Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Intel

Introduction, Product Specifications And Line-Up

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Earlier this year I penned an editorial about ultrabooks. It wasn’t all that nice. I pointed out that they are slow, that they require design sacrifices that not everyone will enjoy and that ultraportables often provide a better experience at the same price or lower. 

Since then I’ve also discovered, through various reviews, that ultrabooks so far have not shown any battery life advantage over ultraportables. The advantage of a low-voltage processor is consistently negated by the smaller batteries squeezed into Intel’s thin form-factor.

I’m not on the bandwagon. This, however, should not come as a surprise. It’s exceedingly rare for a company, even of Intel’s size, to knock a new product out of the park on its first try. The models that released so far were decent products in some ways, but they were also the hardware equivalent of a beta. Intel and laptop manufacturers are now responding to what they’ve discovered.

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This brings us to Ivy Bridge. As I noted in my Ivy Bridge for mobile review, Intel’s architectural update seems to be more exciting for laptops than for desktops. The Core i7-3720QM we received in our Ivy Bridge reference laptop was a beast, easily defeating all previous processor benchmarks and also posting surprisingly good results in gaming tests. Despite this, battery life seemed to at least remain the same. 

Continue reading our review of the Intel Ivy Bridge Core i5-3427U for Ultrabooks!!

NVIDIA Shows New ASUS Zenbook Prime UX32VD with GT 620M GPU

Subject: Mobile | May 25, 2012 - 06:16 PM |
Tagged: zenbook, ux32vd, ultrabook, optimus, gt 620m, asus

The lucky dogs at The Verge got their hands on a sexy new Ultrabook coming from ASUS very soon while attending the NVIDIA investors day this week.  The Zenbook Prime UX32VD will feature a 13-in 1920x1080 resolution IPS display in addition to the discrete NVIDIA GeForce GT 620M Kepler-based GPU.  Optimus Technology will obviously be included in order to allow the GPU to completely power off when you aren't gaming or taking advantage of it for the best battery life the platform can muster.

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The word is that it will ship with a Core i5 ULV Ivy Bridge processor and be priced somewhere around $1299.  The shape of the UX32VD is just slightly different than that of the current wave of Zenbooks, with a "bit of a chin" according to The Verge's Sean Hollister.  ASUS' upcoming machine will include three USB 3.0 ports, a memory card reader, HDMI, mini-DisplayPort and an audio jack for a fairly complete connectivity suite. 

You can see many more photos of the Zenbook Prime UX32VD at The Verge's gallery.

With discrete GPUs being heavily pushed by NVIDIA, even on Ultrabook designs, we are very eager to see what all the major notebook vendors are able to come up with for Computex next month.

Source: The Verge

AMD will not chase Intel making "needlessly powerful" CPUs

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Graphics Cards, Processors | May 19, 2012 - 04:52 PM |
Tagged: ultrabook, trinity, cloud computing, cloud, amd

Bloomberg Businessweek reports AMD CEO Rory Read claims that his company will produce chips which are suited for consumer needs and not to crunch larger and larger bundles of information. They also like eating Intel’s bacon -- the question: is it from a pig or a turkey?

Read believes there is “enough processing power on every laptop on the planet today”.

I disagree.

The argument revolves around the shift to the cloud, as usual. It is very alluring to shift focus from the instrument to the data itself. More enticing: discussing how the instruments change to suit that need; this is especially true if you develop instruments and yearn to shift anyway.

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Don’t question the bacon…

AMD has been trusting that their processors will be good enough and their products will differentiate in other ways such as with graphics capabilities which they claim will be more important for cloud services. AMD hopes that their newer laptops will steal some bacon from Intel and their ultrabook initiative.

The main problem with the cloud is that it is mostly something that people feel that they want rather than actually do. They believe they want their content controlled by a company for them until it becomes inaccessible temporarily or permanently. They believe they want their information accessible in online services but then freak out about the privacy implications of it.

The public appeal of the cloud is that it lets you feel as though you can focus on the content rather than the medium. The problem is that you do not have fewer distractions from your content -- just different ones -- and they rear their head once or twice in isolation of each other. You experience a privacy concern here and an incompatibility or licensing issue there. For some problems and for some people it makes more sense to control your own data. It will continue to be important to serve that market.

And if crunching ends up being necessary for the future it looks like Intel will be a little lonely at the top.

$700 Ultrabooks could provide HP's Sleekbooks with a challenge

Subject: General Tech | May 18, 2012 - 03:24 PM |
Tagged: celeron 807, celeron 877, celeron, ulv, ultrabook, sleekbook, hp

HP recently announced their plans to begin selling Sleekbooks, a ultraportable modelled after the Ultrabook but using an AMD processor.  You might lose a bit of computational power but you won't sacrifice graphical performance and the prices are slated to be noticeably less that what Ultrabooks are currently selling for, as well as the intended sub-$1000 price Intel originally stated.  Intel is firing back with the upcoming release of two Celeron processors both priced under $100.  DigiTimes also reports on five future dual core i3s which will sell between $100-$150 which will give Intel customers a large feild of models to choose from.   The two new Celerons are expected to be 17W 32nm SandyBridge processors, one single core model and one dual core model, both with Intel HD graphics onboard.

