Imperial notebook's weight reduces its portability
- By Michael Cheek
- Aug 25, 1997
The CPU is a Pentium MMX, which substantially drains the lithium-ion battery. Intel
Corp. does not yet make a power-conserving 233-MHz processor for the mobile market.
On the GCN Lab's maximum power drain test, the Imperial's battery lasted barely an
hour. In normal use, it probably would run about two hours.
There was a fan to cool the processor and a credit card-sized heat sink on the
underside. The location slowed air passage, so the base got warm after about 10 minutes of
operation. The fan and the 11X CD-ROM drive made more noise than is usual in notebooks.
Other features, also found in a desktop PC, are 512K secondary cache, 32M RAM
expandable to 128M, 4M graphics accelerator, 3G hard drive and wavetable sound card.
The 1,024- by 768-pixel display was satisfactory if not very bright. It achieved a
fairly strong GCNdex32 video score of 4.08, better than most 133-MHz Pentium portables.
The GCNdex math benchmarks came close to desktop PC scores, although the integer math
scores were somewhat low, probably from thermal problems. Hard-drive file access was slow
compared with other portable and desktop computers.
During bootup, the Imperial stopped and attempted to detect a slave device, such as a
second hard drive. I had to press the Esc key to continue the startup.
The power management BIOS from American Megatrends Inc. was listed as Version 0.0 on
startup. It was Version 2.0 and year 2000-ready.
Among the standard loads on the Imperial version of this notebook was a 30-day
evaluation license for McAfee Associates Inc.'s VirusScan95.
The Imperial had a great sound application for Microsoft Windows sound (.wav) files or
Musical Instrument Digital Interface files and CD-ROMs.
Although the notebook's 3G hard drive contained eight .wav files, the sound was crisp
for a notebook.
The documentation listed the Imperial's weight at less than 8 pounds. It weighed almost
9 pounds by itself. The AC adapter, cables, an extra battery and a carrying case brought
the total to more than 14 pounds.
If you're shopping for a notebook to take on the road, keep the Imperial's weight in
mind. If you're not out of the office much, it could make a satisfactory desktop