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Acer 9800: 20-inch HD DVD laptop

Acer has just announced the world's first laptop with a 20-inch screen. This portable giant also features an HD DVD optical drive and an HDMI video output port: behold the Aspire 9800

It's official: the PC world has gone utterly big-screen crazy. Barely a week has passed since we reviewed Samsung's 19-inch laptop, and blogged rockdirect's equally large SLI alternative, but we've just been hit with another bombshell -- a 20-inch laptop from Acer.

Dubbed the Aspire 9800, this beast has a glorious six-lamp 20-inch TFT display running at a native resolution of 1,680x1,050 pixels. What's more, Acer is planning to release a version of the 9800 that incorporates an HD DVD disc drive.

The Aspire 9800 uses uses Centrino Duo architecture including a Core Duo processor, up to 2GB of DDR2 memory and the Intel 945PM chipset. Graphics arrive courtesy of an Nvidia GeForce Go 7600 graphics card with a dedicated 256MB of Turbocache memory. There's the usual assortment of video-output ports, and you even get an HDMI port with High-bandwidth Digital Concent Protection) support so you can output your HD DVD movies to a large high-definition display.

It runs Windows XP Media Center Edition and, impressively, uses two 120GB hard drives in a RAID 0 configuration to deliver 240GB of storage space. There are versions of the laptop with two hybrid TV tuner supporting digital Freeview and analogue broadcasts, and you get a substantial audio system with Dolby Digital Live support.

The base model Aspire 9800 is set for a May release date and will set you back around £1,500 -- which we think is pretty remarkable. The price of the all-singing, all-dancing HD DVD version is currently unconfirmed, but Acer has unofficially said it'll be released in June. -RR