The Consumer Electronics Show is undoubtedly the biggest tech event at the start of each new year. It usually offers the tech community a titillating precursor of things to follow later in the year. So what should one expect to see at this year’s event? Sadly for those of you already feeling inundated, CES 2011 is likely to be dominated by tablets.
Asustek will be unveiling a 12-inch enterprise tablet running Windows 7. Rest of its lineup will be made up of a couple of 10-inchers and one 7-inch tablet. One of those 10-inchers is said to feature the Windows 7-Oak Trail combo, whereas the other is built around Nvidia’s Tegra 2 platform and Android.
MSI will also be bringing a 10-inch Wintel-based tablet to the show floor. Also on display will be engineering samples of the company’s ARM-based Android tablets.
Sometime between January and February of 2011, MSI will officially introduce its first 10-inch tablet with Intel hardware and Microsoft software inside, DigiTimes reports. MSI is also planning to launch an ARM-based model powered by Nvidia's Tegra 2 platform and driven by Android 3.0, but this won't come out until April or May, at least a couple of months after the company's Wintel slate debuts.
Just as MSI was (and still is) an active participant in the netbook market, the company seems interested in attacking the tablet sector with that same ferocity. We'll have a better grasp once CES rolls around, at which time MSI is expected to show off several upcoming tablets, some of which will be based on Intel's Oak Trail platform.
This is all good news for consumers, as not only is MSI planning to be an active participant in the tablet market, it will do so while adopting an aggressive pricing strategy, DigiTimes says.
Quick question -- do you fancy yourself a "global citizen?" If so, then, um, MSI has just the notebook for your, uh, global lifestyle, or so the outfit says. "The new standard for global citizens." We're not sure what exactly that implies, but for what it's worth, that's the tagline MSI is pitching for its F series laptops. It gets goofier.
"The MSI F series of notebook computers pack Intel and AMD's latest high performance processors, superior display equipment, and exclusive multimedia technologies," MSI begins. "They purr like classic supercars as they provide you the ultimate multimedia experience. Sheathed in MSI's own innovative organic 3D raised totem seal coating, F series laptops represent a green option for today's customer, but don't be fooled -- they have the heart of a racecar."
It's a little weird, but whatever, we suppose the point MSI is ultimately getting at is that it has a bunch of F series notebooks to choose from, everything from the 14-inch FX400 to the 17-inch FX700, along with some 3D options in between.
Global citizen or not, you can take a peek at the F series lineup here.
Fans? MSI don't need no stinkin' fans, not for Intel's Atom platform, anyway. The motherboard maker just announced its latest 3.5-inch small form factor (SFF) slice of silicon, the I3-945GSE-D.
This new board kicks it old school with an Intel Atom N270 processor slapped onto an Intel 945GSE chipset. It has "onboard power and a fanless design, making it an excellent all-in-one, high-end solution for use in custom enclosures and embedded applications," MSI says.
Feature-wise, the new board supports up to 2GB of DDR2 400/533 SODIMM memory and comes with a single SATA 3Gb/s port, onboard LAN, a mini PCI-E slot, Realtek ALC887 HD audio, CF slot, and "supports onboard watchdog timer for added system redundancy and security."
Futuremark has come up with a fun way to promote the upcoming launch of 3DMark 11, a DirectX 11 benchmark that promises to punish machines not up to the task. It's called the "3DMark 11 Guess the Score" contest, and all you contestants have to do is guess how three gaming systems will score in the new benchmark. Here are the three systems:
Intel G6950 CPU MSI N450GTS Cyclone Power Edition MSI H55N-E33 Motherboard 3DMark 11 Entry Preset
The obvious trend here is all that MSI branded hardware, and that's by design. MSI is sponsoring the contest, and for each system, whoever comes up with the closest guess to the actual score will win the MSI motherboard and videocard from that rig.
