Linux powered Sandy Bridge notebook from ZaReason

Subject: Mobile | December 2, 2011 - 02:55 PM |
Tagged: linux, ZaReason, Strata 6880

The stats on the ZaReason Strata 6880 are quite nice, a Core i7 2630QM, 8GB of DDR3, a 128GB Super Talent SSD and a GeForce GT 540M to power the 15.6"1920 x 1080 display.  The real shocker is the price, $850 which is in part thanks to the lack of a Windows OS license as well as the hidden cost of the crapware that notebook vendors love to shove onto all of their products.  You might want to pick up an external drive to go with the laptop as 128GB is not a huge amount of space, though it certainly will be fast.  Head to Phoronix for a look at this laptop, which they have been benchmarking for quite a while now as you can see from the links on the last page of this short overview.

pho_zareason.jpg

"You may have noticed several Phoronix articles in recent weeks using a ZaReason notebook built around Intel's "Sandy Bridge" processor. This is one of the new notebooks from ZaReason that had been in our labs for testing. Here is a last look at the Strata 6880 notebook from this Linux-focused PC vendor."

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Source: Phoronix

Corsair Announces Vengeance High-Performance Memory for Laptops

Subject: Memory, Mobile | December 1, 2011 - 12:09 PM |
Tagged: corsair, vengeance, laptop memory, ddr3-1600, ddr3-1866

FREMONT, California — December 1st, 2011 — Corsair, a worldwide designer and supplier of high-performance components to the PC gaming hardware market, today announced a line of high-performance memory upgrade kits for power laptop users.

Operating at speeds of 1600MHz and 1866MHz, the new Vengeance laptop memory upgrade kits are an ideal solution for notebooks equipped with a 2nd Generation Intel Core i5 or Core i7 processor. Vengeance laptop memory is designed to be plug-and-play, with no BIOS adjustments needed to instantly take advantage of the faster memory speed.

Veng_SODIMM_x2.png

The new Vengeance high-performance memory upgrade kits for laptops are designed to work with any PC or notebook which accepts standard DDR3 SODIMMs, and are backward compatible with notebooks and laptops which use first-generation Intel Core i5 and Core i7 processors. Even on older notebooks, customers can still take advantage of the ability to upgrade to 8GB of memory using only two memory slots, and enjoy the confidence of Corsair's renowned service and support.

"As more complex applications and games are available in the market, many laptop users are looking for an easy way to improve their system performance in order to have the best experience." said Thi La, Vice President of Memory Products at Corsair. "Our new Vengeance high-performance laptop memory kits allow performance-minded customers to boost their memory performance and capacity in an instant." 

Size Speed # of DIMMs Part Number
8GB 1866MHz, 10-10-10-27, 1.5V 2 CMSX8GX3M2A1866C10
8GB 1600MHz, 9-9-9-24, 1.5V 2 CMSX8GX3M2A1600C9
4GB 1866MHz, 10-10-10-27, 1.5V 1 CMSX4GX3M1A11866C10
Source: Corsair

Could Toshiba really be offering good 3D without glasses on their new Qosmio

Subject: Mobile | November 24, 2011 - 03:53 PM |
Tagged: toshiba, qosmio F755-3D290, 3d

Even if the glasses-free 3D on the Toshiba Qosmio F755-3D290 doesn't work very well the specs certainly make the laptop interesting.  For instance the 15.6" LED display is 1080p native or 720p if you enable the 3D mode.   Inside the Core i7-2630QM paired with a GT 540M give this laptop some serious processing power, though the model that AnandTech reviewed would set you back $1700 to purchase.  Strangely Toshiba opted not to include Optimus in this laptop which really shows when you look at the battery life, or lack thereof.  That begins the long list of issues that the reviewer at AnandTech had with this machine; catch the full list here.

AAT_g-glam_575px.jpg

"Way back in the dark ages of CES 2011, we were able to lay hands on and play with some interesting new technology from Toshiba. They had a prototype notebook on hand that was capable of glasses-free 3D similar to the Nintendo 3DS, but with a bigger screen and the ability to track head movement and adjust viewing angles accordingly. Yet the release of this 3D notebook has been an unusually quiet one. Is the 15-inch Qosmio F755 a sound design, or is there a reason why it's been unceremoniously dropped into the marketplace?"

