Introduction, Design, User Interface
This summer is shaping up to be an amazing time to buy a gaming laptop. Intel has launched its Ivy Bridge processors, bringing faster performance to the entire range without increasing power consumption. Nvidia’s new Kepler based parts, although technically launched a couple months ago, are only now widely available.
We’ve already looked at many low-end solutions including Trinity, HD 4000 and the Kepler-based Nvidia GT 640M. We’ve also looked at one high-end gaming solution in the form of the ASUS G75V.
Today we're reviewing the Origin EON17-S, an obvious competitor to the G75V. It's packing an Nvidia GTX 675M. An Intel Core i7-3920XM joins the party as well. Clearly, this laptop is meant to provide maximum performance - as the other specifications make clear.
Though it has gobs of high-performance hardware our review unit did not arrive with an internal optical drive (it did come with an external Blu-Ray). The drive had been removed and a 1TB hard drive installed in its place. This is a clever bit of packaging that makes a lot of sense and isn’t offered by Alienware, Maingear or ASUS. While I know some gamers do still use optical drives, I personally can’t remember the last time one was required for install.
Our review unit tallies up at about $3500 bucks, which is expensive but not outrageous. Spending much more is difficult and requires that you either pony up for every frivolous option available or buy Nvidia Quadro graphics cards instead of the consumer-market GTX. Or you can put the price in reverse by downgrading to a Core i7-3610QM, which saves you over $1000.
Subject: Mobile | June 7, 2012 - 11:22 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: x460dx, video, ultraportable, tablet, slider s20, notebook, msi, laptop, computex
MSI has been extremely busy at this year’s Computex trade show by releasing tons of new hardware. The company today officially announced two new Ultra series laptops that are less than 1” thick and made to be ultraportable and stylish.
The MSI X460DX is a 14” thin and light notebook with metal alloy chassis, Intel Ivy Bridge Core i5 processor, NVIDIA GT630M graphics card, HDMI, Bluettoth, and USB 3.0 technology. It also supports the company’s Turbo Battery+ technology and a hotkey to turn off idle hardware. The computer sports a stylized trackpad, chiclet keyboard, and metal accents.
The MSI X460DX weighs in at 2kg and is less than an inch thick. No word yet on pricing or availability.
The other MSI Ultra series notebook is the Slider 20. The 11.6” device is constructed of plastic with brushed metal textures, weighs in at 1.3kg and is stated to be “less than 2 centimeters thin.” The interesting bit about the MSI Slider S20 is the touchscreen, however. The 11.6” screen (which has a resolution of 1366x768) can lay flat over the keyboard in slate mode or slide back and tilt upwards. In laptop mode, the chiclet keyboard is exposed. The computer will run Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 8 operating system. Powering the ultrabook is an Intel Chief River based Core i3 CULV processor, Intel IGP for graphics, and accelerometer. On the outside it features an Ethernet port, two USB 3.0 ports, HDMI port, audio output, and webcam.
The MSI Slider S20 is certainly an interesting form factor, and I suspect it will be sturdier than other convertible tablets that utilize a single hinge in the center to connect the display and keyboard. Engadget managed to get their hands on the device. They reported that although the Slider S20’s keyboard is a bit cramped and even a little too flexible, the screen hinge felt sturdy and the device felt rather lightweight. Beyond that, MSI isn't talking detailed specifications.
Word around the Internet is that the S20 will be sold for under $1,000 USD which is pretty good (depending on just how far under it is). I’m certainly interested in seeing what this Windows 8 tablet can do.
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | June 7, 2012 - 09:36 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: video, trinity, msi, mobile, laptops, Ivy Bridge, Intel, gaming notebook, gaming, computex, amd
MSI has been busy at this year’s Computex trade show. In addition to the company’s graphics cards and motherboard displays, MSI is showing off four new G Series gaming notebooks. Three of them are running Intel Ivy Bridge processors while the fourth machine is powered by a top-end AMD Trinity APU. Included in the new G series is the GT70, GT60, GE70, GE60, and GX60. The only AMD system is the GX60. Let’s take a look at that one first.
