CES 2013: Haswell Ultrabooks Have New Requirements

Subject: General Tech, Processors, Mobile, Shows and Expos | January 7, 2013 - 05:05 PM |
Tagged: CES, ces 2013, haswell, Intel

Oh certification, how I loathe thee.

At the Intel CES 2013 keynote, Intel announced a few new requirements for OEMs to manufacture Haswell-based ultrabooks. Intel clearly wants to push OEMs to utilize several of their more cherished features and as such they will not allow products to be released without these features.

IDF-McAfee.jpg

Threat detected.

A fourth-generation ultrabook must contain the following features:

  • Touch interaction support
  • Intel WiDi support
  • Installed Antivirus and Anti-Malware, Intel-owned McAfee will have an announcement soon.

These three certification requirements lead to two major points of contention with me: non-Windows 8 operating systems as well as Intel potentially strong-arming McAfee into your machine. When Intel requires touch support for Haswell-based ultrabooks, they basically declare that Windows 7 and Linux will not be around.

That requirement could seem minor depending on what Intel McAfee will soon announce after Intel’s announcement that Antivirus and Anti-Malware will be required on ultrabooks. Windows 8 already comes with Microsoft Security Essentials pre-installed and as such Intel might strong-arm vendors into using McAfee. It would not be a stretch to speculate that McAfee will have some deep attachment to the Haswell architecture. Unfortunately we will need to wait until Intel makes their announcement.

Intel also claims that ultrabooks will have touch-based products in the $599 price points very soon.

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!

CES 2013 Tidbits: PaperTab Tablet

Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile, Shows and Expos | January 7, 2013 - 03:54 PM |
Tagged: CES, ces 2013, PaperTab, Intel, Plastic Logic, Queen's University

It is not just the big companies who have a presence at CES. Sometimes there are smaller products that are worth looking into. For that, we have CES 2013 Tidbits.

human media lab, a center at Queen’s University which I should preface is my Alma Mater, brought their thin and flexible tablet to the trade show. Input is performed by touching its screen, manipulating the flexible chassis, touching tablets together, or arranging them on the desk.

Technically speaking, the tablet is based on a 10.7” high resolution flexible touchscreen developed by Plastic Logic. The logic behind the plastic is controlled by an Intel Core i5 Sandy Bridge processor although no other technical specs have been released.

The tablet was developed as a collaborative effort between human media lab and their partners, Intel and Plastic Logic. The crux of their user interface envisions tablets as a multi-monitor experience and then imagines what forms of interactions are possible as a result.

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!

CES 2013: Tegra 4, the Vision of Windows RT?

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Mobile, Shows and Expos | January 7, 2013 - 12:42 PM |
Tagged: CES, ces 2013, nvidia, windows rt

It is the day after the NVIDIA keynote and the Tegra 4 floodgates are open. Sure, the rumors were fairly accurate, but I guess speculation waits for a solid basis to be believable.

The Tegra 4 marries 72 of the expected GPU cores with four… “plus one” as the bonus core is present although 4+1 branding does not seem to be… ARM Cortex-A15 cores. This push to an A15-based design provides a significant performance increase over Tegra 3. Another interesting feature is the ability to transmit 4K video should you have a suitable source or the rendered application can support 4K at a suitable framerate. You can then add in Icera’s LTE modem which is interesting in its own right to see a compelling product.

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Jen-Hsun spent about as much time justifying the need for speed as he did hyping its performance. Photographers, particularly those who wish to dabble with HDR, are able to use the Tegra 4 to vastly increase the speed of image processing at the time of taking the shot. Tonal mapping for an HDR image will take just 200ms of processing which allows HDR to be used along with burst mode and a flash.

Paul Thurrott over at the Supersite for Windows ponders whether this was Microsoft’s vision for Windows RT. He wonders whether Microsoft will try to take a mulligan on the first generation similar to Windows Phone 7-based devices led us to Windows Phone 8. At the same point, the weight which the Surface was designed to bare is pretty immense if it was just designed to buckle to Tegra 4. I would not put it past Microsoft although the Surface does not strike me as a product designed to have a doughy half-baked middle -- despite what actually shipped.

