Acer Aspire 1692 Notebook PC - a home favorite
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 chips||Intel Centrino technologyIntel Pentium M with 2MB of L2 cache and 533 MHz system bus speed, support for Enhanced Intel SpeedStepChipset - Intel® 915PM Express|
|RAM||512 MB DDR-333Up to 2 GB2 х soDIMM modules|
|Optical drive||DVD-Dual drive|
|Display||15.4" WXGA Acer CrystalBrite LCD 1280×800; 16:1016.7 mln colors displayed|
|Video subsystem||ATI ® 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 subsystem||2 integrated stereo speakersCompatible to MS-Sound Integrated microphoneSupport for S/PDIF|
|Communications||10/100/1000Mbps 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 ports||3 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)|
|Security||Connector for the Kensington lockPasswords to the BIOS|
|Power supply subsystem||ACPI 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 devices||Standard 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 mass||364 х 279 x 33.9/38.9 mm2.95 kg|
|Pre-installed OS||Russian localized Microsoft® Windows® XP Home Edition|
|Software||Acer ArcadeNorton AntiVirusAdobe Acrobat ReaderCyberlink PowerDVDNTI CD MakerAcer eManager (including ePresentation, eSetting, ePowerManagement, and eRecovery). AcerGridVista.Acer Launch manager|
|Optional components and accessories||RAM modulesOptional batteryPower supply unit|
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 1691WLMi||Pentium 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 1691WLMi||Pentium 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 1694WLMi||Pentium 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 1694WLMi||Pentium 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 1692WLMi||Pentium 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 1694WLMi||Pentium 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).
Aspire 1692 is shipped in a bright-colored proprietary box, compact enough for a 15" notebook.
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.
Although there aren't many components, the process of "navigating" around the box contents is enjoying - all is packed so neatly and compactly.
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.)
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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
|Supported processors||Pentium M Pentium M LV Pentium M ULVCeleron M Celeron M ULV|
|FSB speed||533/400 MHz|
|Memory||Up to 2048 MB: DDR2-533/400 (dual-channel); DDR2-400 (single-channel);DDR-333 (single-channel).|
|PCI Express 16x||+|
|Package dimensions||37.5x40 mm|
|South bridge||82801DBM (ICH6-M)|
|Serial ATA||Up to 2 ports|
|USB 2.0||Up to 8 ports|
|Audio||Intel® High Definition Audio|
|Potential specialization||Multimedia notebooks and "premium" notebooks.|
You can see all the same but in a more convenient form on the 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.
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:
|M11||M18||M24||M26 (RV410)||NV 43|
|Number of pixel pipelines||4||8||4||8||8|
|Number of vertex pipelines||2||4||2||6||3|
|Core speed *||450||350||450||350||375|
|Memory bus||64/128 bit||256 bit (4х64)||128 bit||128 bit (4х64)||128 bit|
|Memory speed *||250||350||250||350||375|
|* 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).
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).
Frequencies in the first and second modes:
They are rigidly preset and are not to be adjusted manually.
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".
The second advantage is the maximum "advanced" specifications to date
|DVD+R Double Layer||2,4|
|Other||Protection against buffer overflow|
|Support for DMA-66|
The drive supports writing on all modern recordable media, including dual-layered DVD+R.
- 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.
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.
