Acer Aspire 4530 is my third notebook, which I review / commented in this blog. The first one is Acer 4520 (AMD Turion x2) which you can read here and the second one is Lenovo Y410 (Core 2 Duo) which you can read here.
For the record, all three notebooks, I bought and setup it using Windows Vista Ultimate with latest driver available, properly restart and defrag all of them before benchmark it using Windows Vista Experience Index. So, roughly, what I am going to write here is my short experience with my new laptop, and how good or bad it is compare to the other two.
Design wise, Acer Aspire 4530 a little bit different compare to Acer 4520, which for 4530, Acer decide to use black color as 4530 theme (while beige color for 4520). It look a bit mature and professional (but, rough black surface is not my liking…why dont they just use slick and shiny surface as 4520 but black in color) . However, since look and taste are subjective, I will not comment on this section. Design wise, I prefer Lenovo layout.
Actually, before I bought 4530, I had tough time to choose either Compact Presario V3839TU (Core 2 Duo 2.0 GHz with 2 MB L2 Cache, 1 GB Rams, 160 GB hard disk, Bluetooth etc) or Acer 4530 which use brand new AMD 64 Turion X2 (Lion), 1 GB Rams, 160 GB hdd, Bluetooth, wifi etc, just like V3830AU.
But, there is several things which I can’t ignore. They are :
- Compact Presario 3839TU notebook use X3100 graphics chipset (which the performance is Ok’ish (3.5 for 2D and 3D under Vista Performance / Experience Index) while Acer 4530 notebook use the latest nVidia 9100G M chipset which support Cuda and Physix as well. After doing some homework, I found that (from web), the reviewer claim, 9100 chipset could perform as well as nVidia 8400G discrete graphics chipset. In other word, this new 9100GM chipset will blow out and beat X3100 chipset like no tomorrow.
- Core 2 Duo definitely has excellent architecture in term of speed and power consumption. However, this new Acer notebook use new core (Lion), labeled as RM-70 instead of TL-60 (which is used in 4520). A quick check at Wikipedia and AMD website, RM-70 consume 31 Watt of power while TL60 use 35 Watt. I was about hmm… I might give it a try to see how good 4530 battery life improvement compares to 4520. Perhaps, it could catch up C2D CPU battery performance. From my pass experience, Acer 4520 (AMD Turion x2 TL 60 : 2 GHz) has shorter battery life compare to Lenovo Y410 (Core 2 Duo, 1.83 GHz). Note : C2D 1.83 GHz performance = Turion X2 2.0 GHz.
- Acer 4530 use Hyper Transport 3.0 which double the HT2.0 bandwidth. Acer 4520 is equipped with Turion 64 x2 TL-60 which use HT2.0, and even so, I experience Acer 4520 has better responsiveness compare to Lenovo Y410. It is not too significant, but you could feel a little bit lag at Y410 which is not exist at 4520 system. I believe, AMD integrated memory controller and Hyper Transport are responsible to 4520 better responsiveness compare to Y410. So, if HT2.0 could perform like this, how about HT3.0. I wonder and keep wonder. But I have no answer for this one since this notebook is so new, so I couldn’t find any in depth review for this unit.
- Price gap. Acer 4530 cost me RM1830 while Compact Presario V3830AU will tax my wallet as much as RM2330. A flat RM400 price different. I could buy a lot of upgrades and gadgets for RM400. Upgrade to 4 GB rams (DDR 667) which is maximum capacity for this notebook, will only cost me RM200. I still have another RM200 to be spend. Perhaps, a portable hard disk or 16 GB of pendrive …yummy. Should I mention Lenovo Y410 cost me RM 2300+ too?
- I know, this Presario notebook will perform more or less like Lenovo Y410, but in graphics and 3D department, I could speculate how bad it will be. Acer 4520 or any notebook which use nVidia 7000M chipset also not a good performer. So, how could I resist when someone claim, nVidia 9000G M (Aspire 4350) chipset could perform as good as dedicated 8400 nVidia chipset.
- Acer provide Windows XP and Vista drivers while Compact Presario notebook user need to find compatible XP driver on their own. There are numerous report that, many of that Presario notebook user, unable to make the sound chip working under Windows XP.
