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11 августа 2005, 12:32

Acer Aspire 1692 Notebook PC - a home favorite

A stylish and high-performance model of superb usability and durable battery-powered operation. If you are looking for a notebook of design sticking to your memory, equally well for work and entertainment, we advise you to look at the Acer Aspire 1690 line.

The Aspire 1690 series of notebook PCs was presented by Acer still early this year – that was one of the first two models of the company based on the Sonoma platform. Originally, notebooks of this series are equipped with a quite a matter-of-fact video adapter ATI Mobility Radeon X600.

But it looks like they at the company decided the performance of the chip is insufficient for a powerful multimedia computer. Or perhaps because ATI pushed the prices for its produce down on the grounds that NVIDIA succeeded in increasing its presence on the market of mobile video adapters (which is highly probable). Somehow or other, the series was complemented with a number of models offering more "advanced" graphics - Mobility Radeon X700. So we are offering a review of one of them for your attention.

Acer Aspire 1692 Specifications

Processor and a set of main chipsIntel Centrino technologyIntel Pentium M with 2MB of L2 cache and 533 MHz system bus speed, support for Enhanced Intel SpeedStepChipset - Intel® 915PM Express
RAM512 MB DDR-333Up to 2 GB2 х soDIMM modules
Hard diskATA/100
Optical driveDVD-Dual drive
Display15.4" WXGA Acer CrystalBrite LCD 1280×800; 16:1016.7 mln colors displayed
Video subsystemATI ® MOBILITY ™ RADEON ™ X 700 with 64 MB of standalone memoryATI POWERPLAY™ 5.0Support for S-video/TV-out (NTSC/PAL)Support for DualViewHardware support for MPEG-2/DVDMicrosoft® DirectX® 9.0Aspire CinemaVision™ (Acer Arcade) Aspire ClearVision image optimization technology
Audio subsystem2 integrated stereo speakersCompatible to MS-Sound Integrated microphoneSupport for S/PDIF
Communications10/100/1000Mbps network adapter; support for the Wake-on-LAN featureIntegrated fax-modem56K ITU V.92; support for the Wake-on-RingIntegrated wireless communication adapter Intel® PRO/Wireless 2200BG (802.11b/g)Acer SignalUp technology
I/O ports3 x USB 2.0 ports. 1x IR port1x VGA connector 1x connector for PC (Type II) cards1x S-video/TV-output (NTSC/PAL)1x IEEE 1394 port1x (RJ-11) modem port1x network (RJ-45) port1х connector for headphones/speakers (support for S/PDIF)1x connector for a microphone1x connector for the PSU1х connector for a flash card reader 4-in-1 (SD/MMC/MS/MS Pro)
SecurityConnector for the Kensington lockPasswords to the BIOS
Power supply subsystemACPI power consumption control standard with support for the Standby and Hibernation modes 1 Li-ion 65 W*hr battery 3.5 hours operation from the battery (1.5 hrs charging time, 3.5 hrs charging time during operation)65 W PSU
Data input/output devicesStandard 88-/89-key keyboardSensor panel and a 4-way scroll key 12 functional keys; 4 cursor keys; 2 Windows® buttons; "hot" keys4 quick-launch buttons to start: Internet, email, Acer E-manage, and one programmable keyA wireless communication button
Dimensions and mass364 х 279 x 33.9/38.9 mm2.95 kg
Pre-installed OSRussian localized Microsoft® Windows® XP Home Edition
SoftwareAcer ArcadeNorton AntiVirusAdobe Acrobat ReaderCyberlink PowerDVDNTI CD MakerAcer eManager (including ePresentation, eSetting, ePowerManagement, and eRecovery). AcerGridVista.Acer Launch manager
Optional components and accessoriesRAM modulesOptional batteryPower supply unit
Guarantee2 yrs

The specifications are impressive, aren't they? At the same time, the notebook is affordable for the device of such a level: Acer's recommended price for this model (in the same configuration like the one which has been to our lab) is $1599.

