Computex 2013: ASUS Keynote -- Transformer Pad Infinity, FonePad Note, MEMO Pad HD7, VivoPC, Router RT-AC68U, Transformer Book Trio
Subject: General Tech, Networking, Systems, Mobile, Shows and Expos | June 3, 2013 - 04:20 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: computex, asus
ASUS wants to kick off Computex with a barrage of product announcements. Seriously, there were 6 products announced in the span of 20 minutes with no two product from the same category. Devices range from tablets and convertibles to routers and mice.
The company started off with the new Transformer Pad Infinity. This updates their line of separable hybrid laptop/tablets with NVIDIA Tegra 4.
- NVIDIA Tegra 4 SoC
- 2560x1600 10.1-inch display
- USB 3.0, Bluetooth, 4K out via HDMI
- 6MP (I think, could be 16MP) rear, 1.2 MP front cameras
Up next was the FonePad Note. A page from Samsung's playbook, both in name and in functionality, the FonePad is a 6" phone with a stylus pen. Coming off our recent Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 10.1 story, this device will also be powered by an Intel Atom Z2560 SoC. These could be the start of many high-profile design wins for Intel.
- Intel Atom Z2560 SoC
- 2GB RAM
- 6" 1080p SuperIPS+ display, thin border
- 8MP rear, 1.2MP front cameras
- Front-facing stereo speakers
- Stylus Pen
And then we get the MEMO Pad HD7. This 7-inch 1280x800 HD tablet is designed to be cheap. It will be available for $149 in 16GB capacity for America, and a smaller $129 8GB version for emerging markets.
- ARM Cortex A7 quad-core SoC
- 7-inch 1280x800 HD IPS display (10-point multitouch)
- 5MP rear, 1.2MP front cameras
- Bluetooth, GPS, stereo speakers
- (starting at?) 16GB ($149) USA, 8GB ($129) emerging markets
We briefly leave mobile devices to head towards a desktop computer. The VivoPC is designed to be easily upgraded, "Just lift the lid and replace the harddrive and memory". This is being positioned as a home theater PC running Windows 8. We currently have no further specifications.
- It's got a lid?
And of course, with the discussion of an 802.11ac device we clearly need to move on to routers. The ASUS Router RT-AC68U, while a slight bit literal of a name, is supposedly the first dual-band 802.11ac Router. I am not exactly sure what the second band would be, but I am only the messenger. Regardless, this router is apparently capable of performance up to 1.9 Gigabits per second.
And then we cannot have all of these HTPC devices without an input method, can we? Enter the ASUS VivoMouse. This device allows you to more comfortably control your PC from your couch, as far as I can tell.
Last, but with a bang, ASUS announced the Transformer Book Trio. As you can guess, the Trio name comes from its three form factors being wrapped up into a single product: it's a notebook, a tablet, and a desktop PC. Do not worry, I will not make an iPhone announcement keynote joke; that one has already been well overplayed.
The trick is that the Trio is actually two fully functional computers with one running Android and the other Window 8. Both devices are powered by an x86 Intel-based processor, however: the main PC runs a Core i7-4500U processor and the tablet runs an Atom Z2580.
A main selling feature is that, when base is separated from screen, both devices are simultaneously useable. If you attach the base to an external monitor it will function like a desktop PC.
- Intel Core i7-4500U (base), Intel Atom Z2580 (tablet)
- Full HD multitouch IPS display
- Windows 8 (base), Android Jelly Bean (screen)
- 1TB HDD (base), 64GB flash (screen)
- Fully compatible with Google Play and Windows Stores
Well, that's it. We will probably have a bit more analysis coming up soon. But, for now, I need to get off of Taipei time.
Subject: Mobile | June 3, 2013 - 04:09 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: acer, computex 2013, aspire s3, haswell, gt700m, nvidia, Intel, gt735m
Acer is showing off a refresh of its Aspire S3 notebook at Computex in Taipei this year that will integrate the latest technology from Intel and NVIDIA. The new Acer Aspire S3 (not to be confused with the existing model) is a 13.3” notebook that measures 0.7” thick and weighs in at 3.63 pounds.
The Aspire S3 will come with a Gorilla Glass lid that is available in either red, white, or yellow according to The Verge. External IO options include Thunderbolt, HDMI, two USB 3.0 ports, a LAN port, and an audio jack.
The red colored lid model in particular looks nice, though I have my doubts about the rather cramped-looking keyboard. Acer has performed some strange key acrobatics in order to fit all the needed keys into five rows. For example, the tilde key has been moved to the right of the caps lock and the delete key is at the bottom of the keyboard to the right of the right-hand Alt button. I'm not entirely sure what Acer was thinking there (that is solely my opinion/first impression though, I have not had any hands-on time with it).
