Qualcomm, HP, and ASUS announce first Windows on Snapgdragon devices

Subject: Mobile | December 5, 2017 - 02:30 PM |
Tagged: snapdragon x16, snapdragon tech summit, snapdragon 835, snapdragon, qualcomm, NovaGo, LTE, hp, envy x2, asus

Today at its Snapdragon Tech Summit, Qualcomm has announced the first round of Snapdragon-enabled devices running Windows from partners HP and ASUS.

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The HP ENVY x2 is a detachable 2-in-1 device reminiscent of the Microsoft Surface products or the Huawei Matebook-E that we recently took a look at. The 12.3-in screen is the same size as the current Surface Pro, but the HP option will have a more traditional 16:9 screen aspect ratio.  

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Built upon the Snapdragon 835 SoC, the Envy x2 will be available in configurations featuring up to 8GB of RAM, and up to 256GB of storage. The Envy x2 will also support an active stylus that is Windows Ink certified for activities such as note-taking and illustration.

For connectivity, the Envy x2 has a single USB-C port which will serve for both charging the tablet as well as connecting external devices.

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The ASUS NovaGo, however, features a more traditional thin-and-light notebook design with a 360-degree hinge. This means that users can take full advantage of the 13.3-in 1920x1080 screen in all sorts of different scenarios from traditional notebook mode to tablet mode. 

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Similar to the HP offering, the ASUS NovaGo will be available in configurations ranging up to 8GB of RAM and 256GB of Storage. However, connectivity on the NovaGo includes 2x USB 3.1 Type-A ports, as well as an HDMI Port and Micro-SD card slot for memory expansion allowing for more options than the HP Envy x2. 

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Utilizing the Snapdragon 835 SoC, both of these devices will also feature cellular connectivity from the Snapdragon X16 LTE modem. This is a huge advantage for mobile users, who can simply add these devices to their cellular accounts and receive internet connectivity anywhere in the world, allowing them to simply turn on their device and start working instead of hunting for Wi-Fi hotspots.

Both of these devices will come preinstalled with Windows 10 S but will allow for a one-time upgrade to a full Windows 10 license which will allow users to install non-Windows store applications.

(For those asking in the comments, yes, this is the emaulation layer we have mentioned previously at work. Snapdragon-based Windows machines will be able to run MOST x86 (not x64) Windows applications, with some exceptions. Exceptions tend to stem from things like kernel-mode drivers that some software wants to install that won't work. Dropbox is an unfortunately example of this.)

Availability of both systems is expected just before the end of the year and pricing for both will range from $600-800 depending on the specific configuration.

It's just the beginning here at the Snapdragon Tech Summit, so stay tuned for more announcements from Qualcomm as the week progresses!

Source: Qualcomm

Qualcomm Showcasing Windows on Snapdragon and Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform on Tech Summit Live Stream

Subject: Mobile, Shows and Expos | December 4, 2017 - 01:50 AM |
Tagged: windows on snapdragon, snapdragon 845, snapdragon, qualcomm, live stream

Qualcomm is preparing for its second annual Technology Summit, this time from the sunny shores of Maui, where it will unveil the roadmap and technologies that it will be driving into the ecosystem for 2018. Hosted by EVP of Qualcomm Technologies Cristiano Amon, this event will play host to not just Qualcomm personnel but several other key leaders in the hardware and software industry, backing Qualcomm’s play into flagship mobile, Windows, and more.

The PC Perspective team is on-site to cover the announcements, interview executives, and attempt to gauge the potential for this technology being presented. If you want to follow along at home, Qualcomm is hosting a live stream of the event on its website and of course will be tweeting all of the key details from its primary account. It starts bright and early at 8:30am HST in Hawaii but that translates into 10:30am PST and 1:30pm EST for those of you on the mainland.

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There are definite announcements coming that you should expect during the live stream. First, Qualcomm will be updating its flagship mobile platform to the Snapdragon 845, a potentially significant bump over the 835 shipping today. We have already seen rumors of several next-gen Android smartphones using the SD 845 including Samsung’s Galaxy S9. The company announced the SD 835 and corresponding technology in November of 2016 at the first Tech Summit, so expect Qualcomm to follow suit for the SD 845 this year.

More exciting to many might be the pending release of the much-hyped Windows on Snapdragon hardware. We have been talking about it for more than a year now, but we have it on high authority that we are past theory and will be seeing real hardware from real vendors with real prices and real time tables. These Windows 10-based notebooks and convertibles should include Gigabit-class LTE, extended battery life, and a true Windows 10 experience. But details up to this point have been sparse – hopefully this week we’ll have much more definitive information in our hands.

