Squeeze a little more out of your Ultrabook with 1.35V RAM?

Subject: Memory | January 24, 2013 - 01:07 PM |
Tagged: patriot, PC3-12800, 8gb, LoVo, sodimm, 1.35V, ultrabook

Over at Tweaktown is a review of an upgrade for Ultrabooks, Patriot's 1.35V, 8GB DDR3-1600MHz at $45 for a single SODIMM.  The idea is that not only do you get a decent sized pool of RAM but because it sips 10% less power than a standard SODIMM you might just get a bit more battery life.  They tested out the memory on a Lenovo ThinkPad W530 with a 6-cell battery, not the longest lasting of setups and saw about a 10% increase in battery life as you might have expected.  That did only translate to an extra 17 minutes but as the laptop in question was only good for 4.5 hours of life, you can expect better return from an Ultrabook with a longer battery life.


"The big push in 2013 for mobile performance will be fought in battery life. Like every other market, if you want to get the best available you have to go to the aftermarket for premium components. The Patriot Memory for Ultrabooks will increase your notebook or ultrabook battery life, but just like everything premium, you have to pay a bit more."

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Source: Tweaktown

CES 2013: Lenovo ThinkPad Helix Convertible Ultrabook With "Rip and Flip" Design

Subject: Mobile | January 6, 2013 - 07:21 PM |
Tagged: ultrabook, Thinkpad, tablet, Lenovo, helix, convertible tablet, ces 2013, CES

The ThinkPad line from Lenovo just got a bit more interesting with the announcement of the Helix, a new touch-enabled convertible tablet form factor that includes a new design labeled as "rip and flip." 

Thinkpad prince with keyboard_tour_11.jpg

Hardware specifications on the Helix are pretty impressive given the small form factor and include Ivy Bridge-based Core i7 processors, up to 8GB of memory and a 256GB SSD, two USB 3.0 ports, RJ45 port, mini-DisplayPort and even mini-HDMI.  The machine will also have optional LTE radios to go along with the 802.11n WiFi and even NFC support. 

The display panel is an IPS 11.6-in 1080p rated at 400 nits - that is very high brightness for a Lenovo machine in my experience.  The screen is rated for 10 point touch capability as well in case you need BOTH HANDS for your project.

Thinkpad prince with keyboard_tour_06.jpg

Also new is the Lenovo glass ClickPad which I am very eager to get my hands and try.  That is the one area where MacBooks have continued to dominate in terms of notebook design and if Lenovo's ThinkPads can match or improve then we might have a winner on our hands. 

The machine will weigh in at 3.68 lbs for the tablet and dock, 1.84 lbs for the tablet on its own, for great portability.  Battery life claims are at 5 hours on the tablet alone and 10 hours with the tablet and base combination, but as with all battery life specifications plan on cutting that to 50-60% for real-world usage scenarios. 

Thinkpad prince with keyboard_tour_13.jpg

The new form factor of the ThinkPad Helix is being branded as "rip and flip" due to the tablets ability to be pulled off the keyboard / trackpad dock easily with a single release point.  Folding it down into a standard clamshell design results in your standrad laptop configuration, but with only a 20mm z-height.

Lenovo will start shipping the ThinkPad Helix in mid-February with a starting price of $1,499. 

Keep checking our CES 2013 coverage at http://pcper.com/ces and continue on after the break for the full press release!

Coverage of CES 2013 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

A powerful Ultrabook yes ... powerful gaming machine, not so much

Subject: Mobile | January 4, 2013 - 02:54 PM |
Tagged: Cyberpower, Zeus M2, Intel, ultrabook

Cyberpower went all out on the Zeus M2 gaming laptop they sent to Legit Reviews, in order to show off what their most expensive model is capable of.  The quad core i5-3317U is paired with 16GB of dual channel DDR3-1600 and a 120GB Intel 520 SSD handles the storage but there is one subsystem which is a let down to the rest of the components.  The graphics are handled by the HD4000, not a discreet GPU which really shows in the performance testing Legit Reviews conducted.  If you need a very fast and capable laptop for productivity or maybe light gaming then this is a decent laptop but as a gaming laptop it leaves much to be desired.


