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For performance testing our usual set of benchmarks were run, including PC Mark 05, our in-house 2D tests and, since the CF-52 came loaded with Windows XP Professional, MobileMark 2005. For comparison we used the original CF-51, as well as a similar non-rugged system in the Dell Latitude D630.
In all tests the CF-52 performed creditably, showing that this is significantly quicker than the CF-51 that it's replacing, though it was never likely to match the higher specified D630. A PCMark CPU score of 4,568 is a very decent one, while the overall score only dips below 4,000 due to the low graphics result, which is hardly a great cause for concern.
MobileMark also showed that the CF-52 will make a great long-distance work companion, with the system managing well in excess of five hours of continuous use. This is considerably better than the CF-51 managed when we looked at it, providing more proof were it needed that the CF-52 marks a significant step forward in terms of performance.
Combine this with the improvements in the design and it's a recipe for success. In almost every respect the CF-52 is an improvement over its predecessor proving faster, longer lasting and more mobile thanks to the handle and improved impact protection. It's only the lower resolution screen where it loses out, though this is less of a problem than it might seem and doesn't detract from the other superior aspects.
A well designed and more affordable ToughBook, if you want ruggedness but think the full fat varieties are little too much, then the CF-52 is a great option.