Subject: Processors, Mobile | May 6, 2011 - 07:11 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: project denver, nvidia, macbook, Intel, arm, apple
A very interesting story over at AppleInsider has put the rumor out there that Apple may choose to ditch the Intel/x86 architecture all together with some future upcoming notebooks. Instead, Apple may choose to go the route of the ARM-based processor, likely similar to the A4 that Apple built for the iPhone and iPad.
What is holding back the move right now? Well for one, the 64-bit versions of these processors aren't available yet and Apple's software infrastructure is definitely dependent on that. By the end of 2012 or early in 2013 those ARM-based designs should be ready for the market and very little would stop Apple from making the move. Again, this is if the rumors are correct.
Another obstacle is performance - even the best ARM CPUs on the market fall woefully behind the performance of Intel's current crop of Sandy Bridge processors or even their Core 2 Duo options.
In addition to laptops, the report said that Apple would "presumably" be looking to move its desktop Macs to ARM architecture as well. It characterized the transition to Apple-made chips for its line of computers as a "done deal."
"Now you realize why Apple is desperately searching for fab capacity from Samsung, Global Foundries, and TSMC," the report said. "Intel doesn't know about this particular change of heart yet, which is why they are dropping all the hints about wanting Apple as a foundry customer. Once they realize Apple will be fabbing ARM chips at the expense of x86 parts, they may not be so eager to provide them wafers on advanced processes."
Even though Apple is already specing its own processors like the A4 there is the possibility that they could go with another ARM partner for higher performance designs. NVIDIA's push into the ARM market with Project Denver could be a potential option as they are working very closely with ARM on those design and performance improvements. Apple might just "borrow" those changes however at NVIDIA's expense and build its own option that would satisify its needs exactly without the dependence on third-parties.
Migrating the notebook (and maybe desktop markets) to ARM processors would allow the company to unify their operating system across the classic "computer" designs and the newer computer models like iPads and iPhones. The idea of all of our computers turning into oversized iPhones doesn't sound appealing to me (nor I imagine, many of you) but with some changes in the interface it could become a workable option for many consumers.
With even Microsoft planning for an ARM-based version of Windows, it seems that x86 dominance in the processor market is being threatened without a doubt.
Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile | May 5, 2011 - 10:37 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: usb computer, Education
In case you did not get enough solder for one day: you are in luck! David Braben, previously known for his work developing such games as Rollercoaster Tycoon, Thrillville, and Kinectimals, created an extremely low cost PC for educational use. His goal is ultimately to have computers like the one he created be accessible such that there would be functionally zero barriers to entry for students to pursue studying computing. A charity was created, the Raspberry Pi Foundation, under these beliefs to distribute this device hopefully sometime within the next 12 months.
Am I the only one who finds it weird that an affordable PC uses HDMI?
Introduction, Design and Ergonomics
Watching today’s smartphone market brings back memories. Right now the transition from single-core to dual-core products is being made, as is a transition from older 3G networks to the latest 4G technology. I’m reminded of the excitement of the first dual-core x86 processors, as well as the rabid arguments surrounding them.
Many dual-core phone are still “coming soon”, however, which means that single-core flagships like the HTC Thunderbolt are still able to impress. This 4.3” smartphone is everything you’d expect a premier high-end Android handset to be. As I’ll explain, that has its positive and negatives, but the specifications look great on paper.
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | May 4, 2011 - 02:32 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: tablet, kindle, amazon
Amazon certainly has a knack for causing a ruckus in just about any industry they step into. Their inception placed them in stiff competition with bookstores and mail-order catalogs; since then they have branched out even as far as rental computing and storage, content production and publishing, and consumer electronics.
A recently rumored OEM order to Quanta Computer, already an OEM partner of RIM and Sony, proposes that Amazon is looking to beef up their portfolio to include Tablet PCs.
Could Amazon be Kindling for a much bigger fire?
Subject: Mobile | May 3, 2011 - 02:09 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Road Warrior, laptop, gigabyte
Gigabyte recently announced in a press release a new ultra light notebook aimed at business users. More specifically, they unveiled the Gigabyte GS-AH6G3N, which is a laptop that purports to support the latest technology. According to the press release, the ultra light laptop brings to the table support for both Sandy Bridge processors and up to 8GB DDR3 RAM. A fingerprint reader and TPM module are also available for the security conscious. The 14" and less than 4.5 pound (2 kilogram) notebook is very sleek looking with sharp and clean lines detailing a dark black or silver body.
As a business notebook, it uses the Intel Mobile HM65 Express chip set, which means that you are looking at using the integrated processor graphics contained in the Core i 2xxx chips. To the road warriors' comfort, the integrated graphics should provide longer battery life while still running Windows 7’s Aero desktop smoothly. Another touted feature is the inclusion of USB 3.0 ports which will help in keeping large amounts of data backed up. An included HDMI port should help to sway business users who need to connect to projectors and large displays for their work in its favor (a VGA port is provided as well, for older projectors.)
The full specifications that Gigabyte list are as follows:
|CPU||LGA 1155 socket, Intel® Core™ i7 / Core™ i5 / Core™ i3 processor|
|OS||Microsoft Windows 7|
|Display||14" LED Backlit at 1366x768 pixels|
|RAM||DDR3 (2 slots) up to 8GB|
|Chipset||Intel Mobile HM65 Express|
|Graphics||Intel HD 3000|
|Hard Drive||Sata 2.5", 9.5mm drivers. Up to 750GB|
|Optical Disk Drive||(Optional) 9.5mm Super Multi DVD-RW|
|I/O||2xUSB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0, 1x HDMI, 1x VGA, RJ45, Mic-in, headphone-out, DC-in, docking connector, and 3-in-1 card reader (SD,MMC,Memory Stick)|
|Audio||2x 1.5watt stereo speakers|
|Communications||Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n WIFI, Bluetooth v3.0 + EDR (Wifi/BT Combo)|
|Webcam||1.3 megapixel camera + microphone|
|Security||Kensington lock, Fingerprint reader, and optional G-sensor and TPM|
|Battery||6-cell Li-Ion 2600mAh 60WHr (claimed 7 hours of battery life)|
|Dimensions||338 (W) x 235 (D) x 26.0 (H) mm|
|Weight||~2kg (with DVD drive and 6 cell battery), ~4.49 lbs|
|Color||Silver / Black|
Unfortunately for business users in the United States, Gigabyte branded notebooks can be a bit difficult to purchase as they are generally sold overseas. Once this laptop has been on the market for a few months, they do start to trickle over into the US markets. For overseas readers of PC Per; however, the Gigabyte notebook may be something to consider as in the end it shapes up to be a powerful but small notebook that should work well for those that need to travel light and fast for their business.
Introduction and Design
The last three years have been great for ultraportables and netbooks. Laptops with displays below fourteen inches in size have exploded in popularity thanks not only to Intel's Atom, but also a wide selection of Intel ultra-low voltage products. Many of the laptops that we've reviewed over the past year, such as the Lenovo IdeaPad U260 and the Alienware M11x, would have been impossible prior to the release of those processors.
Mainstream laptops have enjoyed less progress, however. The 15.6" laptop remains the most popular category with consumers, but while it has enjoyed a boost in performance with the release of the original Core i series processors, issues like battery life and graphics performance remained largely unaddressed. These mainstream laptops have continued to represent a major compromise, as they've been unable to provide great battery life but also (unless supplimented with a discrete GPU) lack the chops to play any but the most basic 3D games.
According to Intel, these flaws could soon be addressed. Intel's Sandy Bridge mobile processors are nothing short of the savior of mainstream laptops. These processors not only offer the typical improvements in speed but also drastically improved integrated graphics and provide much better battery life.
Or, at least, that's what Intel says. They've said such things in the past, however - Intel's IGPs have often promised more than they can deliver. But every piece of hardware deserves a fair shake, and now it's time for Intel's Sandy Bridge to step up to the plate, appearing today in the form of the ASUS K53E. Let's see what is under the hood.
Subject: Mobile | May 2, 2011 - 12:16 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: laptop, dual lcd, acer
The Acer Iconia 6120 is a little like a Nintendo DS, in that where you would expect input buttons you have another LCD. Powered by an Intel Core i5 480M, an HM55 with IntelHD graphics powering the two 14" 1366 x 768 displays. Benchmark Reviews demonstrates using it as both a dual display laptop and as a laptop screen and a touchscreen keyboard. Check it out.
"We've seen little innovation in laptop design in the last few years. Most companies seem to think that using a brushed aluminum finish or adding Intel's latest mobile CPU is all they need to do to freshen a product line. Still, Acer's not the first company to introduce a laptop with dual screens; the short-lived Toshiba Libretto W100 comes to mind, and gScreen Corporation's Spacebook has been touted since 2009, although it's still not available at the time of this writing. The Acer Iconia 6120, though, is a computer you can buy right now. Its dual screens offer new capabilities but come with some drawbacks as well. Benchmark Reviews takes a look at this unique laptop to see if it's worth your consideration."
