4 Pentium M and Core Solo Notebooks

PCQ Bureau
New Update

In August and September this year, we reviewed 34 notebooks, out of which 19

were dual core-indicating that dual cores are definitely 'in' amongst

notebooks. With a number of executives deciding their notebook based on

portability and the 'can it just do what I want it to do, without the burden

of additional and rarely used features?' question, older generation systems

like Centrino and Celeron/ Sempron based notebooks are continuing to be just as

popular. Today single and dual core notebooks sell side-by-side with similar

configuration and price points. Single cores are obviously not done yet-there

are still a lot of applications they can handle smoothly without adding the

burden of the extra core into the cost. Yet, single cores will gradually

disappear over the next year or two, when more and more powerful applications

hit the market demanding the computing prowess of more and more cores.


These notebooks are basic productivity models, with baseline feature sets-a

Pentium M processor, on board graphics, 60 to 80 GB hard disks and a DVD writer.

Interestingly, the DVD writers on board these notebooks are 'dual mode'.

What that means is they can write both plus and minus format DVDs and not that

they can do dual layer discs which is a different thing altogether. Three

portables (out of the four notebooks reviewed here) have 12” TFT screens, with

two of them being wide screens models. By the way, we have not made a mistake

and repeated the visual for the ACi DimiQ 1100 and the Sahara CK66 in the

reviews below-the two are identical in reality.

Multimedia Content Creation

Winstone (MCCW) 2003
Business Winstone (BW) 2003

So what sets them apart? Small variations in configuration (like the type and

speed of CPU and RAM) and a larger price variation.

BW and MCCW Scores

BW uses regular productivity applications that use smaller file sizes,
while MCCW's applications use larger files. Thus, when the system has a

hard disk that performs better with larger files, its MCCW score will be

better than its BW performance. That's why Sahara CJ66 and CK66 did much

better in MCCW.

ACi DimiQ 1100

Ultra Portable

  • Good performance, low price
  • Small sense-area for touch pad, speaker quality

Powered by an ultra-low voltage Pentium U1300 1.06 GHz and a Gig of RAM, this

white bodied notebook is about style. The top of its lid is silver gray and its

screen is a 11.1” but wide TFT. The screen is shiny like a glossy screen but

it is not a glossy TFT. The speaker is along the ridge-joint with a single

non-programmable button alongside that launches the default media player

installed (WMP, Winamp, etc). The touch pad is of standard size with scrollbars

on the left and bottom edges, but the sense-area for the scrollers are wider

than normal giving you a smaller than usual space for free pointer movement.

31.5  33.2  4 Hrs 35 Min

Performance is at par with similar notebooks from our August/September

reviews-we ran Business Winstone and Multimedia Content Creation Winstone that

returned scores of 31.5 and 33.2 Winstones respectively. Plus, the battery lasts

you well over four and a half hours-a good performance.

BOTTOM LINE: Its price tag is well worth the configuration and

performance, making it a good investment.

Quick Specs

Specs: Pentium U1300 1.06 GHz, 1 GB RAM, 80 GB hard disk,
Intel 945 motherboard with on-board graphics, Gigabit Ethernet LAN,

dual mode (+/-) DVD writer

Price: Rs 65,000 (1 year warranty)

Contact: Allied Computers, Delhi.

Tel: 9871652227


SMS Buy 130156 to 6677


Sahara CJ66

Ultra Portable

  • Good performance, very low price
  • Horrible battery life

This notebook from Sahara is not the usual rectangle you get to see with

ultraportables, but we decided to call it one because its form factor is fairly

the same as the DimiQ 1100 and the Sahara CK66. Plus, it weighs within the 1.5

Kg limit we have put for this qualification. This all grey notebook has a

Pentium M 1.6 on an Intel 915 with 512 MB RAM. The screen is a 12.1” TFT. The

last line of the keyboard is cramped. The model we received had a couple of keys

repeated and even misprinted, which Sahara claims, have been fixed in store


Its benchmark scores of 36.9 and 27.7 Winstones in MCCW and Business Winstone

respectively are better scores than that of ACi's DimiQ 1100 which has a

better configuration with a 945 chipset. Battery life is just 1 hour and 55

minutes to the whistle. Performance therefore is not chart breaking, but this is

sufficient horsepower.

27.7  36.9  1 Hrs 55 Min

BOTTOM LINE: For a price tag of under 40K minus taxes, it's worth a

shot if you're willing to negotiate for a better battery.

Quick Specs

Specs: Pentium M 1.6 GHz, 512 MB RAM, 80 GB hard disk, Intel
915 motherboard with on-board graphics, Gigabit Ethernet LAN, dual

mode (+/-) DVD writer

Price: Rs 38,499 (1 yr warranty)

Contact: Sahara Computers, Delhi,

Tel: 9899235906 


SMS Buy 130157 to 6677

Sahara CK66

Ultra Portable

  • Dual mode writer
  • Mistakes on keyboard, very expensive

This notebook is identical to ACi DimiQ 1100 in size, shape, weight, style

and configuration. The first difference you notice, with both of them placed

side by side, is the number of mistakes on Sahara's keyboard. The performance

is a little behind in MCCW but similar in Business Winstone. The battery life is

almost identical at four and a half hours. Then there's a question mark over

its price tag... when the ACi is available at 65K, why would you pay about 80K

for this one? We ask Sahara to sort that out as well.

