Subject: Storage | April 10, 2019 - 03:48 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: storage, ssd, QLC, Optane Memory, Optane H10, Optane, NVMe, notebook, laptop, Intel
Intel has shared information about Optane memory H10, a new product that combines Optane memory with Intel QLC NAND on the same M.2 device. Not offered as a standalone product (at least not yet), Intel is partnering with OEMs (including Dell, HP, and ASUS) to include this new storage in upcoming consumer devices, with the first systems available at Best Buy in Q2 of this year.
This will not be a desktop option at first, as Intel mentions only "thin and light notebooks and certain space-constrained desktop form factors – such as all-in-one PCs and mini PCs" in their press release. So what makes up this new storage product? Intel provided some key specifications outlined below:
|Intel Optane Memory H10 with Solid State Storage - Key Specs|
|Type||Intel Optane Technology & Intel QLC 3D NAND Technology
Intel controller and firmware
|Interface||PCIe 3.0 x4 with NVMe
M.2 2280 Single Sided (2280-S3-M)
|Capacities||16GB Intel Optane Memory + 256GB Storage
32GB Intel Optane Memory + 512GB Storage
32GB Intel Optane Memory + 1TB Storage
|Power||Deep Sleep/L1.2: <15 mW (combined)|
|Operating Temperature||0-70° C|
|Endurance||Up to 300 TBW (over warranty)|
"The combination of high-speed acceleration and large SSD storage capacity on a single drive will benefit everyday computer users, whether they use their systems to create, game or work. Compared to a standalone TLC 3D NAND SSD system, Intel Optane memory H10 with solid-state storage enables both faster access to frequently used applications and files and better responsiveness with background activity."
"8th Generation Intel Core U-series mobile platforms featuring Intel Optane memory H10 with solid state storage will be arriving through major OEMs starting this quarter. With these platforms, everyday users will be able to:
- Launch documents up to 2 times faster while multitasking.
- Launch games 60% faster while multitasking.
- Open media files up to 90% faster while multitasking."
"SSDs with Intel Optane memory are the fastest compared to NAND SSDs in the majority of common client use cases. Intel-based platforms with Intel Optane memory adapt to everyday computing activities to optimize the performance for the user’s most common tasks and frequently used applications. With offerings of up to 1TB of total storage, Intel Optane memory H10 with solid state storage will have the capacity users need for their apps and files today — and well into the future."
Some very Malventano-like benchmark examples were also provided in the press deck, emphasizing that real-world system performance primarily hits low queue depths:
You can read the entire press release from Intel at the source link.
Subject: Displays | January 23, 2019 - 12:19 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: UHD, Samsung, oled, notebook, mass production, laptop, displays, 4k, 15.6 inch
Samsung Display has announced development of a 15.6-inch 3840 x 2160 OLED display panel which they are calling "the world’s first UHD display for the notebook/laptop market". And mass production of the panel will begin in mid-February, "initially for use in premium notebooks produced by leading manufacturers".
"The new OLED panel, as unveiled by Samsung Display, is equipped with a wide range of cutting-edge functionality including a contrast ratio of exceptional quality, as well as extreme color accuracy, full HDR compatibility, a very wide color gamut, and remarkable outdoor visibility, all of which are considered essential specifications for tomorrow’s premium notebooks.
The new panel features a brightness level ranging from 0.0005 to 600 nits, and a dynamic contrast ratio of 120,000:1. Compared to LCDs, black color appears 200 times darker and whites twice as bright, maximizing the benefits of HDR to deliver the utmost in high-resolution video and images.
The new display provides a spectrum of 3.4 million colors (double that of similarly sized LCD panels), which allows for truly life-like images, with colors meeting the DCI (Digital Cinema Initiatives)-P3 standard, the specification best suited for video streaming. The 15.6-inch UHD panel is designed to keep the complete DCI-P3 color gamut fully intact while emitting significantly less blue wavelengths that can potentially be harmful to the eye, making images easier to view even after prolonged use."
