Acer Unveils Two New Ethos Notebooks With Removable Touchpad Remote Control

Subject: Mobile | June 17, 2011 - 03:42 PM |
Tagged: notebook, hd, gt550m, gaming, acer

Acer recently announced two new additions to its Ethos notebook lineup, which specialize in HD media and gaming. The Acer Aspire Ethos AS59516 and Ethos AS89516 specifically, feature all black, brushed aluminum chassis with a magnesium alloy cover. A 1.3 megapixel webcam, back-lit keyboard, and a scratch resistant Gorilla Glass LCD display are features of both models. External Ports include HDMI, USB 3.0, a combination USB/eSATA port. Further, internal hardware includes Intel’s 2nd generation Core i5 or Core i7 processors, up to 16 GB of RAM, between 500GB and 1.5TB of hard drive storage, a NVIDIA GT550M, and a WiFi radio, and Blu-Ray (or DVD) optical drive are all available options.

Acer Aspire Ethos AS59516 laptop 

The removable touchpad/remote.

With the general hardware out of the way, the most interesting feature that the two models share is a new touchpad that is able to detach from the laptop and act as a media remote control. Upon removal, the touchpad can be oriented horizontally or vertically and presents LED buttons to start, pause, and play music “from across the room.” While the idea of a removable remote has been done before, on HP notebooks especially, the integration into the touchpad will certainly encourage me to not misplace the remote lest I be forced to memorize keyboard shortcuts to use the computer.  Further, the remote control does provide controls for easy music playback; therefore, this seems like a good evolution of the idea that Acer has on their hands.

The AS59516 is the smaller of the two new notebooks, and features a 15.6” display at 1366x768 resolution. On the audio side of things, it features 5.1 surround sound output in addition to two built-in speakers and “TubaBooster” technology which seeks to enhance the bass of the sound. The laptop has a starting MSRP of $1399.99 USD, and will be available this week at numerous retailers.

On the other hand, the AS89516 is a much larger affair, which sports a 18.4” display and HD 1920x1080 resolution. It further includes five dolby-tuned built-in speakers in addition to a subwoofer using Acer CineSurround and CineBass technology. The notebook carries a MSRP of $1599.99 USD and will also be available for purchase starting this week.  You can check out more images of the new notebooks over at cnet.

Source: Acer

Microsoft reiterates stance on 'harmful' WebGL

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Mobile | June 17, 2011 - 08:35 AM |
Tagged: webgl, microsoft

Microsoft has made substantial efforts lately to increase their support of open standards even to the point of giving them first class treatment ahead of their home-grown formats. Internet Explorer 9 shows the best support for web standards such as HTML 5, CSS, and Javascript that the browser line has ever had. One feature set, however, has been outright omitted from Internet Explorer: WebGL. Microsoft has very recently made a more official statement on the subject, claiming it harmful from a security standpoint.

WebGL-Angel.png

WebGL: Heaven or Hell?

(Image from MrDoob WebGL demo; contains Lucy model from Stanford 3D repository)

WebGL is an API very similar to OpenGL ES 2.0: the API used for OpenGL features in embedded systems, particularly smart phones. The goal of WebGL is to provide a light-weight, CSS obeying, 3D and shader system for websites that require advanced 3D graphics or even general purpose calculations performed on the shader units of the client’s GPU. Mozilla and Google currently have support in their public browsers with Opera and Apple shipping support in the near future. Microsoft has stated that allowing third-party websites that level of access to the hardware is dangerous as security vulnerabilities that formerly needed to be exploited locally can now be exploited from the web browser. This is an area of expertise that Microsoft knows all too well from their past attempts at active(x)ly adding scripting functionality to the web browser evolving into a decade-long game of whack-a-mole for security holes.

But skeptics to Microsoft’s position could easily point to their effort to single out the one standard based on OpenGL, competitor to their still-cherished DirectX standard. Regardless of Microsoft’s motives it seems to put to rest the question of whether Microsoft will be working towards implementing WebGL in any release of Internet Explorer currently in development.

Do you think Microsoft is warning its competitors about its past ActiveX woes, or is this more politically motivated? Comment below (registration not required.)

Source: Microsoft

AMD Fusion Developer Summit 2011: Live Blog

Subject: Editorial, Graphics Cards, Processors, Mobile, Shows and Expos | June 16, 2011 - 06:41 PM |
Tagged: llano, liveblog, fusion, APU, amd, AFDS

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The AMD Fusion Developer Summit 2011 is set to begin at 11:30am ET / 8:30am PT and promises to bring some interesting and forward looking news about the future of AMD's APU technology.  We are going to cover the keynotes LIVE right here throughout the week so if you want to know what is happening AS IT HAPPENS, stick around!!

