iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






ASUS A2000L: Budget Type

In summer we had a chance to test the ASUS A2000H notebook with the desktop Intel Pentium 4 CPU. The model had quite successful design and ergonomics but it's targeted mostly at office applications (the integrates graphics from SiS doesn't deliver adequate 3D graphics performance). But if it's so, isn't it better to choose a less powerful model? To find it out we compared this notebook to the ASUS A2000L based on the Intel Celeron. By the way, ASUS marks its models differently: on its English site they are marked as A2000H/L, on some others, in particular, on the Russian one, as A2H/L, and in resellers' pricelists - as A2500H/L. I will keep to the official names.

Specification of the ASUS A2000

  A2000L A2000H
  • Mobile Intel® Pentium® 4-M FC-FGA2000 478 Package with Socket478 up to 2.2 GHz
  • Celeron value, 400Mhz FSB, 128K/256 L2 Cache up to 2.0GHz

(Celeron 2.2 GHz on the model tested)

  • Pentium 4 , 533Mhz FSB, 512K Cache-DTP up to 2.8 GHz
  • Celeron value, 400Mhz FSB, 128K Cache-DTP 2.0+GHz

(P4 2.66 GHz on the model tested)

Chipset SiS M650+ SiS962
Memory up to 1024 MB DDR266 SDRAM, 2 SO-DIMM
512 MB on the model tested 128 MB on the model tested
  • `14.1" XGA (1024x768) TFT display
  • 15.0" XGA (on the model tested) or SXGA+ (1400x1050) TFT display

Video Integrated controller, 16/32/64 MB UMA shared video memory (64 MB at RAM >=192 MB)
  • AC 97 S/W audio
  • Built-in speakers and mic
  • SoundBlaster-Pro compatible
  • Audio DJ: CD playback without OS booting

  • 20/40/60/80 GB Ultra ATA/100 HDD (Hitachi ICN25N040ATMR04-0 40GB on the model tested)
  • Fixed-type optical drive 
    • 24 X CD-ROM
    • 8X (max.) DVD-ROM drive
    • 8X/24X 10X 24X (max.) DVD combo drive
    • DVD-RW

40 GB HDD, DVD/CD-RW Combo 20 GB HDD, CD
Flash card reader MMC/ SD, Memory Stick (optional, integrated into both models)
I/O ports
  • 5 USB 2.0 ports
  • LAN port (RJ-45) 
  • Modem port (RJ-11) ļopt
  • Parallel EPP/ECP D-sub 25-pin 
  • VGA out
  • IEEE 1394 port
  • FIR port
  • Connector for PCMCIA 2.1 card (II Non-ZV) 
  • Line-in/ mic-in/ headphones-out
  • S-video TV-out
  • Connector for Secure Digital / MultiMediaCard and Memory Stick

  • Built-in AC97 s/w modem
  • Built-in 10/100 Mbit/s LAN adapter
  • IEEE 802.11a/b Wireless LAN (optional, no on the tested models), built-in antenna

Dimensions and weight
  • 328 x 270 x 27-42 mm
  • 3.1 kg (for 14.1" LCD, 9.5mm HDD, 8 x DVD-ROM and 8 cells Li-Ion batteries)

  • 3.3 kg (for 15.0" LCD, 9.5mm HDD, 8 x DVD-ROM and 8 cells batteries)

Power supply
  • 8 cells, 2200mAh, 65Whrs (though we got the batteries marked 14.8V, 4400mAh)
  • power supply unit - output: 19V DC, 6.3A, 120W

OS Microsoft Windows XP Home/Professional Edition Microsoft Windows XP, drivers for ME,2K,XP

As you can see, the models differ in the CPU, memory and HDD size and the optical drive. 