PC World also notes how Qualcomm continues to improve their products and have just recently transitioned to a 28nm process for the Snapdragon S4. Qualcomm is a giant and even then there is also Samsung to contend with in the ARM space -- then you consider x86 brings at least Intel to the game with its massive advantage in legacy software that are usually not abstracted by a platform-independent runtime layer.

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!

Source: NVIDIA

CES 2013: Vizio Shows Off 7-inch and 10.1-inch Tablet, Will Compete With Nexus 10 and Kindle HD 7

Subject: Mobile | January 7, 2013 - 10:43 AM |
Tagged: vizio, tegra 3, tablet, ces 2013, CES

In addition to the AMD-powered tablet running Windows 8 that Vizio showed off earlier this week, the company is showing off two new ARM-based tablets running Android at CES. Vizio has reportedly listened to feedback from users as well as completed internal testing to arrive at a new tablet form factor that is lighter and thinner. In contrast to the previous-generation design, the two new Vizio tablets will be 7-inches and 10.1-inches respectively.

Both tablets feature an IPS display, rounded corners, and a back panel that is covered with a soft-to-the-touch material. Also, both tablets have a similar color scheme and logo placement.

Vizio 7-inch tablet.jpg

While the exterior design is similar between the two devices, the internal specifications differ significantly. The 7-inch tablet is much smaller and has been optimized for portrait viewing. According to Vizio, the tablet is light enough to hold in one hand comfortably. Along the edges, it offers micro USB, a headphone jack, and volume controls. It has a front-facing 1.2MP webcam and an IPS display (non-laminated) with a resolution of 1280 x 800. A Vizio logo and speaker bar adorn the underside of the device.

Internal specifications include a NVIDIA Tegra 3 SoC, 16GB of storage, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, microphone, and the Android 4.2 operating system. There is no word yet on the amount of RAM or how much the tablet weighs.

Meanwhile, the 10.1-inch Vizio tablet is matched to compete with Google’s Nexus 10. The Vizio tablet features a laminated IPS display with a resolution of 2560 x 1600, front and rear-facing cameras, speakers, and micro USB, HDMI, and headphone connectors. Internally, the 10.1-inch tablet uses NVIDIA’s latest Tegra 4 System on a Chip (SoC), which should push it above the performance of the Nexus 10 -- and (hopefully) provide the computing power necessary to smoothly push all the pixels on the high resolution display. Other hardware specs that Vizio has shared includes 32GB of internal storage, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.0 support. The tablet will ship with Android 4.2 as well.

Notably, Vizio has opted to provide a completely stock Android 4.2 operating system with its new tablets sans any skins or bloat-ware. Both tablets are expected sometime this year, with The Verge claiming the 7-inch model’s release date being within the first half of 2013. Allegedly, the tablets are noticeably lighter than the current (and, granted, older) crop of competing tablets such as the Kindle Fire HD and Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 tablets. It will be interesting to see how well the Tegra 4 chip handles the 2560 x 1600 display with the Android UI, movies, and 3D games.

For comparison, the Kindle Fire HD 7” is running a dual core OMAP 4460 SoC at 1.2GHz and the Nexus 10 is running a dual core Samsung Exynos 5250 chip at 1.7GHz. It is somewhat of a tossup with the 7” Vizio tablet and Tegra 3 as it will depend on the task and how well multi-core/multithreading is handled in the particular piece of software. The comparison between the Exynos 5250 and Tegra 4 will be interesting though, as it reminds me of the early Intel Core days where debates would be waged over the faster clocked E6600 versus the slower Q6600 and the merits of dual vs quad core on the OSes and games of the time. I’m interested to see some independent benchmarks of Tegra 4 versus Tegra 3 and A6X-powered devices in particular though (to see if it lives up to NVIDIA's claims).

Besides the unknown Tegra 4 improvements, current unknowns on the two tablets include pricing, availability, battery life, amount of RAM, and the SoC clockspeeds.

What do you think of the redesigned Vizio tablets from what we know so far? Did the company get it right this time around with its re-engineered stock devices?

For more information, The Verge has managed to grab some hands-on videos of the two Vizio tablets on the show floor which you can find on their site (7-inch tablet and 10.1-inch tablet videos).

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!

Source: The Verge

CES 2013: NVIDIA Grid to Fight Gaikai and OnLive?

