CES 2017: Lenovo Announces new ThinkPad X1 Carbon Laptop

Subject: Mobile | January 3, 2017 - 08:01 AM |
Tagged: x1 carbon, wigig, thunderbolt 3, Thinkpad, notebook, LTE-A, Lenovo, laptop, ips, CES 2017, CES, 14 inch

Lenovo's 2017 version of the ThinkPad X1 Carbon is “the lightest 14-inch business notebook” on the market at 2.5 lbs, and fits its 14-inch IPS display into a compact 13-inch laptop form-factor.

ThinkPad X1 Carbon.jpg

"Featuring a carbon-fiber reinforced chassis, the X1 Carbon is as durable as its predecessor, and features a smaller footprint—making it the lightest, thinnest X1 Carbon. Yet it’s power-packed with: Windows 10 Pro, 7th generation Intel Core processors, lightning-fast Thunderbolt 3, and a 14” Quad-HD display. All that—plus our legendary ThinkPad heritage and support."

Lenovo still left room in the slim chassis for plenty of battery capacity, as they claim “more than 15 hours of battery life” from this new X1 Carbon, which is available in both the traditional “ThinkPad Black” and a new metallic silver color. Another new addition to the X1 Carbon is Thunderbolt 3 connectivity, with wireless options including LTE-A and WiGig.

X1 Carbon black silver.jpg

Specifications from Lenovo:


  • Display
    • 14” WQHD IPS (2560 x 1440) 300 nits
    • 14” FHD IPS (1920 x 1080) 300 nits
  • Processor: Up to Intel Core 7th gen
  • Graphics: Integrated Intel HD Graphics 620
  • Memory: Up to 16GB 1866MHz LPDDR3
  • Storage
    • 128GB SSD SATA
    • 180GB SSD Intel® SATA
    • 256GB SSD Intel® PCIe TLC OPAL2 256GB SSD PCIe TLC OPAL2
    • 512GB SSD Intel® PCIe TLC OPAL2
    • 512GB SSD PCIe TLC OPAL2
    • 1TB SSD PCIe TLC OPAL2
  • Connectivity
    • I/O Ports
      • 2 x Intel® ThunderboltTM 3, 2 x USB 3.0, HDMI,
      • native RJ45, microSD, microSIM
    • WLAN
      • Intel® Dual-Band Wireless-AC 8265
      • 2 x 2 AC + Bluetooth® 4.2
    • WWAN
      • Qualcomm® SnapdragonTM X7 LTE-A EM7430
      • Qualcomm® SnapdragonTM X7 LTE-A EM7455
    • WiGig
      • Intel® Tri-Band Wireless-AC 18265 (WiGig +
      • WiFi 2 x 2 AC + Bluetooth® 4.2
    • NFC option
    • LTE-A (4G)
  • Security
    • dTPM 2.0 Display
    • Touch fingerprint reader option
    • Windows Hello
  • Audio: Dolby Audio Premium
  • Webcam: HD 720p, IR camera option
  • Battery: Up to 15.5 hours
  • Operating System: Windows 10 Pro (64 bit)
  • Dimensions (WxDxH): 323.5 x 217.1 x 15.95 mm / 12.7 x 8.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Weight: Starting at 2.49 lbs / 1.12 kg
  • Colors: Black, Silver

ThinkPad X1 Carbon 1.jpg

As to pricing and availability, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon will start at $1,349, and will available in February.

Coverage of CES 2017 is brought to you by NVIDIA!

PC Perspective's CES 2017 coverage is sponsored by NVIDIA.

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Source: Lenovo

CES 2017: Lenovo Introduces new ThinkPad X1 Yoga 2-in-1 Notebook

Subject: Mobile | January 3, 2017 - 08:01 AM |
Tagged: x1 yoga, Thinkpad, notebook, Lenovo, laptop, convertible, CES 2017, CES, 2-in-1

Lenovo is announcing their 2017 ThinkPad lineup today, and on the convertible side of things the new ThinkPad X1 Yoga is “the only 14-inch notebook with an OLED screen”, and though that particular panel type is optional, having seen last year’s OLED model in person the pure blacks and infinite contrast make IPS options pale in comparison (literally).

ThinkPad X1 Yoga 3.jpg

"Also available in the new metallic silver, the updated ThinkPad X1 Yoga is flawlessly flexible and adapts to its users’ needs offering true multi-mode capability and can deliver stunning colors and absolute blacks on the only 14-inch notebook with an OLED screen. A redesigned rechargeable pen and improved ‘rise and fall' keyboard complete the improved experience."

The improved 'rise and fall' keyboard appears to operate differently from the original 'Lift 'n Lock' design, as the keys themselves (rather than a panel surrounding them) are raised and lowered depending on orientation of the Yoga's 2-in-1 design.

