AMD Vision laptops: Lenovo, Dell and HP models reviewed

By John Gillooly on Aug 30, 2010 2:36 PM
Filed under PCs & Servers

AMD's updated processor plus graphics chip ‘Vision’ platform comes in Basic, Premium, ultimate and black – but how does the performance stack up?

AMD's Vision platform is a codename for a loosely grouped set of specifications, which at heart comprises a processor and graphics card. It initially launched last September, but has now been refreshed with a few new elements.

The idea behind Vision is to simplify decision-making when buying a laptop or desktop computer. Vision is split into four categories that should help end users decide whether a computer will suit their needs. Each Vision system is identified by a sticker that matches its category, and AMD lists the kind of tasks that you can expect to accomplish with each group at the point of sale.

The entry level category is simply labelled Vision. It describes systems designed for light use - watching standard definition movies, surfing the net and general productivity tasks. Laptops bearing a Vision sticker can be expected to have low-end CPUs and an integrated graphics processor.

The next step up is Vision Premium, for models capable of high definition video playback (including Blu-ray), mainstream gaming and multitasking. It describes systems with more powerful CPUs and discrete graphics chips.

Vision Ultimate's more powerful graphics processor paired with a multicore CPU is designed for 3D-heavy gaming and demanding tasks such as HD movie editing.

Above all these sits AMD Vision Black. Enthusiasts who want the cutting edge of AMD's product lines - both coprocessor and GPU - should look for the Black sticker. At the moment it's a desktop classification for systems that can drive multiple monitors and deliver the best AMD-based gaming experience.

We've taken a look at a few examples: a Lenovo Thinkpad (Vision) and Vision Ultimate laptops from HP and Dell.

Lenovo Thinkpad Edge 13

Lenovo's ThinkPad Edge 13 retains the excellent design of its Intel-powered models. The AMD version uses a 1.5GHz dual core Athlon Neo X2 CPU and Radeon HD 3200 integrated graphics. Productivity performance is lower than that seen from Intel-based laptops at this price point, with a score of 0.63 in our Real World benchmarks, compared to the Intel-based Edge 14's 1.32. A result of 4 fps in our medium detail Crysis tests reinforce AMD's assertion that you need a higher spec laptop if gaming is your intention. It manages 2:13 in our heavy use battery tests and a middle of the range 6:01 in the light tests. This compares incredibly well to the Intel-based models, which managed 1:19 and 4:42 respectively.
Price: $879 /  Lenovo / Rating: 4/6

Dell Inspiron M501R

The Inspiron M501R is a Vision Ultimate laptop, featuring a 1.6GHz Phenom II P920 quad-core CPU paired with an ATI Mobility Radeon HD 550v. It differentiates itself from the other models here with 6GB of DDR3 memory, compared to the 4GB on the HP and 2GB on the Lenovo. This spec has helped the Inspiron to score 1.06 in the productivity tests, and it produced a playable 30fps at medium detail in Crysis thanks to the powerful Radeon GPU. It managed to last for an impressive 6hr 16mins in our light use battery tests, but only 1hr 15mins in heavy use.
Price: $1299 / Dell / Rating: 4/6

HP Pavillion DV6 - AMD

HP's AMD-powered DV6 is a Vision Ultimate laptop and uses the same processor as the Dell, but it has a different approach to graphics. It includes both an integrated GPU and an ATI Radeon Mobility HD 5650. While on batteries it uses the integrated GPU, which helps it to 4hrs 12 mins in our light use battery life test, and 1hr 51mins on heavy duty, but when you plug it into the mains you get the option to turn on the high performance 5650. It scored 0.89 in our productivity tests - less than we'd expect from the ‘Ultimate' label - and manages a playable 34fps in medium detail Crysis.
Price: $1299 / JB HiFi / Rating: 4/6

 
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