Toshiba Satellite C655D AMD E-240 Fusion APU Notebook Review
Introduction and Specifications
The processor inside the Toshiba Satellite C655 is just one reason why this laptop is interesting. The other is the laptop’s size. Yes, laptops with 15.6” displays are the most common sold today, but Intel has made sure to keep Atom processors out of them. The company has been understandably guarded about the idea of placing such an inexpensive part into the most popular category of laptops.
Netbooks have been solid Intel territory since their rise to popularity in 2008. Intel won the category virtually by default; AMD had no alternative to offer. Even AMD’s most power efficient models have never been capable of providing battery life comparable to Atom. The debut of the Nile platform late last year finally gave AMD the ability to compete in the ultraportable market, but that was a long way from the power efficiency Atom could provide. AMD needed a new architecture, one made with power efficiency as a primary goal.
Now, after much anticipation and some delays, AMD has delivered. The new Fusion processors, which combine the CPU and GPU into a single processor architecture known as an APU, are filtering into production laptops. With them comes opportunity. AMD is rolling out low-end, power efficient components first, which means Atom finally has a competitor. Intel has done very little to update the performance and functionality of Atom since its introduction because there was no reason to make changes. With no competition from AMD, and the margins on Atom products small, Intel has had little incentive to substantially revise or improve the processor. AMD’s E-240 APU may finally spark a battle that has been absent for far too long.
The processor inside the Toshiba Satellite C655 is just one reason why this laptop is interesting. The other is the laptop’s size. Yes, laptops with 15.6” displays are the most common sold today, but Intel has made sure to keep Atom processors out of them. The company has been understandably guarded about the idea of placing such an inexpensive part into the most popular category of laptops. If consumers suddenly decided that an Atom was really all they needed (which I think is unlikely, but a possibility) Intel’s entire mobile processor business could be throw into a blender.
The Satellite 655 is simultaneously one of the least and most unique laptops on the market. Let’s see what (besides the APU) makes it tick.
Nothing here is surprising besides the processor and the price. While it is not unusual for 15.6” laptops to sell for $349, laptops that sell below $450 are usually stripped models, clearance products, or loss-leaders that stores hope can be attached to profit-fat extended warranties and peripherals. The Satellite C655 has an MSRP of $349, however – it would not be surprising to see this laptop sell for $325 or even $300 after a few months on the market.
Inexpensive pricing doesn’t excuse poor quality, however; the Toshiba Satellite C655 needs to be pleasant to use even if it is inexpensive. This is a place where many netbooks stumble, and even 15.6” bargain laptops sometimes have hidden flaws. Can the Satellite C655 cut costs without cutting into your experience?