Introduction and Design
With the release of Haswell upon us, we’re being treated to an impacting refresh of some already-impressive notebooks. Chief among the benefits is the much-championed battery life improvements—and while better power efficiency is obviously valuable where portability is a primary focus, beefier models can also benefit by way of increased versatility. Sure, gaming notebooks are normally tethered to an AC adapter, but when it’s time to unplug for some more menial tasks, it’s good to know that you won’t be out of juice in a couple of hours.
Of course, an abundance of gaming muscle never hurts, either. As the test platform for one of our recent mobile GPU analyses, MSI’s 15.6” GT60 gaming notebook is, for lack of a better description, one hell of a beast. Following up on Ryan’s extensive GPU testing, we’ll now take a more balanced and comprehensive look at the GT60 itself. Is it worth the daunting $1,999 MSRP? Does the jump to Haswell provide ample and economical benefits? And really, how much of a difference does it make in terms of battery life?
Our GT60 test machine featured the following configuration:
In case it wasn’t already apparent, this device makes no compromises. Sporting a desktop-grade GPU and a quad-core Haswell CPU, it looks poised to be the most powerful notebook we’ve tested to date. Other configurations exist as well, spanning various CPU, GPU, and storage options. However, all available GT60 configurations feature a 1080p anti-glare screen, discrete graphics (starting at the GTX 670M and up), Killer Gigabit LAN, and a case built from metal and heavy-duty plastic. They also come preconfigured with Windows 8, so the only way to get Windows 7 with your GT60 is to purchase it through a reseller that performs customizations.
Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile | July 16, 2013 - 07:09 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: xps 12 ultrabook, windows 8, ultrabook, tablet, dell
Dell has announced that within the next few weeks, it will be unleashing a refreshed version of the XPS 12 convertible ultrabook (tablet/notebook). Although the base price will be increased by $100, the refreshed tablet features Intel’s latest Fourth Generation Core “Haswell” processor, a NFC radio, and a larger battery.
Specifically, Dell will be releasing at least three new XPS 12 SKUs. The lowest-end refreshed model includes an Intel Core i5-4200U processor, 4GB of RAM, and a 128GB SSD. This ultrabook/tablet SKU has an MSRP of $1,199 and is an update to the original base model with an MSRP of $1,099.
Dell's XPS 12 Convertible Ultrabook (Tablet)
Beyond the starter version, users can upgrade the CPU and memory to an Intel Core i5-4500U and 8GB of DDR3 for $200 more ($1,399 MSRP).
Finally, users can take the $1,399 model and upgrade the storage to a 512GB solid state drive (SSD). This version of the XPS 12 has a MSRP of $1,999.
Dell claims that the updated ultrabook has up to 1.6-times the performance and 2.5 hours more battery life (8 hours, 43 minutes) thanks to the move to Haswell CPUs and a larger 50Wh battery respectively. Of course, the original XPS 12 used Ivy Bridge CPUs and 47Wh batteries. The new models have started shipping and will be available for purchase around the end of July.
Subject: Mobile | July 16, 2013 - 04:40 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: zte, tegra 4, td-scdma, smartphone, nvidia, china mobile
Details have leaked on a new ZTE smartphone called the Geek U988S thanks to China's TENNA certification database. The Geek is powered by NVIDIA’s latest-generation Tegra 4 SoC and is headed for Chinese wireless carrier China Mobile and its TD-SCDMA network.
Along with leaked specifications, the TENNA site has photos of its upcoming smartphone. The pictured model has a pink colored chassis with a large 5-inch touchscreen LCD with a resolution of 1920 x 1080. A 2MP webcam sits above the display and the rear of the phone hosts an 8MP camera. The device measures 144 x 71 x 9mm.
Internal hardware includes a Tegra 4 SoC clocked at 1.8GHz and 2GB of RAM. The phone works on China’s TD-SCDMA network.
There is no word on pricing or availability, but photos and a specs list can be found here.
