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.
Introduction and Design
Tech journalists are finicky beasts. A few years ago we were washing netbooks in praise, declaring that they promised a new era of accessibility and portability for the PC. But now the tables have turned – tablets have usurped the throne of “cool new thing” and tech news is all too eager to declare the netbook little more than a passing trend, soon to be booted out of the market by glorious touchscreen slates.
The truth, however, is not as extreme has the headlines suggest. Netbooks are another boring reality that won’t be going anywhere soon, despite declarations of death and injury. But I can understand why they’ve lost the limelight. The improvements made to netbooks over the last three years have been incremental at best. While battery life has gradually grown, performance has barely moved. Intel, lacking competition from AMD, has had little reason to improve its Atom processors.
Now AMD has finally brought an Atom competitor to the market in the form of its Fusion APUs. We already reviewed one laptop powered by Fusion, the Toshiba Satellite C655. That laptop, however, was equipped with AMD’s single-core E-240. It provided performance roughly on par with a dual-core Atom system we tested in 2010, but ultimately fell a bit shot of our expectations.
Subject: Mobile | April 19, 2011 - 03:59 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: RIM, blackberry, playbook, tablet
It has been a long wait for the 7.6" by 5.1" BlackBerry PlayBook, smaller than some competitors but also lighter. It fully supports Adobe Flash, another benefit on top of its main competitor but Wired had trouble finding any other benefits. Check out their full review to see what they thought.
"The BlackBerry PlayBook tablet is a good-looking piece of hardware.
Like the proto-humans in 2001: A Space Odyssey, you’ll be eager to touch the monolithic object’s black, buttonless visage. But once you do, things get a little more complicated."
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
- The BlackBerry PlayBook @ AnandTech
- RIM BlackBerry PlayBook Review @ TechReviewSource
- Samsung Galaxy Tab Review @ Hardware Secrets
- LG Optimus Pad / T-Mobile G-Slate Tablet @ Techapot
- Motorola Atrix hands-on review @ The Inquirer
- Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc Smartphone Review @ t-break
- Coolermaster Storm SF-19 @ XSReviews
- Mobile CPU Comparison Guide @ TechARP
- Powermat Wireless Charging Unit & Receiving Unit Review @ eTeknix
- System76 Serval Professional Sandy Bridge @ Phoronix
- HP Pavilion g6x Review @ TechReviewSource
- GIGABYTE T1125N-CF1 11.6-inch Tablet Convertible Notebook @ Tweaktown
- Alienware M11x R3 Gaming Laptop Review @ HardwareHeaven
Subject: Mobile | April 19, 2011 - 01:43 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: optimus, msi, laptop, core i3
CITY OF INDUSTRY, Calif. – April 18, 2011 – MSI Computer Corp., a leading manufacturer of computer hardware products and solutions, today announced that it has begun shipping its mainstream CX640 and CR640 notebooks to online retailers in North America. These two 15.6” notebook units combine the Intel Core i3-2310M Processor with the NVIDIA GeForce GT 520M with Optimus technology (the silver CX640-071US, MSRP $679.99) or the Intel HD 3000 Graphics (the black CR640-035US, MSRP $629.99) to deliver the power and performance you need for school or for work.
To address the needs of mainstream notebook users, MSI offers 4GB system memory and 500GB hard drives in both models. Additionally, the elegantly designed PCs include a number of features, including:
- Worry free one-touch back-up and restore with MSI’s Time Stamp technology. With just a touch of the Time Stamp button, your concerns about crashes, viruses, and data loss will become a thing of the past
- Butterfingers rejoice! MSI designers integrated extra hard drive protection by changing the position of the C Series hard drive to the middle of the chassis and surrounding it in a unique housing that helps protect your data from the occasional drop or shock.
- In a hurry? The MSI CR640 and CX640 Fast Boot technology helps the unit power up approximately two times faster than standard notebooks.
- Speed up your file transfers with USB 3.0. The new C Series laptops comes equipped with two USB 3.0 ports that lets you transfer files up to ten times faster than USB 2.0
- Automatic backlight adjustment tailors screen brightness by considering the lighting in your current surroundings, which helps manage power consumption and battery life.
“We listen very carefully to our customers, and we know that anticipating and addressing their needs is critical to success in the PC industry,” noted Andy Tung, vice president of sales for MSI US. “The CX640 and CR640 models deliver the standard elements people look for in a PC– performance, price, features and design – however we also go a step further. These units incorporate features that respond to people’s real-life concerns: data backup, hard drive protection, etc. And we believe consumers will respond to this consideration.”
Subject: Mobile | April 14, 2011 - 03:02 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
CITY OF INDUSTRY, Calif. – April 14, 2011 – MSI Computer Corp., a leading manufacturer of computer hardware products and solutions, today announced that it is now shipping its X370 notebook. This 13.4” notebook is powered by the efficient AMD Dual-Core E-350 APU platform, which helps this unit achieve up to ten hours of battery life and at the same time delivers exceptional graphics performance.
From the svelte design of this 3.1 pound unit, the MSI X370 notebook delivers a fully immersive HD multimedia entertainment experience powered by AMD Radeon™ HD 6310 Discrete-Class graphics with Microsoft® DirectX® 11 support. Additionally, the notebook’s power saving LED backlit display provides bright color and enhances the overall picture quality while extending battery life.
With the launch of the X370, MSI is also expanding its support for Smallbean, a Boston-based non-profit that helps cross the digital divide by bringing technology to the developing world. By donating ten X-Series notebooks to their effort, MSI is supporting the creation of an innovative educational and cultural hub in a rural community in Tanzania. The Smallbean ESCARGO prototype computer lab will be self-sufficient: it will generate revenue to support its operation through the rental of battery units to the community powered by excess solar capacity from solar panels on its own roof.
“The solar power captured on the roof of our computer lab in Tanzania charges the notebooks and provides clean, renewable energy for the village,” commented Sean Hewens, founder and executive director of Smallbean. “The MSI X370 is the perfect design for our use in areas where energy is scarce. You can’t use just any notebook in these conditions. This project is coming to life because of the functionality that MSI created in its X Series notebooks.”
“We designed the X370 for those who want a fully functioning notebook in a compact form, with long battery life,” noted Andy Tung, vice president of sales for MSI US. “Most of us think of battery life in terms of convenience: time away from our office or power cord. It’s innovators like Smallbean that remind us that longer battery life also means using less power, which is what truly makes a difference in rural areas, and around the world.”
Specs for the X370 X-Slim notebook (MSRP $599.99) can be found here: http://www.msimobile.com/level3_productpage.aspx?cid=4&id=293, and the unit is available for purchase on Newegg.com and Amazon.com. For more information, please visit http://www.msimobile.com/.
Subject: Mobile | April 13, 2011 - 06:38 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
ASUS N53S Core i7-2630QM Sandy Bridge 15" notebook was on his test bench. At 1366 x 768 the screen seems an odd resolution and the GTX540M is not in too many systems yet either. He had some concerns with the overall sturdiness of the unit, there was a lot of flex around the keyboard as well as the optical drive, though the overall look was appealing.
"There are a few rough edges. The display of the N53 is quite poor for a laptop of this price, and the squishy keyboard is a nasty oversight in a laptop with an otherwise luxurious finish. However, these problems are tolerable considering this laptop’s performance. The ASUS N53 is a hardware powerhouse; indeed, it’s a testament to the fact that computer processors – quick though they may be – still have significant room for improvement in the future, and those improvements will positively impact the quality of the computer you receive for your money."
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
- MSI CX640 15.6-inch Notebook @ Tweaktown
- ASUS K53E: Testing Dual-Core Sandy Bridge @ AnandTech
- Acer Aspire 5830T TimelineX: Evolution Through Time @ InsideHW
- Asus U31JG-A1 Review @ TechReviewSource
- Acer Aspire AS7552G-6436 Review @ TechReviewSource
- Android App Review: Beautiful Widgets @ HardCOREware
- Verizon iPhone 4 Review @ Hardware Secrets
- BlackBerry coming back in the game with three new devices @ t- break
- Nokia C7: Beautiful = Forgivable @ InsideHW
- The Hidden Multitouch Gestures of iOS 4.3 (and How to Unlock Them) @ ExtremeTech
- HTC Desire S Smartphone Review @ t-break
- Samsung Series 9 Review @ TechReviewSource
- Mophie iPhone 4 Juice Pack Plus Review @ OCIA
- HTC Sensation 4G (T-Mobile): First Look @ TechReviewSource
- Motorola Xoom hands-on review @ The Inquirer
Subject: Mobile | April 13, 2011 - 05:07 PM | Ryan Shrout
You still haven't upgraded to Internet Explorer 9 yet? That's old hat anyway, IE10 is being shown off and in fact it is being used to showcase more than just browser enhancements.