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Source: AnandTech

Yummy: Transformer Prime running Ice Cream Sandwich

Subject: Mobile | November 22, 2011 - 05:21 PM |
Tagged: transformer prime, tegra 3, nvidia, ice cream sandwich, google, eee pad, asus

The world’s first quad-core mobile processor was recently made official with our announcement of the NVIDIA Tegra 3 chip, which will debut in the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime Android tablet. Following on Google’s release of Android 4.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich” (ICS) source code last week, we thought you’d like an early demo of ICS running on the Eee Pad Transformer Prime.

Google has done a great job on ICS and has made the platform open to the ecosystem and easy to develop on. Thanks to Google’s developer support, NVIDIA’s experienced software team was able to work with ASUS to quickly bring up Android 4.0 ICS on the Transformer Prime.

Recorded on November 16, only two short days after the source code for ICS was made publicly available, the video below shows the next-gen Android OS user interface looking clean and snappy on the Transformer Prime. This is just a sneak peak of things to come for the first Tegra 3-powered Android tablet.

This is just an early demo, but we think you’ll agree it’s extremely impressive that so much is already working well. Check out the flawless1080p video playback and quick demo of the quad-core optimized Riptide GP game in the video below.

By the way, find pre-order information for the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime, powered by Tegra 3, at asustablets.us.

Source: NVIDIA

CyberPower's sub-$1000 gaming laptop

Subject: Mobile | November 17, 2011 - 03:27 PM |
Tagged: Cyberpower, X6 9200, gaming laptop, optimus

The name is a bit confusing, as the CyberPower X6 9200 doesn't include a Phenom II X6 1090T, it is powered by the 2.2GHz Core-i7 2670QM and NVIDIA's GT540M 2GB GPU with Optimus support.  The 15.6" monitor is quite impressive, supporting full 1080p resolutions as well as the more common 1366x768 resolution for laptops, at this price one should assume it is a TN panel.  Externally you can send signal via HDMI or VGA if you find the screen too small for your preferences.  They've fully populated the memory capacity of the system with a pair of 4GB DDR3-1333 DIMMs and storage is a 500GB HDD.  Bjorn3D had no issues with this $900 gaming laptop, but they do prefer a matte finish to the piano-style fingerprint magnet that CyberPower chose.

B3D_cyber8.jpg

"Today we look at the budget friendly Cyberpower gaming notebook. A feature rich offering at a lower mid level price range, check out how well this gaming notebook does."

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Source: Bjorn3D

Apple IOS Update Fails To Fix Battery Issues

Subject: Mobile | November 12, 2011 - 04:07 AM |
Tagged: iphone, iOS 5, battery issue, apple

Owners of Apples’ latest iOS devices (especially 3GS, 4, and 4S iphones) have recently run into some battery life issues. Allyn did some testing and found that the latest iOS 5 operating system has a bug (among others) the phone is not able to enter standby mode thanks to a rogue process keeping the phone awake and wasting battery life. Apple was slated to put out the iOS 5.0.1 update, which was supposed to fix the battery life issues.

Well, the update has been released and many users are still experiencing battery life issues. Apple gave a statement to AllThingsD where it stated that although the recent iOS update addressed many of the battery issues, “we continue to investigate a few remaining issues.” According to this poll, approximately 35% (1,822 participants) are having the same battery issues after the update and nearly 14% are experiencing even worse battery issues than before the update. Conversely, almost 18% (910 participants) of people are getting improved battery life from the update. Lastly, a bit over 33% have not reported not experiencing any battery issues. The poll is currently based on a total of 5,145 respondents.

iphone_low_batt.jpg

According to Apple, the battery issues are software related, so here’s hoping that they will get their iphones in a row and release an update to fix the issues. More information on Apple’s statement can be found here. Did the update fix your iphone’s battery woes?

Source: Mashable

Just Delivered: Samsung Infuse 4G

Subject: Mobile | November 9, 2011 - 07:08 AM |
Tagged: just delivered, Samsung, Infuse 4g, froyo, AT%26T, Android

Just Delivered is a new section of PC Perspective where we share some of the goodies that pass through our labs that may or may not see a review, but are pretty cool none the less.