Subject: Mobile | July 11, 2013 - 05:20 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Samsung, galaxy s4
The Tech Report's resident Apple fan stepped away from his iPhone to try out the hottest Android phone, the Samsung Galaxy S4. He used them in parallel to be able to contrast their usability and while he loved the larger size of the S4 the TouchWiz was perhaps not his favourite part of the phone. As an Apple user he was a little surprised by the setup required to personalize the phone to his preferences, which is understandable when iOS is the only phone OS he had really spend time with. Take a peek at the article and maybe forward it on to a friend who would do well to read it.
"Last year, TR's Cyril Kowaliski bought an iPhone 5. For the past three weeks, however, he's been using one of the finest Android handsets on the market: the Samsung Galaxy S4. Here's what he has learned."
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
- Samsung Galaxy S4 Active (AT&T) Review @ TechReviewSource
- Blackberry Q5 @ The Inquirer
- Blackberry Q10 @ FunkyKit
- iPad 4 vs Nexus 10 vs Surface Pro @ The Inquirer
- COBY Kyros Dual Core 8'' MID8065 Internet Tablet Review @ Madshrimps
- Lenovo Thinkpad Tablet 2 @ Hardawre.info
- Sony VAIO Pro 13 Review @ TechReviewSource
- AMD's A10-5750M Review, Part 2: The MSI GX60 Gaming Notebook @ AnandTech
- ASUS Memo Pad HD 7 review: second time's the charm @ Hardware.info
- The 2013 MacBook Air: Core i5-4250U vs. Core i7-4650U @ AnandTech
- Lenovo Thinkpad Helix review: Convertible according to Lenovo @ Hardware.info
- Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch @ Kitguru
- ThinkPad Tablet 2 @ Techspot
- Lenovo Ideapad Yoga 11S @ The Inquirer
- Vizio CT15T-B0 Review @ TechReviewSource
- MSI GX70 Gaming Notebook Review; AMD A10-5750M Tested @ Hardware Canucks
Another Wrench – GeForce GTX 760M Results
Just recently, I evaluated some of the current processor-integrated graphics options from our new Frame Rating performance metric. The results were very interesting, proving Intel has done some great work with its new HD 5000 graphics option for Ultrabooks. You might have noticed that the MSI GE40 didn’t just come with the integrated HD 4600 graphics but also included a discrete NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760M, on-board. While that previous article was to focus on the integrated graphics of Haswell, Trinity, and Richland, I did find some noteworthy results with the GTX 760M that I wanted to investigate and present.
The MSI GE40 is a new Haswell-based notebook that includes the Core i7-4702MQ quad-core processor and Intel HD 4600 graphics. Along with it MSI has included the Kepler architecture GeForce GTX 760M discrete GPU.
This GPU offers 768 CUDA cores running at a 657 MHz base clock but can stretch higher with GPU Boost technology. It is configured with 2GB of GDDR5 memory running at 2.0 GHz.
If you didn’t read the previous integrated graphics article, linked above, you’re going to have some of the data presented there spoiled and so you might want to get a baseline of information by getting through that first. Also, remember that we are using our Frame Rating performance evaluation system for this testing – a key differentiator from most other mobile GPU testing. And in fact it is that difference that allowed us to spot an interesting issue with the configuration we are showing you today.
If you are not familiar with the Frame Rating methodology, and how we had to change some things for mobile GPU testing, I would really encourage you to read this page of the previous mobility Frame Rating article for the scoop. The data presented below depends on that background knowledge!
Okay, you’ve been warned – on to the results.
Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile | July 9, 2013 - 06:40 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: laptop, Lenovo, Thinkpad, haswell, Intel, windows 8
A new ultrathin laptop for business users has appeared on Lenovo’s website. Called the Lenovo ThinkPad T440S, it is an Intel 4th Generation Core "Haswell"-powered machine running Windows 8.