ThinkPad X1 Yoga keyboard.jpg

The specifications are very similar (with the exception of that OLED panel option) to the new ThinkPad X1 Carbon, which makes sense considering the X1 Yoga is essentially the convertible version of that notebook:


  • Display
    • 14” WQHD OLED (2560 x 1440), Touch, 300 nits
    • 14” WQHD IPS (2560 x 1440), Touch, 270 nits
    • 14” FHD IPS (1920 x 1080), Touch 270 nits
  • Processor: Up to Intel Core 7th gen
  • Graphics
    • Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640 or
    • Intel HD Graphics 620
  • Memory
    • Up to 16GB 1866MHz LPDDR3
    • Up to 16GB 2133MHz LPDDR3 (for Intel Iris only)
  • Storage
    • 128GB SSD SATA
    • 180GB SSD Intel SATA
    • 256GB SSD Intel PCIe TLC OPAL2
    • 256GB SSD PCIe TLC OPAL2
    • 512GB SSD Intel PCIe TLC OPAL2
    • 512GB SSD PCIe TLC OPAL2
    • 1TB SSD PCIe TLC OPAL2
  • Connectivity
    • I/O Ports
      • 2 x Intel® ThunderboltTM 3, 3 x USB3.0, HDMI,
      • native RJ45, microSD, microSIM
    • WLAN
      • Intel® Dual-Band Wireless-AC 8265
      • 2 x 2 AC + Bluetooth® 4.2
    • WWAN
      • Qualcomm® SnapdragonTM X7 LTE-A EM7430
      • Qualcomm® SnapdragonTM X7 LTE-A EM7455
    • WiGig
      • Intel® Tri-Band Wireless-AC 18265 (WiGig +
      • WiFi 2 x 2 AC + Bluetooth® 4.2)
    • NFC option
    • LTE-A (4G)
  • Security
    • dTPM 2.0 Display
    • Touch fingerprint reader option
  • Audio: Dolby AudioTM Premium
  • Webcam: HD 720p, IR camera option
  • Battery: Up to 16 hours (OLED version up to 10.5 hours)
  • Operating System: Windows 10 Pro (64 bit)
  • Dimensions (WxDxH): 333 x 229 x 17.05 / 13.1 x 9.0 x 0.67 inches
  • Weight: Starting at 3.13 lbs / 1.42 kg (OLED version starting at 2.99 lbs / 1.36 kg)
  • Colors: Black, Silver

ThinkPad X1 Yoga 10.jpg

The new ThinkPad X1 Yoga will be available in February with an MSRP starting at $1499.

Coverage of CES 2017 is brought to you by NVIDIA!

PC Perspective's CES 2017 coverage is sponsored by NVIDIA.

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Source: Lenovo

CES 2017: Lenovo Announces Legion Y720 and Y520 Gaming Laptops

Subject: Systems, Mobile | January 3, 2017 - 08:01 AM |
Tagged: Y720, Y520, nvidia, notebook, Lenovo, Legion, laptop, gtx 1060, GTX 1050 Ti, gaming, CES 2017, CES

Lenovo has announced a pair of new gaming notebooks with the Legion Y720 and Y520, powered by NVIDIA GeForce graphics and the latest 7th-generation Intel processors.

Lenovo Legion Y720 1.jpg

First we have the Legion Y720, a 15.6-inch gaming laptop that is also the “the world’s first Dolby Atmos PC” for immersive surround audio using the latest Dolby home theater standard. Graphical duties are handled by a GeForce GTX 1060 GPU, with CPU options up to a 7th-generation Intel Core i7 (i7-7700HQ).

“Enter a breathtaking world of sight and sound with the Lenovo Legion Y720 Laptop, the world’s first PC featuring Dolby’s revolutionary Atmos audio technology. VR Ready, this gaming laptop combines powerful processing, graphics, hardware and integrated Xbox One Wireless Support for an uninterrupted and immersive gaming experience.”

Lenovo Legion Y720 2.jpg


Lenovo Legion Y720 Specifications:

  • Display
    • 15.6" FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS or
    • 15.6" UHD (3840 x 2160) IPS Anti-Glare
  • Processor
    • 7th Generation Intel CoreTM i7-7700HQ Processor
    • 7th Generation Intel CoreTM i5-7300HQ Processor
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB GDDR5
  • Memory: Up to 16 GB DDR4; 2 x SODIMM Slots
  • Storage
    • 128 GB / 256 GB / 512 GB PCIe SSD or
    • 500 GB / 1 TB / 2 TB SATA HDD
  • Audio: 2 x 2W JBL Speakers and 3W Subwoofer, Dolby Atmos
  • Connectivity:
    • WLAN & Bluetooth: Up to 2x2 WiFi 802.11ac + Bluetooth 4.1 Combo
    • LAN: 10/100/1000M Gigabit Ethernet
  • Ports: 3x USB 3.0, 1x HDMI, DisplayPort, Thunderbolt (USB Type-C), Audio Jack, Mic Jack, LAN
  • Operating System: Windows 10 Home
  • Battery Life: Up to 5-Hour 4 Cell; 60 WHr Li-Polymer Battery
  • Dimensions (W x D x H): 380 x 277 x 29 mm / 14.96 x 10.9 x 1.14 inches
  • Weight: Starting at 7.05 lbs (3.2 kg)

Next we have the slimmer (and lighter) Y520 laptop, which pairs up to an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti GPU with up to a 7th-generation Intel Core i7 CPU.

Lenovo Legion Y520 1.jpg

“Lean and mean, the Lenovo Legion Y520 Laptop comes with the latest in processors, graphics and hardware, providing gaming function while a lightweight and smudge-free design deliver a portable form. This laptop is perfect for those who like to game on-the-go, online or with their friends in the same room.”


