Intel becomes a 22nm foundry -- no, not for NVIDIA.

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | March 25, 2012 - 08:42 PM |
Tagged: TSMC, nvidia, Intel

NVIDIA would like Intel to be their fab partner for ARM processors. Turns out NVIDIA-produced ARM products are not tempting to Intel.

Last month we reported that Intel would open up their fabrication plants to contracts from other companies. We stated that the world would likely end if Intel were to ever produce products from NVIDIA. It turns out that the world is safe.

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Turn out the lights, pretend we’re not home.

Intel is far and away the most advanced semiconductor fabricators in the world and many companies would love to have their components created in their factories. Intel is very aware of how sophisticated their technique is relative to their competitors and exercises that advantage.

NVIDIA currently fabricates their chips at TSMC. That partnership has proven to be slightly problematic to NVIDIA’s business goals. Their Kepler launch turned out to not be nearly as soft of a launch as was proposed by SemiAccurate -- but that is to be expected from a website by that name (especially with NVIDIA news).

Perhaps you were a little too greedy in requesting that Intel manufacture your ARM processors, NVIDIA? Maybe you should test the waters with a discrete GPU order or, you know, some other market that Intel does not compete in try as they might.

Even still, there was a rumor going around when Intel partnered with AMD for hardware-accelerated physics support. It does not seem like Intel really want to be friends. Plenty of fish in the sea, though.

Source: Forbes

Catcher Technology Kindles the new Fire in the Amazon...

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | March 25, 2012 - 06:55 PM |
Tagged: kindle fire, amazon

Taiwanese-based machining company, Catcher Technology, is rumored to start producing an order of chassis for the new Kindle Fire.

Amazon has thus far been very successful at gaining public awareness about their tablet devices. Apple still holds the dominant position in the tablet market although Amazon seems to be comfortably secure where they are. Sales of the original Kindle Fire were somewhere north of 5.5 million units.

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Like Sandra Bullock -- start with a Fire on the Amazon, add Speed and get really big.

Despite hefty sales of their first product, the Fire was based on the Blackberry Playbook design to saturate the market for Christmas and was not what Amazon originally intended.

Rumors have suggested that the new Kindle would include a 10-inch screen and have higher performance. ZDNet recently questioned the value of a larger and higher performance model. ZDNet attributes the success of the Kindle Fire to its cheap price point and argues that $200 is the impulse buy point.

Unfortunately, although strong rumors claim that Catcher Technology will develop the chassis -- the rumors appear to say nothing about what size they will be.

But hey, at least Catcher will have new CNC machines to play around with.

Source: Digitimes
Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Acer

Introduction, The Kepler Scoop, Design, User Interface

Join us today at 12pm EST / 9am CST as PC Perspective hosts a Live Review on the new GeForce GTX 680 graphics card.  We will discuss the new GPU technology, important features like GPU Boost, talk about performance compared to AMD's lineup and we will also have NVIDIA's own Tom Petersen on hand to run some demos and answer questions from viewers.  You can find it all at http://pcper.com/live!!

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The Acer Aspire Timeline Ultra M3 is a unique laptop. It was the first product on the market to contain a GPU based of Nvidia’s new Kepler architecture, beating out not only other laptops but also the desktop video cards. It’s also a rare 15.6” ultrabook. Though a lot of companies have talked about them, not many have actually offered them.

You might expect, considering this two facts, that the Acer Aspire M3 would be outrageously expensive. But this is Acer we’re talking about, and if there’s anything the company stands for, it’s value. This laptop, should you find it on store shelves (it is a globe product with limited production, and they don’t seem to have hit North America quite yet), will retail for around $800. Or so we’ve been told - given the so far limited supply, we would not be surprised if prices were a bit higher until more units are made available to quell demand. 

So, what’s inside this ultra-sized ultrabook? Besides the GT 640M, nothing surprising.

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Though large enough to accommodate a decent discrete GPU, this laptop still has a low-voltage Core i5 processor. That’s going to put some limits on the overall performance of the laptop, but it also should help extend battery life.

This is likely to be the only Kepler based laptop on the market for a month or two. The reason for this is Ivy Bridge - most of the manufacturers are waiting for Intel’s processor update before they go to the trouble of designing new products. 

Continue reading our review of the new Acer Aspire Timeline Ultra M3 and how discrete GPUs and Ultrabooks can work together!!

