Dell, Intel's BFF in the OEM systems sector, has outfitted a couple of its desktops with the chip maker's new Core i7 processor, one of which represents a brand new product line in the Studio XPS.
A baseline configured Studio XPS desktop starts out at $950 and comes equipped with Intel's Core i7 920 clocked at 2.66GHz. The sub-$1000 configuration also includes a 3GB triple-channel DDR3-1066 memory kit and a 500GB hard drive. A 256MB ATI Radeon HD 3450 provides casual gaming chores, with the option to upgrade to a 512MB HD 4850 for $200 more.A 16X DVD burner and the standard assortment of ports complete the feature-set. For those with a little more jingle in their pocket, up to 1.28TB of storage can be configured in a RAID 0 array, along with a speedier CPU in the Core i7 940 clocked at 2.93GHz.
The other series getting a Core i7 infusion is Dell's XPS 730x Gaming Desktop. Starting out at $2000, the 730x comes standard with Intel's Core i7 940 and, like the Studio XPS, 3GB of tri-channel RAM. Pixel pushing power is provided by Nvidia's 512MB GeForce 9800GT. For $4850, Dell upgrades the processor to an Intel Core i7 965 Extreme factory overclocked to 3.73GHz, doubles up on the RAM to 6GB, tosses in an Nvidia GeForce GTX 280 videocard, and beefs up storage duties with a 750GB hard drive. If spending the entire holiday bonus, the XPS 730x offers options for Western Digital's Velociraptor drive and/or up to 2TB in a RAID 1+0 array, along with an option for dual GTX 280 videocards in an SLI configuration.
Studio XPS systems are available now, with most XPS 730x systems expected to start shipping by early or mid-December, according to Electronista.
Well that didn't take long. With Intel's Core i7's launch now official, OEM system builders are falling in line with new systems using the new processors. Such is the case with Gateway, who today announced two new FX Series PCs, the FX6800-01e and the FX6800-05.
Taking up the value end, the FX6800-01e comes equipped with Intel's Core i7-920 processor (2.66GHz quad-core), which Gateway ensures will "provide gamers with the critical horsepower to pwn even the most worthy opponents." And helping to "pwn" Photoshop and other memory intensive programs, the FX6800-01e comes with 3GB of DDR3-1066 memory. Gaming duties are tackled with a Radeon HD 4850 videocard, and you get 700GB of hard drive space to store those games. A 500W power supply, 18X DVD burner, onboard audio, 15-in-1 media card reader, ten USB 2.0 ports, four 1394a ports, two eSATA ports, and and HDMI connector (via DVI-HDMI dongle) round out the feature-set.
Settling in at the higher end, the FX6800-05 beefs up processing chores with Intel's Core i7-940 processor (2.93GHz quad-core) and doubles up the RAM to 6GB. And speaking of double, ATI's dual-GPU Radeon 4870 X2 finds its way into the FX6800-05. Storage chores are tag-teamed with an Intel High Performance 80GB SSD and a 1TB hard drive. Gateway also doubles up on the power supply, trading in the value model's 500W for a beefier 1000W.
The FX6800-01e and FX6800-5 are available now from Best Buy for $1250 and $3000 respectively.
Dell this week has launched a new line of OptiPlex desktop rigs, starting with the company's new flagship OptiPlex 960. The 960 comes wrapped in three different chassis designs -- mini-tower, desktop, and SFF -- with a configurable interior that lets consumers choose from both Intel's Core 2 Duo and quad-processor lineup, onboard or add-in graphics, and up to 8GB of DDR2 RAM. The new OptiPlex also looks to go green with what Dell claims is a 43 percent reduction in power consumption compared to previous OptiPlex models. Other improvements include a sturdier frame, significant noise reduction (up to 60 percent), and beefed up security through full drive encryption.
Among the OptiFlex refresh also sits Dell's FX160. The FX160 is Dell's first ever thin client, and can be configured to support either a Virtual Remote Desktop thin client environment or an On-Demand Desktop Streaming environment. Underneath the hood is an Intel Atom processor.
