by Rob Williams on May 2, 2007 in Systems
When we took the VX1 for a test drive in November, we were impressed. ASUS has returned though with an update, appropriately called the VX2. It includes revamped styling, a much more appropriate video card, a fingerprint reader and high-end webcam. If you’ve been holding out for a revision, you will be glad you did.
In this section I will take a look at what makes the VX2 so great and also compare it to the previous generation. Granted, the new notebook should be better than the previous. It’s just the normal progression of things. But even at the time of the VX1s release, it wasn’t decked out by most standards. Things have certainly been improved here.
Included is one of the top-end mobile processors Intel offers, the T7400 running at 2.16GHz with 4MB of L2 cache. 2GB of ram is still included here, so the notebook should be perfect overall for anything, it certainly will have enough ram to get you by. One of my gripes with the VX1 was it’s weak graphics card. No more.. here we have a nice GeForce Go 7700 card, which is far superior to the 7400VX. Thank you ASUS.
Once again we have a 160GB hard drive in addition to market standard wifi and optical drive. Improved here though is the 15.4" LCD screen, which is now in widescreen format, 1680×1050 compared to the VX1’s 1440×900. This is essentially 27% more pixels in virtually the same sized screen, so the picture is a lot crisper on the VX2.
June 1, 2007 Edit: The VX1 had actually used a resolution of 1440×1050, therefore the 27% figure I provided was incorrect. The increase is actually 1.512MP to 1.764MP, or an increase of 16.6% pixels on the VX2. Due to the fact that the monitor is a smidgen larger, the “crispness” I described would not be as noticable, but there should be a minor difference. Thanks to critic from our forums for pointing out this error.
That all said, here is a direct comparison of the two. It’s not hard to argue that the VX2 certainly got better treatment, primarily thanks to the GPU upgrade.
|Processor ||Intel T7400 (2.16GHz)||Intel T7400 (2.16GHz)|
|Graphics||NVIDIA GeForce Go 7400VX 512MB||NVIDIA GeForce Go 7700 512MB|
|Memory ||2GB Elpida DDR2-667 5-5-5||2GB Nanya Tech DDR2-667 5-5-5|
|Hard Drive ||Seagate 160GB 5400.3||Seagate 160GB 5400.3|
|Monitor||15" SXGA+ Bright LCD||15.4" SXGA+ Bright LCD|
|Connectivity||Intel 802.11a/b/g + Bluetooth WiFi|
56k Broadcom Modem
|Intel 802.11a/b/g + Bluetooth WiFi|
56k Broadcom Modem
|Optical||Matshita UJ-842S Dual Layer Burner (4x Write) ||LG GMA-4084N Dual Layer Burner (8x Write)|
|Et cetera ||Windows XP Professional ||Windows Vista Ultimate |
One rather large difference is that the VX2 includes Windows Vista, which is not surprising since the VX1 was released before Vistas official launch. Not only is it Windows Vista, but the full-blown Ultimate edition. This allows you to take advantages of BitLocker since this notebooks motherboard includes a TPM chip.
Installation and Setup
If you have been reading the site for a while, you might already know that I am not a fan of Vista. In fact, I dislike it quite a bit. I won’t get deep into reasons, but I tend to run into many issues while using it. After initial setup of the notebook, I jotted up a quick text file in Notepad in order to keep track of benchmarking scores. As I saved the file, Notepad crashed entirely, which required me log out and back in, while losing everything I already had typed. No, I am not joking.
Why do I mention all this, you ask? Reason being that during testing, as you will see later, I focus more on Windows XP rather than Vista, for various reasons. One, many of the benchmarks I like to run do not function. Second is the fact that performance was degraded throughout the games due to lack of good video drivers. I don’t believe it’s fair to review a notebooks hardware and have it receive poor ratings due to an OS it had forced upon it. Therefore, much of my testing will be performed through XP. Essentially, I want to review the notebook for what it is, not for what it isn’t. Vista performance will get better down the road, but I consider it still far too clunky to use in any of our reviews. Once we find Vista as a viable benchmarking platform, we will begin using it.
As I mentioned earlier, ASUS does not include any WinXP drivers on the included CD-Roms, which is understandable since it’s not the pre-installed OS. However, their support website includes drivers for absolutely everything for use under Windows XP. If you dislike Vista, then it’s good to know that ASUS fully supports XP if you wish to install it instead.
All of that said, the initial setup was as simple as they come. Turn on the laptop, follow the simple prompts and within minutes you are at your desktop. If you’ve installed Vista before, you know what the setup is like. The only thing different is at the Wallpaper selection screen, there are three Lamborghini-specific ones to choose from. If you format and install XP instead, these wallpapers can be found on the driver CD-Rom.
The desktop was quite familiar to me, as I’ve reviewed ASUS laptops before. ASUS, unlike a few others, do not completely bloat their notebooks with trial ware. There are a variety of utilities available, but they are VX2 specific and produced by ASUS themselves, therefore free and included with the laptop. The absolutely only trial ware installed is Norton Internet Security, but allow me to stop myself from ranting before I even start.
Overall the setup was very simple, no hitches or complaints to mention. I apologize for the complete lack of screenshots here. I had forgot to take any prior to shipping the notebook back. Read on the next page to see my initial impressions of the VX2.