n Wi-Fi, our loan sample didn't come with this latest form of Wi-Fi. The mobile 965's integrated graphics take a leap forward from previous generations by using the GMA X3100 core, which is based on the hardware used in the desktop G965 chipset. However, it's irrelevant in this case as Evesham has opted to use an Nvidia GeForce 8600M GT graphics chip too.
The Zieo is the first laptop we've seen that includes Intel Turbo Memory. This as a plug-in module that uses the PCI Express bus and comes in 512MB and 1GB varieties - our machine had the latter.
In addition to the Centrino Duo platform there's a decent list of features, and the chassis is dominated by the 17in screen with its 1680 x 1050 resolution. No doubt that's the reason why Evesham chose to use the 8600M GT as there are so many pixels to push. We found that the high resolution limited gaming performance as you only get 15-20fps in the most graphically intensive games.
Evesham'Zieo N500-HD: the front...
That's not to say that the large screen is a bad idea. Evesham has included a TV tuner, which is identified in the Device Manager as an eMPIA Technology Hybrid TV device. Plug in an aerial using the supplied adapter and the Vista Media Centre software works really well with the FreeView TV tuner to transform the Evesham into a decent telly.
Can't actually buy it though
I ordered one of these 4 weeks ago now. Why do companies insist on advertising stuff for sale that they don't actually have?! Recently I've been told that (at last) they have the parts but are now having 'driver issues'.
If you ain't got em and/or they don't work then don't try and flog me one!
Still, am looking forwards to getting my hands on it, if its not out of date by then!
Evesham: C-, could do better if you tried!
Hmm, odd that it has everything else and no Sata/eSata port. Since anyone who dishes out for a high-end notebook with a tv tuner is almost guaranteed to buy an external hard drive to capture some of it, having an eSata connector makes sense and means one less piece of hardware sticking out (since they're becoming more common than firewire, and usb is noticeably slower than either competing port).
Fine review, 1680x1050 isn't surprising, it jibes pretty well with desktop 8600GT perf, which isn't amazing either. Hope updated drivers and/or bios fix the little hiccups a lot of early santa rosa laptops seem to be having.
We'll be coming back to this one ...
We want to look more closely at the Robson/Turbo Memory technology as it needs to learn which apps are used most frequently to improve caching so we'll be coming back to this laptop.
I'll also re-run the performance tests on battery and when I do I'll make sure I restart the Evesham a few times to remove the question mark over sticky settings.
I've found that with my Nvidia GPU, that once the power cord has been pulled out I'm pretty much stuck with low scores until I restart, regardless of my power saving settings.
If I'm in high performance mode when I pull the cord however I keep the high performance until switching power settings to a low one.
Shoddy drivers, I hope you had restarts between your tests..