Features and Options

Unlike many other notebook manufacturers, Toshiba doesn't provide a lot of options for configuring their notebooks. The Satellite X205 comes in two different models, the lower end S9349 and the upgraded S9359. We were sent the high-end model, although most of the differences are relatively minor. Here's a breakdown of the two different configurations.

Toshiba X205 System Configuration Options
S9349 S9359
Processor Core 2 Duo T7100 (1.80GHz, 2MB L2, 800FSB) Core 2 Duo T7300 (2.00GHz, 4MB L2, 800FSB)
Chipset Intel GM965 + ICH8-ME
FSB Speed 667 MHz
Memory Speed DDR2-667
Memory Slots (2) x SO-DIMM, 2GB DDR2-667 Standard
4GB Maximum Supported
Graphics NVIDIA GeForce 8700M GT 256MB
Up to 255MB TurboCache
NVIDIA GeForce 8700M GT 512MB
Up to 255MB TurboCache
2D Clocks: 169/100
3D Clocks: 625/700
Display 17" WXGA+ TruBright (1440x900) 17" WSXGA+ TruBright (1680x1050)
Expansion Slots 1 x ExpressCard/54
Hard Drives 2 x 120GB 5400RPM SATA (non-RAID) 2 x 160GB 5400RPM SATA (non-RAID)
Optical Drive HD DVD/DVDR SuperMulti
Networking/Communications Integrated 10/100/1000 Ethernet and V.90 56K Modem
Intel 4965AGN (802.11A/B/G/N) WiFi
Bluetooth v2.0
Audio Realtek HD Audio with Four (Stereo) Harmon Kardon Speakers
Left Ports Power Jack
VGA
1 x Gigabit Ethernet
2 x USB
S-Video Out
HDMI
1 x mini-Firewire
1 x ExpressCard/54
Right Ports 4 x USB 2.0
Modem (RJ-11)
HD DVD Optical Drive
Kensington Lock
Front Ports WiFi On/Off Switch
S/PDIF Out, Mic, Speakers, Headphone
Volume Knob
Flash reader (SD, MS/Pro, MMC, xD)
Back Ports None
Keyboard 104 Key QWERTY (US) with 10 Key Pad
Extras 1.3MP Webcam
6 quick access buttons
USB TV tuner and remote
Flare Carmine lid
Fingerprint Reader
1024MB Intel Turbo Memory
Quick Launch Touchpad
Battery Options 9-Cell 65WHr
Dimensions 15.7"x11.3"x1.88-2.44" (WxDxH)
9.37 lbs. (Laptop and Battery)
Power Adapter 180W 6.73"x1.73"x1.42" (LxDxH) 1.94 lbs.
Operating System Windows Vista Ultimate 32-bit

As you might expect, the S9359 comes with an upgraded processor, using the T7300 instead of the T7100. Besides the additional 200 MHz clock speed, the T7300 also doubles the L2 cache size. The S9349 uses the same graphics chip -- the GeForce 8700M GT -- but it only includes half as much graphics memory. We aren't certain if the clock speeds are the same on the GPUs, but we would assume so.

While doubling the amount of graphics memory might not be a big deal, a couple of the other upgrades might be more tempting. Specifically, the S9359 comes with a 1680x1050 LCD panel instead of a 1440x900 panel. It also uses two 160GB hard drives instead of two 120GB hard drives, increasing total hard drive capacity by 33%.

Are all of the upgrades worth an extra $500? Ultimately, that's up to the individual to decide, but we would certainly consider investing the extra money. Other than selecting the base model, additional configuration options are pretty much limited to choosing accessories as well as whether or not you want an extended warranty and/or accident protection.

Taking a moment to highlight a few of the notable features, the inclusion of an HD-DVD drive as well as an HDMI output port definitely makes this more of a multimedia laptop than many competing offerings. It's also nice to see that Toshiba does the right thing and installs 2GB of memory on both models, especially since Windows Vista Ultimate is the only operating system choice. While Toshiba does install two hard drives in either model, note that they are not in a RAID configuration. Some people might prefer to have a RAID 0 setup, but we actually much prefer having two separate hard drives.

The audio configuration is somewhat unique, in that there are actually four speakers on the top of the laptop. Considering that HD audio support is included, we expected the speakers to provide four separate sound channels. This is not the case: the speakers are a stereo configuration. That's not a huge problem, but we were surprised to discover that the four audio jacks on the front of the laptop don't actually support anything other than stereo audio output... at least when using analog audio. Switch over to the digital connection or use the HDMI port, and you should be able to output a digital audio stream. (We'll be testing that in part two, as mentioned already.)

Most of the other options are the same as what you'd see on any modern 17" notebook, with the possible exception of the wireless networking. More and more laptops are moving towards including Intel's latest chipset, and Toshiba does that as well. The 4965AGN provides Draft-N WiFi support, along with the standard 802.11 A/B/G. As mentioned previously, however, Draft-N networking is still a bit hit or miss, and stability and network disconnects seem to occur far more frequently in that mode.

Rounding out the multimedia aspects of this notebook, Toshiba includes an external USB TV tuner and remote. You also get a 1.3MP webcam, 1024MB Intel Turbo Memory, and a "Flare Camino" decorative cover that we'll take a closer look at on the next page. A fingerprint reader is also included.

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  • torrent180 - Thursday, September 6, 2007 - link

    I have a question for X205 owners. How serious is the issue of the weight and size? I find it really hard to judge from the pics. Is it portable enough or would you really not take it out of the house?

