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Design and basics

The design of todayís laptop computers is becoming somehow more important than in the old days, with the kind of hot hardware today's laptop computers run, manufacturers need to design the perfect casings. The 730 series are no exceptions here either. The models coming with the 14.1" TFT XGA display weighs 6.72lb, and the 15" version, 6.98lb. Of course if you never owned or worked with a notebook computer, you may find this heavy. If getting deeper on that subject you are right, carrying 7lbs is not easy indeed, but this weight is far from being heavy for a loaded computer such as the 730TXV. A similar other branded laptop may easily weight an extra lb. Technology has still a long way to go trough to improve that.

The rear of the laptop consists of 1x PS/2 port for use with an external keyboard, mouse or a numeric key pad. 1x 9-pin serial port, 1x VGA connector, a parallel port, 1 x DC-in jack for AC adapter, 1x USB port, 1x Network jack port, 1x modem jack and 1x S-video (NTSC/PAL) output. On the left side of the product you can find an infrared port for wireless data transfers. Also on the left side you find the inputs for the 2 x Card Bus type-II/1 and 1 Type-III slot with ZV support, the power switch, 1.44MB floppy drive and just lower, the sound card with the inputs and outputs (1x line out, 1x line-in, 1x microphone input) and the volume adjuster. On the right side, you find the DVD-ROM drive and the removable Lithium Ion Battery.

Lower the LCD display, you have 5 LEDís. 1. Power, Lights when the computer is on, and blinks when a battery-low condition occurs. 2. Standby lights when the computer enters the standby mode. 3. Media activity, lights when the floppy drive, hard disk or DVD drive is active. 4. Battery charge, Lights when the battery is being changed. 5. Caps lock, lights when the caps lock is activated. 6. Num lock, lights when the numeric lock is activated. Not to forget to mention, there's also a built-in microphone.

Acer claims that the battery can deliver up to 5 hours or (300 minutes) of life, Iím not sure how they actually made it to 5 hours. From our lab results, we got a maximum of 156 minutes without the DVD-ROM being activated; the computer was in IDLE mode, 156 minutes of life is still not bad at all, but nothing close to 5 hours.

ATI Rage Mobility M1 Chip-set

One of the biggest problems in the notebook computer is the low-end video implantations. There is a simple explanation to that, heat. Todayís latest desktop solutions as the GeForce 256 or the Voodoo3 chip-sets are getting so hot, that they could easily melt plastic. ATI made a nice route since the last few years in that scene, they offer their RAGE Mobility line for laptops. A very attractive product offering a large amount of video memory on-board, DVD playback and even dual monitor capabilities.

The RAGE Mobility-M1 video solution offers one of the largest integrated memory solution in the notebook video arena. 8MB, enough power to run 3D applications at 1024x768 resolutions or higher, and includes a dual-display feature which allows two different images to be output to two different display devices, LCD & TV or LCD & CRT.

The ATI RAGE Mobility-M1 is pin-compatible with the other members of the Mobility family, RAGE Mobility-M and P, giving ATI the most comprehensive family of pin-compatible, low-power, high-performance mobile graphics accelerators. ATI focused on improving the 2D, 3D and DVD performance rather than concentrating on intermediate measures such as the triangles/sec, bandwidth and bus width, which generally ends not boosting any extra performance.

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