Based on the mention of "a dynamic contrast ratio of 120,000:1" I have to wonder if this panel will function differently from OLED screens which as emissive displays have a black level of zero, and thus offer virtually infinite contrast (though "dynamic contrast" is an effect in the control panel of LG OLEDs, for instance). For a practical implementation of a technology that has been criticized in use as a computer monitor it will be interesting to see what - if any - concessions have been made to adapt OLED for use with laptops beyond what we initially saw from Lenovo with the X1 Yoga's OLED option.
For more about this new panel you can read the full press release available here.
Subject: Systems | January 9, 2019 - 02:51 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: ryzen, RX 560X, radeon, notebook, mobile, laptop, gaming, asus, amd
ASUS had a pair of AMD-powered gaming laptops to announce at CES 2019, with the TUF Gaming FX505 and FX705DY, both of which feature the latest Ryzen 3000-series mobile CPUs as well as discrete Radeon RX 560X graphics.
“Experience smoother, more immersive gameplay with the new ASUS TUF Gaming FX505 AMD Edition. Featuring a cutting-edge IPS-level NanoEdge display with AMD® FreeSync™ technology and a refresh rate up to 120Hz, and armed with the latest AMD Ryzen™ processor and discrete Radeon™ graphics, it delivers high-performance gaming at an affordable price. It’s also tested and certified to military-grade MIL-STD-810G standards, so you’re guaranteed toughness and durability that’s second to none.”
The CPU powering these systems is the AMD Ryzen 5 3550H, a 4-core/8-thread CPU with clock speeds ranging from 2.1 GHz up to 3.7 GHz and a 35W TDP.
"AMD’s Ryzen processors have taken desktops by storm, and TUF Gaming laptops lead the deployment of the newest version. Otherwise known as Picasso, this 2nd Gen Ryzen Mobile APU is built with industry-leading 12nm technology. The Ryzen 5 3550H chip powering FX505DY and FX705DY boasts four cores and eight threads that deliver capable performance for popular games and everyday work. Multithreaded performance is particularly strong, yet the processor fits into a 35W power envelope that doesn’t compromise battery life.
Vega-based integrated graphics allow the APU to power the laptop all on its own, which helps conserve power and extend battery life to over seven hours of 1080p video playback on FX705DY and nearly six hours on FX505DY. Discrete GPUs are where it’s at for proper gaming so when it’s time to play, AMD Switchable Graphics tech automatically activates the laptop’s discrete Radeon RX 560X. The GPU pumps out smooth frame rates in mainstays like Fortnite and Overwatch, as well as esports classics like League of Legends and Dota 2."
Both models have NanoEdge displays with thin bezels and wide viewing angles and variable refresh rates, and while the larger FX705DY provides a FreeSync range of 40-60Hz, the FX505DY offers 48-120Hz capability.
Specifications from ASUS for the TUF Gaming FX505DY and FX705DY include:
- Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 3550H
- 15.6" FHD NanoEdge wide-view display up to 120Hz
- 17.3" FHD NanoEdge wide-view display
- Graphics: AMD Radeon RX 560X
- Memory: Up to 32GB DDR4 2400MHz
- Storage: Up to 512GB PCIe SSD
- Up to 1TB FireCuda SSHD
- Wireless: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac WLAN, Bluetooth 4.2
- 2x USB 3.1 Gen1
- 1x USB 2.0
- 1x HDMI 2.0
- 1x RJ-45 jack
- 1x 3.5mm headphone and mic combo jack
- 1x Kensington lock
- Keyboard and touchpad : 1.8mm key travel
- Customizable RGB or red backlighting
- Audio: DTS Headphone: X
- Battery: 48Wh Lithium-polymer battery (FX505DY), 64Wh Lithium-polymer battery (FX705DY)
- OS: Windows 10
- Weight: 4.85 lbs (FX505DY), 5.73 lbs (FX705DY)
Official pricing was not revealed in the press release, but we should be able to expect some fairly agressive sub-$1000 pricing with these at the base configuration level.
Subject: Mobile | February 25, 2018 - 10:49 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: thin and light, notebook, mx150, MWC 2018, MWC, MateBook X Pro, matebook, laptop, Huawei
Huawei has introduced their new MateBook with the X Pro, an ultra slim design which features a nearly bezel-less 13.9-inch display that boasts a 91% screen-to-body ratio. More than just display, which is a 3:2 ratio 3K LTPS panel, the MateBook X Pro offers a choice between 8th-gen Intel Core i5 and Core i7 mobile processors, and the option of a dedicated NVIDIA GeForce MX150 GPU.