The ThinkPad T440S features a magnesium and carbon fiber chassis that is 21mm thick. It has a full size, spill resistant, keyboard with multimedia function keys, a TrackPoint, and a multi-touch trackpad. The T440S has a 14” display with optional multi-touch and a resolution of 1920 x 1080.
This laptop will start at 3.5 pounds. It can be configured with two 3-cell batteries with one internal and one removable battery. In this configuration, users can swap out the removable battery for a spare without powering down the system (a technology Lenovo calls Power Bridge). Other features include a 720p webcam with dual noise canceling mics.
IO includes three USB 3.0 ports, one Mini DisplayPort and one VGA video output, and a SD card reader. The T440S also comes equipped with an NFC radio.
Unfortunately, additional specifications and pricing data is not yet listed on the Lenovo site. If you are a business user in need of a thin and light laptop, keep a lookout on this product page for more information as the laptop gets closer to release.
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | July 9, 2013 - 06:01 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: wp8, windows phone 8, nokia lumia 1020, nokia, lumia 1020
Additional details have emerged concerning Nokia’s upcoming Windows Phone 8 smartphone with 41MP camera: the Lumia 1020 “EOS.” Thanks to Windows Phone Central, several of the rumored specifications have been confirmed and new photos of the hardware are available.
According to the new information, the new smartphone is officially the Lumia 1020 and it will run the latest update of Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8.0 mobile operating system. It will be an AT&T exclusive in the United States and should be available around the end of June, at the earliest.
The smartphone features a polycarbonate body (like its other WP8 phones) that will come in yellow, white, or black. The front of the device is dominated by a 4.5” 720p AMOLED display. The rear of the phone sports the most interesting bit of hardware on this phone, which is the PureView camera.
The camera features a 41MP sensor and Xenon and LED flashes. Other specifications include F2.2 aperture and Optical Image Stabilization. Nokia will be bundling a pre-installed Pro Camera app that will allow users to adjust ISO, white balance, manual focus, shutter speed, and flash usage.
The Lumia 1020 will take a 32MP and super-sampled (7:1) 5MP photo simultaneously at a 16:9 aspect ratio or a single 4:3 aspect ratio photo at 38MP. Unfortunately, video functionality has not been detailed.
Internal specifications include a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 (rumor) SoC, 2GB of RAM, and 32GB of internal storage (not expandable). Wireless technology includes an FM radio, NFC (Near Field Communication) radio, Wi-Fi, cellular (bands not specified yet), and an optional back cover that enables wireless charging. If the SoC is indeed the Snapdragon 800, that means four Krait 400 CPU cores clocked at up to 2.3GHz, an Adreno 330 GPU, and a 4G LTE modem.
The new Nokia Lumia 1020 WP8 flagship is being shipped to various Microsoft stores on June 22nd, and is coming to AT&T at the end of June. The AT&T subsidized price with a 2 year contract has not been announced, but the off-contract price is allegedly $602.
Battle of the IGPs
Our long journey with Frame Rating, a new capture-based analysis tool to measure graphics performance of PCs and GPUs, began almost two years ago as a way to properly evaluate the real-world experiences for gamers. What started as a project attempting to learn about multi-GPU complications has really become a new standard in graphics evaluation and I truly believe it will play a crucial role going forward in GPU and game testing.
Today we use these Frame Rating methods and tools, which are elaborately detailed in our Frame Rating Dissected article, and apply them to a completely new market: notebooks. Even though Frame Rating was meant for high performance discrete desktop GPUs, the theory and science behind the entire process is completely applicable to notebook graphics and even on the integrated graphics solutions on Haswell processors and Richland APUs. It also is able to measure performance of discrete/integrated graphics combos from NVIDIA and AMD in a unique way that has already found some interesting results.
