The optical drive writes to DVD+/-R media at 8x, DVD+/-RW media at 4x and DVD+R Dual Layer media at 2.4x. It will also write to CD-R media at 24x and CD-RW media at 16x.
There are plenty of features to go yet, so let’s start with the left hand side of the chassis. The first thing here is a volume control wheel – I really like hardware controls like this as it makes it much easier to adjust the volume on the fly. There’s also microphone and headphone sockets – with the headphone socket also doubling up as optical S/PDIF out. The AMILO M3438G features Intel HD audio and although you won’t get more than stereo sound out of it, the quality is far superior to AC97. The built in speakers are helped by a small subwoofer to add that bit of extra bass to the sound, although most gamers would most likely use headphones.
Next up is the optical drive and just behind that are a single USB 2.0 port and the power connector. Around the back is the modem connector along with DVI and S-Video outputs – in case you want to attach your laptop to an external screen, TV or projector.
The right hand side is home to the Ethernet connector, a 4-in-1 card reader for SD, MMC, MemoryStick and MemoryStick Pro cards, a four-pin FireWire connector, three more USB 2.0 ports and an ExpressCard slot. The ExpressCard slot is also the home of the included remote control with which you can control the InstantOn media playback features. Finally the front only has two features worth pointing out, the on/off switch for the wireless antenna and an infrared receiver for the remote control – this is not an IrDA port so it doesn’t work with other IrDA devices.