Lenovo Legion Y520 Specifications:

  • Display: 15.6" FHD (1920 x 1080) 16:9; IPS; Anti-Glare
  • Processor: Up to 7th Generation Intel Core i7
  • Graphics: Up to NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti
  • Memory: Up to 16 GB DDR4; 2x SODIMM Slots
  • Storage:
    • 128 GB / 256 GB / 512 GB PCIe SSD or
    • 500 GB / 1 TB / 2 TB SATA HDD
  • Audio: 2x 2W Harman Certified Speakers with Dolby Audio Premium
  • Connectivity
    • WLAN & Bluetooth: 1x1 WiFi 802.11ac or 2x2 WiFi 802.11ac + Bluetooth 4.1 Combo
    • LAN: 10/100/1000M Gigabit Ethernet
  • Ports: 1x USB 3.1 (Type-C), 2x USB 3.0, 1x USB 2.0, 1x HDMI, Audio Jack, Mic Jack, LAN
  • 4-in-1 Card Reader (SD, SDHC, SDXC, MMC)
  • Operating System: Windows 10 Home
  • Battery Life: Up to 4-Hour 3 Cell; 45 WHr Li-Polymer Battery
  • Dimensions (W x D x H): 380 x 265 x 25.8 mm / 14.96 x 10.43 x 1.01 inches
  • Weight: Starting at 5.3 lbs (2.4 kg)

Lenovo Legion Y520 4.jpg

Coverage of CES 2017 is brought to you by NVIDIA!

PC Perspective's CES 2017 coverage is sponsored by NVIDIA.

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Source: Lenovo

Lenovo Announces Updated ThinkPad Lineup Ahead of CES

Subject: Mobile | December 28, 2016 - 05:01 AM |
Tagged: yoga, update, Thinkpad, Refresh, notebook, Lenovo, laptop, kaby lake, Intel, convertible, CES 2017, CES, 7th generation, 2-in-1

Lenovo has unveiled their new ThinkPad notebook lineup ahead of the upcoming CES 2017, with refreshed models featuring the new 7th-generation Intel (“Kaby Lake”) processors, among other new features.

Yoga 370.jpg

ThinkPad Yoga 370 (Image credit: Lenovo)

New models include the newly-designed ThinkPad Yoga 370 2-in-1 convertible, refreshed T Series (T470, T570, T470s, and T470p) and L Series (L470 and L570) models, the new X270, and an updated version of the ThinkPad 13.

Thinkpad_13.jpg

ThinkPad 13 (Image credit: Lenovo)

In addition to the move to 7th-generation Intel CPUs, there are number of features across the board with the new ThinkPads, including:

  • Microsoft Signature: All ThinkPads comes loaded out of the box with the Microsoft Signature Image (clean install, no bloatware)
  • Precision TouchPad: Microsoft’s PTP standard supported across all devices
  • USB-C “Anti-Fry” Protection: Systems with USB-C have equipped with protection circuit to protect from improperly designed/malfunctioning USB-C power supplies
  • dTPM 2.0 security support: Universal implementation of discrete TPM 2.0
  • ThinkPad Intelligent diagnostic codes: Intelligent Diagnostics with musical tones from notebook interpreted by companion smartphone app
  • Intel Optane Performance: Non-volatile storage medium in the PCIe M.2 format for significant improvements in endurance, performance, and power consumption

Thinkpad X270.jpg

ThinkPad X270 (Image credit: Lenovo)

** Edit by Allyn **

Digging further into the model options / specs, it appears that some of these models will have an optional 16GB (smaller of the two) variant of Optane storage installed as a Storage Accelerator. This accelerator appears to be configurable with either an NVMe (NAND) SSD *or* a HDD. Intel will most likely overlay this cache using their RST Driver, as that infrastructure was put in place way back in 2011 when they introduced Z68 RST Caching. The 2011 version of this caching was an attempt to overlay a small SATA SSD onto a HDD, and while it was effective, the rapid adoption and sales of low-cost MLC SSDs quickly outweighed the need for such a cache as a boot volume.

intel-optane-memory-8000p.jpg

XPoint should offer enough of a performance boost (particularly for very small random access) to make for effective performance gains even over NVMe SSDs. Depending on how Intel tunes their RST driver to employ XPoint, we might see some impressive benefits, especially if the non-volatility is taken advantage of. Near instant wake from hibernates if the hiberfile is mostly cached on wake/boot, as an example.

Something else worth considering, that is not present in the above leaked specs, is that Optane will very likely be able to handle <4KB random accesses extremely well (XPoint is byte / word randomly writable / addressable). The key question is if that is possible in its first generation implementation, which we should know more about shortly after CES.

** End edit **

We won’t have detailed information about hardware (specific CPU models, etc.) until CES, so stay tuned!

Coverage of CES 2017 is brought to you by NVIDIA!

PC Perspective's CES 2017 coverage is sponsored by NVIDIA.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: Lenovo

Lenovo Unveils ThinkPad Thunderbolt 3 and USB Type-C Docks

Subject: Mobile | December 28, 2016 - 05:01 AM |
Tagged: usb type-c, thunderbolt 3, ThinkPad Type-C Dock, ThinkPad Thunderbolt 3 Dock, Thinkpad, notebook, Lenovo, laptop, dock, CES 2017, CES

Lenovo has teased a pair of new docks for their upcoming ThinkPad refresh at CES, with both Thunderbolt 3 and USB Type-C options. We don’t have a lot of details but the photos from Lenovo show the available ports on these two docks.

ThinkPad Docks.jpg

ThinkPad Thunderbolt 3 (left) and USB Type-C (right) docks (Image: Lenovo)

The ThinkPad Thunderbolt 3 Dock supports up to 3 displays, with a pair of DisplayPort outputs along with a full size HDMI. The front panel offers a Thunderbolt 3 port, USB, and 3.5 mm audio, and the rear offers four more USB 3.0 ports (one charging), LAN, and a VGA output.