"Huawei has applied many of its innovative smartphone technologies to the HUAWEI MateBook X Pro to create effortless and intuitive user experiences. Pioneered by Huawei for the HUAWEI MateBook Series, the HUAWEI MateBook X Pro features the super-fast power button 2.0 which enables login in just 7.8 seconds from power off, and 6.6 seconds from hibernation. In addition, the HUAWEI MateBook X Pro features the world’s first recessed camera which discreetly sits on the keyboard – to activate it, all users need to do is press it and it will pop up, ensuring privacy when it’s not being used. This contributes greatly to the perfect experience of FullView Display."
While the look and especially name of the MateBook X Pro evokes memories of similar products from Cupertino, this seems to be more of a Surface Book competitor, down to the multi-touch 3:2 aspect, 3000x2000 display. A couple of the unique features are the combination power button/fingerprint reader, and a camera that is hidden among the function keys and pops up during use. Audio is also premium for a slim notebook with a four-speaker Dolby Atmos system.
A unique recessed camera design that pops up when needed
- FullView Display
- Size: 13.9 inches
- Resolution: 3000 x 2000
- Type: LTPS
- Screen-to-body ratio: 91%
- Aspect ratio: 3:2
- Viewing angle: 178 degrees
- Color: sRGB 100% color gamut
- Contrast: 1500:1
- Maximum brightness: 450 nits
- Touchscreen: 10-point, anti-fingerprint
- Processor: 8th Generation Intel Core i7-8550U / i5-8250U
- GPU: NVIDIA GeForce MX150 with 2GB GDDR5 / Intel UHD Graphics 620
- Memory 8GB / 16GB LPDDR3 2133MHz
- Hard Drive: 256GB / 512GB NVMe PCIe SSD
- Wi-Fi: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, 2.4/5 GHz 2x2 MIMO
- Bluetooth: BT 4.1 (compatible with 3.0 and 2.1+EDR)
- Camera: Front 1MP
- Audio Configuration: Quad digital microphones and Quad speakers
- Battery Material: Lithium polymer 57.4Wh (Typical Capacity)
- Local video playback: 12 hours (testing conducted by Huawei in a laboratory environment)
- Buttons and Ports
- One touch power button
- 3.5mm stereo headset jack
- USB-C x2 (both allow data transfer, charging and connection with MateDock 2 and one supports Thunderbolt 3)
- Dimensions (H x W x D): 304mm x 217mm x 14.6mm Weight: approximately 1.33kg
- Colors: Mystic Silver and Space Gray
The one touch power button with integrated fingerprint reader
The MateBook X Pro will be available this spring with pricing starting at €1499, or approximately $1850.
Subject: Systems, Mobile | January 8, 2018 - 09:00 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: ZenBook 13, notebook, laptop, desktop, CES 2018, CES, asus vivo, asus, all in one, AIO
The consumer PC annoucements from ASUS include a pair of new consumer notebooks with the ZenBook 13 (model UX331UAL) and ASUS Laptop X507, along with a pair of Vivo all-in-one desktops.
We start with the ZenBook 13 notebook, a lightweight (2.17 lb) with up to 15 hours of battery life according to ASUS.
ZenBook 13 (UX331UAL)
“The elegantly designed ZenBook 13 is a Windows 10 laptop that's ultralight and powerful. It's designed to provide users the ultimate in mobility, featuring a feather-light 2.17lb all-metal chassis and up to 15-hour battery life. And despite its compact design, ZenBook 13 doesn't compromise on performance. Its 8th Generation Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM and 1TB PCIe SSD lets users blast through all their tasks with ease, and its Harman Kardon audio system delivers powerful immersive sound.”
Next is a more mainstream notebook option with the device called simply ASUS Laptop X507.
ASUS Laptop X507
“Offering easy portability and uncompromising performance for daily computing, the stylish ASUS Laptop X507 is powered by a 7th Generation Intel Core i7 processor, NVIDIA GeForce MX110 graphics and a flexible, convenient dual-storage design. With its slim-bezel NanoEdge Full HD display for unbounded visuals and Windows 10, ASUS Laptop X507 is the ideal laptop for daily computing and entertainment.”