The notebook has a 12.1” TFT with speakers along the top of the ridge

joint. The lone unprogrammable button next to the speaker launches whatever is

the default media player on the system. The touch pad for pointer control is of

normal size but the area to sense scroll-bar movement is so wide that there is

not enough space left for free pointer movement.

28.4  31.8 4 Hrs 24 Min

Bottom Line: As compared to ACi DimiQ 1100, we find the price tag on

the higher side, given the lower benchmark scores.

Quick Specs

Specs: Pentium U1300 1.06 GHz, 1 GB RAM, 80 GB hard disk,
Intel 945 motherboard with on-board graphics, Gigabit Ethernet LAN,

dual mode (+/-) DVD writer

Price: Rs 79,999 (1 yr warranty)

Contact: Sahara Computers, Delhi.

Tel: 9899235906 


SMS Buy 130158 to 6677

Sahara CK76


  • Rugged design, sensible performance
  • Requires a better processor

The CK76 has a plastic-like black body with no frills. Open the lid to find a

14” square TFT framed with a metallic lining. The dual mode DVD writer is

lockable with a sliding key next to the eject button. Like the other three

notebooks, this one has a single non-programmable button, but unlike them the

CK76's button toggles your Wi-Fi on or off. Luckily the keyboard is spacious

and typing on it is not a problem except for the surprisingly small Enter and

right Shift keys. There is also a volume control dial along the front-edge.

With Pentium M 1.73 GHz/512 meg RAM on a 915 chipset motherboard and on-board

graphics, this Sahara book scored a good 43.1 and 29.7 Winstones in multimedia

and office productivity benchmarks respectively. Battery life with its 9-cell

Li-ion pack is a good 5 hours plus.

29.7 43.1 5 Hrs 02 Min

Bottom Line: The notebook is rugged, though it is not made for the

typical executive amongst you. We consider the CK76 as a good buy.

Quick Specs

Specs: Pentium M 1.73 GHz, 512 MB RAM, 80 GB HDD, Intel 915
motherboard with on-board graphics, Gigabit Ethernet LAN, dual mode

(+/-) DVD writer, shockproof

Price: Rs 49,999 (1 yr warranty)

Contact: Sahara Computers, Delhi

Tel: 9899235906 


SMS Buy 130159 to 6677

Dell XPS M1210 Notebook

Feature Rich

  • Good configuration at this price point
  • Poor graphics performance

This Core 2 Duo notebook from Dell is aimed at the frequently travelling

power business user. The notebook weighs around 2 Kgs but packs a punch with its

features as well as performance. It comes with a built-in 1.3 Megapixel

swiveling webcam (Logitech Quickcam model) and Skype phone software for IP video

conferencing. A single button lets you quickly take snapshots or invoke the

video recorder. Media player controls arranged along the front edge, which light

up, add not only style but also make it easy to locate the controls in a

darkened flight cabin. Speakers are on the 12.1” widescreen TFT and audio

quality is good enough. The only minus we could find was the Wi-Fi button that

was located right under the side-located heat vent.

PCMark05 3DMark05 BatteryMark02
4192 1988 3hr 37 Min

The notebook scored a decent 4192 PCMarks and 1988 3DMarks in PCMark 05 and

3DMark 05 tests. Gameplay sees around 9 FPS with regular scenery and animation

and this drops to about 5 FPS when you add complex polygons. Considering the

graphics is NVidia GoForce 7400 with 256 MB RAM, this can be better.

BOTTOM LINE: The XPS M1210 is good value for money at this price


Quick Specs

Specs: Intel T2600 Core 2 Duo, 1 GB RAM, 90 GB HDD, 1.3
Megapixel Logitech webcam, SD card reader, CD/DVD RW

Price: Rs 65,563 (3 year warranty)

Contact: Dell India, Bangalore

Tel: 1800-425-4026.


SMS Buy 130160 to 6677

Lenovo ThinkCentre A60

Business PC

ThinkVantage Technology

No monitor

This is an ordinary business desktop meant for regular productivity use. It

runs on AMD Athlon64 3800+ at 2.41GHz and comes with GeForce 6100 onboard

graphics. It has 80GB HDD and a DVD ROM but no floppy drive.

The ThinkCentre A60 family is preloaded with ThinkVantage technology software

applications like ThinkVantage Productivity Center, Client Security Solution,

and Rescue and Recovery. For example, the Productivity Center guides you to set

up, understand, maintain, and enhance your desktop. 

As for the performance bit, it scored better than other desktops of similar

configurations that we reviewed earlier. But, with Business Winstone 2002 it

gave an average performance. There is one more thing though-you don't get a

monitor bundled even at the 40K you pay for this machine.

BW 3DMark05 PCMark05
35.4  661 2724

BOTTOM LINE: An average PC as compared to other dual cores. There is

no monitor included in the price and the business productivity is average-not

the best buying option.

Quick Specs

Specs: AMD Athlon 64 3800+, 2.4 GHz, 512 MB, Nvidia C51g
Chipset, SoundMax HD audio

Price: Rs 39,949 (without Monitor),

3 yr warranty

Contact: Lenovo India, Bangalore,

Tel: 30533000,


SMS Buy 130161 to 6677