Source: PCPer

1 Llano beats 3000 Intel HDs

Subject: Mobile | June 14, 2011 - 04:40 PM |
Tagged: llano, APU, sabine

It has been a long wait for AMD's Llano APU but the wait is over and unlike a certain game the news is good.  The CPU portion is based on the same Stars architecture that current generation Phenoms use but that only accounts for about 50% of the die space, the remaining space is taken up by the graphics processing units.  Using what AMD calls the 'Fusion Compute Link', the graphics portion of the die can access the memory it shares with the CPU which has big impacts on the speed of processing OpenCL and other applications that can utilize the GPGPU architecture both AMD and Intel are using currently.  What that translates to in terms of performance is significantly better gaming performance than Intel's HD 3000 IGP, though performance in other situations is not up to the competitions level.  It looks like this particular implementation of Llano will give you a notebook in the range of $700 which will allow you to game at a decent resolution with most settings enabled.  

Read Ryan's full review of the architecture and the AMD A-Series Notebook here.

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"Since competing with Intel on processor performance is out of the question, this entire platform instead must rely on its graphics performance and its portability. Fortunately, these are two areas where Llano shows great strength. Even with dual graphics disabled, the APU was capable of out-performing Intel’s current HD 3000 IGP by a significant margin."

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AFDS11: AMD Demonstrates Trinity Powered Notebook

Subject: Processors, Mobile, Shows and Expos | June 14, 2011 - 04:08 PM |
Tagged: trinity, fusion, APU, AFDS

On stage during the opening keynote at the AMD Fusion Developer Summit 2011, Rick Bergman showed off a notebook that was being powered not by the recently released AMD Llano A-series APUs, but rather the Trinity core due in 2012.

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Trinity is the desktop APU for next year that will combine Bulldozer-based x86 CPU cores with an updated DX11 GPU architecture built on the current 32nm process.  Not much else is known about the chip yet but hopefully we'll get some more details this week at the show.

Source: PCPer
Author:
Subject: Processors, Mobile
Manufacturer: AMD

AMD lines up Llano

Introduction

2006.  That was the year where the product we are reviewing today was first consummated and the year that AMD and ATI merged in a $5.4 billion deal that many read about scratching their heads.  At the time the pairing of a the 2nd place microprocessor company with the 2nd place graphics technology vendor might have seemed like an odd arrangement even with the immediate benefit of a unified platform of chipset, integrated graphics and processor to offer to mobile and desktop OEMs.  In truth though, that was a temporary solution to a more long term problem that we now know as heterogeneous computing: the merging not just of these companies but all the computing workloads of CPUs and GPUs.

Five years later, and by most accounts more than a couple of years late, the new AMD that now sans-manufacturing facility is ready to release the first mainstream APU, Accelerated Processing Unit.  While the APU name is something that the competition hasn't adopted, the premise of a CPU/GPU combination processing unit is not just the future, it is the present as well.  Intel has been shipping Sandy Bridge, the first mainstream silicon with a CPU and GPU truly integrated together on a single die since January 2011 and AMD no longer has the timing advantage that we thought it would when the merger was announced.

For sanity sake, I should mention the Zacate platform that combines an ATI-based GPU with a custom low power x86 core called Bobcat for the netbook and nettop market that was released in November of 2010.  As much as we like that technology it doesn't have the performance characteristics to address the mainstream market and that is exactly where Llano comes in.

AMD Llano Architecture

Llano's architecture has been no secret over the last two years as AMD has let details and specifications leak at a slow pace in order to build interest and excitement over the pending transition.  That information release has actually slowed this year though likely to reduce expectations on the first generation APU with the release of the Sandy Bridge processor proving to be more potent than perhaps AMD expected.  And in truth, while the Llano design as whole is brand new all of the components that make it up have been seen before - both the x86 Stars core and the Radeon 5000 series-class have been tested and digested on PC Perspective for many years.

For today's launch we were given a notebook reference platform for the Llano architecture called "Sabine".  While the specifications we are looking at here are specific to this mainstream notebook platform nearly all will apply to the desktop release later in the year (perhaps later in the month actually).

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The platform diagram above gives us an overview of what components will make up a system built on the Llano Fusion APU design.  The APU itself is made up 2 or 4 x86 CPU cores that come from the Stars family released with the Phenom / Phenom II processors.  They do introduce a new Turbo Core feature that we will discuss later that is somewhat analogous to what Intel has done with its processors with Turbo Boost. 

