Hi-Grade UltiNote M6600 Notebook

Hi-Grade’s UltiNote M6600 is the first PC notebook we’ve seen to feature an incorporated DVD writer — DVD movie making and/or high-capacity data storage (4.7GB) on the road has now become a reality.

This notebook in combination with software such as that reviewed on page 28 allows video editing enthusiasts (and perhaps even record button-happy people who’ve inflicted their entire unedited holiday footage on hapless friends) to edit their video and record it to a DVD. This provides high-quality playback complete with menus to get to those best bits.

The DVD-RW/-R/CD-RW drive in the UltiNote M6600 writes in the minus (-) format as apposed to the rival plus (+) format. It can write DVD-RW and DVD-R discs at 2x and rewrite at 1x (roughly the equivalent of burning a CD at 9x). The drive can also write and rewrite CDs at 16x and 10x, respectively, read DVDs at 8x and read CDs at 24x. An optional external USB floppy drive is available.

Weighing 3.4kg without power supply, the MM6600 uses an Intel Pentium 4-Mobile processor running at a speedy 2.2GHz, and has 256MB of DDR (double data rate) SDRAM and a 60GB hard disk. Graphics are delivered to the large 15.1in active TFT display by the NVIDIA GeForce4 420 Go graphics controller, itself wielding 32MB of DDR memory. This provides a maximum resolution of 1280x1240.

Complementing such a multimedia-driven feature set is the inclusion of single FireWire, S-Video TV-out and S/PDIF audio line-out connectors, and no fewer than four high-speed USB 2.0 ports.

These features are further boosted with an exceptional integrated two-slot flash memory card reader: MMC (Multimedia Memory Card), SD (Secure Digital), Smart­-Media and Memory stick media can all be used. Support is also provided for one Type II PC card and a mini-PCI card for wireless networking. Additional connectors include PS/2 (for keyboards or mice), micro­phone-in, parallel, infrared, VGA-out (for an external monitor), 56Kbps modem and Ethernet.

Using Nero to burn 4.35GB of data took 55 minutes at 2x. The M6600 scored 4588 in 3DMark 2001 at 1024x768x16-bit. We ran out of time before we went to print to run our productivity benchmarks, but the M6600 will be fully tested in the February edition of Ausralkian PC World's Notebook Best Buys.

The 2.2GHz M6600 outlined here is priced at $4750 but Hi-Grade also offers variants starting at $3195. It ships with a carry case and Windows XP Pro.

Hi-Grade provided Nero 5.5 with our preproduction model to burn DVDs, although it hadn’t settled on a final authoring bundle as we went to print.

In brief: Hi-Grade UltiNote M6600
(Preproduction version, not rated)
A PC-based DVD movie enthusiast’s dream notebook with the fastest mobile processor we’ve seen to date.
Price: $4750
Phone: 1800 770 550
URL: www.higrade.com.au

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Danny Allen

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