The new OptiPlex rigs are available now with starting prices ranging from $399 (FX160) on up to $863 (960).
If there’s one thing that PC users like, it’s to customize things. There’re custom cases, aftermarket fans, water cooling systems, and dozens other ways to boost your system’s cool factor and (hopefully) its usefulness. But there’s one thing you can customize that’ll really take your computer to the next level: the shell. Your system’s shell, the software that allows you to interface with all those tender, juicy files stashed away in your computer, defines how you interact with your PC. As a power user, you owe it to yourself to explore the ways that you can alter your experience by altering your shell, and we’re going to tell you how.
A shell replacement is software that takes over the role normally filled by explorer.exe, which you’re probably most familiar with as the ubiquitous taskbar/start button combo. There are plenty of ways to go about shell replacement, so we’re going to take a look at members of three major classes of the software: Talisman, a commercial, user-friendly shell replacement; bbLean, a replacement focused on performance, a clean aesthetic and expandability; and the popular and powerful LiteStep.
For the first time in the history of the industry (unless you've been keeping count), there have been more notebook shipments in the U.S. than desktops, according to IDC's U.S. Quarterly PC Tracker. The mobile milestone comes in the third quarter of 2008, in which notebooks grabbed 55.2 percent of the market.
Helping notebooks whiz by desktops was a record volume of shipments to the tune of 9.5 million units, an 18 percent growth over last year. The numbers come as vendors put increased focus on notebooks over their desktop offerings. Toshiba, for example, has put all its efforts into its notebook business, whereas companies like Sony, Acer, and Lenovo each exceeded the 65 percent notebook ratio, according to IDC.
"The consumer market continued to be the top driving factor in the notebook offensive but the commercial sector played a critical role too" says David Daoud, research manager, U.S. Quarterly PC Tracker and Personal Systems at IDC. "The consumer market has long favored notebooks, with mobile ratios exceeding the 70% mark. So it is clear that the small and mid-markets, as well as the enterprise and public sector buyers, are seeing good value in mobility."
What IDC didn't touch on was what effect the booming netbook market has had on notebooks surpassing desktop shipments. It was reported earlier this month that 80.6 million netbooks had been shipped in Q3, a 15 percent jump from one year ago. And the demand for low cost laptops doesn't look to be diminishing anytime soon (just ask Intel, who recently purchased the Netbook.com domain). According to Mika Kitagawa, prinicpal analyst for Gartner's Client Computing Markets group, netbooks are actually benefitting from the economic crunch.
Gateway made quite a splash in the mobile gaming community this past summer when it released its P-7811 FX notebook. Packed with gaming goodies usually reserved for high priced boutique OEM offerings, Gateway managed to cram a full blown desktop replacement into a sub-$1500 package (at one point, Best Buy was selling the FX notebook on sale for $1249 plus a free game). Having reintroduced itself back into the enthusiast sector, Gateway this time is focusing on the desktop market with a pair of new models, the FX6710 and LX6200.
The copper color trimmed FX6710-01 ships with an Intel Core 2 Quad Q9400 processor clocked at 2.66GHz with 6MB of L2 cache on a 1333MHz frontside bus. Not often seen on a value priced desktop (if ever), the new FX boasts 6GB of DDR2 memory. A 750GB SATA II hard drive rounds out the non-volatile storage duties, and an ATI HD 4850 videocard with a 512MB frame buffer provides pixel pushing power on the gaming front. Other specs include an 18x DVD burner, 15-in-1 media card reader, 6 USB 2.0 ports, eSATA port, 2 Firewire ports, 7.1 onboard sound, and Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit.
On the AMD side of the fence, Gateway's LX6200-01 comes configured with a Phenom X4 9500 quad core processor clocked at 2.2GHz with 2MB of L3 cache. The LX boasts a little more DDR2 RAM at 8GB, while the videocard gets downgraded an integrated ATI HD 3200 graphics.
Both the FX6710 and LX6200 are available now with an MSRP of $1200 and $780 respectively.
