- Review Price: £1299.00
Here at TrustedReviews we’ve looked at a great many notebook computers, from tiny ultra-portables to massive desktop replacements, but the Systemax Hurricane 6000 is the first notebook that we’ve seen to sport a 17in widescreen display. Of course Systemax isn’t unique in providing this feature, as both Toshiba and Sony offers similar machines, but that doesn’t make the display on the Hurricane any less impressive.
As you might already have guessed, any laptop with a 17in TFT display is not going to be small, but the Hurricane 6000 is still smaller and lighter than the Acer Aspire 1714SMi. The specifications are not the very best we have come across, but with an Athlon 64 3000+ and 512MB of PC2700 DDR memory it still has a lot to offer.
Systemax has gone for a 60GB Samsung 4,200rpm hard drive and a Matsushita slot-in DVD SuperMulti drive capable of writing to DVD-RAM media at 2x, DVD-R/RW at 4x/2x and DVD+R/RW at 2.4x. The DVD writer can also write to CD-R at 16x and CD-RW at 8x which makes it a very versatile mobile optical drive.
But the most prominent feature is of course the 17in TFT display and with a native resolution of 1,440 x 900 you get a lot of desktop real estate. The resolution isn’t as high at the 1,680 x 1,050 display seen in the Voodoo Envy M:860, but then this machine is a lot cheaper. Systemax has however followed Voodoo’s suit and decided to drive its widescreen display with a Mobility Radeon 9700, complete with 128MB.
The Hurricane 6000 continues to impress with built in 5.1-channel audio, but unlike most notebooks you don’t only get 5.1-channel outputs, because there are actually five speakers built into the chassis, along with a subwoofer. The only downfall is that the rear speakers are on each side of the keyboard rather than behind you, so you’re not really going to get a true and accurate sound stage. That said, this is the first notebook we’ve seen to attempt such an audacious sound solution.
On the left hand side of the chassis you will find three USB 2.0 ports, a PC Card slot, a memory card reader that accepts MMC, SD and Memory Stick and the optical drive. Around the back are the serial and parallel ports, a D-SUB, a PS/2 port and an S-Video connector as well as the modem and Gigabit Ethernet ports. Finally at the front is a four-pin FireWire port, the IrDA port and the audio connectors. The audio connectors are configured as optical S/PDIF output, mic and headphone sockets, but these can be re-configured in the driver to allow for 5.1-channel output.
Due to the large chassis Systemax has managed to fit a full size keyboard to the Hurricane 6000, including a numeric keypad. This does however not have quite the same layout as a numerical keypad on a desktop keyboard, but for anyone that does a lot of accounting or spreadsheet work on their notebook, it will still be a welcome addition. The only complaint about the keyboard is the small Return key, which really should have been full size on a laptop this big. Apart from that most keys are where you would expect to find them, although the Spacebar could have been a little longer, since there is acres of space to fit a keyboard in a laptop this big.
Above the keyboard are three quick launch buttons that give instant access to your email client and web browser while the third one is programmable. The touchpad is reasonable enough, but it’s not the best I have used – although to be fair it’s not so much the touchpad itself that’s a problem, more the stiff selector buttons. Something you might not have spotted if from looking at the pictures is the integrated web camera on the top of the display. It wasn’t working in our pre-production review sample, but we’ve been assured by Systemax that it will work on production models. Systemax will also be supplying an external USB 2.0 TV-tuner from Avermedia and you get a two year warranty thrown in, although it is RTB (return to base).
Apart from its hefty size and weight – 393 x 275 x 37.5mm (W x D x H) and 4.2kg, there are a couple of other drawbacks with the Hurricane 6000. The first issue is the complete lack of integrated wireless networking – Systemax says that it might offer this on later models, but currently no decision has been made one way or the other. The second problem is the amount of cooling fans in the chassis, which produce a fair amount of noise when you’re running a lot of heavy applications, especially games.
Speaking of applications, the Hurricane 6000 is quite a capable laptop in our benchmarks, scoring 224 in SYSmark 2002 which is 10 points faster than the Evesham Voyager 64 which had a 3200+ processor. The battery life is less impressive at a mere one hour and 31 minutes, but this is pretty much expected from a large machine like this. Looking at the 3D scores the Hurricane 6000 is the fastest Athlon 64 notebook that we have tested so far, but it still doesn’t manage to beat the Rock Xtreme! XTR-3.4EE.
The Hurricane 6000 is a hard product to sum up as it has a lot on offer, but the lack of wireless networking is a serious omission these days. It also performs well in all the benchmarks, but has poor battery life. So it all comes down the price in the end and Systemax has yet again been very aggressive in this area – the Hurricane 6000 is £1,299.00 inc VAT and delivery, which is not a bad deal for what you’re getting.
The Systemax Hurricane 6000 is a beast of a laptop, but if you’re looking for something that little bit different that will be able to handle all the latest games, it’s worth a look. The performance and price is right, but the sheer bulk of this machine might put some buyers off no matter how good the performance.
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Score in detail
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