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Graphics Cards, Systems, Mobile, Shows and Expos | January 7, 2013 - 01:07 AM |
Tagged: CES, ces 2013, nvidia

The second act of the NVIDIA keynote speech re-announced their Grid cloud-based gaming product first mentioned back in May during GTC. You have probably heard of its competitors, Gaikai and OnLive. The mission of these services is to have all of the gaming computation done in a server somewhere and allow the gamer to log in and just play.

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The NVIDIA Grid is their product top-to-bottom. Even the interface was created by NVIDIA and, as they laud, rendered server-side using the Grid. It was demonstrated to stream to an LG smart TV directly or Android tablets. A rack will contain 20 servers with 240 GPUs with a total of 200 Teraflops of computational power. Each server will initially be able to support 24 players, which is interesting, given the last year of NVIDIA announcements.

Last year, during the GK110 announcement, Kepler was announced to support hundreds of clients to access a single server for professional applications. It seems only natural that Grid would benefit from that advancement: but it apparently does not. With a limit of 24 players per box, equating to a maximum of two players per GPU, it seems odd that a limit would be in place. The benefit of stacking multiple players per GPU is that you can achieve better-than-linear scaling in the long-tail of games.

Then again, all they need to do is solve the scaling problem before they have a problem with scaling their service.

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!

CES 2013: Seagate Wireless Plus - All the Mobiles!

Subject: General Tech, Storage, Mobile, Shows and Expos | January 6, 2013 - 10:11 PM |
Tagged: Seagate, ces 2013, CES

Certain mobile device manufacturers do not include a standard powered USB type A port for your removable storage? There’s an app for a peripheral for that!

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The Seagate Wireless Plus basically amounts to a 1TB external drive duct taped to a battery with a wireless dongle overly attached to it. The manufacturer claims that there is enough charge to power your storage for 10 hours to remain powered for as long as your mobile device. Seagate programmed compatibility with iOS, Android, and Kindle Fire HD as well as extra functionality for Airplay, SLNA, and a Samsung app for Smart TVs and BluRay players. In other words, at the very least this drive was designed for compatibility with a lot of devices.

The device is currently available online at Amazon and BestBuy. It is expected to cost $199.99 MSRP. Press blast after the break.

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!

Source: Seagate

CES 2013: Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11S Brings Intel Core i5 to 11-in Form Factor

Subject: Mobile | January 6, 2013 - 07:31 PM |
Tagged: yoga 11s, yoga 11, yoga, Lenovo, ideapad yoga, Ideapad, ces 2013, CES

The Lenovo Yoga laptops were actually announced at last year's CES and we have had one in house for a couple of months as well, doing a quick look type video of it back in October.  The Yoga notebooks are convertible Ultrabooks with a 360 degree hinge allowing you to wrap the display behind the keyboard and put the machine into a tablet form factor.  The first one we saw was powered by the Intel Core i5 processor but was in a 13-in design. 

There has been an 11-in version of the Yoga, but it was powered by NVIDIA's Tegra 3 processor and runs Windows RT.  The Yoga 11S being announced today runs the full version of Windows 8 and includes Intel ULV Ivy Bridge Core i5 series processors, integrated Intel HD 4000 graphics and can be configured with up to 8GB of DDR3 memory and a 256GB SSD.

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An 11.6-in 1366x768 IPS display with 10 point touch capability is at the heart of the convertible notebook that is rated at 6 hours of battery life with a 3.08 lbs fighting weight. 

The Yoga's biggest feature is the ability to convert into four different "modes" of usage: laptop, tablet, stand and tent.  You can see all of them demonstrated on our Yoga 13 preview video above and the same forms exist on the new Yoga 11S. 

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The Yoga 11S will also be available in "Clementine"

The Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11S will be available in mid-February and will start at $799.

Check out the full press release after the break!

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!

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.

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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!

CES 2013: Lenovo OneLink Connection Combines HDMI, Audio, Power, Ethernet and more!

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | January 6, 2013 - 06:00 PM |
Tagged: thunderbolt, onelink, Lenovo, ces 2013, CES

An interesting technology from Lenovo is making its debut at CES 2013 as a side-story to an otherwise kind of bland notebook, the ThinkPad Edge E431 and E531.  The notebook itself is based around an Ivy Bridge platform, 14-in or 15-in 1600x900 touch screen, optional discrete graphics and standard storage but what makes it more interesting is that it is the first machine to support Lenovo OneLink.

