Specification, Software and Test Environment
Considering the size and complexity of the laptop, opening the chassis is relatively simple and only requires the removal of four screws.
Asus have included a Core 2 Duo T9550 CPU. The clock speed is 2.67GHz (267MHz*10) and it has a 6MB L2 cache. There is also a built in overclocking tool which allows us to gain an extra boost over the stock speed – we will touch on this later in the review.
The system is shipped with 6GB of DDR2-800 RAM. As you may notice in the CPU-Z screenshots above, the RAM is clocked at just 666MHz. We assume that Asus have done this in order to prevent the RAM bottlenecking their CPU overclocking tool which simply adjusts the FSB.
One of the big selling points of the Asus W90Vp is the powerful GPU solution inside. Labelled by GPUZ as an ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4870 X2, it is actually two 4870 cards in Crossfire as can be seen in the picture above, not two cores on one PCB as one may be led to believe by the naming scheme. Each card contains an RV770 core clocked at 550MHz featuring 16 ROPS and 800 Unified Shaders. The 512MB of GDDR3 ram is clocked at 850MHz and connected via a 256-bit bus. One of the largest changes from the desktop model in addition to the reduced clock speeds is the use of GDDR3 instead of GDDR5.
It is also worth mentioning at this point that the system ships with Catalyst 8.11 drivers which are very old now. We attempted to modify the latest driver release to support the cards but had no luck installing them… this could certainly have an impact on gaming performance.
Radeon features such as Blu-Ray acceleration and HDMI 7.1 surround sound output are fully supported.
The Asus W90 is shipped with a number of pre-installed applications; however the most noticeable inclusion is Norton Internet Security. Upon booting up the system we were repeatedly bombarded with various Norton notifications and even encountered connection issues without enabling any of the software’s features. At first we were unable to connect to any services such as MSN Messenger, however after uninstalling Norton we experienced no further connection issues.
Asus also include a couple of their own utilities with the system. The NB probe offers a very brief overview of the system temperatures and status, however raw information is difficult to come by in the app and a more sophisticated setup would have been welcomed. The Splendid app shown above allows you to adjust the colour balance of the display and is supplied with several presets.
The laptop also has a fingerprint security system which allows you to enrol your fingerprint for future recognition. Asus have kindly reminded us of the possibility of losing a finger and suggest enrolling several.
Good Benchmarking Practice
DriverHeaven does not use benchmark scripts. We play the games for long periods of time on various levels and report any unusual findings we see. Then we record with FRAPS across several in game levels recording the averages. This is real world testing and is just how you guys will experience the game. Occasionally we might throw in a time demo as a further comparison, but we will note it.