Internal hardware will include as as-yet-unnamed Intel Haswell processor, a NVIDIA GT735M (384 CUDA cores at 889 MHz with an unknown capacity 1GHz memory on a 64-bit bus), and a 1TB laptop hard drive (spindle speed not listed). It should be a decent performer and the Haswell CPU should get good battery life. If this comes in at or around the original Aspire S3's $650 price tag, and as long as the keyboard passes muster with the review sites, it might be a good buy if you don't need something super thin and/or lightweight.
Unfortunately, Acer has not yet talked about pricing or availability for the 13.3" Aspire S3 notebook.
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Processors, Mobile | June 3, 2013 - 03:00 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Intel, atom, Clover Trail+, SoC, Samsung, Galaxy Tab 3 10.1
While Reuters is being a bit cagey with their source, if true: Intel may have nabbed just about the highest profile Android tablet design win possible. The, still currently unannounced, Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 10.1 is expected to embed Intel's Clover Trail+ System on a Chip (SoC). Samsung would not be the largest contract available in the tablet market, their previous tablets ship millions of units each; they are a good OEM vendor to have.
Source: BGR India
Samsung is also known for releasing multiple versions of the same device for various regions and partners. The Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 did not have a variety of models with differing CPUs like, for instance, the Galaxy S4 phone did; the original "10.1" contained an NVIDIA Tegra 2 and the later "2 10.1" embed a TI OMAP 4430 SoC. It is entirely possible that Intel won every Galaxy Tab 3 10.1 tablet ever, but it is also entirely possible that they did not.
Boy Genius Report India (BGR India, video above) also claims more specific hardware based on a pair of listings at GLBenchmark. The product is registered under the name Santos10: GT-P5200 being the 3G version, and GT-P5210 being the Wi-Fi version.
These specifications are:
- Intel Atom Z2560 800-933 MHz dual-core SoC (4 threads, 1600 MHz Turbo)
- PowerVR SGX 544MP GPU (OpenGL ES 2.0)
- 1280x800 display
- Android 4.2.2
I am not entirely sure what Intel has to offer with Clover Trail+ besides, I would guess, reliable fabrication. Raw graphics performance is still about half of Apple's A6X GPU although, if the leaked resolution is true, it has substantially less pixels to push without being attached to an external display.
Maybe Intel made it too cheap to refuse?
Cortex-A12 fills a gap
Starting off Computex with an interesting announcement, ARM is talking about a new Cortex-A12 core that will attempt to address a performance gap in the SoC ecosystem between the A9 and A15. In the battle to compete with Krait and Intel's Silvermont architecture due in late 2013, ARM definitely needed to address the separation in performance and efficiency of the A9 and A15.
Source: ARM. Top to bottom: Cortex-A15, A12, A9 die size estimate
Targeted at mid-range devices that tend to be more cost (and thus die-size) limited, the Cortex-A12 will ship in late 2014 for product sampling and you should begin seeing hardware for sale in early 2015.
Architecturally, the changes for the upcoming A12 core revolve around a move to fully out of order dual-issue design including the integrated floating point units. The execution units are faster and the memory design has been improved but ARM wasn't ready to talk about specifics with me yet; expect that later in the year.
ARM claims this results in a 40% performance gain for the Cortex-A12 over the Cortex-A9, tested in SPECint. Because product won't even start sampling until late in 2014 we have no way to verify this data yet or to evaluate efficiency claims. That time lag between announcement and release will also give competitors like Intel, AMD and even Qualcomm time to answer back with potential earlier availability.
Subject: Systems, Mobile | June 2, 2013 - 07:18 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: quadro k1000m, origin pc, nvidia, kepler, Intel, haswell, gtx 700M, gaming, eon17-s, eon15-s
Origin PC has announced that it will be integrating Haswell CPUs and GTX700M GPUs into its line of gaming notebooks and desktops. Specifically, Origin PC will add Haswell CPUs to its Genesis, Millennium, and Chronos desktop PCs. Origin PC is also outfitting its EON gaming laptops with both Haswell CPU and GTX700M GPU upgrades. And to sweeten the pot (if only slightly), Origin is bundling a voucher for Grid 2 with each Haswell-equipped Origin PC order.
Both the EON15-S and EON17-S gaming laptops feature Intel Haswell processors, NVIDIA GTX700M or Quadro K1000M mobile graphics cards, and up to five storage drives when the optical drive is removed. The laptops are even able to have an independent RAID of two mSATA SSDs and two hard drives or SSDs along with a non-RAID storage drive in the optical bay—that's a lot of storage for a laptop!