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Lenovo OneLink is a single connection that promises to "connect and deliver power to everything" and if successful, can reduce cable clutter and simplify connections for consumers and business users that want a laptop as their primary machine with a dockable workstation option for when you are at home or the office.  The capability for OneLink to not only act as the conduit for video, audio, networking, storage and more but also charge your laptop and power those other accessories would be impressive and surpasses Thunderbolt in many ways.  We don't yet know the actual data rate of OneLink so TB may still have an advantage there.

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Lenovo was also showing the first accessory for OneLink, a dock that features a NAS controller, 4 USB ports, Ethernet, native VGA, HDMI and audio.  In a relatively small package you are able to expand the ThinkPad Edge E431/E531 to the connectivity and capability of a full desktop with external storage and added displays.  Lenovo claims the HDMI connection will be completely lag free and support 1080p resolutions. 

Lots of questions remain including when other Lenovo machines will adopt this connection and why Lenovo decided to shun Thunderbolt that would allow them not only support other accessories but sell its accessories (like this dock) to non-Lenovo customers. 

Hopefully we'll get some more details this week!

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!

Lenovo ThinkVision LT1423p Touch Mobile Monitor

Subject: General Tech, Displays, Mobile | January 6, 2013 - 06:00 PM |
Tagged: windows 8, thinkvision, mobile, LT1423p, Lenovo, CES

Not one to be left out of the fray, Lenovo latest mobile announcement for CES comes in the form of a 13.3 inch, Windows 8 touch optimized mobile monitor.

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Courtesy of Lenovo

The ThinkVision LT1423p Mobile Monitor is being markets as a touch enabled secondary screen to be used by on-the-go professionals wanting the added productivity that a touch screen provides for the Windows 8 experience. The screen is an AH-IPS LED-based display with an edge to edge Gorilla Glass coating for added strength and durability. The monitor also support both wired and wireless forms of connectivity for added versatility.

KeyFeatures
Courtesy of Lenovo

  • Windows 8 touch optimized wired mobile monitor
  • 10 point multi-touch Gorilla Glass screen with anti-reflection and anti-fingerprint surfaces
  • One USB3.0 interface for its signal and power or optional WiFi wireless connectivity for ultra-mobility
  • Digitizer pen with 256 pressure, 2540lpi resolution, and a 133pps data rate
  • 4-directions wide viewing angle supported by latest 13.3 inch AH-IPS LED viewing panel
  • Ultra slim design ranging from 0.3 inch at its thinnest point to 0.6 inch at its thickest

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Courtesy of Lenovo

The touch screen monitor is only 1/2 an inch thick, weighing a mere 1.6 lbs. Not only is this sized to fit in the same bag as your ultrabook or laptop, but will not add much weight to that shoulder bag either.

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Courtesy of Lenovo

In addition to its 10 point multi-touch support, the ThinkVision LT1423p supports use of an stylus-type touch pen device for finer touch control.

Technical Specifications (provided by Lenovo)

Screen Size

13.3 inches

Panel Type

AH-IPS, LED

Display/Resolution

1600*900, HD+

Brightness

300nit

Contrast Ratio

500 : 1

DCR

10M:1

Interface

1 USB3.0

Multi-touch

10 point multi-touch

Touch Pen

Digitizer with 256 pressure transducers

Cover / Stand

Cover with stand to support landscape and portrait use

Weight

Starting at 1.6 pounds (730g)

Thickness

0.28 inches thin (7.1 mm thin)

Price

Starting at USD$349

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!

CES 2013: Vizio Creates Windows 8 Tablet with AMD CPU

Subject: General Tech, Processors, Mobile, Shows and Expos | January 6, 2013 - 05:13 PM |
Tagged: CES, ces 2013, vizio, amd

Why not open up CES-proper discussion with a tablet announcement?

AMD has begun their push into the tablet space with Vizio being one of their first OEM partners to announce products at CES. Due to AMD being one of the select few to still maintain a proper x86 license, they are about your only option outside of Intel for a true Windows 8 tablet. Vizio took them up on that position.