"The CyberPower Zeus M2 offers a 14.1" high gloss screen that has a maximum resolution of 1366x768. This is powered by the Intel 'Ivy Bridge' i5-3317U processor's HD 4000 graphics. While the Intel HD 4000 graphics may not be the meanest graphics around, they are fully capable of some great DirectX 11 graphics and will offer reasonable performance for some light gaming. Speed is certainly one of most common things that people will look for in an Ultrabook, by the specifications the Cyberpower Zeus M2 will have plenty. In addition to the Intel Core i5-3317U quad core processor, there is 16GB of DDR3 RAM installed into the machine! Not just any RAM, Corsair Vengeance 1600MHz RAM, some of the best stuff out there today..."

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Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Lenovo

Introduction and Technical Specifications



Courtesy of Lenovo

As one of the newest members of Lenovo's Thinkpad line, the Lenovo Thinkpad Twist attempts to bridge the gap between laptops and tablets in a convertible Ultrabook format. We decided to put the Twist through the normal suite of benchmark and functional tests, along with some tests specifically geared towards laptops, to gage how well it performs. At a starting MSRP of $829.00 for the base model, the Lenovo Thinkpad Twist offers an intriguing price to feature proposition with its ability to convert from a fully functional laptop into a tablet almost seamlessly.


Courtesy of Lenovo

The Thinkpad Twist offers an innovative take for the user that wants the best of both worlds - the portability and usability of a laptop with the ease of use of a tablet. Featuring the Windows 8 OS, the Twist comes with a 5-point touchscreen usable in all modes of operation. Lenovo designed in support for the following features: USB 2.0 and 3.0 type devices; three networking types including a Realtek-based GigE NIC, a Broadcom-based 802.11n Wi-Fi adapter, and a Broadcom-based Bluetooth adapter; 4-in-1 media card reader port; mini-HDMI and mini-Display Port video output ports; a dual-purpose audio port; and a 720p HD-capable integrated webcam.


Courtesy of Lenovo

In designing the Twist, Lenovo decided to use a center hinge on which the screen pivots to support its four modes of operation: laptop mode, presentation mode where the screen can be rotated to face the audience, tent mode which allows the system to stand upright for movie or other media viewing, and tablet mode where the screen folds down to cover the keyboard entirely.

Continue reading our review of the Lenovo Thinkpad Twist Convertible Ultrabook!!

NEC Unveils Super-Thin LaVie X Ultrabook in Japan

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | December 19, 2012 - 01:44 PM |
Tagged: ultrabook, nec, lavie x, Japan, Intel

NEC, a Japanese PC vendor has unveiled a new LaVie ultrabook–called the LaVie X–that is one of the thinnest on the market. The LaVie X measures 12.8mm thick and weighs 3.5 lbs. It will come pre-loaded with the full version of Windows 8 x64. On the outside, the LaVie X features an IPS display with a resolution of 1920x1080, a thin island-style keyboard, and a number of IO ports. Around the edges, the LaVie X has two USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI video output, and a SD card reader. Above the display is a 2MP camera for video conferencing. Interestingly, while the LaVie Y has a touchscreen, NEC decided to not include a touchscreen on the LaVie X ultrabook in order to maintain its thin form factor. Reportedly, the ultrabook will run for up to 7 hours on battery power.

NEC LaVie X.jpg

Internal specifications include an Intel Core i7 3517U dual core processor running at 1.9GHz with HyperThreading support, 4GB of DDR3 RAM, and either a 128GB or 256GB solid state drive (SSD). It further has 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 wireless radios.

