MV Ixius 3.6 specs. and analysisThis review is split into two sections. The first details MV's Ixius 3.6 laptop and the second part focuses in on evaluating NVIDIA's GeForce 6800 Go in particular.
I'll take a look at the specification's list and discuss pertinent features with the aid of pictures.
|MV Ixius 3.6
|Intel Pentium 4 560 - 3.6GHz, 1MB L2 cache
|Intel i915P Grantsdale
|512MB (2x256MB) DDR2 SODIMMs
|Hitachi 60GB 7,200RPM - 8MB cache
|17" Widescreen (1440x900)
|NVIDIA GeForce 6800 Go 256MB (NV41M)
|Sony 8x dual-layer DVD ReWriter
|4x USB2.0, 2x mini-FireWire400, S-Video, headphone, microphone sockets, DVI,
|Intel Azalia High-Definition
|Agere Systems 56k
|Realtek 8169 GbE LAN
|802.11b/g Wireless and Bluetooth
|Windows XP Home w/SP2
|~5kg (without charger)
|39.5cm (w) x 29cm (d) x 5cm (h)
|MV 1-year collect and return
|£1499+VAT (£1763 inc.) as at 8/11/2004
|Multicard reader, built-in webcam
It's worth repeating that the above spec. list pertains to a laptop and not desktop PC. The dividing line between both is now becoming increasingly blurred. Most notable aspects are a potent, if hot, 3.6GHz Prescott LGA775 CPU, a zippy 60GB hard drive, 17-inch widescreen TFT and, of course, NVIDIA's GeForce 6800 Go 256MB mobile video card.
All that power arrives is housed in the largest and heaviest laptop I've come across yet. A 17-inch screen pushes out the Ixius 3.6's width to almost 40cm. It's also around 30cm deep and, crucially, just at touch over 5cm high. That makes it both deeper and wider than Dell's bloated Inspiron 9100. I fully appreciate that there's not much MV can do about the laptop's basic dimensions, but what's more worrying is its 5kg base weight (without charger). I suppose DTR laptops are geared towards being run off the mains so portability isn't of great concern, but I'd definitely not want to carry the Ixius 3.6 on any approaching a regular basis. Add in the large-ish charger and travel weight balloons to nearly 6kg; that's around a stone in English money.
Lamentations about weight aside, the Ixius 3.6 has a reassuring quality feel to it. 8 chrome-style buttons on the front serve as media controls, including volume, forwards, backwards, shuffle, and standby. One can also listen to CDs without turning the machine on. Clever thinking that's been used on other laptops before.
The funky display adds a touch of class, I feel. Sound quality and volume were both rather good, aided by more speakers than I'd care to shake a stick at.
A look at the rear-mounted ports shows how seriously cooling is taken. Almost the entire left-hand side is given over to ventilation for the heat-pipe-drive cooler that's tasked with keeping a 3.6GHz LGA775 Pentium 4 Prescott CPU cool under load. I'm not convinced that Serial and Parallel ports are of much use on modem laptops but MV has gone with Clevo's, the ODM (Original Design Manufacturer), layout. A DVI port feeds off the GeForce 6800 Go mobile card and is a welcome addition. Gigabit Ethernet has become popular on premium desktop motherboards and laptops alike. Realtek's much-used 8169 ASIC offers PCI-based GbE LAN, and MV takes it up, right next to a regular Modem plug.
The right-hand side is home to more high-speed ports. 4x USB 2.0 and 2x 4-pin mini-FireWire sit to the right of an S-Video socket. There's also the usual audio ports to the right.
It's all about cramming as many features as you can. More functionality is created by having a multi-card reader installed right next to the graphics card. It provides support for all popular removable media products, including Compact Flash, SmartMedia, and SecureDigital.
The other side seems bare in comparison, doesn't it?. Our sample unit shipped with a Toshiba 8x DVD-ROM but all production models, given the price above, will contain a Sony 8x dual-layer DVD ReWriter. There's also 802.11b/g Wireless LAN and Bluetooth connectivity as standard. I'd like to see a separate switch that toggles Wireless/Bluetooth functions on/off.