A pair of AiO desktops are next up, with 27 and 22 inch options.
Vivo AiO V272
“Vivo AiO V272 features an 8th Generation Intel Core i7 processor and NVIDIA GeForce MX150 graphics for uncompromising performance. The 27-inch multitouch display has a wide 100% sRGB color gamut and 178˚ wide-view technology for truly great visuals and combines with the ASUS SonicMaster audio system with its bass-reflex speakers to offer a superb entertainment experience. The ASUS ZenAnywhere app gives users effortless remote access, and turns Vivo AiO V272 into a personal cloud storage center. Windows 10 provides a secure and familiar computing experience, including Cortana’s voice recognition capability for more efficient and productive computing."
ASUS Vivo AiO V222
“Vivo AiO V222 has a frameless 22-inch Full HD display that features edge-to-edge visuals. Combined with its advanced ASUS SonicMaster bass-reflex speaker system, exclusive ASUS Splendid and Tru2Life Video technologies, Vivo AiO V222 delivers immersive visuals with crystal-clear audio for the ultimate entertainment experience. The ASUS ZenAnywhere app gives users effortless remote access, and turns Vivo AiO V222 into a personal cloud storage center. Windows 10 provides a secure and familiar computing experience, including Cortana’s voice recognition capability for productive computing.”
All four of these new systems are set for release in the first half of 2018, with pricing to be announced at launch.
Subject: Systems, Mobile | January 8, 2018 - 09:00 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: Strix SKT T1, strix, ROG, Republic of Gamers, notebook, laptop, gaming, g703, CES 2018, CES, asus
ASUS has a pair of laptops from their Republic of Gamers lineup at CES this year, and we'll begin with the ROG Strix SKT T1 Hero Edition, a limited-edition laptop which "marks the first collaboration between ROG and top eSports team SK Telecom T1".
In addition to bundled ROG/SK Telecom T1 co-branded swag (team jersey, mouse pad, posters) the laptop itself has been externally designed to reflect its affiliation. Hardware reflects its MOBA-inspired gaming approach, which includes an unspecified Intel Core i7 processor, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 GPU, and 120 Hz IPS display (which offers 100% sRGB coverage). The keyboard features N-key rollover, upgraded switches with "20-million-keystroke durability", and RGB lighting.
Next we have the massive 17-inch ROG G703, which was launched back in November, and is "the world's first gaming laptop with an ultra-smooth 17.3-inch Full HD wide-view display with NVIDIA G-SYNC technology for a 144Hz refresh rate" according to ASUS.
The ROG G703 is powered by an Intel Core i7-7820HK processor which is factory-overclocked for speeds of up to 4.3 GHz, and no less than an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (with a top clock of 1974 MHz) handles gaming duties. The biggest part of the laptop (literally) is the display, as ASUS explains:
"High-refresh-rate displays provide the fluidity and responsiveness demanded by top eSports gamers and enthusiasts, so ROG also created ROG Strix Scar Edition with a 144Hz panel and GTX 1070 graphics. ASUS has also introduced high-refresh-rate displays into the mainstream gaming market with the FX503 laptop, which features a 15.6-inch Full HD display with a 120Hz refresh rate and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 graphics."
The ROG G703 also offers built-in Xbox Wireless capability, freeing up USB ports when connecting Microsoft's gaming controllers.
The ROG G703 is available now with an MSRP starting at $3499, and ASUS says the ROG Strix SKT T1 Hero Edition will carry an MSRP of $1699 with availability in Q1 2018.
Subject: Mobile | August 31, 2017 - 03:30 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: Yoga 920, Yoga 720, yoga, watchband, Star Wars, notebook, Lenovo, laptop, ips, Gorilla Glass, digitizer, Active Pen 2, 4k, 2-in-1
The Yoga 920 is Lenovo’s new “flagship consumer 2-in-1”, and features 8th-generation quad-core processor and a big emphasis on voice control with what Lenovo describes as “far-field microphones for Cortana which will recognizes voice commands in standby mode and from up to 4 meters away”.
