The fastest laptop on earth
UPDATE: Read the full review of the Asus W90.
Asus might be most famous for its low-cost netbooks, but its latest multimedia powerhouse is the kind of laptop that’ll give your average desktop PC an inferiority complex.
Let me whet your appetite with some tasty morsels from the W90’s specifications – for starters there’s a 2.8GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T9600 garnished with 6GB of RAM and two 320GB hard disks and, for the main course, not one but two ATI Mobility Radeon HD4870 graphics chipsets with 512MB memory apiece. If you’ve still not had your fill, there’s a tasty 18.4in Full HD 1,920 x 1,080 LED-backlist display for dessert. Asus also assure us that the DVD writer in our pre-production model will make way for a BluRay drive in production models.
And, in a refreshing departure from the gaming laptop norm, it doesn’t light up like a neon pound-shop Xmas tree every time you turn it on. Instead, the W90 finds itself finished in altogether more stylish, sombre tones. Brushed aluminium spans its giant-sized lid and its interior glimmers with gloss black and touch sensitive controls which light up with a subtle blue glow.
The 18.4in display is crisp and bright, and the full-sized keyboard below it is fantastically comfortable, too. As a desktop replacement, the W90 has much to recommend it, but as a laptop, well not so much. Indeed, unless your lap is the size of Manuel Uribe’s, the average person will want to keep the W90s 6.1kg bulk firmly desk-bound. Factor in the 1.34kg power brick and this is one laptop you don’t want to carry around. Ever.
The W90 more than makes up for its considerable bulk with world-class gaming performance, though. Crysis’ graphical splendour is enough to turn even the most able of gaming laptops into jibbering, flaccid wrecks, but not so the W90. With its two HD4870’s in Crossfire, the W90 careered through our most demanding Crysis benchmark with ease, managing 35 frames per second at 1,600 x 1,200 resolution and High detail. Cranking up the difficulty, we reran our benchmark at 1,920 x 1,080, and the W90 responded with an impressive 32 frames per second. Even upping the stakes with detail set to Very High only saw the average framerate drop to an almost playable 26 frames per second.
Asus suggested that the W90 will eventually retail just shy of the £2000 pound mark, but with this kind of performance wrapped up in such a gorgeous, understated figure, it almost begins to look like reasonably good value for money.