Won't sell Surface? You won't have a choice if we buy you!

Subject: General Tech | February 4, 2013 - 01:02 PM |
Tagged: dell, microsoft, purchase

It is a bit of an exaggeration to entertain the thought that Microsoft is involved in buying Dell so that they will finally have a supplier that will have to sell Surface tablets but you can bet there will be some Dell branded Win8 ultra-portables bearing touchscreens released in the near future.  Microsoft and Dell have been close partners for quite a while, on the retail side but more importantly on the enterprise side and there will not be any changes to that partnership if Microsoft does indeed purchase a part of Dell.  What might change drastically is Dell's product lineup; with no stockholders demanding a steady dribble of short term profits regardless of the effect of long term profits Dell will be free to develop products and product lines which might be more varied.  That does not guarantee success in the development and sales of new products, but it will be interesting to see what Dell comes up with if the sale does go through.  On the other hand it could be that Dell's allegiance will be torn between the various companies involved in this buy out and that innovation will be stifled by it.  Get more predictions from The Register right here.

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"It’s a comment on the times that Dell floated in 1988, just as IBM compatible PCs – systems running Intel chips fused with the then-new Windows operating system – were exploding into people's homes and workplaces, taking the PC from the hands of enthusiasts. Two decades later, Dell's going private as PC sales tumble at the expense of tablets while web2.0 companies such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Zynga are the ones listing."

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Source: The Register

Could Dell finally awaken the Penguin with Linux powered XPS machines?

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | December 4, 2012 - 01:28 PM |
Tagged: XPS 13, ultrabook, ubuntu 12.04, ubuntu, sputnik, linux, dell

Dell's XPS 13 Developer Edition is branded as an Ultrabook but it has two significant differences; a custom built Ubuntu distro and a price $250 higher than Dell's other Ultrabook offering.  Those two points are somewhat interrelated as Dell will be offering support equivalent to Windows powered machines which means new training, procedures and staffing which can be expensive to set up.  There is another reason the price is so high which is the hardware as, even the base model comes with a 256GB SSD; the rest of the hardware is pretty standard, an i7-3517U, 8GB DDR3 and no discrete video card.  It is hard to say if sticking the Developer Edition moniker on the machine will encourage people to purchase this ultrabook, if you are curious check out more at The Inquirer.

XPS13_Ubuntu.png

"TIN BOX FLOGGER Dell's decision to put arguably its best laptop on sale preloaded with Ubuntu Linux shows not only how far desktop Linux has come but how far Microsoft has fallen.

Dell announced its Project Sputnik earlier this year to a warm if not ecstatic reception. The firm had preloaded Linux onto its consumer machines before but they were hard to find and on forgettable machines. However with the XPS 13 the firm is not only loading Linux on its most high profile laptop but showing that Microsoft's operating system isn't the only choice in town for OEMs and consumers alike."

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Source: The Inquirer
Author:
Subject: Systems
Manufacturer: Dell

The Dell All-in-One

 

Reviewers, at times, can be somewhat myopic.  I speak for myself in this particular instance.  My job as a writer is to test hardware on a daily basis, and as such I have a very keen understanding (or so I hope) of the intricacies of computer design.  If I need to build a machine, whether for test purposes or something that my wife can play Song Pop on, I have a near infinite variety of components that I can choose from to fit the needs of the project.  As such, we often forget that not everyone has that level of expertise.  Most people, in fact, just want to be able to buy something that not only fits their needs, but also simply just has to work.

xps_pack01.jpg

Dog is unimpressed with packaging.  UPS complained profusely though.

This is the reason why we have the Dells, HPs, and Lenovos of the world.  The vast majority of people out there are unwilling to build their own machine and support it themselves.  They neither have the time nor patience to dive in and learn the ins and outs of a modern PC and the software that runs them.  This is not a bad thing.  Just as I do not have the patience to learn how to sew, I still like wearing clothes.  At least during our podcasts.  For the most part.