There is also optional digitizer/pen capability with the Yoga 920, featuring Lenovo’s Active Pen 2:
“In the case of the Yoga 920, an optional Lenovo Active Pen 2 with 4,096 levels of pen sensitivity dramatically expands the creative and cross-application potential of the PC. Offering pen-on-paper precision designed to give you no discernible lag, the Lenovo Active Pen 2 with Windows Ink lets you sketch and paint original schematics or annotate existing graphics and documents on the fly. Working on a presentation? Use the pen’s shortcut button to open and check email for any last-minute contributions from the team, sketch them into the presentation, add some color and annotations, then send – all without setting down the pen.”
The display is ‘nearly bezel-less’ and offers a 13.9-inch 4K IPS panel. The familiar ‘watchband’ hinge is back for this new model, and the machine is quite thin at 13.95 mm (0.55 inches), weighing in at 3.02 lbs.
Special Star Wars designs are also going to be available with the Yoga 920, as Lenovo explains:
“We are particularly excited to bring to customers limited edition Gorilla Glass cover designs: Yoga 920 Vibes, Star Wars Special Edition Yoga 920 Rebel Alliance and Star Wars Special Edition Yoga 920 Galactic Empire.”
The Yoga 720 is a compact 12-inch design which will be offered at a significantly lower price than the 920, and it is also digitizer/pen capable and offers a fingerprint reader as well.
The Yoga 920 will be offered with a starting price of $1329.99, while the Yoga 720 will start at $649.99.
Introduction and Specifications
The ZenBook 3 UX390UA is a 12.5-inch thin-and-light which offers a 1920x1080 IPS display, choice of 7th-generation Intel Core i5 or Core i7 processors, 16GB of DDR4 memory, and a roomy 512GB PCIe SSD. It also features just a single USB Type-C port, eschewing additional I/O in the vein of recent Apple MacBooks (more on this trend later in the review). How does it stack up? I had the pleasure of using it for a few weeks and can offer my own usage impressions (along with those ever-popular benchmark numbers) to try answering that question.
A thin-and-light (a.k.a. ‘Ultrabook’) is certainly an attractive option when it comes to portability, and the ZenBook 3 certainly delivers with a slim 0.5-inch thickness and 2 lb weight from its aluminum frame. Another aspect of thin-and-light designs are the typically low-power processors, though the “U” series in Intel’s 7th-generation processor lineup still offer good performance numbers for portable machines. Looking at the spec sheet it is clear that ASUS paid attention to performance with this ZenBook, and we will see later on if a good balance has been struck between performance and battery life.
Our review unit was equipped with a Core i7-7500U processor, a 2-core/4-thread part with a 15W TDP and speeds ranging from 2.70 - 3.50 GHz, along with the above-mentioned 16GB of RAM and 512GB SSD. With an MSRP of $1599 for this configuration it faces some stiff competition from the likes of the Dell XPS line and recent Lenovo ThinkPad and Apple MacBook offerings, though it can of course be found for less than its MSRP (and this configuration currently sells on Amazon for about $1499). The ZenBook 3 certainly offers style if you are into blade-like aluminum designs, and, while not a touchscreen, nothing short of Gorilla Glass 4 was employed to protect the LCD display.
“ZenBook 3’s design took some serious engineering prowess and craftsmanship to realize. The ultra-thin 11.9mm profile meant we had to invent the world’s most compact laptop hinge — just 3mm high — to preserve its sleek lines. To fit in the full-size keyboard, we had to create a surround that’s just 2.1mm wide at the edges, and we designed the powerful four-speaker audio system in partnership with audiophile specialists Harman Kardon. ZenBook is renowned for its unique, stunning looks, and you’ll instantly recognize the iconic Zen-inspired spun-metal finish on ZenBook 3’s all-metal unibody enclosure — a finish that takes 40 painstaking steps to create. But we’ve added a beautiful twist, using a special 2-phase anodizing process to create stunning golden edge highlights. To complete this sophisticated new theme, we’ve added a unique gold ASUS logo and given the keyboard a matching gold backlight.”
