U81A-RX05 Owner's Lounge

Discussion in 'ASUS Reviews and Owners' Lounges' started by raydabruce, Sep 11, 2009.

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  1. raydabruce

    raydabruce Notebook Carnivore

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    A couple days ago I noticed this model had dropped $40 in price on the Best Buy website so I went out to my local store and they had 14 of them on the shelf and they were on clearance for $575! Sooooo, I bit the bullet and bought one. I'd been hovering around this laptop for weeks waiting for the price to drop. Here's the link:
    EDIT: Link no longer works -- guess BB sold out.

    I've owned around 18 or 20 laptops in the last 10 years (many of them bought and sold via Craigslist). Of the 10 or so NEW laptops I've bought, this one is the best deal by far.

    Pros:
    - Price to Performance ratio
    - Build quality is excellent (it's an Asus!)
    - Resolution to screen size (1366x768) 16:9 aspect ratio, 14.1" screen
    - Core 2 Duo T6500 processor 2.1 GHz
    - 4GB 800 MHz RAM, dual-channel, CAS timings: 4-4-4-12
    - 320 GB HDD & DVD -/+RW DL
    - HDMI port and all the usual other ports
    - Intel integrated 4500MHD graphics chipset
    - Gigabit LAN and "N" Wi-Fi
    - Multi-touch touchpad (yes, it is, you only have to enable the features)
    - Good sound with the SRS software
    - Runs COOL and QUIET
    - Rated for 7 hours battery life!
    - Excellent chiclet-style keyboard
    - Sleek, minimalist styling (looks like a Macbook Pro but SO much cheaper)

    Cons:
    - I haven't found any, so far. There's a tiny bit of "screen-door effect" on the screen, but it's not noticeable unless you really look for it. You can always pay $200 more and get the great Sony display, but it's really not worth the extra money... this screen is fine. Glossy, but not TOO glossy.

    I'm running Windows 7 (64-bit) on it and all drivers and utilities work fine. I installed them from the included DVD by running the setup.exe in Vista compatibility mode. All the hotkeys and features work fine except for ExpressGate. Asus may have a Windows 7 update for that soon, but that's not something I would use anyway.

    I'd like to hear from other owners of this model. I think it will be discontinued soon since as of today it's listed as an "outlet" item (whatever that means). They still have about 15 of them in my local BB store.

    Share your joys and sorrows with your U81A and post questions here.
     
  2. PopRoxMimo3

    PopRoxMimo3 Notebook Deity

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    You've listed mainly specs but how do you find it performs with the programs you use?
    Also you should run 3dmark06 demo to see how it compares.
    Might i add that SRS software is the bomb diggity
     
  3. substance12

    substance12 Notebook Guru

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    is there another version of this laptop that we might be able to read reviews on? i'm highly considering this laptop considering the price to performance ratio. it's main competitors it seems are the 14z and the dv4, both of which have way worse battery life.
     
  4. substance12

    substance12 Notebook Guru

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    question for other owners. did you find that the asus update utility worked? it said no updates were required but when i went to the asus site there were newer drivers available. also anyone find any issues with the network speed? mine is super slow on the download.
     
  5. raydabruce

    raydabruce Notebook Carnivore

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    With 64-bit Win7 installed it is very fast for a laptop. The first thing I did is get rid of Vista!

    No, I'm not going to run any benchmarks on it.... I'm just not that anal that I have to compare it with other laptops. It's an Asus, that's all I need to know since I've had 2 other Asus laptops previously. For the money, I'm more than satisfied with its performance, I'm thrilled!

    And yes, the SRS sound software is great, especially for music and movies.

    TO: substance12
    Same here. The update utility doesn't seem to work for this model. Probably because it's a Best Buy model or because they haven't updated their site for this model yet. It doesn't matter to me, Windows 7 installed all the drivers I needed except for the hotkeys and a couple other minor ones that aren't really necessary. Before you decide that the drivers on the Asus site are newer, look at the manufacture date of your laptop. Mine was made in June and I don't see any drivers newer than that on the listing for 64-bit Vista drivers for the U81a.
     
  6. hezoos

    hezoos Newbie

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    is there a built in microphone?
     
  7. E.B.E.

    E.B.E. NBR Procrastinator

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    ASUS Live Update has never ever worked on any ASUS laptop that I know of. Remove it please and update manually.

    99% likelihood that there is (virtually all laptops come with one). But can't say for sure of course.
     
  8. TANWare

    TANWare Just This Side of Senile, I think. Super Moderator

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    Yes there is a built in mike, and it seems to work fine. Forget gaming on this, except mildly. 3DMark06 is a slide show, even 3DMark03 is choppy. 3DMark01 SE runs great though. WoW all lowest details in the 10day trial seems to yield me between 30-50 FPS running around.

    Encoded HD works wonderfully, Even flash video HD full screen is easily doable. Office apps, visual studio express and other general apps work great. The T6500 and 4 gigs of ram are more than enough.

    Draftn here connects to the router at 270 Mbps, Multiple internet tabs and threads are a non issue and just do not seem to bog this machine down. It is just a pleasure to use and not get a ton of lag.

    PCMark05 gave me 3985, Sisandra lite showed 19.34 Gips, 3dMark01 SE is 6300-6500, PassMark 803 over all cpu was at 1715. Synthetic's other than 3D are just great.

    So if you are just a light gamer with older games this is fine. For other general use it is wonderfull to just plain awesome.
     
  9. substance12

    substance12 Notebook Guru

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    FWIW, the network card did not play nicely with my asus 520 router with tomato firmware on it. i replaced it with ddwrt and it would only work when afterburner was disabled. it took me forever to figure that out.

    it's a pretty bad finger print magnet as well as oil magnet. anyone have remedies for that?
     
  10. raydabruce

    raydabruce Notebook Carnivore

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    Windows 7 has the Atheros AR8131 ethernet driver but most Linux distros do not. One that does is Ubuntu's 9.10 Alpha 6 (Karmic Koala) which will be released final on Oct. 29th. For Windows 7 (64-bit, RTM), I ran the driver/utility setup program in Vista compatibility mode and it worked fine. I have all hotkeys and functions.

    As for fingerprints... to me, that's just a non-issue. Carry a clean, soft, well-worn washcloth and wipe it every now and then. I wouldn't change the design at all, it looks great to me (after I took off those damn palmrest stickers).

    It seems Best Buy has yanked this model from its website. Guess they sold out and it's now a discontinued model. We're on our own, but I don't anticipate any problems. I've had mine 3 weeks now and using it daily -- so far, no issues or problems. I'm very glad I went for the model with the stronger processor, it really does make a big difference.
     
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