There is a TON of more information, so be sure you hit that Read More link right now!!

MSI Ships New 17” Gaming Laptops with Lethal Combination of Graphics, Power and Design

Subject: Mobile | June 13, 2011 - 06:05 PM |
Tagged: steelseries, msi, gtx 560m, GT780R

CITY OF INDUSTRY, Calif. – June 13, 2011 – MSI Computer Corp., a leading manufacturer of computer hardware products and solutions, today announced the first North American shipment of the GT780R and the GX780, two gaming notebooks with keyboards expertly designed in partnership with global leading gaming peripherals manufacturer SteelSeries. The notebooks combine brilliant graphics from the latest NVIDIA© GeForce© graphics processors, along with the second-generation Intel® Core™ i7 Processor, to create a sleek new design with ultimate power that outperforms the competition.

“Serious gamers understand that not all notebooks are created equally,” said Andy Tung, vice president of sales, MSI US. “The GT780R and GX780 are built specifically for gamers, with a professionally-designed keyboard, plus top-of-the-line graphics and processing power from NVIDIA and Intel.”

MSI_GT780R.jpg

Speaking of SteelSeries

MSI constructed the 17.3-inch GT780R and GX780 notebooks with invincible gaming hardware optimized for gaming, including:

  • SteelSeries Full Color Backlit Keyboard: Expertly designed together with the gaming gurus at SteelSeries, this keyboard features several exclusive gaming designs for ultimate gaming control. Enjoy perfect hand positioning with keys that never get in the way, and a rugged keyboard that offers solid feedback while you slay your enemies. The Power 10 key solution can support 10 keys typing simultaneously so every keystroke counts. And the multicolor LED backlit keyboard features 5 programmable modes so you can sync the color and rhythm of the backlighting to suit your game.
  • NVIDIA GeForce Graphics: NVIDIA GPUs provide realistic and immersive graphics for both notebooks. The GT780R features NVIDIA’s newest GeForce GTX 560M with 1.5GB GDDR5 of high-end, large-capacity display memory for superior performance and vivid graphics. The GX780 boasts NVIDIA’s GeForce GT555M with 1GB DDR5 VRAM.
  • 2nd Generation Intel Core i7 2630QM Processor: The newest energy-efficient processor from Intel supports Turbo Boost Technology 2.0, which allocates processor resources to boost core clock speeds and overall performance. Both notebooks boast core clock speeds of 2.00 GHz. 
  • Sleek New Design: This sleek black notebook features a stylish, brushed aluminum textured body that is sophisticated and subtle. The notebook’s modern design compliments the bold stylings of the backlit keyboard.
  • 17-Inch Full HD Screen: No gamer can tolerate a small screen, and the GT780R and GX780 notebooks feature a bold, 17.3-inch HD screen with an anti-reflective coating. Enjoy 1920 x 1080 resolution and a 16:9 display ratio for a clear and realistic image rendering.
  • MSI’s Exclusive Turbo Drive Engine (TDE) Technology: TDE provides a boost in graphics performance to accelerate video decoding and add extra excitement to your gaming.
  • USB 3.0: These notebooks feature a plethora of ports so you can customize your setup and achieve the quickest data transfers. With two USB 3.0 ports and three USB 2.0 ports, you’re ready to roll.
  • Dynaudio Speakers with THX Surround Sound: No gaming experience is complete without booming audio, and MSI collaborated with Dynaudio to build the highest quality speakers plus a built-in subwoofer. Enjoy cinema-quality surround sound with THX TruStudio PRO.

The new GT780R and has an MSRP of $1,749.99 and the GX780 at $1,549.99. Both models will be available on Newegg and Amazon.com.

Source: MSI

Panasonic Updates Toughbook 19 Tablet With New Internals

Subject: Mobile | June 10, 2011 - 08:30 PM |
Tagged: Toughbook, tablet, Panasonic, fully-rugged

Panasonic recently announced a series of upgrades to its Toughbook 19 convertible tablet, including new Intel Sandy Bridget processors, increased RAM and hard drive space, and a brighter LCD screen. After being on the market for five years, the Toughbook 19 and its ruggedized chassis is ideal for military usage or anyone needing a portable computer that is likely to be subjected to extreme operating conditions.

As the first time Panasonic has used a standard voltage Intel CPU, the upgraded Toughbook has gained decreased boot-up time and faster overall system performance compared to its predecessors. Despite the standard voltage processor, Panasonic has been able to maintain the computer’s fan-less design which is important for reliability in harsh operating conditions such as when used around water and sand. The new model comes standard with an Intel Core i5 2520M at 2.5GHz, 4GB of RAM (upgradeable to 8GB), either the 32 or 64 bit version of Windows 7 Pro, and either a 320GB 7200 RPM hard drive or a 128GB SSD (upgradeable to 256GB).