Asus may have led the charge into the netbook arena with its Eee PC lineup, but MSI's Wind has proved an extremely popular low-cost alternative in what continues to emerge as a prominent market. MSI sees the potential and will look to make a hard push in the coming months.
In an interview with Laptopmag.com, MSI's director of U.S. sales Andy Tung spoke openly about MSI's upcoming plans. Tung says the next generation Wind (U120) will focus on the business segment, not only in component selection but in appearance as well. To that end, the U120 will trade the U100's round corners for a "more square-like look," which Tung equates to a ThinkPad design. On the hardware front, the U120 will feature a 10-inch screen, HDD and SSD storage options, 3.5G connectivity, and Windows XP for a sub-$600 price tag.
Tung also indicated that MSI plans to bring its Wind Desktop to the U.S. market, which will go head-to-head against Asus' Eee Box. No time frame was given, but it's reasonable to expect it will come sooner rather than later, given MSI's aggressive push. Best Buy today announced it would start selling MSI's Wind U100 in its brick-and-mortar stores, a move that not only puts increased emphasis on North American sales, but will help the company with brand recognition as the netbook market continues to gain traction.
The crisp chill of fall brings change to the seasons and a never ending string of corporate rebranding. AMD is next on the block and rumored to be revising its product roadmap to increase the indentifying model numbers on its upcoming processors from four to five digits. The Phenom X3 and X4 branding will remain, but according to industry sources quoted by Tom’s Hardware, this will also change the AMD product roadmap in some interesting ways. It appears as though AMD is planning to release the Phenom 20550 and 20350 at 3.0 and 2.8 GHZ respectively with a DDR2 memory controller and will be backwards compatible with socket AM2+. This will give users of the previous platform another upgrade path before being forced to replace both motherboard and RAM. Both processors are expected to make a Q4 2008 release but have yet to be confirmed by AMD. All other upcoming processors will likely require DDR3 memory and the new socket AM3.
Adding to its colorful Studio collection, Dell today launches its Studio Hybrid, a mini-PC the company bills as the "most environmentally responsible consumer" computer on the market. It could also rank as one of the most affordable PCs, checking in at only $499 without monitor or as low as $699 with a 19-inch widescreen LCD.
In addition to 6 interchangeable color sleeves (or bamboo), the new Studio Hybrid also sports a sideways oriented slot-load DVD burner and several ports, including HDMI, three USB 2.0, DVI, Ethernet, and audio.
Underneath the hood customers can choose between a range of Intel Mobile processors from the T2390 (1.86GHz/533MHz) on up to the T9500 (2.6GHz/800MHz). In addition to the widescreen monitor, the $699 configuration buys you a T2390, 2GB of DDR2-667, a 250GB 5400RPM hard drive, 8x DVD burner, integrated graphics and audio, and Vista Home Premium with SP1.
Dell claims its Studio Hybrid line is about 80 percent smaller than the typical desktop minitower, and uses up to 70 percent less energy. Further appealing to the environmentalists, Dell claims its tiny green PC uses 30 percent less packing materials than a typical desktop, almost all of which is recyclable.
Between the recent push towards low power computing and Apple continuing to sell a generation on hip gadgets, Dell thinks it has a winner in its colorful PC with green roots. What do you think?
Stamford-based IT research firm Gartner has revealed the worldwide PC industry’s sales figures for the second quarter. Overall, the global PC industry registered a growth of 16% as a total of 71.9 million units were shipped during the quarter. More and more people are turning to notebooks, as opposed to desktops, as notebook prices continue to plummet. However, the US PC industry couldn’t keep up with the highly promising growth rate seen globally and managed a much subdued rate of 4.2% - total shipments stood at 16.5 million units.
If its Q2 performance is anything to go by, HP is not moving an inch from its position as the top PC maker in the world. HP’s sales grew at a faster rate than even the global average. But Dell is not too keen on staying at No.2 either. It raised its market share to 15.6% and even outshone HP’s year-over-year growth rate. These days one can’t resist mentioning netbooks but they really didn’t leave much of a mark in the US; still early days, though.