The GX60 has a similar exterior build as the other G Series notebooks, but has vastly different internals and does not appear to have the same audio technology as the Intel-based notebooks. The desktop replacement class (read: heavy and not so great battery life heh) laptop features an AMD A10-4600M APU, AMD A70M chipset, and AMD Radeon 7970M graphics card. Other features include MSI’s “SuperRAID” storage with up to two SSDs in RAID and a mechanical hard drive, Steelseries keyboard, and a Killer E2200 gaming network card. Another interesting feature is the system’s ability to output to up to three displays with AMD Eyefinity technology. The system was able to pull a respectable 30 frames per second on the Unigine Heave benchmark and will have an MSRP of around 1,000 British Pounds (~$1,557.70 USD). According to eTeknix, the AMD Trinity-based notebook will be available soon.
The Intel Ivy Bridge based systems get a bit more love than the AMD Trinity system with SuperRAID support, up to 32GB of RAM, MSI Audio Boost (powered by Dynaudio or THX TruStudiio Pro depending on model), gold-plated audio connectors, Turbo Drive Engine and NVIDIA discrete graphics. The Intel and AMD G series laptops all get 1080p displays and custom backlit keyboards built by SteelSeries. The AMD system may well have MSI Audio Boost, gold plated connectors, and the like but MSI did not seem to tout them on the GX60 like they did for the Intel ones. The GX60 does at least get the SteelSeries keyboard and SuperRAID tech. Anyway, onto the Intel gaming rigs.
MSI GT70 and GT60
The MSI GT 70 is the largest and fastest gaming notebook at the MSI booth with a 17” 1080p display, quad core Core i7 processor, SuperRAID storage, THX certified Dynaudio sound, Turbo Drive Engine, Killer E2200 NIC, and a NVIDIA GTX 680M mobile GPU with GDDR5 RAM. The GT70 utilizes MSI’s SuperRAID to the fullest with two SSDs and a mechanical hard drive for up to 700MB/s read speeds. The system further features a backlit keyboard from SteelSeries that has five LED pattern modes (Normal, Gaming, Wave, Breathing, and Dual Color) and various selectable colors to choose from. The GT70 was pulling about 45 frames-per-second on the Unigine Heaven benchmark and P20,000 on 3DMark Vantage. Consumers should expect it to be available for around 2,500 British Pounds (~$3,894.25 USD).
The MSI GT70 gaming notebook
The GT60 is a smaller version of the GT70 with 15.6” chassis, slightly slower Ivy Bridge Core i7 processor at 2.9GHz, and only a GTX 670M graphics card. It features the same MSI technology as its bigger brother, the GT70, but may not have the exact SuperRAID setup. Otherwise it has Dynaudio, 1080p display, the backlit SteelSeries keyboard, and lots of other goodies. No price info on this one to report, unfortunately.
MSI GE70 and GE60
The two MSI GE branded gaming laptops are the budget versions of the GT70 and GT60. They feature slower IVY Bridge processors, a downgrade in the Intel chipset to H76M, and a GPU downgrade to a NVIDIA GT650M with 2GB of GDDR5 memory. The displays are still 1080p, but they do not have Dynaudio (only THX TruStudio Pro), and the SteelSeries keyboards are not backlit. Of the two, the GE70 has a slightly faster Intel processor. They do both feature Turbo Drive Engine technology and likely SuperRAID though the setups are likely limited versus the bigger GT70’s chassis. Again, no word on how much these will cost or when they will be shipping.
All the notebooks have a nice black finish to them and the SteelSeries keyboard looks pretty nice. I’m interested in the AMD GX60 myself as I find Trinity neat. The Intel-based systems are definitely power houses though, especially the GT70 and although I don’t expect battery life to be anywhere near great these would be a good choice for gamers that demand the portability of a laptop platform.
Update: the press release does clarify that the GT70 and GE70 have 17.3” 1080p screens while the GT60 and GE60 have 15.6” 1080p screens. It also lists USB 3.0 compatibility on the Intel-based notebooks along with a built-in 720p 30fps webcam for video conferencing.