The box contents:

The A2000H was just a preproduction sample, the second model was meant for sale, and the box contained the following stuff:

  • notebook
  • power supply unit with a cable
  • optical mouse
  • phone cable
  • S-Video-RCA adapter
  • user guide
  • card with useful Internet addresses
  • Introduction into Microsoft XP HE booklet 
  • Recovery CD (2) 
  • Driver&Utility CD 
  • card with service center's phone numbers
  • A2000 Quick Guide booklet

First impression

The appearance didn't change.

The notebook has an office-type design - it's simple and elegant. It looks nice. The silvery case makes it looking very light - I would never say that it weighs over 3 kg! The ASUS A2000 will look great on any office desk. 

In front is the display latch and CD playback button. I already expressed my opinion about this feature in office computers, and a bit later I will tell how it's realized in this model.

Behind are static ports: actually you have to connect cables to them only once - when you arrange the notebook on your desk. Left to right

  • 2 USB
  • LAN port
  • Phone-in port
  • Parallel port
  • Monitor-out
  • TV-out
  • Kensington lock - on the right

Air vents take the remaining space

The right side is also loaded a lot. Left to right:

  • 2 USB
  • optical drive
  • IR port
  • Card reader
  • 1 more USB port

The sloped edges below make it look very effective on the photo, though not that effective in real life.

On the left is a power supply connector, a PC-card port, IEEE 1394 and audio ports. 

The connectors are logically laid out. It's the first time I see 5 USB ports which are located everywhere. You can connect a mouse, a keyboard, a photo camera cable, an MP3 cable and a USB Flash drive. It's one of the best configurations I have ever seen. Let's check whether it's convenient to work... 

Operation, ergonomics

Under the display are standard logo stickers from ASUS, Intel and Microsoft,

and a notice saying that 2 USB ports turned over.

The keyboard is standard for big notebooks. Key "\" which is sometimes placed inconveniently is in its usual position.

The touchpad design is typical of ASUS. I like when the scroller is positioned between two main mouse buttons. However, the scrolling button was very loosy - it didn't affect its operation but it was irritating.

(they key is not pressed yet)

This is a problem of this given sample, but you should take it into account. The LEDs are in standard positions for a desktop-type notebook - they are located in front on the upper panel.

The other LEDs are under the keyboard where you can also find applications short-cut buttons, a power saving switch and an on/off button.

The matrix is ordinary: the brightness range is sufficient, no downsides, no extraordinary features. 

The sound is a bit better than on an average notebook. There's a hole on bottom, that is probably why sound doesn't get that distorted inside the case.

The powerful cooler perfectly copes with its functions. It seems that the hard drive is the warmest part here.

In general, this is a convenient office PC without many complaints about the design and operation.

Warranty and service

All ASUS notebooks come with a 2-year international warranty since February 2002


The company's site looks user-friendly, all descriptions are clear and illustrative. There's also a base of drivers and BIOS updates. 


Any modernization should be carried out in the service center until the warranty period expires, otherwise you loose the warranty.


Although it's said that you can choose 64MB video memory only if RAM is >=192 MB, we easily set it in BIOS though the notebook was equipped only with 128MB. 

Battery life. Here the video memory size is set be default - 32 MB.

The results look logical - the battery life is longer, the performance is lower. So, if battery life is vital for you, you'd better go with the Intel Centrino platform.

Line supply. First of all, the memory size set by default is optimal. Secondly, when the video memory is set to 64 MB in the A2000L, the system has only 64 MB at its disposal, but the scores look surprisingly good. Besides, the Pentium 4 with the four times greater memory has a noticeable advantage, but it's not that considerable in office applications. Thus, in the Internet Content Creation the A2000H outscores the A2000L by 46% at most, in the Office Productivity that gap is 27% at most.

Well, the graphics is integrated, and state-of-the-art games are not for these notebooks.


I think, that it's worth saving money when choosing a notebook for office work. The upper-level model wins the competition, but the budget solution is powerful enough for business applications. By comparing the prices for both models you can make your own choice.

Nikolai Dorofeev (niko@ixbt.com)

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