Yesterday at a conference you have probably never heard of, Microsoft demonstrated the changes to the world of Internet Explorer with the upcoming IE10 iteration to developers. Improved HTML5 support and performance enhancements even over the current best Google Chrome browser were just part of the story though; thankfully they had a little surprise for the hardware junkies as well.
Introduction and Specifications
Brushed aluminum has become synonymous with luxury electronics, and the ASUS N53’s (N53SV-A1) exterior is clad in it like a suit of armor. The lid and palmrest are both coated the velvet-smooth metal, resulting in an instantly impressive finish. The usage of aluminum on the N53 has a dark gunmetal tint – like the ASUS U33JC Bamboo laptop we reviewed some time ago, the N53 goes for elegance rather than flash.
Subject: Mobile | April 6, 2011 - 12:51 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
With Intel’s next generation Sandy Bridge Core processors under the hood, the F Series has plenty of oomph for casual gaming and entertainment. To offer the finest movie viewing experience they each have a built in DVD drive and HDMI-out, as well as MSI Cinema Pro Technology and MSI Premium Sound enhanced with THX TruStudio Pro to provide excellent surround sound effects. All three units have the fastest data transfer technology available via two USB 3.0 ports. Each is eligible for MSI’s one-year extended warranty as part of the “MSI Quality Assurance Program.”
The smallest form factor of the F Series, the 4.8 pound FX420 notebook has a 14-inch HD 16:9 wide screen display, and is powered by the Intel Core i3 or i5 processor, and delivers exceptional graphics via its AMD Radeon HD6470 discrete graphics card. (MSRP starts at $749.99).
The FX720 and FR720 are 17-inch members of MSI’s F Series of stylish notebooks, with strong mainstream performance and 16:9 wide screen display for multimedia enjoyment. Both come with a 720P HD Webcam.
Additional FR720 specs include:
- Processing horsepower from the Intel HRV Core i3-2310M (MSRP $709.99) or Intel HRV Core i7-2630QM (MSRP $899.99)
- Intel HD 3000 Graphics
Additional FX720 specs include:
- Intel Core i5-2410M (MSRP $849.99)
- Nvidia GeForce GT520M discrete graphic
Subject: Mobile | April 5, 2011 - 01:12 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
With a 2.1GHz dual core Core i3-2310M processor, 4GB of RAM, a 500GB hard drive and a 15.6" TFT with 1366x768 and a price tag under $650 the slightly bulky but also powerful ASUS K53E is an interesting notebook. The Tech Report started the review hoping that the dual core processor would translate into longer battery life but instead ASUS opted for a less powerful battery, which does help the price. Still, six hours of web browsing and 4.5 hours of perfect HD video playback is nothing to sneer at. Check out the full review to see how well it handled other tasks.
"We've already put a quad-core Sandy Bridge notebook through the paces, but how does a system with a dual-core CPU based on the same architecture perform? Does it give previous-gen Core 2010 chips a run for their money, and perhaps more importantly, does it offer better battery life?"
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
More Mobile Articles
- Dual Core Snapdragon GPU Performance Explored - 1.5 GHz MSM8660 and Adreno 220 Benchmarks @ AnandTech
- HP Pavilion dm1 Review @ t-break
- Antec Notebook Cooler 200 Review @ eTeknix
- Pros And Cons Of Mobile Gambling @ TechwareLabs
- Griffin Elan Form Graphite iPhone 4 Case Review @ ThinkComputers
- Apple Ipad 2 @ The Inquirer
- Acer Iconia Tab W500 first impressions @ The Register
- HTC Desire S review @ The Inquirer