|Model||CPU||Frequency, MHz||FSB, MHz||L2 cache, KB||Capacity, MB||Type||GPU||Memory, MB||Frequencies, MHz|
|MaxSelect HammerWide||Athlon 64 3000+||1800||-||1024||512||PC2700||ATi Mobility Radeon 9700||128||473/250|
|iRU Brava 4717||Pentium 4||3200||800||512||512||PC3200||ATi Mobility Radeon 9700||128||405/223|
|Bliss 5020||Pentium 4||3000||800||512||512||PC2700||nVidia GeForce FX Go5200||64||405/200|
|RoverBook Explorer D797||Pentium 4||3000||800||1024||512||2xPC2700||ATi Mobility Radeon 9700||128||398/230|
|ASUS W5G00A||Pentium M 730||1600||533||2048||512||PC3200||Intel 915||-||-|
|iRU Stilo 6154||Pentium M 735||1700||400||2048||512||PC2700||ATi Mobility Radeon 9700||64||?|
|Fujitsu-Siemens Lifebook T4010||Pentium M 745||1800||400||2048||512||PC2700||Intel 852/855||-||-|
|RoverBook Voyager B511||Pentium M 740||1733||533||2048||512||PC3200||Intel 915||-||-|
|Acer Aspire 1692WLMi||Pentium M 740||1733||533||2048||512||2xPC3200||ATi Mobility Radeon X700||64||358/344|
|LG LM70-P333||Pentium M 750||1860||533||2048||512||2xPC4300||ATi Mobility Radeon X600||128||400/250|
|iRU Brava 7154||Pentium M 760||2000||533||2048||512||2xPC4300||nVidia GeForce FX Go6600||128||375/300|
|AOpen OpenBook 1559||Pentium M 760||2000||533||2048||512||2xPC4300||nVidia GeForce FX Go6600||128||300/300|
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.
In PCMark04, all is approximately the same.
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.
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.
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:
|iRU Brava 4717||7673||6692||573||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|RoverBook Explorer D797||6337||8464||730||4417||4569||3851||1996||2955||10488||1187||2453|
|iRU Stilo 6154||5697||9714||760||3417||3323||2707||2035||2917||10107||736||2535|
|Fujitsu-Siemens Lifebook T4010||6032||9507||737||2897||3466||2533||621||3032||2329||-||-|
|RoverBook Voyager B511||5819||10045||782||3136||3392||2928||787||2919||2900||-||-|
|Acer Aspire 1692WLMi||5843||11151||678||3589||3359||3088||3698||2827||15785||1567||3268|
|iRU Brava 7154||6658||11273||543||4058||3898||3373||3283||2516||15411||2394||3693|
|AOpen OpenBook 1559||6759||12417||789||4034||3884||3277||2871||3189||14317||1895||3455|
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.
Despite that, the speed is anyway high enough, and even the Medium Quality allows playing comfortable enough.
|Low Quality||Medium Quality||High Quality|
|RoverBook Explorer D797||47,6||33,9||21,6||47,5||33,8||21,6||39,2||29,7||19,6|
|iRU Brava 4717||37,0||29,7||20,5||35,4||29,0||20,0||30,8||25,4||18,2|
|Acer Aspire 1692WLMi||71,0||55,7||37,6||68,6||55,0||37,2||56,6||44,1||31,7|
|iRU Brava 7154||97,3||86,3||66,6||97,3||85,6||66,0||94,3||80,9||61,5|
|AOpen OpenBook 1559||92,6||78,4||58,1||92,0||77,8||57,6||87,5||72,6||53,7|
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.
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.
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.
The comparison of results was done versus the same models as in the part of the review to do with performance tests.
Owing to the perfectly operating power-saving system, at low loads Aspire 1692 operated incredibly long - as many as five hours..
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|
|Model||Battery||Operation time, min|
|RoverBook Explorer D797||6600||11,1||73,26||73||57|
|iRU Brava 4717||6600||14,8||97,68||122||102|
|iRU Stilo 6154||4400||11,1||48,84||252||164|
|Fujitsu-Siemens Lifebook T4010||4800||10,8||51,84||210||180|
|RoverBook Voyager B511||4300||14,8||63,64||250||175|
|Acer Aspire 1692WLMi||4400||14,8||65,12||298||180|
|iRU Brava 7154||4800||14,8||71,04||182||130|
|AOpen OpenBook 1559||4400||14,8||65,12||206||115|
It is nice that the battery charges fast enough - to get 95% of charge it take about 2 hrs when the notebook is operating.
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.