Asetek Demonstrates Liquid Cooling For Laptop And All-In-One PCs

Subject: Mobile | March 20, 2012 - 03:09 PM |
Tagged: SFF, liquid cooling, gaming laptop, asetek, alienware

The rise of mATX boards designed for high powered gaming machines, laptops with serious mobile GPU power and All-In-One Systems have increased the problem of heat generation in small systems.  A SFF system used to be a moderately powerful system good for use as a workstation or HTPC but now it could well be a multi-GPU gaming beast and the same goes for laptops.  

In an effort to stop baking laps and shortening the life of components in SFF systems Asetek has been working on liquid cooling systems for these types of systems.  You can see an example of a watercooling Alienware laptop on the YouTube video they produced and be sure to check out the links on this page if you are looking for more information.

 

Asetek Inc., the world leading supplier of liquid cooling for the computer industry announced today a new and groundbreaking slim form factor liquid cooling technology for extreme performance and workstation grade laptops and All-In-One PCs. Slim form factor liquid cooling enables laptop and AIO PC manufacturers to deliver mobility and sleek industrial designs without sacrificing performance.

“We see a growing need for higher performance personal computers, driven by ever more powerful modeling software for engineering, scientific and financial work, and for content creation and gaming,” said André S. Eriksen, Founder and CEO of Asetek. ”We also see high performance hardware expanding to more portable, sleeker devices like the highly successful M-series of notebooks from Alienware.”

“For laptops and AIOs to deliver workstation and gaming PC performance, these machines must be able to take full advantage of desktop grade performance hardware. We have identified this need and designed our cooling solution to target these thinner machines,” continued Eriksen.

The fundamental challenge in cooling desktop replacement laptops and All-In-One PCs is the lack of space for a proper thermal solution. Consequently, previous attempts at liquid cooling laptops have offered no performance improvement over traditional heat-pipe based heat sinks.

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“Asetek successfully cracked the code of improving acoustic and thermal performance in a notebook without increasing the form factor,” said Ole Madsen, VP of Engineering. “Our patent protected technology allows better utilization of the thermal modules used to cool the CPU and GPUs. That, along with our optimized coldplate technology enables the use of much more powerful hardware than air cooling could ever allow”.

Asetek is showcasing its new technology in an Alienware M18x notebook with the CPU overclocked from 3.5GHz to 4.4Ghz and the GPUs overclocked from 680Mhz to 800Mhz. In addition, the M18x achieved a 23% improvement in Futuremark’s 3D Mark Vantage benchmark while reducing the noise output of the stock air-cooled laptop. A video demonstration can be found at Asetek.com.

Source: Asetek

Transforming ASUS' Eee Pad by shoving an Ice Cream Sandwich into it

Subject: Mobile | March 19, 2012 - 12:25 PM |
Tagged: asus, Transformer, ice cream sandwich, android 4.0, eee pad, eee pad transformer

The new ASUS Transformer Prime may have had Android 4.0, aka Ice Cream Sandwich, as its OS for a while now, but only recently has the same been true for the original Eee Pad Transformer.  The Tech Report upgraded their Transformer with the approved version of ICS and took it for a spin.  Many of the advantages they found were tied directly into the ASUS version which allowed the tablets base functionality to be integrated with the OS as opposed to being an app running on the OS.  That is not all however as they described the OS upgrade as feeling more like a hardware update thanks to the increased fluidity of the tablets responsiveness. 

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"Asus has been quick to roll out Ice Cream Sandwich updates for its Eee Pad Transformers. We take a closer look at the new OS to see how it fares on the Android tablets."

Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:

Mobile

 

HP Unveils Three New Ivy Bridge Powered Laptops

Subject: Mobile | March 19, 2012 - 09:17 AM |
Tagged: laptop, Ivy Bridge, Intel, hp, GT650M, GT630M, 22nm

Over the weekend, HP pulled the curtain off of three new Ivy Bridge laptops on their website. What makes the three new DV series consumer laptops interesting is the inclusion of Intel's upcoming Ivy Bridge 22nm CPUs. Let's dive into the specs as we know them now.