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"Intel will launch four entry-level Celeron processors including the Celeron ULV 877 and 807 for sale at US$86 and US$70 respectively and targeting ultrabooks in the third quarter of 2012. The CPUs could enable vendors to offer ultrabooks at a price level of US$699 in the third-quarter, and falling to US$599 at the end of the year or beginning of 2013, according to Taiwan-based supply chain makers."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: DigiTimes

Acer's Fermi powered Timeline Ultra M3

Subject: Mobile | April 5, 2012 - 04:17 PM |
Tagged: ultrabook, acer, timeline ultra m3, timeline, aspire

Acer's Aspire series has gained an Ultrabook model, the Timeline Ultra M3.  Powered by an i5-2467M and bolstered by an NVIDIA GT 640M, this 15.6" 1366 x 768 ultrabook should be able to boot quickly thanks to the hybrid storage system which includes a 20GB mSATA SSD while the 500GB HDD offers storage at a lower price than a purely SSD solution would offer.  While it sounds good on paper, by the end of the review Hardware Canucks were very disappointed with its "ghastly trackpad, an unnecessary space consuming optical drive, testicle-searing exterior temperatures, a poor keyboard layout, a low resolution screen ...". 

If you think they were overly harsh, Matt was no kinder to it when he reviewed this Ultrabook.

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"Acer's new Timeline Ultra M3 blazes a path that no others have been willing to take. By incorporating one of NVIDIA's new GT 640M Kepler-based graphics processors within their design, they have become the first company to include a gaming-grade GPU into an Ultrabook. It sounds great but does this combination actually work out as planned? We find out."

Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:

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Bad Ultrabook sales could be very bad for suppliers

Subject: General Tech | March 27, 2012 - 01:01 PM |
Tagged: ultrabook, fud

Intel's Ultrabook mobile form factor requires very specific components which is causing a great deal of concern among component makers.  The parts that are designed specifically for Ultrabooks are not necessarily useful in any other form factor which makes them unattractive to manufacture since poor Ultrabook sales would mean that they are stuck with a large amount of unusable inventory.  If that concern limits the supply of parts for Ultrabooks then we could see a self-fulfilling prophecy as poor availability at the retail level will lessen the attraction for both consumers as well as major laptop vendors who may not want to include a product that might or might not be available for a customer to purchase.  DigiTimes points out that because of the previous failure of Intel's CULV form factor, many of the manufactures are already leery of the Ultrabook.  We shall see what effect that has on Intel's sales over the next few months as Ivy Bridge hits the market.

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"Component makers, seeing their downstream brand partners are aggressively entering the ultrabook market, are concerned that if demand for ultrabook is not as good as expected, their inventories could hurt their performance as ultrabook components are mostly custom made and cannot be used in traditional notebooks, according to sources from the upstream supply chain."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

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Source: DigiTimes
Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Acer

Introduction, The Kepler Scoop, Design, User Interface

Join us today at 12pm EST / 9am CST as PC Perspective hosts a Live Review on the new GeForce GTX 680 graphics card.  We will discuss the new GPU technology, important features like GPU Boost, talk about performance compared to AMD's lineup and we will also have NVIDIA's own Tom Petersen on hand to run some demos and answer questions from viewers.  You can find it all at http://pcper.com/live!!

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The Acer Aspire Timeline Ultra M3 is a unique laptop. It was the first product on the market to contain a GPU based of Nvidia’s new Kepler architecture, beating out not only other laptops but also the desktop video cards. It’s also a rare 15.6” ultrabook. Though a lot of companies have talked about them, not many have actually offered them.

You might expect, considering this two facts, that the Acer Aspire M3 would be outrageously expensive. But this is Acer we’re talking about, and if there’s anything the company stands for, it’s value. This laptop, should you find it on store shelves (it is a globe product with limited production, and they don’t seem to have hit North America quite yet), will retail for around $800. Or so we’ve been told - given the so far limited supply, we would not be surprised if prices were a bit higher until more units are made available to quell demand. 

So, what’s inside this ultra-sized ultrabook? Besides the GT 640M, nothing surprising.

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Though large enough to accommodate a decent discrete GPU, this laptop still has a low-voltage Core i5 processor. That’s going to put some limits on the overall performance of the laptop, but it also should help extend battery life.

This is likely to be the only Kepler based laptop on the market for a month or two. The reason for this is Ivy Bridge - most of the manufacturers are waiting for Intel’s processor update before they go to the trouble of designing new products. 

Continue reading our review of the new Acer Aspire Timeline Ultra M3 and how discrete GPUs and Ultrabooks can work together!!