Base on these reasons, I decide to buy Acer 4530 notebook from one of LowYat.net reseller (nick mugmug aka Mr. Yap ; very nice and reliable person to deal with). Bear in mind, market price for this notebook approximately RM1999.00. So, if you would like to buy this unit for RM1830, you know where to find this person
Installing Windows Vista Ultimate on Acer 4530 is child play. No hassle, no drama. Just put the OS disc, set the first boot sequence (F2 to enter bios menu) to CD/DVD and viola, after several clicks on next button, Windows Vista Ultimate properly setup.
Installing Acer 4530 driver is pretty easy. A single DVD disc with interactive menu to guide user how to install drivers in sequence. Pretty handy. But still, compare to Gigabyte motherboard which allow user to install the whole system drivers in a single click….Acer solution still has a lot of improvement. However, compare to certain manufacturer which only provide driver disc without any interactive menu, might cause newcomer a bit lost, which driver need to start first. I pretty love Acer driver aid/guide solution for 4530.
So…..how well this notebook perform you may ask. Well, at this stage, my Vista still has no update. Let alone Service Pack 1. But, I still insist to benchmark it using stock WinVista and stock driver. The outcome really promising, consider Acer 4530 is a budget notebook.
- CPU : 4.8
- Memory : 5.7
- 2D Graphics : 4.1
- 3D Graphics : 4.4
- Hard Disk : 5.2
Note1 : My Acer Aspire 4530 is equipped with 2×2048 (4GB) of RAMs. And I would love to highlight, Acer 4520 only able to support up to 2 GB of RAMs only.
Note2 : Even after SP1 and latest update, the score remain as above.
Generally, Acer 4530 beat both of 4520 and Y410. No surprise for that. However, I really love to see 3D graphics score 4.4 which prove nVidia 9100G M is far superior compare to Intel solution, X3100 (3.5 for both 2D and 3D). And I feel relief, as I made the right decision to buy Acer 4530 instead of the Presario I mentioned before or even Lenovo Y410.
But, even until this very moment, I still couldn’t find Acer Aspire 4530 e-Power utilities software. Strange enough, Acer seem don’t provide these utilities, even they brag about it almost everywhere. Same thing happen to Acer Aspire 4520 too which I need to download from Acer Australian website (Acer Malaysia don’t provide this utilities back then). For those who are not familiar with Acer e-Power feature, it is actually a set of utilities which make user computing life easier, especially for beginners which might have no clue how to fully utilize their notebook potential. As far as my memory serve me well, among those utilities, I love e-presentation, signal up, power management (throttle), and err…. Short term memory lost..sorry. However, for hard core user, they might think, e-Power utilities are bloated software. It is a matter of taste. I would love to test Signal Up Features and e-Power shortcut bar upon ‘summoning’. But, I believe, it is a matter of time. Sooner or later Acer will release e-Power for Aspire 4530.
Note : You can install Acer 4520 E-Powering Technology for your 4530. Details : HERE
Another worthy note, Acer 4520 do not have Bluetooth. But Y410 has and Acer 4530 has BT EDR 2.0.
Despite Y410 claim to have Dolby Digital Certified and Altec Lansing speaker, trust me, Y410 sound so tiny and average. Both Acer 4520 and 4530 beat Y410 sound quality miles away. Perhaps, Y410 practice weird design layout, which they decide to put 2 tiny speakers in front of the notebook, which direct the sound to your stomach; not your face or ears.
At first, when I read, Webcam Optimize for low light video chatting, I thought it was just a gimmick. But happy to report here, it really work. The picture seem quite noisy (like, when u crank up digital camera ISO to 1600) but it works.