I've been rocking an aging Nokia N900 smart phone for quite some time now. It was a good phone but I felt that it was time to take advantage of the upgrade pricing, and pick up a new phone with better support and hardware. Fed Ex today dropped off a smart phone in this ever unassuming box. Let's hope the phone is shinier than the box!

20111108_008.jpg

After opening the box and taking out all of the components, I was left with quite a bit of kit. The phone in question is a Samsung Infuse 4G (for AT&T), and the box includes all the various retail odds and endsa that go with it. The Android smart phone is fairly thin, and although made of plastic it feels sturdy. Weighting in at 4.9 ounces, the phone resembles a small tablet with a massive 4.5" Super AMOLED+ capacitive multi-touch display with a resolution of 480 by 800 pixels. Powering the display is a single core Hummingbird processor running at 1.2 GHz, 512 MB of RAM, and 16 GB of internal storage via an internal microSD card.  Unfortunately, the phone is only running Android 2.2 and Samsung is using their own TouchWiz UI on top of the OS.  Despite that, the phone does still feel very snappy in terms of scrolling, bringing up menus, and transitioning between applications.  I'll have to play around with it some more though.

20111108_017.jpg

Notable accessories Included in the box are a 1750 mAh battery, 2 GB MicroSD card (and SD card adapter), and wired headset as shown in the image below. Also a nice touch is a combination USB/AC charger and USB cable, which will be easier to manage than carrying around two chargers for my old phone (the AC charger and separate USB cable). The phone is capable of supporting up to a 32 GB microSDHC card for maximum storage.

20111108_010.jpg

As far as very first impressions go, I'm really liking the Samsung Infuse. Although the display is one of the largest on a phone I've ever used, the phone is surprisingly light. It doesn't hurt that the display is very sharp and the colors are great, either. Now excuse me while I run out and get a screen protector before I scratch this thing!

ASUS Unveils the Prime, the World's First Quad-Core Android Tablet

Subject: Mobile | November 9, 2011 - 01:00 AM |
Tagged: tegra 3, tegra, tablet, quad-core, kal-el, eee pad, asus, Android

eeepadprime1.jpg

ASUS Eee Pad Prime

Rumors have been swirling around the ASUS Prime tablet and dock, successors to the popular ASUS Eee Pad Transformer, for months. Today, many of those rumors can rest, as ASUS has taken the wraps off the tablet's official specifications. 

The big story for enthusiasts is the tablet’s NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core processor. Provided that the product makes its anticipated December release (the exact date has yet to be announced), this will be the first tablet to hit the market with Tegra 3 as well as the first Android tablet to sport a quad-core.  You can read some more details that Ryan discussed about Tegra 3 and its five (5?!?) cores, by checking out this post from September.

kalel1.png

NVIDIA Kal-El / Tegra 3 Processor

As the follow-up to the Transformer, the Prime offers many of the same features including the keyboard dock. However, the Prime is improved across the board. The tablet is just 8.3 millimeters thin, making it the thinnest tablet on the market (the next thinnest is the 8.6mm Galaxy Tab 10.1, while the iPad 2 is 8.8mm). Weight has been reduced to 586 grams (1.29 lbs), down from 680. The rear-facing camera now sports an 8MP sensor, the battery in both the tablet and the optional dock is slightly larger, and base storage is now 32GB, with a 64GB model available as an optional upgrade. Even the display has been improved via a new brightness enhancement function that promises to make the tablet easier to use in sunlight.

eeepadprimespecs.jpg

Even the design has been upgraded. Unlike the Transformer, which has a plastic back, the Prime has a “spun metallic” finish. It will be available in amethyst gray and champagne gold.  

The battery tests from ASUS put the Prime at 12 hours of life on its own and 18 hours with the keyboard dock while playing back 720p video with all ports enabled and the screen brightness at 60 nits. 

Despite all of these improvements, the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer will not be going away. In fact, it will be remaining at its current price. Instead, the Prime is entering the market as a “premium” product built to compete directly with the iPad 2 and Galaxy Tab 10.1. The base Prime model with 32GBs of storage is $499, while the 64GB model is $599. As with the original, purchasing the optional keyboard dock will set you back another $149.

transformerprime.jpg

ASUS claims that the Prime will in fact ship with Android 3.2 in its initial release with an over-the-air updated to 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) as soon as it has been "optimized, tested and approved".  They weren't willing to put a date or time frame on that release but they are planning on using the 4.0 OS revision at the launch event coming in December; that seems to indicate to us we may have it in time for CES in January 2012. 

