capsule review

ABS Mayhem G1

At a Glance
  • ABS Mayhem G1 (Intel Pentium 4 2.8GHz, 512MB, 80GB, DVD CDRW, 15.4

ABS Mayhem G1
Artwork: Rick Rizner, John Goddard

ABS positions the Mayhem G1 as a gaming notebook. But while the bulky 7.9-pound unit does have a nice 15.4-inch (1280 by 800) wide-aspect screen, an ATI Mobility Radeon 9600 graphics chip and 128MB of graphics RAM, its gaming chops are not especially, er, mayhemish.

For one thing, it's not a powerhouse performer; in our speed tests, it earned a PC WorldBench 4 score of 114--more than adequate for general use, but significantly slower than many cheaper and smaller systems we've seen. Furthermore, it uses a 2.8-GHz Pentium 4 desktop processor, which drains the battery quickly; it lasted only 1.6 hours in our tests. The built-in speakers, located in the bottom of the screen frame, produce weak and colorless sound, which gamers won't like.

We did appreciate the combination DVD-ROM and CD-RW optical drive's oversize eject button, which is a lot easier to find and press than the buttons on most notebooks. The optical drive is removable, but ABS doesn't offer any other add-ins for the modular bay. The Mayhem has all the usual connections, including three USB 2.0 ports, an S-Video-out port, FireWire, and a memory card reader that can handle SD cards or Memory Sticks. Most of the connections are situated on the left side of the notebook, opposite the combo drive. The keyboard is good, though somewhat marred by stiff mouse buttons. There are two separate ways to scroll through documents: A scroll zone is part of the extra-wide touchpad, and a scroll rocker sits between the buttons.

Upgrading the Mayhem requires a screwdriver and is a little awkward: A cover held in place by 11 small screws protects the hard drive and memory slots, and another screw inside secures the hard drive. By comparison, the battery is a snap to remove: Just slide a bottom release and pull it out of the right side of the case. ABS does not include any electronic manuals, but the single printed reference guide covers the basics well.

Buy this tritone notebook for its wide screen and full set of connections, but not for its performance or audio. Serious gamers should consider other options.

ABS Mayhem G1


PC WorldBench 4 score of 114, 2.8-GHz Pentium 4, 512MB of DDR333 SDRAM, Windows XP Home, 15.4-inch screen, 80GB hard drive, DVD-ROM and CD-RW combo drive, four-in-one memory card reader, built-in V.92 modem and 10/100 ethernet, 802.11g wireless, touchpad pointing device, 9.8-pound weight (including AC adapter and phone cord). One-year parts and labor warranty; free, unlimited, 24-hour daily toll-free tech support.
$1750
800/876-8088
www.buyabs.com

Carla Thornton

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At a Glance
  • ABS Mayhem G1 (Intel Pentium 4 2.8GHz, 512MB, 80GB, DVD CDRW, 15.4

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