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."

Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:

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Source: SSD Review

And now for a brief commercial break...

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | March 4, 2012 - 04:29 AM |
Tagged: ultrabook, Intel

Intel… really likes Ultrabooks.

Over the last year Intel has been attempting to push their Ultrabook platform in an attempt to promote the PC platform as both elegant and mobile. They only want to do what is best for the PC -- especially the ones which contain the most and the highest profit margin Intel parts. Is that really too much for the big blue to ask?

The real irony would be if this ad campaign increases Eyefinity sales…

Within the last year Intel has pushed Ultrabooks from as many different angles as they possibly can. They bargained with manufacturers to take the risk and develop these higher-end laptops. They set aside 300 million dollars toward technologies to further Ultrabooks in any way possible from batteries to software. Intel now completes their Ultrabook platform support triangle: they advertise the heck out of them.

So what do you see from this, a WOW or a FAIL?

Source: Youtube

Asustek? Your Ultrabook orders are ah pulled.

Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile | February 15, 2012 - 02:02 AM |
Tagged: ultrabook, Pegatron, asustek, apple

Pegatron Technology, an independent spin-off company of Asustek, will apparently stop manufacturing ultrabooks for Asustek as early as the end of March. According to a Digitimes, Pegatron will give up ultrabook orders from Asustek due to pressure from their new partner, Apple. Apple has not been pleased by the competition that ultrabooks bring to their MacBook Air lineup of higher-end ultrathin laptops.

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Asus really needs to find their Zen...

Have you ever seen a teenager who fights with their parents and moves out with their boyfriend or girlfriend? You know how that usually ends up with a lot of grief and a giant cellphone bill? With Pegatron currently assembling iPhones for Apple we already got the latter portion of that prophecy. How much grief all parties will incur is still pending.

On the other hand, Adrian Kingsley-Hughes of ZDNet is also rebutting the entire story with claims that it does not make sense. He asserts that Apple cannot push its weight against manufacturing and design companies and risk burning bridges.

On the other other hand, it very much does fit Apple’s recent modus operandi with their treatment of Samsung, HTC, and Google. Apple is also willing to drop large vendors with little hesitation. Apple threatened to drop Intel last summer over power concerns. From my position it is more believable than what the ZDNet article lets on.

What do you believe? Has Apple gone and bucked the Pegasus?

Source: Digitimes

Not just a FAD, AMD aims at the market ultra-thin laptop-like device

Subject: General Tech | February 3, 2012 - 12:13 PM |
Tagged: ultrabook, amd, Financial Analyst Day, trinity

While Intel struggles to find a away to reduce costs to hit their self imposed $1000 limit on the price for ultrabooks without comprimising the quality of the machine, AMD is leveraging an old strength and a new one.  The old strength is familiar to any long time PC fan, AMD's chips are less expensive than Intel's which gives them some nice monetary leeway when creating low cost systems.  The new strength is Trinity, the next generation Llano, and the impressive graphics performance packaged in the same substrate and the smooth way it can integrate with a discreet GPU to give desktop like performance. 

One of the benefits Trinity will bring is what AMD called 'All day' battery life, with a 12 hour lifespan predicted.  Trinity uses half the power of Llano as well as featuring an improved graphics core which they predict to be half again as powerful as Intel's HD Graphics.  They also predict the new Bulldozer architecture will increase general computing power.  Check out the slides at SemiAccurate for more information.

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"Much has been said about Intel’s new Ultrabook form factor. But new details from AMD’s Financial Analyst Day are radically changing the prospective competitive landscape that 2012 has to offer. During Intel’s Q3 conference call certain Intel executives were confident that AMD would always be offering a lower cost alternative to Intel products. But it seems that thing are not turning out the way that the cunning marketeers behind Intel’s “visibly smart” 2nd generation Core processors had hoped."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: SemiAccurate

AMD shows 18mm thin reference ultrathin notebook based on Trinity

Subject: Graphics Cards, Processors, Mobile | February 2, 2012 - 02:02 PM |
Tagged: amd, trinity, hsa, ultrabook, ultrathin

Today at the AMD Financial Analyst day in Sunnyvale, Lisa Su, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Global Business Units, showed off a reference design from Compal of an 18mm think ultrathin notebook that they are obviously hoping to compete with Intel's Ultrabook push.