ThinkPad Thunderbolt 3 Dock 3.jpg

Back view of Thunderbolt 3 Dock (Image: Lenovo)

The Type-C dock supports up to 2 displays via DisplayPort, and has three USB 3.0 ports between the front and back panel (plus a front panel Type-C port), along with legacy USB 2.0 ports for peripherals. The smaller dock retains VGA and LAN ports as well.

USB-C Dock 1.jpg

Back view of USB Type-C Dock (Image: Lenovo)

Expect full specifications after the official launch of these products, presumably at CES 2017.

Coverage of CES 2017 is brought to you by NVIDIA!

PC Perspective's CES 2017 coverage is sponsored by NVIDIA.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: Lenovo

Cyanogen Shuts Down

Subject: Mobile | December 26, 2016 - 07:39 PM |
Tagged: cyanogen, Android

Seemingly out of nowhere, Cyanogen, an alternative distribution of Android, begun laying off its employees last month, shutting down their Seattle office with the option to relocate to Palo Alto. At the same time, the founder, Steve Kondik, left the company. Then, on the last business day before Christmas Eve, they announced that “all services and Cyanogen-supported nightly builds will be discontinued no later than 12/31/16”.

valve-nope.jpg

At this point, I don’t really know what’s left of the company, which makes me wonder, if anyone did relocate from Washington State to California, whether they will still have a job there. The project will continue on as an independent, open-source operating system, called Lineage OS. As far as I can tell, the company doesn’t actually do anything else, so I can’t really see what they would restructure into. I'm guessing it's just done.

Source: Cyanogen

5G might be a hard cell

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | December 19, 2016 - 05:19 PM |
Tagged: 5G, cell phones, predictions

At least one expert is predicting that the roll out of 5G mobile service will either be delayed or poorly implemented.  Over at The Register Professor William Webb offers his insight as to why this will be.  He predicts that the physical upgrading or replacing of existing signal stations from 4G to 5G will be significantly more expensive than the upgrade to 4G was and that a hybrid option will result in an insignificant increase in network speeds.  He also suggests that total mobile data usage is starting to plateau and we may not even need this extra bandwidth.  That is a contentious claim, with mobile usage seemingly increasing thanks to more and more streaming apps and the ever expanding market of mobile users.  Any slowdown in total usage could instead be caused by pricing, many simply can't afford the overage charges incurred by heavy data usage but would gleefully slurp up more the moment their data caps increase.

_69624718_69624577.jpg

"THE 5G WIRELESS VISION is flawed because technological advances are insufficient to deliver it, users won't pay extra for the higher data rates and don't need the greater capacity it is expected to provide - and because mobile operators can't afford to implement it anyway."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

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Source: The Inquirer

A different sort of Flash, Alcatel's rebranded OneTouch phablet

Subject: Mobile | December 15, 2016 - 06:38 PM |
Tagged: alcatel, flash plus 2, smartphone, phablet, Android, marshmallow

We don't see many Alcatel phones, so why not take a peek at their newest model, the Flash 2 Plus.  At 5.5" it is big enough to be in that strange breed called phablets, with a 1080p screen it is perhaps not the most impressive example of its species.  Inside you will find the     MediaTek Helio P10 SoC, with an eight core ARM big.LITTLE consisting of four Cortex-A53 @ 1.8GHz and four more Cortex-A53 at 1GHz, an ARM Mali-T860 MP2 GPU and either 2GB or 3GB of LP-DDR3 depending on the model you chose.  It is certainly not the top performing phablet on the market, but it is also not the most expensive, about $140 Euros or in the neighbourhood of $200US if you find it over here.  You can read more about it at TechARP.

Flash-Plus-2-icon.jpg

"Love the original Flash 2 smartphone? The Flash Plus 2 offers even more value for money with a renewed focus on delivering mobigraphy – the ultimate mobile photographic experience. Let’s take a look!"

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Source: TechARP

Qualcomm and Microsoft bring full Windows 10 to Snapdragon devices

Subject: Mobile | December 8, 2016 - 03:00 AM |
Tagged: windows rt, windows 10, snapdragon, qualcomm, microsoft, arm

At the WinHEC developer conference in China today, Qualcomm and Microsoft have announced a partnership to enable a full Windows 10 computing environment on systems based on the next-generation of Snapdragon processors in the second half of 2017. The importance of this announcement can’t be overstated – it marks another attempt for Microsoft to enter the non-x86 market with mobile devices (think tablets and notebooks, less smartphones).

If you remember the first attempt at Windows on ARM, Windows RT, it’s failure was a result of a split software base: some applications could work between Windows RT and Windows 8 while most could not. It likely helped in the demise of that initiative that Windows 8 was overall very poorly received and that the overzealous box-style interface just wasn’t a hit with users. Major players like NVIDIA, Qualcomm, Samsung and many different OEMs were all caught up in the mess, making it very unlikely that Microsoft would undertake this again without a surefire win.

chip_4.png

Though details are light today, the success of this depends on software compatibility. Microsoft and Qualcomm claim that Windows 10 on mobile devices will bring “the scale of the mobile ecosystem with an unparalleled pace of innovation to address consumers’ growing need to be always on and always connected.” Modems and high performance SoCs for mobile systems is the realm of Qualcomm and form factors using these components as the base could be a solid source of innovation. The press release states as much, saying this partnership will “enable hardware makers to develop new and improved consumer products including handsets, tablets, PCs, head mounted displays, and more.”

