AVATAR Mercury Ultrabook AVIU-145A2 ReviewWesstron - April 30, 2013
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AVATAR Mercury Ultrabook AVIU-145A2 Closer Look:
The BIOS of the AVATAR Mercury Ultrabook AVIU-145A2 doesn't provide much in terms of options. Hitting the F2 key during boot redirects to the "Phoenix SecureCore Tiano Setup" BIOS, which is devided into five tabs; Main, Advanced, Security, Boot, and Exit. The Main tab provides options to setup the system date, system time, BIOS Level USB, and USB Legacy.
The Advanced tab provides control over some of the Intel technologies and setting up the SATA mode. This is where the ground work is done so a RAID 0 array is created between the mSATA SSD and the SATA HDD to take advantage of the Intel Smart Response Technology Acceleration feature. The Security tab offers the option to create admin and user passwords. The Boot tab provides control over the boot priority order. The Exit tab is where all changes are either saved or discarded before exiting to the OS.
The AVATAR Mercury Ultrabook AVIU-145A2 comes pre-loaded with a copy of Windows 8 Single Language Edition. This iteration of the OS restricts the Interface language to whatever comes installed by default, which is English as far as this test unit is concerned. A Windows 8 Pro upgrade will fix this in a few clicks while setting you back close to $200.The test unit I received did not take me through the whole first time boot ceremony one usually has to live through when buying a new laptop. The AVATAR Mercury Ultrabook AVIU-145A2 is fortunately – or unfortunately, depending on personal preference – free of bloatware. I mean 100% free and to me it’s a great idea not to impose mostly useless branded junk on the users.
I will not go through the Windows 8 OS but will refer you to the great How To Install Windows 8 Guide made by our dear Guest_Jim_*. I will however show you the few steps that need to be performed OS side to enable the acceleration feature through Intel Smart Response Technology. This feature will accelerate the storage system by using part of the available SSD drive as a cache device. A noticeable overall performance boost is thus gained and the system should feel snappier. This is achieved by starting the Intel Rapid Storage Technology application then selecting the Accelerate tab. Then, by clicking on the “Enable acceleration” link, the user will be presented to a pop-up window to select the proper settings depending on the available drives. Last step is to hit the OK button and Voilà!
Considering that the AVATAR Mercury Ultrabook AVIU-145A2 does not come with a DVD drive, I would suggest to whoever decides to buy one to backup a little folder called "Avatar" situated on the C: drive. It has all the needed drivers and would come in handy in case the provided CD is misplaced or damaged.