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ABS Mayhem G4 Revolution review: ABS Mayhem G4 Revolution

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The Good Great application performance; decent gaming performance; InstantOn feature; power-saving GPU toggle; comfortable keyboard.

The Bad Warranty not upgradable.

The Bottom Line The ABS Mayhem G4 Revolution offers strong performance, appealing design, and some great features at a relatively affordable price.

6.2 Overall
  • Design 6
  • Features 6
  • Performance 7
  • Support 4

Knowing what customers want is more than half the battle, so when a company does due diligence, its products usually benefit from improvements both large and small. ABS has clearly been talking to users, as evidenced by the new Mayhem G4 Revolution, a $1,999 notebook that packs plenty of power and some appealing design elements. We would have liked an option to upgrade the warranty; aside from that, we think the Mayhem G4 Revolution offers a decent set of features for its price.

At just over 6 pounds, the midsize Mayhem G4 Revolution seems quite lightweight, until you add its 1.2-pound power brick. Measuring 14.9 inches wide, 10.7 inches deep, and 1.4 inches thick, the Revolution is not particularly sleek, either. But typing is comfortable, thanks to a roomy keyboard that feels firm and offers excellent key travel. The spacebar is small, and the Insert and Delete keys sit along the bottom row instead of in the top-right corner, but we didn't find that it affected our overall typing experience. We liked the fully programmable touch pad with a dedicated scroll area.

The Mayhem G4 Revolution's 15.4-inch wide-screen display, with a 1,280x800 native resolution is sharp and easy on the eyes. DVD playback also looked great, thanks in part to the higher-end Nvidia GeForce Go 6800 graphics subsystem.

Some slick usability enhancements include InterVideo's InstantOn technology, which lets you play DVDs and CDs, as well as other media files on the hard drive, without booting the Windows OS first; there's also a switch that lets you toggle the powerful but power-hungry graphics card on and off to save battery life. The Mayhem G4 Revolution runs right down the middle in terms of ports and slots, with headphone and microphone jacks, modem, Ethernet, FireWire, S/PDIF, S-Video, and three USB 2.0 ports (for this price, we'd expect four--or more--USB ports). There are also a Type II PC Card slot (though no ExpressCard slot) and a four-in-one memory card reader that recognizes Secure Digital, MultiMediaCard, Memory Stick, and Memory Stick Pro formats. The features list is rounded out with a DVD burner and integrated 802.11a/b/g Wi-Fi.

Our test unit featured a fast 2.26GHz Pentium M 780 processor, 1GB of 533MHz RAM; an Nvidia GeForce Go 6800 graphics card with 256MB dedicated memory; and a 5,400rpm, 80GB hard drive. The Mayhem G4 Revolution scored an impressive 177 on our SysMark 2004 portion of CNET Labs' benchmark tests, ahead of both the expensively configured Dell XPS M170 and the pricey $2,599 Asus W2V. The Mayhem G4 Revolution's GPU, which was high-end in the previous generation of graphics cards, delivered 26.7 frames per second in our Doom 3 workout--faster than the Asus but a touch below what we look for in a gaming machine and far behind Dell's top-of-the-line graphics card.

ABS backs the Mayhem G4 Revolution with an average one-year warranty that also includes a year of 24/7 toll-free phone support. However, the company offers no warranty upgrades or extensions.

SysMark 2004 performance  (Longer bars indicate better performance)
BAPCo SysMark 2004 rating  
SysMark2004 Internet content creation  
SysMark2004 office productivity  
ABS Mayhem G4 Revolution
Dell XPS M170
Asus W2V

Doom 3 High Quality, 10x7, 4XA  (Longer bars indicate better performance)
Id Software/ActiVision's Doom 3  

System configurations:

ABS Mayhem G4 Revolution
Windows XP Home; 2.26GHz Intel Pentium M 780; 1GB PC 4200 DDR2 SDRAM 533MHz; Nvidia GeForce Go 6600 256MB; Fujitsu MHT2060BH 5,400rpm

Asus W2V
Windows XP Media Center; 2.13GHz Intel Pentium M 770; 1GB PC4200 DDR2 SDRAM 533MHz; ATI Mobility Radeon x700 128MB; Fujitsu MHV2100AH 100GB 5,400rpm

Dell XPS M170
Windows XP Media Center Edition; 2.26GHz Pentium M-780; 1GB PC 4200 DDR2 SDRAM 533MHz; Nvidia GeForce Go 7800 GTX 256MB; Fujitsu MHV2100AH 100GB 5,400rpm

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