The Ultrabook promises to be really big ... in about a year

Subject: General Tech | November 10, 2011 - 12:16 PM |
Tagged: ultrabook, Intel, asus, acer

Ah, the Ultrabook; Intel's attempt to meet Apple on its own territory and playing by Apple's established rules.  Since there has been so much news and speculation about the new ultramobile platform from Intel some of the information we have been given has degraded into noise.  The original run was very limited, with about 50,000 units ordered by the major manufactures like ASUS.  There seems to have been a second order placed with a much more respectable quarter million units requested by ASUS and Acer, though we don't know about the other players.  However with the products launch resembling an attempt at flight by an under-powered, yet aerodynamically shaped chunk of metal these numbers have been reduced to under 200,000.  DigiTimes predicts that this time next year the Ultrabook might be significantly more attractive, not just because of Ivy Bridge but also because of the release of Windows 8 which seems almost custom built for the Ultrabook.

Wile-E-Coyote-off-cliff.jpg

"Asustek Computer and Acer have recently reduced their ultrabook orders from 250,000-300,000 units originally to 150,000-180,000 units by the end of 2011 due to the unsatisfactory sales during the initial month after their launch, according to sources from upstream ODMs.

Currently, Asustek is offering four Zenbook series ultrabook models in the retail channel, priced between NT$36,000-49,000 (US$1,194-1,625), while Acer is competing with its S3 series models with prices at NT$31,500-42,000. Because global notebook demand still has not yet seen any recovery, ultrabooks, which have a rather higher price range compared to mainstream models, did not see as strong sales as expected, causing Acer and Asustek to both drop their product orders by 40%."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: DigiTimes

Gigabyte Infusing X79 Motherboards With 3D UEFI BIOS

Subject: Motherboards | November 6, 2011 - 04:11 PM |
Tagged: gigabyte, x79, pattsburg, Intel, SB-E, sandy bridge-e, uefi

Many motherboard manufacturers have phased out the old school BIOS in favor of a shiny graphical user interface (GUI) UEFI BIOS that adds support for booting from larger capacity hard drives and presenting configuration screens that are able to be navigated with mouse or touch controls. Gigabyte has been somewhat quiet on the UEFI BIOS front, until now that is. Starting with Intel’s new X79 chipset based motherboards, the company will begin using a new “3D BIOS.”

Gigabyte_3D_BIOS.jpg

Fortunately, red and cyan glasses won’t be required for Gigabyte’s new UEFI BIOS. Instead, the BIOS is only “3D” in the same sense that a computer game is 3D -- meaning a 3D perspective viewed through a 2D window of sorts (the monitor) and this is a good thing.

The way Gigabyte’s 3D BIOS works involves displaying a photo of the user’s motherboard with various hot-spots that display content sensitive information and configuration options when hovered over and clicked on respectively. For example, when hovering over and clicking on the SATA ports in the rotate-able photo of the board, users are presented with options to set the SATA controller mode to IDE, AHCI, or RAID mode. Also, when clicking on the CPU area, the user is able to adjust frequency, voltage, and timing settings for the CPU and RAM. Further, context sensitive help is available for all the various options in each dialog.

For those that prefer a more traditional text based approach, Gigabyte is also including an advanced mode for enthusiasts who like to dig into every setting possible. The advanced mode looks like one would expect a BIOS to - a text based UI with minimal distractions. The ability to use the mouse for navigation is still present, however.

The 3D motherboard will reflect the actual physical motherboard and can be easily rotated to admire the shiny interface. It is certainly an interesting angle and should help new users navigate and find the settings they need. Whether it will be enough to help differentiate the product or not remains to be seen. A video showing off the new 3D BIOS is available below, and more photos can be found here.

Source: Anandtech

Podcast #177 - Lenovo Portable Monitor, GTX580M vs HD6990M, Hard Drive prices spiking and more!

Subject: Editorial | November 3, 2011 - 05:44 PM |
Tagged: x79, podcast, nvidia, Intel, hd6990m, gtx580m, earnings, amd, 6990m, 580m

PC Perspective Podcast #177 - 11/03/2011

Join us this week as we talk about a Lenovo Portable Monitor, GTX580M vs HD6990M, Hard Drive prices spiking and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

  • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
  • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom, and Allyn Malvantano

This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!