Battle of the IGPs
Even though neither side wants us to call it this, we are testing integrated graphics today. With the release of Intel’s Haswell processor (the Core i7/i5/i3 4000) the company has upgraded the graphics noticeably on several of their mobile and desktop products. In my first review of the Core i7-4770K, a desktop LGA1150 part, the integrated graphics now known as the HD 4600 were only slightly faster than the graphics of the previous generation Ivy Bridge and Sandy Bridge. Even though we had all the technical details of the HD 5000 and Iris / Iris Pro graphics options, no desktop parts actually utilize them so we had to wait for some more hardware to show up.
When Apple held a press conference and announced new MacBook Air machines that used Intel’s Haswell architecture, I knew I could count on Ken to go and pick one up for himself. Of course, before I let him start using it for his own purposes, I made him sit through a few agonizing days of benchmarking and testing in both Windows and Mac OS X environments. Ken has already posted a review of the MacBook Air 11-in model ‘from a Windows perspective’ and in that we teased that we had done quite a bit more evaluation of the graphics performance to be shown later. Now is later.
So the first combatant in our integrated graphics showdown with Frame Rating is the 11-in MacBook Air. A small, but powerful Ultrabook that sports more than 11 hours of battery life (in OS X at least) but also includes the new HD 5000 integrated graphics options. Along with that battery life though is the GT3 variation of the new Intel processor graphics that doubles the number of compute units as compared to the GT2. The GT2 is the architecture behind the HD 4600 graphics that sits with nearly all of the desktop processors, and many of the notebook versions, so I am very curious how this comparison is going to stand.
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | July 6, 2013 - 04:13 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: htc, financial results, Android
Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer HTC has released financial results for its Q2 2013. All things considered, HTC had a good quarter, but it is still far from reaching the performance of the prior year.
HTC had quarterly revenue of approximately $2.35 billion (NT $70.7 billion), net income of $41.5 million (NT $1.25 billion), and Earnings Per Share (EPS) of $0.05 (NT $1.50).
The previous quarter (Q1'13) saw HTC achieve revenue of $1.42 billion (NT $42.8 billion), net profit of $2.82 million (NT $85 million), and EPS of $.003 (NT $0.10). The company's HTC One smartphone is likely a contributor to the improved performance QoQ.
Year over Year (YoY), HTC is still down quite a bit. In Q2 of 2012, HTC had revenue of $3.02 billion (NT $91.04 billion), net profit of $245.6 million (NT $7.4 billion), and EPS of $0.30 (NT $8.90). The following chart shows the figures in USD in a handy table.
|Q2 2013||Q1 2013||Q2 2012|
|Revenue||$2.35 Billion||$1.42 Billion||$3.02 Billion|
|Net Income||$41.5 Million||$2.82 Million||$245.6 Million|
|Earnings Per Share||$0.05||$0.003||$0.30|
YoY, HTC's Q2 revenue is down about 22% while net profit and EPS are both down about 83% respectively. The recent financial report is not all bad news, however. HTC is recovering from its fall and saw a positive increase over the first quarter of 2013 with 65.5% higher quarterly revenue. Profit and EPS also saw a massive jump over the previous quarter. The HTC announcement did not include and outlook for investors, but the company is refocusing on quality hardware and had a positive quarter.
Subject: General Tech, Networking, Mobile | July 6, 2013 - 03:31 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: windows rt, Surface RT, reverse-consolitis
It is a good thing that Windows RT is not always online, because you would be pretty screwed if you did not have access to a wireless network. To compensate for a lack of ethernet, users can typically plug in a USB to wired internet dongle; this is even possible with consoles such as the Wii. Microsoft makes one such accessory for their line of Surface tablets.
Wow, if only my PC was as open as my console...
Paul Thurrott even tried a handful of third-party adapters to similar, depressing, results on both Windows RT RTM. While the ability to attach your device to a wired high-speed internet jack is niche nowadays, mostly for users of HD video conferencing and certain hotels, it highlights the gigantic problem with Windows RT and other consumer tablet OSes: there will be some things you wish that your device did that it simply will not be able to do.
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