First Look: HP's Notebook With AMD Dual-Core

At a Glance
  • Compaq nx6325

    PCWorld Rating

HP Compaq nx6325
Photograph: Marc Simon
HP's Compaq nx6325 is the first notebook we've tested to use the new Turion 64 X2 dual-core mobile CPU from AMD. Though AMD touts the processor's performance and its power-saving capabilities, the nx6325 didn't set any speed or battery-life records in our tests. However, the notebook should prove attractive to business users, who get several thoughtful features on top of the standard set.

The Turion 64 X2 line incorporates several platform improvements. It supports DDR2 memory, and also has a smaller socket and dynamic thermal management, which helps it fit into more compact laptops. Each core of the Turion 64 X2 gets its own Level 2 memory cache, unlike Intel Core Duo CPUs, which share a single L2 cache (Intel's chips typically carry about twice the total cache as AMD's, though).

The $1249 nx6325 we tested uses a 1.8-GHz Turion 64 X2 TL 56 CPU and 512MB of 667-MHz DDR2 memory. It earned a score of 76 on our WorldBench 5 tests, a mark 10 points beneath the average score of two comparably configured laptops with a 1.66-GHz Intel Core Duo T2300 chip. Nevertheless, it should ably handle any productivity task you throw at it.

And because of its dual-core CPU, you get much better performance when you're working with more than one application at once, or when you work with multithreaded applications that can take advantage of the two processor cores.

If you want top battery life, our tests seem to indicate that you will be better off with an Intel-based dual-core notebook. The nx6325 lasted just over 3 hours in our battery tests, while comparable Intel dual-core-based notebooks that we've evaluated have chugged along for up to 5 hours.

Getting Down to Business

Aside from its midrange performance, the nx6325 is a solid business notebook. One nice touch is a presentation-settings hot-key located at the top of the keyboard that makes it easier for travelers to reconfigure the screen and system for meetings and demos. You also get one-touch access to HP's Info Center, where you can learn about the various security features, activate the built-in fingerprint reader, and register your print for log-ins. HP offers its own backup and restore software as well, and like many business notebooks this model includes a handy on/off button for the built-in wireless and Bluetooth capabilities.

The 1400-by-1050-pixel, 15-inch LCD, powered by ATI's Radeon Xpress 1150 graphics chip set and up to 128MB of RAM (shared system memory), looked fairly crisp, although colors were not quite as bright as on some other screens I've seen. Movie playback was smooth and sound was good, given that this system is meant primarily for business, not entertainment.

Along with the new Turion 64 X2 CPU, our tested system came with an 80GB hard drive plus a multiformat DVD burner that supports double-sided discs and has LightScribe technology, which lets you burn a label directly onto the disc. On the front is a convenient seven-in-one media card reader.

You get gigabit ethernet along with the other usual connectivity options, plus one FireWire port and three USB 2.0 ports--all positioned on the sides of the notebook, not the back, a design choice I like. The keyboard is full size and responsive; the touchpad has a scroll bar and worked well. The notebook won't kill your back if you're traveling, as it weighs 6.8 pounds with the AC adapter and cord, and 6 pounds without.

All in all, the nx6325 is a solid, well-priced laptop with a few nice extras for business users. Its new AMD dual-core CPU doesn't offer the processing muscle that some Intel dual-core based models provide, but its power should be sufficient for most business tasks.

HP Compaq nx6325


Reasonably priced laptop offers several business-oriented features and adequate speed.
List: $1249
www.hp.com
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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    Reasonably priced laptop offers several business-oriented features and adequate speed.

    Pros

    • Comfortable keyboard, reasonable weight

    Cons

    • Screen shows dullish color
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