I think, we have sub RM2000 champion here
- Model : AMD TUrion X2 Dual-Core Mobile RM-70
- Speed : 2 GHz
- Model Number : 6000
- Core Per Processor : 2 Units
- Thread per Core : 1 Unit
- Internal Data Cache : 2x 64kB, Synchronous, Write-Back, 64-byte line size
- L2 On-Board Cache : 2x512kB, ECC, Synchronous, Write=Back, 16 Way, 64 byte line
- Package : Socket U
- Generation : G8
- Revision Stepping : 3/1 (C60)
- Microcode : MU0F3132
- Core Voltage rating : 0.950V
- Maximum Physical Address / Virtual Address : 40-bit / 48-bit
- Native Page Size : 4 kB
- Large Page Size : 2 MB
- LBRV – LBR Virtualization supported
- SSE support up to SSE3
- System : Acer Aspire 4530
- Mainboard : Acer Grasmoor
- Bus : ISA, PCI, PCIe, PCMCIA, USB
- Multi-Processor Support = 1 Processor
- APIC Support = NO
- System Bios : Acer 255.255
- Total Memory = 4.0 GB
- AMD (Family 11h) – Hyper Transport Technology Configuration
- Front Side Bus : 1x143MHz
Video System :
- Monitor : Generic PNP Monitor
- Adapter : nVidia GeForce 9100M G
- Imaging Device : Acer Crystal Eye Webcam
Physical Storage :
- Hard Disk : ST9160827AS 160GB, (SATA300, NCQ, 8MB Cache
- Optical : HL-DT-ST DVDRAM GSA-T50N (SATA150, 63X CD-R, 24x CD-W, 8x DVD-R, 3x DVD-W, 2MB Cache)
- 3x USB
- Realtek USB 2.0 Card Reader
- Synaptics Touchpad
- HDAUDIO Soft Data Fax Modem with SmartCP
- Adapter LAN : Broadcom NetXtreme Gigabit Ethernet
- Adaper WLAN : Atheros AR5007EG Wireless Network Adapter
nVidia Geforce 9100MG Chipset
1 GB (already upgraded to 4 GB DDR2 667MHz)
160 GB Sata HDD
DVD-SuperMulti Dual Layer
802.11 b/g Wireless LAN
Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR
Add-On (2 days using experience) :
Acer aspire 4530 definitely responsive enough for my working environment. Vista boot time is faster than my PC (blaim Creative X-Fi sound card for this one ), but, it has it flaw too.
Battery life performance : Just average. Acer Aspire 4530 more or less like his brother, 4520 even it use new core of processor. The different is not justified. Complete charge and discharge, I realize the battery last around 2.5 hour for economy and 2 hour for medium power setting. I don’t test for high performance power setting yet. Activities involve : browsing internet (mean network should be on), listening to music sometime, yada yada…as other normal notebook user activity with his/her notebook. Interesting comparison, Lenovo Y410 (with C2D processor) able to be used for 3 hours with medium battery power setting. From my pass experience, I could watch DVD or DIVX full length (2 hours with pause) film using lenovo with maximum brightness LCD and still got 30% battery left. Gonna test 4530 for this one later. Currently, both notebook are super busy with their benchmark torture :p
Heat : My state of the art lap-o-meter indicate, both notebook has no overheat issue. I could use both notebook 3 to 5 hours without feeling uncomfortable. At least these notebook will not fry my ball. However, I notice, Lenovo emit less heat compare to acer 4530 but the different is not significant. But, using my palm-o-meter, Lenovo Y410 palm rest much warmer compare to 4530 and make my palm sweaty. While Acer Aspire 4530 has no issue in this department. For extended period of use, I prefer Acer 4530.
Build Quality : I need to say that Lenovo Y410 has better quality compare to Aspire 4520 and 4530. My 4530 battery compartment, a bit loose. Maybe its ok for the rest of us, but when you have 2 or 3 notebooks in your hand, I can’t avoid myself to judge them. Lenovo Y410 feel sturdier than Aspire 4530.
Keyboard : As a touch typing user, I felt both notebook has good keyboard. Easy to type and the size and depth just right for notebook. Some other notebooks, their keybord to shallow or too small for my liking.
Touchpad : Acer 4530 touchpad win my heart. I hate lenovo slick touchpad surface which make my sweaty fingger hard to move on, which render my cursor navigation suck. I always need to find mouse when I need to use Y410. However, since I bought Acer 4530, I haven’t plug any USB mouse yet. That statement alone suffice to justify, how easy to use Acer 4530 touchpad. Accuracy and acceleration of 4530 touchpad are just right for most application. (Please use mouse for your FPS games )
To date, Acer only provide driver for Windows Vista and Windows XP. No official driver for linux yet. A lot of forumer said that Acer don’t provide XP driver from their FTP. Well, last time I check, this statement remain true but bear in mind that Acer provide XP driver in driver disc. I am not sure why they do this but I have both XP and Vista driver. For me, driver is not a big issue espcially if 4530 will follow 4520 foot step. Check out what kind of driver 4520 got currently? XP, Vista, Linux ….. either 32 bit or 64 bit. Wide spectrum coverage. Acer use custom nVidia graphic driver, so, directly use driver from nVidia is not a wise decision. nVidia claim, Acer customize it to include lid control, power management yada yada tadaa.