Software is the silver bullet though.

New Windows 10 devices powered by Snapdragon supports all aspects of Microsoft’s latest operating system including Microsoft Office, Microsoft Edge browser, Windows 10 gaming titles like Crysis 2 and World of Tanks, Windows Hello, and touchscreen features like Windows Pen. It also offers support for Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps and Win32 apps through emulation, providing users with a wide selection of full featured applications.

Based on what I have learned, the native software experience will come with UWP applications. UWP is Microsoft’s attempt to merge the software base for different platforms, and though it has been slow, adoption by developers and users has been increasing. If it’s true that everything being sold in the Microsoft app store today will be compatible with the ARM architecture processors in the Snapdragon SoC, then I think this leaves the door open for a wider adoption by an otherwise discerning audience.

Windows_10_build_14393_(Redstone).png

Are you ready to hit that start button on your Snapdragon computer?

The emulation for ALL other Win32 (and x64) applications is critical as well. Being able to run the code you are used to running on an x86-based notebook will give users flexibility to migrate and the ability to depend on Qualcomm-based Windows 10 machine for work and for play. With emulation comes a performance hit – but how much of one has yet to be seen or discussed. The rumors have been circulating recently that ARM compatibility was coming to Windows 10 with the Redstone 3 update, and the timing of “late 2017” matches up perfectly with the announcement today.

While notebooks and convertibles are likely on the table for this platform, it’s the new form factors that should excite you. Microsoft’s Terry Myserson expects Qualcomm and Windows to bring “a range of thin, light, power-efficient and always-connected devices, powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon platform, is the next step in delivering the innovations our customers love.” Cristiano Amon, President at Qualcomm Technologies thinks they can provide “advanced mobile computing features, including Gigabit LTE connectivity, advanced multimedia support, machine learning and superior hardware security features, all while supporting thin, fan-less designs and long battery life.”

This partnership will lead to more than just new consumer products though, reaching into the enterprise markets with the Qualcomm Snapdragon platform addressing markets ranging from “mobility to cloud computing.”

Full press release after the break!

Source: Qualcomm

Ben Heck Tears Down (and Repairs) a Virtual Boy

Subject: Systems, Mobile | November 27, 2016 - 09:25 PM |
Tagged: virtual boy, RISC, Nintendo, nec

I was one of the lucky kids who got a Virtual Boy, which was actually quite fun for nine-year-old me. It wasn’t beloved by the masses, but when you’re in a hotel, moving across the country, you best believe I’m going to punch that Teleroboxer cat in the head, over and over. It was quite an interesting piece of technology, despite its crippling flaws.

To see for yourself, Ben Heck published a full disassemble, with his best-guess explanations. He then performs a repair by 3D printing a clamp to put pressure on a loose ribbon connector.

From a performance standpoint, the Virtual Boy was launched with a 32-bit NEC RISC processor, clocked at 20 MHz. Keep in mind that, one, this is a semi-mobile, battery-powered device and, two, it launched around the same time as the original Pentium processor reached 120 MHz. The RAM setup is... unclear. I’m guessing PlanetVB accidentally wrote MB and KB to refer to “megabit” (Mb) and “kilobit” (kb) instead of “megabyte” and “kilobyte”, meaning the Wikipedia listing of 128KB VRAM, 128KB DRAM, and 64KB WRAM is accurate. The cartridge could also address up to an additional 16MB of RAM, meaning that specific titles could load as much as they need, albeit at a higher BOM cost. Shipped titles maxed out at 8KB of cartridge-expanded RAM, though.

Ben Heck’s video will be part of a series, where he will try to make it smaller and head-mounted.

Never buying Windows again, eh? How about the Linux powered Oryx Pro?

Subject: Mobile | November 24, 2016 - 06:41 PM |
Tagged: ubuntu, Oryx Pro, GTX1060, gaming laptop, desktop replacement

The Oryx Pro is the opposite of most of the laptops you have seen reviewed here recently.  At 15.2x10.7x1.1" and 5.5lbs it is bulkier than the slim laptops dominating the market, not to mention the 2lb power brick.  It also runs Ubuntu 16.04 LTS as opposed to Win10, thankfully the install is well configured for the hardware present according to the review at Ars Technica.  The hardware on the other hand is familiar and rather impressive, a desktop class GTX 1060, an i7-6700HQ, 32GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD.  The model reviewed at Ars runs you almost $1900 or there is a 17" model, as well as a GTX 1070 upgrade available if you so desire.  Pop by to take a look at the full review of this Linux powered laptop.

P1010046-1440x1072.jpg

"System76 has a decent range of laptops, from the small, lightweight, battery-sipping Lemur to the top-end beast-like Oryx Pro. And after recently reviewing the svelte, but not necessarily top-end-specced Dell XPS 13, I got curious about this Oryx Pro. On paper, it sounds like a desktop machine somehow packed into a laptop form factor"

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Source: Ars Technica

Qualcomm Quick Charge 4 offers 20% faster charging

Subject: Mobile | November 17, 2016 - 12:30 PM |
Tagged: snapdragon 835, quick charge 4, Quick Charge, qualcomm

Along with the reveal of the Snapdragon 835 today and its production on Samsung’s 10nm FinFET process technology, Qualcomm is also announcing the release of Quick Charge 4, an upgrade to the company’s successful fast charging solution that improves both efficiency and performance. Based on the information provided by Qualcomm, Quick Charge 4 will offer “premium phone users” some impressive charging rates.