Subject: Mobile | June 7, 2012 - 06:37 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: laptop, inspiron special edition, inspiron 14z, inspiron, dell, back-to-school
Dell is gearing up for the back-to-school shopping season with a refresh of its Inspiron laptop portfolio. They are releasing updated laptops in its Inspiron Z, Inspiron R, and Inspiron R Special Edition computers in several sizes. The systems range in starting/base prices of $599.99 USD and $1,299.99 USD and will be available in June (more specific numbers below).
Dell recently announced that it is releasing a number of new laptops under its Inspiron brand. The three sub-series that are receiving updates include the Inspiron Z, Inspiron R, and Inspiron R Special Edition. The Inspiron Z laptops are thin and light notebooks (the 14z is classed as an Ultrabook) while the Inspiron R series are larger products for everyday computing. The Inspiron R Special Edition notebooks are paired with “studio-quality multimedia and audio.”
The new laptops feature curved edges, a “Moon Silver” band around the edges, Waves MaxxAudio technology, and Skullcandy brand speakers. Sam Burd, Dell’s Vice President for the Personal Computing Product Group stated that “the expanded and redesigned Inspiron family helps parents embrace technology and make a smart investment in their childrens’ success.” Needless to say, the company is pushing the computers hard as college friendly, especially the thin and light Inspiron Z laptops.
Inspiron Z Laptops - Thin & Light
The new Inspiron Z series comes in 13” and 14” varieties with the Inspiron 13z and Inspiron 14z respectively. The thin and light models will offer mobile broadband radios with Dell’s NetReady service which is a “pay-as-you-go” no contract service. Further, both notebooks offer around seven hours of claimed battery life (the 13z claims 7.5 hours, to be more specific, versus 7 on 14z).
The 13z is the smallest notebook of the updated lineup. It features Intel’s latest Ivy Bridge processors and HD 4000 graphics, six GB of DDR4 memory, a 500GB hard drive, and non-replaceable battery offering up to seven and a half hours. The hardware then powers a 13.3” TrueLife display with a resolution of 1366x768. It will be available in Moon Silver, Fire Red, and Lotus Pink colors. Further, it weights 3.81 pounds (1.73Kg) and measures .82” thick.
The full specifications of the device can be found below:
• Beautiful color options with SWITCH lids: Moon Silver (standard), Lotus Pink, Fire Red• Standard 2nd Gen Intel Core i3 with HD Graphics 3000 or available 3rd Gen Intel Core i5 and i7CPUs and HD Graphics 4000ii pack plenty of performance into this surprisingly slim chassiso 2nd Generation Intel Core i3-2367M processor (3MB cache, up to 1.4GHz) (standard)o 3rd Generation Intel Core i5-3317U processor (3MB cache, up to 2.6GHz)• 6GB dual channel memoryii• 500GB Hard Drive• 13.3-inch high definition (720p) WLED display with Truelife (1366x768 standard)• Battery life up to 7 hrs 30 min (with Intel Core i3 processor, 6GB memory and 320GB harddrive). Dell Inspiron 13z batteries are built into the laptop and are not replaceable by thecustomer• Waves MaxxAudio 4 audio; Skullcandy speakers• Intel Wireless Display supports streaming 1080p & 5.1 surround sound wirelessly• HDMI 1.4a output for HD entertainment and HD aspect Webcam with pre-loaded Skype• USB 3.0 (2); USB 3.0 PowerShare (1); RJ45 Ethernet; HDMI v1.4; 8-in-1 media card reader;Bluetooth 4.0 (standard)• Height: 0.82”-0.82” (20.7mm – 20.7mm); Width: 13.07” (332mm); Depth: 9.05” (230mm)• Weight: Starting at 3.81 lbs (1.73 Kg)• Starting price: $599.99• U.S. availability: June 19
The Inspiron 13z will be available June 19th in the US and Canada (already available elsewhere) starting at $599.99 USD.
The Inspiron 13z will come in three colors.
The 14z is the company’s second ultrabook (the first being the XPS 13), and the first Inspiron branded ultrabook. It starts at 4.12 pounds (1.87Kg) and .83” thick and will be available in Moon Silver and Fire Red (coming later this summer) with a brushed aluminum textured finish. It will feature Intel’s Rapid Start Technology to improve boot times and features a claimed seven hours of battery life.
