Introducing the Toshiba Satellite P755D

While the launch of Trinity isn't too far away, it's important to remember there are still plenty of Llano notebooks available today with a lot to offer on their own. AMD's APU may be weak on the processor performance side, but the GPU side achieves something Intel historically couldn't touch: decent gaming performance at a budget price.

The problem now is that with Ivy Bridge also due soon, Sandy Bridge-based notebooks are going at fire sale prices while any of NVIDIA's 500 series graphics that haven't been rebranded also need to be purged, resulting in a substantial number of notebooks with gaming potential hanging out in Llano's neighborhood. Toshiba's Satellite P755D features AMD's fastest 35-watt Llano processor and a Blu-ray drive at a reasonably low price, but is it still going to be competitive?

As product lines age, parts get refreshed and good deals begin to appear near the end of a generation of hardware in preparation for the premiums that the next generation often commands. The same can be said for the Satellite P755D; the review unit we have on hand is essentially where the AMD-equipped versions of Toshiba's P750 series peak, condensed down to one model to make room for the new blood due over the next few months.

Toshiba Satellite P755D Specifications
Processor AMD A8-3520M
(4x1.6GHz, Turbo to 2.5GHz, 32nm, 4MB L2, 35W)
Chipset AMD A68M
Memory 1x4GB Samsung DDR3-1333 and 1x2GB Samsung DDR3-1333 (Maximum 2x8GB)
Graphics AMD Radeon HD 6620G
(400 Stream Processors, 444MHz core clock)
Display 15.6" LED Glossy 16:9 768p
LG Philips LP156WH4-TLA1
Hard Drive(s) Toshiba MK-6475GSX 640GB 5400RPM SATA 3Gbps HDD
Optical Drive TSST TS-LB23D BD-ROM/DVD-RAM
Networking Atheros AR9002WB 802.11b/g/n
Realtek PCIe Gigabit Ethernet
Bluetooth 3.0
Audio Realtek ALC269 HD Audio
Stereo speakers
Headphone and mic jacks
Battery 6-Cell, 11.1V, 47Wh
Front Side SD Card Reader
Right Side Headphone and mic jacks
2x USB 2.0
Optical drive
AC adaptor
Kensington lock
Left Side Exhaust vent
VGA
Ethernet jack
HDMI
USB 3.0
USB 2.0
Back Side -
Operating System Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit SP1
Dimensions 13.4" x 9.01" x 1.1-1.4"
340mm x 229mm x 28-36mm
Weight 5.4 lbs
2.45kg
Extras Webcam
USB 3.0
Blu-ray reader
Harmon/kardon speakers
Warranty 1-year limited
Pricing $699 MSRP
S
tarting at $678 Online

As I mentioned before, AMD's A8-3520M is the fastest APU in their mobile lineup before jumping up to the 45W TDP chips. This is a fully equipped Llano chip featuring all four cores running at a nominal 1.6GHz and able to turbo up to 2.5GHz depending on the workload and thermals. The GPU half sports the full 400 shaders, 20 texture units, and 8 ROPs, and shares a 128-bit dual-channel DDR3-1333-specced memory bus with the CPU half.

Toshiba's other big selling point with the P755D is offering a Blu-ray reader at a price the competition generally just doesn't. While this may not be of use to many users, I can tell you that I've known at least a few people who have deliberately sought out Blu-ray drives for their notebooks. Toshiba knows about those customers, and I get the feeling that the P755D is geared towards serving them specifically.

The rest of the notebook is pretty par for the course for an entry-level system, but thankfully USB 3.0 is at least becoming increasingly pervasive. It's joined by three USB 2.0 ports, HDMI, VGA, and an ethernet jack, but the battery is the kind of middling-capacity hardware you'd expect from a notebook in this end of the market. You'll also have to cope with Toshiba's slow 5,400-RPM 640GB mechanical hard drive, which gets the job done but is definitely going to be the bottom rung on the performance ladder.

Where things get a bit sketchy is that $699 price tag. Fire sale Sandy Bridge notebooks have resulted in systems from Lenovo (never thought I'd see the day the vendor of ThinkPads would aggressively chase the bottom dollar) and Acer with i5 processors and dedicated NVIDIA graphics coming in $30 to $80 below the Satellite on NewEgg. The flipside is that none of those notebooks feature a Blu-ray drive, and while that accessory is going to be of questionable value to a lot of users there's a subset that will be willing to take the performance hit to get that flexibility.

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  • jrocks84 - Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - link

    I was hoping you would consider including testing of the wifi speed in future laptop reviews. Reply
  • jjrudey - Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - link

    I have the Intel version with i7 2670QM. Pretty sure it's that. But anyway. They're really great for someone who doesn't want to spend over $1000. Reply
  • Bull Dog - Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - link

    I appreciate your rant about DRM on Batman AA. As a paying consumer, It really sucks when the pirated product is better than the legit one. Reply
  • teiglin - Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - link

    Always makes me think of one of my favorite comics: http://xkcd.com/488/
    Of course, Randall doesn't include the path the vendors hope you'll take: instead of attempting to recovery your DRM-locked files, they hope you'll simply buy the stuff again. I mean, why expect to be able to use your legitimately-purchased products indefinitely? Obviously you should be paying for the same thing every few years.

    When I was a kid, I read 20- or 25-year-old copies of Dune and even older copies of The Hobbit and the trilogy. If Amazon's DRM weren't so easy to strip, I'd never buy anything electronically from them, because as much as I love my Kindle, I can't really see passing the exact device down to my son the way my parents introduced me to their old books.
    Reply
  • duploxxx - Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - link

    toshiba satellite garbage, yet another example why you shouldn't be buying these entry level OEM HW platforms. Selling material is all they care about, not optimizing or finetuning anything at all. in the long run this is negative impression towards Toshiba users and as already mentioned in the review, typical on AMD system as if they don't care.... Reply
  • cknobman - Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - link

    Exactly. Most of what toshiba pushes nowadays (especially the satellite series) is garbage exceeding the level of crapiness that even Dell stoops too on its budget consumer grade products. Reply
  • Scannall - Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - link

    I've had an entry level Toshiba for several years now, with the AMD P320 + 4250. And it has been a solid and reliable computer. With the switch to Trinity soon, maybe after those are out these will be at fire sale prices on their Toshiba Direct site on eBay. Might be time for an upgrade. Reply
  • lazymangaka - Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - link

    I would've loved to see what a decent overclock would've done for performance. K10STAT for the win, my friends. Reply
  • frozentundra123456 - Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - link

    I really dont see the point of blu ray on such a low end product with a lousy screen. I am sure the only way to use the blu ray capabillity would be to put it out to a big screen TV. I guess you can do that, but if I had a good entertainment system like that, I would have either an HTPC or a dedicated blu ray player.

    Also, I would have been interested in seeing results with the memory upgraded to faster dual channel mode, and/or overclocking as some else already mentioned.

    Overall, to me who is not really interested in blu ray, too expensive for what you get.
    Reply
  • frozentundra123456 - Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - link

    Also, I agree with the article that Llano is close, but still not quite there overall. Worse CPU performance than intel, and still very borderline for gaming with modern titles.

    If trinity lives up to the claims made for it, it might offer gaming that is good enough for decent resolutions and quality settings.
    Reply

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