Notebook gives PCs a complex

Fujitsu Computer Systems Corp.'s new LifeBook N5000 notebook computer is the big kahuna. It pushes notebook specifications beyond anything we've seen so far. Marketed as a desktop computer replacement, the N5000 could not only replace our PC but also easily surpass it.

For starters, at 3 GHz, the Intel Corp. Pentium 4 processor is a Goliath. And it doesn't stop there. It supports 800 MHz front and side bus hyper-threading Technology. Hyper-Threading increases performance by enabling the processor to execute two threads -- parts of a software program -- simultaneously.

Not to be outdone, the hard drive boasts 80G of storage space. Our unit came with 512M of Double Data Rate 333 memory, and you can increase it to 2G.

Power graphics users will love the goodies on this system. First, at 16.1 inches, this is the largest notebook display we've seen. And it's also sharp, boasting a contrast ratio of 600:1 and brightness of 350 nits -- a nit is a unit of measurement of luminance used to describe the brightness of computer displays. The SXGA+ display, exclusive to this notebook, is called Crystal View and features a glossy surface. It looks fantastic, but the glossiness causes glare near windows or other bright light sources. Powering the display is an ATI Technologies Inc. Mobility Radeon 9600 graphics chip with 64M of dedicated video memory.

Another N5000 standout is the dual-band 802.11a+b/g wireless capability. While 802.11b operates in the 2.4 GHz band and delivers 11 megabits/sec transmission, 802.11a operates in the 5 GHz band and delivers up to 54 megabits/sec. Finally, 802.11g operates on the same frequency as 802.11b but with a transmission rate of 20-plus megabits/sec. In short, when it comes to wireless, you're covered.

You are also covered in the portable storage department. This three-spindle notebook -- an unusual number these days, because most are two-spindle -- ships with an integrated floppy drive and a choice of a DVD-RW or DVD/CD-RW. A spindle is the shaft that rotates in the middle of a disk drive.

Ports include a whopping four USB 2.0, FireWire, S-Video out, VGA, modem, Ethernet, and headphone and microphone jacks.

The N5000 also comes with two card slots. One accepts one Type III or two Type I /II PC Cards and another accepts memory sticks and SD cards.

The trade-off for boasting so much power and display area, however, is size. This notebook is portable, but at 10.4 pounds, it's not designed for road warriors. A typical user would, for example, carry the notebook between home and the office rather than to field locations.

Our configuration, featuring a 3 GHz processor, 512M of memory, an 80G hard drive, a DVD-RW drive and Microsoft Corp. Windows XP Home Edition, costs $2,199. Prices for the LifeBook N5000 start at $1,999. For more information, visit Fujitsu's Web site at www.us.fujitsu.com/computers.

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