I’ve been looking for a new “thin and light” laptop to use for teaching, and for presentations and demonstrations at upcoming SQL Server events, such as SQLSaturday and the PASS 2010 Summit. I wanted something that that had a 32nm Arrandale processor, and weighed less than five pounds. I would have liked to find a smaller laptop that had 1600x900 screen resolution, but it turns out that is pretty difficult unless you are willing to spend at least $1500-1600. There seems to be a “race to the bottom” when it comes to price and features in many new PC-based laptops. I considered a number of different models, such as the Sony Vaio-Z, HP Envy 14, and Alienware M11x, but I finally ending up choosing a Toshiba Portege R705-P25 (which is a special OEM model for Best Buy, selling for $799.99).
The Portege R705 only weighs 3.2 pounds (with an internal optical drive), and it comes with an Intel Core i3 350M processor and 4GB of RAM. It has a 5400rpm 500GB SATA drive (which was easily replaced), and a screen resolution of 1366x768 (which I am stuck with), and integrated Intel graphics. Since most projectors you find in classrooms and SQL Server events are limited to 1024x768 resolution, I should be fine. I have already replaced the stock 5400rpm hard drive with a very nice 500GB Seagate Momentus XT hybrid hard drive, which is reviewed here. This gives me better performance than a conventional 7200rpm hard drive, and much more space than a typical SSD. I have ordered 8GB of DDR3 PC3 10600 memory from NewEgg, so I should be in pretty good shape there.
Here is the CPU-Z screenshot for this processor.
Here is the Windows Experience Index scores for this system, after installing the Momentus XT hard drive. In Windows 7, the Primary hard disk score is limited to 5.9 unless you have an SSD.
Here is the Geekbench 2.1.6 score:
This little machine has nearly as much CPU performance as one of my $25K production database servers from two-three years ago, which is pretty amazing. Moore’s Laws rules!