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Acer Ferrari 1000
In the industry, it’s a commonly held opinion that AMD missed an opportunity over the last few years. Despite its Athlon 64 dominating Intel for speed for a number of years it somehow failed to close the gap in the mainstream market. A large part of this is that AMD doesn’t have either Intel’s budget or marketing nouse and now that Intel has grabbed the performance ball back from AMD, the latter could be in real trouble.
One positive marketing move on AMD’s side was its association with Ferrari, which Acer has capitalised on with its range of AMD based Ferrari notebooks. I reviewed the first one a couple of years ago and more recently, Riyad looked at the 4000. However, now that AMD is a firm second for performance on the desktop will Ferrari appreciate being associated with second best?
As far as cool, slightly over-the-top design goes though, not only has this latest Acer Ferrari still got it, it raises the bar even higher. The 1000 is a new ultra-portable model and with the supplied 6-cell battery weighs in at 1.75Kg – not super light but not bad. However, when you realise that the DVD-ROM drive is not integrated – it’s less impressive. When you consider that the likes of the Sony TX series and the Samsung Q35 are both ultra-light yet integrate an optical drive into their small chassis then alarm bells start to ring.
Getting straight to the heart of the matter (or should that be heat of the matter), the reason is the choice processor. The 2GHz AMD Turion X2 ML-60 is AMD’s fastest dual-core mobile processor and as we’ll see it does offer impressive performance. However, the Thermal Design Power (TDP) is a hefty 35W compared to 31W for the competing Intel Core Duo. This is the most likely reason that Acer wasn’t able to fit an optical drive inside the chassis – there wouldn’t have been enough room to cool the chip. An alternative would have been to use a slower processor but then Acer would hardly have been able to brand this as a Ferrari notebook.
Style wise though, Acer has got it down. The lid looks great with its carbon fibre weave design and yellow Ferrari logo underneath a protective plastic coating. I much prefer this to the highly garish red on the lid of the first Acer Ferrari notebook.
Opening it up and you find the Acer has really gone to town on the design. Round the keyboard, at the top left and right corners are silver buttons separated by glowing red lines that are flush with the chassis – very much akin to the keypad on the endlessly popular Motorola Razr mobile phone. It looks great. The power button lights up blue at the top left, while at the right are shortcut keys for your email program, your web browser, the Acer ePowerment software, and one that can be manually programmed. Beneath this are the Caps Lock, Num Lock and hard disk activity lights.