AJP – 3300C review

notebook with a desktop processor
Photo of AJP – 3300C
£1,674 + VAT

In the past, when Taiwanese manufacturers have tried to squeeze a desktop processor into a bulky laptop system the end result has invariably been horrific in pretty much all respects. Not so with this model from AJP. Although it sports a 750MHz desktop Pentium III, heat levels are kept low thanks to a large fan fitted in the system’s base. While it might be reasonable to guess that this would put a terrific strain on the battery, you’ll be surprised to find that the machine can run for around two and a quarter hours before it needs to be recharged. This is hardly the best battery life we’ve seen but for such a high spec system it’s not half bad.

Our review system was fitted with 128MB of PC100 memory which can be expanded to a maximum of 256MB. The hard drive is certainly the main limiting factor as far as performance is concerned; it’s a 12GB Fujitsu device with a 4200rpm spin speed and 1MB buffer. Most desktops with similar specifications will be running 5400/7200rpm drives and if the AJP were fitted with a faster drive (IBM produce 5400rpm notebook drives) it would certainly gain the extra edge it needs to bring its performance into line with desktops. The security conscious among you will be pleased to hear that the hard drive can be flipped out without a screwdriver, making it easy to secure your data when the laptop is not in use.

To a lesser extent the graphics subsystem also holds back system performance, but not by much. The system uses an ATI Rage LT Pro AGP2x chip with 8MB of video memory and while this offers enough 2D performance to match desktops, the 3D acceleration is virtually non-existent. But we’re particularly impressed by the 14.1inch TFT screen which offers an extremely bright image.

Although there’s no built-in modem, our system was bundled with a 56Kbps PC Card device which is included in the price. And while the AJP is far from feather-light, at 3.3kg it doesn’t really qualify as overweight when compared to more conventional high end notebooks.

Company: AJP

Contact: 020 8208 9700


Verdict
As mentioned above, this notebook's performance is only slightly lower than that of similarly specified desktop machines, and this can be attributed almost entirely to the hard drive. However, it is worth noting that the gap between desktop and mobile processors is closing all the time. Systems based on new mobile Pentium processors don't lag that far behind this machine and offer superior battery life, lower weight and often lower prices. Just as notebook manufacturers have successfully put a desktop processor into a laptop machine, mobile processor manufacturers may have made it pointless to do so.