Program length: 1:06:02

Program Schedule:

  1. 0:00:28 Introduction
  2. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  3. http://pcper.com/podcast
  4. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  5. 0:01:17 Lenovo ThinkVision LT1421 Portable Monitor Review: A Second Display for Road Warriors
  6. 0:03:42 Mobile GPU Comparison: GeForce GTX 580M and Radeon HD 6990M
  7. 0:16:50 iPhone 3GS / 4 / 4S Battery Life Testing - Putting the Conjecture to Rest
  8. 0:23:40 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!
  9. 0:24:30 AMD Reports Q3 2011 Results
  10. 0:31:35 Hard Drive Prices Spike on Thailand Flooding
  11. 0:39:40 Gigabyte brings Bluetooth 4.0 and WiFi to their X79 boards
  12. 0:44:04 Video Perspective: AMD A8-3850 vs Core i3-2105 on Battlefield 3
  13. 0:47:10 Intel Releases Updated SSD Toolbox
  14. 0:51:15 NVIDIA Upgrading GTX 560 to 448 CUDA Cores?
  15. 0:55:15 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan: Not Steam Uninstaller
    2. Jeremy: Maxwell Technologies HSN-1000 Nuclear Event Detector < wait what?!?! :)  or http://ca.movember.com/mospace/1422966/ Movember
    3. Josh: Gettin cheeeap:  http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820227706
    4. Allyn: Electricsheep pre-rendered screen saver 
  16. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  17. http://pcper.com/podcast   
  18. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  19. Closing

 

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Video Perspective: AMD A8-3850 vs Core i3-2105 on Battlefield 3

Subject: Graphics Cards, Processors | October 31, 2011 - 02:22 PM |
Tagged: video, sandy bridge, Intel, bf3, battlefield 3, APU, amd

Everyone is playing Battlefield 3 these days; we even had a virtual LAN party this weekend where forum members and PC Perspective team members played from about 10am until well after 1am ET. We have done more than our fair share of Battlefield 3 articles as well including hardware performance on high end graphics cards, multi-GPU scaling and more.  

We had some requests and questions about what was the lowest priced hardware you could play the game on and while we had run some tests on the GeForce 9800 GT, I decided to take a stab at running BF3 at its lowest settings with integrated graphics on Intel's Sandy Bridge processor and AMD's A-series APU.  Here were our test settings:

apubf31.png

We ran at a fairly low resolution of 1366x768 (both indicative of mobile resolutions as well as low-end hardware restrictions) and the Low in-game preset.  As it turns out this was the level at which the A8-3850 Llano APU was able to maintain an average around 30 FPS while the Intel Core i3-2105 (both priced around $140) was able to reach only a third of that. 

apubf32.png

With both systems coming in at the ~$450 mark, this could qualify as the lowest priced PC that is capable of getting you into the BF3 action!

You can see our full comparison right here in this short video!

Ultrabooks taking 1/4 of the mobile market? That's a lot of kool-aid to swallow

Subject: General Tech | October 28, 2011 - 01:39 PM |
Tagged: ultrabook, Intel, market share

Everyone's current favourite kicking horse, the ultrabook, is poised to take over almost half of all consumer notebook sales by the end of 2012 ... at least according to what DigiTimes heard from Intel.  Even stranger is that instead of breaking out into laughter, the manufactures peg the likely market penetration at about 25%.   Currently there are models from Acer and ASUS which you can purchase for your very own, but don't go out looking for reviews of them.  You can find some quick previews and overviews but as far as performance testing you are not going to find the same information as is available for every other mobile form factor; take that as you will.

The Ultrabook is expensive, as SemiAccurate recently pointed out you can get better performance from a notebook half the price and almost the same size.  It also seems odd that a form factor specifically limited to only 50,000 units produced in the first run is going to take over the market.  Even with broader adoption from companies like Lenovo or Dell, the math does not seem to support a 25% share of the market, let alone 40% and requires you to completely ignore the willingness of the consumer to pay $1000+ for a mediocre laptop.  It is small and shiny though; never underestimate the draw of shinies!

NIMH_shiny.jpg

"While Intel aims to increase the proportion of ultrabooks among global shipments of consumer notebooks to 40% by fourth-quarter 2012, the proportion is estimated to only reach 20-25% based on current market conditions, according to sources from Taiwan-based notebook supply chain makers.

The sources pointed out that most suppliers are aggressively developing components for ultrabooks, but actual order volumes have so far been below their expectations. Although the suppliers all understand that ultrabook are still testing the water, weakening growth of the traditional notebook market and dropping profits have prompted them to put great hopes on the success of ultrabooks.