Full specifications for the 14z are as follows:
• Beautiful aluminum finish in Moon Silver or optional Fire Redi• Standard 2nd Gen Intel Core i3 with HD Graphics 3000ii or available 3rd Gen Intel Core i5 and i7CPUs and HD Graphics 4000ii pack plenty of performance into this surprisingly slim chassiso 2nd Generation Intel Core i3-2367M processor (3MB cache, up to 1.4GHz) (standard)o 3rd Generation Intel Core i5-3317U processor (3MB cache, up to 2.6GHz)o 3rd Generation Intel Core i7-3517U processor (4MB cache, up to 3.0GHz)• Memory options from 6GB (standard) up to 8GB dual channel memoryii• Hard drive options: 500GB with 32GB mSATA cardiii; optional 128GB SSDiii• AMD Radeon HD 7570M with 1GB GDDR5 graphicsii (option with Core i5 and i7 configuration)• 14-inch high definition (720p) WLED display (1366x768 standard)• Battery life up to 7 hrs 01 min (with Intel Core i7 processor, 8GB memory, AMD 7570M 1GBgraphics, and 500GB hard drive). Dell Inspiron 14z batteries are built into the laptop and arenot replaceable by the customer• Waves MaxxAudio 3 audio; Skullcandy speakers• Intel Smart Response Technology quickly recognizes and caches most frequently used files andapplications, allowing quick access• Intel Rapid Start Technology boots in seconds; resumes in seconds; saves power when sleeping.• HDMI 1.4a output for HD entertainment and HD aspect Webcam with pre-loaded Skypevi• USB 3.0 (1); USB 3.0 PowerShare (1); RJ45 Ethernet; HDMI v1.4; 3-in-1 media card reader;Bluetooth 4.0• Height: 0.81”-0.83” (20.7mm – 21mm); Width: 13.66” (347mm); Depth: 9.45” (240mm)•Weight: Starting at 4.12 lbs (1.87 Kg)vii
Inspiron R Laptops - Everyday Computing
The Inspiron R notebooks are aimed at everyday computing and feature HD displays, Waves MaxxAudio 3 technology, lots of connectivity ports, and have several different processor, memory, and hard drive combinations available to users. They support Intel’s WiDi technology that can wireless transmit video and audio to your home theater setup. They come in 15” and 17” models as the 15R and 17R respectively.
The 15R comes in four colors including Moon Silver, Lotus Pink, Fire Red, and Peacock Blue. The Laptop measures up to 1.34” thick and weighs in at 6.05 pounds (2.744Kg). It comes with Intel’s WiDi to hook up to external displays but it does feature a built-in 15.6” WLED display with 1366x768 resolution. The company claims that the laptop can get up to 6 hours and 46 minutes when equipped with an i5 CPU, 4GB memory, and 500GB mechanical hard drive. Processor options can include either a Sandy Bridge Core i3-2370M processor, Ivy Bridge i5-3210M, or Ivy Bridge i7-3612QM processor running at 2.4GHz, 2.9GHz, and 3.1GHz respectively. Users can select either 6GB or 8GB of DDR3 memory and up to a 1TB 5400 RPM hard drive. Connectivity options include HDMI 1.4a, three USB 3.0, USB 3.0 PowerShare, Gigabit Ethernet, VGA output, SD card reader, and Bluetooth 4.0.
The Inspiron 15R will be available June 19th with a starting price of $549.99.
The 17R is very similar to the 15R in terms of internal hardware with the same processor, hard drive, and memory options. It does have a larger display at 17.3” with a resolution of 1600x900 pixels. It will come in either Moon Silver, Lotus Pink, or Peacock Blue colors and will weigh in at 7.15 pounds (3.24Kg). External connectivity options are the same as the Inspiron 15R as well. The company is claiming a slightly shorter battery life of 5 hours and 34 minutes, however.
