AMD’s position is not enviable. Though they’re the only large competitor to Intel in the market for x86 processors, the company is dwarfed by the Giant of Santa Clara. As a resident of Portland, I can’t forget this fact. Intel offices are strewn across the landscape of the western suburbs, most of them at least four times larger than any office I’ve worked at.
Despite the long odds, AMD is set in this course for now and has no choice but to soldier on. And so we have today’s reference platform, a laptop powered by AMD’s latest mobile processor, codenamed Trinity. These processors, like the older Llano models, will be sold as the AMD A-Series. This might lead you to think that it’s simply another minor update, but that’s not the case.
Llano was released around the same time as Bulldozer, but it did not use Bulldozer cores. Instead it used yet another update of Stars, which is a mobile incarnation of Phenom II, which was of course an improvement upon the original Phenom. The “new” Llano APU in fact was equipped with some rather old processor cores. This showed in the performance of the mobile Llano products. They simply could not keep up with Sandy Bridge’s more modern cores.
Bulldozer isn’t coming to mobile with Trinity, either. Instead we’re receiving Piledriver. AMD has effectively skipped the first iteration of its new Bulldozer architecture and moved straight on to the second. Piledriver includes the third generation of AMD’s Turbo Core and promises “up to 29%” better processor performance than last year’s Llano-based A-Series.
That’s a significant improvement, should it turn out to be correct. Is it true, and will it be enough to catch up to Intel?
Subject: Mobile | May 14, 2012 - 01:23 PM | Matt Smith
Tagged: Thinkpad, news, Lenovo
Brace yourself, enthusiasts. The recent rumors that Lenovo will be ditching its traditional beveled keyboard in favor of a more modern – and some would say, inferior – chicklet-style design are true. Lenovo today announced new ThinkPad L,T, W and X series laptops. All of them ditch the old design for a keyboard similar to the one Lenovo has been using on the ThinkPad Edge since its introduction.
Lenovo’s ThinkPads have held strong for years as chicklet-style keyboards overtook the industry, causing enthusiasts looking for a great typing experience to flock in the company’s direction. Changing the design is sure to raise the ire of some enthusiasts.
The “Precision Keyboard,”as it is being called in Lenovo’s literature, is not entirely without benefits. The key surface allegedly reduces typing errors. It also finally gives ThinkPad owners a backlit keyboard option, something that couldn’t be offered on previous models because the beveled keyboard could not accommodate it.
Some rumors had suggested that the ThinkLight (a small LED used to illuminate the laptop’s interior) would perish as a result of the new backlit keyboards. This does not seem to be the case. Screenshots clearly show that the light remains.
Lenovo’s other big announcement is the new Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon. Lenovo’s previous X1, which we reviewed last year, was an ultrabook that predated the ultrabook – super slim, fast and expensive. Lenovo is now bestowing the X1 with the label and, as the new name suggests, a “roll cage” made of carbon fiber.
The changes don’t end there. The new X1 is lighter, weighing it at 3 pounds instead of the 3.73 pounds of its predecessor. It has a better display, which is now 14 inches in size and ups the resolution to 1600x900. And, as you’d expect, it receives Intel Ivy Bridge processors. That’s true of all the other ThinkPads announced today, as well.
What do you think of the new keyboard? Love it? Hate it? Or don't care?
Subject: General Tech, Memory, Mobile | May 12, 2012 - 06:10 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: micron, Elpida
Micron Technologies has confirmed that they are in talks to purchase Elpida Memory. Despite Toshiba pulling out of the race, the deal would have a rumored value of 2.51 Billion dollars. This deal would move Micron into the second largest DRAM producer, behind Samsung, with a 25 percent market share globally.
Elpida Memory, Inc. has been having troubles as a company for a couple of years.
Elpida was established as a company from its parent companies, NEC and Hitachi, in 1999 and took its current name the next year. Elpida has been delisted from the Tokyo Stock Exchange in late March, a month after filing for Bankruptcy.
Multiple companies have come and gone in talks to purchase Elpida. Toshiba and SK hynix have somewhat recently pulled out of negotiations as the American TPG Capital LP and the Chinese Hony Capital shared a bid for the manufacturer.
Or buy us and be #2 : D
Micron has just recently announced that they would place a bid for Elpida which, if completed, would push Micron past Hynix into the second largest DRAM producer by market share. Micron also seems to be interested in purchasing Elpida to access its mobile technology. While the actual bid is not public knowledge, it has been rumored to be worth around 2.51 billion dollars.
It may also be possible that none of the above deals would go through. Reuters reports that a group of debt holders for Elpida might push for their own plan if they feel that none of the current deals would suffice.
Subject: Mobile | May 9, 2012 - 05:19 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: asus, transformer pad 300, tegra 3
ASUS' Transformer Pad 300 is the newest model of the combination tablet and netbook and includes NVIDIA's Tegra 3 to provide processing and graphical power. The 10.1" IPS TFT is at a decent resolution of 1280x800 but is not quite up to the quality of the more expensive Transformer Prime. ASUS chose to go with a dock that will only work with the Transformer 300, so you won't be able to swap keyboards if you have more than one Transformer. Overall The Tech Report liked the new 300 a lot as it possesses a good amount of features for such an inexpensive device.
"Asus has revamped its entry level Transformer tablet, squeezing Nvidia's Tegra 3 processor into a slimmer, sexier body. The trademark keyboard dock remains, as does the affordable price tag. We take a closer look to see how the Transformer Pad 300 measures up."
