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MaxSelect Mission 530GL Notebook Review

April 24, 2003






The next notebook to be tested in our series of AMD-based models is of the MaxSelect trade mark. Like Mission 528, Mission 530GL belongs to the "universal" series, but of the next generation - its deliveries has started recently. 

Specification of MaxSelect Mission 530GL

  • Processor - AMD Athlon XP-M (Thoroughbred, Barton)

  • Speed: 1400+/1500+/1600+/1700+/2000+   Package: OPGA;
    AMD mobile Duron (w/128K L1, 64KL2, Power Now) (Morgan, 0.18) Speed: 1.2/ 1.3Ghz (Athlon XP-M 1700+ on the tested sample)
  • Chipset - NORTH-BRIDGE - ATI IGP320M (U1) with video integrated;

  • SOUTH-BRIDGE - ALI M1535+;
    CPU BUS SPEED - Duron: 200MHz, Athlon XP: 200/266MHz 
  • RAM - 256MB DDR266 SDRAM, 1 DDR SO-DIMM 128/256/512MB (256MB on the tested sample) 
  • Display - 14.1" TFT 1024 x 768 Resolution (XGA), LVDS interface Dual Channel LVDS I/F up to 1400x1050 
  • Video system - integrated, 8~128MB UMA Memory 
  • Audio system - Full Duplex, Compliant with AC97 
  • PC Cards slot - 1xType II/I 
  • Hard Drive - 20/30/40/60 GB GB, UDMA 66/100 (Fujitsu 20 GB on the tested sample) 
  • OPtical devices - built-in CD (24x)/DVD/CD-RW (24x/8x/8x)/DVD-CDRW (24x/8x/16x/10x)(DVD-CDRW on the tested sample) 
  • I/O ports: 
    • 1 EPP/ECP Parallel port/D-sub 25-pin port 
    • 1 Headphones Out (Stereo) 
    • 1 Mic-In (Mono) 
    • 1 VGA port/Mini D-sub 15-pin for external monitor
    • 1 Video-Out
    • 1 RJ11 Modem jack for telephone line
    • 1 RJ45 LAN Jack for local line
    • 1 PS/2 connector
    • 2 USB 2.0 ports
    • 1 IEEE 1394 port

  • Weight: 3.4 kg 
  • Power supply system
    • Li-Ion battery pack
    • 100-240V AC adapter

Unfortunately, I failed no find official information on ATI's site about the chipset used in this model. Tom`s Hardware Guide requested the company before me, and here is how the ATI IGP320M looks like. 

  • Integrated AGP4x graphics with 8-128MB Frame Buffer in the main memory. 
  • 3D engine is a "half-Radeon" (one pipeline with 3 texture units), but without hardware T&L support. 
  • The graphics core supports HyperZ (hidden surface removal), Hydravision (two monitors support) and PowerPlay (energy saving technology). 
  • 64-bit SDRAM/DDR-SDRAM PC100/PC133/PC1600/PC2100 Synchronous/Asynchronous Memory Interface, up to 1 GB memory. 
  • DVD support integrated (motion compensation, iDCT). 
  • Video-out coder integrated. 
  • Master Clock integrated. 
  • LVDS interface integrated. 
  • Two alternative south bridge interfaces - proprietary 266 MB/s A-Link interface for IXP200/250 south bridges or PCI (133 MB/s) interface for third-party south bridges (ALi or VIA). 
  • Optional - IXP200 or IXP250 south bridges with support of 6 USB 2.0 ports, 3Com Ethernet MAC integrated, and AC97 audio with SPDIF-out. 

So, the chipset is different. If you remember, S3's graphics adapter used in Mission 528 performed well only in office applications. Let's have a look at ATI's graphics. 

The box contents:

  • notebook
  • power supply unit with cable
  • telephone cable
  • printed user guide
  • warranty card
  • CD with drivers and utilities
  • CD with InterVideo WinDVD 4 (if DVD-ROM is supplied) 
  • CD with CD recording program (if DVD/CD-RW is supplied) 
  • OS - optional (without OS, Windows ME/XP Home/XP Pro) 

First impressions




Since this is a preproduction sample, the logo plate is lacking.




The dual-band acoustic system, audio connectors, and a volume control  are located in front. 




The cooling solution is quite interesting - it consists of two fans which blow hot air out of the case through the rear panel. Here you can find also

  • power source connector
  • RS-232 connector
  • PS/2 connector
  • 2 USB ports
  • parallel port
  • external monitor output
  • video-out
  • Kensington lock's connector

The ports are abundant, but USB ports are located behind to some reason, like in many other notebooks, though it's very inconvenient to use them there.




An optical drive with a queer cover and a floppy disc drive are on the left.




On the right: 

  • HDD bay cover
  • PC-card slot
  • IEEE1394 connector
  • RJ-11 modem jack
  • RJ-45 network jack

I'd like to have more USB ports there, especially because the ALI's south bridge supports up to 6 of them. 

