AMD 64-bit notebook: QDI A520

The A520 is the first notebook we’ve seen with the 64-bit AMD Athlon 64-M, the mobile version of the processor. The pre-production A520 we tested featured a 3200+ processor (2GHz) with improved AMD PowerNow! power saving technology.

Other core components include 1024MB of PC2700 333MHz DDR SDRAM, a 60GB Hitachi 7200rpm hard disk with 8MB buffer (the first 7200rpm drive we’ve seen in a notebook) and a 64MB DDR ATI Mobility Radeon 9000 graphics controller. The graphics controller can be upgraded and a 128MB DDR ATI Radeon 9600 is offered as the initial option.

The A520 has a 15in display with a maximum resolution of 1400x1050, a built-in 3.5in floppy disk drive and a fixed 2x1x DVD-R/-RW, 8x16x10x24x DVD-ROM/CD-R/RW combination drive.

Connectivity comes in the form of integrated 802.11g wireless networking plus 10/100 Ethernet and 56Kbps modem ports. Peripherals may be attached using the four USB 2.0 slots or single FireWire, PS/2 and parallel connections. Interfaces for S-Video and VGA-out (external monitor) are also provided, as is support for one Type I or II PCMCIA cards.

QDI had yet to finalise 64-bit drivers and the SYSMark 2001 productivity benchmark had problems with a pre-release Windows XP 64-bit edition, so we tested under the standard 32-bit Windows XP. SYSMark 2001 had a near-record score of 260 and 3DMark 2001 came back with a strong 7672. Benchmarking the average frame rates in the Inferno and Face3 maps of Unreal Tournament 2003 returned 41 and 64, respectively.

The notebook ships with an eight-cell battery, leather carry bag and Windows XP Home as standard. Customers can opt to have a 64-bit version of TurboLinux 8.0 pre-installed for $275 and will not need to purchase Windows. QDI provides a one-year accidental damage, two year parts and three years labour warranty. Pricing for less expensive versions of the A520 featuring a 3000+ processor starts at $2795.

In brief: QDI A520
[pre-production unit, not rated]
The A520 has performance specs that signal future notebook muscle.
Price: $4695
Vendor: QDI Technology
Phone: (03) 9545 6233

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Danny Allen

PC World
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