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Acer Ferrari 1100
Ferrari is no stranger to putting its badge on other companys' products and Acer has been selling Ferrari branded notebooks for a while now. Asus has a similar deal with Lamborghini and though these products are always going to be a little too expensive for mainstream markets, for Ferrari owners or enthusiasts there's probably some appeal in owning a laptop with the legendary prancing horse logo on top.
Acer's latest offering using the brand is the Ferrari 1100, a 12.1in laptop that uses the AMD mobile platform and retails for a not insignificant £1,400. It utilises the same basic chassis as the far more mundane Acer TravelMate 6292 that we reviewed in July of last year, but adds a fair dose of style and panache.
Probably the best part of the notebook is its lid. Finished in a combination of carbon fibre and smooth black plastic with the Ferrari logo sitting proudly in the middle, it truly looks and feels the part. Inside it's perhaps a little less coordinated but nonetheless still attractive. There's glossy black plastic around the bezel that attracts an awful lot of dust and which is continued around the keyboard, joined by more smooth black plastic around the sides and a textured touchpad. A bright red backlit power button adds to the Ferrari flavour, as does another Ferrari logo and lettering that's backlit in the top right.
It's noticeable too that Acer has tried to make this model look racier with the addition of some more angular lines, specifically around the webcam on the bezel and at the front where each corner is slightly tapered. Overall, it's an accomplished look that fits quite nicely with the Ferrari branding without looking garish or unseemly, so Acer can pat itself on the back in this respect. You also get a few nice but hardly essential extras, such as a presentation box, and a Ferrari branded mouse, Skype phone and carry slip case.
Internally, however, the Ferrari 1100 is somewhat hamstrung by its reliance on AMD's mobile platform, a product of its sponsorship of the Ferrari Formula 1 team. As we've noted previously AMD's mobile offerings, specifically its mobile processors, leave something to be desired compared to the more powerful and frugal Intel options. This system comes equipped with an AMD Turion 64 X2 TL-66 that's clocked 2.3GHz with 1MB L2 Cache, but the high clock speed is something of a red herring since any of Intel's CPUs running at 2.0GHz or above will outperform it.
However, Acer has done its best to alleviate this by cramming as many high end features into the Ferrari 1100 as possible. Thus, in support of the CPU is 4GB of 667MHz DDR2 RAM running in dual-channel mode, a shock protected 250GB 5400rpm SATA HDD and a very nice 1,280 x 800 LED backlit screen. Naturally, to complement the 4GB RAM, you also get Vista Ultimate 64-bit that unlike the more regular 32-bit OS can use all that system memory to the fullest.