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The notebook is based on AMD's upcoming Trinity APU that improves on the CPU and GPU performance of the currently available Llano APU.  There weren't many details though Su did state they were hoping for prices in the $600-800 range would could but a lot of pressure on Intel. 

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Author:
Subject: Editorial
Manufacturer:
Tagged: ultrabook, Intel, CES

Introduction, Thin Is Flimsy

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If there was anything that can be pointed to as “the” thing CES was about, it’s the ultrabook. These thin and portable laptops were presented by Intel with all the finesse of a sledgehammer. Intel’s message is clear. Ultrabooks are here, and you’re going to like them.

Such a highly coordinated effort on the part of Intel is unusual. Sure, they’ve pushed industry standards before. But the company’s efforts have usually been focused on a specific technology, like USB. The last time Intel put serious effort into trying to change how system builders constructed their systems was when Intel pushed for the BTX form factor. 

BTX was an attempt to address problems the company was having with its Pentium 4 processors, which tended to consume a lot of power and therefor run hot. The push for the ultrabook is also an attempt in address a (perceived) problem. In this case the issue at hand is portability, both in in terms physical system size and battery endurance. 

Intel announced some interesting new smartphone and tablet reference designs at CES 2012. These are signs that the company is making headway in this area. But the products based on those reference designs aren’t out yet, and it will probably take a few years for Intel to gain significant market share even if it does manage to offer x86 processors that can beat ARM in smartphones and tablets. In the meantime, Intel needs to provide slim, responsive and portable systems that can distract consumers from tablets.

So we have the ultrabook. 

Continue reading out editorial on Ultrabook and the pros and cons associated with their push into the market!!

When is an Ultrabook not an Ultrabook?

Subject: Mobile | January 19, 2012 - 06:17 PM |
Tagged: ultrabook, Samsung, toshiba, LG, z830, Z835, Z330, Series 9

An Ultrabook must meet certain criteria to honestly be an Ultrabook.  It cannot be thicker than 0.8" at any point, it must weigh under 3.1 lbs, it should have a battery life above 5 hours, boot to desktop in around 10 seconds or less and most importantly it should cost no more than $1000.  These specs seem to have been relaxed by Intel, for instance the Samsung Series 9 is available in two sizes, one which will cost you $1400 and one that will cost $1500.  While it is certainly sleek and the 128GB SSD should keep the boot times quick, the price is well over what the spec calls for.  Contrast that with the Toshiba Z830 and Z835 which will cost you $700 and therefore does met the specifications originally laid down by Intel.  The SSD Reviews top 3 Ultrabooks also include the LG Z330 which does not sport a price tag though the Kilimanjaro based 256GB OCZ SSD inside of the ultrabook does suggest they will not be under $1000.  Still, they are pretty to look at.

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"There seems to be no doubt in anyone’s mind that 2012 is going to be the year of the ultrabook and CES 2012 Las Vegas was front and center with just about every ultrabook available, or soon to be, this past week.

Today’s report will examine three forerunners that appear to be in a position, above all others at this point anyway, to grab top marks in 2012. Those who know me may also feel this to be an unfair comparison as I have had the Toshiba Z830 as my tool of choice for a few months now."

Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:

Mobile

 

Source: SSD Review

CES Day 4 Podcast - 1/11/2012

Subject: Editorial, General Tech | January 12, 2012 - 11:04 AM |
Tagged: ultrabook, razer, podcast, nvidia, Intel, CES, amd

PC Perspective CES 2012 Day 4 - 1/11/12

Join us tonight as we talk about our final full day of CES 2012 - including yet more Ultrabooks, New products from Razer, and our closing thoughts on this years show.

