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ECS I-Buddie 4 Desknote Review

By: Cameron Johnson | Standard Laptops in Laptops | Posted: Oct 19, 2002 4:00 am

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CPU and Heatsink



Since the I-Buddie 4 uses desktop class CPU's it is a painless process for upgrading the CPU. The unit itself ships with a 2Ghz Willamette P4 CPU as standard, but being mPGA socket connection you can place any 478 400Mhz CPU into the unit with very little fuss at all.


Located on the bottom of the Desknote is a CPU flap (which is documented in the installation manual), you simply unscrew the small screw to reveal the CPU and heat transfer unit. Removing the heatpipe is very simple, four screws holds the unit onto the CPU for effective cooling. Once removed you are faced with the CPU and a 50mm thermally controlled fan.


The design of the unit is a heatpipe technology. 90% of laptops today use heatpipes for their cooling as they are low profile designs. Shuttle was the first to implement heatpipe coolers in mainstream PC's with their barebone PC's for Athlon and Pentium 4. Using a similar design, the unit has two pipes that contain liquid. This liquid is also located under the metal plate over the CPU. This allows the liquid to be heated, the heated liquid then flows to the copper fin area where the fan removed the heat, allowing the liquid to remove more heat from the CPU.


DRAM Installation



The installation of the memory is just as simple (if not more-so) as the CPU installation. Located at the bottom of the unit is a large, thin flap held down with a single screw. When removed you are faced with a metal shield, this prevents external EMI interference from corrupting the memory at speeds over 133Mhz (so don't loose this). After the EMI shield is removed you are faced with the memory module slot, a standard 184 pin DDR SDRAM slot. ECS ships the unit with a 256MB PC2100 module installed, but like the CPU, this can be upgraded to a 1GB module for a total of 1GB of system memory. DDR-333 modules are not officially supported (since the SiS 650 chipset onboard doesn't officially support DDR-333) but when testing our Geil DDR-433 @ 333Mhz, all was 100% stable.


Hard Disk and Optical Drive



The ECS I-Buddie might use some desktop components, but its hard disk unit is laptop based. Using a 2.5" IBM Travelstar 4200RPM 20GB drive as stock standard, you do experience some slowdowns due to the low RPM's of the Hard Disk, but like the CPU and memory, you can replace it with any 2.5: IDE laptop HDD, which includes the new 5400 and 6200RPM units.


The CD unit that is shipped with the I-Buddie 4 as standard is a Matshita 16x DVD/40x CD ROM drive. This unit is head in with two screws and can be replaced with a CD-RW or a DVD/CD-RW combo drive, which are sold from ECS and their distributors. Though interchangeable, they aren't hot swappable like most laptops.


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