Alienware Updates Laptop Lineup With Ivy Bridge Processors

Subject: Mobile | April 30, 2012 - 12:43 PM |
Tagged: news, Ivy Bridge, gaming laptop, alienware

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When Alienware made some adjustments to its laptop lineup about a week before the Ivy Bridge release, many observers scratched their heads. Why update now? Was the company going to delay its introduction of Ivy Bridge laptops?

Apparently not, as they’ve now made the availability of Ivy Bridge in Alienware laptops official. The M14x, M17x and M18x can now be configured with one of several Ivy Bridge quad cores including the Core i7-3610QM, 3720QM, 3820QM, and 3920XM. The M11x, axed in the lineup change prior to Ivy Bridge's launch, remains dead.

The XM processor, which features a blazing base clock of 2.9 GHz with a maximum Turbo Boost of 3.8 GHz, is only available in the flagship M18x. If that’s still not fast enough for your tastes you can order an overclocked version that ups the Turbo Boost maximum. 

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While Ivy Bridge processors will be stock on the M17x and M18x, the M14x still comes standard with a Sandy Bridge dual core. This is because the new dual-cores have yet to be released into the wild. It’s all but certain that the M14x will be updated with a standard Ivy Bridge dual-core once the parts are available.

As you’d expect, Alienware is pairing the latest CPUs with the newest GPUs. The M14x now comes standard with a Kepler-based GT 650M. Buying an M17x will give you a choice between a GTX 660M, GTX 675M or a Radeon HD 7970M. And the mammoth M18x can be had with a GTX 660M, GTX 675M (single or SLI) or two Radeon HD 7970Ms in CrossFire.

If my memory is correct, none of these laptops have been slapped with a price increase. The M14x is $1099, the M17x is $1499 and the M18x is $1999 - in base form, of course. 

These updates put to rest any concerns about the company’s laptop lineup. Based on our review of Ivy Bridge for mobile, we expect the new processors to provide Alienware’s products with a respectable boost in performance. They may allow the laptops to run cooler and quieter, as well. 

Make the jump to read the full press release.

Source: Dell

The i7-3720QM rules the mobile roost

Subject: Mobile | April 26, 2012 - 12:55 PM |
Tagged: mobile processor, mobile cpu, Ivy Bridge, intel hd 4000, Intel, i7-3720QM

Matt was not the only one who had a chance to play with a notebook based on the new i7-3720QM, Hardware Canucks received an engineering sample of the ASUS G75VW-3D which contains the Core i7-3720QM and an impressive 16GB of DDR3-1600.  Their testing agreed with Matt's as they saw improvements across the board when comparing this system to a similar SandyBridge based machine on general GPU computing and an even larger increase when testing the HD4000 graphics engine on the chip.  Catch their full review here.

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"With such a big deal being made about the introduction of Intel's Ivy Bridge lineup on the desktop side, their new mobile chips deserve a chance in the spotlight as well. In this review, we take a closer look at the new i7-3720QM notebook processor which promises to be a significant step forward for the mobile product space."

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New mLink PCI-E to Thunderbolt Enclosure Shown Off at NAB 2012

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | April 24, 2012 - 01:37 PM |
Tagged: thunderbolt, PCIe SSD, pcie, mlink, apple

California based company mLogic LLC debuted a new “mLink” Thunderbolt enclosure at the NAB 2012 show that will allow users to connect PCI-E based cards to computers using Thunderbolt connections. Unfortunately, enthusiasts wishing to slap a graphics card into the enclosure are out of luck. The incompatibility is due to graphics cards not having Thunderbolt aware drivers and may be something that is rectified in the future but currently not an option.

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Right now, there are only a few storage devices and networking NICs that are compatible with the mLink enclosure including Apricorn and OWC PCI-E SSDs, Atto Technology’s Fiber Channel network cards, and Atto Technology’s SAS RAID controller cards. (The full list of compatible devices is located here.) Not terribly exciting, but some users will find it very useful. The design is very streamlined and sleek, though its worth mentioning that it comes at a cost of $400 USD.

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Enthusiasts wanting to add more graphics horsepower to their notebooks will have to look elsewhere, but for users that need super fast storage in a sleek industrial design enclosure it is an interesting option. The price will be something that turns many people off of it, however. It is slated to release in June with pre-orders being accepted now. More information along with photos of the device is available here.

It sure looks nice, but is this something people will actually use? Let us know in the comments!

Source: mLogic
Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Intel

Introduction, Overview, What is New With Ivy Bridge

This article will focus on the new Ivy Bridge, 3rd Generation Core Processor from a mobile perspective.  If you are curious as the performance and features of the Ivy Bridge desktop processors, be sure to check out our desktop Core i7-3770K review here.

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It would be an understatement to say that Intel’s had a good streak as of, say, the last five years. If life was commented on by the announcer from Unreal Tournament, Intel’s product releases would now be followed by the scream of “M-M-M-MONSTER KILLLLLLLL!” This is particularly true in the mobile market. Atom aside, Intel’s processors have repeatedly defeated AMD and its own preceding products.

