Fujitsu Siemens – Amilo D8830 review

powerful desktop replacement laptop
Photo of Fujitsu Siemens – Amilo D8830

Perhaps the ultimate in space-saving PC design, the desktop replacement notebook goes from strength to strength, with popularity showing no signs of waning. And with prices falling they are becoming a reasonable option for the home too.

One of the latest to hit the shelves is the Amilo D8830 from Fujitsu Siemens, powered almost unbelievably by a 3.06GHz Pentium 4, complete with Hyper Threading support. This is the top of the range offering, but there are less powerful options available with 2.4, 2.66 and 2.8GHz Pentium 4 versions also available. With the processor being a desktop model, it comes as no surprise that the chipset is too; Intel’s familiar i845PE Nortbridge, ICH4 Southbridge combination.

Backing up the processor is 512MB of DDR333 (PC2700) memory; pretty much the standard amount in notebooks these days, but interestingly, because of the size of the Amilo D8830, Fujitsu Siemens has used two standard 184-pin DIMM memory modules. If this isn’t enough memory for your needs then the two DIMM slots can support up to 2GB.

Fujitsu Siemens hasn’t stinted on the size of the hard drive; 60GB should be enough for most people, but if this isn’t sufficient there is an 80GB model available. Backing this up is a DVD+RW drive which writes DVDs at 2.4X, as well as CD-Rs at 16X and CD-RW at 8X.

A little surprising is the exclusion of a floppy drive, but with five USB 2.0 ports, the thinking is you can use a USB flash memory drive, which is fast overtaking the floppy as the portable storage option of choice. Complementing the USB ports is a four-pin FireWire port. The rest of the I/O ports consist of single PS/2, VGA, parallel and S-Video output, plus headphone and mic ports.

The screen is a 15-inch SXGA+ unit which has a native resolution of 1,400 pixels by 1,050 pixels and is powered by a 64MB ATi Radeon 9000 Mobility graphics card. This is a step up from the usual poor performing notebook graphics sub-system, but it’s still doesn’t make this a hard-core gaming notebook.

As far as connecting to the outside world is concerned, the Amilo D8830 is a little disappointing. You get an integrated 10/100Mbps LAN adapter and a V.90, 56Kbps modem, but what you don’t get is Wireless or Bluetooth. Still, as the laptop has a single Type I/II PC card slot all is not lost; you could plug in the necessary adapter.

Battery life is just under two hours, but with a desktop replacement notebook battery life is largely academic anyway as they are normally just too heavy to cart around much, and instead spend their lives plugged into the mains. The Amilo D8830 doesn’t stray from this path, weighing a whopping 3.5kg, but that does include the huge AC adapter that’s needed because of the power requirements of the desktop CPU.

Fujitsu Siemens pre-installs Windows XP Home on the Amilo D8830 and includes a limited software bundle comprising Works Suite 2003 (including Word 2002), Adobe Photoshop Elements and Norton Antivirus. The company also provides a year’s collect and return warranty.

Company: Fujitsu Siemens

Contact: 01344 475 000

This is a powerful desktop replacement laptop, more than a match for a lot of desktop PCs. As with most notebooks its only real Achilles heel is the graphics sub-system, but while the Amilo D8830 isn't up to playing the latest 3D games, it's more than adequate for today's business applications as well as most home users' software.