Fujitsu LifeBook E8410 Penryn Review

by Reads (35,741)

by Jerry Jackson

Fujitsu has officially joined the Penryn party with multiple LifeBook models now available with Intel’s newest generation of Core 2 Duo processors. We took a closer look at the LifeBook E8410 to show you exactly how much a new processor can improve overall system performance.

Our review notebook features the following specifications:

  • Intel Core 2 Duo T8100 Processor (Penryn, 2.1GHz, 3MB L2 Cache, 800MHz FSB)
  • Microsoft Genuine Windows Vista Business
  • 15.4" Crystal View (Glossy) WXGA Display (1280×800)
  • Integrated 1.3MP Webcam
  • Intel Graphics Media Accelerator X3100
  • 2GB of DDR2 667MHz RAM
  • Fujitsu 120GB 5400RPM SATA Hard Drive
  • Modular Dual-Layer Multi-format DVD Writer
  • Modem, Intel 4965AGN (802.11a/b/g/n) WiFi, 10/100/1000 GigE LAN, Bluetooth
  • 6-cell, 10.8V, 5200 mAh, 56.2 Whr Battery
  • One year international warranty
  • Price as configured: $1,589

Build and Design

At first glance the E8410’s exterior looks rather plain with black matte plastic with some glossy highlights in the front edge. Granted, this business-oriented notebook isn’t designed to attract consumers who are looking for the latest "eye candy" but the design isn’t too professional looking either.


(view large image)

The interior of this laptop is mostly light-silver/gray with a white keyboard. The keyboard, palmrests and most of the other surfaces are all plastic. The speaker grills on either side of the keyboard are the only parts that stand out as having metal construction. Unlike most consumer laptops there are no LED status lights. Instead, Fujitsu uses a black/white LCD display that provides a range of information about the current status of the notebook without any annoying bright lights.


(view large image)

As shown in the picture below, the LCD "status display" shows symbols for power status, if the battery is charging or discharging, the remaining charge in the battery, optical or storage drive activity, wireless activity, and more. Overall, the status display is a great feature … particularly since it doesn’t have those annoying blue LEDs. However, it might not have been a bad idea for Fujitsu to have included an LED warning light for the low battery indicator.


(view large image)

Despite the fact that the E8410 is designed for business users the build quality isn’t quite what we expected for a business laptop in this price range. Fujitsu has built some genuinely sturdy (almost rugged) business laptops in the past. While most of the notebook chassis has a solid feel the areas around the optical drive and RAM bay cover have some pretty obvious flex. Granted some amount of the flex is due to the modular optical drive bay … which has to be built in a way that makes it removable. We were just a little surprised by the flex in the plastic.

The screen housing also suffers from similar plastic flex. I can twist the screen a little bit more than I should, but the screen does not distort when being flexed. Additionally, I can only produce ripples on the screen by pressing quite hard on the back surface. It would be very difficult to damage the LCD under normal usage and the notebook should survive regular travels in a backpack or shoulder bag.

As mentioned above, the optical drive is modular, meaning that any type of optical drive supported by Fujitsu can be placed in the E8410. Or, one could put the included weight saver plastic insert in the slot to reduce the weight of the laptop. Users can also insert a secondary battery instead of an optical drive to get a longer battery life … a serious advantage for road warriors.

The one negative aspect of the modular optical drive is the position of the release. I accidentally ejected the drive several times while transporting it to and from the office. Yes, the modular drive is a great feature, but I would have liked to see a lock switch or button to prevent accidental release of the drive.

Screen and Speakers

The Fujitsu E8410 features a 15.4" wide-screen WXGA display with a resolution of 1280×800 pixels. This resolution is "acceptable" but still pretty low for a 15-inch notebook. Luckily, you can configure the E8410 with a display resolution as high as WSXGA+ (1680×1050 pixels), and the better screen only costs an additional $75 at the time of this writing.


