So design is obviously a key part of the new Aspire's appeal, but that doesn’t mean performance and functionality has taken a back seat. Indeed, the Aspire 5920 continues to impress in this area too with an excellent specification. At the core is a new Santa Rosa certified Core 2 Duo T7300 2.0GHz CPU, with 800MHz Front Side Bus. This is the third fastest of the four new Santa Rosa Core 2 Duo's, but that doesn't mean it isn't capable - as our test results bore out. Though the 5920 does trail both the Evesham Zieo N500-HD and Asus A7S in the PC Mark 05 CPU test, it still manages a solid overall score thanks to superior HDD scores and good general performance.
In addition to the T7300 Core 2 Duo there's 2GB of DDR2 RAM, which seems like the new minimal level for Vista though once again it's clocked at a distinctly un-Santa Rosa 677MHz. Graphics processing is supplied by an 8600M-GT with 256MB dedicated memory, while a generous 160GB SATA hard drive and dual-layer DVD/RW drive provide the primary storage options.
Also present is an 1GB Turbo Memory module for utilising ReadyDrive and ReadyBoost, while Gigabit Ethernet and Draft N wireless round off the full compliment of Santa Rosa features. There's also an option for an HD DVD drive, though naturally this is bound to cost a fair few more pennies.
Moreover, with the 5920's 15.4in display topping out at a disappointing 1,280 x 800 it's arguable whether an HD DVD drive is even that attractive an option. Though this is good enough to display 720p (1,280 x 720), it's by no means ideal and though the display is capable it's hardly going to do HD content justice. Black levels are good, as is general image quality, but it isn't the most vibrant notebook display and the viewing angles are mediocre at best. Ultimately, at this size I'd like to see a 1,680 x 1,050 display, but even 1,440 x 900 would be preferable to the restrictive 1,280 x 800.
Then again this ignores one of the other key features of this notebook: Dolby Home Theatre. Audio hardware is provided by Realtek, but includes Dolby Home Theatre certification which includes Dolby's Digital, Digital Live, Pro Logic II, Headphone and Virtual Speaker technologies. This means, that using the S/PDIF output or HDMI, the on-board sound hardware will create a 5.1 signal out of a stereo source, output 5.1 signals and create the illusion of surround sound using stereo speakers. These are great features to have but for me its Dolby Headphone that's the real draw, adding superb surround effects to games and films when using headphones.