Evesham Quest A620 full review
Bringing together the most up-to-date components is an expensive business, but it almost always produces fantastic results. The Evesham Quest A620 has a dual-core 64bit processor, oodles of memory and a superb graphics card – it was always going to blitz our benchmark tests. We're not convinced that this makes it worth £2,500, though.
Until now, we'd seen AMD's Athlon 64 FX-60 processor only in desktop PCs. We expected great things of it, especially when used with 1GB DDR RAM and a 256MB GeForce Go 7800 GTX card.
We weren't disappointed. The A620's WorldBench 5 score of 111 is the highest we've seen in a laptop. In our Doom3 and Halo tests, it managed frame rates of 108.4fps (frames per second) and 121.4fps at a resolution of 1,024x768 – these are outstanding results. And when the resolution was upped to 1,280x1,024, the rates dropped by only around 10fps.
Of course, strong graphics performance is nothing without a good screen. Fortunately for the Evesham, the 17in 1,680x1,050 TFT display does a fantastic job. The colours are bright and deep, while the definition is pleasingly sharp.
As an entertainment system, the Quest is a good bet – not only are the graphics and screen top-notch, it boasts Windows XP MCE as its OS (operating system). The hard drive holds 100GB, so you can store plenty of digital content on there, or burn it to disc with the dual-layer DVD writer.
The Evesham is bulky – some might even say ugly – but it's very useable. The keyboard is good, with full-sized keys and a numeric pad on the right. It isn't ideal for carrying around over long periods, but you won't have too much trouble shifting it between the rooms in your house.
We have one or two issues with the Quest, though. The first of these is the noise from the fans. Of course, the FX-60 is a desktop processor, so it takes some cooling, but in a quiet environment it's noticeable just how loud the Evesham is. Secondly, is it worth so much? That depends on the depth of your pockets and the severity of your craving for the latest, greatest technology.
We reckon you could pay a grand less for something that performs nearly as well. And what are a few extra frames per second? The difference wouldn't be noticeable to most.
AMD Athlon 64 FX-60
This is the first laptop we've seen with the latest processor in AMD's Athlon 64 FX range. The FX-60 is a little different to the rest of the family, as it has two cores rather than just one. Both run at 2.6GHz and have 1MB of Level 2 cache.
According to AMD's benchmarking results, the FX-60 is 15 percent faster than the single core FX-57, its predecessor. As a result of Intel's dominance in the mobile market, we've never tested a laptop with the FX-57 chip, although we did try out a couple of models with 2.4GHz Athlon 64 3700+ processors more than a year ago when we first introduced the WorldBench 5 suite. The FX-60 was about 25 percent faster than the 3700+ in our testing, but we must stress that it isn't really a fair comparison.
The Evesham's WorldBench 5 score of 111 is 10 points higher than the AJP M590K achieved. The AJP uses the Turion 64 MT-40 chip, a single-core 2.2GHz model with 1MB of Level 2 cache, but it also has a generous 2GB of DDR RAM, which will certainly have boosted the result.
Of course, the FX-60 is a desktop chip and has achieved higher scores in WorldBench 5 – you need look no further than the Mesh Xtreme FX-60 power PC that we tested a few months back.
Evesham Quest A620: Specs
- 2.6GHz AMD Athlon 64 FX-60 dual-core processor
- Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005
- 1GB DDR RAM
- 100GB hard drive
- 17in 1,680x1,050 TFT display
- 256MB nVidia GeForce Go 7800 graphics card
- 8x/8x/8x/4x/4x/4x/4x/ (DVD-ROM/-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW) 24x/24x/24x (CD-ROM/-R/-RW) drive
- 802.11g facilities
- Microsoft Works 8.0
- 2-year onsite, 1-year return-to-base warranty