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The Vizio Tablet PC, seemingly a play on their original Android-based Vizio tablet with an added declaration that “I am a PC”, will run standard Windows 8 certified as Microsoft Signature. No bloatware will be included which should help users experience the performance that 60-day antivirus trials and auto-launched demo notifications absorb.

On the technical side, the Tablet PC is loaded with 2 GB of RAM, an 11.6” full 1080p display, and a 1.0 GHz AMD Z60 processor. 64 GB of solid state storage is included although Windows 8 has been known to stake claims to a large portion of that. Readers of our site would probably have a primary computing device although this might be worth watching as a secondary device. You do not have a whole lot of other options for Flash support or access to non-default browsers.

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!

Source: engadget

Brace Yourself: The PC Perspective CES 2013 Coverage is Coming!

Subject: Graphics Cards, Networking, Motherboards, Cases and Cooling, Processors, Systems, Storage, Mobile, Shows and Expos | January 5, 2013 - 10:47 AM |
Tagged: CES, ces 2013, pcper

It's that time of year - the staff at PC Perspective is loaded up and either already here in Las Vegas, on their way to Las Vegas or studiously sitting at their desk at home - for the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show!  I know you are on our site looking for all the latest computer hardware news from the show and we will have it.  The best place to keep checking is our CES landing page at http://pcper.com/ces.  The home page will work too. 

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We'll have stories covering companies like, Intel, AMD, NVIDIA, ASUS, MSI, Gigabyte, Zotac, Sapphire, Galaxy, EVGA, Lucid, OCZ, Western Digital, Corsair and many many more that I don't feel like listing here.  It all starts Sunday with CES Unveiled and then the NVIDIA Press Conference where they will announce...something.

Also, don't forget to subscribe to the PC Perspective Podcast as we will be bringing you daily podcasts wrapping up each day.  We are also going to try to LIVE stream them on our PC Perspective Live! page but times and bandwidth will vary.

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.

LR_cyberpower-ultrabook-1.jpg

"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..."

Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:

Mobile

HTML5 Games: The Legacy of PC Gaming?

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Mobile | December 30, 2012 - 04:48 PM |
Tagged: webgl, w3c, html5

I use that title in quite a broad sense.

I ran across an article on The Verge which highlighted the work of a couple of programmers to port classic Realtime Strategy games to the web browser. Command and Conquer along with Dune II, two classics of PC Gaming, are now available online for anyone with a properly standards-compliant browser.

CandCHTML5.png

These games, along with the Sierra classics I wrote about last February, are not just a renaissance of classic PC games: they preserve them. It is up to the implementer to follow the standard, not the standards body to approve implementations. So long as someone still makes a browser which can access a standards-based game, the game can continue to be supported.

A sharp turn from what we are used to with console platforms, right?

I have been saying this for quite some time now: Blizzard and Valve tend to support their games much longer than console manufacturers support their whole platforms. You can still purchase at retail, and they still manufacture, the original StarCraft. The big fear over “modern Windows” is that backwards compatibility will be ended and all applications would need to be certified by the Windows Store.

When programmed for the browser -- yes, even hosted offline on local storage -- those worries disappear. Exceptions for iOS and Windows RT where they only allow you to use Safari or Trident (IE10+) which still leaves you solely at their mercy to follow standards.

Still, as standards get closer to native applications in features and performance, we will have a venue for artists to create and preserve their work for later generations to experience. The current examples might be 2D and of the pre-Pentium era but even now there are 3D-based shooters developed from websites. There is even a ray tracing application built on WebGL (although that technically is reliant on both the W3C and Khronos standards bodies) that just runs in a decent computer with plain-old Firefox or Google Chrome.

Source: The Verge

There's More Apps for That: Windows Store Hits 35,000 Apps

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | December 29, 2012 - 05:38 PM |
Tagged: Windows Store

I think we all know my opinion on the Windows Store by now. I have been pretty vocal about the severe consequences inherent to requiring certification for applications to exist. Like it or not, it exists, and has recently reached a new milestone in terms of app count.

Paul Thurrott of Supersite for Windows collected a bit from information from various sources about status of the Windows Store. MetroStore Scanner reported that the store surpassed the 35,000 mark on December 27th with apps being added at an intense rate of a several hundred apps per day.