The choice of 3D notebooks just became wider with the announcement of the 15.6-inch MSI CX620 3D laptop.It features an Intel Core processor, a 1GB ATi Radeon HD5470 discrete graphics card, up to 8GB of DDR3-1066MHz memory, 320/500/640GB hard drive storage, a DVD writer, a brace of USB 2.0 ports and HDMI / VGA outputs.
Some of the other things onboard this 5.5 lb notebook include a couple of stereo speakers, a 1.3MP camera, 802.11 b/g/n WLAN, Bluetooth v2.1 + EDR, Gigabit LAN and a 6-cell battery. You will need circular polarized glasses to enjoy 3D content on the CX620. Price and availability haven’t been announced yet.
MSI continues to flood its notebook line with new models, the latest being the new FX600MX. Described as "powerfully chic," the FX600MX looks attractive and comes built around Intel's Core i3/i5 platform.
"The FX600MX laptop is proof that MSI continues to insist on the best," MSI said. "Its jet black cover is sheathed in non-peeling raised totem seal coating to prevent scratching and smudging. The center of the cover is graced with MSI's glowing platinum logo and the wrist rest areas with a soft raised diamond coating that not only soothes hands, but adds an extra touch of glass."
MSI's sweet talking aside, it always comes down to the hardware. Towards that end, the 15.6-inch FX600MX comes with up to 8GB of DDR3-1066 memory, Nvidia GeForce 310M graphics, 320/500GB hard drive, DVD burner, a pair of USB ports, eSATA/USB combo port, 4-in-1 card reader, Wireless-N, 6-cell battery, and Windows 7 Home Premium.
We don't want to proclaim Windows 7 as the Rodney Dangerfield of tablet OSes, but seriously, where's the love? Beginning earlier this year, vendors began dropping plans to release Windows-based tablets faster than sponsors kicked Tiger Woods to the curb after his whole ordeal, and we thought both were old news by now. We were wrong.
To be fair, MSI isn't completely scrapping plans to launch a Windows tablet, it's just postponing the release. MSI originally wanted to sell a Windows tablet in the third quarter of this year, but rather than do that, the OEM is focusing on bringing an Android slate to market, which will launch by the end of March 2011.
The Android Wind Pad tablet will come with a 10.1-inch screen and both USB and HDMI ports. Early reports suggest it will carry an MSRP somewhere around $500.
It hasn't always been smooth sailing for motherboard makers in 2010, but at least for the month of September, all the major players managed to increase revenues, most by 25 percent or more.
Pegatron showed the least amount of month-on-month growth of the bunch at 4.6 percent, followed by Asus with 5.79 percent (Asus is up year-over-year 45.42 percent).
ECS recorded the highest month-on-month revenue growth of them all by jumping up 33.27 percent. No other company needed it more, as ECS is also the only one to post a year-on-year loss, with overall revenue down 8.38 percent.
Gigabyte posted September revenues of $152.7 million, up 25.51 percent on month and 0.2 percent on year, while MSI posted $266.2 million in revenue for the month, up 26.22 percent.
MSI just gave birth to a faster breed of its N460GTX Hawk graphics card, which it's calling "Talon Attack" (no joke). The Talon Attack comes equipped with the same Twin Frozr II cooling solution as the original, but underneath the heatsink, MSI swapped the memory for lower-latency 0.4ns RAM chips.
"The newest addition to MSI's Hawk line-up, the N460GTX Hawk Talon Attack graphics card, is quipped with super-fast 0.4ns graphics memory and is overclocked out of the box to 810MHz core, 1620MHz Shader core, and 3900MHz memory clock," MSI said. "This places the MSI N460GTX Hawk Talon Attack above a reference GTX 470 in today's most popular benchmark, 3DMark Vantage."
For the sake of comparison, the original N460GTX Hawk came clocked at 780MHz core, 1560MHz Shader core, and 3600MHz memory. Other than goosing the clockspeeds across the board, the Talon Attack shares the same feature-set as the original, including 1GB of GDDR5 memory, a pair of dual-link DVI connectors, and a mini-HDMI port.