(view large image)

(view large image)

(view large image)

(view large image)

 

The low-resolution screen in our review unit is bright enough for office and home use. In fact, it’s bright enough that you can easily set the display at 50% screen brightness in average office lighting (which is great for battery life).

Unfortunately, the screen in our review unit has poor vertical and horizontal viewing angles. When you view the screen head-on it looks fabulous, but move a few degrees above and the color washes out. Move a few degrees below center and the colors become inverted. Move a few degrees left or right and colors will again appear distorted.

Keep in mind that these type of viewing angle issues might not be common to all versions of this notebook. The older version of the E8410 that we reviewed last year was praised for having excellent horizontal viewing angles.

There are two speakers located on each side of the keyboard when you open up the laptop. The speakers produce distortion-free sound at even the highest volumes. However, like most laptop speakers they do suffer from a little of the "tin can" speaker effect and lack bass. For business purposes the speakers are fine.


(view large image)

Processor and Performance

The E8410 features the latest in processor technology with the newest Intel Penryn CPU. Our review unit of the E8410is equipped with integrated Intel X3100 graphics but Fujitsu offers the Nvidia GeForce 8400M G dedicated graphics card as an option in other configurations. The benefit os integrated graphics is lower cost and slightly lower power consumption, and most business professionals don’t need dedicated graphics.

All of the following synthetic benchmarks were performed with the laptop set into ‘Performance’ mode.

At 2.1GHz, the T8100 (Penryn) processor found in the review laptop does quite well in PCMark05 benchmarks. As shown below, it managed to pull a score of 4,211 PCMark points. That said, a previous version of the E8410 equipped with the older 2.2GHz T7500 (Merom) processor produced a score of 4,618 PCMark points.

PCMark05 overall performance comparison results:
(Higher scores mean better performance.)

Notebook PCMark05 Score
Fujitsu E8410 (2.1GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T8100, Intel X3100) 4,211 PCMarks
Fujitsu E8410 (2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7500, NVIDIA 8400M G) 4,618 PCMarks
Sony VAIO FZ (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, Intel X3100) 3,377 PCMarks
Dell XPS M1330 (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, NVIDIA GeForce Go 8400M GS) 4,591 PCMarks
Lenovo ThinkPad X61 (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, Intel X3100) 4,153 PCMarks
Lenovo 3000 V200 (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, Intel X3100) 3,987 PCMarks
Lenovo T60 Widescreen (2.0GHz Intel T7200, ATI X1400 128MB) 4,189 PCMarks
HP dv6000t (2.16GHz Intel T7400, NVIDA GeForce Go 7400) 4,234 PCMarks
Fujitsu N6410 (1.66GHz Core Duo, ATI X1400) 3,487 PCMarks
Alienware M7700 (AMD Athlon FX-60, Nvidia Go 7800GTX) 5,597 PCMarks
Sony VAIO SZ-110B in Speed Mode (Using Nvidia GeForce Go 7400) 3,637 PCMarks

 

3DMark06 gaming performacne comparison results:
(Higher scores mean better performance.)

Notebook 3DMark06 Score
Fujitsu E8410 (2.1GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T8100, Intel X3100) 562 3DMarks
Fujitsu E8410 (2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7500, NVIDIA 8400M G) 1,030 3DMarks
Sony VAIO FZ (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, Intel X3100) 532 3DMarks
Dell XPS M1330 (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, NVIDIA GeForce Go 8400M GS 128MB) 1,408 3DMarks
Samsung Q70 (2.0GHz Core 2 Duo T7300 and nVidia 8400M G GPU) 1,069 3DMarks
Asus F3sv-A1 (Core 2 Duo T7300 2.0GHz, Nvidia 8600M GS 256MB) 2,344 3DMarks
Alienware Area 51 m5550 (2.33GHz Core 2 Duo, nVidia GeForce Go 7600 256MB 2,183 3DMarks
Fujitsu Siemens Amilo Xi 1526 (1.66 Core Duo, nVidia 7600Go 256 MB) 2,144 3DMarks
Samsung X60plus (2.0GHz Core 2 Duo T7200, ATI X1700 256MB) 1,831 3DMarks
Asus A6J (1.83GHz Core Duo, ATI X1600 128MB) 1,819 3DMarks
HP dv6000t (2.16 GHz Intel T7400, NVIDA GeForce Go 7400) 827 3DMarks
Sony VAIO SZ-110B in Speed Mode (Using Nvidia GeForce Go 7400) 794 3DMarks

