When Asus’s Zenbook UX31E debuted last year, it seemed to almost single-handedly put Ultrabooks on the map. Its intriguing mix of good looks, performance, and price convinced many a skeptic, us included, that PCs could compete with the likes of Apple’s vaunted MacBook Air—at a price that catered to common folk.
The UX32Vd comes with a protective sleeve, as well as a small pouch for carrying two connector dongles: one USB-to-Ethernet, one Mini-VGA-to-VGA.
If you ask an everyday gamer, he'll probably tell you the PC graphics market is basically a two-horse race between AMD's Radeon and Nvidia's GeForce. Ask a financial analyst and you'll get a different answer: the beancounters think that the graphics market is less of a race and more of a massacre, with Intel playing the role of Leatherface and Ivy Bridge's integrated graphics acting as the chainsaw that delivers the death blow.
It's a fact of life: all of the manufacturer graphics cards are built using the same core GPUs from Nvidia and AMD, so for a card to stand out, it needs to bring a little something special to the table. Some manufacturers go for sky-high overclocks; others go for unique cooling systems. MSI offers both with the newly announced GTX 680 Twin Frozr III OC.
Another day, another pair of new AMD Radeon HD graphics cards, this time from Sapphire and PowerColor. The two offerings are from opposite ends of AMD's assault on the entire price point spectrum -- the PowerColor being a 7770 card, and the Sapphire a high-end 7970 -- but they're both capable of hitting 1GHz speeds out of the box.
Intel's all-in with its Sandy Bridge platform, and AMD would rather talk about its Accelerated Processing Units (APUs) than anything else. And if you're building a rig for your mom and pop for Christmas (or Kwanzaa or Hanukkah or just in general), you're probably eying up one of these two platforms and won't consider a discrete GPU. Scenarios like this one might help explain why discrete GPU shipments are down.