We must also admit that we are moving well away from the typical beige box that dominated the 90s and early 2000s.  Manufacturers have a much better eye for not only functionality, but also aesthetics.  No longer do we have the hulking CRTs of yesteryear, and neither do we have the large boxes that are nearly indistinguishable from one or another.  Multiple form factors abound and these large manufacturers have design teams that pay very close attention to things like compatibility, power consumption, and thermal dissipation.  With these things in mind, they are able to create unique devices that not just serve the needs of consumers, but also just simply work.

Apple has been at the forefront of this type of design for quite some time.  This is a company that has prized fit, finish, and functionality far more than they have pursued cost cutting and homogenization.  This has lead to much higher margins for the company, and a nearly rabid following by the people buying their platforms.  We certainly can argue that they probably perfected the “all-in-one” machine back in the Macintosh days, and since that time they have not stood still.  The iMac was a further advancement in that field, but the introduction of relatively inexpensive and large LCD panels allowed them to further shrink the all-in-one.  It also allowed them to further sculpt the design into what we see today.

xps_pack02.jpg

Everything is nicely supported in the box.

Obviously people around the industry have noticed this trend, and noticed the devoted following of the Apple consumers.  It is hard to miss.  The world is a big place though, and surely there are people who crave the type of design that Apple pushes, but do not necessarily want to jump on that particular bandwagon.  Dell has recognized this and created their XPS One lineup of products.  Not everyone wants to run OSX and pay the Apple tax.  If this is the case for a reader, then this might be the product that catches their attention.

Continue reading our review of the new Dell XPS One 27-in PC!!

IFA: Dell Unveils Two XPS Tablets, One All-In-One System Running Windows RT and Windows 8

Subject: Mobile | August 31, 2012 - 04:00 AM |
Tagged: xps 12 ultrabook, xps 10 tablet, windows rt, windows 8, ultrabook, tablet, ifa, dell, convertible tablet, all-in-one

The IFA 2012 (Internationale Funkausstellung Berlin) electronics show is in full swing today and will be a week-long event where we should see several new product announcements similar in form to CES and Computex. That means photos, videos, and hands-on time with lots of new and shiny hardware. Earlier this week, ASUS announced two new tablets, and now Dell is jumping into the fray with three new XPS computers running Windows 8!

Dell is set up with displays at this years IFA 2012 conference where it is showing off several new systems running Windows 8 and Windows 8 RT. The company is preparing offerings on all fronts with a tablet, ultrabook, and all-in-one desktop running Microsoft's upcoming operating system: the XPS 10 tablet, XPS Duo 12 Ultrabook, and the XPS One 27 All-In-One (AIO) PC respectively.

The Dell XPS 10 is a new tablet that resembles the Asus Transformer due to its dock-able nature. The tablet will be powered by an ARM processor and will run the accompanying Windows RT version of Windows 8. The 10" tablet has rounded corners along with a glossy black front and silver-colored trim around the bezel. The only physical button on the face of the device is the Windows Start button. It can be docked with a keyboard and trackpad combo to turn the tablet into a portable laptop as well.

IFA - XPS 10.jpg

Alternatively, the XPS Duo 12 steps up the build quality and specifications and packs it into a convertible tablet. While it will need to be tested independently to determine how well it's built, the materials Dell is using are a step up from the XPS 10 as the Duo 12 is constructed using machined aluminum, carbon fiber, and the display is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass. Not too shabby for an ultraportable! Unfortunately, there are no specifications on the internal hardware, but you can expect it to be running an AMD or Intel-based x86-64 CPU as this convertible tablet is running Windows 8. On the outside, Dell has stated that the display will have a resolution of 1920x1080.

XPS Duo 12 convertible Ultrabook with Windows 8.jpg

The company has gone an interesting direction to make the Duo 12 a convertible laptop. Instead of turning the laptop lid around a vertical axis like the Dell Latitude XT (yes, I'm overdue for a laptop upgrade heh), the Duo 12 has a traditional laptop lid and horizontal hinge. Instead of swiveling the entire lid, the Duo 12 only flips around the display itself. It is not a completely new design, but it is relatively rare compared to the much more popular Transformer-style docks. Assuming it's solidly built, I think this design is actually superior than the company's other convertible offerings as the hinge should be much stronger and the display should be less wobbly when typing.

