You would be forgiven for thinking, after seeing all the TV advertising, that the only notebooks you can buy are powered by Intel processors. But there are AMD alternatives out there and some offer good value for money. One of the latest in HP’s Compaq business range is the AMD-powered 6715b, which offers a good set of features for under £650.
Even if you didn’t know about Compaq being HP’s business range, one look at the 6715b tells you all you need to know, as its austere black and grey styling leaves you in no doubt about the market sector at which it’s aimed.
It’s being sold under the ‘Balanced Mobility’ banner and, while the first part of that is fine, we have to question whether a notebook that weighs in at 2.9kg (including power adapter) and measures 357 x 265 x 35mm is truly mobile.
True, it’s lighter than most desktop replacement notebooks out there, but you are still going to suffer if you have to lug it around all day, and while the whole thing feels well built, the screen has a noticeable amount of flex in it, so care should be taken as to what you pack next to it.
Powering the Compaq 6715b is one of AMD’s mobile dual core processors, in this case a Turion 64 X2 TL60, which has a clock speed of 2.0GHz and just 1MB of L2 cache. This is backed by 2GB of PC2-5300, 667MHz, DDR2 memory via two 1GB modules. The motherboard and chipset (AMD M690T) can support up to 4GB of memory.
A major plus point of the Compaq 6715b is the screen. The 15.4-inch display has a very handy resolution of 1,680 x 1,050 which offers plenty of desktop space, and the viewing angles are reasonably wide too. Since it has no special coating, you don’t get any of the reflection problems normally associated with such things, making the 6715b a joy to use in brightly lit offices.
As you might expect for a business notebook, the graphics performance doesn’t offer much in the way of games play, but the integrated AMD Xpress 1250 can power all your everyday needs without any problems: well, apart from sharing up to 512MB of the system memory, but with 2GB on board this shouldn’t be a problem.
Storage is provided by a 160GB, 5,400rpm hard drive and there’s also a dual-layer DVD burner, as well as a 6-in-1 flash card reader, PC Card slot and four USB ports. HP takes security seriously, especially on a business notebook, and our review sample had a fingerprint reader which, combined with the embedded TPM 1.2 security chip, should give business users a good feeling of protection.
For connecting to the rest of the world, or indeed the office, there are the usual suspects; 10/100Mbps wired Ethernet, 802.11a/b/g WiFi (with an on/off switch to safe battery life), Bluetooth and a good old 56Kbps modem. Talking of battery life, we managed to get a very reasonable three and a half hours out of the 6-cell battery under normal office use and standard power saving settings.
If you are one of the many people who wouldn’t touch Vista with a long stick, then you will be pleased to know that the Compaq 6715b is offered with Windows XP Pro.
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