$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.


"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."

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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.


"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."

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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.


"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."

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Source: DigiTimes
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!!


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.


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!!

Manufacturer: SXSW

Introduction, Hardware Vendors



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.



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.


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.


"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

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.


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.


"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."

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Source: SemiAccurate