XPS One 27 All-in-One desktop with Windows 8.jpg

The XPS Duo 12 further features an integrated keyboard and trackpad along with at least two USB ports and an SD card reader. The keys do not look like they have much, if any, travel but otherwise it looks like a really neat machine (I'm also biased in favor of convertible tablets though... yeah I'm one of "those" geeks hehe). The biggest question in my mind about this tablet is pricing, however. If Dell prices it in like with the similarly spec'd Surface, I think it would sell fairly well. On the other hand, if they go the opposite route and price it at a couple thousand as a premium convertible tablet, I do not see it doing well against ultrabooks and Microsoft's upcoming Surface.

Finally, Dell showed off an updated version of its 27" All-In-One desktop PC that will come equipped with a touchscreen. As an update to the currently available XPS 27 AIO, the new model will add a touchscreen panel to the 2560x1440 IPS "Wide Quad HD" (whatever that is heh) panel. You can also expect the computer to be powered by third-generation "Ivy Bridge" Core i5 or Core i7 Intel processors, up to 8GB of DDR3 1600MHz RAM, and up to 2TB of hard drive storage along with a 32GB solid state drive. The system will run the x64 version of Windows 8 and you can expect it to cost around (but a bit more than) the current XPS 27 AIO thanks to the addition of the touchscreen input device. For reference, current (non-touchscreen) XPS 27 models range from $1,399.99 to $1,899.99 USD.

I think that Dell is off to a good start with Windows 8 support. Nothing mind-blowing but they still look like interesting additions and updates to the company's product lineup. The biggest factor in me being personally interested in these machines is the price, and unfortunately Dell has not yet released that bit of information. Dell has stated that they will be available once Windows 8 launches, which is October 26th

What do you think of Dell's Windows 8 PC offerings?

Dell has made the full press release available on its website, and you can see more photos of the new Windows 8 XPS computers after the break!

Read more about ARM-powered Windows 8 RT devices on PC Perspective.

Source: Dell

WinRT spreads to the major vendors after they touched the Surface

Subject: General Tech | August 14, 2012 - 02:54 PM |
Tagged: winRT, asus, dell, Lenovo, Samsung, microsoft, arm

When Microsoft released their Surface tablet/notebook, the tech community wondered if this move by a software company would upset the Tier 1 hardware vendors who might not want the competition.  That discussion was ended when Microsoft announced that Surface was a proof of concept and would be released in very limited qualities.  Today The Inquirer reports on upcoming mobile devices running on ARM hardware and WinRT from all the major vendors, giving us a rough idea what to expect in the way of performance.  The quoted specs include user interface animations at 60FPS and touchscreen sampling rates of 100Hz per finger.  Battery life will be impressive, 320 hours and 409 hours of standby time and for video playback you can expect 8-13 hours of HD playtime, though they do not talk about the quality of that playback.

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"SOFTWARE DEVELOPER Microsoft has revealed Asus, Dell, Lenovo and Samsung Windows RT devices will be available at the launch of the operating system.

Microsoft has been playing a very dangerous game with its Surface tablet hogging the Windows RT limelight, something that its long-term and invaluable partners will not like. Now the company has come out and said that Asus, Dell, Lenovo and Samsung will also have Windows RT devices when the operating system launches later this year."

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Source: The Inquirer

Just when you thought that books would stop being ultra

Subject: General Tech | June 26, 2012 - 02:31 PM |
Tagged: ultrabook, Ivy Bridge, hp, dell

About the only nice thing to be said about the Ultrabook is that it is doing better than the previous CULV form factor Intel tried.  While there are a group of consumers who praise the Ultrabook, the machines never actually lived up to the specifications Intel used to define an Ultrabook.  Battery life and size have for the most part lived up to the design specifications but boot time and price certainly have not ... at least at the same time.  The inclusion of an SSD capable of quickly resuming from sleep tends to move the price north of the $1000 price limit, as do the materials used in the chassis to keep the size and weight down. 