The laptops come with customizable display lids available in red, black, silver, or a custom air brush as well as back-lit keyboards and touchpads. As the SKU names suggest, the EON15-S has a 15.6” display while the EON17-S has a 13.3” display. Origin PC is further offering factory overclocking for the Haswell processors and GTX700M graphics cards. The company claims up to a 20-times power reduction during idle thanks to the more power-efficient hardware.
Unfortunately, all this new tech comes at a premium, and the EON15-S and EON17-S gaming notebooks start at $1,722 and $1,784 respectively. As far as the desktops go, there is also a slight bump in price depending on the Haswell chip you select during the customization process. Upgrading to an Intel Core i7-4770K on the GENESIS desktop costs an extra $193, for example.
You can find more information on the Origin PC website.
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | May 30, 2013 - 05:40 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Samsung, Galaxy S4 mini
Because there is a cellphone SKU for everyone, both in design and in direct quantity.
The latest big release, the Galaxy S4, arrived just about a month ago with its 5-inch 1080p screen and potentially dual quad-core processors depending on where you buy it. You could wait until late June and purchased on from the Google Play store containing the full Google experience. If that does not suit you, how about a 4.3" 960x540 version? That would be the Galaxy S4 mini, or at least one of the localized versions they will invariably make for multiple carriers.
Image, Samsung via Samsung Tomorrow.
Btw, why does Samsung watermark photos on their company blog? Anyone?
One of the constants between the computational hardware of each Galaxy S4 version is the 2GB of RAM; basically everything else differs between specific subversions of the flagship phone. Not the mini! For whatever reason, the S4 mini backs off on the RAM by half a gigabyte leaving it with 1.5 GB.
One of the main selling features of the large S4 is the eight-core (quad-core A15, quad-core A7) SoC developed by Samsung. It was available in the international version, the American version instead having a quad-core processor from Qualcomm. The mini, on the other hand, will contain a slightly lower-clocked dual-core processor.
In the other features: the battery is about 27% smaller albeit with less power-hungry components; the rear camera drops from 13 megapixels to 8 megapixels, whether or not that is worse picture quality is unknown; and the internal storage is 8GB (5 user-accessible), down from the minimum 16GB of the not-mini.
So beyond the name, there does not seem to be many similarities between the regular and the mini S4. It is basically software which links the two devices. The mini has access to services such as S Translator and S Health, although there does not seem to be any discussion of other services like S Travel and OCR software.
Samsung will officially unveil it, with hands-on demos to various press members, on June 20th in London.
Subject: Mobile | May 28, 2013 - 02:21 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: battery charger, Luxa2 P1 7000mAh
At just 112 x 73 x 17.1mm, the LUXA2 charger is relatively compact and is certainly easier to carry around than a collection of batteries, especially if you are an Apple user and don't have the luxury of swappable batteries. There are some drawbacks to the charger that Overclockers Club found, the 1A maximum leads to long charging times but also likely avoids any possible heat problems. The two USB charge ports mean that you can charge two devices simultaneously, something lacking in many similar chargers. If you often find yourself on the road with dead devices, this might be worth adding to your laptop bag.
”The LUXA2 P1 7000mAh High Capacity Battery & Charger is a sleek looking and solidly built piece of hardware. The silver unit I reviewed delivered exactly what it claimed, with the only casualty being the carrying pouch that did not survive normal usage. Equipped with a 7000mAh battery and two USB charging ports, it will provide multiple full charges for smaller portable devices (such as iPhones) and a decent percentage of on-screen time for more power-demanding tablets. The shape and weight of the LUXA2 P1 7000mAh High Capacity Battery & Charger makes it fit easily into any regular laptop bag without much fuss.”
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
- SevenTeam X6 Power Bank @ Kitguru
- HP Pavilion Chromebook @ The Inquirer
- Mythlogic Callisto 1512 @ AnandTech
- ASUS Taichi 31 review: two sides of the story @ Hardware.info
- HP EliteBook Revolve 810 Review @ TechReviewSource
- Acer Aspire V5-431P @ Hardware.info
- AMD Kabini Mainstream APU Notebook Platform Preview @ Legit Reviews
- HP Envy TouchSmart 4 Touchscreen Ultrabook @ Tweaktown
- Sony VAIO T Series 15 Review @ TechReviewSource
- Samsung Series 3 NP300E5E-A05CA Review @ TechReviewSource
- Lenovo IdeaPad Z400 Touch Review @ TechReviewSource
- Cooler Master NotePal U2 Plus Cooling Pad Review @ Neoseeker
- Dell Latitude 10 Tablet @ FunkyKit
- Blackberry Z10 Smartphone @ FunkyKit
- BlackBerry Live 2013: BlackBerry changes course @ Hardware.info
- Our Top Android App Picks Of The Week @ eTeknix
- Kingston MobileLite Wireless: wireless card reader and more @ Hardware.info
A Reference Platform - But not a great one
Believe it or not, AMD claims that the Brazos platform, along with the "Brazos 2.0" update the following year, were the company's most successful mobile platforms in terms of sales and design wins. When it first took the scene in late 2010, it was going head to head against the likes of Intel's Atom processor and the combination of Atom + NVIDIA ION and winning. It was sold in mini-ITX motherboard form factors as well as small clamshell notebooks (gasp, dare we say...NETBOOKS?) and though it might not have gotten the universal attention it deserved, it was a great part.