When PC Perspective reviewed the Transformer, I called it “the best Android tablet on the market today.” The thinner, lighter, more powerful Prime should be a significant improvement to an already excellent product. My only concerns were with the dock itself, which was sometimes finicky and added a fair amount of bulk. It’ll be interesting to see if the Prime can address those concerns.

PR ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime front Amethyst Gray.jpg

Source: ASUS

MSI's new mid price, moderately powerful gaming laptop

Subject: Mobile | November 8, 2011 - 02:02 PM |
Tagged: msi, gaming laptop, GT683R

MSI's new gaming notebook has a 2.6GHz i5-2410M, a GTX560M 1.5GB and a strangely unbalanced RAM setup with a single 4GB and a single 2GB stick of DDR3.  Externally, two USB 3.0 and two USB2.0 are available, a single eSATA port, four audio jacks, a card reader and HDMI and VGA will give you external video.  The external video may be quite important to you if you plan on gaming as the default 1366x768 resolution will not stress the GTX560M.  Drop by Madshrimps for a complete look at MSI's competitively priced GT683R gaming laptop.

MS_MSIGT683.jpg

"After testing MSI's GT780 gaming notebook I must admit I was pretty impressed by it's allround and gaming performance. Of course, a high end gaming notebook also carries a pretty beefy price tag. big screen , decent powerful GPU and CPU, 8Gb of ram, dual harddrives. Well the price tag for the included components was fair, but what happens if you want a gaming notebook and don't have 1500 euros to cash out? Todays reviewed MSI GT683R laptop might have you covered for a fraction of the price. The specifications of the GT683 don't seem that impressive at first glance, but maybe it can still pack some serious punch. Let's open the box and see what's inside."

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Source: Mad Shrimps

Alienware Lowers Price on GTX 580M and Changes Our Opinion in the Process

Subject: Graphics Cards, Mobile | November 7, 2011 - 01:16 PM |
Tagged: m18x, m17x, hd 6990m, gtx 580m, alienware

If you read our recent mobility GPU comparison using the Alienware M17x, you might have wondered why the price on the GTX 580M was $300 more than that of the Radeon HD 6990M when performance was so close.  Well, I guess you can no longer say we didn't do anything to help the consumers (you wouldn't say that, would you?) because today Alienware has dropped the price of the GTX 580M by $225!!

m17x.jpg

It looks like Alienware and NVIDIA have listened to our feedback and decided to drop the price on the GeForce GTX 580M on the M17x, M18x and others - and by quite a bit!  As of this writing you can go to the Alienware.com website and now upgrade from the HD 6990M to the GTX 580M for only $75 - that is a $225 price drop compared to last week.  

View Full Size

What does this do for our opinions and thoughts on the battle between the HD 6990M and the GTX 580M?  I think it makes the added benefits of the NVIDIA ecosystem (Optimus, 3D, Verde driver updates, PhysX) much more attainable and in my book well worth the additional cost.  With this price change, Alienware has really shifted my view on the mobile GPU of choice.

I am going to update my award from the Gold to the Editor's Choice for NVIDIA's GTX 580M for this specific reason - be sure to read the full review if you haven't already!  Happy gaming!

HP Jumps Back Into PC OEM Mode With New Business PCs

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | November 6, 2011 - 08:32 AM |
Tagged: tablet, slate 2, psg, hp, business, atom

Not long after HP reconsidered spinning off the PC manufacturing arm of the company, it has begun prepping two new business computers. The new PCs are aimed at business, education, healthcare, and government users and include a tablet and notebook. Specifically, HP is releasing the HP Slate 2 tablet computer and a lightweight notebook dubbed the HP 3115m.

 

HP Slate 2.jpg

The HP Slate 2 is a dark gray and silver accented slate style tablet computer weighing in at 1.5 lbs and a 8.9” (diagonal) screen. Running Windows 7, the computer offers both pen and touch input using its capacitive multi-touch display. To make up for the absence of a hardware keyboard, HP is including a new Swype keyboard application which will likely be well received as a notable improvement over the default Windows 7 on screen keyboard. As it is aimed at business users, several security enhancements are baked in, including a TPM (Trusted Platform Module) chip, HP ProtectTools, and Computrace Pro BIOS level security software.