The Inspiron 17R is already available in certain Asian and European countries. It will go on sale in the US and Canada starting June 19th with a base price of 599.99 USD. The full specifications for the 17R are as follows:
• Beautiful color options with SWITCH lids: Moon Silver (standard), Lotus Pink, Peacock Blue i• Standard 2nd Gen Intel Core i3 with HD Graphics 3000ii or available 3rd Gen Intel Core i5 and i7CPUs and HD Graphics 4000ii pack plenty of performanceo 2nd Generation Intel Core i3-2367M processor (3MB cache, up to 1.4GHz) (standard)o 3rd Generation Intel Core i5-3210M processor (3MB cache, up to 2.9GHz)o 3rd Generation Intel Core i7-3612QM processor (6MB cache, up to 3.1GHz)• Memory options from 6GB (standard) up to 8GB DDR3 memoryii• Hard drive options from 500GB (standard) to 1TB 5400 RPM SATAiii• 17.3-inch high definition plus (900p) WLED display with Truelife (1600x900)• Battery life up to 5 hrs 34 min (with Intel Core i5 processor, and 6GB memory)• Waves MaxxAudio 3 audio; speakers with sub-woofer• Intel Wireless Displayv supports streaming 1080p & 5.1 surround sound wirelessly• HDMI 1.4a output for HD entertainment and HD aspect Webcam with pre-loaded Skypevi• USB 3.0 (3); USB 3.0 PowerShare (1); RJ45 Ethernet; HDMI v1.4; VGA; 8-in-1 media card reader;Bluetooth 4.0• Height: 1.25”-1.46” (31.7mm – 37.1mm); Width: 16.4” (416.8mm); Depth: 10.87” (276mm)• Weight: Starting at 7.15 lbs (3.24 Kg)vii• Starting price: $599.99• U.S. availability: June 19
Subject: Mobile | June 7, 2012 - 01:54 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: wireless, gaming laptop, gaming, computex, ASUS ROG, asus, 802.11ac, 5GHz wifi
Earlier today we posted a couple of teaser photos showing off some of ASUS’ upcoming products. One of the devices was a gaming laptop called the ASUS G75. Engadget has managed to get their hands on some more information regarding a variant of the G75 – the G75VW. According to the site, the gaming laptop is rocking an Intel Ivy Bridge processor, GeForce GTX 670M, and DDR3 memory (known because of the CPU used). That hardware is then powering a 1080p display, which the GTX 670M should have no problem driving but is a bit depressing to see on a high end laptop of this size (approximately 17”). The real kicker though is in the wireless card that it is allegedly packing: an 802.11ac card.
The ASUS G75 gaming laptop
Engadget states that although the information sheet next to the laptop at ASUS’ Computex booth did not list any 802.11ac compatibility, wireless chip maker Broadcom (manufacturer of chips that are used in many wireless routers and NICs) has stated that it does in fact have an 802.11ac NIC in it. Senior Vice President Michael Hurlston told members of the press at Computex 2012 that the ASUS G75VW is the “World’s first 5G Wi-Fi laptop.” He further stated that the computer would be arriving in the hands of consumers “very shortly.”
Interesting stuff, and although the “5G Wi-Fi” – so called because it is the fifth generation of consumer grade Wi-Fi (though not the 5th gen if you count all iterations of the wireless 802.11 standards) – is not yet official and set in stone, it is very close and I would not be surprised to see the technology in a laptop like this particular ASUS at this point in the game.
And to think that I just got done upgrading my network to Gigabit Ethernet and 802.11n about two months ago! Even so, I’m excited for the upcoming standard because I want to test its usefulness in getting live TV from my CableCARD tuner to the living room and Katy’s wireless laptop without stuttering – something even wireless N with MIMO can’t do with devices in the same room. So far, the only thing stable enough has been wired Cat5e Ethernet (both 100Mbps and 1000Mbps hardware seem to work without issues). And because it’s proving difficult to get a wired connection from the router to the TV (Xbox 360 used as Windows Media Extender), I’m ready to try out some 802.11ac stuff to see if it can really deliver on the increased bandwidth!