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, Matt Smith and Allyn Malventano

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

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

 

Source:

A look at CES 2012 through other peoples eyes

Subject: Shows and Expos | January 11, 2012 - 03:33 PM |
Tagged: yoga, ultrabook, tablet, ocz, micron, Lenovo, kilimanjaro, CES

By now you should have hit our CES 2012 page, where all of our news coming out of CES is aggregated for you.   The sad truth is that PC Perspective has yet to conquer time and space, so we can only be in one place at a time which leads to missed appointments with vendors.  However, we are not the only tech site represented at CES 2012; for instance The Tech Report is running around Las Vegas as you read this.  So far they've seen a Lenovo laptop/netbook which knows Yoga, seen the heights that the combined team of OCZ and Micron can climb to and tablets with better than 1080p resolution.  They also weigh in on the similarities between Ultrabooks and a certain Apple product, as they are one of Intel's main focuses at this CES.

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Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

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

Hands-on With the Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook

Subject: Mobile | January 11, 2012 - 02:00 PM |
Tagged: xps, ultrabook, dell, CES

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There are many ultrabooks, but not all of them are given a specific introduction by Intel’s CEO, Paul Otellini. That honor was reserved for Dell’s new XPS 13 during Tuesday's Intel keynote. So what’s so special about it?

To find out, we meet with Dell representatives packing not only the new XPS 13 but also a number of competing ultrabooks. One of the main points that Dell made during the Intel keynote was that the XPS 13’s Gorilla Glass display allows for thin bezels, in turn reducing overall display size and allowing for a reduction in the laptop’s dimensions. Though it has a 13” display, it is much smaller than many other thin laptops such as the MacBook Air and the ASUS UX31.

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The use of Gorilla Glass combined with the XPS 13’s machined aluminum lid creates a rigid structure. Some ultrabooks available today have problems with display flex, as Dell demonstrated with a Toshiba Protégé ultrabook they brought along. Another smart decision is the XPS 13’s display hinge, which is nearly as wide as the chassis. A large hinge such as this reduces display wobble, a problem that can occur when typing on some ultrabooks.

The bottom of the XPS 13 is made of carbon fiber covered with soft-touch paint. I asked Dell’s representatives if the entire bottom of the chassis was carbon fiber, something I doubted due to reasons of cost. They insisted that it was. 

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Using carbon fiber of course saves weight, but in this case it isn’t used to provide an ultrabook that is lighter than anything else on the market. At about 3 pounds, the XPS 13 is only on par with the competition. Instead, the weight savings appears to have been re-invested in the use of sturdier materials, such as the wide hinge that I mentioned earlier.

Open the XPS 13 and you’ll be introduced to a black interior coated in soft touch paint identical the bottom of the chassis. The contrast between the interior and the silver aluminum creates a complimentary aesthetic that reminds me of a tuxedo. Using the soft touch paint also gives the laptop a warmer, more inviting feel. I am a little worried that the paint will end up absorbing oils from your hands over time, but it looks and feels great when new. 

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As for the keyboard, well – it’s average. It uses plastic keys with a semi-touch coat in the typical island style, creating the laptop’s least attractive feature. Mind you, key feel is okay and there’s nothing functionally wrong, but I do think flatter keys with a completely matte finish would have been more appropriate. Backlighting is standard and turns on automatically when the webcam detects a low-light environment. Quality was a bit hard to judge during my time with the device because we were in a brightly lit area. 

Touchpad quality struck me as excellent. It’s large and integrates the left/right buttons into the touchpad itself. Materials match the surrounding palmrest in color. I had only a few chances to try multi-touch scrolling, but it seemed to work well.

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Standard equipment includes a Core i5 low-voltage processor and a 128GB solid state drive. As a result, the laptop boots within about 10 seconds and can resume in between 1 and 2 seconds. These are not Dell’s official claims, but rather what I observed personally. Display resolution is the standard 1366x768. I can’t say much about quality as I didn’t have the chance to view test images. 

Dell has included a 47Wh battery in the XPS 13, which should provide up to 9 hours of battery life. This claim is made during testing with WiFi off and should be viewed as a best-case scenario. I anticipate that we’ll see about 6 hours of life during standard usage with WiFi on. If the XPS 13 can manage that, it will be above average for the category. 

Pricing starts at $999, which is less than I expected given the quality of this device. Because ultrabooks all have extremely similar hardware it is traits like design and battery life that will distinguish the winners from the losers. From my brief time with the XPS 13, it seems Dell may have one of the winners. I will be looking to grab a review unit over the next few weeks so the laptop can be tested in full.

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

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

Source: Dell