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Compaq's Evo N1015v notebook

Give me an Athlon XP to go

Manufacturer Compaq
Model Evo N1015v
Price (As tested) US$1699
Availability Now

PC ENTHUSIASTS are constantly in need of faster processors and more capable graphics cards to power their cutting-edge systems, but processors and graphics cards were "fast enough" for the majority of mainstream business and home users long ago. Demanding games, 3D rendering, and content editing software may be killer apps for enthusiasts, but the majority of mainstream users are still chugging along with basic office productivity applications. In any given day, all the average user may demand is that his system play music while checking email and opening a Word document. For such users, the next "killer app" may turn out to be portability: notebook systems capable of meeting basic performance demands all rolled up in a form factor that fits in a briefcase or even comfortably under an arm.

For years, Intel has owned the notebook processor market, but that's starting to change. AMD has come up with a set of Athlon XP processors specifically designed for mobile applications. These processors are every bit as capable as AMD's desktop chips, which are impressive performers on their own, but the mobile chips also pack PowerNow! technology to maximize battery life. Though Dell and other major manufacturers have yet to produce notebook lines based on AMD's mobile Athlons, Compaq has cranked out a very competitively-priced contender in the Evo N1015v.

Today, we're examining Compaq's Mobile Athlon XP-based Evo N1015v to find out if AMD's Mobile Athlon XP's chips are really ready for prime time, and whether this low-cost notebook has any serious chinks in its armor. What are the Evo N1015v and Mobile Athlon XP all about? Can they give you the performance you need with the portability you crave? Keep reading to find out.

The specs
Let's have a look at what has Compaq packed into the Evo N1015v.

CPU support AMD Mobile Athlon XP processors
Form factor Notebook
Dimensions 10.5 x 12.83 x 1.83" (L x W x H)
Weight 7lbs
Chipset ATI Radeon IGP 320M
North bridge ATI Radeon IGP 320M
South bridge ALi 1535+
Interconnect PCI Bus (133MB/s)
Memory 2 200-pin SODIMM sockets
Maximum of 1GB PC2100 DDR SDRAM
Storage I/O Floppy drive
Toshiba 40GB 4200RPM hard drive
Toshiba 8x8x24x DVD/CD-RW
Legacy ports 1 PS/2 keyboard, 1 PS/2 mouse, 1 Parallel port
USB 2 USB 1.1 ports
Firewire None
Audio SoundMAX digital audio
analog headphone and microphone ports
Video Integrated Radeon VE-class graphics
1 VGA port
Ethernet Realtek RTL8139C 10/100 Ethernet
Modem Conexant 56k V.92
PCcard 1 Type II/III

The Evo N1015v has everything you might expect from a mainstream notebook PC. USB 2.0 and Firewire support don't make the cut, which might annoy some, but sacrifices have to be made. After all, there's only so much room inside a mobile package for ports, chips, and other goodies, and Compaq is selling one version of the Evo N1015v for under $900. Evo N1015vs can be had with smaller screens, slower processors, less memory, smaller hard drives, and with only a vanilla CDROM drive for those on a tight budget. Overall, though, the core platform is shared across all iterations.