It's a rare occasion that we see a high profile new laptop release on a Sunday, but you won't hear any complaining from me. The new HP Envy 14 has officially gone up for sale as of today, and it strikes an interesting balance between style and performance. The all-aluminum chassis design clearly stole a few styling cues from the Macbook Pro family, but HP has added enough additional details to make it stand out from the crowd.
The base model carries a starting price of $1,099.99 and comes loaded with a Core i3-370M, 1GB ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5650, 4GB of RAM, and a 320GB HDD. Given that the machine also includes HDMI, mini-Display Port, and Gigabit Ethernet as standard options, it appears to be a halfway decent price/performance proposition.
Those in search of a bit more horsepower can step all the way up to a Core i7-840Q with 8GB of DDR3, but don't be surprised when the final tab shatters the $2,000 barrier. We can't give this one our official seal of approval until we get it in for testing, but if it's anything like the last Envy we reviewed, we are in for a treat.
We're not real big on playing the waiting game when it comes to building, buying, or upgrading a PC, though every once awhile, we can be swayed. This might be one of those times.
According to Chinese website HKEPC, Intel is planning a handful of price cuts this summer, the most compelling of which is headed towards the Core i7 950. Come August 29, Intel will slash the Core i7 950 from $562 all the way down to $294, effectively replacing the Core i7 930, HKEPC says.
For the entry-level crowd, HKEPC reports Intel will cut the price of its Pentium E5500 chip from $75 to $64 in mid-July, while the Celeron E3400 will drop from $53 to $42 in mid-October. Intel is also planning to release several new processors, including the Core i3 560 (3.33GHz, $138, Aug 29), Pentium E6800 (3.33GHz, $86, Aug. 29), and a couple of others.
In the coming months, Intel will begin fleshing out is mobile Core i7 processor line, starting with the Core i7 660UM. This one will come clocked at 1.33GHz and ramp as high as 2.4GHz with Turbo Boost technology.
This will be followed up by yet another mobile chip in the fourth quarter of 2010, the Core i7 680UM. This ultra low voltage chip will come clocked at 1.46GHz, and up to 2.53GHz with Turbo Boost. Other features include 4MB of cache, an 18W TDP, and integrated graphics clocked at 166MHz.
In the meantime, Intel has already begun shipping Core i7 620UM (1.06GHz stock, 2.133GHz Turbo, 4MB cache) and 640UM (1.2GHz stock, 2.266GHz Turbo, 4MB cache) chips, though there haven't been a ton of notebooks to utilize these 18W TDP parts just yet.
Slowly but surely, the six-core revolution is getting under way. Intel kicked things off with the release of its Core i7 980X, followed by a flurry of six-core chips at the ready from AMD, and within the next few weeks, Intel will release a slightly lower clocked (and lower priced) followup to the 980X.
According to reports, Intel's Core i7 970 part will likely show up in the third quarter. It will race along at 3.2GHz compared to 3.33GHz for the 980X, and while no pricing info has been released, news and rumor site Fudzilla says it will probably sell for around €799. A straight conversion still puts it at over $1,000 USD, and even though we suspect it will sell for less in the States, that's still on the high side, especially compared to AMD's offerings.
In other chip news, Intel has launched its Core i5 680, which ranks as the fastest Clarkdale dual-core chip yet. Built around Intel's 32nm Westmere architecture, the 680 chip comes clocked at 3.6GHz and features 4MB of L3 cache.
Maingear on Monday announced another high-end rig built around Intel's Core i7 platform, but unlike other rigs that start off this way, Maingear's latest isn't aimed at gamers. Instead, the new Quantum Shift Workstation sets its sights on graphics professionals and has been optimized for Adobe CS5, Maingear claims.
"Adobe CS5 fully leverages the advantages of Nvidia’s Quadro FX GPU accelerated technology,” said Wallace Santos, CEO and Founder of Maingear. "“Quantum Shift optimizes both technologies with enhanced performance and airflow, providing creative professionals with the most advanced workstation PC ever created."
In addition to a Core i7 foundation, the Shift can also be built around Intel's new Xeon chips. Pricing starts at just shy of $4,000 for one of these and includes a pair of Xeon 5620 processors, Nvidia GTX 480 videocard, 6GB of DDR3 memory, 750GB hard drive, and an assortment of other hardware. For those heavy into content creation, one of the options includes upgrading the RAM to 96GB for an additional $6,739.
