Though not as glamorous as the ultra-portables, 15.4in notebooks remain a staple of the notebook market due to their versatility and affordability. Perfect as housebound mobile computers, they're popular among manufacturers for being comparatively cheap to make and there's no shortage of budget options available, as our Student Guide to Technology feature demonstrated. However, not all 15.4in notebooks need be cheap and cheerful, some can be powerful and versatile like the Acer Aspire 5920, while the likes of HP, Dell, Sony and et al all produce models aimed at the home user who wants to do a bit of everything.
One such manufacturer is Zepto, who we've previously featured with the Znote 6224W. Based in mainland Europe, Zepto is well regarded for producing high performance notebooks at reasonable prices, with plenty of configuration options to boot. This has made them popular with enthusiasts who like to customise every aspect of their notebook but don't want to buy a Dell, or any of the OEM chassis sold by the likes of Evesham and Rock.
Our sample came loaded with an Intel Core 2 Duo T7700 running at 2.4GHz, with an 800MHz Front Side Bus and 4MB of L2 Cache. This is one of the faster mobile Core 2 Duos available and the fastest Zepto offers, ensuring snappy application performance. It's supported by 2GB of 667MHz DDR2 configured as two 1GB sticks, with options for 800MHz DDR2 and quantities up to 4GB as well. As with the 6224W, a 512MB 8600M GT is the standard graphics solution on all configurations.
Storage options are numerous and though our system came with only a 120GB SATA hard drive it was a 7200rpm unit, which should help boost application performance even further. Indeed, 7200rpm drives are the only options up to 200GB, after which there are options for 5400rpm 250GB and 320GB drives, as well as a 32GB SSD. For an optical drive you get the usual 8x DVD+/-RW drive, however there's an option for an HD DVD drive should you desire it.
Network connectivity is also very thorough, with Gigabit Ethernet, Draft-N Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.0 all coming as standard. There's also an infrared port on the front of the notebook, while the rest of the connectivity is all fairly standard fare with four USB ports, four-pin FireWire, a 54mm ExpressCard slot, VGA and S-Video TV-out on hand. This is all fine and dandy, but in these times the addition of HDMI would be quite welcome. A 3-in-1 card reader is also a little low on the format support, though a 1.3 Mega pixel camera does soften the blow.