 

wPrime is a program that forces the processor to do recursive mathematical calculations, the advantage of this program is that it is multi-threaded and can use both processor cores at once, thereby giving more accurate benchmarking measurements than Super Pi. (Lower scores mean better performance.)

Notebook / CPU wPrime 32M time
Fujitsu E8410 (Core 2 Duo T8100 @ 2.1GHz) 37.221s
HP Pavilion dv2700t (Core 2 Duo T5450 @ 1.66GHz) 49.793s
HP Pavilion dv6700t (Core 2 Duo T5450 @ 1.66GHz) 50.480s
Dell Inspiron 1525 (Core 2 Duo T7250 @ 2.0GHz) 43.569s
Dell XPS M1530 (Core 2 Duo T7500 @ 2.2GHz)
37.485s
Portable One SXS37 (Core 2 Duo T7250 @ 2.0GHz) 41.908s
Sony VAIO NR (Core 2 Duo T5250 @ 1.5GHz) 58.233s
Toshiba Tecra A9 (Core 2 Duo T7500 @ 2.2GHz) 38.343s
Toshiba Tecra M9 (Core 2 Duo T7500 @ 2.2GHz) 37.299s
HP Compaq 6910p (Core 2 Duo T7300 @ 2GHz) 40.965s
Sony VAIO TZ (Core 2 Duo U7600 @ 1.20GHz) 76.240s
Zepto 6024W (Core 2 Duo T7300 @ 2GHz) 42.385s
Lenovo T61 (Core 2 Duo T7500 @ 2.2GHz) 37.705s
Alienware M5750 (Core 2 Duo T7600 @ 2.33GHz) 38.327s
Hewlett Packard DV6000z (Turion X2 TL-60 @ 2.0GHz) 38.720s
Samsung Q70 (Core 2 Duo T7300 @ 2.0GHz) 42.218s
Acer Travelmate 8204WLMi (Core Duo T2500 @ 2.0GHz) 42.947s
Samsung X60plus (Core 2 Duo T7200 @ 2.0GHz) 44.922s
Zepto Znote 6224W (Core 2 Duo T7300 @ 2.0GHz) 45.788s

 

HDTune results:

(view large image)

Keyboard and Touchpad

The keyboard on the E8410 is not the most attractive typing surface we’ve seen. We would have prefered if the keys were black or grey or something other than white. If your workplace environment is dirty you can expect dirt buildup on the keys to become quite obvious. The keyboard is useable and quiet with just a little flex above the modular optical drive bay.


(view large image)

The keyboard layout is the only obvious problem we ran into. The placement of the PgUp/PgDown, End, Home, Delete, and Insert keys were quite odd to say the least. Page Up and Down were located right next to the arrow keys out of all places, and most other keyboards place the Delete button fairly close to Backspace. Bottom line, you will probably find yourself making multiple typos if you are a touch typist.

Near the power button above the keyboard, there rests a total of four special function keys that can be mapped to launch various applications. The assignments can be controlled via Fujitsu’s LifeBook Application Portal, and any program can be mapped to those keys.

The touchpad has acceptable responsiveness but we’ve seen better on other business notebooks. The fingerprint reader sits right in-between the two mouse buttons on the bottom, but we found ourselves accidentally activating the fingerprint reader on more than one occasion. Additionally, two wider mouse buttons are placed at the top of the touchpad. Fujitsu offers an option for a "Quick Point" touch-stick pointer with this notebook, but it’s just odd to see the dual-button setup on our review model since it doesn’t have the touchpoint.