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | June 6, 2012 - 05:33 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: motherboard, laptop, headsets, gaming, ASUS ROG, asus
Today we received a number of photos from ASUS that show off some upcoming hardware from their upcoming Republic of Gamers line. Except for the Xonar Phoebus (which has launched), the hardware in these photos is not yet released and ASUS has not revealed when it will be available for sale – or how much it will cost. Still, I can’t think of a better way to start the day than getting a glimpse of some shiny unreleased hardware – especially when I get to share it with you!
First up is a new Replublic of Gamers motherboard called the Maximus V Extreme. This board is similar to the mATX Maximus V GENE board that was announced recently, but the Extreme motherboard is full ATX.
While full specifications are unknown, from the photo you can see that the board has an LGA 1155 socket, making it compatible with the latest Intel Ivy Bridge processors. Further, it is sporting four DDR3 DIMM slots, five PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots, and one PCI-E 3.0 x4 slots. Other features of the board include ASUS’ Extreme Engine Digi+ II digital power control technology, power and reset buttons on the board itself, voltage check points, Lucid Virtu MVP GPU virtualization technology, and AMD CrossFireX and NVIDIA SLI support. The VRM area and southbridge area of the board is covered by large black and red heatsinks.
Rear IO includes five USB 2.0 ports (one to be used with ROG Connect), two USB 3.0 ports, an Intel-powered Gigabit LAN, HDMI, DisplayPort, optical audio output, PS/2 port, five analog audio outputs and a TOSLink connector. Additionally, the board features CMOS clear and reset buttons, a mini-PCIe + mSATA combo card, and a Republic of Gamers OC Key accessory. The OC Key plugs into the DVI port of the graphics card and provides an on-screen-display for overclocking information and voltage tweaking.
In addition to the ASUS Maximus V Extreme, the company is producing the Maximus V Forumula motherboard, which is then further available with or without the ThunderFX audio accessory. The Formula board is another socket 1155 board with a red and black color scheme that is ready for Ivy Bridge processors and multi-GPU setups (SLI or CrossFireX). The heatsinks on the formula are a little less beefy than those on the Maximus V Extreme, but the VRM heatsinks are ready to be integrated into a water cooling loop. Further features include four DDR3 DIMM slots, eight SATA connectors, three PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots, three PCI-E 3.0 x1 slots, and a single PCI-E 3.0 x4 slot.
The board also features the SupremeFX integrated sound card (which has been isolated from the rest of the board by routing the wiring through its own PCB layer) and a mini-PCI-E + mSATA combo card. One version of the motherboard also comes with the SupremeFX accessory which you can see in the photo below.
Rear IO of the Maximus V Formula motherboard includes four USB 2.0 ports (one for ROG connect), four USB 3.0 ports, an eSATA port, DisplayPort, HDMI, Intel-powered Gigabit LAN, five analog audio jacks, two optical audio outputs, and CMOS clear and reset buttons.
The Maximus Extreme V Formula comes with a device called the ThunderFX that is a high end headphone amp and DAC offering 120dB SNR, and noise cancellation technology. The included GamEQ comes with three preset profiles but also offers you a wide range of options to tweak your sound to your own desires. There is also onboard audio in the form of the SupremeFX IV audio chipset which will keep those who prefer speakers more than happy with their audio quality.
You can also see that the large anodized aluminium heatsinks have barbs for you to include them in a watercooling loop so that all components on your motherboard can be cooled without resorting to fans to move air. GameFirst II is the name ASUS has given their networking software and it is designed to examine an prioritize packets to reduce lag and ping times. It comes with both an EZ Mode as well as offering advanced options for those who know what they are doing. As we have seen on other boards, the Maximus Extreme V Formula comes with a mPCIe Combo card with dual-band Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0. This board is also shattering records in Super PI 32M, 3DMark05 and Heaven to name a few.
Earlier this year I had the chance to take a look at the first ultrabook with discrete graphics, the Acer Aspire Timeline Ultra M3. My review was not particularly favorable, but the idea of placing discrete graphics in an ultrabook is both compelling and necessary. Intel’s low-voltage processors have difficulty with gaming when paired with the HD 4000 IGP and this flaw is difficult to excuse in products typically priced at $800 or above.