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
- MSI GT70 Review @ TechReviewSource
- Samsung Series 9 (2012; NP900X4B) Review @ TechReviewSource
- Gateway NV57H54u Review @ TechReviewSource
- Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime TF201 @ Kitguru
- Mobile GPU Comparison Guide @ TechARP
- NZXT Cryo E40 Notebook Cooler Review @ Hi Tech Legion
- The iPad 2,4 Review: 32nm Brings Better Battery Life @ AnandTech
- HTC One X (AT&T) Review @ TechReviewSource
- Infographic: The World of Lost Smartphones @ TechReviewSource
- The HTC One X for AT&T @ AnandTech
Introduction, Design, User Interface
Intel has decided to lead its introduction of Ivy Bridge for mobile with its most powerful quad-core parts. Many of these processors will end up in mainstream laptop, but they’re also great for gaming laptops. In our first look at Ivy Bridge we saw that it holds up well when paired with its own Intel HD 4000 graphics – if you keep the resolution around 1366x768. A bit more than that and the IGP just can’t hang.
Gamers will still want a beefy discrete GPU, and that’s what the G75 offers. Inside this beast you’ll find an Nvidia GeForce GTX 670M. Those who were reading our Kepler coverage will remember that this is not based off Nvidia’s newest architecture but is instead a re-work of an older Fermi chip. That mean seem a bit disappointing, and it is – but the performance of Nvidia’s older mobile chips wasn’t lackluster.
So, this new laptop is packing a spanking-new Core i7-3720QM as well as Nvidia’s new GTX 670M. That’s an impressive combination, and ASUS has wisely backed it up with a well-rounded set of performance components.
Subject: Mobile | May 7, 2012 - 02:09 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: smartphone, Samsung, galaxy s3, galaxy s III, Android
Previous rumors of a quad core smartphone from Samsung proved to be true at the 2012 Samsung Unpacked event in London on Thursday. There, they officially unveiled the Samsung Galaxy S III Android 4.0 smartphone.
The new smartphone runs the latest Android 4.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich” mobile operating system with an updated version of Samsung’s TouchWiz interface that adds additional functionality on top of the vanilla Android experience. Many sites have mentioned that Samsung really focused in on the software and experience aspects of the phone rather than the underlying hardware specifications and performance characteristics.
The company is introducing a number of new features with the Galaxy S III including voice control with S Voice, “S Beam” wireless file transfer, and a feature called “Pop up Play” that allows users to play videos while checking email and browsing the web. The S Voice feature lets users turn their phone on by saying “Hi, Galaxy” as well as writing emails, sending text messages, hitting “snooze” on the alarm, organizing schedules, and taking photos. Another feature that the Galaxy S III offers is NFC payment.
On the hardware side of things, the smartphone measures 136.6 x 70.6 x 8.6 mm, and weighs 133g. On the outside, there is a 4.8 inch HD Super AMOLED Pentile display with a resolution of 1280x720. There is a 1.9 megapixel camera on the front and a 8 megapixel camera on the back with backside illumination to improve low light performance. The phone is available in Pebble Blue and Marble White at launch, with additional color options to follow. Powering the software and HD display is a 2,100 mAh battery, 16, 32, or 64 (coming soon) Gigabytes of storage, microSD card slot, 1GB of RAM, and a Exynos 4 quad core processor. It also features 802.11 a/b/g/n WiFi (support channel bonding), GPS, GLONASS (radio navigation system), NFC, and Bluetooth 4. As far as cellular technology, it supports EDGE, 3G, and 4G (depending on which model you buy–more on that below).
Matt at Engadget managed to shoot some video of the new Samsung phone at the launch event, seen below.
While some models will run the Exynos 4 quad core processor, the US version will likely have a dual core Qualcomm processor due to incompatibilities between the necessary LTE radio and the Exynos 4 SoC. In the end, the general user experience should not suffer as a result but it is still regrettable that there is not a quad core part from a hardware perspective. Because the Exynos 4 SoC is based on older ARMv7 CPU cores and a Mali 400 GPU core, it will be faster in multithreaded tasks but the newer dual core Qualcomm in the LTE models will be faster in general usage thanks to the newer CPU technology and Android’s notoriously poor multithreaded performance. Users should not write off the dual core Galaxy S III phones on specifications alone.
The phone will be available for purchase in Europe at the end of May, with other countries to follow. No official word on pricing has been given yet.
Are you still excited for the US Galaxy S III now that it is official? Will you be upgrading or waiting on one of the other upcoming Android smatphones?
Subject: Mobile | April 30, 2012 - 12:43 PM | Matt Smith
Tagged: news, Ivy Bridge, gaming laptop, alienware
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.
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.
Subject: Mobile | April 26, 2012 - 12:55 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
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.
"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."
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
- Dell Latitude XT3 Review @ TechReviewSource
- Asus N56VM Review @ TechReviewSource
- Toshiba Excite 10 LE Review @ TechReviewSource
- MSI GT683DXR Gaming Laptop Review @ HardwareHeaven
- Toshiba Qosmio X775-Q7170 Review @ TechReviewSource
- Mobile CPU Comparison Guide @ TechARP
- Waterfield IPad2 Suede Jacket Sleeve Case Review @ PCSTATS
- ASUS Transformer Pad 300 @ AnandTech
- Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 Tablet @ TechSpot
- Otterbox Samsung Galaxy S II Commuter Series Case Review @ Madshrimps
- Lava Xolo X900 Review - The First Intel Medfield Phone @ AnandTech
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | April 24, 2012 - 01:37 PM | Tim Verry
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.