The whole Aspire 1690 product line looks like this:

Aspire 1691WLMiPentium M 730 (1.6 GHz / 2 Mb / 533 MHz), Microsoft® Windows® XP Home RU, 15.4" WXGA, ATI MOBILITY Radeon x600 with 64 MB of video memory, 512 (2*256) MB, 80 GB, no FDD, DVD-Dual (Double Layer), 10/100 LAN, 802.11b/g, modem.LX.A4305.199
Aspire 1691WLMiPentium M 730 (1.6 GHz / 2 Mb / 533 MHz), Microsoft® Windows® XP Home RU, 15.4" WXGA, ATI MOBILITY Radeon x700 with 64 MB of video memory, 512 (2*256) MB, 80 GB, no FDD, DVD-Dual (Double Layer), 10/100 LAN, 802.11b/g, modem.LX.A5305.023
Aspire 1694WLMiPentium M 760 (2.0 GHz / 2 Mb / 533 MHz), Microsoft® Windows® XP Home RU, 15.4" WXGA, ATI MOBILITY Radeon x600 with 128 MB of video memory, 1024 (2*512) MB, 100 GB, no FDD, DVD-Dual (Double Layer), 10/100 LAN, Bluetooth, 802.11b/g, modem.LX.A4405.033
Aspire 1694WLMiPentium M 760 (2.0 GHz / 2 Mb / 533 MHz), Microsoft® Windows® XP Home RU, 15.4" WXGA, ATI MOBILITY Radeon x700 with 128 MB of video memory, 1024 (2*512) MB, 100 GB, no FDD, DVD-Dual (Double Layer), 10/100 LAN, Bluetooth, 802.11b/g, modem.LX.A5405.039
Aspire 1692WLMiPentium M 740 (1.7 GHz / 2 Mb / 533 MHz), Microsoft® Windows® XP Home RU, 15.4" WXGA, ATI MOBILITY Radeon x700 with 64 MB of video memory, 512 (2*256) MB DDR II, 80 GB, no FDD, DVD-Dual (Double Layer), 10/100 LAN, 802.11b/g, modem.LX.A6505.018
Aspire 1694WLMiPentium M 760 (2.0 GHz / 2 Mb / 533 MHz), Microsoft® Windows® XP Home RU, 15.4" WXGA, ATI MOBILITY Radeon x700 with 128 MB of video memory, 1024 (2*512) MB DDR II, 100 GB, no FDD, DVD-Dual (Double Layer), 10/100 LAN, Bluetooth, 802.11b/g, modem.LX.A6605.036

In the most powerful configuration - 1 GB RAM, 2 GHz CPU, Mobility Radeon X700 128 MB video and integrated Bluetooth adapter, the notebook costs $2159 (again, the recommended price).

Package bundle

Aspire 1692 is shipped in a bright-colored proprietary box, compact enough for a 15" notebook.

Box

There is nothing out of the ordinary inside the box, the model is equipped in quite a standard way:

  • Power supply unit with a power cable
  • Documentation kit (including Russian-language documentation).
  • A few disks with drivers and software (additionally – Norton AntiVirus and NTI CD&DVD Maker).
  • Cable to connect the modem to the telephone network.

Package

Although there aren't many components, the process of "navigating" around the box contents is enjoying - all is packed so neatly and compactly.

Exterior

Like most modern Acer notebooks, Aspire 1692 is made in the Acer Folio style. The essence of the design is this: «notebooks resemble a folder in shape, which imparts strictness and business style to the exterior» (www.acer.ru.)

Acer Aspire 1692

There are two key points underlying the style:

  • Color spectrum: the black bottom of the notebook and the black frame around the screen; light-silvery top of the cover and the housing.

Acer Aspire 1692

  • Shape: unlike most of modern models of wedge-shaped housing, the bottom and the cover plane in Acer notebooks are almost parallel, with the front and rear edges strongly rounded. Due to such approach, the notebook turns out to be visually slim and the volume is made use of more effectively. Besides, that allows avoiding decentration of the gravity point closer to the rear part of the notebook.

Designers at Asus have done a very good job - the notebook looks strict indeed, businesslike, and expensive, which is also of importance. Besides the generally successful appearance, the fine details not immediately seen to eye also add to the overall impression - e.g. the proprietary logos on the lid and under the screen, or a panel above the keyboard are made of unusual corrugated plastics.

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Company logo

It is a pleasure to see that all the indicators are made of "classical" colors: green and orange-red. Bright blue LEDs are already boring, aren't they?

If we practiced assessment, then the design of Acer Aspire 1692 would deserve a firm "5+/5" mark.

Internals

Acer Aspire 1692 is based on the Sonoma platform which we have come across several times and which is no longer interesting to us. What is really interesting in the notebook is the video adapter: here is used ATI's one of the most recent graphic chips – Mobility Radeon X700.