  • 5 hours or more of use in 5 minutes of charging
  • 50% battery charge in 15 minutes or less

Those time metrics are based on talk time, not VR playback or gaming or browsing, meaning you can get 5 hours of additional talk time in 5 minutes of Quick Charge 4 charging time. While I think other battery life metrics (like browsing time, idle time) would provide additional context for these claims, even these numbers should impress potential buyers.

001_quickcharge_logo.jpg

Using an updated version of its voltage negotiation protocol INOV 3.0 (intelligent negotiation for optimal voltage), Quick Charge 4 will intelligently determine what voltages are available from the compatible charger and which voltage is the most appropriate based on temperatures and current battery state. QC 4 will offer 5V, 9V and 12V charging options at 3-5A! 

Quick Charge 4 will offer 30% higher efficiency along with the 20% faster charging and integrates support for USB Type-C connections and USB-PD support. (Which is important based on the noise Google has been making recently.) New PMICs (power management ICs) from Qualcomm, the SMB1380 and SMB1381, will be shipping this year and deliver low impedance peak efficiency of up to 95%.

And of course, no smart phone platform launch will go by for the foreseeable future that doesn’t mention safety.

In addition to providing the most consistent in-box and out-of-box charging experience, Quick Charge 4 comes with advanced safety features for both the adapter and mobile device. Protection is implemented at multiple levels and throughout the entire charging process to more accurately measure voltage, current, and temperature while protecting the battery, system, cables and connectors. An additional layer of protection is also being added to help prevent battery over-charging and regulate current throughout every charge cycle.

It’s worth noting that Quick Charge 4 won’t be limited to only the Snapdragon 835 processor, though other integrations haven’t been announced just yet. I have a feeling we will hear more at CES in January. The Quick Charge ecosystem has been steadily growing with hundreds of charging accessories and devices shipping today with QC3/QC2 and I expect that will continue with Quick Charge 4. 

Full release after the break!!

Source: Qualcomm

Qualcomm Teases Snapdragon 835, built on Samsung 10nm FinFET

Subject: Processors, Mobile | November 17, 2016 - 12:30 PM |
Tagged: snapdragon, Samsung, qualcomm, FinFET, 835, 10nm

Though we are still months away from shipping devices, Qualcomm has announced that it will be building its upcoming flagship Snapdragon 835 mobile SoC on Samsung’s 10nm 2nd generation FinFET process technology. Qualcomm tells us that integrating the 10nm node in 2017 will keep it “the technology leader in mobile platforms” and this makes the 835 the world's first 10nm production processor.

“Using the new 10nm process node is expected to allow our premium tier Snapdragon 835 processor to deliver greater power efficiency and increase performance while also allowing us to add a number of new capabilities that can improve the user experience of tomorrow’s mobile devices.”

Samsung announced its 10nm FinFET process technology in October of this year and it sports some impressive specifications and benefits to the Snapdragon 835 platform. Per Samsung, it offers “up to a 30% increase in area efficiency with 27% higher performance or up to 40% lower power consumption.” For Qualcomm and its partners, that means a smaller silicon footprint for innovative device designs, including thinner chassis or larger batteries (yes, please).

qualcomm-logo.jpg

Other details on the Snapdragon 835 are still pending a future reveal, but Qualcomm says that 835 is in production now and will be shipping in commercial devices in the first half of 2017. We did hear that the new 10nm chip is built on "more than 3 billion transistors" - making it an incredibly complex design!

Image_Keith Kressin Qualcomm, Ben Suh Samsung with 10nm Snapdragon 835.jpeg

Keith Kressin SVP, Product Management, Qualcomm Technologies Inc and Ben Suh, SVP, Foundry Marketing, Samsung, show off first 10nm mobile processor, Snapdragon 835, in New York at Qualcomm's Snapdragon Technology Summit.

I am very curious to see how the market reacts to the release of the Snapdragon 835. We are still seeing new devices being released using the 820/821 SoCs, including Google’s own flagship Pixel phones this fall. Qualcomm wants to maintain leadership in the SoC market by innovating on both silicon and software but consumers are becoming more savvy to the actual usable benefits that new devices offer. Qualcomm promises features, performance and power benefits on SD 835 to make the case for your next upgrade.

Full press release after the break!

Source: Qualcomm

The 4K version of the MSI GS73 6RF Stealth Pro

Subject: Mobile | November 7, 2016 - 08:04 PM |
Tagged: msi, GS73 6RF Stealth Pro, 4k, GTX 1060M

You have two choices of display when purchasing an MSI GS73 6RF Stealth Pro, a 120Hz 1080p which is neither FreeSync nor GSYNC or a 4K display.  It is the 4K version which Kitguru has reviewed, powered by the mobile version of the GTX 1060, an i7-6700HQ and 16GB of DDR4-2400.  Storage is handled by a PCIe based M.2 SSD as well as a HDD for extra storage.  Kitguru loved the look of the panel but unfortunately the 1060M just doesn't have the power to game at that resolution; it also came with more third party software than they would have liked but that did not ruin it for them.  Check out the full review here.

