Acer Ferrari One: An AMD Ultraportableby Vivek Gowri on June 8, 2010 4:12 AM EST
In and Around the Acer Ferrari One
As mentioned, the Ferrari One is closely related to the Aspire 1410/1810T, sharing the same basic chassis and nearly identical dimensions. As such, it ends up being pretty familiar in feel, if not in look. The exterior is still glossy plastic and it still isn’t a paragon of industrial design, but in bright red with a Ferrari logo in the middle, you cannot deny that it’s eye-catching. I’d actually argue that compared to the carbon fibre-lidded Acer Ferrari models of years past, the Ferrari One is pretty ostentatious, almost to the point of being garish. However, it’s exactly a third the price of the last Ferrari ultraportable (the gorgeous but flawed and ultimately ill-fated Ferrari 1000 series), so I guess the cost savings had to come from somewhere.
The inside continues the glossy plastic, and shows its roots by following the AS1410’s “faux expensive material” theme. This time, its faux carbon fibre, which isn’t all that bad for a $600 computer, but obviously fake. I’ll take it over the piano black gloss from the Aspire One and the faux-brushed aluminum from the 1410, but I’d definitely prefer the real thing.
The keyboard is identical to the island-style keyboard on the 1410. The accent keys are now red (to keep up the Ferrari theme), and the F10 key has a “Ferrari” function. I thought it’d be something interesting, but it ended up being just a shortcut to the Ferrari website. Thanks guys! I can go to Ferrari.com on my own if I ever have the urge. The keyboard is mediocre; it has a lot of flex and feels kind of mushy in fast typing. My personal Aspire 1410 machine has a lot less flex, and a much better feeling keyboard overall. I’m going to put that down to unit-to-unit variation in a large product run, so YMMV as far as keyboard quality goes.
The touchpad is trapezoid shaped; it works as advertised, though the shape takes a bit of getting used to. It's also nowhere near as large as some other touchpads. It has a single touchpad "rocker" button, which is chrome and has the Ferrari One logo embossed in it.
The ports are nearly identical to the 1410, with one major change. We find the same three USB, VGA, headphone out, line in, Ethernet, Kensington lock, 1.3MP webcam, built-in mic, and memory card reader, but the much-loved HDMI port makes way for an XGP connector. A what? XGP is ATI’s external graphics solution, meant to be paired with Acer’s DynaVivid external graphics dock. Unfortunately, the DynaVivid has mostly been vaporware thus far, and that doesn’t look to be changing any time soon. The only other XGP accessory is the Fujitsu-Siemens Amilo GraphicBooster, which was never sold in the US and is basically off the European market as of now. This makes the XGP port, for the time being, useless. I’m not sure why Acer decided to dump the über-useful HDMI port for XGP, especially on a notebook with 1080p capabilities; even if the DynaVivid could be found, we're not sure anyone would really want an external HD 4670 GPU for this sort of system, as we'll see later that the CPU is already a pretty serious bottleneck for graphics.
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marraco - Tuesday, June 8, 2010 - linkMock iZombies here:
"My fruit is more expensive because is Ferrari, and your PC is a bug"
Edgar_Wibeau - Tuesday, June 8, 2010 - linkPrevious year's product, previous year's platform.
Why don't you review one of the _current_ AMD mobile thin-and-light platform based notebooks? Like eg. from Acer the Aspire 1551 (not on sale in the EU yet, but preorder)? Or the ones maniac5999 posted?
Here's a roadmap from 10/2009:
Ferrari One is "Congo" based (the roadmap uses the funny name "2nd Gen UT" ), current is the "Nile" platform, introduced in May 2010.
The current platform is based on the 45nm Athlon IIs and Turion IIs which have higher clock at same TDP, higher performance per clock and lower wattage when idle, because they are K10.5 based, not K8 like the Ferrari One's. And their graphics (Radeon HD 4225) are R700 based, not the aging RS780 which is on the level of what? R600? R500? Either way, one or two generations behind.
You could even have chosen a Ferrari One model with 2G or 4G of ram, so it ran 128bit wide. Can't even buy a 3G ram model in Europe, doesn't make sense anyway.
