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Asus F3kA-X2 Reveiw (not close to being done for sure)

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The Asus F3KA-X2 is an all AMD based laptop. With a Turion 64 X2 TL-58 1.9Ghzs, 65nm, dual-core CPU; an AMD M690G chipset; and a ATI Mobility Radeon 2600HD graphics processor, with PowerPlay 7.0 and 512MB onboard dedicated memory .


The Asus F3KA-X2 falls in the gaming laptop category due to the ATI 2600HD graphics card. However not everyone would consider an AMD processer to be a gaming CPU (compared to a Core 2 Duo). Also the 5400RPM hard drive is certainly not a gaming hard drive. And the stock 1GB RAM is inadequate for Vista and gaming. The Asus F3Ka-X2 falls under the budget category to me due to some of the reasons above. It is more of a budget laptop that somehow got a good graphics card shoved in it. Enough babbling let’s get on to the specs.


CPU: AMD TL-58, Turion 64 X2, clocked at 1.9Ghzs, Socket S1, 65nm, L1 cache 2x 64 KBytes , L2 cache 2x 512 Kbytes.


Display: 15.4’’, widescreen, 1280x800, WXGA.


Chipset: AMD M690G.


Graphics: ATI Mobility Radeon 2600HD, DX10 capable, with 512MB dedicated memory, PowerPlay 7.0.


RAM: Two DDR2 667Mhzs slots, with one stick of 1GB RAM, expandable to 4GB.


Hard drive: 120GB, 5400RPM, SATA, made by Seagate, not sure on the cache size yet.


Optical drive: Tray load DVD-/+RW, Lightscribe, R DL, not sure of the speeds yet.


Network and Communication devices: Built in BlueTooth, Atheros integrated 802.11b/g, on board 10/100/1000Mbps Ethernet, 56k Motorola modem.


Interface: 1x Express card slot, 1x Microphone- in jack, 1x Headphone-out jack, 1x S-Video-out, 1x IEEE 1394 Firewire port, 1x DVI-D port, 4x USB 2.0 ports, 1x RJ11 modem jack, 1x RJ45 Ethernet jack, Card reader, SD, MMC, MS/Pro.


Keyboard: 88 key, with MS button and 21 function keys.


Audio: Not sure on this yet, however it is integrated sound with internal speakers.


Integrated Microphone and 1.3m webcam.


Dimensions and weight: 14.2’’x10.5’’x1.1-1.6’’, weight is 6 pounds.


Battery: 6-cell lithium ion, 4800mAh, not sure on battery life yet.


OS: Vista 32-bit Home Premium.


All that for $800 from Newegg. Also included in the price are a 2 year standard hardware warranty, and a 1 year Accidental damage warranty, that covers Drops, Fires, Spills, and Surges. The extra warranties and 2600HD were major selling points to me. When you add together what good graphics and extra warranties would cost on many other brands such as Dell or Hp, the Asus is an excellent deal. I also think that the lower price point of this laptop was due, in part to the fact that AMD is not doing very well right now, and are cutting prices to compete with Intel. Yes there is no doubt that a Core 2 Duo is faster, however I doubt you would notice the difference between the two in simple tasks such as browsing the internet or even typing up a paper for school.


Asus include with the F3KA-X2 lots of extra fun stuff including a laptop bag and corded optical mouse, which I found very handy and use them both all the time. The mouse is pretty nice and I will probably use it instead of buying a nice one. The bag is nice too, but it is just a normal laptop bag, nothing special. It was nice of Asus to include these items, I don’t have to purchase them separately. Also included was a cleaning cloth that works good at cleaning off dust and smudges. Cords that they included were: S-Video to Composite converter cord, a RJ11 phone line(they must have a warehouse full of them), and a Lite-On manufactured power brick, and a Velcro cable strap. On the software end they included a Vista recovery DVD, which is much better than hard drive partition that most manufactures use. Also included were CD with Asus Drivers and Utilities and a Nero OEM Suite CD.


On to the case itself, the case is silver and black with some kind of fake carbon fiber strip on the top by the hinge. I am not sure why they did that, and I don’t really like it, but I am not worried about looks. As long as it is not bright pink or glossy white, I don’t care. There are two Asus logos, one below the screen on the inside to give you extra confidence while you type and one is centered on the outside to tell the world that you are a discerning person that chooses that best. No not really. It is there to confuse people because they have never seen that brand before, and you can forget about them pronouncing it right. The case itself seems to be built well and the access to the RAM and hard drives is sturdy and are easy to get in to.


The layout of the ports/ connections is pretty good. On the front there are audio inputs and output ports, one USB port, and the memory card reader. Also on the front is a switch for the WLAN. There are status lights for the battery, WLAN, Bluetooth, and power, all located towards the top and can be viewed when the laptop is opened or closed. On the left side (when viewed from the front) is the tray type DVD drive. On the right side there is the express card expansion slot, then one USB port, followed by a Firewire port. Then comes the S-video port, DVI port, and a VGA port. Finally the RJ45 and RJ11 port are also on the right side. On the back are two USB ports and the power connection port. I think the layout of the ports is nice, and the front USB port is handy for flash drives, while the USB port on the right side is perfect for the USB mouse.


There are a few things that annoy me. I always seem to bump the ejection button for the optical drive whenever I move the laptop around which is annoying. Opening the laptop seemed a bit clumsy; I usually had to use two hands to do it. Also I always seemed to bump the touch pad whenever I typed. This is not a major problem, and is most likely due to my clumsy hands and not the laptops problem. It was easily fixed for me because there is a handy touchpad disable button, and I can’t stand using a touch pad anyways.


It is a good deal, but it is not perfect, 1GB of RAM is not adequate. I ordered another 1GB stick of RAM from Newegg along with the laptop. I never even booted into Vista with 1GB, I knew it was not enough for Vista. I immediately installed the other 1GB stick when I got the laptop. 1GB sticks are cheap to buy right now, and are well worth the low cost. I bought a Corsair 1GB stick for $25, not the cheapest, but Corsair is a trusted company, and is represented at DIY-Street. I considered going to 4GB right away, but Vista 32-bit can only see 3-3.25GB of RAM and with the graphics card already having its own dedicated memory, it was not cost effective to upgrade to 4GB.


I want to add a lot more to the review yet, but feel free to ask questions and give suggestions. I plan on cleaning up the specs list to make it look better. I probably will be doing lots of editing and rearranging. And will try to add a lot more on Asus laptop specific things like build quality and more info on the screen. I plan on running some benchmarks to gauge performance, but will not be going in depth on vista because most people will know if they like vistahog or not by now. Also I will try to take good pictures (critical to a good review). Like I said work in progress.

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