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HP DV4-5000

First up is the smallest of the bunch, the DV4-5000 series with 14" display at 1366 x 768 resolution and Windows 7 Home Premium x64. Internal hardware includes an Intel Ivy Bridge Core i7-3610QM running at 2.3 GHz, an NVIDIA GT630M graphics card, 4 GB of RAM, and a 1TB 5400rpm SATA hard drive. This model also comes with 802.11 b/g/n wireless, Bluetooth functionality, and a DVD burner. Connectivity options include two USB 3.0 ports, one USB 2.0 port, one HDMI, one VGA, and one RJ45 Ethernet port, along with headphone and microphone jacks.

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HP DV6-7000

The HP DV6-7000 follows the same specifications as the previous DV4-5000 except it ups the display to 15.6." The Ivy Bridge i7-3610QM, NVIDIA GT630M, and 4 GB of RAM, DVD burner, and 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi (plus Bluetooth) all stay the same. The DV6-7000 further provides a bit more external connectivity options with an additional USB 3.0 port, and an extra headphone jack. It is also possible to configure it with a total of 8 GB of RAM.

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HP DV7-7000

The last new Ivy Bridge powered laptop release from HP is the DV7-7000 (they really need more catch names for these things). It packs an Intel Ivy Bridge Core i7-3720QM running at 2.6 GHz, 8 GB of DDR3 1600 MHz RAM, a total of 2 TB (2 x 1 TB) of 5400rpm mechanical hard drive storage, a NVIDIA GeForce GT650M, and a Blu-ray writer and DVD reader/writer combo drive. On the outside is a 17.3" display at 1920 x 1080 resolution and four Beats Audio speakers. Connectivity options include three USB 3.0 ports, one USB 2.0, one HDMI, one VGA, one RJ45 Ethernet jack, two headphone jacks, and a single microphone input along with 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

Although the HP website currently lists the laptops as "Ready To Buy," the links are not click-able and word on the web is that the actual launch date will be around April 8th. Further, HP will not begin shipping their Ivy Bridge laptops until April 29th according to Laptop Reviews. More information on the HP laptops can be found here.

Nokia To Release Windows 8 ARM Tablets (WOA) Later This Year

Subject: Mobile | March 13, 2012 - 10:35 PM |
Tagged: WOA, windows 8, tablets, nokia, microsoft, arm

Earlier this year we heard talk of several planned Windows On ARM tablets that would run the upcoming Windows 8 operating system, and now more planned tablets have emerged. Asus is planning to release four Windows 8 tablets (two WOA versions), and according to Digitimes, Nokia will be joining the fray with their own WOA tablets.

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Allegedly, Nokia will launch a 10" ARM tablet powered by Qualcomm's dual core System on a Chip (SoC) processor. The tablet will run the Windows on ARM version of Windows 8, and their sources have expressed that the Nokia tablet will further fuel the mobile tablet market and provide healthy competition for the iPad juggernaut.

Further, according to "sources at upstream component suppliers," Nokia will be outsourcing the manufacturing of their Windows 8 tablet to Compal Electronics. Also, the sources have stated that the first production batch will consist of 200,000 units.

Don't forget to check out our guide on virtualizing Windows 8 to get an idea of how the new interface works. More information on the Windows On ARM front as it develops.

Source: DigiTimes
Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Nvidia

Introduction, GT 640M Basics

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About two months ago I wrote an less than enthusiastic editorial about ultrabooks that pointed out several weaknesses in the format. One particular weakness in all of the products we’ve seen to date is graphics performance. Ultrabooks so far have lacked the headroom for a discrete graphics component and have instead been saddled with a low-performance version of the already so-so Intel HD 3000 IGP.

This is a problem. Ultrabooks are expensive, yet they so far are less capable of displaying rich 3D graphics than your typical smartphone or tablet. Casual gamers will notice this and take their gaming time and dollars in that direction. Early leaked information about Ivy Bridge indicates that there has been a substantial increase in graphics capability, but the information available so far is centered on the desktop. The version that will be found in ultrabooks is unlikely to be as quick.

Today we’re looking at a potential solution - the Acer Aspire Timeline Ultra M3 equipped with Nvidia’s new GT 640M GPU. This is the first laptop to launch with a Kepler based GPU. It is also an ultrabook, albeit it one with a 15.6” display. Otherwise, it isn’t much different from other products on the market, as you can see below.

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This is likely to be the only Kepler based laptop on the market for a month or two. The reason for this is Ivy Bridge - most of the manufacturers are waiting for Intel’s processor update before they go to the trouble of designing new products.