Author:
Manufacturer: SXSW

Introduction, Hardware Vendors

Introduction

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This year's South by Southwest (SXSW) Trade Show brought together many small and global companies with computer hardware and information technology backgrounds as well as creative industries that produce art, music, and movies. SXSW interactive badge holders and showcased artists got an inside look at the newest innovations in mobile social media platforms and applications, open source web content management systems, professional audio/video technologies, and other multimedia products.

 

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Since I write for PC Perspective, I narrowed the focus of my trade show coverage to companies creating innovative computer hardware, PC and Mac peripherals, and other gadgets that may interest our readers. I also scoured the rest of the trade show for the best booth babes handing out swag and watching other fun, promotional events to get expo visitors to engage with companies to find out more about their products. 

To see more of our coverage of the SXSW Trade Show, continue reading!


See our video coverage of the SXSW Trade Show!

Asus Updating Zenbook Line With UX31A and UX21A Ultrabooks

Subject: Mobile | March 12, 2012 - 09:10 PM |
Tagged: widi, ultrabook, ssd, Ivy Bridge, asus zenbook, asus

The Asus UX31 and UX21 have been two popular examples of ultrabooks.  Interestingly, they have been available for purchase for less than 6 months and we are already hearing that the company is planning a refresh with upgraded hardware! The two new ultrabooks will be dubbed the UX21A and UX31A and will replace the UX21 and UX31 respectfully while maintaining the same weight and dimensions.

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The original UX21 ultrabook

Among the new internal hardware updates, Asus will be moving to Ivy Bridge processors, up to 4 GB of low voltage DDR3 1600 memory, and an alleged 512 GB SATA 3 (6Gbps) SSD (solid state drive) option. The Ivy Bridge processors in question will be pulled from Intel's low voltage mobile CPU range and will sport a 17 watt TDP (thermal design power). The Core i3 3217U, Core i5 3317U, and Core i7 3517U will all be configurable options and carry the following specs.

Model Cores Hyper Threading Cache (L3) Clockspeed Turbo Boost (1core / 2cores)
Core i3-3217U 2 Yes 3 MB 1.8 GHz None
Core i5-3317U 2 Yes 3 MB 1.7 GHz 2.6 GHz / 2.4 GHz
Core i7-3517U 2 Yes 4 MB 1.9 GHz 3.0 GHz / 2.8 GHz

 

The new Zenbook ultrabooks will include two USB 3.0 ports, a micro HDMI port, and an SDXC card reader. Wireless connections will further include 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, and Intel's WIDI wireless display streaming technology. The new UX31A will have the option of a 1920 x 1080 resolution IPS display with a brightness rating at 350 nits or a non IPS (possibly TN) LCD with 300 nits brightness that maxes out at a 1600 x 900 resolution. The smaller UX21A also has the option for a 1920 x 1080 resolution IPS display; however, the non IPS LCD option's resolution will max out at 1366 x 768, coincidentally just enough to do the 1/3, 2/3 side by side Metro application split in Windows 8.

Lastly, they estimate the battery life of the 13" UX31A and 11" UX21A ultrabooks to be around "six to seven hours" and five hours respectively. Once Ivy Bridge processors have launched and other notebook vendors start shipping their Ivy Bridge powered machines, Asus will reportedly start selling the updated Zenbooks for prices starting at $1,050 and $1,100 for the UX21A and UX31A respectively.

A nice hardware update without jacking up the price too much and likely making the older models cheaper? Sign me up! Are you looking forward to more ultrabooks this year?

Source: The Verge

Be careful which ASUS Zenbook SSD you pick up

Subject: Mobile | March 12, 2012 - 04:00 PM |
Tagged: ultrabook, ssd, asus zenbook, asus

The SSD Review stumbled upon a dirty little secret about the ASUS Zenbook SSD; specifically the SSD part of the name.  It seems that when you buy one, you might be picking up a model with an AData XM11 SSD or it might be a Sandisk U100 but unfortunately they are the same price and a similar model number making them very difficult to tell apart ... until you use it.  The SandForce drive AData drive is significantly faster than the Sandisk drive which uses its own proprietary controller.  The difference is not crippling but it is certainly noticeable when benchmarking and using the system.  The final result was that size does matter, the 11.6" UX21 has SandForce while the 13.3" UX31 does not, though both are still very nice Ultrabooks.

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"If we told you that we spent $2400 to right a wrong in proving something that you as a consumer should be aware of, would you believe us? This report closely examines the ASUS Zenbook. Within the ‘Zen’, ASUS may provide either of two SATA 3 SSDs, these being the AData ‘SandForce Driven’ XM11 or the Sandisk U100. There is no price difference between the two, the product number is the same and the consumer has no way of knowing which they will receive. The performance drop between the two is somewhat unbelievable, however, and we thought this report important enough to invest in one of each Zenbook to educate the consumer on the reality of their potential Zenbook purchase."

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Source: SSD Review