by Rob Williams on March 2, 2009 in Systems
Looking for a well-rounded notebook that won’t break the bank? That’s a lot easier to pull off today than it was a few years ago, and ASUS proves it with their N50Vn. For its $1,149 asking price, this 15.4″ notebook offers a lot for the money, including the ability to not only get your work done, but even get some gaming taken care of as well.
Before we take a look at the notebook’s software configuration, let’s first review what you will receive for your hard-earned $1,149. For the price, the configuration seen here is quite good. With a beefy CPU and gamer-oriented GPU, the N50Vn is perfectly-suited for work hounds and gamers on the go. In fact, all of the hardware here is quite good, with the only potential bottleneck being the 5400RPM hard drive. If you want a noticeable upgrade, you may want to install a 7200RPM model after-the-fact. Just be aware that battery-life will be slightly decreased.
The N50Vn uses one of Intel’s most-recent Core 2 Duo processors, the P8600. This chip is clocked at 2.4GHz and includes a beefy 3MB of L2 Cache, compared to the 2MB seen on lower-end models. The front-side bus is also much improved, bumped from 800MHz to 1066MHz. Overall, this is a very capable chip, and its speedy 2.4GHz frequency will be appreciated by many.
The CPU isn’t the only impressive chip found here though. For the graphics solution, ASUS has included one of NVIDIA’s recent 9-series GPUs. The GeForce 9650M GT is built on a 55nm process and includes 1GB of GDDR3. It features a clock speed of 550MHz, Shader clock of 1325MHz and Memory clock of 1600MHz. It also includes a total of 32 stream (CUDA) processors.
Intel Core 2 Duo P8600 – 2.4GHz, 3MB L2 Cache, 1066MHz FSB
Intel Cantiga PM45
NVIDIA GeForce 9650M GT
AU Optronics B154PW02 V2 15.4" – Max Resolution: 1440×900 at 60Hz
Elpida 2x2GB DDR2-800 (6-6-6-18)
|Hard Drive |
320 GB, 5400 RPM, 8MB Cache, S-ATA 3.0GB/s
NVIDIA HDMI (Intel 82801IB ICH9)
Realtek ALC663 (Intel 82801IB ICH9)
Atheros AR928x Wireless (802.11 a/b/g/n)
Realtek RTL8168C Gigabit Ethernet
|Et cetera |
Weight: 6.5 lbs (2.95 kg)
Dimensions: 1.1 " (H) x 14.4 " (W) x 10.8" (D)
Battery: 6-Cell Lithium Ion 4800mAh, 51Whr
2.0 Megapixel Webcam
3x USB, 1x VGA, 1x HDMI, 1x Kensington Lock
1x ExpressCard Type 54, 1x Memory Card (SD/MMC/MS/Pro)
4-Circuit FireWire, e-SATA, Bluetooth
2 Years Limited Warranty
Windows Vista Home Premium 32-bit
The mid-range GPU will be powering a 15.4″ display capable of a maximum resolution of 1440×900 – one that should be acceptable by most standards. Some higher-end notebooks of the same form-factor opt for a 1680×1050 resolution, but there’s nothing at all wrong with 1440×900. At that resolution, it still offers enough space for 720p video, with room to spare. It’s also much better than 1280×800, in my opinion. I still look forward to the day when 1680×1050 is standard on notebook displays of this size though. That much workspace on a notebook is enough to get me giddy.
For the most part, the display is quite good for the price. It’s not one of the best I’ve come across, but given the price of the entire notebook, I already had an idea of what to expect. The colors are bright, and text/images crisp. If there’s a main issue to point out, it’s that the viewing angle isn’t always ideal. In a normal viewing stance, the bottom of the screen will be slightly lighter than the rest. This is completely typical of notebooks in this price-range, however.
Aside from those components, the N50Vn-B1B also includes a 320GB Hitachi hard drive, a full-featured ROM drive (no HD), 4GB of DDR2-800, Atheros’ WiFi, a 6-cell battery and much more. The inclusion of an HDMI port is quite nice, especially if you’d like to play high-definition content on your television or computer monitor.