Editor’s Note: After our review of the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1, Dell contacted us about our performance results. They found our numbers were significantly lower than their own internal benchmarks. They offered to send us a replacement notebook to test, and we have done so. After spending some time with the new unit we have seen much higher results, more in line with Dell’s performance claims. We haven’t been able to find any differences between our initial sample and the new notebook, and our old sample has been sent back to Dell for further analysis. Due to these changes, the performance results and conclusion of this review have been edited to reflect the higher performance results.
It's difficult to believe that it's only been a little over 2 years since we got our hands on the revised Dell XPS 13. Placing an emphasis on minimalistic design, large displays in small chassis, and high-quality construction, the Dell XPS 13 seems to have influenced the "thin and light" market in some noticeable ways.
Aiming their sights at a slightly different corner of the market, this year Dell unveiled the XPS 13 2-in-1, a convertible tablet with a 360-degree hinge. However, instead of just putting a new hinge on the existing XPS 13, Dell has designed the all-new XPS 13 2-in-1 from the ground up to be even more "thin and light" than it's older sibling, which has meant some substantial design changes.
Since we are a PC hardware-focused site, let's take a look under the hood to get an idea of what exactly we are talking about with the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1.
|Dell XPS 13 2-in-1|
|Screen||13.3” FHD (1920 x 1080) InfinityEdge touch display|
|CPU||Core i5-7Y54||Core i7-7Y75|
|GPU||Intel HD Graphics 615|
|Storage||128GB SATA||256GB PCIe|
|Network||Intel 8265 802.11ac MIMO (2.4 GHz, 5.0 GHz)
1 x Thunderbolt 3
|Connectivity||USB 3.0 Type-C
USB 3.0 x 2 (MateDock)
|Audio||Dual Array Digital Microphone
Stereo Speakers (1W x 2)
|Weight||2.7 lbs ( 1.24 kg)|
|Dimensions||11.98-in x 7.81-in x 0.32-0.54-in
(304mm x 199mm x 8 -13.7 mm)
|Operating System||Windows 10 Home / Pro (+$50)|
One of the more striking design decisions from a hardware perspective is the decision to go with the low power Core i5-7Y54 processor, or as you may be familar with from it's older naming scheme, Core M. In the Kaby Lake generation, Intel has decided to drop the Core M branding (though oddly Core m3 still exists) and integrate these lower power parts into the regular Core branding scheme.
Subject: Mobile | May 30, 2017 - 12:37 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: Triton 700, Predator, nvidia, notebook, max-q, laptop, GTX 1080, geforce, gaming, computex 2017, acer
Acer has introduced the Predator Triton 700 gaming laptop, which boasts a very thin and light design as it is built to NVIDIA's newly-announced Max-Q specifications. This allows the Triton to house a "standard-voltage" Intel Core i7 processor (overclockable, no less) and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 GPU.
"The Predator Triton 700 utilizes Max-Q, NVIDIA’s innovative approach to designing the world’s thinnest, fastest, and quietest gaming laptops. Max-Q, an integral part of NASA’s mission to launch man into space, is defined as the point at which the aerodynamic stress on a rocket in atmospheric flight is maximized. Thus, the design of the rocket is precision-engineered around Max-Q. NVIDIA has applied a similar philosophy to designing gaming laptops, enabling Acer to build laptops that are thinner with more GPU performance of previous generation products."
Storage is just as impressive as the CPU/GPU tandem, with dual NVMe PCIe drives in RAID-0, just in case you would like to experience double to the speed of the fastest available type of solid-state storage (the benchmarks will probably be astonishing). Other specs include a 15.6 FHD display with NVIDIA G-SYNC, memory support for up to 32GB 2400 MHz DDR4, Killer DoubleShot Pro networking, and Thunderbolt 3.
The design of the Predator Triton 700 is somewhat unusual for a laptop, with a mechanical keyboard that sits flush with the front edge of the palm rest, and a touch pad positioned above. But this is no ordinary touch pad, as Acer explains:
"A large Corning® Gorilla® Glass plate above the keyboard serves as a window into the notebook’s cooling system, showcasing the AeroBlade™ 3D Fan and five heat pipes, and also functions as a Precision Touchpad."
The Predator Triton 700 gaming laptop will be available beginning in August with an MSRP of $2999.