Acer Aspire 5538G with AMD Vision

The last time we were in Austin TX, the guys and gals at AMD were pushing the Vision idea. AMD is still pushing Vision and no doubt bugging Intel at the same time.

AMD showed us quite a few notebooks branded Vision in Austin and we were interested in having a go at one of these AMD based machine. For years I have used notebooks based on Intel processors.

There’s been one good reason for this – I certainly prefer to have a smaller machine with a longer battery life than a giant I have to tote around, across the world.

But the world has moved on – desktops are mostly a thing of the past, with everyone’s figures from analysts to CPU companies concluding that the world will continue to move towards the notebook.

AMD bunged me an Acer Aspire Vision branded notebook and I must say that while it’s unlikely I’ll tote it to Computex in Taiwan in a couple of weeks time, the quality of the machine, its battery life, and its display were all most pleasing. I’m no Luddite but this is also my first experience of Windows 7. Yeah I know, I skipped Vista entirely and uninstalled it on my lovely Sony Viao. Never to return. More about Windows 7 later. The version on this machine is Windows 7 Home Premium.

And so to the specs of the Acer Aspire 5538G. This machine comes with a 285GB hard drive, an AMD Athlon X2 dual core processor – the L310, clocking at 1.20GHz and with 4GB of memory. An ATI Mobility Radeon HD4300 is built-in. Audio from Realtek – I am not sure that the processing power, the memory and the video are matched by the audio, even with the Dolby Sound Room in there.

AMD bundled a couple of DVDs with the machine – Terminator Salvation and Hurt Locker. I think I saw Terminator Salvation on a plane a little while ago – certainly it looked and sounded better than that “experience” and there wasn’t any noticeable dragging and the rest. No turbulence either.

The video is really quite excellent on this machine, no doubt a combination of  the amount of memory, the graphics processor and Windows 7 on board.

Windows 7 is fast to boot and fast to switch off too. Yeah, of course Microsoft plays its games with a slightly different interface, but it certainly doesn’t give you that sinking feeling when Vista examined your system and said “oh, your system isn’t quite powerful enough to run me”.

This is not the kind of machine you’d want to lug about the world but that certainly isn’t the point. Right now I’m watching BBC3 on an LCD machine and simultaneously watching a programme on this machine too. The quality on this machine is way beyond what the bog standard TV is giving me.

I’m pleasantly surprised by a number of things after using this PC for around a month. The AMD/ATI display is lovely, the 1.9GHz chip seems to have more than enough beef to do the kind of things you need to do if you’re a magazine editor – videos, and the rest.

Last week AMD introduced more processors in its range intended for notebooks and they promise to give even better battery life. The little one is really going for notebooks – not netbooks – and if this machine is anything to go by, AMD really has a chance to bite into Intel’s market share just that little bit more.

AMD clearly wants to tread on the tiger’s tail. If this machine is anything to go by, Intel clearly has a fight on its hands. This PC is no netbook and the price ain’t half bad.