Samsung has been nipping at the heels of Apple lately, first with a new lineup of Galaxy Tab’s, and now with an official competitor to the Macbook air. The new Samsung 9 Series not only matches Apple on form factor, but manages to pack in a more modern Core i3 380UM processor, while still matching them with 2GB of ram and a 64GB SSD.
We're not real accustomed to seeing nettops without an Intel Atom or VIA Nano CPU inside, but ViewSonic's latest low-power rig -- the VOT125 -- eschews both popular chips in favor of Intel's range of ultra lower power ULV processors.
Most probably won't have a problem with that so long as ViewSonic doesn't jack up the price way above what you'd expect to pay for a nettop. We'll let you be the judge of that - the cheapest model checks in at $499 and includes a single-core Celeron 743 processor, while the highest priced model runs $679 and includes an Intel Core 2 Duo SU7300 CPU.
Otherwise, the VOT125 is pretty much like any other nettop. It measures just 5.4 inches by 5.1 inches by 1.5 inches and comes with a VESA mount kit. The rest of the spec sheet consists of 2GB of RAM, a 250GB hard drive, four USB 2.0 ports, 3-in-1 memory card reader, DVI/HDMI outputs, Wi-Fi, Ethernet, and Intel GMA4500MHD graphics. And in addition to the two previously mentioned processors, the VOT125 also comes configurable with an Intel Celeron SU2300 ($529) or Pentium SU4100 ($629), both of which are dual-core parts.
No word yet on these will be available for purchase.
Most Maximum PC readers have a hard time using netbooks. We understand they serve a certain market, but when your used to getting more CPU cycles out of your over clock than an Atom can even produce, you tend to favor a more powerful mobile experience. If you fall into this category, you'll be relieved to know more ULV processors are on the way to fill out the slightly bigger than a netbook category, and the new Intel parts will fall under the Core i3 & i5 banners.
Details are still a bit sketchy, but according to an Intel road map that was webcast late last week, it appears as though notebooks featuring the new parts could start shipping by Q2 2010, and will likely range between $400-$800. Performance is expected to fall into the "slightly more powerful than a netbook" but "slightly less powerful than a full featured notebook" range. This category is typically a bit more profitable than netbooks, so we expect Intel to put forward a fairly competitive offering. The new chips will be made using the latest 32-nanometer process, and will offer power savings far beyond previous ultra portable offerings.
Market research firm iSuppli said in a statement on Thursday that they expect the ultrathin category to grow to 14.5 million units in 2010, a 93 percent increase from 2009. If you're on the market for a thin and light laptop that isn't running an Atom processor, you might want to hold out just a bit longer.
LG is looking to expand to its ultra-thin lineup, and the company will do that with two new models, both of which fall under LG's T280 series.
The two models include the T280-GR63K powered by Intel's Core 2 Duo SU7300 processor clocked at 1.3GHz, and the T280-LR3PK equipped with Intel's Pentium SU4100 chip.
Other than the processor, the two models appear to be the same. Both come with an 11.6-inch screen with a 1366 x 768 resolution, and both sport 2GB of RAM, a 500GB hard drive, Intel GMA 4500MHD graphics, HDMI-out, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, and the usual assortment of odds and ends.
The Intel Core 2 ULV processors have seen widespread usage in the “thin and light” category, but their days may be numbered. According to an unconfirmed report, Intel will be releasing a faster low voltage dual core version of the Core i7 this summer. This makes it clear that Intel is continuing to move past Core 2, even at the low end. The model number of the new CPU is expected to be 660UM, and it should run at 1.33GHz.
This chip will replace the 1.2 GHz 640UM. Both chips support 800MHz DDR3 memory, and consume only 18W of total power. This is largely thanks to the integrated graphics which are capable of stepping down to a 166MHz clock speed when not needed. The chip will still have hyperthreading allowing it to run up to four processes. No exact release date is known.
For as long as netbooks have existed, people have been buying more and more of them. More than 33.3 million netbooks will have shipped by year’s end, amounting to a 103 percent increase over last year. Revenue will be up about 72 percent indicating some price cuts. But according to DisplaySearch, as laptops with ultra low voltage (ULV) CPUs become cheaper, netbook sales will slow considerably.
They project netbook shipments to only grow by about 20 percent next year. Still, the situation can’t be bad when 20 percent growth is a big drop. As ULV laptops creep below $500, consumers will begin purchasing them in larger numbers. ULV computers have similarly good battery life, but better performance than netbooks running Atom chips.
The report also suggests that the uptick in ULV sales will likely mean manufacturers will take a revenue hit of only 1% or so. While netbooks will remain big sellers, they probably won’t have another year like 2009.
Acer owes its rapid strides in the PC market to its success in the netbook segment. Now it expects to benefit from the launch of Windows 7 and a resurgent global economy. Acer chairman JT Wang is confident that the company will meet its revenue forecast for Q4 2009. The company is expected to register a 10% growth in consolidated revenues during the ongoing quarter.
He believes that the entry of Hewlett-Packard and Toshiba into the ultra-thin notebook segment is bereft of seriousness, and this very lack of sincerity is preventing Intel’s ultra-thin notebook technology from taking off.
Curiosity may have killed the cat, but so what, they have 9 lives anyway. And because of some curious folks who did some digging on HP's website, we now know what the OEM has in store for its fall notebook lineup, and it starts with a Core i7 laptop.
Dubbed the dv8, HP's 18.4-inch desktop replacement will be one of the first portable PCs to use Intel's mobile Core i7 processor (we've seen Core i7 notebooks before, but none that have used the mobile variant). The quad-core chip will come clocked at 1.6GHz and be able to scale up to 2.8GHz when ramping down one or more cores. It's also likely the system will ship with a 4GB of RAM, 640GB of storage, and a Blu-ray drive.
On the other end of the mobile spectrum, HP will also launch a pair of CULV-based notebooks in the form of the 11.6-inch Pavilion dm1 and 13.3-inch dm3. The former will sport 2GB of RAM and a 320GB hard drive, while the latter beefs things up with 4GB of memory and a 500GB hard drive.
Other upcoming models include an updated Voodoo Envy 15 and an Ion-based Compaq Mini 311c.
Freedman believes manufacturers will have to ultimately “go with a metal case” to achieve that ultra-thin form factor they are after. However, the use of metal cases will make ultra-thin notebooks costlier.
A reference to Intel’s CULV (Consumer Ultra Low Voltage) technology – meant for ultra-thin notebooks - in Freedman’s report elucidating the design issues prompted Intel to clarify that the “case design issues reported to be found by an ODM, not consumers, in early production units for ultra-thin laptops have nothing to do with Intel processors whatsoever.”
Freedman had said that some manufacturers are more interested in manufacturing 11-inch and 12-inch netbooks with the Atom processor rather than ultra-thin notebooks with Intel’s CULV technology.
Earlier this week Intel announced the additions of two dual-core CPUs to their CULV platform, which will target entry-level ultra-thin notebooks.
The announcement came in the form of the Celeron 740 and the SU2300. They will feature core clocks of 1.3GHz and 1.2GHz respectively, and both will feature an identical 1MB L2 cache, 10W TDP and an 800MHz FSB.
No official word yet on how much notebooks featuring these will cost or when they will arrive.