(view large image)

Input and Output Ports

The E8410 contains an impressive array of ports that provide both forwards and backwards compatibility with old and new hardware … an excellent feature for IT departments within huge companies that have a ton of old hardware. I was happiest to see the E8410 includes both a PCMCIA and ExpressCard slot!

The E8410 contains the following list of standard ports:

  • Four USB 2.0 Ports
  • Serial Port
  • Parallel Port
  • Infrared
  • Modem
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • S-Video OUT
  • Headphone/Audio-out Jack
  • Microphone/Audio-in Jack
  • IEEE 1394 (4-pin) Firewire 400
  • Docking Connector
  • SD/MMC Card Slot
  • PCMCIA and ExpressCard Ports

On the left side of the notebook we have: AC Power, Microphone jack, headphones jack, modem, two USB 2.0, IEEE 1394 (Firewire 400), Fan exhaust, PCMCIA and ExpressCard slots, and a Smart Card Reader at below the two card slots.


(view large image)

The right side is pretty bare with only the security lock slot, the modular optical drive, and the latch for the drive.


(view large image)

The back has two USB 2.0, Parallel, Serial, VGA out, Ethernet, and S-Video Out ports.


(view large image)

The front of the notebook has a WiFi/Bluetooth Switch, SD/MMC Card Reader, and the screen latch.


(view large image)

The bottom of the notebook also includes a docking station connector and access doors for the hard drive and RAM.

Battery

Battery life was pretty impressive. During the review period we ran the battery down to zero several times. For my timed tests, the WiFi was on, the screen was at 50% brightness, and Vista was on the "Balanced" power profile. The laptop stayed on for 4 hours and 12 minutes before forced hibernation at 5% battery remaining. If you configure this notebook with the available 8-cell battery and or second battery in the modular bay I believe a mobile employee could work online for most of the workday on battery power.

Heat and Noise

One of the nicer things about the E8410 in terms of its place in a work environment is noise, or lack thereof. This notebook is whisper quiet. During general usage, the cooling fan is barely audible over background noise. The loudest sound came from the hard drive as the computer needed to access data, but even then the hard drive wasn’t particularly loud.

The fan did speed up during benchmarking but that is to be expected. The laptop was noticeably warmer on the surface, but both heat and noise were kept at or below tolerable levels.

Operating System and Software

The Fujitsu comes equipped with Windows Vista Business Edition, which lacks the Media Center functionality found in Home Premium or Ultimate. Considering that this is a laptop more oriented to a business person, it is a smart move. Additionally, the laptop can be configured with Windows XP Professional.

Our review unit did include some "bloatware" applications, but all of these (mostly worthless) freebie programs can be uninstalled in less than 30 minutes.

Conclusion

Overall, the Fujitsu LifeBook E8410 with Penryn is an excellent option for working professionals in larger companies or IT professionals who need a modern notebook that can interface with older technology. Although the E8410 would still make a perfectly good consumer laptop, the price, performance, and range of features really make this machine a professional tool with a reasonable price point.

I would recommend this notebook for business professionals, particularly given the usefulness of the modular bay, huge number of ports, and optional configurations with Windows Vista or XP. If this notebook had slightly better build quality it would easily be perfect for the target audience.

Pros

  • Modular optical drive/battery bay
  • LCD Status Indicator
  • Options for X3100 (more battery life, less gaming) and the 8400M-G (more gaming, some loss of battery life)
  • Excellent battery life
  • Tons of ports and connectivity options
  • Options for Vista and XP

Cons

  • A little too much flex in the plastics.
  • Poor touchpad feedback.
  • Easy to accidentally remove modular drive.


LEAVE A COMMENT

0 Comments

|
All content posted on TechnologyGuide is granted to TechnologyGuide with electronic publishing rights in perpetuity, as all content posted on this site becomes a part of the community.