On the hardware side of things, the HP tablet is powered by an Intel Atom Z670 processor and a mSATA compatible SSD. A front facing VGA camera is available for video conferencing, and a second 3 MP (megapixel) camera is located on the back providing photo and video capture. Further, the tablet features SRS Premium Sound, Wi-Fi, Ethernet, Bluetooth, optional 3G mobile broadband, an SD card slot, and USB 2.0 ports. HP is further designing a docking station, integrated Bluetooth keyboard tablet case, and a Point of Sale (POS) attachment that adds a magnetic card reader to the tablet for processing credit card payments.

For those that would prefer a hardware keyboard instead of a tablet PC, HP is also releasing a lightweight notebook. The company claims that the new HP 3115m laptop will offer up to 11.5 hours of battery life. The PC features a 11.6” LED-backlit HD display, an HP webcam, and Beats Audio. Powering the laptop is a AMD E450 dual core Fusion APU. The APU features AMD Radeon HD 6320 graphics hardware, which should easily meet the needs of road warriors and business professionals.

Both the HP Slate 2 and 3115m will be available later this month. The HP Slate 2 will be available worldwide towards the end of the month while the 3115m will be available November 11th in North and South America only.  More photos can be found here.

 

Amazon Adds Free Kindle Book Lending To Amazon Prime Service

Subject: General Tech | November 4, 2011 - 03:56 AM |
Tagged: mobile, lending, kindle, ebook. book, devices

Amazon has launched a new service to augment its existing Amazon Prime subscription service this week that is sure to please ebook fans who happen to own a Kindle e-Reader. The new service dubbed the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library adds a free ebook renting option for Kindle devices.

The Kindle Owners’ Lending Library is a subscription service like the Amazon Prime Instant Video service, except that instead of videos, Amazon will let you rent one book from the lending library for free. And as long as you maintain the Prime membership, you can keep the book for as long as you need to finish it. Once you’re done, you are able to turn in the book and exchange it for another ebook. Another plus is that any highlighting and bookmarking done to the borrowed books will remain persistent across rentals, meaning if you ever re-borrow the book all of your markups will remain intact.

Kindle Lending Library.png

There are some caveats to the rental service, however. You may have noticed that I emphasized the term “lending library” when describing the service. I did this because (again, much like instant video rentals) the ebooks that you are allowed to rent will be from a smaller subset of the library of Kindle books that you are able to purchase outright. Amazon is looking to expand the library of books that you will be able to rent; however, in some respects book publishers can be more restrictive (and old fashioned) than members of the RIAA and MPAA are in allowing their content on subscription services. According to Tom’s Hardware, amazon is, in some cases, being required to buy a title outright from the publisher every time it is rented (!). The company has said that it is even going to these extremes to try and show publishers the benefits of incremental growth in audience and revenue that can be achieved with such a lending (subscription) service.

The other caveat is that Amazon is currently only offering free rentals to Prime members who own Kindles, meaning that users of the smartphone and Kindle PC applications are out of luck. Further, there are restrictions on the Prime accounts that are eligible. Naturally, a full Amazon Prime account is required, meaning that you must be the primary account holder to use this service. It is unclear at this point whether the discounted student versions of Prime will be able to use this service (I’ve hear conflicting reports where some are saying they’ve gotten it to worth and some people have reported that it is not working for them).

Despite the caveats listed above, should Amazon’s subscription service be a success (I think it will be), it will likely entice other platforms to adopt similar subscription services. Once Barnes and Noble, Sony, and Amazon all integrate some sort of subscription services, book publishers will (hopefully) be forced to make more content available. For now though, the Amazon juggernaut will have to brute force it’s way into a decent subscription library. If you are curious about the titles offered, you can see the selection here. There are a few top 100 bestseller books as well, and the library can only grow from here. Will you be checking out the new rental system with your Kindle?

A tiny little wireless keyboard and trackpad for your Bluetooth devices

Subject: General Tech | October 27, 2011 - 12:57 PM |
Tagged: input, keyboard, mobile, touchpad, chill innovation

The tiny Chill Innovation KB-1BT Bluetooth Micro Keyboard is 155mm x 61mm x 12mm (6.1" x 2.4" x 0.5") so you obviously can't expect full sized keys especially with the 31mm2 (1.2"2) trackpad on the side.  What you can expect is to hook up the keyboard wirelessly to any device that can manage Bluetooth, the USB connection is to recharge the keyboard. MektuMods enjoyed using the device but question its value, the model they reviewed was 70 Euros (~$100USD) to purchase.

