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The second generation of Intel’s Centrino platform, named Sonoma, has now been available for a couple of months and judging from the machines we’ve been getting in lately, seems to be quickly gaining popularity. So far we have seen notebooks from Acer, Dell, IBM and Sony - all big players in the notebook market. Today we’re looking at one of the first Sonoma offering from a smaller company - Evesham although the chassis is actually made by Asus.
The Voyager C510 as Evesham calls it, is pretty generic looking but does at least feel well built – something that isn’t always the case with third party laptops. However, the specifications are what make this machine interesting, especially considering the price. At its core is a Pentium M 750 processors clocked at 1.86GHz, combined with 512MB of dual channel PC4200 (533MHz) DDR2 memory. This is interesting as many of the Sonoma based machines from the bigger brands have stuck with DDR memory. Whether DDR2 has a major impact on performance is hard to say, as you would need two machines with identical specifications apart from the memory to know for sure. However, if one is to believe Intel, DDR2 offers a reasonable performance boost while lowering power consumption.
The Sonoma spec also brought tri-band Wi-Fi to the masses, as the 802.11a standard was not part of it until recently. But the key feature of Sonoma is of course PCI Express and much to my approval Evesham has gone for a discrete graphics chip. And it’s not a basic chip either as the Voyager C510 comes fitted with a 128MB GeForce Go 6600.
This is currently the fastest nVidia GPU for this type of notebook, as the Go 6800 runs far too hot for a small chassis like this. The Go 6600 is clocked slower than the initial numbers nVidia showed to the press at a mere 250MHz core speed and 500MHz for the memory (compared to 300/600). So while this won’t be the best gaming laptop around it is still far superior to integrated graphics.
The Voyager C510 has a 15.4in widescreen display with a pretty standard 1,280 x 800 resolution, although a 1,680 x 1,050 panel is also available as a cost option. This is a traditional TFT display rather than one of the new glossy types that have become popular.
On the storage side you get a well sized 5,400rpm Fujitsu 80GB SATA hard drive. This makes the Voyager C510 the first notebook we have reviewed here at TrustedReviews with a SATA hard drive. An 8x DVD+/-R writer from Samsung is also part of the package. It can also write to DVD+/-RW media at 4x and DVD+RW DL media at 2.4x.
Looking at the connectivity options on the Voyager C510, on the left hand side of the chassis you will find a Type II PC Card slot and a memory card reader for MMC, SD and MS/MS Pro cards. Furthermore there is a four pin FireWire connector, a microphone and headphone socket – with the headphone socket doubling up as optical S/PDIF output – and a single USB 2.0 port.
At the back you’ll find the 56k modem connector, the Gigabit Ethernet connector, four additional USB 2.0 ports, a D-SUB connector and S-Video output. And that is pretty much it, as on the right hand side is the optical drive and there are no connectors around the front.