Ivy Bridge is helping, as the price of the processor comes down as does the thermals but DigiTimes suggests that this may be overshadowed by a shortage of both thin screens and metal chassis which will offset any reduction in processor expense.  That hasn't stopped Dell who have announced two new Ultrabook models, the XPS 14 base model has an i5-3317U, 4GB DDR3-1333 and a 500GB HDD for about $1200 or the larger XPS 16 whose base model has an i5-3210M and a GT 630M as well as a HDD which will go for roughly $750-800USD.  Both models are over 2kg and neither truly fits the definition of an Ultrabook nor does The Inquirer find anything more attractive about them than a Macbook.  They are better than the HP Envy which was recently released at $600 which is inexpensive but as Matt Smith pointed out, that AMD A-Series in that Envy sleekbook is going to disappoint a lot of buyers when it comes to performance. 

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"Dell's range of XPS laptops, which are now labeled as ultrabooks in order to keep in step with Intel's latest branding, has been headed by the well received XPS 13, however the company has significantly updated its XPS 14 and introduced the XPS 15. According to the firm the XPS 14 is all about battery life while the XPS 15 is pitched at those who want to do content creation and video playback."

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Source: The Inquirer

Dell Crafting Ubuntu-based Notebook for Developers With Project Sputnik

Subject: General Tech | June 26, 2012 - 09:27 AM |
Tagged: ubuntu, sputnik, software, programming, linux, dell, computing

Dell recently announced that it is turning to an open source Linux OS to craft a developer focused operating system. Enabled by Dell’s incubation program (and accompanying monetary funding), the pilot program – named Project Sputnik – is based on Dell’s XPS13 ultrabook and the Ubuntu 12.04 LTS OS.

Ubuntu_XPS13.jpg

The Project Sputnik program will run for six months. Its goal is to create the ideal hardware and software platform for software developers. Currently, that means using Dell’s XPS13 laptop and a customized version of the Ubuntu 12.04 Linux OS. The team behind the initiative are working closely with Canonical (Ubuntu developers) to put together a custom Ubuntu image with stripped down software, custom drivers, and only the software packages that developers want.

The team wants to make it easy for software programmers to get a hold of the programing languages and environments that they need to do their jobs. It will have integration with GitHub for coding projects as well.

In the video below Barton George, Director of Marketing for Dell, talks about the Project Sputnik program and how they hope to craft a laptop aimed directly at developers.

It is an interesting program, and I hope that it does well. You can find more information about Project Sputnik and how you can get involved at the Dell website.

Source: Dell

Dell Revamps Back-to-School Portfolio With New Laptops

Subject: Mobile | June 7, 2012 - 06:37 AM |
Tagged: laptop, inspiron special edition, inspiron 14z, inspiron, dell, back-to-school

Dell is gearing up for the back-to-school shopping season with a refresh of its Inspiron laptop portfolio. They are releasing updated laptops in its Inspiron Z, Inspiron R, and Inspiron R Special Edition computers in several sizes. The systems range in starting/base prices of $599.99 USD and $1,299.99 USD and will be available in June (more specific numbers below).

Dell recently announced that it is releasing a number of new laptops under its Inspiron brand. The three sub-series that are receiving updates include the Inspiron Z, Inspiron R, and Inspiron R Special Edition. The Inspiron Z laptops are thin and light notebooks (the 14z is classed as an Ultrabook) while the Inspiron R series are larger products for everyday computing. The Inspiron R Special Edition notebooks are paired with “studio-quality multimedia and audio.”

The new laptops feature curved edges, a “Moon Silver” band around the edges, Waves MaxxAudio technology, and Skullcandy brand speakers. Sam Burd, Dell’s Vice President for the Personal Computing Product Group stated that “the expanded and redesigned Inspiron family helps parents embrace technology and make a smart investment in their childrens’ success.” Needless to say, the company is pushing the computers hard as college friendly, especially the thin and light Inspiron Z laptops.

