Notebooks Guide

BenQ Joybook P41 review

BenQ Joybook P41 (AMD Turion 64 X2)

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Introduction

Introduction

In mobile computing, Intel is by far the undisputed leader in processors. Despite the inroads made by AMD into the server and desktop segment in recent years with its K8 architecture, AMD has found it difficult to break Intel's stranglehold in this increasingly significant market. Its early attempts to translate the success of its desktop processors to the mobile arena were stymied after the marketing geniuses at Intel came up with the Centrino concept and proceeded to brand it onto the consciousness of even the most ignorant of consumers. 'Centrino' has become synonymous in the notebook segment and probably one of the first 'feature' that consumers ask.

AMD however has continued plugging at the mobile segment, with mobile versions of their desktop Athlon 64 and Sempron lines. The latest reinforcement was the Turion 64 Mobile Technology, which aims to duplicate the success of Intel's Centrino by coupling a Turion 64 processor with motherboard and wireless chipsets transparently. So if the marketing works, a consumer should only care that a Turion 64 enabled notebook will do everything that a Centrino can do, without needing to delve into the details. As a result of this new chip, AMD has slowly made some gains in this segment.

With AMD transitioning to its DDR2 AM2 platform on its desktop, its mobile offering too has to move. This was also necessary to counter Intel's newer Core Duo notebooks. In fact, as we saw here in our preview of a Turion 64 X2 notebook , the mobile segment was perhaps even ahead of its desktop counterparts in its implementation of DDR2. The key difference between the older Turion 64 and the new dual core Turion 64 X2 - besides the obvious addition of another processing core - include the all important DDR2 memory controller, a new and rather unique socket named S1, which has no desktop equivalent, and internal tweaks that enable the Turion 64 X2 to have the same thermal design power rating (35W) as the original Turion 64 despite the additional core. Based on the few benchmarks that we saw in the preview with that early pre-production notebook, the Turion 64 X2 has lots of potential just waiting to be unleashed by vendors.

Now it seems that the time has come, with BenQ sending us its new Joybook P41, which uses a Turion 64 X2 TL-50 processor. Unfortunately, that's the slowest model - the 1.6GHz TL-50 is an entry-level processor with only 256KB of L2 cache per core. Of course, BenQ's target audience is the budget conscious and despite being last among its fellow Turion 64 X2, this chip should still lord it over older, single core processors when it comes to more intensive tasks and overall responsiveness of the notebook. Without further ado, let's see what this budget notebook is capable of: