Dell announces Alienware m15 thin-and-light gaming notebook

Subject: Mobile | October 4, 2018 - 03:00 AM |
Tagged: nvidia, m15, Intel, gtx 1070 max-q, gtx 1060, dell, alienware

Dell today unveiled their latest gaming notebook, the Alienware m15. Weighing in at just under 5 lbs, the Alienware m15 is Dell's smallest 15-in gaming notebook ever.

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Buyers have the choice of either the quad-core Intel Core i5-8500H or the six-core i7-8750H. On the graphics side, the Alienware m15 will be offered with an "overclocked" GTX 1060, as well as with the GTX 1070 Max-Q.

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Display options on the Alienware m15 include two 1080p options, a 60Hz TN and a 144Hz IPS, as well as a 4K 60Hz IPS panel. Despite the availability for a high-refresh display, none of these displays seem to support G-SYNC variable refresh technology. 

Considering the relatively small size for a gaming notebook, the Alienware m15 still features an impressive array of ports including Ethernet, 3 USB 3.0 Type-A ports, a Thunderbolt 3 port, HDMI 2.0 as well as Mini DisplayPort 1.3.

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The Alienware m15 continues support for the Alienware Graphics Amplifier, which utilizes a proprietary PCI-Express cable to connect external graphics to a given notebook. While the m15 also features a Thunderbolt 3 port, it remains unclear if Thunderbolt 3 graphics will also be supported.

The Alienware m15 will become available on October 25th, at a starting price of $1,299.99.

Source: Dell

Reopening a cold boot case

Subject: General Tech | September 14, 2018 - 03:31 PM |
Tagged: security, Lenovo, dell, apple

Many, many moons ago a vulnerability was discovered which would let you grab some or all of the data last written to RAM.  A computer in sleep mode could be powered off, the firmware specifically modified and then booted from a USB drive, allowing an attacker to extract data from the RAM.  This requires physical access and a specific skill set but does not take all that long.  This new attack is used to grab the encryption keys from memory, which then allows them to gain access to the data stored on your encrypted drives.  The Inquirer reports that there is a solution to this resurrected vulnerability, however it is only easy to implement before a system is provided to customers, worrying for companies using these commonly deployed brands.

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"But F-Secure principal security consultant Olle Segerdahl, along with other researchers from the security outfit, claim they've discovered a way to disable that safety measure and extract data using the ten-year-old cold boot attack method."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Inquirer

IFA 2018: Dell Announces Updated XPS 13 2-in-1, Cheaper XPS 13 Configuration

Subject: Mobile, Shows and Expos | August 29, 2018 - 02:19 PM |
Tagged: xps 13 2-in-1, XPS 13, ifa 2018, i7-8500Y, i5-8200Y, dell, core m, amber lake

Hot on the heels of Intel's announcement of new Amber Lake-Y ultra-low voltage processors, Dell today announced an updated version of their XPS 13 2-in-1 device. 

Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 Image_2.png

With a choice of either the Core i5-8200Y or Core i7-8500Y, the chassis design of the XPS 13 2-in-1 remains largely unchanged from when it's introduction in 2017. However, users should look forward to the increased performance and battery life from the new 8th generation Intel processors.

The XPS 13 2-in-1 will start shipping September 11th, starting at $999.99.

Dell also launched a slightly more inexpensive option for users looking at their standard XPS 13 notebook for users looking who aren't as performance conscious.

XPS 13 silver_2.jpg

Featuring a dual-core Intel Core i3-8130U, 4GB of RAM, and 128GB SATA SSD, and a 1080P display, this new XPS 13 configuration is now available for $899 from the Dell site and other retailers.

Finally, Dell announced that their popular Developer Edition XPS 13 is now shipping with the latest release of Ubuntu (18.04). As always, these Developer Editions come preconfigured with Ubuntu and all the necessary drivers out of the box and are less expensive than their Windows-toting counterparts.

Source: Dell

Laptop vendors are left sitting on the sidelines waiting for the next waltz to start

Subject: General Tech | June 27, 2018 - 02:34 PM |
Tagged: hp, dell, Lenovo, acer, asus, Intel

Intel's delayed release of a new processor is going to have a noticeable effect on the laptop market this year.  As there is little chance of seeing anything new until towards the end of this year, laptop designers will not be able to offer new models for the holidays and will instead have to rework existing products.  DigiTimes suggests we will see trimmed down models with lower price tags to try to entice consumers into purchasing something, as they expect lower demand than we saw last year.  Hopefully some gaming machines may become more affordable, or we will start to see models incorporating AMD's new chips become more common.

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"Global notebook vendors including HP, Dell, Lenovo, Acer and Asustek Computer will be unable to launch new models fitted with Intel's new-generation CPUs in the second half of 2018 as scheduled, as the release of Intel's new offerings will not come soon enough for this year's high season, according to industry sources."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: DigiTimes

Alienware strikes back?

Subject: General Tech | June 20, 2018 - 12:47 PM |
Tagged: dell, Lenovo, acer, asus, msi, gaming laptop, hp

The gaming laptop market is going through some big changes, with the two market leaders seeing their dominance challenged by companies more frequently associated with business models.  While ASUS and MSI still account for half of the entire market, both with over a million units sold in the first half of 2018, Dell has already hit 500K and DigiTimes predicts Lenovo to hit 800-900K units by the end of the year

It will be interesting to see how the market changes now that you can once again buy a GPU for less than the price of one of these gaming laptops; not to mention what this competition will do to pricing and design.

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"But their market leaderships are being undermined by Dell, Lenovo, HP and even Acer, all of which are strengthening their shipment momentum via pricing competition in the first half of 2018, with both ASP and gross margins for gaming notebooks driven down as a result."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: DigiTimes

Podcast #502 - Computex coverage and more!

Subject: General Tech | June 7, 2018 - 11:50 AM |
Tagged: xTend, xps, video, Vega, Threadripper, Snapdragon 850, seasonic, scmd, ROG, qualcomm, podcast, Optane, nvidia, microsoft, logitech, Killer Wireless, Isaac, InWin, Intel, i7-8086k, git, fortnite, EPYC, dell, crystal, corsair, CaseKing, asus, aorus, amd, 7nm

PC Perspective Podcast #502 - 06/07/18

Join us this week for discussion on Computex and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, Ken Addison

Peanut Gallery: Alex Lustenberg

Program length: 1:45:27

Podcast topics of discussion:
  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
    1. 1:00:40 ASUS all the things
  3. Picks of the Week:
  4. Closing/outro
 
Source:
Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Dell

Overview

The initial announcement of Intel and AMD's collaboration on the "8th Gen Intel® Core™ processors With Radeon™ RX Vega M Graphics" (Kaby Lake-G) at CES this year caused a big stir amongst the PC hardware space. 

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Now that we've taken a look at the Intel Hades Canyon NUC and its impressive performance compared to mid-range gaming desktops, it's time to take a look at Kaby Lake-G in the mobile form factor.

Dell's XPS 15 2-in-1 is one of two notebooks utilizing the Intel Kaby Lake-G processor with Vega graphics, alongside the HP Envy Spectre x360.

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Building upon the successful standard clamshell, this new notebook is Dell's first convertible XPS 15, featuring a 360-degree hinge which allows for a variety of configurations including tablet mode where the device folds back on itself.

Dell XPS 15 2-in-1
MSRP $1299 $1499 $1699 $2199
Screen 15.6" FHD (1920 x 1080) InfinityEdge Anti-Reflective Touch Display 15.6" 4K Ultra HD (3840 x 2160) InfinityEdge Anti-Reflective Touch Display
CPU Core i5-8305G Core i7-8705G 
GPU AMD Radeon RX Vega M GL Graphics with 4GB HBM2 Memory
RAM 8GB DDR4-2400 (non-upgradable) 16GB DDR4-2400 (non-upgradable)
Storage 128GB SATA 256GB PCIe
Network Killer 1435 802.11ac 2x2 WiFi and Bluetooth
Display Output

2 x Thunderbolt 3
2 x USB 3.1 Type-C (DisplayPort)

Connectivity

2 x Thunderbolt 3
2 x USB 3.1 Type-C
3.5mm headphone
MicroSD Card Reader

Audio Waves MaxxAudio® Pro 2W (1W x 2)
Weight 4.36 lbs (2 Kg)
Dimensions 13.9-in x 9.2-in x 0.36-0.63-in
(354mm x 235mm x 9-1mm)
Battery 75 WHr
Operating System Windows 10 Home / Pro (+$60)

As far as specifications are concerned, the XPS 15 2-in-1 impresses.. With up to a 4K, touch-enabled display, quad core processor, discrete AMD Vega graphics, and up to 16GB of memory, the hardware of the XPS 15 2-in-1 is a compelling package for gamers and content creators alike. For review, we recieved the top of the line XPS 15 2-in-1, with a 512GB SSD instead of the stock 256GB configuration (a $150 upgrade from Dell).

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Continue reading our review of the Dell XPS 15 2-in-1!