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"MSI have been producing a fine line of gaming-oriented laptops for the last couple of years and today we look at their latest super slimline 17 inch model which features a Core i7 processor, Nvidia GTX 1060 graphics, and a 4k IPS panel along with Steelseries keyboard and Killer networking."

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Source: Kitguru

Google's Daydream View Available on November 10th

Subject: Mobile | November 7, 2016 - 12:01 PM |
Tagged: VR, google, daydream

Now that Android 7.0 Nougat is beginning to ship on phones, and the holidays are around the corner, Google is releasing accessories to support it. The Daydream View, which you can dock phones into for VR purposes, will be on sale on November 10th. The viewer will cost $79 USD, minus the phone of course, and can be purchased in the US, Canada, UK, Germany, and Australia.

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Currently, the only Daydream-compatible phone is Google's Pixel. As mentioned before, Nougat is only beginning to ship on phones, and the OS is required for this feature. One thing that's not entirely clear to me, after reading several sites, is whether all Daydream-compatible phones will be able to use this specific viewer, or if some will need a different chassis. You would think that variations in attributes like screen size might complicate things, but we know it will support other, non-Pixel phones; I'm just not clear whether it's some or all.

Anyway, that concern aside, it's almost cheap enough to be a “why not?” addition to any phone that is compatible. It certainly will not put the HTC Vive PC-based VR system out of business, but I'm interested in how it works with mobile content, especially linear video, going forward.

Source: Google

NES Classic PCB Pictured Online

Subject: Systems, Mobile | November 6, 2016 - 12:00 PM |
Tagged: Nintendo, nes, Cortex A7, arm, Allwinner

It looks like Peter Brown, Senior Reviews Editor at GameSpot received an NES Classic and promptly disassembled it for a single photo. From there, users on Reddit searched the component model numbers and compiled specifications. According to their research, the system (unless Nintendo made multiple, interchangeable models) is based on an Allwinner R16 SoC, which has four ARM Cortex A7 cores and an ARM Mali 400 MP2 GPU. Attached to this is 256MB of DDR3 RAM and 512 MB of flash.

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Image Credit: Peter Brown

Thankfully, the packaging of each chip has quite large, mostly legible branding, so it's easy to verify.

In terms of modern phone technology, this is about the bottom of the barrel. The Allwinner R16 should be roughly comparable to the Raspberry Pi 2, only that system has about four times the RAM as Nintendo's. This is not a bad thing, of course, because its entire goal is to emulate a device that was first released in 1983 (in Japan) albeit at high resolution. Not all of the games will be free for them to include, either. Mega Man 2, PAC-MAN, Final Fantasy, Castlevania 1 and 2, Ninja Gaiden, Double Dragon II, Bubble Bobble, Tecmo Bowl, Super C, and Galaga are all from third-party publishers, who will probably need some cut of sales.

Users are claiming that it doesn't look like it could be updated. Counting the ports, it doesn't look like there's any way in, but I could be wrong. That said, I never expected it to be upgradeable so I guess that's that?

The NES Classic Edition goes on sale on November 11th for $59.99 USD MSRP.

Huawei Announces Mate 9 Smartphone with Kirin 960 and Dual-Lens Leica Camera

Subject: Mobile | November 4, 2016 - 01:58 AM |
Tagged: smartphone, phablet, Mate 9, Mate 8, Mali-G71, Leica, Kirin 960, Kirin 950, Huawei, dual camera

Huawei announced their flagship Mate 9 smartphone earlier today, successor to the Mate 8 we reviewed a few months back. A hair smaller than last year's phablet design, the Mate 9 boasts improved internals and the dual-lens Leica camera recently introduced with the company's P9 phone.

Mate_9_1.jpg

The biggest change inside the Mate 9 is the new Kirin 960 SoC, which makes use of the latest ARM Cortex architecture in an 8-core big.LITTLE design. Importantly, the Kirin 960 also includes the latest Mali-G71 MP8 graphics, and with GPU power a low point with the Kirin 950 this is a welcome change.

Mate_9_2.jpg

Specifications:

  • Display: 
    • 5.9” FHD display
    • 2.5D glass
    • 1080p (1920 x 1080), 373ppi
    • 16.7M colors, Color saturation (NTSC) 96% High contrast 1500:1 (Typical)
  • CPU: HUAWEI Kirin 960; Octa-core (4 x 2.4 GHz A73 + 4 x 1.8 GHz A53) + i6 co-processor
  • GPU: Mali-G71 MP8
  • Memory and Storage: 
    • 4GB RAM
    • 64GB Storage
    • microSD card slot, supports up to 256GB (uses secondary SIM slot) 
  • Camera: 
    • Front: 8MP AF, F1.9
    • Main: Dual, 20MP Monochrome + 12MP RGB, F2.2 OIS (Optical Image Stabilization)
    • 4K video
  • Connectivity:
    • Wi-Fi 2.4G/5G, 802.11a/b/g/n/ac with Wi-Fi Direct support
    • BT4.2, BLE support
    • USB Type-C (Hi-Speed USB)
  • Battery 4000 mAh
  • Operating System: Android 7.0 (Emotion UI 5.0)
  • Colors: Space Gray, Moonlight Silver, Champagne Gold, Mocha Brown, Ceramic White, Black
  • Size and Weight: 
    • (H x W x D): 156.9 x 78.9 x 7.9 mm
    • Approx. 190 g

Mate_9_Lens.jpg

The other major improvement for the Mate 9 vs. the 8 is the primary camera, which now incorporates a dual-lens system. The dual Leica lenses in the Mate 9 are backed by two different cameras, with separate color and monochrome image sensors. This unusual setup has the potential to offer more detailed images, and the camera system can also produce simulated depth-of-field effects.