Ergonomics and Ease of Use




The notebook in its working position looks not bad. Matching colors, austere round buttons.. well, it looks attractive.




The main indicators (On, Charge, Mail) double on the lid outside. It's a very advantageous solution. The CD player buttons are on the left, the On button and two applications shortcut ones are on the right (browser and post client by default). The rest of the LEDs and the player's LCD are between them. I don't understand what for the player is here. It's great to have buttons to handle optical discs when the notebook is folded up. But why the player? I'd better arrange more shortcut buttons here. However, these buttons look not bad :)




What is really pleasant is integrity of the design which uses rectangles with rounded corners. The touchpad is convenient. The keyboard has no visible weak points (it's become a good tradition). 

Judging by where the speakers and audio connectors are positioned, as well as by drop-out legs, this model suits better for desktop usage. However, you won't find it difficult to manage it on the lap (except maybe some problems with sound). The underneath surface is rubber, but the legs are plastic, that is why you should fish them out only on a horizontal surface. The general impression is very good. 

Service and User Support

Since the last time nothing has noticeably changed here. The warranty period is 2 years. The addresses of the service centers can be found on the MaxSelect's site. It also provides online support on weak days. By the way, the site is constantly improving.  

Repair and Modernization

You can upgrade the notebook yourselves even during the warranty period (!!!). A user can extend memory, replace the processor or the hard drive. It's easy to do it, as you can see from the photo of the bottom. The warranty for components replaced does not work. 

Tests

Another MaxSelect's model based on the AMD's processor will be used for comparison.
 

  MaxSelect Mission 530GL MaxSelect Mission 528
CPU AMD Athlon XP-M 1700+
Chipset ATI IGP320M +
ALI M1535+
VIA KN266+VT8235
Video system S3 Savage 8
16/32 MB video memory

16/32/64 MB video memory integrated
RAM 256MB DDR266 (PC2100) SDRAM
Battery Capacity (MobileMark 2002) 65120 mWh 66600 mWh

The notebooks are actually equal. Although the Mission 530GL has its video system integrated and the Mission 528 external, it doesn't bring benefit to the latter. The tests show that the S3 Savage has quite modest results. 
 

  MaxSelect Mission 530GL MaxSelect Mission 528
BAPCo/MadOnion MobileMark 2002 Productivity workload (Performance rating)  91 87
BAPCo/MadOnion MobileMark 2002 Productivity workload (Average response time)  2,17 sec 2,27 sec
BAPCo/MadOnion MobileMark 2002 Productivity workload (Battery life rating)  180 minutes 140 minutes
BAPCo/MadOnion MobileMark 2002 Reader workload (Battery life rating)  222 minutes 163 minutes

The new generation is ahead. It performs better and works longer. 
 

  16MB 32MB 64MB
  530GL 528 530GL 528 530GL 528
BAPCo/MadOnion SysMark 2002 115 125 119 123 122 -
BAPCo/MadOnion SysMark 2002 Office Productivity  87 96 91 94 96 -
BAPCo/MadOnion SysMark 2002 Internet Content Creation 151 164 155 161 155 -
ZD Content Creation WinStone 2002 22.5 20.2 22.7 19.8 22.5 -
ZD Business WinStone 2002 17.5 17.5 17.7 17.4 17.6 -

In Sysmark 2002 the victory is after the Mission 528. But AMD says that SysMark 2002 is specially optimized for the Intel's processors as compared to SysMark 2001. But the CPUs are the same. On the other hand, in Ziff-Davis Winstone the Mission 530GL grasps the lead. 

For the CPU tests and 3D graphics tests the Mission 530GL is compared to MaxSelect TravelBook X5 with Intel® Mobile Pentium 4 1.7 GHz on SiS M651+962. 
 

  MaxSelect Mission 530GL MaxSelect TravelBook X5
ZD Winbench 99 v1.2 CPUMark 115 103
ZD Winbench 99 v1.2 FPU WinMark 5570 5890

The results are expected - the AMD's based model wins in the CPUMark and loses in the FPU WinMark. 
 

MadOnion 3DMark 2001
(32 bit color, 32 bit Texture Format, 24 bit Z-buffer depth, Frame Buffer - Double buffering, Software T&L
  16MB 32MB 64MB
  AMD Intel AMD Intel AMD Intel
800x600 1359 1652 1462 1643 1486 1682
1024x768 923 - 1194 1202 1229 1233

In the lower resolution the TravelBook X5 performs better, and in the resolution standard for Mission 530GL the scores are almost equal. 

Summary

The MaxSelect notebook based on the AMD processor and the unusual ATI's chipset showed good performance and run-down time. The integrated graphics from ATI is almost as efficient as SiS's one. At the price of $1300 the all-in-one model can be considered a good purchase. 
 
 
 
 

Nikolai Dorofeev  (niko@ixbt.com
 

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