Inspiron Z Laptops - Thin & Light

The new Inspiron Z series comes in 13” and 14” varieties with the Inspiron 13z and Inspiron 14z respectively. The thin and light models will offer mobile broadband radios with Dell’s NetReady service which is a “pay-as-you-go” no contract service. Further, both notebooks offer around seven hours of claimed battery life (the 13z claims 7.5 hours, to be more specific, versus 7 on 14z).

Inspiron 13z

The 13z is the smallest notebook of the updated lineup. It features Intel’s latest Ivy Bridge processors and HD 4000 graphics, six GB of DDR4 memory, a 500GB hard drive, and non-replaceable battery offering up to seven and a half hours. The hardware then powers a 13.3” TrueLife display with a resolution of 1366x768. It will be available in Moon Silver, Fire Red, and Lotus Pink colors. Further, it weights 3.81 pounds (1.73Kg) and measures .82” thick.

in13z_bnb_shot01_sl.jpg

The full specifications of the device can be found below:

 

• Beautiful color options with SWITCH lids: Moon Silver (standard), Lotus Pink, Fire Red
• Standard 2nd Gen Intel Core i3 with HD Graphics 3000 or available 3rd Gen Intel Core i5 and i7
CPUs and HD Graphics 4000ii pack plenty of performance into this surprisingly slim chassis
o 2nd Generation Intel Core i3-2367M processor (3MB cache, up to 1.4GHz) (standard)
o 3rd Generation Intel Core i5-3317U processor (3MB cache, up to 2.6GHz)
• 6GB dual channel memoryii
• 500GB Hard Drive
• 13.3-inch high definition (720p) WLED display with Truelife (1366x768 standard)
• Battery life up to 7 hrs 30 min (with Intel Core i3 processor, 6GB memory and 320GB hard
drive). Dell Inspiron 13z batteries are built into the laptop and are not replaceable by the
customer
• Waves MaxxAudio 4 audio; Skullcandy speakers
• Intel Wireless Display supports streaming 1080p & 5.1 surround sound wirelessly
• HDMI 1.4a output for HD entertainment and HD aspect Webcam with pre-loaded Skype
• USB 3.0 (2); USB 3.0 PowerShare (1); RJ45 Ethernet; HDMI v1.4; 8-in-1 media card reader;
Bluetooth 4.0 (standard)
• Height: 0.82”-0.82” (20.7mm – 20.7mm); Width: 13.07” (332mm); Depth: 9.05” (230mm)
• Weight: Starting at 3.81 lbs (1.73 Kg)
• Starting price: $599.99
• U.S. availability: June 19

 

The Inspiron 13z will be available June 19th in the US and Canada (already available elsewhere) starting at $599.99 USD.

in13z_bnb_shot01_sl_switch_B.jpg

The Inspiron 13z will come in three colors.

Inspiron 14z

The 14z is the company’s second ultrabook (the first being the XPS 13), and the first Inspiron branded ultrabook. It starts at 4.12 pounds (1.87Kg) and .83” thick and will be available in Moon Silver and Fire Red (coming later this summer) with a brushed aluminum textured finish. It will feature Intel’s Rapid Start Technology to improve boot times and features a claimed seven hours of battery life.

in14z_bnb_shot03_sl.jpg

Full specifications for the 14z are as follows:

 

