Three Budget AMD Brazos-Based Notebooks Rounded Up

Toshiba C655D-S5126 (C655D-Series)

The only other notebook that we pulled directly from Best Buy is Toshiba’s Satellite C655D. This notebook costs $349.99 and uses a Zacate (rather than an Ontario) APU. There are multiple C655D submodels that utilize the E-240, the single-core version of the more powerful E-350 used on HP's dm1z. The graphics core is still clocked at 500 MHz, but one of the CPU cores is disabled. As a result, performance suffers in any program that benefits from parallelism.

You wouldn’t be able to guess from lifting it that this notebook tries to slide by with a single-core processor. Its weight leaves you expecting at least dual-core performance. The thickness of the ABS case is slightly greater than the Gateway, and there is no piano black finish, which makes it more suitable for use in well-lit rooms. However, the top of the notebook and palm rest areas have a texture that is similar to holographic mouse pads. It’s a design that provides good grip. But because it's polished, accumulated skin oil becomes noticeable. Even if you are a light user, you probably would be tempted to reach for a wipe after a few days of use, though this notebook is still an improvement over notebooks with glossy finishes.

The touchpad picks up fingerprint oil much faster, so after a day of use you’ll want to clean it off. The touchpad buttons have a bit too much resistance and too little depression depth, but the slight curvature raises the profile to compensate for how far back they are recessed.

The keyboard is an improvement over the one used on the NV51B08u. The keys are larger, which makes typing easier for those with bigger hands. In addition, the number pad is slightly offset to the side. This feature provides a typing experience that is much closer to typing on a typical desktop PC.

Audio on the C655D is much better than what we hear on the NV51B08u. While the notebook doesn’t have high-quality stereo speakers, they are well-placed and allow for balanced output. These are some of the cheapest, smallest speakers we’ve seen on a 15.6” notebook.

Even though the C655D is comparably-priced to the NV51B series, this notebook is the only Brazos-based notebook in our roundup that lacks an HDMI port. Generally, people aren’t highly mobile with 15.6” notebooks. However, if you plan to use this in the media room, you’ll want to consider other options.

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