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The rapid inclusion of apps has been a trend throughout its life. The Next Web noted a fairly constant increase of 10000 apps per month. This meant that across the month of November, the Store more than doubled its catalog.

Just a couple of days earlier, Paul also reported that the Windows Store for Windows Phone passed 150,000 apps although it looks like a math error. The blog post claims Microsoft certified 75,000 apps which “more than doubled the catalog” which suggests that the catalog has some amount less than 150,000 apps.

But that is neither here nor there: the Windows Store is getting a bunch of SKUs.

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

NVIDIA Tegra 4 Details Revealed By Leaked Slide

Subject: Processors, Mobile | December 19, 2012 - 03:26 AM |
Tagged: wayne, tegra 4, SoC, nvidia, cortex a15, arm

Earlier this year, NVIDIA showed off a roadmap for its Tegra line of mobile system on a chip (SoC) processors. Namely, the next generation Tegra 4 mobile chip is codenamed Wayne and will be the successor to the Tegra 3.

Tegra 4 will use a 28nm manufacturing process and feature improvements to the CPU, GPU, and IO components. Thanks to a leaked slide that appeared on Chip Hell, we now have more details on Tegra 4.

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The 28nm Tegra 4 SoC will keep the same 4+1 CPU design* as the Tegra 3, but it will use ARM Cortex A15 CPU cores instead of the Cortex A9 cores used in the current generation chips. NVIDIA is also improving the GPU portion, and Tegra 4 will reportedly feature a 72 core GPU based on a new architecture. Unfortunately, we do not have specifics on how that GPU is set up architecturally, but the leaked slide indicates that the GPU will be as much as 6x faster than NVIDIA’s own Tegra 3. It will allegedly be fast enough to power displays with resolutions from 1080p @ 120Hz to 4K (refresh rate unknown). Don’t expect to drive games at native 4K resolution, however it should run a tablet OS fine. Interestingly, NVIDIA has included hardware to hardware accelerate VP8 and H.264 video at up to 2560x1440 resolutions.

Additionally, Tegra 4 will feature support for dual channel DDR3L memory, USB 3.0 and hardware accelerated secuity options including HDCP, Secure Boot, and DRM which may make Tegra 4 an attractive option for Windows RT tablets.

The leaked slide has revealed several interesting details on Tegra 4, but it has also raised some questions on the nitty-gritty details. Also, there is no mention of the dual core variant of Tegra 4 – codenamed Grey – that is said to include an integrated Icera 4G LTE cellular modem. Here’s hoping more details surface at CES next month!

* NVIDIA's name for a CPU that features four ARM CPU cores and one lower power ARM companion core.

Source: Chip Hell

HTML5 Defined!

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | December 19, 2012 - 02:56 AM |
Tagged: w3c, html5

Open Web Standards has reached a new milestone on Monday when the W3C published their completed definitions for HTML5 and Canvas 2D. There is still a long and hard road until the specification becomes an official standard although the organization is finally comfortable classifying this description as feature complete.

The “Web Platform” is a collection of standards which form an environment for applications to target the web browser. HTML basically forms the structure for content and provides guidelines for what that structure physically means. CSS, Javascript, Canvas 2D, WebGL, WebCL, and other standards then contribute to the form and function of the content.

HTML5 allows for much more media, interactivity, and device-optimization than its 1999 predecessor. This standard, particularly once finalized and recommended by the W3C, can be part of the basis for fully featured programs which function as expected where the standard does.

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This is an important milestone but one by no means the final destination of the standard.

The biggest sticking point in the HTML5 specification is still over video tag behavior. The W3C pushes for standards it recommends to comply with its royalty-free patent policy. Implementation of video has been pretty heavily locked down by various industry bodies, most noticeably MPEG-LA, which is most concerning for open source implementations which might not be able to include H.264. There still does not appear to be a firm resolution with this recent draft.

Still, once the patent issues have been settled, video will not just be accessible in static ways. Tutorials exist to show you how to manipulate the direct image data resulting from the video to do post-processing effects and other calculations. It should be an interesting abstraction for those who wish to implement video assets in applications such as for a texture in a game.

