Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: ASUS

Introduction and Design

asusn55-4.jpg

Sound. It seems to be one of the new battlefields on which notebook computers are fighting, which is odd, because audio quality has until recently been so rarely a central focus of notebook manufacturers. Today, the artillery is clearly placed. HP arrived first with Beats Audio, but others have responded, such as MSI with its Dynaudio branded laptops and now ASUS with this Bang & Olufsen tagged N55, which comes with an external subwoofer by default.

Yep, that’s right. It’s not a large subwoofer (that’s the point - it’s small enough to potentially be transported in same bag as the laptop), but clearly ASUS is taking sound seriously with this laptop. Yet there’s so much more to a laptop that its sound, and that’s particularly true with a system such as this. Everywhere you look, the N55’s specification scream performance. A Core i7 quad-core mobile processor is the heart of the machine, and snuggles up with an Nvidia GT 555M graphics processor. What else is there to be had? Have a look.

Continue reading our review of the ASUS N55 Notebook!!

The OLPC project is still alive

Subject: Mobile | October 13, 2011 - 04:43 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. 

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"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 - 07:47 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.

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"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
Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: MSI

Introduction and Design

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When the Apple MacBook Air originally debuted, geeks took note, and Windows laptop manufacturers ramped up efforts to meet that super-thin laptop on its own turf. Surprisingly, one of the first to respond was MSI, a company that is still struggling to define itself among a mainstream American market dominated by the likes of HP, Toshiba, Dell, and others.

MSI managed to significantly undercut the Air with its X340, but the build quality was also nowhere near what Cupertino’s engineers had managed. Yet MSI is not one to give up, and they’ve made moves to refine the X series over the years. As the price has dropped further, and the processor selection changed, comparisons to the Air have become less obvious. 

That’s particularly true with this latest MSI X370, which now makes use of the AMD E-350 Fusion APU. This processor is nothing new, and we’ve tested it before at PC Perspective. Yet this laptop is different from any previously we’ve reviewed product with this processor because of its size.

Continue reading our review of the MSI X370 Fusion Notebook!!

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

Subject: Mobile | September 28, 2011 - 10:10 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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Don’t touch my wife! VIA sues Apple for patent infringement

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | September 24, 2011 - 08:08 AM |
Tagged: VIA, Patent, htc, apple

Do not let the title deceive you: we probably also find Apple and Patent Infringement stories as boring as you do; this case on the other hand makes it through our tightly meshed sift and into our news feed. VIA is best known for chipsets and specialty x86 processors. VIA’s influence was recently felt through the introduction of the netbook craze as a result of their VIA Nano CPU line which lead to the rise of the Intel Atom processor line. Recently VIA decided that they would set their sights on Apple and sue them over three patents. This is one of those cases where the what is not nearly as funny as the alleged why.

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Did Apple take a bite out of VIA’s forbidden fruit?

(Image from Wikipedia, modified)

If it seems to you that VIA is suing Apple over seemingly no reason then you probably are correct. There does not appear to be any public reason for VIA to go after Apple. HTC on the other hand has many reasons to sue, technically counter-sue, Apple. For those wondering where HTC came from in this discussion: the chairperson for HTC is the wife of the CEO of VIA Technologies. It very much seems like the whole reason for the VIA lawsuit is to protect his wife's company in their own lawsuits. If these patent lawsuits continue on their current trajectory then we might just be forced to sit every company down and settle like we did with similar issues back in the 90’s: Springer.

Did Apple bite off more than they could chew? (Registration not required for comments)

Source: PCMag

PCPer Live! Alienware M17x with Radeon HD 6990 Unboxing and Early Test

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Mobile | September 23, 2011 - 09:07 PM |
Tagged: pcper live, m17x, hd 6990, alienware

UPDATE: Shows over folks!  Thanks to those of you that stopped by and we'll be doing more of these types of things in the very near future.  Feel free to watch the reply hosted on YouTube if you want.

So, here we go.  After weeks of screwing around with a complely new studio setup at the PC Perspective office, we are going to try something new.  Consider this an ultra-alpha-beta if you will.  Come stop by our Live Stream channel below to watch us unbox and play around with the new Alienware M17x gaming laptop complete with Radeon HD 6990 graphics!  You can even use the Justin.tv chat located at http://justin.tv/pcper to talk with us live and ask questions, etc. 