That’s all I can say for sure we’ll see at the Qualcomm Tech Summit, but who knows, the company may have some more surprises in store for us. The company has a lot of technology in development in areas like self-driving cars, mobile connectivity, IoT, VR; any of which could make for an interesting addition to our pre-CES flurry.

Source: Qualcomm

Whose is longer, AMD's Ryzen Mobile or Intel's Kaby Lake-R?

Subject: Mobile | November 30, 2017 - 03:07 PM |
Tagged: hp, Envy x360, ryzen mobile, Ryzen 5 2500U

The Tech Report have been spending quite a bit of time with the Ryzen powered HP Envy x360, contrasting its performance to Intel based laptops.  They have moved from performance to battery life, something which means a great deal to those who travel with laptops or simply want to use the laptop without getting tangled in cords.  Their focus in this look at battery life is the impact of using an external screen only, with the built-in display disabled.  They chose a 2560x1440 display and tested the Envy against a Acer Swift 3 with an Intel i5-8250U to see how long the battery lasts without needing to power the integral display.  The results are quite striking and show a large difference in power efficiency.

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"As we've continued testing AMD's Ryzen 5 2500U APU over the past few days, we've been confronted with the problem of comparing battery life across laptops with different screen sizes. Many readers suggested that I should take each machine's internal display out of the picture by hooking them up to external monitors. While I wanted to get real-world battery-life testing out of the way first, I can certainly appreciate the elegance of leveling the playing field that way. Now we have."

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HP's Ryzen Mobile Powered Envy X360 Is Available Now

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | November 20, 2017 - 08:25 PM |
Tagged: windows hello, stylus, ryzen mobile, Ryzen 5 2500U, hp, convertible, amd

Last month AMD formally launched its Ryzen Mobile APUs with partners Acer, HP, and Lenovo announcing that systems using the new processors would be out by the end of the year. The first system to become available for purchase appears to be the HP Envy X360 convertible notebook which is available with a Ryzen 5 2500U APU. The 15.6” 2-in-1 starts at $574.99 (at time of writing) and thankfully appears to take full advantage of the AMD processor.

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The HP Envy X360 was spotted by Anandtech who noted that the notebook is currently being sold at HP.com as well as brick and mortar Best Buy stores. The notebook is part of the company’s higher end Envy brand. It weighs in at 4.75 pounds and measures 14.16” x 9.8” x 0.77”. The 360° hinge allows the touchscreen display to flip around to lay flat with the underside of the keyboard enabling tablet mode. The top half with thin bezels holds the 15.6” 1920 x 1080 display and IR capable Windows Hello camera. The bottom half holds the rest of the hardware and features a backlit island-style keyboard with numpad, a wide trackpad, and the various I/O ports around the edges including USB-C 3.1 Gen 1 with DisplayPort 1.4 and USB Power support (for charging), two full size USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, HDMi, and a headset jack. Other features include Bang and Olufsen audio with dual speakers and a stylus that can be used with Windows Ink, One Note, and other apps.

Internal specifications include the above-mentioned Ryzen 5 2500U, up to 16 GB of dual channel 2400 MHz memory, and mechanical and solid-state storage options. The base model of this laptop starts at 8 GB DDR4 at 2400 MHz (2 x 4GB) and 1TB of 7200 RPM hard drive storage. Users can configure the notebook with up to a 1TB NVMe SSD or a combination of SATA hard drive and NVMe M.2 drives. The HP Envy X360 also features Intel 802.11ac Wi-Fi and it is all powered by a 3-cell 55.8 Wh battery. The APU is a 15W TDP chip with four Zen-based CPU cores (eight threads) running at 2 GHz base and up to 3.6 GHz boost, a RX Vega-based GPU clocked at up to 1100 MHz with 8 CUs (512 cores), and 6 MB of cache (2MB L2 and 4MB L3).

The HP Envy X360 15z Touch convertible laptop is available now starting at $574.99 and going up to $1374.99 fully loaded with Windows 10 Pro.

In all this looks to be a good design win for AMD is a promising start for the future of Ryzen Mobile. Thankfully the APU appears to be running at its full 15W TDP and is not being held back by single channel memory like past AMD mobile chips have allegedly been. I am looking forward to seeing what AMD’s other partners have to offer. Until then though, we have a Ryzen 7 1700 powered Asus ROG gaming laptop to ponder about!

Source: AnandTech

Meet Eve V, the crowdfunded laptop

Subject: Mobile | November 20, 2017 - 04:18 PM |
Tagged: Eve V, Surface Pro, crowdfunding, thunderbolt 3

The Eve V exists because of a successful Indiegogo campaign run by a motivated group of techies who wanted to create their own competitor to the Surface Pro.  Physically the design is very similar, a 12.3" tablet with a magnetically attached keyboard and a kickstand and the price range is similar, from $800 for the base model to $2000 for the kitchen sink.  That price includes the keyboard and active stylus, something Microsoft's Surface does not. The hardware is similar, as will be the benchmarks, it is in the extra features that the Eve V stands out.  The Eve V not only has an extra USB 3.0 port, it also has a USB 3.1 Type-C port and a separate Thunderbolt 3 port for a monitor or even an external GPU. 