Four new ultrabooks with NVIDIA discrete GPUs have been unveiled to tackle the problem of gaming with a slim laptop. The list includes two laptops from Acer, two laptops from Gigabyte and one from ASUS.
The Gigabyte U2442N, which has a 14” 1600x900 display and a GeForce GT 650M GPU, is obviously the most powerful and the product that offers the most promising gaming experience on paper. Only the ASUS UX32 looks questionable. There’s no way that a GeForce GT 620M is going to handle gaming on a 1080p display.
Unfortunately, a closer look at the announcement suggests these product lines aren’t that exciting. The Gigabyte laptops have received a lot of positive attention, but Gigabyte has no meaningful presence in the North American laptop market and it’s nearly guaranteed the laptop won’t be popular on this side of the pond. The Acer M5-581TG appears to be an Ivy Bridge updated version of the Acer Aspire M3 that we reviwed – and did not like – while the M5-481TG is just a smaller version.
That leaves the ASUS UX32 and its GT 620M which, although likely quicker than Intel HD 4000, isn’t sufficient for serious gaming.
Hopefully NVIDIA will be able to bring discrete graphics to more products from larger manufacturers, but the fact so few companies have gone this route suggests there is some underlying reason. My personal guess? Heat. The Acer Aspire M3 became quite toasty during load. It’ll be interesting to see if the U244N has some design trick that makes the GT 650M manageable – or if Gigabyte, like Acer, doesn’t mind putting out a laptop with high exterior temperatures.
Subject: Systems, Mobile | June 5, 2012 - 01:26 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: alienware, dell, gtx 680m, GTX 690, Ivy Bridge, aurora, m17x, m18x
Alienware has also contributed to the lack of GTX690s and GTX680M chips by filling their latest gaming PCs and laptops with NVIDIA's new Kepler chips. Paired with an Ivy Bridge processor the new M17x and M18x along with the Aurora desktop will offer incredible performance for anyone willing to pay the price. Both laptops will support 3D though only the M18x offers you the choice of dual GTX 680Ms in SLI.
A little over a month ago, we announced the first wave of major hardware upgrades for our Alienware line of laptops based on the newest Intel Ivy Bridge processors and also NVIDIA GeForce 6-series cards. Since then, NVIDIA has certainly kept busy as they continue to introduce more members of the next-generation Kepler family such as the GTX 690, GTX 670, and most recently, the GTX 680M.
By the time you read this, NVIDIA will have finally revealed the details of their GTX 680M from Computex 2012 in Taipei, Taiwan. The GTX 680M is based on the GK104 Kepler architecture and features similar silicon to its beefy desktop version, the GTX 680. NVIDIA calls this card the ‘fastest, most advanced gaming notebook GPU ever built’ and we have little reason to argue otherwise.
On the flip side of that power-packed coin, customers who order a system with the GTX 680M will also see greater improvements to power efficiency utilizing NVIDIA’s Optimus technology which enables long battery life by automatically switching on the dedicated GPU only when necessary. All in all, the GTX 680M paves the way for superior next-gen mobile gaming performance and makes the most of the additional technologies below that can only be found on GeForce GPUs:
- Adaptive V-sync – newly developed technology for a smoother gameplay experience
- Advanced AA modes – for crisper images, including NVIDIA FXAA and new TXAA
- PhysX support – for accelerated in-game physics
- NVIDIA 3D Vision 2 technology – for bigger, brighter, more comfortable 3D gaming
- 3DTV Play software – for connecting notebooks to 3DTVs for the most immersive gaming experience to be had in a living room
- NVIDIA SLI technology – for up to double the gaming performance. Two GeForce GTX 680M GPUs in SLI mode represent the fastest notebook graphics solution available anywhere
- CUDA technology support – for high-performance GPU computing applications
We are particularly proud to be a launch partner with NVIDIA for the GTX 680M. The Alienware M17x will be available with the GeForce GTX 680M 2GB DDR5 GPU along with the option for the NVIDIA 3D Vision technology. The Alienware M18x will also be available with the GeForce GTX 680M GPU in single or dual-card SLI configurations before the end of the month.
