Notebookcheck
27.11.2009 19:54

Acer announces the release of its enormous 18.4” notebook

Category: new notebook models
By: morgan jones

The gigantic notebook is due to be released in Japan in December

Acer has announced the release of a new 18.4” notebook, which will be available this December in Japan. This enormous notebook, called the Apsire 8940G-BR101, offers an 18.4” HD WUXGAGL display (1920 x 1080), a 1.6GHz (up to 2.8GHz turbo) Intel Core i7 720QM (1333 MHz FSB, 6MB L2 Cache), and an NVIDIA GeForce GT 240M.

Update: We already reviewed an Acer Aspire 8940G including a GTS 250M here.

This notebook is such a powerful machine, it could easily replace standard desktops. Putting aside the reasons why someone would want a notebook this big for one moment, let's explore the rest of the machine. The 8940G offers customers a wealth of configuration options, which increase its performance even further. Here are the specifications as listed on Acer Japan's website:-

 

Acer AS8940G-BR101

CPU

1.6GHz (turbo up to 2.8GHz) Intel Core i7 720QM (1333MHz FSB, 6MB L2 Cache), up to 8MB L2 Cache.

GPU

1GB NVIDIA GeForce GTS 240M (up to 2815MB using system memory (TurboCache)), supports NVIDIA CUDA, PhysX, PureVideo HD technology, OpenEXR HDR technology, Shader Model 4.0, Microsoft DirectX 10.1. Dual independent display support (DisplayPort), can be upgraded to 1GB NVIDIA GeForce GTS 250M

Display

18.4” Full HD LED TFT LCD (1920 x 1080), frameless design, 16:9 aspect ratio, high brightness (220-cd/m²)

System Memory

4GB DDR3 1066MHz PC3-8500 (2 x SODIMM), up to 8GB DDR3 1066MHz using 2 x SODIMM.

OS

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit

Storage

1TB (2 x 500GB 2.5” SATA 5400rpm Hard drives)

Optical Drive

4X Blu-ray Disc (writer/DVD Super Multi double-layer combo drive or DVD Super Multi double-layer drive, or 8X DVD Super Multi double-layer drive)

Audio

True 5.1-channel surround sound output. High-definition audio support. Dolby®-optimized Acer CineSurround sound system with five built-in speakers and Acer Tuba CineBass booster supporting low-frequency effects. Optimized 3rd Generation Dolby Home Theater® audio enhancement.

S/PDIF (Sony/Philips Digital Interface) support for digital speakers

MS-Sound compatible

Acer PureZone technology with two built-in stereo microphones featuring beam forming, echo cancellation, and noise suppression technologies

Communication

Intel® Wireless WiFi Link 5100/5300 (dual-band quad-mode 802.11a/b/g/Draft-N) Wi-Fi CERTIFIED® network connection,

Gigabit Ethernet; Wake-on-LAN ready

Bluetooth® 2.1+EDR (Enhanced Data Rate) (manufacturing option)

I/O Interface

1x ExpressCard™/54 slot

5x USB 2.0 ports (1 shared with eSATA port)

1x eSATA port shared with 1x USB port

1x IEEE 1394 port

1x HDMI™ (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) port with HDCP (High bandwidth Digital Content Protection) support

1x Display port

1x Consumer infrared (CIR) port

1x external display (VGA) port

1x RF-in jack (only on models with TV Tuner)

1x Headphones/speaker/line-out jack with S/PDIF support

1x Microphone-in jack

1x Line-in jack

1x Ethernet (RJ-45) port

1x DC-in jack for AC adapter

Battery

71W 8-cell Li-ion battery pack (up to 3 hours of battery life)

Keyboard

Backlit, up to 107-keys

Dimensions

440mm x 295mm x 31/43.8mm (WDH)

Weight

4.6kg

Warranty

One-year International Travellers Warranty (ITW)

Other

Digital TV-tuner supporting DVB-T (Digital Video Broadcasting Terrestrial) standard (6 to 8 MHz) (manufacturing option)

Integrated Acer Crystal Eye high-def webcam, featuring 1280 x 800 resolution image capture, supporting enhanced Acer PrimaLite™ technology

Acer Media Center remote control

 

The Core i7 CPU offers the best in mobile CPU performance, so the 8940G is capable of almost any task a user could demand of it. The GeForce GT 240M is in position 38 on our GPU Benchmark list and this can be upgraded to a GT 250M, which is in position 28 on our GPU Benchmark list. Whilst the 8940G could have been fitted with a more powerful GPU, or perhaps been fitted with an SLI option, customers choosing the GT 250M should achieve a good framerate on all but the most demanding games, as illustrated by our Gaming benchmark list. A GPU that can achieve a high framerate in games is often able to deliver great performance with demanding graphical applications.

By far, the outstanding feature of the 8940G is the enormous screen, with an attractive, frameless design. However, I am curious to know who would be interested in a machine like this. The most serious of gamers turn to desktops to maximise performance through a host of customisable components. Desktops provide outstanding gaming or graphical performance, with reduced overheating risks, due to their increased chassis space and cooling options. The need for miniaturisation in notebooks means components often have to have slower clock speeds, so that cooling in a confined space becomes a realistic task.

Typically, a notebook designed to be a desktop replacement is significantly more expensive than a more powerful desktop. So what is the advantage to compressing most of a desktop's power into a portable machine? The obvious advantage is that a notebook is portable and can be run on battery power for several hours (in this case 3 hours). Is that worth the extra cost? I don't think it is, and frankly, desktops can be fairly clutter-free, especially with cheap, low-footprint LCD displays (far exceeding 18.6”) widely available. A desktop does almost everything that the 8940G, or any other desktop-replacement notebook, can do, but does it so much better and for less money.

So how much does the 8940G cost? Akihabaranews.com claims that the notebook will ship in December and will cost 199 800 JPY (1 537.29 EUR or 1 393.91 GBP). There is no word yet on when this machine will become available in Europe, the US or elsewhere (if it ever will), however, it should compete with similar systems (like the Alienware M17x, for example) on price; the larger screen and Core i7 may attract lots of customers.

However, to address my previous question, regarding the likely customer of such a machine: I'm just not sure how this notebook will do in a market which is still steeped in netbook-fever. For half the cost of this machine, one could purchase a more powerful desktop with a larger screen, and for a little more, get a netbook to go with it. Nonetheless, customers seeking an enormous notebook will find that this model offers fairly good value for money.

 

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Author: Notebookcheck, 2005-09-20 (Update: 2011-05- 3)