While you will not be able to get this ultrabook stateside without importing it, it will be available in Japan on December 27th. The LaVie X with a 128GB SSD will cost 129,780 Yen, and the version with a 256GB SSD will cost 175,000 Yen. Not including any import fees, you are looking at approximately $1539.89 USD and $2076.41 USD respectively.

Read more about ultrabooks running Windows 8 at PC Perspective.

Source: Techspot

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.


"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

Video Perspective: Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13 Windows 8 Ultrabook Preview

Subject: Mobile | October 30, 2012 - 01:17 PM |
Tagged: yoga 13, yoga, ultrabook, Lenovo, Ivy Bridge, Ideapad

Earlier today we got in the new Lenovo Ideapad Yoga 13, an Ivy Bridge Core i5 Ultrabook with a very distinctive display panel that works as a laptop, a tablet, a tent and in a stand mode.  Basically, think of the Lenovo machine you saw from CES with the screen that wraps around the back. 


After getting the notebook in I recorded a quick 15 minute hands-on and overview video that I thought I would share in preparation for our full review coming later!  Enjoy!

Asus Zenbook Refresh Introduces Several New Ultrabooks

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | October 28, 2012 - 03:18 AM |
Tagged: zenbook, windows 8, ultrabook, nvidia, laptop, Ivy Bridge, GT650M, GT620M, asus

Asus has announced a refresh of its Zenbook lineup of Intel-powered ultrabooks to accompany its new VivoBooks and VivoTabs running Windows 8. Available next month, the PC OEM is introducing six new laptop SKUs with Ivy Bridge processors and dedicated graphics cards from NVIDIA. Specifically, the Asus Zenbook UX21A, UX31A, UX32VD, UX42VS, US52VS, and U500VZ ultrabooks are coming soon with the refresh.


The UX31A Ultrabook with touch display

The new Zenbooks will have Ivy Bridge processors, up to 10GB of memory, and up to NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M graphics. They maintain the aluminum chassis of Asus’ previous generation ultrabooks but up the hardware ante. The company has expanded the lineup to include models with 11.6,” 13.3,” 14,” and 15.6” IPS displays, backlit keyboards, and multitouch trackpads. The U500VZ and UX31A can even be outfitted with capacitive touchscreen displays.


The ASUS UX42VS Zenbook

The VX42VS further includes an optical drive, but otherwise the Zenbooks source of storage lies in solid state or hybrid hard drives. Interestingly, the UX32VD and U500VZ can even be configured with two 256GB solid state drives in RAID 0 (Ryan’s favorite kind of RAID).


The ASUS UX52VS Zenbook

The following chart outlines all the known specifications. Note that several of the ultrabooks are not listed on Asus’ website yet so exact dimensions are unknown for the UX52VS and U500VZ in particular.

Zenbook UX21A UX31A UX32VD UX42VS UX52VS U500VZ
Dimensions 299 x 196.8 x 3 ~ 17 mm 325 x 223 x 3 ~18 mm 325 x 223 x 5.5 ~18 mm 14" tapers to 6mm ~15" tapers to 6mm ~15"
Weight 1.1 kg 1.3 kg 1.45 kg 1.5kg 2.2kg 2 kg
Processor i5 3317U or i7 3517U i5 3317U or i7 3517U i5 3317U or i7 3517U i3, i5, or i7 IVB i5 or i7 ULV IVB i7 std voltage
RAM 4GB 8GB*  6GB* 6GB 10GB 8GB
Graphics HD4000 HD4000 GT620M GT645M GT645M GT650M
Storage 256GB SSD 256GB SSD 2 x 256GB SSD (RAID 0) 1TB Hybrid Hard Drive 1TB Hybrid Hard Drive 2 x 256GB SSD (RAID 0)

*onboard + 1 x SODIMM

All of the new Zenbook laptops will be available in November and will come with Windows 8. Pricing will range from $699 to $1999 for the premium model (The U500VZ). Specific pricing details should become available closer to launch.