We have day-one review hardware in hand here at PC Perspective, so stay tuned for the full review!

Source: Huawei

The Dell Alienware 13 arrives, with a 1440p OLED screen and GTX 1060

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | November 1, 2016 - 04:25 PM |
Tagged: oled, GTX1060, dell, Alienware 13, alienware

Dell has announced four base models of Alienware 13 gaming notebooks, a TN model, a 1080p IPS model and two 1440p OLED models; one with 8GB of DDR4 and one with double that amount.  The two non-OLED models are powered by an i5-6300HQ while the OLED models contain an i7-6700HQ and all four have a desktop class GTX 1060.  That should offer you enough to power an Oculus or Vive, especially if you opt to purchase the Alienware Graphics Amplifier which is an external GPU dock that uses a proprietary connection from Dell.  It is described as a proprietary PCIe connection which provides four lanes of PCIe 3.0, which sounds very similar to Thunderbolt 3.0 which also provides four lanes when done correctly.

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It is also nice to see that all use SSDs for storage, the TN model a SATA drive and the other four base models a PCIe SSD.  One must assume that the pink can be turned off in the BIOS, though there are those guaranteed to like the glow.  You can check out all of the additional features and options on Dell's page and perhaps even pick one up as they are available as of today.  Hopefully we will have a chance to test Dell's external GPU connection against the more common Thunderbolt solutions in the near future.

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Source: Dell

Nexus has been Pixel-ated by Motorola ... Google it!

Subject: Mobile | October 20, 2016 - 09:45 PM |
Tagged: pixel, pixel xl, google, Android, Snapdragon 821, nougat

Ah, the tech industry; blink and suddenly familiar things disappear and yet you are also simultaneously overcome with a sense of deja vu.  Former Motorola President Rick Osterloh now heads a team at Google which is the combination of Nexus, Pixel Chromebooks, Chromecast, OnHub, ATAP, and Google Glass and this team have just released two new Google phones.  The 5" 1920x1080 Pixel and the 5.5" 2560x1440 Pixel XL have arrived on the market, priced to compete with Apple's new lineup, though still far less expensive than the Chromebooks which bore the same name up until recently.  The phones run Android 7.1 Nougat on a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 and are manufactured by HTC.  Ars Technica considers them to now be the best Android phones on the market and yet somehow bland; read their full review to see if you agree.

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"Welcome to the age of Google Hardware. Apparently tired of letting third-party Android OEMs serve as the stewards of Android handsets, Google has become a hardware company. (Again)."

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Source: Ars Technica

NVIDIA Tegra SoC powers new Nintendo Switch gaming system

Subject: Processors, Mobile | October 20, 2016 - 03:40 PM |
Tagged: Nintendo, switch, nvidia, tegra

It's been a hell of a 24 hours for NVIDIA and the Tegra processor. A platform that many considered dead in the water after the failure of it to find its way into smartphones or into an appreciable amount of consumer tablets, had two major design wins revealed. First, it was revealed that NVIDIA is powered the new fully autonomous driving system in the Autopilot 2.0 hardware implementation in Tesla's current Model S, X and upcoming Model 3 cars.

Now, we know that Nintendo's long rumored portable and dockable gaming system called Switch is also powered by a custom NVIDIA Tegra SoC.

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We don't know much about the hardware that gives the Switch life, but NVIDIA did post a short blog with some basic information worth looking at. Based on it, we know that the Tegra processor powering this Nintendo system is completely custom and likely uses Pascal architecture GPU CUDA cores; though we don't know how many and how powerful it will be. It will likely exceed the performance of the Nintendo Wii U, which was only 0.35 TFLOPS and consisting of 320 AMD-based stream processors. How much faster we just don't know yet.

On the CPU side we assume that this is built using an ARM-based processor, most likely off-the-shelf core designs to keep things simple. Basing it on custom designs like Denver might not be necessary for this type of platform. 

Nintendo has traditionally used custom operating systems for its consoles and that seems to be what is happening with the Switch as well. NVIDIA mentions a couple of times how much work the technology vendor put into custom APIs, custom physic engines, new libraries, etc. 

The Nintendo Switch’s gaming experience is also supported by fully custom software, including a revamped physics engine, new libraries, advanced game tools and libraries. NVIDIA additionally created new gaming APIs to fully harness this performance. The newest API, NVN, was built specifically to bring lightweight, fast gaming to the masses.

We’ve optimized the full suite of hardware and software for gaming and mobile use cases. This includes custom operating system integration with the GPU to increase both performance and efficiency.

The system itself looks pretty damn interesting, with the ability to switch (get it?) between a docked to your TV configuration to a mobile one with attached or wireless controllers. Check out the video below for a preview.

I've asked both NVIDIA and Nintendo for more information on the hardware side but these guys tend to be tight lipped on the custom silicon going into console hardware. Hopefully one or the other is excited to tell us about the technology so we can some interesting specifications to discuss and debate!

UPDATE: A story on The Verge claims that Nintendo "took the chip from the Shield" and put it in the Switch. This is more than likely completely false; the Shield is a significantly dated product and that kind of statement could undersell the power and capability of the Switch and NVIDIA's custom SoC quite dramatically.

Source: Nintendo