The Alienware M17x and M18x aren’t the only two products getting the Kepler kick, and they certainly won’t be the last. Before the end of the month, we will have configuration options to allow users to equip their custom built Aurora with the newly released GeForce GTX 690.
Based on many of the initial reviews of the GTX 690 as can be seen Anandtech and Hot Hardware, most people have drawn one consistent conclusion; the GTX 690 is easily the most powerful single-card GPU they have ever tested. With that level of graphical power and performance, we have been working with NVIDIA to offer the GTX 690 in our Alienware Aurora R4 desktops in order to equip our ultimate gaming machines with even more processing power.
The GeForce GTX690 is certainly a fantastic and ridiculously powerful pairing for the Alienware Aurora. The GTX 690 brings all the performance of a dual GTX 680 SLI setup while drawing less power and outputting less noise – all while staying within the same thermal levels. Considering that the Aurora uses a mini-ITX board, the GTX 690 allows for users to enjoy the pinnacle of dual-card performance without having to deal with PCI-e slot spacing, drastic thermal levels, or slim dual card watercooled GPU blocks.
Again, expect the GTX 680M on the M17x/M18x and GTX 690 to be available for the Alienware Aurora R4 worldwide before the end of the month on Alienware.com or also Dell.com.
NVIDIA recently revised its notebook GPU lineup, but there was one part notably missing – the GTX 680M. The x80M part has been NVIDIA’s fastest mobile GPU in each generation for some time, so we knew that a GTX 680M was coming. We had only two questions. When? And what architecture will it be based on?
Now we have the answers to both questions. NVIDIA has pulled the wraps off its flagship component. The new GTX 680M is a Kepler component (unlike other high-end 600 series parts, which are Fermi) packing 1344 CUDA cores and up to 4GB of GDDR5.
The green team is laying out some big numbers in its press release by claiming that performance is up about 80% in comparison to the GTX 580M and 30% in comparison to the AMD Radeon 7970M. NVIDIA also says that the new part will play every game available today at 1080p with maximum in-game settings.
Other selling points include NVIDIA’s FXAA and TXAA, Adaptive V-Sync, Optimus, SLI, PhysX and 3D Vision. The company is clearly making a strong effort to distinguish itself from AMD not only with performance but also with features.
Five launch laptops were announced. They include the Alienware M17x and M18x, the MSI GT70 and the Clevo P150EM/P170EM. The Clevo units are the chassis used by companies like Maingear, Origin and other boutiques. Only the M18x has confirmed SLI support and only the M17x has confirmed 3D Vision support. Pricing has not been announced.
We will of course be looking to obtain a review unit so we can see if the GTX 680M is as mightly as claimed.
Subject: Mobile | June 4, 2012 - 12:04 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: windows 8 rt, windows 8, tegra 3, tablet 810, tablet 600, computex, clover trail, asus
Haven't had enough tablets yet? ASUS hopes that's the case as they continue to release products using Windows 8 with the fresh touch interface. First up, Anandtech tells us about the new ASUS 810 tablet using the Intel Clover Trail x86 SoC.
Image source: Anandtech.com
The 810 will include an 11.6-in screen with a 1366x768 resolution IPS display - we have seen almost all of the new Clover Trail based tablets using this low resolution likely due to the underpowered graphics power of the 32nm Intel graphics powering them. ASUS also includes 2GB of memory, 64GB of solid state storage, 8MP and 2MP cameras and support for NFC (near field communications).
Much like the Transformer brand of tablets ASUS has made popular already, the 810 (and the 600 below) will offer keyboard / battery docks.
Image source: Anandtech.com
The ASUS Tablet 600 will also run Windows 8, but the RT (ARM) version, and will be powered by NVIDIA's Tegra 3 quad-core SoC. This model will also have 2GB of memory but will drop to 32GB of local storage and include the 8MP and 2MP cameras. The 10.1-in screen will keep the 1366x768 resolution and it can take advantage of the optional keyboard dock.
If you continue to be interested in the ASUS 600 tablet, the first Windows 8 RT Tegra 3 powered device, check out the video demonstration created by NVIDIA below.