MM_bundle.jpg

"There are several keyboard/mouse bundles available these days. The new KB-1BT combines these two items into a single package. This is something that one could imagine using while watching movies via HTPC or writing a document with an iPad. So, is it worth your money? Let us find out..."

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Source: MektuMods

HP Testing Windows 8 Developer Preview on Touchpad Tablets

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | October 25, 2011 - 10:17 PM |
Tagged: windows 8, webOS, touchpad, tablet, slate, hp

The HP Touchpad was tablet that ran HP's WebOS mobile operating system.  It was also a tablet with an extremely short lifespan, one that was ended long before its time according to the sentiments of many enthusiasts.  The tablet's demise was a casualty of the company's former CEO Léo Apotheker getting rid of HP's PC division, and it started going for fire sale prices only a few weeks after its initial release.

There may yet be hope for the tablet, however.  According to Fox News, an HP employee has told them that a team within the company is playing around with the (not so) dead HP Touchpad tablets by replacing the WebOS operating system with Windows 8 Developer Preview.

hp_win8.png

It seems as though the idea of a Windows powered slate may be something that HP is willing to try out.  Although slates nor convertible tablets have never really caught on (at least in the US) due to Windows not being the most touch friendly interface, with the rise in popularity of tablets and Microsoft beginning to put a bit more care into a touch friendly UI, HP may be weighing the odds of a Windows 8 powered slate computer.  If; however, HP goes ahead with the previous plans to ditch the PC division, the idea of a HP Touchpad reincarnation may be moot anyway.

If the souce turns out to be true; however, there may be hope for a new HP Touchpad in the future sans WebOS.  Do you think HP will go ahead with the plan to follow in the footsteps of IBM, or will it give its PC division and(/or) touchpad tablet line a second chance?

Source: Fox News

Ultrabook Prime; they're here

Subject: Mobile | October 25, 2011 - 12:32 AM |
Tagged: Zenbook UX311, Zenbook UX21, acer, ultrabook, asus, Aspire S Series

 Those of you who are strangers to the PC Perspective Podcast, or who do not remember the CULV may be disappointed by the retail release of the Ultrabook form factor from Intel.  Those of you who have watched us describe the woes of the manufacturers who needed to design and retail the Ultrabook for under $1000 probably already know the ending of this tale.  There are Acer models available at $900 and though they lack an ethernet port they certainly carry a citrus aura. ASUS seems to have put together a slightly better version with a fair choice of ports available, though with more dongles required than necessary (>0),  but still too many sacrifices have been made for an aluminium clad ultra-thin form factor.  Both companies produce better notebooks at a much lower price if you are willing to squeeze in a few extra milimetres.

 

SA_Acer_Aspire_S_Ultrabook.jpg

"You know a product is a dog when it is available widely in stores long before reviewers get sent some. Ultrabooks are no exception, the only thing they have is hype and consumer ignorance."

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Source: SemiAccurate

Alienware asks why you shouldn't have CrossFire on a laptop

Subject: Mobile | October 18, 2011 - 02:26 PM |
Tagged: alienware, Alienware M18x, 18.4, crossfire, hd 6990m

Why shouldn't you stick a pair of HD 6990M's in an 18.4" laptop, as long as you don't mind lugging around a 12lb laptop from power outlet to power outlet.  Seeing as just a few years ago 12lbs was not an uncommon weight for a laptop that does represent a great design on Alienware's part.  The comparison that AnandTech was most interested in was between NVIDIA's GTX 580M and AMD's 6990M to see who can hold onto the dual GPU mobile performance crown.  Who shall triumph?  Read on to see.

AAT_amdglam.jpg

"In our first run with the Alienware M18x, we sat down and took a look at the notebook itself along with NVIDIA's current top shelf mobile graphics part, the GeForce GTX 580M. We came away from the experience with mixed impressions of the M18x itself, a notebook that is by all means incredibly powerful but also seems to lose a lot of the balance that made the M17x R3 so desirable. On the other hand, the GeForce GTX 580M wound up being the fastest mobile GPU we'd yet tested, made only more formidable through the SLI configuration the M18x enables."