With Kabini (and Temash as well), AMD is making another attempt to pull in some marketshare in the low power, low cost mobile markets. I have already gone over the details of the mobile platforms that AMD is calling Elite Mobility (Temash) and Mainstream (Kabini) in a previous article that launched today.
This article will quickly focus on the real-world performance of the Kabini platform as demonstrated by a reference laptop I received while visiting AMD in Toronto a few weeks ago. While this design isn't going to be available in retail (and I am somewhat thankful based on the build quality) the key is to look at the performance and power efficiency of the platform itself, not the specific implementation.
Kabini Architecture Overview
The building blocks of Kabini are four Jaguar x86 cores and 128 Radeon cores colleted in a pair of Compute Units - similar in many ways to the CUs found in the Radeon HD 7000 series discrete GPUs. Josh has written a very good article that focuses on the completely new architecture that is Jaguar and compared it to other processors including AMD's previous core used in Brazos, the Bobcat core.
Subject: Mobile | May 22, 2013 - 07:46 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Tegra 4i, software defined radio, SoC, nvidia, i500, 4g lte
NVIDIA's Tegra 4i System on a Chip includes a software defined radio that works as a LTE modem. This i500 LTE modem uses general purpose deep execution processors (DXP) and is as much as 40% smaller than a hardware LTE modem according to the company.
At Mobile World Congress earlier this year, the modem was able to reach 100Mbps throughput. After a recent software update, the Tegra 4i SoC in NVIDIA's Pheonix reference platform achieved 150Mbps throughput in a demo at CITA 2013 in Los Angeles this week.
The reference phone was connected to a test network during the demo rather than a live cellular network. The cellular network test equiptment showed the Pheonix platform was connected at the full 150Mbps link speed. In addition to this, NVIDIA showed the Tegra 4i-powered Pheonix phone connected to a live AT&T LTE network streaming video and making voice calls.
The interesting bit about the i500 modem in the Tegra 4i is its software defined nature. NVIDIA was able to upgrade the modem's capabilites through software rather than needing to redesign the hardware. This would be a big plus to consumers as they would be able to take advantage of the faster network speeds as they become available without needing to replace their phones. NVIDIA did note that in addition to the LTE Cat 4 support, the i500 is also backwards compatible with LTE Cat 3, 3G, and 2G networks. I'm interested to see what the power consumption of thei500 is like compared to LTE modems implemented in specialized hardware. The i500 is smaller and more flexible, but SDR can use more power due to its general purpose hardware units.
Read more about NVIDIA's Tegra 4i SoC at PC Perspective!
Introduction and Design
While Lenovo hasn’t historically been known for its gaming PCs, it’s poised to make quite a splash with the latest entry in its IdeaPad line. Owing little to the company’s business-oriented roots, the Y500 aims to be all power—moreso than any other laptop from the manufacturer to date—tactfully squeezed into a price tag that would normally be unattainable given the promised performance. But can it succeed?
Our Y500 review unit can be had for $1,249 at Newegg and other retailers, or for as low as $1,180 at Best Buy. Lenovo also sells customizable models, though the price is generally higher. Here’s the full list of specifications:
The configurations offered by Lenovo range in price fairly widely, from as low as $849 for a model sporting 8 GB of RAM with a single GT 650M with 2 GB GDDR5. The best value is certainly this configuration that we received, however.
What’s so special about it? Well, apart from the obvious (powerful quad-core CPU and 16 GB RAM), this laptop actually includes two NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M GPUs (both with 2 GB GDDR5) configured in SLI. Seeing as it’s just a 15.6-inch model, how does it manage to do that? By way of a clever compromise: the exchange of the usual optical drive for an Ultrabay, something normally only seen in Lenovo’s ThinkPad line of laptops. So I guess the Y500 does owe a little bit of its success to its business-grade brethren after all.
In our review unit (and in the particular configuration noted above), this Ultrabay comes prepopulated with the second GT 650M, equipped with its own heatsink/fan and all. The addition of this GPU effectively launches the Y500 into high-end gaming laptop territory—at least on the spec sheet. Other options for the Ultrabay also exist (sold separately), including a DVD burner and a second hard drive. The bay is easily removable via a switch on the back of the PC (see below).
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