As for Intel's 40% goal, the sources pointed out that Apple's MacBook Air will become a strong threshold for ultrabooks since there is not yet a single product can outmatch the MacBook Air in terms of performance and price."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: DigiTimes

Intel Releases Updated SSD Toolbox

Subject: Storage | October 27, 2011 - 09:19 PM |
Tagged: trim, toolbox, ssd, Intel, 34nm

Intel recently updated it's SSD Toolbox software to version 3.0. The new version has a few under the hood changes; however, the most obvious change is an overhauled interface. If you're not familiar with the Intel SSD Toolbox, it is a small application provided by Intel to manage and diagnose the company's solid state drive lineup. The software includes tools to optimize the SSD using TRIM functionality, estimate drive health, and provide diagnostic scans to verify data integrity. According to the changelog, version 3 builds upon the previous version by adding:

  • A new graphical interface
  • An integrated help and support system
  • Support for additional languages
  • The ability to update firmware on supported Intel SSDs (SSDs in IDE mode and older 50nm drives need not apply).  Users of older SSDs and those running their solid state drives in IDE mode can update their drive firmware by using this Intel Firmware Update tool.
  • Viewing drive health
  • Displaying estimated remaining drive life
  • Viewing and exporting system information

As mentioned above, the first thing you are likely to notice upon starting the software is the new interface.  Intel has kept the blue and white color scheme of the older versions; however, that is where the similarities end.  Fortunately, Intel has not downsized the tools and you are able to do the same actions as the previous iterations; they are just easier to access.  The interface is now made of two panes split horizontally.  On the left are tabs that users click on to navigate to the various tools while the right side of the window is where the action takes place with the selected tool's output being displayed therein.

IntelSSD.PNG

The new Intel SSD Toolbox's home page

For a full breakdown of the new interface in the SSD Toolbox including screenshots and a video, follow this link to the full story!!

Source: Intel

Podcast #176 - X79 Motherboard Leaks, the Arrival of Ultrabooks, Lots of Gaming Talk, Viewer Questions and more!

Subject: General Tech | October 27, 2011 - 06:08 PM |
Tagged: x79, podcast, Intel, gaming, bf3

PC Perspective Podcast #176 - 10/27/2011

Join us this week as we talk about X79 Motherboard Leaks, the Arrival of Ultrabooks, Lots of Gaming Talk, Viewer Questions and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

  • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
  • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts: Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom, and sometimes Ryan Shrout

This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!

Program length: 0:54:50

Program Schedule:

  1. 0:00:40 Introduction
  2. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  3. http://pcper.com/podcast
  4. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  5. 0:01:52 X79's from EVGA, four from Gigabyte and three from ASUS with Ivy Bridge still on time
  6. 0:08:00 Ultrabooks arrive to great indifference
  7. 0:13:01 ASUS N55 Core i7 15.6-in Notebook Review: Can One Laptop Do It All?
  8. 0:18:50 1050W Corsair HX1050 
  9. 0:23:20 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!
  10. 0:24:30 Bite me console boy
  11. 0:29:00 (Now playing live on) Arkham System Limits
  12. 0:31:48 BF3 system info and Fraggin' Frogs platoon with our own server
  13. 0:34:04 Skyrim system recommendations too ... please note DX9
  14. 0:35:30 Email from Corey about safe GPU temps
  15. 0:38:45 Email from Jon about what he NEEDS to play
  16. 0:44:05 Email from Thane from South Africa
  17. http://pcper.com/podcast   
  18. 0:44:30 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
      1. Ryan: Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Upgrade Cable USB 3.0 - STAE104
      2. Jeremy: Ha! Someone else's Ipad 2
      3. Josh: Since BD sorta fell down... Phenom II X6 1090T- watch for the sales
      4. Allyn: Ryan
  19. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  20. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  21. Closing

Source:

EVGA Shows Off Drool Worthy Dual Xeon Sandy Bridge-E SR3 Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | October 21, 2011 - 01:46 PM |
Tagged: xeon, x79, SB-E, sandy bridge-e, motherboard, Intel, evga

Jacob Freeman of EVGA Google + fame recently posted a teaser photo of a certain shiny piece of X79 chipset baked silicon in the form of a new SR3 Super Record series motherboard. This monster of a board is packed to the brim with features, and mid tower cases need not apply.

photo_black.jpg

Starting at the top of the board and working our way down, we are presented with not one but two socket 2011 Sandy Bridge-E Xeon processor sockets! One processor will have access to eight DDR3 DIMM slots while the other will have access to four DDR3 DIMM slots.  While the RAM configuration may seem odd, EVGA wanted to make the transition from the boards SR2 predecesor as easy as possible, by allowing users to transfer all 12, triple channel DIMMs to the new SR3 motherboard.  When all 12 RAM slots are populated, the board will run in triple channel mode, and when four or eight slots are populated, the motherboard will utilize the new quad channel interface.  The RAM will be fed power via a eight phase PWM (pulse width modulation) circuitry. The board also features two eight pin EPS and two six pin PCI-E connectors, and seven PCI-E 3.0 slots that are all capable of running at least PCI-E 3.0 x8 and four of them are capable of providing PCI-E 3.0 x16 bandwidth, more than enough for even the beefiest SLI setup.