Processor

We already came across Pentium M 740 in the review of RoverBook Voyager B511 notebook. The processor offers the optimum price/performance ratio to date. Since Sonoma is still a novelty, most prefer producing notebooks on this platform with more powerful processors, but some time afterwards it is just Pentium M 740 that will be the most popular among the notebook PC manufacturers.

Processor's characteristics

Chipset and memory

For the past two-three months, we have acquainted with some notebooks built on Alviso chipsets, so for their comparative characteristics read the review on RoverBook Voyager B511.

Acer Aspire 1692 uses i915PM without integrated graphics, so let's recall its main features:

North bridge915PM
Supported processorsPentium M Pentium M LV Pentium M ULVCeleron M Celeron M ULV
FSB speed533/400 MHz
MemoryUp to 2048 MB: DDR2-533/400 (dual-channel); DDR2-400 (single-channel);DDR-333 (single-channel).
Integrated graphicsN/A
PCI Express 16x+
Package dimensions37.5x40 mm
South bridge82801DBM (ICH6-M)
Serial ATAUp to 2 ports
USB 2.0Up to 8 ports
AudioIntel® High Definition Audio
Packaging421-pin Micro-BGA
Potential specializationMultimedia notebooks and "premium" notebooks.

You can see all the same but in a more convenient form on the diagram:

Chipset diagram

In our test specimen, there were 512 MB of RAM PC3200 (DDR2-400) as 2x256MB modules. To all appearances, the memory was running in the dual-channel mode.

Memory parameters

Video

In the two previous reviews of notebooks based on Sonoma, we acquainted with the mainstream video chip by NVIDIA - GeForce Go6600. The results are indeed inspiring - due to that graphic adapter, portable PCs have finally acquired a high indeed performance on par with good desktop systems.

Unfortunately, we haven't yet come across the ATI's solution in question: neither Mobility Radeon 9700, nor X600 can be regarded as such - there is a twofold superiority in the number of pipelines – a huge difference.

So, once we got the chance to meet Radeon Mobility X700, we immediately made use of that. To be honest, we took the notebook for tests mostly because of its video adapter (although it proved attractive due to many other characteristics). So, let's get round to examining the MRX700. For a start, technical specifications as compared to those in the already reviewed competitors:

MR9700MR9800MRX600MRX700Go6600
M11M18M24M26 (RV410)NV 43
Number of pixel pipelines48488
Number of vertex pipelines24263
Core speed *450350450350375
Storage capacity32/64/128128/25664/12864/12864/128
Memory bus64/128 bit256 bit (4х64)128 bit128 bit (4х64)128 bit
Memory speed *250350250350375
InterfaceAGPAGPPCI-EPCI-EPCI-E
* given are the maximum frequencies, they can strongly vary depending on the specific model of a notebook.

As you see, X700 is quite a worthy competitor to Go6600. The frequencies are a bit lower, but the vertex processors are twice as many. On the other hand, Mobility Radeon 9800 is more attractive for its wider memory bus and its larger capacity. But it is rarely available, so can't be regarded as a real competitor.

The new Mobility Radeon X700 is a full-featured member of ATI's "tenth" family, therefore it offers all the functionality typical of chips of this generation.

  • Pixel shaders 2.0 (extended).
  • Vertex shaders 2.0
  • FSAA, 2x/4x/6x.
  • AF 2x/4x/8x/16x.
  • Three-tiered hierarchical Z-buffer with early Z-test.
  • Improved Z-compression (up to 48:1).
  • FullStream technology to improve the Real, DivX, and WMV9 playback quality.
  • Hardware support for MPEG1/2/4 encoding/decoding.
  • Support for notebook screens of resolutions up to WUXGA (1920x1200) and QXGA (2048x1536).
  • Support for external digital displays of DVI interface, resolution up to UXGA (1600x1200).
  • Integrated TV-Out.
  • Dual RAMDAC 400 MHz (2048х1536@120 Hz).
  • Support for PCI Express x16 bus (without using the bridge).

Needless to say, all the modern technologies have been implemented. Besides, there is PowerPlay that allows reducing the power consumption of the video subsystem at the moments when high performance is not required.

In our specimen, the graphic subsystem was running at frequencies somehow different from the above stated (another chance to see that these characteristics are rather conventional), namely, 358/344 (core/memory).

Powerstrip clocks normal

Unfortunately, Aspire 1692 uses X700 of 64 MB memory capacity, which couldn't help affecting the performance in modern games aimed at 128 and even 256 MB VRAM. We will surely examine the 128 MB version of X700, and we are regarding this review some sort of a preview.