Check out more about this tablet, from it's clicky keys to standard wall charger at Techspot.

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"For a first-generation product, the Eve V is remarkably solid. It's especially impressive when you consider its direct competition - the Surface Pro - is well entrenched in the Windows tablet market and known to be an excellent option."

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Source: Techspot

ASUS ROG Announces the Ryzen powered Strix GL702ZC

Subject: Mobile | November 20, 2017 - 02:23 PM |
Tagged: ryzen 7 1700, asus, ASUS ROG, Strix GL702ZC, amd, gaming laptop, RX580, freesync

The ASUS ROG Strix GL702ZC is the first Ryzen powered gaming laptop we have seen, featuring the Ryzen 7 1700 desktop CPU along with a 4GB RX580 GPU.  This means that the 17.3" IPS 1080p monitor is Freesync capable with a maximum 60Hz refresh rate.  That resolution and refresh rate will ensure even AAA titles can play with your graphics settings cranked.  

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In addition to the previously mentioned components,the GL702ZC ships with 16GB DDR4-2400MHz, a 256GB SATA III SSD, a 1TB 5400rpm HDD, USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C connectivity and 802.11ac 2x2 Wi-Fi along with Bluetooth 4.1.  The base model retails for a competitive $1500.

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PR below the fold.

Source: AMD
Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Huawei

Overview

Despite their large global presence in smartphones, Huawei isn't a brand widely known to US consumers. While this has improved year by year with the introduction of unlocked phones from and their Mate brand, I don't think that most Americans realize how big of a consumer electronics company Huawei is.

One of the more recent categories that Huawei has entered is the Windows notebook and tablet market. Starting with the announcement of the original MateBook at Mobile World Congress in 2016 (see our subsequent review here), the MateBook line was expanded this year to include two traditional notebook form factors—the thin-and-light MateBook X, and the more mainstream MateBook D.

With the introduction of these new products, the 2-in-1 tablet formerly known as just the MateBook has been slightly revised and renamed to the MateBook E, the product that we are looking at today.

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Huawei MateBook E  (configuration as reviewed)
Processor Intel Core m3-7Y30
Graphics Intel HD Graphics 615
Memory 4GB LPDDR3
Screen 12-in 2160x1440 IPS
Storage

128GB SanDisk SATA SSD

Wireless Intel 8275 802.11ac + BT 4.2 (Dual Band, 2x2)
Connections 1 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type C
Audio combo jack
Battery 33 Wh
Dimensions 278.8mm x 194.1mm x 6.8mm (10.98" x 7.64" x .27")
2.43 lb (1100 g) 
OS Windows 10 Home
Price $699 - Amazon.com

Click here to continue reading our review of the Huawei MateBook E!

Rumor: Google Pixel 2 XL Slow Charging

Subject: Mobile | November 5, 2017 - 07:49 PM |
Tagged: google, Pixel 2 XL

The Pixel 2 XL launch hasn’t been going so well for Google. Early complaints were about the screen: how it had alleged burn-in problems within the first few days, and how it couldn’t support the sRGB color space. Since then, we’ve even been hearing reports that some phones shipped without the OS even installed. Whoops!

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Now here’s a specific complaint: people are saying that the phone is charging slow. This is an easy one to test – run a multimeter in-line with the USB cable see what happens. Google+ user, Nathan K., apparently did, and he found that the Pixel 2 XL maxed out at 10.5W. When the screen is on, this drops to a maximum of 6W, which he claims (and I would have guessed) is likely due to the combined heat of a phone that’s both in-use and charging. Lithium batteries are very sensitive to heat.

He also says that this issue isn’t really a problem in-and-of itself. He just wishes that manufacturers advertised more about how the battery should perform, and maybe even provide the switches for users to override if needed. I could see that being a warranty nightmare, but I’m rarely going to fall on the side against user choice as a general rule, so I think that would be nice.

Author:
Manufacturer: Intel

Overview and CPU Performance

When Intel announced their quad-core mobile 8th Generation Core processors in August, I was immediately interested. As a user who gravitates towards "Ultrabook" form-factor notebooks, it seemed like a no-brainer—gaining two additional CPU cores with no power draw increase.

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However, the hardware reviewer in me was skeptical. Could this "Kaby Lake Refresh" CPU provide the headroom to fit two more physical cores on a die while maintaining the same 15W TDP? Would this mean that the processor fans would have to run out of control? What about battery life?

