Toshiba Satellite P105-S921 Review (pics, specs)

by HexiumVII Reads (56,963)

 


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Toshiba Satellite P105-S921 Specs

  • 17″ Widescreen 1440 x 900 TrueBright
  • Intel Core Duo T2400 1.83GHz
  • 2x 512MB PC5300 DDR2 SDRAM
  • Fujitsu 160GB 4200RPM SATA Hard Drive
  • Intel A/B/G WiFi Intel Pro/1000 Gigabit Ethernet
  • Conexant HD Audio Synaptics Touchpad
  • nVidia Go 7900GS Graphics Card
  • harmon/kardon Speakers
  • LG DVDRAM SuperMulti Drive


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Design

Never settling on a single design like Dell, Toshiba goes for another makeover. Following the round Vaio’esque look along with HP, the P105 goes for sleek, fluid styling. The front is thin and thickens towards the rear for the bulk of the components such has hard drive, CPU, GPU, and respective heatsink/fans. This gives it the illusion that it’s thinner than it actually is. The top cover features a flat gunmetal like grey, opposite of the glossy frou frou look of the Qosmio series. I must say this is the best looking laptop I’ve ever had.

Performance

The processor included is a Core Duo T2400 running at 1.83GHz based on the Yonah core. The Core Duo Centrino has all the fixins of it’s predecessor “Sonoma”, such as PCI Express, Serial ATA, and dual channel DDR2, but adds dual core into the mix. This gives theoretically double the processing power, in the same package and power requirements. But in real life it translates to about 30-40% boost in multithreaded apps, and amazingly, about the same amount of power used. The RAM used are a pair of Hynix sticks with Hyundai PC5300 DDR2 SDRAM. This runs at a brute force frequency of 333MHz DDR with latency timings of 5-5-5. This is paired up with a FSB running at QuadDataRate 166MHz (666MHz). The memory bandwidth can provide up to 10.7GBps while the FSB can only provide 5.3GBps of bandwidth to access it. The main advantage of DDR2 for laptops is the 30% less power consumption than DDR1.

This translates to great increases for encoding, video editing, 3D rendering, compression, and multitasking. For those hoping for improvements in general internet, office, and gaming apps will find little. However if you do all three at once, dual core should help streamline the process a great deal. The general trend in multi-cores is growing rapidly as even video game consoles have gone multi-core. We will only be seeing more and more applications being multithread optimized.

The biggest bottleneck for this laptop is the hard drive. While weighing in at a huge 160GB, it is only offered at 4200RPM with peak transfer rates at 35MBps and averaging out at 28MBps. The performance is pretty decent for a drive with these specifications. A faster hard drive will generally help in situations where large amounts of data needs to be accessed.

The DVD Writer featured is an LG DVDRAM drive. As Toshiba is one of the creators of DVDRAM, they like to include it in their notebooks. DVDRAM has not gained much popularity over the years and has mostly stayed in corporate environments. No special packet writing software is needed for DVDRAM on WinXP or Mac OSX so it can essentially be used as a floppy. More and more desktop DVDRW drives are supporting DVDRAM reading, making it a more viable standard with the premature releases of BluRay and HD-DVD. Features write speeds of 8X DVD+/-R, 4X DVD+/-RW, 2.4X DVD+DL, 24X CDR, 16X CDRW, and 3X DVDRAM.


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Audio

The speakers are from harmon/kardon located at the front of the laptop with a dedicated bump on the bottom. Unfortunately Toshiba decided to omit a built in “subwoofer” in the P100 series making it subpar when compared to offerings of Dell or their Qosmio series. You can get about 80% max volume before hearing lots of distortion. They are louder than 15″ laptops, but overall a bit disappointing when compared to its predecessors. They still are able to be loud enough to enjoy movies and music in a quiet environment. Below the speakers is a line that glows blue all the time. To my knowledge there is no way to turn this off. While attractive at first glance, most will find it annoying very quickly. Currently I put a strip of electrical tape to cover it up.


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Input

The keyboard is about as full featured as you can get on a laptop. Backspace is nice and large with all the standard keys where they normally are. A full numpad is also included for those who like to use that for Excel or whatever. The arrow keys have been squished into the shift key so those used to big right shift might need to adapt. Being so large hoever, introduces a lot of flex. I found it very hard to type with this keyboard. I found it skipping keys once in a while which is very annoying.

The touchpad is a bit small, but still very usable. It features different shortcuts and quick commands that can be accessed via software. It features a special tap mode where the backlight would turn on and the touchpad functions as a volume adjuster. I found this an easy way to disable it when using a mouse.


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The fingerprint scanner is an interesting addition. For those who hate passwords, it might be the godsend they are looking for. The software takes about 3 seconds to recognize the swipe, so those with fast typing skills may find it faster to just type their password. The software allows up to 16 different fingers to be scanned, so in addition to all ten fingers, you can authorize toes, friends, and family.


