Review: MPC TransPort T3000

If you liked MPC Computers LLC's made-for-government TransPort X3000 notebook computer but didn't need the three spindles, chances are you'll like its two-spindle cousin, the TransPort T3000.

Both notebooks boast three features of particular interest to government users: an integrated fingerprint scanner, an integrated smart card reader and a tool-free hard drive that is easily removed in a few seconds. It also comes with a clever and helpful bridge battery that allows you to hot-swap batteries while working — you don't even need to save your work.

Winner of the Best New Technology award at the FOSE trade show in Washington, D.C. this year, the T3000 features one of the most flexible multi bays we've seen (the X3000 comes with this bay also). It can accept a CD-ROM, DVD-ROM, DVD+RW, second hard drive, six-in-one media reader or, as with our review unit, a DVD/CDRW combo drive. The reader supports the following cards and devices: Secure Digital, CompactFlash, MultiMediaCard, Smart Media, MicroDrive and Sony Electronics Inc. Memory Stick.

If you want to use a floppy, an optional external USB floppy drive is available.

Aside from the number of spindles, only a few differences separate the T3000 from the X3000. The T3000 is about a pound lighter at approximately 6.5 pounds for our configuration, and it has a single PC Card slot that accepts one Type II PC Card while the X3000 comes with two.

The final key difference lies with the graphics system. The T3000 comes with an integrated 64M graphics solution, while the X3000 features a graphics daughter card that allows users to choose between 64M and 128M of graphics memory at the time of purchase.

Our unit came with a port replicator that features its own power button so you can power up the system without opening the notebook. It also includes local-area network and modem pass-through ports, two additional USB ports and a Digitial Video Interface connector.

The TransPort T3000 is an extremely attractive buy for government customers who want tight security but don't need the X3000's three spindles. The lack of a third spindle slightly lowers both the price and the weight of this model. Our configuration costs $2,843 on the General Services Administration schedule. The port replicator costs $149.

***

TransPort T3000 features and specifications:

Processor: 2.0 GHz Intel Corp. Pentium M processor with Centrino mobile technology

System bus: 400 MHz front side bus

Hard drive: 80G

Memory: 512M expandable to 2G

Display: 15" SXGA+ TFT LCD with 1400 x 1050 resolution

Optical drive: DVD/CDRW combo

Communications: 802.11b wireless networking, Gigabit Ethernet, 56K V.92 fax/modem

Graphics: ATI Technologies Inc. Mobility Radeon 9700 solution with 64M of video memory and 8X AGP

Expansion slots: One Mini-PCI socket type IIIA for wireless local-area network options

PC Card slot: One slot for one Type II PC Card

Ports: Two USB 2.0, parallel, serial, PS/2 with Y-adapter for simultaneous keyboard and mouse use, VGA, S-Video, modem, Ethernet, microphone in, SPDIF-out, audio in, FireWire

Security: Integrated TouchChip fingerprint scanner and integrated smart card reader

Weight: About 6.5 pounds

Dimensions: 13 inches x 11.2 inches x 1.44 inches

Operating system: Microsoft Corp. Windows XP Professional

Price: $2,843

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