Toshiba Satellite A660D-ST2G01: AMD's Quad-Core Phenom II P920 Joins the Mobile Partyby Jarred Walton on August 31, 2010 12:45 AM EST
Toshiba A660D-ST2G01 Gaming
As with our Studio 17 review, we'll start with a look at low-detail 1366x768 gaming performance first. This is an apples-to-apples comparison of the various systems, but the A660D is definitely able to handle higher detail settings at native resolution. We'll look at medium and high quality gaming next. We've also included results from the Acer 5740G where we have them, but we didn't have some of the newer titles around at the time of that review, and we used a different driver (Catalyst 10.3 at the time).
For our new set of games, our low quality settings are all easily playable. That said, it's interesting to note where the A660D falls relative to the HD4650 in the Studio 17 and the faster clocked 5650 in the 5740G. Obviously the i7-720QM is a faster CPU, and that helps, but it's still disconcerting to see the last generation midrange GPU beating the A660D by an average of 35%! The only close score is in Mass Effect 2, where the lead is only 4%, but that's balanced by a lead of 74% in StarCraft II—a game that tends to be quite demanding on the CPU when there are lots of units running around. The Acer 5740G also leads by around 21%, right in line with the GPU core clock advantage; oddly, Mass Effect 2 ran 13% slower on the 5740G, so for some reason that particular title likes the A660D.
Also something to note is that we did test gaming performance with both the shipping ~10.4 era drivers as well as the latest 10.8 AMD drivers. The latter were only faster in DiRT 2, and then only by around 5%. We elected to use the best-case result for the A660D in all of the charts, but outside of DiRT 2 the drivers scored within 1% of each other.
We did look at some of our older gaming results as well just to get a larger view of the gaming landscape (sorry, no graphs here). The Acer 5740G continued to score around 20-30% higher in most titles, going along with the GPU clock speed difference and the faster i5-430M CPU. However, we're still looking at "Low" quality gaming, so let's move to a more realistic "Medium" setting.
The earlier results generally hold, though now we start to see a few games dip into frame rates that are a bit lower than we'd like. StarCraft II is the big drop, with a score of just 25.3 FPS at Medium quality defaults. There's a combination of CPU and GPU requirements in SC2, particularly in intense battles like our FRAPS demo, and the low 1.6GHz CPU clock looks to be a bottleneck. The Studio 17 is now averaging 30% faster than the A660D, down slightly from our low results, and the 5740G is 12% faster—or tied in two games, and 20-30% faster in the other two samples. Medium quality is where the A660D does best, striking a nice blend of performance and graphics quality, but we can't help but wonder what the numbers would have been with a higher clocked P520 processor.
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bennyg - Thursday, October 7, 2010 - linkThis quad core simply has no logical benefit to it. Who buys a quad core for price and battery life (given Intel's penchant for monopolistic behaviour, if this was a market segment worth worrying about we'd have a dedicated mobile i7 quad die not harvested desktop Lynnfields)
Even in benches where it's sposed to benefit from highly multithreaded workloads - e.g. cinebench multi - it's beaten by a i3. Why would AMD even bother releasing something this poor is beyond me.
AMD notebooks like this don't sell because they don't make sense.
The Crying Man - Tuesday, August 31, 2010 - linkWow... $950 for this? Amazon's selling the dv6-3050us with the Phenom II N930 for $890 and even cheaper on Newegg - better processor, driver support from AMD, and the GPU has normal clocks. Toshiba must put a premium for an ExpressCard slot or their cheap looking designs... What kinds of stupid thoughts go through the minds of that company's decision makers?
I think it's time AMD started making their own special edition laptops with configurations OEMs aren't willing to put together. Why can't we get a MR HD5870 + Phenom II X920 BE?
Roland00 - Tuesday, August 31, 2010 - linkThat specific model has even been cheaper before. One week on newegg it was 779, and if you did a 50 MIR it was 729 AR. Another week Frys.com had a similar promotion where it was 799 and if you did a 50 MIR it was 749 AR.
The Crying Man - Tuesday, August 31, 2010 - linkYep, bought mine way back in July on Amazon when it was $775.
blackshard - Tuesday, August 31, 2010 - linkHello. Just a suggestion: check the battery wear level on this notebook (hwmonitor does it well). I just bought an Toshiba L650-10H with an AMD P520 (2.3 Ghz part) and HD5650. The video chip was clocked to 450 Mhz, as far as I remember. Anyway the 48Wh battery came with a silly 20% wear level, leaving around 39Wh for a brand new laptop. I don't know if it is a faulty battery or a "feature" coming straight from the factory, but it is enough for me to drop away toshiba notebooks.
Also the display was the worst thing I've ever seen: the Windows 7 loading logo is exposing a really huge dithering problem with colors fading to black.
JarredWalton - Thursday, September 2, 2010 - linkHWMonitor reports the wear level as 2%, which probably came from me going through 10-12 recharge cycles during testing. Now, I wish I could say as much for another laptop I just got, where the wear level is reporting at 30%. :-\
larson0699 - Tuesday, August 31, 2010 - linkI'm on an A665 at work, P920, 4GB, 500GB, 16", $799. We've had this for a while now. But whenever I'm in early or need to get online during break, this is the machine I use. Absolutely brilliant on Toshiba's part. It's a shame we don't also sell Sony...
hgd - Tuesday, August 31, 2010 - link<quote>
On the other hand, AMD specs the P920 for 25W compared to 35W on the 720QM,
Doesn't 720QM have 45W TDP?
JarredWalton - Tuesday, August 31, 2010 - linkCorrect. Fixed.
Cal123 - Tuesday, August 31, 2010 - linkAcer has a P520 with 5650 in a 15.6" for only $599, I'd really like to see a review of that. It looks good to me, if Acer put it together well. I don't think Acer screws up the graphics like Toshiba does.