    Thanks
    Reply
  • Inkjammer - Saturday, September 8, 2007 - link

    My X205 os slightly bulky, but I don't think it weighs that much at all. It's large, but portable. My old Alienware M7700 (Clevo D900T) felt like it weighed almost twice as much. It was slightly smaller, but weighed much, much less. Reply
  • torrent180 - Saturday, September 8, 2007 - link

    So it's worth it eh, your happy with it right, no regrets? Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, September 6, 2007 - link

    My personal take is that it's bigger than any other 17" laptop I've used, so it required a larger bag than the 17" bag I have. Weight isn't my primary concern, but size... well, it could be better. Still, I don't think anyone that's after a true DTR is going to care too much. People looking for more portable laptops are probably already discounting 17" chassis designs. Reply
  • Inkjammer - Friday, August 31, 2007 - link

    I'd just like to chime in that jumping up to the 163.44 drivers available from www.laptopvideo2go.com does make quite a bit of difference in performance gaming wise -vs- the standard drivers available from Toshiba's website. My framerates were a somewhat smoother after making the driver jump.

    From what I understand, the 8700GT can be overclocked further with RivaTune and the 163.44 drivers rather nicely. I've not tested it on my x205 - yet. I've gotta re-install Vista Ultimate since I'm upgrading the primary HD in the system (the Hitachi hybrid-HD) to a Hitachi Travelstar 7K200 200GB drive.

    If the 8700GT does, in fact, OC well it may add a lot more value to the system.

    Although, I do find one thing about your review setup odd. My x205's primary 160GB HD is a Hitachi HTS541616J9A00 Hybrid HD w/392MB (387MB reorted) of flash while the secondary is a Toshiba MK1637GSX.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, August 31, 2007 - link

    Exactly how do you make the 163.44 drivers work? I grabbed them and have now wasted the past two hours attempting to make them work. There's no INF for the 163.44 drivers on LV2G, so I tried to hack one together and apparently failed. Miserably. My experience in the past has been that the regular driver updates are not remotely optimized for the laptop chipsets, but if that's not the case here I'd certainly be interested in giving it a shot.

    The second question is what you use for overclocking the GPU. Coolbits doesn't work under Vista, as far as I can see. What's the recommended utility? Personally, I don't think unofficial overclocking really adds that much value to a laptop. Remember: the 8700M GT is simply a clock speed increase relative to the 8600M GT. The 8600M GT is supposed to run at 475MHz, while the 8700M is speced for 625MHz. (RAM speed is the same 1400 MHz DDR in both cases.) There's almost certainly a bit more headroom available, but I'm not one to recommend pushing a laptop to the limits in terms of cooling.

    As for the hard drives, I can guarantee that the two drives are the same in my particular test unit. However, it could be that shipping retail models switched to a hybrid drive. I don't know if this particular unit was manufactured several months earlier or might even be a prototype.

    Regards,
    Jarred Walton
    Senior Editor, Displays and Laptops
    http://www.AnandTech.com">http://www.AnandTech.com
    Reply
  • Inkjammer - Friday, August 31, 2007 - link

    I had the same problem with the INF at first - it's somewhat hidden. On their driver list for Vista, instead of clicking the download link, click the driver version number (163.44) and it will take you to a forum posting that has far more indepth information, plus a direct link to the INF. It's also got a good amount of information, errata and known isues that the site and users that has been found while using the newer drivers.

    Windows Vista 32-bit Drivers
    http://www.laptopvideo2go.com/forum/index.php?show...">http://www.laptopvideo2go.com/forum/index.php?show...

    Direct link to the modified INF:
    http://www.laptopvideo2go.com/infs/160series/16344...">http://www.laptopvideo2go.com/infs/160series/16344...

    My system came with a Hitachi HHD drive as primary, but I honestly can't tell if there's any benefit from it. Upon first boot, my X205 took near ten minutes to load up primary due to bloatware. I'm not sure if the test unit you received had a lot of pre-installed software, but mine had more than I'd ever seen before on any system. Wiping the drive and installing from a Vista DVD was almost a must - which is unfortunate for this laptop.
    Reply
  • LoneWolf15 - Tuesday, September 4, 2007 - link

    quote:

    My system came with a Hitachi HHD drive as primary, but I honestly can't tell if there's any benefit from it. Upon first boot, my X205 took near ten minutes to load up primary due to bloatware. I'm not sure if the test unit you received had a lot of pre-installed software, but mine had more than I'd ever seen before on any system. Wiping the drive and installing from a Vista DVD was almost a must - which is unfortunate for this laptop.


    Sounds like the last Toshiba I've worked on...between the extras, and the Toshiba apps, it was nothing short of horrible. The worst part is, it's very hard to tell which Toshiba apps are necessary, and the ones that the average user might consider useful often have several memory-resident apps that take a ton of RAM and really slow boot time. It was worse than any other vendor I've seen to date (including HP, Dell, etc.)
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, September 4, 2007 - link

    I don't recall it taking that long to boot up when I first started the system, but then I probably wasn't paying close attention. First boot of Windows Vista always seems to take quite a while. Anyway, there's definitely a lot of preinstalled software that isn't necessary. I hinted at this on page 3: "Toshiba places a large sticker on the palm rest that lists most of the laptop features, along with providing an advertisement for Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2. Given the large advertisement, we were a bit surprised that the game isn't even included (though plenty of other software comes preinstalled)." I probably should have been more specific, but I will say more on this in the follow-up article.

    As far as getting rid of all of the bloatware, I didn't find it to be that difficult. Yes, it took about an hour and several reboots to uninstall all of the extra stuff (Wild Tangent games, McAfee Security Suite, Microsoft Office 2007 trial, etc.) but once done the system ran quite well. It's pretty irritating when I think about how many users will never get around to uninstalling all the extra junk, though.
    Reply
  • strikeback03 - Friday, August 31, 2007 - link

    Considering Toshiba's past problems with overheating notebooks, lots of space for cooling is probably not a bad thing. Reply

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