Many companies in this position might feel it’s time to take a breather, but Intel has reached this point precisely because it doesn’t. The “tick-tock” strategy of constant improvement has made the company and its products stronger than ever before. Even the Pentium-powered Intel of the mid-90s seems weak compared to today’s juggernaut.

And so we come to the launch of Ivy Bridge. This is not a new architecture but instead an update of Sandy Bridge – however, that does not mean the under-the-hood revisions aren’t substantial. There’s a lot to talk about.

The reference system provided for our review is an ASUS N56VM, but this is not a full review of the laptop. That will be published later, after we’ve had more time to look at the laptop itself. Our focus today is on the new Intel hardware inside.

Let’s get to it.

Continue reading our review of the new Intel Ivy Bridge Mobile Platform!!

Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Dell

Introduction, Design, User Interface

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Dell has long tried to enter the high-end luxury laptop market. These attempts have always been met with mixed results. While Dell’s thick, power and relatively affordable XPS laptops are a good pick for people needing a desktop replacement, they don’t cause the thinness-obsessed media to salivate. 

Enter the Dell XPS 15z. It’d be easy to think that it’s a MacBook Pro clone considering its similar pricing and silver exterior, but reality is simpler then that. This is just an XPS 15 that has been slimmed down. Like the standard XPS laptops, the 15z follows a form-balanced-by-function approach that is common among all of Dell’s laptops. 

Slimming the chassis has forced the use of some less powerful components, but our review unit still arrived with some impressive hardware. Let’s have a look.

Continue reading our review of the Dell XPS 15z notebook!!

Intel Medfield powered cellphone appears ... in the Orient

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | April 19, 2012 - 11:50 AM |
Tagged: atom, Medfield

The new Atom processor, named Medfield, has appeared in a market far, far away.  The chip powering Lava's Xolo X900 runs at 1.6GHz and supports hyperthreading, the graphics core is clocked at 400MHz which Intel believes should be enough to allow it to output 1080p video via its HDMI plug.  The power efficiency of the new architecture has yet to be tested but the claim by the manufacturer is eight hours of talk time and five hours of 3G web browsing.  There are no available benchmarks yet but you can get an idea of the overall capabilities of this phone at The Inquirer.

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"Intel and Indian handset maker Lava announced their intention to ship an Atom smartphone at Mobile World Congress in January. However Lenovo's K800 received all the attention, so Lava's Xolo X900 slipped under the radar to become the first shipping smartphone to feature Intel's Medfield Atom processor."

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Source: The Inquirer

Why do cell phones get all the dots?

Subject: Mobile | April 17, 2012 - 07:11 PM |
Tagged: DPI

While laptops seem stuck at the horrible resolution of 1366 x 786 no matter how big the screen, cellphones have evolved from 320 x 240 to as much as 1280 x 720.  In other words there are cellphone models out there with almost the same amount of pixels as a 17" laptop.  This means the dots per inch rating on a cellphone is significantly higher, making colours richer in light, text sharper and video more crisp than that $1000+ laptop you just picked up.  The Tech Report doesn't feel that this is in any way, shape or form fair; they do have a good idea why it is so however.

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"The explosion of high-DPI displays in phones and tablets has upset David Morgan's PC enthusiast sensibilities, as he explains:"

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Valve, tired of rumors, announces wearable computing

Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile | April 14, 2012 - 04:09 PM |
Tagged: valve, wearable computers

Valve has been under the public eye since rumors of The Steam Box broke. To put out the rumors, Michael Abrash -- now at Valve -- announced their mystery project investigates computing devices that you can wear.

Great, that is just what we need, more Steam punks and their costumes.

Valve has traditionally been somewhat of a quiet company accustomed to public speculation. In a change of pace from the typical cries to release Half Life 2: Episode 3, Valve has recently been subject to rumors about breaking into the hardware business. In another change of pace, Valve has announced their hardware project is wearable computers and publicly solicited for job applicants to join in the research.

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Want me to show you my knife collection?

(Photo Credit, Giant Bomb)

Michael Abrash wrote in his blog on Valve’s website what his work is based on and it is quite similar to what Google is looking at with their augmented reality glasses.

By “wearable computing” I mean mobile computing where both computer-generated graphics and the real world are seamlessly overlaid in your view; there is no separate display that you hold in your hands (think Terminator vision).

While this is very interesting, it still remains to be seen where Valve intends to be involved with this project. Steam is pushing out from the desktop PC to the home theatre with their Big Picture UI and what that could potentially spread out into.

It is entirely possible that Google and Valve both see some link between Steam/Google TV and Wearable Computers/Augmented Reality glasses that we are just unable to perceive yet and are lunging for the same target. While the blog posting is very interesting, it still reveals little about the technology itself.

Also, this announcement does not mean that Valve is not working on a hardware platform to accompany The Big Picture, it just says more about what Valve is currently working on in secret. The previous rumors could still have some shred of truth in them.