On the storage and IO front, the SR3 motherboard has 14 SATA ports, HD Audio via six 3.5mm jacks, USB 3.0 ports (the total amount is unclear), and eSATA support.  The bottom right corner of the board lies a handy diagnostic screen to report error codes.  Further, the motherboard will come with the new UEFI BIOS.  Mr. Freeman states that the x79 motherboard is fully furnished with solid state capacitors from Sanyo (specifically POSCAP).

In short, this motherboard is a total beast. Please excuse me as I try to remove my jaw from the floor cartoon style.

Source: EVGA

You've a date with Intel on the Ivy Bridge

Subject: General Tech | October 21, 2011 - 11:46 AM |
Tagged: Intel, Ivy Bridge, release

Z68, we hardly had time to know you and now you are leaving us; at least the 67 twins were around for a bit.  March will be mad for reviewers and tech junkies as Ivy Bridge is scheduled to arrive on the scene.  The updated chip moves to 22nm and will also be the first to feature Intel's Tri-Gate transistors which should keep the TDP of even the higher speed models of chip below current generation chips. DigiTimes also lists the models of motherboards that will arrive with the new chip, all half dozen of them.

ivy_bridge.jpg

"Intel is expected to unveil its 22nm Ivy Bridge CPUs in March 2012 at the earliest, with initial offerings focusing on dual- and quad-core models, according to sources at motherboard makers.

The quad-code Ivy Bridge CPUs will have thermal design power (TDP) ratings of 45W, 65W and 77W, while the dual-core models will have TDP ratings of 35W and 55W, indicated the sources.

For the 7-series desktop CPUs, Intel will launch Z77 and Z75 chipsets to replace its Z68 and P67, and a H77 to replace H67. Additionally, Intel will also release Q77, Q75 and B75 chipsets for business models, replacing the Q67, Q65 and B65."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: DigiTimes

Podcast #175 - NVIDIA 3D Vision 2 Launch, Intel Earnings, News of the week and more!

Subject: Editorial | October 20, 2011 - 09:17 PM |
Tagged: podcast, nvidia, Intel, amd, 3dvision, 3d vision

PC Perspective Podcast #175 - 10/20/2011

Join us this week as we talk about the NVIDIA 3D Vision 2 Launch, Intel Earnings, News of the week and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

  • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
  • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom, Allyn Malventano

This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!

Program length: 1:15:39

Program Schedule:

  1. 0:00:40 Introduction
  2. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  3. http://pcper.com/podcast
  4. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  5. 0:01:35 MSI Z68A-GD80 G3 LGA 1155 ATX Motherboard Review
  6. 0:07:02 3D Vision Gets Updated with LightBoost, Larger Panels and New Glasses
  7. 0:13:19 Corsair HX1050 Professional Series Power Supply Review
  8. 0:13:55 ASUS N55 Core i7 15.6-in Notebook Review: Can One Laptop Do It All?
  9. 0:15:44 Intel Reports Q3 2011 Earnings
  10. 0:26:15 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!
  11. 0:27:20 Overclocking the next generation of Intel CPUs
  12. 0:31:05 ASUS P8Z68 Deluxe GEN3 Board Spotted with PCI Express 3.0 Support
  13. 0:32:45 Salt + electrons = 6x increase ialn HDD platter density?
  14. 0:37:38 AMD May Release 28nm 7000 HD Series GPU In December
  15. 0:41:35 EVGA Demos X79 Classified Motherboard at GeForce LAN 6
  16. 0:44:30 Not quite older than dirt; the microprocessor turns 40
  17. 0:48:05 Benchmarking Bulldozer and taking the GPU out of the picture
  18. 0:52:02 SandForce finally patches elusive 2200 series SSD controller bug. OCZ issues firmware, others soon to follow.
  19. 0:58:00 Jon Peddie sees IGPs dying in the next year
  20. 1:01:50 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan: "Take Ownership" tool
    2. Jeremy: Beefing up your laptop’s gaming chops with an external GPU
    3. Josh: For Thief lovers out there:  http://www.thedarkmod.com/main/
    4. Allyn: Siri (fan boy)
  21. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  22. http://pcper.com/podcast   
  23. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  24. Closing

Source: