capsule review

ABS Mayhem G4 Revolution

At a Glance
  • ABS Mayhem G4 Revolution

    PCWorld Rating

    Dual-mode graphics help stretch this hard-driving gaming notebook's so-so battery life.

ABS Mayhem G4 Revolution
Photograph: Rick Rizner, Chris Manners

The ABS Mayhem G4 Revolution is a gaming notebook that, uniquely, offers two graphics processing units. When you want games and other graphics to look better on its 15.4-inch screen, flip a switch on the front of the notebook for the nVidia GeForce Go 6600 graphics card with 256MB of dedicated memory. When long battery life is more important, flip it back for the integrated Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 900 which borrows RAM from main memory but conserves power.

However, even using the integrated graphics this portable's battery lasted only 2.5 hours--not very impressive, considering that plenty of notebooks equipped with power-demanding dedicated graphics often run longer by an hour or more. ABS estimates that, in graphics-card mode, the battery would last about 90 minutes.

The pricey $2149 unit I looked at came decked out for speed, including a top-shelf 2.26-GHz Pentium M 780 processor and a hearty 1GB of RAM. The 7.1-pound Mayhem G4 turned in an equally impressive WorldBench 5 score of 99, one of the highest notebook performance numbers we've recorded to date.

The Mayhem G4's design is fine but not outstanding; it includes a combination CD-RW/DVD-ROM drive and a four-in-one memory card reader. I found the touchpad-equipped keyboard comfortable enough, and the mouse buttons were easy to press, but the unit lacks quick-launch buttons. Four rubber feet keep the notebook raised and cool.

An S/PDIF port on the front will connect with an external set of digital speakers or other device with an S/PDIF input. A generous number of USB ports--four, including three on the right and a bonus fourth on the bottom--handle connections not covered by the S-Video-out port, the VGA port, or the modem and ethernet jacks.

As a right-handed person, I didn't mind having the optical drive on the less-convenient left side of the case because of the can't-miss eject button. But too much space separates the Wi-Fi switch atop the keyboard from its LED on the front of the notebook. Still, these are minor design flaws.

This gaming notebook's top-notch performance and multimedia features don't quite offset its price tag and less-than-stellar battery life.

Carla Thornton

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    Dual-mode graphics help stretch this hard-driving gaming notebook's so-so battery life.

    Pros

    • Excellent WorldBench performance

    Cons

    • Unremarkable design; poor battery life
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