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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

My Ferrari 4000 Series Laptop

Acer goes from the brilliant red design of the Acer Ferrari 3000 to a more conservative—but just as sleek—black checkered design. It retains some of the cool-looking red streaks along the side and front edge of the notebook, and yes, the yellow prancing horse emblem still graces the center of the notebook. The cover is made from carbon fiber, which is stronger and lighter than aluminum. (Acer uses it only in its Ferrari line.) The interior of the Ferrari 4000 has a rubberized coating, perhaps emulating the look of Formula One tires. The keyboard has an ergonomic smile contour to it, which is okay for typing but takes a few minutes to get used to. The only real design complaint we have is that the mouse buttons are a bit noisy when pressed.

Though not as eye-popping as many of today's specially treated screens, such as the Editors' Choice-winning HP Pavilion dv4000's ($1429) BrightView screen, the Ferrari's 15.4-inch LCD is vivid enough for movie watching, even with the matte finish, thanks to its high resolution (1,680-by-1,050).

The 6.6-pound Ferrari 4000 comes with a good feature set, including four USB ports, a FireWire port, and a 5-in-1 card reader (MMC, MS, MS Pro, SD, XD). Video connections include both VGA and DVI-D ports. Built-in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi 802.11g are included, as is a dual-layer DVD±RW drive. The Toshiba Qosmio F25 ($1, 999) has a greater range of AV ports, including a TV tuner. The Ferrari 4000 also comes with an impressively large and fast 100GB hard drive (5,400 rpm). Many of today's notebook hard drives, like the 80GB drive (4,200 rpm) found in the HP dv4000, are smaller and slower.

With hardware like the 1.8-GHz Turion 64 ML-34 processor, double the memory (1GB DDR RAM), and a faster hard drive, the Ferrari 4000 edged out the HP dv4000 on our SYSmark 2004 tests. The Ferrari 4000's terrific graphics chipset trounced the dv4000's integrated Intel chipset and helped the system achieve impressive gaming results. Battery life reached 3 hours 43 minutes, thanks mostly to the 71-Wh battery.

The Acer Ferrari 4000 has a great new look, and new hardware under the hood makes it purr. It's only a matter of time before Jeff Gordon and Danica Patrick get their hands on one.

Acer Inc.

Type: Gaming, General Purpose, Media
Operating System: MS Windows XP Professional
Processor Name: Mobile AMD Turion 64 ML-34
Processor Speed: 1.8 GHz
Weight: 6.6 lb
Screen Size: 15.4 inches
Screen Size Type: widescreen
Graphics Card: ATI Radeon x700
Storage Capacity: 100 GB
Networking Options: 802.11g
Primary Optical Drive: Dual-Layer DVD+/-RW