Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

AMD laptop offers style but is hot on the thighs

Filed under
Hardware
Reviews

Two years after Intel Corp. made a splash with computer chips specially designed for notebook PCs, rival Advanced Micro Devices Inc. jumped on the bandwagon with a microprocessor similarly pitched to the portable crowd.

Like Intel's Centrino processors, the AMD Turion 64 is supposed to offer zippy performance but use significantly less power than chips designed for regular desktop computers.

To see how the new AMD chip stacks up, I borrowed Hewlett-Packard Co.'s Special Edition L2000 "LiveStrong" notebook.

Not only does it run on a Turion. It also - rather unusually - has the name of cyclist Lance Armstrong's foundation printed on the case.

The LiveStrong notebook line starts at about $900 but my model as configured runs about $1,249. (For each of these notebooks sold, HP and AMD are donating $50 the LiveStrong Foundation to promote cancer survivorship programs.)

Centrino systems with a similar configuration are available for roughly the same price. So the Turion obviously isn't being positioned as a low-cost alternative to Centrino.

Performance-wise, the strategy makes sense.

The LiveStrong notebook had no problem running software ranging from Web browsers and e-mail programs to word processors and games. I watched DVD movies and there was not a single hiccup to suggest the system was under any strain.

But it didn't fare so well in other areas likely to be important to anyone buying a mobile computer - battery life and heat.

While watching movies with the notebook on my lap, my legs got uncomfortably warm and sweaty. It's a problem I've never experienced with a Centrino system though high temperatures are fairly common with notebooks built with regular desktop processors inside.

But the LiveStrong's biggest disappointment was its battery life. After fully charging the battery, I continuously played movies for about 1 hour, 45 minutes before it was depleted. By comparison, I got 2 hours and 10 minutes of play on a Centrino-based Toshiba Satellite M45-S351.

After recharging the battery, I ran another test by sitting on the couch and surfing the Web. This time, the LiveStrong notebook lived longer - 2 hours, 20 minutes - before the battery pooped out. That compares with 2 hours, 40 minutes on the Centrino system.

That said, comparisons are not precise.

Though the Turion and Centrino notebooks both had six-cell batteries, their microprocessors ran at slightly different clock speeds (1.8 gigahertz for the AMD-based HP notebook, 1.73 GHz for the Intel-based Toshiba).

Also, AMD is only supplying the microprocessor - the brains of the computer. Intel, on the other hand, requires PC makers to use the Intel Pentium M processor, an Intel chipset and an Intel wireless radio before they can use the Centrino brand name.

The approach doesn't just mean more money but more control for Intel. Still, when it comes to squeezing the most performance out of electronics with least amount of power, that sort of clout can be a good thing.

The Turion also is a 64-bit chip, which means it can handle more memory than the 32-bit Pentium M processor. But the LiveStrong doesn't ship with the 64-bit version of Windows; instead, it comes with the 32-bit edition of Windows XP. Even if it did, HP offers only up to 2 gigabytes of memory (for $475 more) - well below the 4 GB maximum for 32-bit chips.

The LiveStrong does have its strong points, including a bright 14-inch display, solid-sounding speakers and 512 megabytes of memory included in the default configuration. It also includes ports for plugging in Universal Serial Bus, video and FireWire devices. And it has a built-in, 6-in-1 memory card reader. In all, it weighs just over 5 pounds.

Its looks aren't terribly exciting. It's a black box with a large yellow "LiveStrong" logo painted on the lid. Opened, there's a quote from Armstrong - "I live strong" - and his signature to the right of the tracking pad.

To reinforce the connection to the charity, HP also includes yellow ear buds and one of those ubiquitous yellow bracelets worn by supporters of Armstrong's foundation. The default - and changeable - desktop pattern is a blinding yellow, too.

And, in a possible nod to the rigors of cycling, the LiveStrong will indeed make your lap sweaty.