Acronis TrueImage can’t be used at Acer 4530 in IDE mode. Neither from bootable disc nor from windows environment. In fact, I can’t event successful install Acronis TrueImage Home 11. I can load acronis trueimage from boot CD or install it at Lenovo Y410. My friend dell inspiron notebook also exhibit same problem as my 4530 notebook. At the end, I need to use Vista Ultimate Complete PC backup feature.
Note : Norton Ghost 14 able to run either in IDE or AHCI mode.
Fixed : Use AHCI instead of IDE will fix Acronis problems.
Performance (Benchmark) :
In order to have a better view how well nVidia GeForce 9100M G graphics chipset compare to most intel X3100 graphics chipset base notebook, I decide to put Lenovo Y410 (Intel Core2 Duo base notebook with Intel X3100 graphics chipset) benchmark result.
Lenovo Y410 3DMark 03 Result : 1701 points
Lenovo Y410 3DMark 06 Result : 571 points
Lenovo Y410 PCMark05 Result : Pending
Lenovo Y410 PassMark result : 443 points
Lenovo Y410 : 3.5 (X3100 limit, both 2D and 3D = 3.5). Detail vista benchmark for lenovo y410 : http://expertester.wordpress.com/2008/05/28/lenovo-y410-notebook/
Hard Disk Benchmark (IDE Mode)
Notice that temperature of HDD increase from 45 to 53 degree celcius upon completing the benchmark.
Update (1 Aug 2008) : Temperature Benchmark
Due to some request; to measure actual temperature of this notebook in well technical method, I decide to give it a run.
Ambient temperature : A bit hot for standard room temperature (I took a quick shower while waiting this notebook do its temperature test).
Location of notebook : On top of my working table in my computer room (which got my PC too…running 24/7). Ventilation not soo good coz no aircond in that room, windows closed due to eye prying neighbor.
Prior testing : 1 hour before the test started, this notebook just did Acronis Image Backup. Compress 31 GB Vista partition into single 12 GB .tib backup image (highest compression, run for 50 minutes). So, I let it cool down for 10 minutes and restart the notebook.
After 30 minutes of idling + some background download and light browsing, I start Hardware Monitor and Prime Test. Set the prime test to torture CPU and RAM. The result…as the picture below.
Idle Temperature : 48 degree celcius
Highest Temperature : 84 degree celcius
CPU and RAM activity : 100%
Duration of torture test : 32 minutes.
High temperature (with Prime do its stuff) settling at : 81 to 82 degree celcius.The temperature maintain between 81 to 82 degree, for 20 minutes which I decide to stop the test at 32 minutes.
Room temperature : Suspect around 30 degree
Table material : Transparent glass.
No cooling pad. (I dont think I need one coz i use this notebook on the go. I use my PC when I work at home and office.)
Note : Bear in mind that Prime Test extremely test your notebook to the limit. It make the CPU (both core) 100% busy all the time. So do with your RAMs. In practical sense, normal computing will only consume around 10% of CPU usage. As I type now, both core, only run at 7% to 16% (Avira AntiVirus + Orbit Downloader + iBurst tools + Vista Sidebar gadget + Daemon Tools + Paint + Task Manager and standard vista ultimate service.
Update : 08.08.08
What are you doing here….go watch olympic..
Joking aside… I am happy to report that, my acer 4530 notebook battery life….is alive
After a series of charging and discharging…..finally this battery able to run this notebook for more than 2 hours….. using balance mode. Activity involve…well…browsing, mp3, broadband (network on, wifi off, bt off), ms word. 3 hours and still has some extra juice.
Acer 4530 with nVidia Geforce 9100G M chipset is 2.5x faster than Core2Duo with X3100 base notebook for complex 3D rendering (3Dmark06) and at least 2x faster for less 3D demanding application (3Dmark03).