Further, an SDXC card reader, ExpressCard slot, Intel WiFi chip supporting 802.11 b/g/n, 3G, GPS, Bluetooth, and optional 4G LTE modem that will be available later this year.  Numerous security features and a dual-touch touchscreen (including stylus).  The new Toughbook fits into the same chassis as the older models, enabling users to upgrade the device and continue to use it with existing expansion and vehicle docks. The LCD has also receive an upgrade. The 10.1” XGA touchscreen uses Panasonic’s TransreflectivePlus technology, which features and adjustable LED backlight as well as an internal reflective layer that uses reflected sunlight to help illuminate the screen. Panasonic claims that the screen is capable of 6000 nit of brightness.

Panasonic expects that the new Toughbooks will be available in September 2011, and will start at an estimated street price of $3,349 USD from authorized retailers. A standard three-year limited parts and labor warranty. You can read more about the new rugged convertible tablets on Panasonic’s website.

Source: Engadget

A portable TV in this day and age? RCA's 3.5" DHT235C Portable LED TV

Subject: Mobile | June 10, 2011 - 05:17 PM |
Tagged: portable tv, gadget

With the Stanley Cup turning into a best of 3 series between now and Wednesday, and 3G being hit very hard in Vancouver for those wanting to watch the live CBC stream when they are on the road, RCAs new portable TV suddenly makes some sense to own.  Since you can't record live events before they happen to watch on the road and occasionally whatever wireless data carrier you use will be overwhelmed with traffic, maybe owning a tiny portable LED TV with a 320x240 resolution makes some sense.  Check it out over at Overclockers Online to see of you might want visit Radio Shack and drop $80 on a TV in time for the game.

OO_RCA_LED_TV.jpg

"RCA is making an active push in the portable TV market and the DHT235C Portable Digital TV is the entry model. The DHT235C runs on four AA batteries that provide up to three hours of runtime. The built in digital antenna provides a clean and crisp picture and proves that terrestrial television isn’t dead."

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Sprint Shows Off Its First 4G Dual Core Tegra 2 Super Phone

Subject: Mobile | June 9, 2011 - 10:43 PM |
Tagged: Tegra 2, super phone, Sprint, Photon, nvidia, arm, 4g

If desktop processors are advancing at the speed of sound, then mobile processors are advancing at somewhere near the speed of light. Just a year ago, a 600MHz Ti processor was very fast; however, in the age of dual core 1GHz+ processors that seems to be rather slow by comparison. Speaking of the speed of photons, Sprint has recently unveiled a new Motorola smart phone called the Photon 4G that is packed with lots of hardware and powered by Android 2.3.

What makes the Photon 4G special; however, is that it is the first NVIDIA Tegra powered "super phone" on Sprint's 4G cellular network. The 2.6 inch x 5 inch device has a depth of .5 inches and weighs in at 5.6 ounces. This rather hefty chassis holds a large 4.3" "qHD" display with a resolution of 540x960.  Further, the phone has two cameras with the rear camera being capable of capturing 720p HD video and the front facing camera sporting a VGA (480x640) resolution.  An HDMI output port, a microSD card slot supporting up to 32GB cards, and a metal kick stand also have a place on the device.

Internally, the phone features a 1GHz dual core Tegra 2 processor, 16GB of on-board storage, and 1GB of RAM.  A 3G/4G radio supporting International GSM frequencies as well as a Bluetooth and Wifi 802.11 b/g/n radio are also present.  This hardware is in turn backed by a 1700 mAh Lithium Ion battery.

According to the NVIDIA blog, the device is made further desirable due to it's ability to play "multi-platform, console-class Android OS games with the kind of experience you expect from a game console."  The Photon 4G also supports Bluetooth controller input, enabling it to act as a sort of portable gaming console by hooking it up to a large display via HDMI and playing games using a Bluetooth controller.  NVIDIA demonstrated playing Riptide GP on the phone using a Wii controller.  It will likely support the dual shock controller down the road as well.

NVIDIA shows off the Wii controlled super phone's gaming abilities

Sprint claims a nine to ten hour talk-time for the phone, depending on the network the phone is using (3G/4G); therefore, it will be interesting to see if this phone will have the battery life in real world tests to be a good portable gaming machine.  It may even steal some market share from the Playstation Vita if Android can keep new games flowing.  What do you think about the Photon 4G?

Source: Sprint