Podcast #501 - Intel Optane DIMMS, DIY Keyboards, and more!

Subject: General Tech | May 31, 2018 - 10:15 AM |
Tagged: WATERCOOL, video, podcast, Optane, Luce, Intel, i7-8086k, dell, corsair, antec, adata

PC Perspective Podcast #501 - 05/31/18

Join us this week for discussion on Intel Optane DIMMS, DIY Keyboards, and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

Hosts: Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, Ken Addison, Jim Tanous

Peanut Gallery: Alex Lustenberg

Program length: 1:20:21

Podcast topics of discussion:

  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
  3. Picks of the Week:
    1. 0:57:10 Jeremy: It’s a bargain!
    2. 0:58:20 Josh: Already available!
    3. 1:11:00 Alex: https://ergodox-ez.com/ non DIY keyboard
  4. Closing/outro
 
Source:

Some Dell Systems Shipping with 24GB of memory: 8GB DDR4 and 16GB Optane Memory

Subject: Memory, Storage | May 29, 2018 - 04:10 PM |
Tagged: Optane, Intel, g3, dell

Recently I came across an interesting product listing on Dell’s website for its new G3 15” gaming notebook. These are budget-friendly gaming systems with mainstream discrete GeForce graphics cards in them like the GTX 1050 and GTX 1050 Ti. Starting at just $699 they offer a compelling balance of performance and value, though we haven’t yet gotten hands on one for testing.

One tidbit that seemed off to me was this:

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Several of these systems list 24GB of memory through a combination of 8GB of DDR4 and 16GB of Optane Memory for caching. A similar wording exists in the configuration page for these machines:

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Clicking on the More Info link takes you to the “Help Me Choose” portion of the page that details what system memory does, how it helps the performance of your machine, and how Optane comes into the mix. There is important wording to point out that Dell provides (emphasis mine):

Some systems allow you to add Intel® Optane™ memory, which is a system acceleration solution for the 7th Gen and 8th Gen Intel® Core™ processor platforms. This solution comes in a module format and by placing this new memory media between the processor and a slower SATA-based storage devices ( HDD, SSHD or SATA SSD), you are able to store commonly used data and programs closer to the processor, allowing the systems to access this information more quickly and improve overall system performance.

Mixing DRAM with Intel® Optane™ delivers better performance and cost. For example, 4 GB DRAM + 16GB Intel® Optane™ memory delivers better performance and cost than just 8GB DRAM.

What is the difference between Intel® Optane™ memory and DRAM? Does it replace DRAM?
The Intel® Optane™ memory module does not replace DRAM. It can be, however, added to DRAM to increase systems performance.

If I use Intel® Optane™ memory with an HDD to accelerate my games, game launches and level loads become faster and close to that of an SSD experience, but what about the game play? Is the game play impacted?
Game play will not be that different between an SSD and an HDD based systems since the games in loaded into DRAM during play.

While my initial reaction of this as a clever way to trick consumers into thinking they are getting 24GB of memory in their PC when in reality it is only 8GB holds true, there are a lot of interesting angles to take.

First, yes, I believe it is a poor decision to incorporate Optane Memory into the specification of “memory” in these PCs. Optane Memory is an accelerant for system storage, and cannot replace DRAM (as the FAQ on Dell’s website states). If you have 8GB of memory, and your application workload fills that, having 16GB of memory would be a tremendous improvement in performance. Having 16GB of Optane caching on your system will only aid in moving and swapping data from main storage INTO that 8GB pool of physical memory.

Where Dell’s statements hold true though is in instances where memory capacity is not the bottleneck of performance, and your system has a standard spinning hard drive rather than an SSD installed. Optane Memory and its caching capabilities will indeed improve performance more than doubling the main system memory in instances where memory is not the limiter.

I do hope that Dell isn’t choosing to remove SSD options or defaults from these notebooks in order to maintain that performance claim; but based on my quick check, any notebook configuration that has the “24GB of memory” claim to it does NOT offer an SSD upgrade path.

Though it isn't called out one way or the other in the Dell specifications, my expectation is that they are NOT configuring these systems to use the Optane Memory as a part of the Windows page file, which MIGHT show some interesting benefits in regards to lower system memory capacity. Instead, these are likely configured with Optane Memory as a cache for the 1TB hard drive that is also a required piece of the configuration. If I'm incorrect, this config will definitely warrant some more testing and research.