Continue reading our review of the NVIDIA Kepler GT 640M GPU in an Ultrabook!!

Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: HP

Introduction, Design, User Interface

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When you think about a company like HP, you probably don’t think about innovation. They’re an old company, one that now has a massive market and lots of customers to worry about losing. Common sense says they are more likely to be slow and cautious.

If you examine HP’s laptop division closely, however, that story starts to fall apart. Over the past several years the company has implemented several innovative strategies to keep it ahead of the competition, and one of them is a bit unusual – a focus on audio quality, via the Beats Audio brand.

HP seems to have confidence in this strategy. The company has tucked Beats Audio into its chest and ran with it, slapping the branding onto a number of different laptops. That brings us to the HP dm4t Beats Edition. Let’s have a look at what is inside.

 

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This laptop starts life as a regular dm4t, HP’s entry-level ultraportable. Then it is given a number of upgrades including a standard Core i5 processor, 6GB of RAM and a 500GB hard drive. These improvements, along with the Beats Audio branding, bump up the base price of $579 to $899. Our review unit came with an optional 1600x900 display, a slightly quicker Core i5 processor and an 32GB solid state drive which works with a 500GB mechanical drive to enable Intel Smart Response. These options bump the price to an intimidating $1169.

UpdateHP has informed us that the laptop that they've shipped is available as a pre-configured model for $899. Wal-Mart is shipping a version without the solid state drive for $798 after a $100 instant rebate. This pricing has impacted our verdict, which is now reflected in the conclusion.

Continue reading our review of the HP dm4t Beats Edition Notebook!!

Asus Updating Zenbook Line With UX31A and UX21A Ultrabooks

Subject: Mobile | March 12, 2012 - 09:10 PM |
Tagged: widi, ultrabook, ssd, Ivy Bridge, asus zenbook, asus

The Asus UX31 and UX21 have been two popular examples of ultrabooks.  Interestingly, they have been available for purchase for less than 6 months and we are already hearing that the company is planning a refresh with upgraded hardware! The two new ultrabooks will be dubbed the UX21A and UX31A and will replace the UX21 and UX31 respectfully while maintaining the same weight and dimensions.

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The original UX21 ultrabook

Among the new internal hardware updates, Asus will be moving to Ivy Bridge processors, up to 4 GB of low voltage DDR3 1600 memory, and an alleged 512 GB SATA 3 (6Gbps) SSD (solid state drive) option. The Ivy Bridge processors in question will be pulled from Intel's low voltage mobile CPU range and will sport a 17 watt TDP (thermal design power). The Core i3 3217U, Core i5 3317U, and Core i7 3517U will all be configurable options and carry the following specs.

Model Cores Hyper Threading Cache (L3) Clockspeed Turbo Boost (1core / 2cores)
Core i3-3217U 2 Yes 3 MB 1.8 GHz None
Core i5-3317U 2 Yes 3 MB 1.7 GHz 2.6 GHz / 2.4 GHz
Core i7-3517U 2 Yes 4 MB 1.9 GHz 3.0 GHz / 2.8 GHz

 

The new Zenbook ultrabooks will include two USB 3.0 ports, a micro HDMI port, and an SDXC card reader. Wireless connections will further include 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, and Intel's WIDI wireless display streaming technology. The new UX31A will have the option of a 1920 x 1080 resolution IPS display with a brightness rating at 350 nits or a non IPS (possibly TN) LCD with 300 nits brightness that maxes out at a 1600 x 900 resolution. The smaller UX21A also has the option for a 1920 x 1080 resolution IPS display; however, the non IPS LCD option's resolution will max out at 1366 x 768, coincidentally just enough to do the 1/3, 2/3 side by side Metro application split in Windows 8.

Lastly, they estimate the battery life of the 13" UX31A and 11" UX21A ultrabooks to be around "six to seven hours" and five hours respectively. Once Ivy Bridge processors have launched and other notebook vendors start shipping their Ivy Bridge powered machines, Asus will reportedly start selling the updated Zenbooks for prices starting at $1,050 and $1,100 for the UX21A and UX31A respectively.

A nice hardware update without jacking up the price too much and likely making the older models cheaper? Sign me up! Are you looking forward to more ultrabooks this year?

Source: The Verge