It's expensive but impressive, Acer's new Aspire S5 Ultrabook

Subject: Storage | October 7, 2012 - 03:33 PM |
Tagged: ultrabook, Aspire S5, Aspire S Series, acer

The Acer Aspire S5 is a 13.3", 1366x768 ultrabook with a Intel Core i7-3317U, 4GB of DDR3 and two 128GB SSDs in RAID 0.  At its thickest point it measures 0.59" and overall is a blazing fast ultraportable system, in fact TechSpot saw some results where the S5 outperformed a system with OCZ's RevoDrive X3 PCIe SSD inside. Connectivity options are very impressive as well with not only the usual suspects,USB 3.0 and HDMI, there is also a Thunderbolt port on the back.  The news is not all good however, as this ultrabook is likely to cost around $1400 which is much higher than the supposed sub-$1000 ultrabook price requirement.


"'Easier said than done' is the best phrase I can think of to describe Intel's ultrabook initiative. On paper, the plan seemed easy enough, although manufacturing partners and knowledgeable consumers alike would testify that it's been anything but. Aspirations to compete with Apple's ultrathin MacBook Air have been met with a number of compromises as hardware makers struggle to find the perfect blend of features while keeping the overall price somewhere around Intel's $1,000 target.

Could a few hundred bucks tacked on the top end make a difference between a vanilla ultrabook and something truly special? That's something Acer is willing to gamble on with its latest flagship ultrabook. "

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Source: TechSpot

The Ultrabook Revoltion ... is all in the mind of the professional fortune tellers

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | October 2, 2012 - 04:27 PM |
Tagged: ultrabook, Intel, haswell, told you so, fail

We've not been kind to the idea of Ultrabooks here at PC Perspective, even some of the models we reviewed were rated very highly.  The product is nice for those who want an ultra-light, ultra-thin computer with instant resume from sleep and a very long battery life and frankly, who wouldn't like that.  The problem was in the implementation of the design, in order to meet the hardware requirements and the materials required to make a sturdy yet thin device the price soared well above the $600 price point that Intel originally reported an Ultrabook would sell for.  In order to meet all the specifications from the original PR, the price was over $1000 which significantly shrunk the number of consumers willing to purchase an Ultrabook.  Some manufacturers chose instead to compromise and not include all of the hardware originally listed, often the SSD but in other cases we saw lesser LCD panels used or a less sturdy chassis, which lowered the price but also made less consumers interested in purchasing an Ultrabook.

The Ultrabook dream has taken a big hit today as those in the market who predict sales have finally admitted they vastly overestimated the success of the Ultrabook.  Most of these companies sales predictions, such as the iSuppli numbers referenced by The Register, have been sliced in half. Instead of admitting the numbers were inflated they referenced the growing tablet and smartphone market, neither of which devices can manage any task an Ultrabook could apart from the mobility.  An Ultrabook was originally touted as a full computer, not a low powered mobile device. 

From what DigiTimes heard Intel is convinced that Haswell will change all of that somehow, with the new processor making the Ultrabook much more attractive to customers.  Of course they don't mention the pricing, which may fall a bit over the next year thanks to the dropping prices of SSDs but it is doubtful that Haswell will be cheaper than its predecessors.  It is unknown at this point if Intel will continue to provide the cash incentives to manufacturers that they have over the past year but if they want any hope of manufacturers producing the next generation of Ultrabook.  As it stands many major vendors are not interested in designing a new generation of Ultrabook as it is not a product that they made much profit on during the first generation.  SemiAccurate also harbours the same doubts about next generation Ultrabooks they had for the first generation, with more numbers to back up their beliefs.  The analysts still think that the next generation of Ultrabook will do well though ... for some strange reason.


"The basic problem for Ultrabooks at the moment is one of price, Stice explained. Intel's original vision for the platform was for a price point of around $600, but even with the $300m in support and subsidies that Chipzilla is pushing out to manufacturers, prices are much closer to a grand – and at that price, customers aren't biting."

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Source: The Register