HTML5 is expected to be fully baked sometime in mid-2014. It would be around that time where HTML5.1 would mature to the state HTML5 celebrates today.

Source: W3C

AMD Announces Mobility 8000M Graphics Family with Modified Architecture

Subject: Graphics Cards, Mobile | December 17, 2012 - 03:08 PM |
Tagged: radeon, mobility, amd, 8800m, 8700m, 8600m, 8500m, 8000m

AMD appears to be jumping the gun a bit here but has decided to announce the Radeon 8000M-series of mobile GPUs prior to CES.  Before you get all riled up about the next generation of graphics technology, you should know that the new parts we are showing here are still built on the same 28nm Graphics Core Now (GCN) architecture that you'll find in the Radeon HD 7000 series of desktop graphics cards and even some already-existing Radeon mobility parts like the HD 7970M.  We were told there are "some changes" but details were minimal.

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Radeon HD 8500M and 8600M GPUs will both feature 384 stream processors with the variance related to the maximum clock speed.  The 8600M will hit 775 MHz core clock while the 8500M will cap out at 650 MHz.  Memory speeds are identical.  Keep in mind that the desktop Radeon HD 7750 card has 512 stream processors and it runs at up to 900 MHz so you that can put the performance of these mainstream GPUs in perspective.

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The 8700M uses the same 384 stream processor GPU though it gets a bit higher clock speed at 850 MHz.  The 8800M is the only GPU announced today to increase the core count to 640 stream processors and a clock speed of 700 MHz for a total compute capability of 992 GFLOPs.  Though the specifications are nearly equivalent to the build of the desktop Radeon HD 7770 part it is worth mentioning that the theoretical peak performance of that GPU is 1.28 TFLOPs; nearly 30% higher than the 8800M.

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AMD was coy but hinted that this mainstream product announcement will be added to later in Q1 with higher end enthusiast-level SKUs.  No 8900s yet guys, check back later.

When asked about the changes in this mobility GPU release compared to the 7000M series already available today, we only know that this is built on the same 28nm process but that the "architecture is slightly different and more efficient" than the 7000 chips.  These are NEW chips and are NOT rebrands of currently available products.  We don't have die sizes, transistor counts or TDPs until further notice.

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AMD did provide a couple of quick graphs comparing the performance of the Radeon HD 8870M against the GeForce 650M G5 and The 8770M against its own previously releaesd 7670M part.  Take all of this with a grain of salt until we can do our own testing, as per usual.

For now, I would say our readers should be very timid about the idea of a new series of GPUs from AMD without more information on the actual changes in performance will be compared to Souther Islands.  Based on what we are hearing the changes are very minor.

ASUS Partners with VIA for Tablet SoCs

Subject: General Tech, Processors, Mobile | December 13, 2012 - 04:37 PM |
Tagged: asus, VIA

We have not heard too much about VIA Technologies developing CPUs in recent history. They still hold an x86 license until at least some time in 2013. VIA also develops ARM SoCs, apparently, and have recently struck a deal to get in multiple 7-inch tablets by Asustek. These models will be exclusively sold to China.

ASUS set a goal of 12 million sales for tablet PCs for 2013 and one way to accomplish that milestone is to provide cheap but decent devices. This goal is firmly in the same order of magnitude as iPad sales. Still, ASUS already has a fairly big presence in the tablet market with its strong Transformer line and more notably Google’s Nexus 7.

VIA will provide ARM Cortex A9 processors for the lower end of ASUS’ product line. The model which they will be embedded in will retail for somewhere between $99-$149 USD. These devices will be available in China for the Lunar New Year season of 2013.

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Interestingly Asustek has not contracted out Pegatron to manufacture the device, opting instead for Wistron Corp. to fulfill the order. The two companies, Pegatron and Asustek, were once one-in-the-same; founded by a businessman with a fascination for the Greek mythological Pegasus. The company changed with the climate like any other and Pegatron was spun off into its own independent entity. Since then, Pegatron has been hard at work developing laptops and tablets for ASUS as well as picking up orders from Apple and others.

The first shipment of 2-3 million manufactured devices is rumored to be delivered to Asus by the end of December. Perhaps these sales can help bolster VIA and their ability to develop CPUs once more?

Source: CENS