• Beautiful aluminum finish in Moon Silver or optional Fire Redi
• Standard 2nd Gen Intel Core i3 with HD Graphics 3000ii or available 3rd Gen Intel Core i5 and i7
CPUs and HD Graphics 4000ii pack plenty of performance into this surprisingly slim chassis
o 2nd Generation Intel Core i3-2367M processor (3MB cache, up to 1.4GHz) (standard)
o 3rd Generation Intel Core i5-3317U processor (3MB cache, up to 2.6GHz)
o 3rd Generation Intel Core i7-3517U processor (4MB cache, up to 3.0GHz)
• Memory options from 6GB (standard) up to 8GB dual channel memoryii
• Hard drive options: 500GB with 32GB mSATA cardiii; optional 128GB SSDiii
• AMD Radeon HD 7570M with 1GB GDDR5 graphicsii (option with Core i5 and i7 configuration)
• 14-inch high definition (720p) WLED display (1366x768 standard)
• Battery life up to 7 hrs 01 min (with Intel Core i7 processor, 8GB memory, AMD 7570M 1GB
graphics, and 500GB hard drive). Dell Inspiron 14z batteries are built into the laptop and are
not replaceable by the customer
• Waves MaxxAudio 3 audio; Skullcandy speakers
• Intel Smart Response Technology quickly recognizes and caches most frequently used files and
applications, allowing quick access
• Intel Rapid Start Technology boots in seconds; resumes in seconds; saves power when sleeping.
• HDMI 1.4a output for HD entertainment and HD aspect Webcam with pre-loaded Skypevi
• USB 3.0 (1); USB 3.0 PowerShare (1); RJ45 Ethernet; HDMI v1.4; 3-in-1 media card reader;
Bluetooth 4.0
• Height: 0.81”-0.83” (20.7mm – 21mm); Width: 13.66” (347mm); Depth: 9.45” (240mm)
•Weight: Starting at 4.12 lbs (1.87 Kg)vii
The Inspiron 14z is able to use up to an Intel Core i7 3517U and is packing a 32GB mSATA SSD. It will be available in the US and Canada on June 19 (already available in select countries in Asia, coming later this summer to the EU) with a starting price of $699.99 USD.

Inspiron R Laptops - Everyday Computing

The Inspiron R notebooks are aimed at everyday computing and feature HD displays, Waves MaxxAudio 3 technology, lots of connectivity ports, and have several different processor, memory, and hard drive combinations available to users. They support Intel’s WiDi technology that can wireless transmit video and audio to your home theater setup. They come in 15” and 17” models as the 15R and 17R respectively.

Inspiron 15R

The 15R comes in four colors including Moon Silver, Lotus Pink, Fire Red, and Peacock Blue. The Laptop measures up to 1.34” thick and weighs in at 6.05 pounds (2.744Kg). It comes with Intel’s WiDi to hook up to external displays but it does feature a built-in 15.6” WLED display with 1366x768 resolution. The company claims that the laptop can get up to 6 hours and 46 minutes when equipped with an i5 CPU, 4GB memory, and 500GB mechanical hard drive. Processor options can include either a Sandy Bridge Core i3-2370M processor, Ivy Bridge i5-3210M, or Ivy Bridge i7-3612QM processor running at 2.4GHz, 2.9GHz, and 3.1GHz respectively. Users can select either 6GB or 8GB of DDR3 memory and up to a 1TB 5400 RPM hard drive. Connectivity options include HDMI 1.4a, three USB 3.0, USB 3.0 PowerShare, Gigabit Ethernet, VGA output, SD card reader, and Bluetooth 4.0.

in15r_bnb_switch_bl_sl_pk_or_rd.jpg

The Inspiron 15R will be available June 19th with a starting price of $549.99.

Inspiron 17R

 

The 17R is very similar to the 15R in terms of internal hardware with the same processor, hard drive, and memory options. It does have a larger display at 17.3” with a resolution of 1600x900 pixels. It will come in either Moon Silver, Lotus Pink, or Peacock Blue colors and will weigh in at 7.15 pounds (3.24Kg). External connectivity options are the same as the Inspiron 15R as well. The company is claiming a slightly shorter battery life of 5 hours and 34 minutes, however.