Where the argument might shift is in the idea of performance per dollar improvements to overall system responsiveness. As the cost of DDR4 memory has risen, 16GB of Optane Memory (at around $25) is well below the cost of a single 8GB SO-DIMM for these notebooks (in the $80-90 range), giving OEMs a significant pricing advantage towards their bottom line. And yes, we have proven that Optane Memory works well and accelerates application load times and even level loads in some games.

But will it allow you to run more applications or games that might need or want more than 8GB of system memory? No.

Ideally, these configurations would include both 16GB of DDR4 system memory AND the 16GB of Optane Memory to get the best possible performance. But as system vendors and Intel itself look for ways to differentiate a product stack, while keeping prices lower and margins higher, this is one of the more aggressive tactics we have seen.

I’m curious what Dell’s input on this will be, if this is a direction they plan on continuing or one that they are simply trialing. Will other OEMs follow suit? Hopefully I’ll be able to get some interesting answers this week and during Computex early next month.

For now, it is something that potential buyers of these systems should pay attention to and make sure they are properly informed as to the hardware configuration capabilities and limits.

Source: Dell

Dell Adds New G Series Of Budget Gaming Laptops To Its Portfolio

Subject: General Tech | April 5, 2018 - 01:25 PM |
Tagged: dell, UHD, gaming laptop, coffee lake h, nvidia, max-q, gtx 1060

Dell recently announced updates to its budget laptop lineup to include a new G series that replaces the previous generation Inspiron Gaming branded products. The new brand comes in three tiers and two form factors that include the 15.6" G3, G5, and G7 and the 17" G3 all of which utilize various levels of 8th Generation Core Intel CPUs and mid-range 1000 series NVIDIA mobile GPUs. There is a lot of overlap in hardware, build, and pricing depending on the specific configuration you build.

These budget gaming laptops are fairly thin – ranging from 22.7mm on the G3 15 to 25mm on the G3 17 and G5 15 and G7 15 – but do make compromises in the build quality department with most of the body being plastic-based rather than metallic (the higher-end components and prices remain reserved to the Alienware models). On the bright side, Dell appears to be taking cooling seriously and makes liberal use of vents both front and rear along with dual fans. The G series also all feature dual drive bays, backlit spill-resistant keyboards, dual Waves MaxxAudio Pro speakers, webcams, fingerprint sensors, and matte exterior finishes.

G3-Family.png

The G3 series features up to an 8th Generation Core i7 processor and either a GTX 1050, GTX 1050 Ti, or GTX 1060 Max Q graphics card along with a full HD (1920x1080) anti-glare display. The G3 15 comes in black, recon blue, or alpine white while the G3 17 comes in either black or recon blue. Three USB 3.1, USB-C / Thunderbolt 3, SD, HDMI, Ethernet, and one audio jack account for the external I/O ports that line the edges of the notebook. Note that the G3 15 has a normal hinge while the higher end models have a smaller centered hinge that leaves gaps on either side presumably for larger vents.

G5 15_image 1.png

Stepping things up a bit to the G5 tier, the G5 15 comes in Licorice Black or Beijing Red and features a quad or hexacore Coffee Lake H processor and up to a GTX 1060 Max Q 6GB and two drive bays for up to two SSDs much like the G3 but adds Killer Networking 1x1 (up to 2x2 Wi-Fi supported) and the option for a 4K UHD IPS panel.

Moving from the G5 15 to the G7 15 in a "but wait, there's more" infomercial style offers you the ability to configure the Licorice Black or Alpine White laptop with a Core i9 Coffee Lake H processor, 32GB RAM, GTX 1060 Max Q, and dual SSDs in addition to the 4K display and Killer networking options of the G5 15. The G7 15 further has a larger 56 Whr 4-cell battery.

G7 15_image 1.png

Limited configurations of the G3 15, G3 17, G5 15, and G7 15 are set to be available later this month (with two options for the G7 15 available now on Dell's website) with additional configuration options to follow. The G3 series starts at $749, the G5 starts at $799, and the G7 starts at $849 (though that model is not yet up on Dell's site) though as you see with the G7 on Dell's site adding SSDs and RAM brings the pricing up quite a bit (the $1099 model has an i7 8750H, GTX 1060, 8GB RAM, and 256 GB SSD for example).

It is refreshing to see Dell move away from the Inspiron brand for gaming, but I hope the fresh brand also brings fresh build quality although you can't ask for too much at these prices with this hardware inside at least for the base models (I am mostly concerned about the small hinge on the higher end models). We will have to wait for reviews to know for sure though. Cnet has a gallery of hands-on photos of the laptops as well as The Verge if you are curious what these machines look like.

Source: Dell