A few words on the PowerPlay technology. For now, the driver settings give a wider selection of options than it used to be. There are three performance modes available (read - clock speeds) which can be selected for three versions of the notebook operation: line supply, battery power supply, battery discharge (it is nice that the level when the battery is regarded as discharged can se set on your own).

Powerplay settings

Frequencies in the first and second modes:

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Frequencies in line supply

They are rigidly preset and are not to be adjusted manually.

Optical drive

Another remarkable component of Acer Aspire 1692 is the optical drive. It is remarkable for two peculiarities. First, it is made in the slot-in form factor - exotic enough for the PC - that is, the CD is loaded into the slot, not to the sliding tray. On the one hand, it is convenient enough upon the lack of work space, on the other - it is an interesting and unusual "feature".

Optical drive

The second advantage is the maximum "advanced" specifications to date

WritingDVD-RAM5
DVD-R8
DVD-RW4
DVD+R8
DVD+R Double Layer2,4
DVD+RW4
CD-R24
CD-RW16
ReadCD-ROM24
DVD-ROM8
OtherProtection against buffer overflow
Support for DMA-66
Dimensions,128x12.7x129 mm

The drive supports writing on all modern recordable media, including dual-layered DVD+R.

Other

  • Hard disk Seagate Momentus 4200.2 ST9808210 A: capacity 80 GB, spindle rotational speed 4200 RPM, buffer 8 MB.
  • Broadcom NetXtreme Gigabit Ethernet (10/100/1000 Mbit/s) wired communication adapter.
  • Intel PRO/ Wireless 2200 BG wireless communication module: WiFi 802.11 b/ g (up to 54 Mbit/s).
  • Soft-modem V92, 56 k.

Performance tests

We used an "extended" set of benchmarks aimed at testing notebooks having discrete graphics: to the standard PCMark02, PCMark04, and 3DMark01 in this case we are adding 3DMark05 and Doom 3.

We'll be comparing the results versus the most powerful notebooks that have been to our test lab - these models are built on the Sonoma platform or on "desktop" processors.

ProcessorMemoryVideo system
ModelCPUFrequency, MHzFSB, MHzL2 cache, KBCapacity, MBTypeGPUMemory, MBFrequencies, MHz
MaxSelect HammerWideAthlon 64 3000+1800-1024512PC2700ATi Mobility Radeon 9700128473/250
iRU Brava 4717Pentium 43200800512512PC3200ATi Mobility Radeon 9700128405/223
Bliss 5020Pentium 43000800512512PC2700nVidia GeForce FX Go520064405/200
RoverBook Explorer D797Pentium 4300080010245122xPC2700ATi Mobility Radeon 9700128398/230
ASUS W5G00APentium M 73016005332048512PC3200Intel 915--
iRU Stilo 6154Pentium M 73517004002048512PC2700ATi Mobility Radeon 970064?
Fujitsu-Siemens Lifebook T4010Pentium M 74518004002048512PC2700Intel 852/855--
RoverBook Voyager B511Pentium M 74017335332048512PC3200Intel 915--
Acer Aspire 1692WLMiPentium M 740173353320485122xPC3200ATi Mobility Radeon X70064358/344
LG LM70-P333Pentium M 750186053320485122xPC4300ATi Mobility Radeon X600128400/250
iRU Brava 7154Pentium M 760200053320485122xPC4300nVidia GeForce FX Go6600128375/300
AOpen OpenBook 1559Pentium M 760200053320485122xPC4300nVidia GeForce FX Go6600128300/300

In the processor test, Aspire 1692 shows a predictable result – almost precisely the same as in RoverBook Voyager B511 (in which Pentium M 740 was used). But in the memory test, our tested specimen proved much faster and almost came close to iRU Brava 7154.

Benchmarking in PCMark02

In PCMark04, all is approximately the same.

Benchmarking in PCMark04

In the good old 3DMark01, our tested specimen shows even better results than notebooks built on GeForce Go6600. That is quite normal: in the times when the test package was created, the memory capacity as much as 64 MB was a norm. Therefore, Aspire 1692 allows playing relatively old games at the maximum available quality and good speed.

Benchmarking in 3DMark01

But in the new 3DMark05 things are not that good because today's norm is 128 MB of memory (for high-performance video adapters - even 256 MB), so our MRX700 of 64 MB onboard takes an interim place between Go6600 and X600. In fact, that is already a very good result.