Now that we have our hands on our first two notebooks with the i7-8550U in, it's time to take a more in-depth look at Intel's first mobile offerings of the 8th Generation Core family.

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Click here to continue reading our look at performance with Intel 8th Generation mobile processors!

Author:
Subject: Processors, Mobile
Manufacturer: AMD

A potential game changer?

I thought we were going to be able to make it through the rest of 2017 without seeing AMD launch another family of products. But I was wrong. And that’s a good thing. Today AMD is launching the not-so-cleverly-named Ryzen Processor with Radeon Vega Graphics product line that will bring the new Zen processor architecture and Vega graphics architecture onto a single die for the ultrathin mobile notebook platforms. This is no minor move for them – just as we discussed with the AMD EPYC processor launch, this is a segment that has been utterly dominated by Intel. After all, Intel created the term Ultrabook to target these designs, and though that brand is gone, the thin and light mindset continues to this day.

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The claims AMD makes about its Ryzen mobile APU (combination CPU+GPU accelerated processing unit, to use an older AMD term) are not to be made lightly. Right up front in our discussion I was told this is going to be the “world’s fastest for ultrathin” machines. Considering that AMD had previously been unable to even enter those markets with previous products, both due to some technological and business roadblocks, AMD is taking a risk by painting this launch in such a light. Thanks to its ability combine CPU and GPU technology on a single die though, AMD has some flexibility today that simply did not have access to previously.

From the days that AMD first announced the acquisition of ATI graphics, the company has touted the long-term benefits of owning both a high-performance processor and graphics division. By combining the architectures on a single die, they could become greater than the sum of the parts, leveraging new software directions and the oft-discussed HSA (heterogenous systems architecture) that AMD helped create a foundation for. Though the first rounds of APUs were able to hit modest sales, the truth was that AMD’s advantage over Intel’s on the graphics technology front was often overshadowed by the performance and power efficiency advantages that Intel held on the CPU front.

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But with the introduction of the first products based on Zen earlier this year, AMD has finally made good on the promises of catching up to Intel in many of the areas where it matters the most. The new from-the-ground-up design resulted in greater than 50% IPC gains, improved area efficiency compared to Intel’s latest Kaby Lake core design, and enormous gains in power efficiency compared to the previous CPU designs. When looking at the new Ryzen-based APU products with Vega built-in, AMD claims that they tower over the 7th generation APUs with up to 200% more CPU performance, 128% more GPU performance, and 58% lower power consumption. Again, these are bold claims, but it gives AMD confidence that it can now target premium designs and form factors with a solution that will meet consumer demands.

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AMD is hoping that the release of the Ryzen 7 2700U and Ryzen 5 2500U can finally help turn the tides in the ultrathin notebook market.

  Core i7-8650U Core i7-8550U Core i5-8350U Core i5-8250U Ryzen 7 2700U Ryzen 5 2500U
Architecture Kaby Lake Refresh Kaby Lake Refresh Kaby Lake Refresh Kaby Lake Refresh Zen+Vega Zen+Vega
Process Tech 14nm+ 14nm+ 14nm+ 14nm+ 14nm 14nm
Socket BGA1356 BGA1356 BGA1356 BGA1356 ? ?
Cores/Threads 4/8 4/8 4/8 4/8 4/8 4/8
Base Clock 1.9 GHz 1.8 GHz 1.7 GHz 1.6 GHz 2.2 GHz 2.0 GHz
Max Turbo Clock 4.2 GHz 4.0 GHz 3.8 GHz 3.6 GHz 3.8 GHz 3.6 GHz
Memory Tech DDR4/LPDDR3 DDR4/LPDDR3 DDR4/LPDDR3 DDR4/LPDDR3 DDR4 DDR4
Memory Speeds 2400/2133 2400/2133 2400/2133 2400/2133 2400 2400
Cache 8MB 8MB 6MB 6MB 6MB 6MB
System Bus DMI3 - 8.0 GT/s DMI3 - 8.0 GT/s DMI2 - 6.4 GT/s DMI2 - 5.0 GT/s N/A N/A
Graphics UHD Graphics 620 UHD Graphics 620 UHD Graphics 620 UHD Graphics 620 Vega (10 CUs) Vega (8 CUs)
Max Graphics Clock 1.15 GHz 1.15 GHz 1.1 GHz 1.1 GHz 1.3 GHz 1.1 GHz
TDP 15W 15W 15W 15W 12-25W
15W Nominal
12-25W
15W Nominal
MSRP $409 $409 $297 $297 ? ?

The Ryzen 7 2700U will run 200 MHz higher on the base and boost clocks for the CPU and 200 MHz higher on the peak GPU core clock. Though both systems have 4-cores and 8-threads, the GPU on the 2700U will have two additional CUs / compute units.

Continue reading our preview of the new AMD Ryzen Mobile Processor!