Oh, and we are going to give away some random stuff sitting around the office to those of you that comment in the Justin.tv chat too, so there is that as well.  :)

Just as a side note: this is our first attempt at something like this so it might be perfect but it is more than likely going to be a bit rough arond the edges.  I am most curious though to get some feedback on what you liked, didn't like or would like to see additional or changed in this kind of process.  We aren't going to focus only on "unboxings" and stuff - far from it.  Instead expect to see live demonstrations of hardware, overclocking attempts, multi-display gaming setups and more.  If you can, please leave some feedback in the comments below!!

Note: We should be underway by 5:25pm ET or so!

Source: PCPer
Author:
Manufacturer: NVIDIA
Tagged: vsmp, tegra, nvidia, kal-el

Kal-El Tegra SoC to use 5 cores

Recent news from NVIDIA has unveiled some interesting new technical details about the upcoming Kal-El ARM-based Tegra SoC.  While we have known for some time that this chip would include a quad-core processor and would likely be the first ARM-based quad-core part on the market, NVIDIA's Matt Wuebbling spilled the beans on a new technology called "Variable SMP" (vSMP) and a fifth core on the die.

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An updated diagram shows the fifth "companion" core - Courtesy NVIDIA

This patented technology allows the upcoming Tegra processor to address a couple of key issues that affect smartphones and tablets: standby power consumption and manufacturing process deviations.  Even though all five of the cores on Kal-El are going to be based on the ARM Cortex A9 design they will have very different power characteristics due to variations in the TSMC 40nm process technology that builds them.  Typical of most foundries and process technologies, TSMC has both a "high performance" and a "low power" derivative of the 40nm technology usually aimed at different projects.  The higher performing variation will run at faster clock speeds but will also have more transistor leakages thus increasing overall power consumption.  The low power option does just the opposite: lowers the frequency ceiling while using less power at idle and usage states.  

kalel2.png

CPU power and performance curves - Courtesy NVIDIA

NVIDIA's answer to this dilemma is to have both - a single A9 core built on the low power transistors and quad A9s built on the higher performing transistors.  The result is the diagram you saw at the top of this story with a quad-core SoC with a single ARM-based "companion."  NVIDIA is calling this strategy Variable Symmetric Multiprocessing and using some integrated hardware tricks it is able to switch between operating on the lower power core OR one to four of the higher power cores.  The low power process will support operating frequencies up to only 500 MHz while the high speed process transistors will be able to hit well above 1-1.2 GHz. 

Keep reading for more on the 5-core quad-core Kal-El SoC from NVIDIA!!

Everyone's favourite Transformer

Subject: Mobile | September 21, 2011 - 08:06 PM |
Tagged: asus, eee pad transformer, Transformer

You had better not think this refers to Bumblebee.  The real Transformer you shold be be thinking about comes from ASUS, the ARM based Tegra 250 T20 powered Eee Pad Transformer.  More than a tablet thanks to the special dock, which turns the tablet into a netbook with a full keyboard, this device has received a lot of positive press.  TechSpot had a chance to use one, powered by Honeycomb 3.2, and they agree with the other reviewers; considered as a simple tablet it isn't quite as good as the iPad but the real selling point of the Transformer is the keybaord.  Read on.

TS_transformer.jpg

"The Eee Pad Transformer goes beyond what most tablets are capable of by doubling as a Honeycomb-based netbook. Based on that premise and an attractive price since launch, it quickly became one of the most attractive Android tablets around.

If you are willing to look past the widely dominant iPad, we are paying another visit to Android Honeycomb (currently on version 3.2) along with one of the most popular and well regarded tablets under its umbrella."

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Source: TechSpot

IDF 2011: Live Blog of Keynotes, Technical Discussions

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Processors, Chipsets, Systems, Storage, Mobile, Shows and Expos | September 15, 2011 - 04:15 PM |
Tagged: live blog, Intel, idf 2011, idf

PC Perspective is all over the 2011 Intel Developer Forum and we'll be covering it LIVE here all week.  Expect to hear news about Ivy Bridge, Sandy Bridge-E, SSDs, X79 chipsets, 22nm tri-gate transistors and more!  We will have specific news posts about the major topics but if you want to keep up with our information to the minute, then you'll want to migrate to this page throughout Tuesday, Wednesay and Thursday morning.  

You can also hit up http://www.pcper.com/category/tags/idf to see all of the posts relating to and coming from IDF this week!

Feel free to leave comments for me on what exactly you want to know and I will do my best to address your questions as the day progresses. 

Source: PCPer