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Source: AnandTech

The OLPC project is still alive

Subject: Mobile | October 13, 2011 - 12:43 PM |
Tagged: XO-1.75, OLPC

The One Laptop Per Child program has been in the works for a while now but we have not really heard much from them lately until now.  The idea to provide an inexpensive low powered laptop to children in developing countries is very altruistic but perhaps not very realistic.  However the project continues and Phoronix had a look at what might just be the final 7.5" prototype.  The hardware reflects the price limit of $200, with an Armanda 610 SoC that has a 800MHz ARMv7 Marvell Sheva processor with an onboard 3D engine for light gaming and which is purported to be able to handle 1080p video, there is also 512MB of RAM and the long term storage is handled be a 4GB NAND flash chip. 

P_OLPC.jpg

"Last month at XDC2011 Chicago, I managed to get my hands on what should be the production hardware model of the XO-1.75 laptop that is expected to be released in the coming months by the OLPC project. The low-cost OLPC laptop targeted for students is now ARM-based and consumes very little power."

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Source: Phoronix

If you were to drop $3000 on a laptop ... who would you go with?

Subject: Mobile | October 4, 2011 - 03:47 PM |
Tagged: razer, razer blade, alienware, alienware M17X

While you probably have the same reaction to the question of which $2800 + tax laptop is the best one to chose as hardCOREware, the fact remains some people will buy them.   At that price range, a lot of the price is for show and not for value.  Having a laptop resembling a UFO or Italian racing car might make it look fast but has no effect on the actual performance of the laptop.  With so much focus on the exterior and the reasonable assumption by the manufacturer that anyone willing to pay that price tag has little knowledge of what components make the fastest gaming machine the question stands; if someone has their mind made up to spend this money, which laptop should you recommend.  Read on to see how  the internals of Alienware and Razer's gaming laptops compare.

HCW_razer-blade-vs-alienware.jpg

"I was recently asked on Twitter what I thought of the Razer Blade, a 17" gaming laptop which will become available later this year for a staggering $2800. My first thought was "LOL" but then I realized that some people really would spend $2800 on a laptop.

The question is, if you were to spend that on a proper gaming laptop and not a hyperbole-inducing showcase piece to get blogs to drool all over your brand, how much better will the specs look?"

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Source: hardCOREware

Panel Self Refresh; a new way to save power

Subject: Displays | September 30, 2011 - 01:27 PM |
Tagged: mobile, low power, panel self refresh

The idea behind Panel Self Refresh is a sound one, when displaying static images there is no need for the GPU portion of your processor to be refreshing it at full speed.  If you simply leave the displayed image in the frame buffer you can turn off the GPU and get significant power savings.  It will not help when you are streaming media but if you are reading emails or a pdf file or even browsing pictures, you should see some extension to the life of your battery.  Hardware Secrets describes the technology in their article here.

imageview.jpg

"Manufacturers are always looking for innovative ways to save battery life on laptops. With the embedded DisplayPort 1.3 interface (eDP 1.3), VESA, the Video Standards Association behind DisplayPort, came up with a new idea, the Panel Self Refresh (PSR). Let's see how it works."

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The birth of the $600 gaming laptop; thank you AMD

Subject: Mobile | September 28, 2011 - 06:10 PM |
Tagged: llano, amd, A6-3400M, HD 6720G2, HD 6650M, HD 6520G, asus, A53T

Asus' A53T is powered by the Llano A6-3400M and 6GB of DDR3-1333 with graphics from the discrete HD6520G and the built in HD 6650M, which is apparently labelled as the HD6720G2.  A 15.6" 1366x768 LCD gives you decent resolution on the road and the HDMI and D-Sub out give you better resolution when you are at home.  The Tech Report were not incredibly impressed with the battery life, during movie playback it died after a bit over 3 hours, though still long enough to get through Avatar.  Gaming was more than satisfactory at the native resolution of the monitor and will handle higher resolutions with the video out acceptably well.  Head on over for the full review.

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"Here we have our first example of a genuine, honest-to-goodness consumer laptop powered by AMD's latest and greatest accelerated processing unit. How does it perform?"

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