 

in17r_bnb_shot01_sl_switch.jpg

The Inspiron 17R is already available in certain Asian and European countries. It will go on sale in the US and Canada starting June 19th with a base price of 599.99 USD. The full specifications for the 17R are as follows:

 

• Beautiful color options with SWITCH lids: Moon Silver (standard), Lotus Pink, Peacock Blue i
• Standard 2nd Gen Intel Core i3 with HD Graphics 3000ii or available 3rd Gen Intel Core i5 and i7
CPUs and HD Graphics 4000ii pack plenty of performance
o 2nd Generation Intel Core i3-2367M processor (3MB cache, up to 1.4GHz) (standard)
o 3rd Generation Intel Core i5-3210M processor (3MB cache, up to 2.9GHz)
o 3rd Generation Intel Core i7-3612QM processor (6MB cache, up to 3.1GHz)
• Memory options from 6GB (standard) up to 8GB DDR3 memoryii
• Hard drive options from 500GB (standard) to 1TB 5400 RPM SATAiii
• 17.3-inch high definition plus (900p) WLED display with Truelife (1600x900)
• Battery life up to 5 hrs 34 min (with Intel Core i5 processor, and 6GB memory)
• Waves MaxxAudio 3 audio; speakers with sub-woofer
• Intel Wireless Displayv supports streaming 1080p & 5.1 surround sound wirelessly
• HDMI 1.4a output for HD entertainment and HD aspect Webcam with pre-loaded Skypevi
• USB 3.0 (3); USB 3.0 PowerShare (1); RJ45 Ethernet; HDMI v1.4; VGA; 8-in-1 media card reader;
Bluetooth 4.0
• Height: 1.25”-1.46” (31.7mm – 37.1mm); Width: 16.4” (416.8mm); Depth: 10.87” (276mm)
• Weight: Starting at 7.15 lbs (3.24 Kg)vii
• Starting price: $599.99
• U.S. availability: June 19
 
Continue reading to see photos of Dell's highest-end Inspiron R Special Edition laptops.
Source: Dell

Alienware Getting Latest NVIDIA Kepler Cards to Continue Delivering Maximum Performance for Gamer

Subject: Systems, Mobile | June 5, 2012 - 01:26 PM |
Tagged: alienware, dell, gtx 680m, GTX 690, Ivy Bridge, aurora, m17x, m18x

Alienware has also contributed to the lack of GTX690s and GTX680M chips by filling their latest gaming PCs and laptops with NVIDIA's new Kepler chips.  Paired with an Ivy Bridge processor the new M17x and M18x along with the Aurora desktop will offer incredible performance for anyone willing to pay the price.  Both laptops will support 3D though only the M18x offers you the choice of dual GTX 680Ms in SLI. 

A little over a month ago, we announced the first wave of major hardware upgrades for our Alienware line of laptops based on the newest Intel Ivy Bridge processors and also NVIDIA GeForce 6-series cards. Since then, NVIDIA has certainly kept busy as they continue to introduce more members of the next-generation Kepler family such as the GTX 690, GTX 670, and most recently, the GTX 680M.

By the time you read this, NVIDIA will have finally revealed the details of their GTX 680M from Computex 2012 in Taipei, Taiwan. The GTX 680M is based on the GK104 Kepler architecture and features similar silicon to its beefy desktop version, the GTX 680. NVIDIA calls this card the ‘fastest, most advanced gaming notebook GPU ever built’ and we have little reason to argue otherwise.

AlienwareM18x.jpg

On the flip side of that power-packed coin, customers who order a system with the GTX 680M will also see greater improvements to power efficiency utilizing NVIDIA’s Optimus technology which enables long battery life by automatically switching on the dedicated GPU only when necessary. All in all, the GTX 680M paves the way for superior next-gen mobile gaming performance and makes the most of the additional technologies below that can only be found on GeForce GPUs:

  • Adaptive V-sync – newly developed technology for a smoother gameplay experience
  • Advanced AA modes – for crisper images, including NVIDIA FXAA and new TXAA
  • PhysX support – for accelerated in-game physics
  • NVIDIA 3D Vision 2 technology – for bigger, brighter, more comfortable 3D gaming
  • 3DTV Play software – for connecting notebooks to 3DTVs for the most immersive gaming experience to be had in a living room
  • NVIDIA SLI technology – for up to double the gaming performance. Two GeForce GTX 680M GPUs in SLI mode represent the fastest notebook graphics solution available anywhere
  • CUDA technology support – for high-performance GPU computing applications

We are particularly proud to be a launch partner with NVIDIA for the GTX 680M. The Alienware M17x will be available with the GeForce GTX 680M 2GB DDR5 GPU along with the option for the NVIDIA 3D Vision technology. The Alienware M18x will also be available with the GeForce GTX 680M GPU in single or dual-card SLI configurations before the end of the month.

