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
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
Ethernet jack
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
Extras Webcam
USB 3.0
Blu-ray reader
Harmon/kardon speakers
Warranty 1-year limited
Pricing $699 MSRP
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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  • JarredWalton - Thursday, April 12, 2012 - link

    There's a setting in AMD's control panel called PowerPlay. Set that for Maximum Performance and you shouldn't have any downclocking (except maybe on high-end parts like the 5870, 6870, etc. and above?) Using those settings, the AMD "test Llano" laptop lasted 161 minutes doing "gaming" while on battery power. I don't think Dustin tested the Toshiba, but it would be less most likely (given the other battery life numbers are all lower)--probably around two hours, give or take. By contrast, the Sony VAIO SE with a 49Wh battery and 6630M (and better gaming performance overall) lasted 90 minutes in the same test. I'm not sure how pertinent "gaming on battery" tests are, though -- most people I know don't usually play many complex/demanding games on laptops while unplugged.
  • kamm2 - Thursday, April 12, 2012 - link

    As mentioned in the article, the case on these laptops is not very desireable. A coworker bought a P755 for his daughter and I helped set it up. My wife needed a new laptop and the price and specs were good so I was very close to buying one. I just couldn't do it though due to the cheap feel of the case and trackpad buttons.
  • stimudent - Friday, April 13, 2012 - link

    I have an A8-3550MX for about a month now. It can comfortably run four computational chemistry projects while playing a Blu-ray. It has been a pleasure to use too for everything else in between.
    The only problem may come when the computational projects tap into the GPUs causing a slight hesitation in the Blu-ray playback.
  • Etern205 - Saturday, April 21, 2012 - link

    I currently still have my Toshiba, but I got their business line up the Tecra. It's was the very first Intel dual core @ 1.8GHz, 512MB DDR2, 80GB SATA HDD, and Intel IGP. I later on upgrade my HDD to 160GB and installed Vista Home Premium 32bit upgrade it to 2GB and Vista runs great. No lags or slow responses where other notebooks may require more ram just to work properly.
    I like Toshiba, but their configurations sucks big time. Let's say you want a system with a decent GPU, then must get their 17" models. I want a 13" or so with a decent GPU, but I see none of in their line up. Even their GPU in their 17" model aren't that great compare to others.

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