Acer Ferrari 4000 notebook
Getting Turion right
Comparing the Ferrari 4000 directly to the Samsung X50 shows that you're getting a lot for your money, despite the fact that the Ferrari branding must have cost Acer a fair bit. Running the DVD battery rundown test in Mobile Mark 2005 showed that you can watch a three-hour long movie on this machine before it runs out of steam.
The battery life proved to be equally impressive when running productivity applications, with the Ferrari 4000 turning in a time of 201 minutes, beating the Samsung by 12 minutes. What really stood out is that despite the impressive battery life, the Ferrari 4000 was still running very fast, producing a Mobile Mark performance score of 215 compared with 67 on the Samsung - proving that you could probably even play a game on battery power.
When it came to raw power under SYSmark 2002 I expected the Acer to trail the Samsung slightly. After all, the Samsung had a 2GHz Pentium M chip compared to the 1.8GHz Turion in the Acer. However, I was proved wrong, with the Ferrari 4000 edging ahead of the X50 with a score of 252 compared to 241. The X50 did seem to have the edge when it came to PCMark 05 though, turning in an overall score of 2791, while the Ferrari 4000 could only manage 2661.
But there's one very important issue to consider when judging the performance of the Ferrari 4000 - the Ferrari 4000 that Acer supplied doesn't conform to the actual retail specification. That said, this Ferrari 4000 has a slower processor than the one you'll see in the retail products. You've seen that the 1.8GHz ML-34 Turion is a very fast mobile CPU, so you should expect even better performance from the 2GHz ML-37 chip that ships in the production notebooks. Of course, it's still annoying not to have benchmarked the actual machine that's available to buy, but I'm fairly happy knowing that customers will get more for their money when they buy.
As far as weight and dimensions go, you're looking at 36.3 x 26.5 x 3.4cm with a weight of just over 2.8kg. So it's not the smallest or lightest notebook around, but it's still OK for carrying around with you all day - something that I've done with it on many occasions.
It seems like Acer is continuing its quest to drive the cost of high-performance notebooks down and you can pick up the Ferrari 4000 with a 2GHz Turion and Windows XP Pro for only £1289 including VAT.
With a strong feature set, admirable performance and a stunning price, it's pretty much impossible not to recommend the Ferrari 4000. If you're not put off by the Ferrari branding, there's little to fault Acer's latest Grand Prix special.
Acer has put AMD's Turion to good use this time, showing that it can match up to the Pentium M in pretty much every respect. The Ferrari 4000 really does look great and represents a huge step forward from the 3200 model that we looked at before. Feature-wise you'd be hard pushed to find anything missing, while the price is quite staggering considering the spec. Overall a superb notebook, even if it's not quite the retail specification.
|Acer Ferrari 4000|
|More info||The Acer site|