Evesham Quest A620 review
As a contender for the most powerful notebook, the Evesham Quest A620 has a lot going for it. Its primary weapon is AMD’s flagship dual-core processor, the Athlon 64 FX-60, making its debut in the world of notebooks. Its two cores clock in at 2.6GHz and each has 1MB of Level 2 cache, so it only just falls short of being the equivalent of two FX-57s. This obviously requires significant cooling, hence the same huge chassis as the Rock and SavRow, but with a benchmark score of 1.25 it’s 10 per cent faster than any other notebook we’ve tested.
Having left our 2D benchmarks in ruins, the Quest A620 swaggered onto our real-world gaming tests with similar results. Like the SavRow, it uses a 256MB nVidia GeForce Go 7800 GTX card, which really benefits from being paired which such a powerful CPU. On our standard 1,280 x 1,024 settings, it averaged 67fps in Far Cry and 91fps in Half-Life 2, but it can be pushed much harder. Raising the resolution to its native 1,680 x 1,050 and switching on HDR dropped the frame rate in Far Cry to a still playable 37fps and Half-Life 2 remained smooth at 80fps.
The CPU is ably assisted by 1GB of RAM, and there are two 100GB hard disks for a very respectable amount of storage space. The DVD writer will also burn to dual-layer discs at 4x, and there are slots for most media card types: SD/MMC, Memory Stick/Pro/Duo, CompactFlash, SmartMedia and Microdrive.
The chassis itself is identical in its ports and features to the others, with the only real difference being the resolution, which can’t quite match that of the SavRow. Evesham is also testing an internal mini-PCI TV tuner card (£60 exc VAT), which – if it works to Evesham’s satisfaction – will be the perfect partner for Windows Media Center Edition.
Unfortunately, as with all three of these Clevo systems, the speaker volume is disappointing and the sound quality is a little muffled. Also, the battery will give you only one-and-a-half hours under light use, so the Quest isn’t a great traveller. However, this barely drops at all under intensive use, so you’ll get one hour, 20 minutes of whatever activity you choose before it dies on you.
This and the weight are the obvious disadvantages when compared to Core-based notebooks – for example, the Acer TravelMate 8204WLMi weighs 3kg and lasted for almost three hours in our light-use tests. It’s also much more expensive, with the Acer costing just £1,499 plus VAT. But in return, you get astonishing performance both in 2D and in 3D, 200GB of hard disk space and two years’ on-site cover plus one year’s return-to-base support. If it’s stunning power you’re after and money is no object, this Evesham is the obvious choice.
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