There are another two USB 2.0 ports at the rear, along with an Ethernet port and a modem socket â€“ the power connector rounds off the connection options.
Wireless connectivity comes in the form of an Intel PRO/Wireless 3945ABG adapter, which, as its name suggests gives you 802.11a, b and g compliance. This means that the R70 isnâ€™t going to make use of the draft-n Wi-Fi module that Intel is launching with the Santa Rosa platform. While this is somewhat disappointing, the R70 is a notebook thatâ€™s been built to a keen price point, and itâ€™s clear that Samsung has had to make a few key compromises to make this machine as affordable as possible.
Unfortunately the R70 is also missing one of the best features of the Santa Rosa platform â€“ Turbo Memory. Turbo Memory, or Robson as it was codenamed is basically fast cache memory that allows Windows Vista to operate far faster. Because itâ€™s persistent memory, Robson can also speed up boot-up times, making it an all round asset for any notebook. To be fair to Samsung though, none of the first generation of Santa Rosa machines seem to be equipped with Turbo Memory, and I have been assured that there will be notebooks sporting both Turbo Memory and draft-n Wi-Fi hitting the streets very soon.
To get a basic idea of what Turbo Memory could bring to a notebook like the R70, I ran PC Mark, then plugged a very fast USB key in, set it as a ReadyBoost device and ran PC Mark a second time. With 1GB of fast USB flash memory set up as a ReadyBoost partition the PC Mark hard disk score jumped from 3379 to 4838! Add to this the fact that the Turbo Memory module will be far faster than a USB device and itâ€™s clear that this will be a killer feature on future machines.
The review sample came fitted with an 80GB hard disk, but the retail units will feature a 120GB drive, which should be capacious enough for most consumers. The memory complement of 1GB could be an issue considering how memory hungry Vista can be, but at least the R70 ships with a single 1GB module and an empty SODIM slot, so adding memory will be a simple procedure.
Samsung says that the Aura R70 retail machines will be hitting the streets any day now with a price of Â£699 including VAT! Thatâ€™s a hell of a lot of notebook for your money, especially when you consider that it will be based on the Santa Rosa platform. Even with the missing Turbo Memory and draft-n Wi-Fi the R70 looks like an absolute bargain, especially if you want a Media Center notebook that can easily hook up to your high definition TV.
Iâ€™ll be getting my paws on a full production sample of the R70 very soon, so check back for a full review.