I call this a biased review.
maniac5999 - Tuesday, June 8, 2010 - linkTo be fair, there is only ONE Nile notebook on Newegg, and it's 13.3", not exactly netbook size, like the 12" ones I listed. Also, the 42xx is RV620 instead of RV610 for the 3200. The difference? Dx 10.1 and UVD2, which doesn't make a difference to most people. Also, the 4225 is clocked lower than the 3200, 4200 and 4250, which all have the same 40 shaders running at 500mhz.
Unfortunately, for all these reasons the only big difference between Congo and Nile looks like it's going to be in battery life. (which is much needed btw) There will be an IPC bump going from Athlon (K8) to Athlon II (K10.5), as well, judging from the benches, depending on the application it could be anywhere from 0-30%,which is nice as well, but if it's combined with a lesser IGP like the 4225, would ruin it's use as a nice little portable time waster.
Edgar_Wibeau - Tuesday, June 8, 2010 - linkYour're probably right, maniac5999
(Looks like our last two posts were about the same time)
What bugs me most is that Anand's review the Ferrari One now instead of seven months ago, when it was released. The timing of this review at least smells a bit, wait a month and post reviews of Nile based AMD note/netbooks.
Also, AnandTech (and DailyTech) are the only sites I know that didn't write about AMDs Computex 2010 Fusion demos, at least I didn't see any RSS headlines.
Oh, and Athlon (and Turion) II X2 feature 2x "MByte L2 cache vs. half of that for their predecessors.
To add some infos:
Athlon 64 X2 L310: 1.2 GHz, 13W TDP
Athlon II X2 K325: 1.3 GHz, 12W TDP
The identical Turion II X2s K625 and K665 run with 1.5 and 1.7 GHz respectively, on a 15W TDP.
Of cause AMDs 2010 mobile offerings don't shine, but they're better than 2009's of course. 2011 will be a lot more interesting on the AMD side because of the two upcoming fusion designs, assumingly both of which (Ontario high end and Llano low end) touching the upper netbook / cheap thin-and-light "CULV" segment.
JarredWalton - Tuesday, June 8, 2010 - linkFWIW, we received several AMD-based notebooks (including the Ferrari One) in late March. AMD sent them to us direct, as the OEMs just aren't interested in seeding reviewers as far as I can see. As noted in the conclusion, there are 45nm parts that look a lot more interesting, though given my testing of the Turion II M600 it won't make a massive difference in battery life. Also note that we're comparing the AMD "Congo" to the Intel "CULV"; the new competition is going to be "Nile" vs. Arrandale ULV. But in the end, we review what we get.
Stay tuned for more laptop reviews this week....
Edgar_Wibeau - Tuesday, June 8, 2010 - linkOk, thanks!
One point: in the graphs, I'd find it more informative if only machines were shown that are a bit more similar to the tested one. In many graphs the cheap-and-thin-and-light-class just vanishes because there are machines many times more powerful listed. In some, the numbers of the reviewed machine (and similar ones) are simply not readable, because the bars they are printed on are so short.
VivekGowri - Tuesday, June 8, 2010 - linkWe didn't choose it specifically, we reviewed what AMD gave us (because it doesn't seem like any of the manufacturers want to give us any AMD based systems). AMD apparently thought the Ferrari One was a good representation of their current mobile platform? Otherwise I don't see why they would have sent it to us.
For the record, I did rerun some benches with dual channel 2x 2GB memory, and got insignificant differences in regular benchmarks and right around 1-2fps difference in most games. While that helps, it doesn't make anything really playable - whether you get 10.6 or 11.6 fps in Crysis, it's still a slideshow either way.
Edgar_Wibeau - Tuesday, June 8, 2010 - linklooks like I was wrong regarding Ferrari One's graphics, sorry. Same generation as current ist seems.
T2k - Tuesday, June 8, 2010 - linkFerrari One confirmed to be working with Fujitsu's older XGP unit: http://minigaming.wordpress.com/2010/02/09/acer-fe...
T2k - Tuesday, June 8, 2010 - linkPrices can be found here: http://www.hardware.info/nl-NL/productdb/bGpka5iUm...