As for when we will see wearable computing? It’s still a long ways out in Valve time.

To be clear, this is R&D – it doesn’t in any way involve a product at this point, and won’t for a long while, if ever – so please, no rumors about Steam glasses being announced at E3. It’s an initial investigation into a very interesting and promising space, and falls more under the heading of research than development.

So, which will we see first? Valve augmented reality devices, or the stunning conclusion to Gordon Freeman’s story-arc? That is a bet that will require one heck of a patient bookie to make.
Source: Valve

HP dm4 Beats Edition Available For As Little As $798

Subject: Mobile | April 9, 2012 - 01:40 PM |
Tagged: review, laptop, hp, dm4

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Pricing research is an important part of our laptop reviews. We always price out the laptops we receive on the website of the manufacturer and popular e-tailers, such as Amazon and Newegg. We also look at similarly priced laptops to judge how well a product’s value stacks up against the competition.  

Still, mistakes happen. HP altered us to one such error in our recent HP dm4 review. In that review we discovered that the HP dm4 Beats Edition cost $1169 if customized with the hardware we received, which was far too much given the laptop’s entry-level roots. However, we missed a quick-ship option that configures the laptop as it was received for just $899. That’s $270 less. 

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HP also told us that Wal-Mart is selling the HP dm4 Beats Edition. We looked in to it and found that the review configuration is currently out of stock, but if you don’t mind a slight downgrade in processor performance and the loss of the solid state drive, you can pick up the laptop for $798

Such a large difference in price would have an impact on any review, but it’s particularly important in this case. We didn’t find anything wrong with the laptop’s performance. We also praised its 1600x900 matte display and decent, though not excellent, user interface. It was the price we could not tolerate – paying HP Envy bucks for a gussied-up dm4 didn’t strike us as a great value.

The correction in pricing has resulted in a change in the review’s conclusion. The laptop now earns a Gold Award.  In fact, buying the pre-configured dm4 Beats Edition actually appears less expensive than buying the basic HP dm4 when it is configured to match the hardware found in our review unit. So-so battery life and unexceptional design are now the only traits holding it back from an Editor’s Choice.

Source: HP

NVIDIA Tegra 4 Specifications Sheet Leaks

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | April 7, 2012 - 07:11 PM |
Tagged: tegra 4, tegra, SoC, nvidia, mobile

The Chinese language VR-Zone website has allegedly managed to get their hands on a leaked specifications sheet for NVIDIA’s upcoming Tegra 4 System-on-a-chip (SoC) aimed at mobile tablets. Codenamed “Wayne,” the new SoC will come in several flavors and will arrive next year.

The upcoming chips will have 10x the performance of NVIDIA’s original Tegra and five times the performance of the current generation Kal-El Tegra 3 chip. NVIDIA has run into several hurdles in integrating an LTE cell radio into their SoCs, but if the leaked document is true, the company will finally release a Tegra chp with built-in LTE 100 and HSPA42 cell radio capabilities as early as the third quarter of 2013.

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Further, the Tegra 4 SoCs will come in four flavors: T40, T43, AP40, and SP3X. T40 will represent the first Tegra 4 chp that manufacturers and consumers will be able to get their hands on -- as early as Q1 2013. It is a quad core part with one companion core and will run at 1.8 GHz. T43 is an evolution of the T40 and will bump up the clockspeed to 2.0 GHz. The AP40 chip will be the first budget Tegra 4 processor and will run anywhere between 1.2 GHz and 1.8 GHz. The T43 and AP40 SoCs are reportedly coming out in Q3 2013. All three chips -- The T40, T43, and AP40 -- are based on the ARM Cortex A15 architecture.

  T40 T43 AP40 SP3X
Release Date Q1 2013 Q3 2013 Q3 2013 Q3 2013
Markets Aimed At Flagship Flagship Mainstream Mainstream
Tablet Device Screen Size 10" 10" 10" 7"
Processor Clockspeed 1.8 GHz 2.0 GHz 1.2-1.8 GHz 1.2-2.0 GHz
Core Count 4+1 4+1 4+1 4+1
Chip Architecture A15 A15 A15 A9
Cell Radio       LTE100/HSPA42

 

The final Tegra 4 chip is called SP3X, and it will arrive in Q3 2013. Aimed at mainstream tablets with 7” or smaller screens, the upcoming SoC will feature LTE support and will have a clockspeed of 1.2 GHz to 2.0 GHz. It is a quad core (plus one companion core) part but is reportedly based on the ARM Cortex A9 architecture.  The leaked release dates do seem to be in line with earlier reports, though they should still be taken with your daily dose of salt.

 

Right now Tegra delivers on performance and many high end mobile devices have incorporated the NVIDIA chip. Even so, they still have very little market share, and the two mainstream Tegra 4 chips -- especially the SP3X with LTE radio -- should help them make inroads against Qualcomm and Samsung who hold a great deal of market share.