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Acer Aspire 5942G-524G64Bn - 15.6in Laptop - Acer Aspire 5942G-524G64Bn
Given the hardware the 5942G touts, we were expecting some impressive performance and sure enough we weren't disappointed. Compared to the HP Envy 15-1060ea and Toshiba Satellite X500-10T, both of which came with 1.6GHz quad-core Core i7 CPUs, the Acer matched them all the way in PCMark Vantage. In fact it actually achieved a higher overall score than both, though this is largely due to a somewhat overinflated result in one of the tests.
Initially we were perplexed by this anomaly, but a little detective work uncovered that the Core i5-520M has a new set of AES instructions that markedly improve the speed of applications performing encryption and decryption - actions which form a major part of the affected 'Communications' phase in the benchmark. This is obviously great if you do a lot of either, but most consumers probably won't see the benefit that often.
Another thing that helps the overall performance is the use of a 64-bit version of Windows 7 Home Premium, which can address all of the 4GB of DDR3 RAM. This ample system memory helps in applications and games, which are also aided by the ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5650 that has 1GB of its own memory.
This chip is best described as a mid-range/entry-level gaming card, so it's not going to tackle Crysis too easily, but it gets the job done. In our tests it produced a brisk 77.3fps in Trackmania Nations and averaged a decent 34.9fps across the four tests in S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Call of Pripyat - both enough to call this a reasonable gaming machine.
When dealing with larger laptops like this, battery life becomes a lot less important. Nonetheless the 5942G does okay here, returning a creditable three hours in the MobileMark 2007 Productivity test and just short of two hours in the DVD playback test. Given this machine weighs 3.05kg it's not going to venture far from a wall socket, making both these results more than good enough.
Aside from the merely average display, the Acer Aspire 5942G offers the performance and features of a laptop that could cost a lot more. If you're after a high-performance Blu-ray laptop and aren't too concerned about having a top-notch screen to go with it, it's a great value option.
The Acer Aspire 5942G is currently available from SaveOnLaptops.