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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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Being based on notebook and desktop components, the system tends to generate more heat since they have less room for cooling in their usual spacious ATX cases - a laptop based on these components is asking for trouble without proper cooling. ECS have done a fantastic job though. Over the CPU heatpipe is a thermally controlled fan, this means the hotter the CPU gets, the faster this fan runs to compensate for the extra processor usage. The reason behind using the thermal controlled fan here is to reduce noise levels. When the CPU is idle, the heat generated by the CPU is next to nothing, this means that it is almost pointless for the fan to be running full pelt and as a result, doing very little for the CPU.


A single 50MM fan that is at a constant 2200RPM is placed over the chipset and other vital components. This fan intake vents are located on the bottom of the unit and the exhaust vents for this fan are located on the left hand side, just under the power on and suspend LED lights.


Battery and Battery Life



While the battery unit isn't standard with the I-Buddie series, ECS sent us one along to test the unit under battery mode. The battery is a 9 cell Lithium Ion Rechargeable battery unit. Encased in a quite stylish casing, this unit gives the I-Buddie 4 the option of portability. The unit simply plugs into where the mains power connects in and the mains power then daisy-chains into the back of the battery for constant power.


When running off the battery unit, the system has a life of 8 hours of continuous use. This is a remarkable time frame as this is just about the average day for most people, so you can take you I-Buddie 4 to work or school on the battery unit and get enough power for your days work or play, come home and recharge it for one hour and you are back to full power to face the next day. It's that simple.




Powered by the SiS 650 desktop chipset, the graphics are controlled by the integrated SiS 315 GPU on the northbridge. This graphics solution uses Shared Memory Architecture (SMA), this means that it uses system memory for the video controller. While this is something that really we prefer to see avoided in desktop and high end systems, it is more than acceptable for a small, low budget laptop/ Desktop replacement for the office and student.


The Graphics system is able to use up to 64MB of system memory for its frame buffer, and can aperture up to 256MB of extra system memory for texture storage (which does help a lot with integrated solutions). The graphics quality and speed of the 650 controller is far ahead of VIA's P4M266 chipset or Intel's I845G and I845GE, so the choice of chipset was well thought of. When running the system memory @ 166 MHz (DDR-333) the video controller runs its frame buffer memory synchronous to the system memory clock, so the higher the memory clock, the better the graphics quality and the more FPS you can pump out.


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