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Desktop replacement notebooks seem to be pretty popular these days and as prices keep coming down it is not hard to see why. The Fujitsu-Siemens Amilo D8830 is one of the most powerful desktop replacement notebooks I have seen to date sporting a 3.06GHz Pentium 4 processor with support for Hyper Threading.
You also get 512Mb of memory, interestingly Fujitsu-Siemens has fitted it as two standard 184-pin DDR DIMM modules, but this is not an issue in a notebook this size and it keeps the overall cost down. The main storage drive is a 60GB 2.5in hard drive which should be capacious enough for even the most space hungry user. However, Fujitsu-Siemens offers a model with 1GB of memory and an 80GB hard drive at additional cost. Amazingly there is no floppy drive in this large laptop, but you do get a DVD+RW drive as standard. This is capable of writing DVD+R/RW at 2.4-speed as well as CD-Rs at 16-speed and CD-RW at eight-speed.
There is a single Type II PC Card slot for expansion as well as five USB 2.0 ports and a single four-pin FireWire port. The D8830 also comes with integrated 10/100Mbit Ethernet, integrated 56k V.90 modem and S-Video output. On top of this there is a D-SUB connector, a Parallel port and a PS/2 connector. There are also headphone and microphone sockets as well as a volume wheel. The integrated speakers are of standard laptop quality, not fantastic, but you can always plug headphones in for better sound.
The screen is a high-quality 15in display with a native resolution of 1,400 x 1,050 which is quite comfortable to use, although text can be a bit small. It might not be on a par with the latest Onyx Black display’s from Sony, but it doesn’t suffer from the glare effect either. The display is powered by a 64MB ATi Radeon 9000 Mobility graphics card which is a decent solution for all round usage, but it’s still not great for the latest games.
The keyboard is comfortable to type on, but a little on the stiff side, especially the Spacebar. Most keys are where you would expect them to be, although as with most laptops the Fn key takes up the space where you would expect the left Ctrl key to be which can be a bit annoying when you try to copy and paste text.
The hardware specification for the Amilo D8830 is pretty impressive for a notebook, but it’s worth remembering that this is a chunky machine and it weighs a cumbersome 3.6kg. But if all you need is a machine that you transport between to office and your home, you’d have a hard time finding something much more powerful.
The Amilo D8830 performed well in all the benchmarks, but we did experience a small hitch. It flatly refused to run MobileMark 2002 so we don’t have a battery score for it. Fujitsu-Siemens quotes two hours battery life, but I would take this with a pinch of salt. It is also worth noting that the battery is not easily removable as it’s located behind an access panel.