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Like current HP/Compaq laptops, a PCMCIA size infrared remote is integrated. The infrared port is next to the volume control knob. The remote features the standard media center functions and has a pretty nice range of about 25 feet.


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I/O Features

Toshiba includes just about every connector you could want including both the ExpressCard slot and classic PCMCIA Type II slot missing from the recent Dell Inspirons. The standard data jacks include 4 USB 2.0, 4 pin Firewire IEEE1394, Gigabit Ethernet, Bluetooth 2.0, and an RJ-45 Modem. A/V connections include headphone, microphone, S/PDIF, VGA, S-Video, and Hi-Def DVI-I port. Rounding it out with a multi-card reader with support for SD, Sony Memory Stick/Pro, and xD though no support for CompactFlash or Micro/MiniSD.

Screen

The P105 features an LG Philips TrueBright high gloss 17″ widescreen LCD with a 16:10 aspect ratio. The display is very nice beating out the Dell 17″ Inspiron 9400 laptop screens in color richness and saturation. There is not shimmering or backlight bleeding many complain about with Dell. Blacks are nice and dark with an overall cool looking picture. The LCD provides a very good high contrast picture on par with HP/Compaq 17″ widescreens. The resolution is SXGA+ running at 1440×900. It’s a bit low compared to the 1920×1200 offered in Dells (UXGA), I was hoping for at least 1680.  However, most will find this resolution more than adequate. Another advantage is you are not required to run games at monster resolutions to achieve native resolution. It is still a higher resolution than most budget 19″ LCD monitors running at 1280×1024.

Battery, Power, and Cooling

The battery life is very good for a laptop of this caliber. On maximum power saving scheme I’m able to squeeze in 2 hours and 30 minutes of general websurfing from the 6000MaH battery before it shuts off. The GPU powers down its core to 100MHz to save as much power as possible. Power draw maxes out at 90 watts.

The cooling system is bulky and a bit noisy, but does it’s job well. At the lowest RPM, it is more noisy than Dell’s but keeps the CPU and GPU about 5-10 degrees cooler. The GPU and CPU never passed 70C even with overclocking. One annoying trait is the fan would kick into a higher RPM every minute for a second, giving up a burst of noise. This happens even with minimal system usage. Toshiba seems to be ironing out this issue as newer BIOS’ tweak the fan speeds. A word of caution when playing 3D games, the bottom left of the laptop can get quite hot, reaching a blistering 60 degrees C when under load. The left wrist rest can reach a warm 33 degrees C after 15 minutes of normal usage, which can be a bit uncomfortable for some when typing.


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Video

The Video card in here is a real beauty. This is the first laptop with the Geforce 7900GS Go. The 7900GS specs in with 20 pixel shaders and 7 vertex running at 375MHz. Memory is 256MB of GDDR3 on a full 256bit bus at 1GHz. This puts it right into third position under the 7900GTX Go and the 7800GTX Go. Its performance is about on par with a desktop 7800GT. This laptop is faster than any AGP computer system you can make!

Benchmarks

Benchmarks are done with Forceware 91.28

Avg

AA/AF

Score

Res

Final Fantasy XI V3

0/0

5970

“high”

3DMakr 06

0/0

3421

1024

3DMark 05

0/0

6877

1024

3DMark 03

0/0

13704

1024

FEAR

52

0/0

1440

Ghost Recon (GRAW)

24

0/0

1440

NFS: Most Wanted

41

4/16

1440

Aquamark

75

0/4

75253

1024

Farcry Volcano

130

0/0

1280

Farcry Training

93

0/0

1280

Farcry Training

75

4/16

1280

Quake 4

89

0/0

1440

Quake 4

45

4/8

1440

Doom 3

98

0/0

1440

Doom 3

67

4/8

1440

Battlefiled 2

57

0/0

1440

Lost Coast

46

4/16

1440

HL2

89

0/0

1440

HL2

79

4/16

1440

Splinter Cell 3 HDR

41

0/0

1440

Oblivion

30

0/0

1440

COD2

39

0/0

1440

Black&White 2

32

4/0

1440

The 7900GS can handle the latest FPS games like a champ. The 1440×900 resolution allows you to enable antialiasing and anisotropic filtering to all your favorites. In many games it is twice as fast as a 6800Ultra/7800 Go GPUs.

Toshiba finally gives us a true gaming laptop. After having huge 17″ multimedia monsters like the Qosmio, they now offer one of the top gaming performance to boot. Perfect for Lan parties, or just showing off to your friends how much faster your laptop is to their PCs!


Pros

  • Powerful!
  • Beautiful evenly lit and crisp screen
  • Built in IR remote
  • Built in fingerprint scanner
  • USB ports on every side
  • Multiple volume controls Integrated numpad

Cons

  • No subwoofer
  • Slow 4200RPM hard drive
  • Low battery life
  • Bottom gets very hot

Toshiba P105 vs Dell E1705

Back view of Toshiba P105 on top of Dell Inspiron e1705

Front view of Toshiba P105 on top of Dell Inspiron e1705


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