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
- Motorola Xoom Tablet @ Hardware Secrets
- iPad 2 Tablet @ Hardware Secrets
- iPhone App of the Week - iShopaholic @ t-break
- OtterBox and Incipio Cases For The Motorla Atrix 4G Smartphone Reviewed @ Legit Reviews
- It's unfinished, but we definitely want more: Ars reviews RIM's PlayBook
- BlackBerry PlayBook Tablet @ TechSpot
- Acer Iconia Tab A500 Review @ TechReviewSource
- HTC Thunderbolt Review: The First Verizon 4G LTE Smartphone @ AnandTech
- OtterBox Reflex Series Case for iPhone 4 @ OCIA
- Mobile CPU Comparison Guide @ Tech ARP
- Asus Eee Pad Transformer TF101 Preview: Both Tablet and Netbook @ InsideHW
- Verizon 4G LTE: Two Datacards and a WiFi Hotspot Massively Reviewed @ AnandTech
- Toshiba Satellite M645: The Steady March of Progress @ AnandTech
- HP TouchSmart 610 Review @ TechReviewSource
Subject: Mobile | April 27, 2011 - 08:40 PM | Joe Kelly
Tagged: ultra-portable, Thinkpad, Lenovo
Lenovo has added a laptop to their ultra-portable notebook lineup. The ThinkPad X1 features a Core i5 2520M CPU, 8GB of RAM, 160GB SSD and a 13.3-inch screen made from Gorilla Glass with a 1366x768 resolution. All of those features in a small 0.84-inch-thick package. The ThinkPad X1 also included a good keyboard and the great build quality we come to expect from the ThinkPad brand.
The bad news is the ThinkPad X1’s battery is sealed, meaning you will not be able to remove it yourself but the good news is the battery comes with a 3 year warranty and has a few replacement options. The battery can be replaced at a repair depot or Lenovo will have an on-site technician can come to replace the battery as early as the next business day. Lenovo clams the ThinkPad X1’s RapidCharge battery will last three times as long and will charge to 80% within 30 minutes.
With all of features the ThinkPad X1 has. Is it worth the $2900 price tag? You can buy a 13-inch MacBook Air for $1299 but, it’s unfair to judge the two of them by price alone because of the differences in processor, memory and hard drive size. Is a faster processor, more memory, larger SSD and a better battery warranty worth the extra cost?
Subject: Mobile | April 26, 2011 - 12:30 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: atom, ion, asus
If you hadn't noticed the pink laptop in the carousel, it is Matt Smith's newest review for PC Perspective and is right up the alley of anyone looking for an inexpensive and light mobile PC. With a 1.8GHz Atom D525 and NVIDIA ION 2 graphics it can perform light duties but is not a heavyweight in any sense of the word. Unfortunately for the 1215N, Matt has found another model that does more work for less money, read on to see which competitor beat it.
"Should you buy the Eee PC 1215N? That depends on your priorities. There are much quicker laptops of similar size priced between $100 and $200 more, and in terms of bang-for-your-buck, they make more sense. The 11.6” Acer Timeline X with the Core i3 processor is one great example. However, the ASUS Eee PC 1215N has advantages over many such competitors."
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
- HP Pavilion dv3 4305se Review @ t-break
- ASUS N53SV Notebook Review @ Hardware Secrets
- Nettop and Mini-ITX Buyer’s Guide @ AnandTech
- Dell XPS 15 L502x: Now with Sandy Bridge @ AnandTech
- HP Pavilion g6x Review @ TechReviewSource
- Enercell Portable Power Bank for iPod and iPhone @ Techware Labs
- Coolermaster Storm SF-19 Strike Force battles high notebook temperatures @ Madshrimps
- Arctic NC Laptop Cooler Review at Overclockers Online
- Out of the box: first look at the BlackBerry Playbook @ Ars Technica
- Creative ZiiO 7" Tablet Review @ t-break
- ASUS Eee Pad Transformer @ AnandTech
- HTC Incredible S review @ The Inquirer
- Blackberry PlayBook Initial Impressions @ t-break
- Samsung Galaxy S II - Thin @ Computing on Demand
Introduction and Design
You don’t hear much about Atom these days. It’s still there, still kicking, still being stuffed inside an endless stream of netbooks. Yet it’s also not very exciting, and hasn’t created much buzz. This isn’t a case of a journalistic blind spot; Atom just hasn't been update. The original was released in 2008, but Intel hasn’t released a major performance upgrade since. By comparison, the performance of mainstream mobile laptop processors has, in some benchmarks, doubled over the same time-span. The processor performance of Atom, measured relative to the power of an average $600 laptop with a Core i3 dual-core, is actually becoming worse over time.
Yet Atom has still dominated the laptop market because of one reason; there was no other alternative. For the first time, however, that’s changing. AMD has released its Fusion APUs, and we recently reviewed two different laptops with two different versions of that technology – the single-core E-240 in the Toshiba Satellite C655D and the dual-core E-350 in the Sony Vaio Y.