The Alienware M17x and M18x aren’t the only two products getting the Kepler kick, and they certainly won’t be the last. Before the end of the month, we will have configuration options to allow users to equip their custom built Aurora with the newly released GeForce GTX 690.

Based on many of the initial reviews of the GTX 690 as can be seen Anandtech and Hot Hardware, most people have drawn one consistent conclusion; the GTX 690 is easily the most powerful single-card GPU they have ever tested. With that level of graphical power and performance, we have been working with NVIDIA to offer the GTX 690 in our Alienware Aurora R4 desktops in order to equip our ultimate gaming machines with even more processing power.

AlienwareAurora.png

The GeForce GTX690 is certainly a fantastic and ridiculously powerful pairing for the Alienware Aurora. The GTX 690 brings all the performance of a dual GTX 680 SLI setup while drawing less power and outputting less noise – all while staying within the same thermal levels. Considering that the Aurora uses a mini-ITX board, the GTX 690 allows for users to enjoy the pinnacle of dual-card performance without having to deal with PCI-e slot spacing, drastic thermal levels, or slim dual card watercooled GPU blocks.

Again, expect the GTX 680M on the M17x/M18x and GTX 690 to be available for the Alienware Aurora R4 worldwide before the end of the month on Alienware.com or also Dell.com.

Source: Alienware

Dell uses ARM-based "Copper" servers to accelerate ecosystem

Subject: Processors, Systems | May 29, 2012 - 05:15 PM |
Tagged: server, dell, copper, arm

Dell announced today that is going to help enable the world of the ARM-based server ecosystem by enabling key hyperscale customers to access and develop on Dell's own "Copper" ARM servers.

Dell today announced it is responding to the demands of our customers for continued innovation in support of hyperscale environments, and enabling the ecosystem for ARM-based servers. The ARM-based server market is approaching an inflection point, marked by increasing customer interest in testing and developing applications, and Dell believes now is the right time to help foster development and testing of operating systems and applications for ARM servers.

Dell is recognized as an industry leader in both the x86 architecture and the hyperscale server market segments. Dell began testing ARM server technology internally in 2010 in response to increasing customer demands for density and power efficiency, and worked closely with select Dell Data Center Solutions (DCS) hyperscale customers to understand their interest level and expectations for ARM-based servers. Today's announcement is a natural extension of Dell's server leadership and the company's continued focus on delivering next generation technology innovation.

While these servers are still not publicly available, Dell is fostering the development of software and verification processes by seeding these unique servers to a select few groups.  PC Perspective is NOT one of them.

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Each of these 3U rack mount machines includes 48 independent servers, each based around a 1.6 GHz quad-core Marvell Armada XP SoC.  Each of the sleds (pictured below) holds four discrete server nodes, each capable of as much as 8GB of memory on a single DDR3 UDIMM.  Each node can access one 2.5-in HDD bay and one Gigabit Ethernet connection.

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Click for a larger view

Even though we are still very early into the life cycle of ARM architectures in the server room, Dell claims that these systems are built perfectly for web front-ends and Hadoop environments:

Customers have expressed great interest in understanding ARM-based server advantages and how they may apply to their hyperscale environments. Dell believes ARM infrastructures demonstrate promise for web front-end and Hadoop environments, where advantages in performance per dollar and performance per watt are critical. The ARM server ecosystem is still developing, and largely available in open-source, non-production versions, and the current focus is on supporting development of that ecosystem. Dell has designed its programs to support today's market realities by providing lightweight, high-performance seed units and easy remote access to development clusters.

There is little doubt that Intel will feel and address this competition in the coming years.

Source: Marketwatch