Benchmarking in 3DMark05

Since the difference in 3DMark05 for MR9700 between the 64 MB and 128 MB versions proved about 50-100%, we can forecast a sure leadership of «full-featured» MRX700 in this test. We have only got to wait for the time to meet them and make sure ourselves.

As usual, here is a consolidated table of results for synthetic tests:

PCMark02PCmark043DMark013DMark05
ModelCPUMemHDDScoreCPUMemGPUHDDScoreScoreCPU
MaxSelect HammerWide58107005653-----1126414162722
iRU Brava 471776736692573--------
Bliss 502073126232532-----5755--
RoverBook Explorer D79763378464730441745693851199629551048811872453
ASUS W5G00A5410978963429113136288580323954667--
iRU Stilo 61545697971476034173323270720352917101077362535
Fujitsu-Siemens Lifebook T40106032950773728973466253362130322329--
RoverBook Voyager B51158191004578231363392292878729192900--
Acer Aspire 1692WLMi584311151678358933593088369828271578515673268
LG LM70-P333629411710777379136193250223732101116312403479
iRU Brava 7154665811273543405838983373328325161541123943693
AOpen OpenBook 1559675912417789403438843277287131891431718953455

We are now moving on to a more specific testing which we traditionally do with not the most new but still resource-hungry Doom 3.

Here we see approximately the same picture as in 3DMark - the video memory is not enough to make the most of the core.

Benchmarking in Doom 3

Despite that, the speed is anyway high enough, and even the Medium Quality allows playing comfortable enough.

Low QualityMedium QualityHigh Quality
640800102464080010246408001024
RoverBook Explorer D79747,633,921,647,533,821,639,229,719,6
iRU Brava 471737,029,720,535,429,020,030,825,418,2
MaxSelect HammerWide---46,835,223,0---
Acer Aspire 1692WLMi71,055,737,668,655,037,256,644,131,7
LG LM70-P33351,935,123,151,735,023,140,232,622,3
iRU Brava 715497,386,366,697,385,666,094,380,961,5
AOpen OpenBook 155992,678,458,192,077,857,687,572,653,7

Summing it up: Acer Aspire 1692 shows good enough performance for both office tasks and computer games – even such resource-hungry ones like Doom 3.

Offline operation time

By default, this model is equipped with a battery of capacity high enough for a Centrino notebook - 65 W*hr (4400 mA*hr; 14.8 V), which allows expecting a good result while testing it for the offline operation time.

Battery

The battery compartment is equipped with two latches: the main, and the safety one. Therefore, in any circumstances you can stay assured that the battery won't discharge at an unexpected moment.

Battery compartment

Despite being a desktop rather than mobile, this model is equipped with a Liteon's power-supply unit of 65 W power rating (19 V; 3.42 A). The PSU offers two pleasant features: first, it is equipped with an indicator, secondly - it has a convenient sticker to wind up the too long wires.

PSU

The comparison of results was done versus the same models as in the part of the review to do with performance tests.

Offline operation time (office)

Owing to the perfectly operating power-saving system, at low loads Aspire 1692 operated incredibly long - as many as five hours..

Offline operation time (DVD)

In playing DVD, the offline operation time goes down significantly but anyway remains long enough for notebooks of this class. Three hours of battery operation will suffice to watch 1-2 films.

Offline operation time
ModelBatteryOperation time, min
mA*hrВW*hrOfficeDVD
MaxSelect HammerWide440014,865,1210985
RoverBook Explorer D797660011,173,267357
iRU Brava 4717660014,897,68122102
Bliss 5020660014,897,68180106
ASUS W5G00A440011,148,84211141
iRU Stilo 6154440011,148,84252164
Fujitsu-Siemens Lifebook T4010480010,851,84210180
RoverBook Voyager B511430014,863,64250175
Acer Aspire 1692WLMi440014,865,12298180
LG LM70-P333480011,153,28192150
iRU Brava 7154480014,871,04182130
AOpen OpenBook 1559440014,865,12206115

It is nice that the battery charges fast enough - to get 95% of charge it take about 2 hrs when the notebook is operating.

Final Words

A stylish and high-performance model of superb usability and durable battery-powered operation.

if you are looking for a notebook of design sticking to your memory, equally well for work and entertainment, we advise you to look at the Acer Aspire 1690 line.

FE_approved

Award: An excellent sample of modern multimedia notebook combining performance of a desktop PC in a compact and nice-looking housing.

 

Автор: Aleksey Drozhzhin