Time is running out if you're wanting to jump on an Intel Core i7 920 processor. The Santa Clara chip maker sent out a PDN (Product Discontinuance Notice) for the sought-after part alerting its partners that Q2 of 2010 officially marks the CPU's end of the road.
Taking its place is the already-released Core i7 930 processor. The 930 comes clocked a little faster at 2.88Ghz compared to 2.66GHz on the 920, and with Turbo Boost it can hit 3.06GHz.
Up to this point, the Core i7 920 has been the darling of the X58 world for its relatively low price and generous overclocking headroom, which only improved when Intel released the D0 stepping. If you happened to live near a Micro Center, the part could be had for as low as $170 before tax, more than $100 less than most online vendors, but you'd be hard pressed to find one in stock anymore.
Meanwhile, the Core i7 930 sells for $200 at Micro Center ($295 at Newegg) and is usually always in stock.
iBuyPower is hoping to attract touchy-feely gamers with its new Battalion Touch CZ-11 notebook. The CZ-11 is the second in a line of new multi-touch notebooks from iBuyPower, while the Battalion series are the only multi-touch gaming laptops in the world, the OEM claims.
"Multi-touch is one of the fastest growing PC gaming interfaces," said Darren Su, Executive Vice President of iBuyPower. "Pairing those capabilities with a Core i7 processor, high definition LCD, and graphics card allows the CZ-11 to meet the mobile gaming needs of almost any user."
The CZ-11 sports a 15.6-inch full HD (1920x1080) LCD display, Intel Core i7 720QM mobile processor, 4GB of DDR3 memory, ATI Radeon HD 5650 graphics, 500GB hard drive, optional Blu-ray, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, 3-in-1 card reader, 6-cell battery, and Windows 7 Home Premium.
Pricing starts at $1,100, or $1,300 as configured above.
Origin PC becomes the latest manufacturer to cram Intel's Core i7 chip into a notebook PC, albeit in a 15-inch package. Combined with a bunch of other higher end parts, the EON15 comes ready to hang with the big and bad 17-inch crowd.
The EON15 boasts an LED backlit display with a 1920 x 1080 resolution. On the other side of the lid buyers can opt for a personalized "Top Cover Painting" by Killer Paint. Pricing for customized paint jobs start at $159, or $259 if you choose one of the two pre-configured designs.
Underneath the hood sits an Intel Core i5 or i7 processor, up to 8GB of DDR3 RAM, a GeForce GTX 280M or 285M graphics card with 1GB of dedicated video memory, up to a 640GB HDD or 256GB SSD, optional Blu-ray burner, Wi-Fi, and Windows 7.
The baseline configuration starts at $1,723, while a fully decked out rig runs closer to $4,000.
In recent years, both major chip makers have taken to locking down all but just a select few processors. For Intel, only pricey Extreme Edition processors come multiplier unlocked, none of which appear on the LGA1156 platform. That's going to change.
There's also no word on the frequency. As a point of comparison, the Core i7 870 runs at 2.93GHz, and we wouldn't expect the 875K to come clocked any lower. What we do know is that the quad-core part will come with a 95W TDP, Turbo Boost, and dual-channel DDR3-1333 support.
Digital Storm may have just built the baddest workstation on the block, or at least in the home consumer market. Tapping into Intel's latest and greatest, Digital Storm's new DAVINCI workstation crunches workloads with Intel's Core i7 980X Extreme Edition chip doing much of the heavy lifting.
Helping it go is an Nvidia PNY Quadro FX 1800 graphics card with 768MB of dedicated RAM. Other baseline specs include 12GB of DDR3-1600 RAM, Asus P6X58D Premium motherboard, a 1000W power supply, and Windows 7 Professional.
"The philosophy behind DAVINCI is simple: engineer a workstation that completely maximizes application performance so that creative professionals can accelerate their productivity," commented Rajeev Kuruppu, Digital Storm’s Director of Product Development. "Thanks to NVIDIA’s and Intel’s most powerful components to date, our DAVINCI workstations will be fully optimized for the forthcoming release of Adobe’s Creative Suite 5."
Digital Storm says it subjects each DAVINCI system to a rigorous 72-hour stress test prior to shipping. Should something break anyway, the rigs come backed with a 4-year warranty.
As equipped above, pricing starts at $4,995, which represents the company's mid-range (Professional) DAVINCI. There's also a Performance model that starts out at $2,952 (Intel Core i7 930, Quadro FX 580, 750W PSU) and an Enthusiast model that runs $5,778 (dual Intel Xeon E5530 chips, Intel Workstation board, Nvidia Quadro FX 1800 graphics, 1000W PSU).