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Panasonic ToughBook CF-F8

The CF-F8 also has a spill resistant keyboard, and if you do happen to spill your coffee all over it, you can simply rinse it under the tap, let it dry and it will be good as new. Like the CF-Y7, the motherboard in the CF-F8 is completely sealed and liquid will just run through the keyboard and out through gullies in the base of the machine.

The CF-F8 also represents Panasonic’s first use of Intel’s new Centrino 2 platform, which is quite an event in itself. Obviously mainstream notebook manufacturers have been using Centrino 2 for the past couple of months, but for Panasonic this is a very quick adoption of the new technology. Traditionally, ToughBooks have been a generation behind the curve when it comes to Intel technology, because the key factor to the ToughBook range has always been reliability, and that meant very extensive testing, which took a great deal of time. It’s good to see that Panasonic has managed to speed up this process and bring products to market using the current platform, without having to compromise their durability.

Driving the CF-F8 is an Intel P9300 Core 2 Duo CPU, running at 2.26GHz. That’s a pretty fast chip by ToughBook standards, and Panasonic was keen to point out that the CF-F8 is the first ToughBook Executive model to ship with a performance orientated CPU, rather than a low-voltage variant. Unsurprisingly, the CF-F8 is fully vPro compliant, which means that it comes equipped with Intel’s AMT (Active Management Technology) for remote maintenance, fault diagnosis and repair.

The likely memory configuration for the CF-F8 will be 3GB, which will be achieved using a combination of hard wired chips and a single module. Like Samsung with its recently announced X360 and X460 notebooks, Panasonic is well aware that 3GB is something of a sweet spot when it comes to memory. Assuming that you’re running a 32-bit operating system (which most notebook users are), you can’t address more than 3.2GB of memory, so installing 4GB means that the customer is paying for memory that he can’t use. Therefore, opting for a 3GB configuration will ensure decent performance, while reducing overall cost.

Storage is taken care of by a 160GB 5,400rpm SATA drive, and there’s no option for a solid state disk. That said, the ToughBooks have traditionally provided superb hard disk protection, due to Panasonic’s shock absorbing caddies, so you shouldn’t have any problems, even if you are a little rough. And while SSDs offer better access times, the throughput still isn’t on a par with conventional drives, and aparently that's what ToughBook customers demand. Thus, Panasonic isn’t ready to go down the SSD route just yet (apart from with the CF-U1 of course).

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