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Review: Novatech Centrino 2 X20mv Pro laptop: better than AMD Puma?

by Tarinder Sandhu on 14 October 2008, 08:16 3.5

Tags: Novatech Centrino 2, Novatech, Intel (NASDAQ:INTC)

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qapqp

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Specifications and thoughts


Novatech Centrino 2 X20mv Pro
Processor Intel Mobile Core 2 Duo P8400 (2.26GHz, 3MB L2 cache, 1,066MHz FSB, dual-core)
Motherboard Clevo M720T (Intel GM45 + ICH9M)
Memory 2GB (2x 1GB) PC5300
Hard disk(s) Hitachi 200GB, 5,400RPM, 8MB cache
Display/TFT 12.1in WXGA (1,280x800) 
Graphics hardware Intel GM45 IGP X4500MHD (IGP)
Optical drive TSST SN-S083A DVD, including dual-layer support
Sound Realtek HD audio
Modem Motorola SM56 
Networking hardware 1x 10/100/1000, Realtek RTL8168C PCIe Ethernet
Realtek RTL8187B 802.11 b/g WiFi
Ports and connectors 3x USB2.0, VGA, ExpressCard54, RJ45 (LAN), modem, 
Mic-in, headphone-out, S/PDIF-out
Operating system Windows Vista Home Premium SP1, 32-bit 
Notable extras Built-in card-reader (SD, MMC, MS, MSPro, xD)
1.3MP webcam
Weight 1.93kg with supplied battery. 
Battery 4-cell, 2,400mAh (35WHr)
Dimensions 299mm x 219mm x 35.7mm (W x D x H)
Warranty One year as standard.
Price £599, including VAT and delivery

Novatech is better-known as an etailer of computer parts and consequently doesn't have the buying power of, say, Toshiba and Dell. That's why most small system integrators opt for a basic Clevo notebook chassis, complete with innards, and then build up the rest themselves, thereby offering a number of different SKUs based around one design.

The X20mv Pro is a case in point, being a thin-and-light laptop that ships with a 12.1in screen. The underlying technology is mainly Centrino 2, comprising of the newest iteration of Core 2 Duo chips and GM45 motherboard, and with integrated graphics.

The sample machine is equipped with a speedy Mobile Core 2 Duo P8400 (2.26GHz, 3MB L2 cache, 1,066MHz FSB) processor but options exist to upgrade this to either a P8600 (2.4GHz, 3MB L2, 1,066MHz FSB) or T9300 (2.5GHz, 6MB L2, 800MHz FSB) for £47 and £82.25, respectively. The base performance is enough for most, we reckon.

The new chipset, GM45, brings with it an upgraded graphics core - X4500MHD - that's capable of helping decode high-definition content and providing DX10-class graphics. It's in direct competition with AMD's mobile Puma offering, of course.

Our first bone of contention comes with the 2GB of DDR2 memory. Ideally, this should be DDR2-800MHz rather than 667MHz, but Novatech charges you £23.50 to upgrade it - about the cost of the RAM itself.

The sub-2kg notebook packs in an industry-standard 12.1in WXGA screen and a reasonable 200GB hard drive from Hitachi. Due to spatial restrictions a smaller-than-normal optical drive is used, and the option exists for substituting it for a Blu-ray-supporting model for an extra £176 - ouch! Blu-ray wouldn't make all that sense here, really, given the native resolution.

A small chassis dictates that the shipping battery provides only 35WHrs, and there's no option to purchase a larger-capacity model at the time of sale.

The quoted price of £599 includes Windows Vista Premium SP1 but one can also buy it without an operating system, saving £70. A full range of options can be found here.

The Novatech X20mv Pro, then, is a thin-and-light notebook that packs in a high-performance CPU and reasonably good integrated graphics. The asking price, too, isn't prohibitive, so let's take a visual look.