Associated Press

More in Tux Machines

Seven tips for reinvigorating your SMS campaign

Mobile marketing has come a long way in the last decade. Mobile marketing has gone from being a marketing channel to an entire industry encompassing dozens of marketing channels. While newer mobile technologies such as push notifications, QR codes, and geo-targeting have been getting all of the attention, it is still the humble text message that dominates the industry. While other channels can be beneficial, none can replace the value of a good SMS campaign. Seven tips If you’ve been neglecting your SMS campaign, here are seven tips to get it back on track: Encourage interaction. In the past, marketing efforts have always been focused on one-way communication. With mobile marketing, simply sending texts isn’t enough. In fact it comes across as spamming. A better option is to encourage interaction. For instance, customers who opt-in to receive your texts should be rewarded with a positive experience. Make sure messages are timely. You’ll find that certain messages are more effective at certain times. Sometimes it’s obvious but other times it won’t be. Texts sent by a restaurant about a lunch time special will be more effective when sent just before lunch time. Make sure you’re sending texts that are relevant, valuable, and timely. No marketing effort exists in a vacuum. Every business should be using at least a few different marketing channels. SMS is a great way to tie them all together because nearly everyone has a mobile device capable of texting. SMS marketing can link your email campaign to your social media campaign, and your social media campaign to your content marketing campaign and any other marketing channels you might have. Supplement your local advertisements. Despite the tremendous success of digital marketing strategies, traditional advertising channels such as radio and print ads can still be effective. In can be difficult to measure the effectiveness of these efforts however. You can use SMS to measure success by including a short code and keyword in your traditional advertising then watch how many opt-ins you get as a result. The trouble with sweepstakes has always been that people don’t want to take all the time to enter a sweepstakes they probably won’t win. SMS makes it extremely easy to enter sweepstakes. In fact, it’s one way to get people to opt-in. Customers can enter by simply texting a keyword to a short code. Provide in-store recommendations. A major fear about mobile is that it’s robbing businesses of their foot traffic. So much shopping is done online these days that many business owners worry they can’t compete. Mobile doesn’t have to work against in-store business however. In fact, mobile can improve it. For example, an auto parts store might allow customers looking for a specific part to text a keyword to a short code in order to get reply with the correct part. Use SMS to build loyalty. Typically, it’s 20% of your customers that are driving 80% of sales. SMS is a great way to get those kinds of customers. Make sure you’re doing everything you can to build a solid SMS marketing list. Mobile Technology News brought to you by businesstexter.com Source: streetfightmag.com/2014/08/18/7-strategies-for-better-text-message-marketing/

Linux kernel developer Dmitry Monakhov arrested for protesting Ukraine invasion

Linux kernel developer Dmitry Monakhov was detained for 15 days for disobeying a police officer on Saturday. The debacle came about when Monakhov decided to protest the recent invasion into Ukraine by Russian armed forces. This was not the first incident of aggression towards Monakhov. During a rally in July of 2013 he was reported to have been beaten in one of the police vans most likely for participating in expressing his discontent with Putin’s policies regarding human rights. According to Monakhov’s tweet the day before his most recent run in with the authorities, he announced, “I am a Russian. Not cattle. Not a killer. And it is not the occupier. I am ashamed that my president Putin. At 9.00 I go to Manezhku [Manezh Square] against the war.” after this tweet, pictures surfaced a day later of four Russian policeman arresting him. Read more

Thank You Akademy 2014 Sponsors

Akademy is a non-commercial event, free of charge for all who want to attend. Generous sponsor support helps make Akademy possible. Most of the Akademy budget goes towards travel support for KDE community members from all over the world, contributors who would not be able to attend the conference otherwise. The wide diversity of attendees is essential to the success of the annual in-person Akademy conference. Many thanks to Akademy 2014 sponsors. Read more

Linux @ About.com

During the past month I have been in discussions with a number of people at about.com. I have been provided with the opportunity of writing articles on the linux.about.com subsite and I am in full control of all the content that will appear on that site. It is early days and there is some old content on the site which is a bit out of date but I plan to make linux.about.com a great resource for everyone. Read more