Alienware is not usually known for building energy efficient systems. The amount of time you can keep a gaming laptop running is best measured in minutes. Certainly a netbook is unlikely to come from them, but that doesn’t mean they can’t have a sorta netbook.
The new Alienware M11x will apparently be capable of up to 6.5 hours of battery life. This feat is thanks to switchable graphics. When battery life is of concern, the laptop can use the integrated graphics. If setting up for a mobile gaming session, the unit can take advantage of the NVIDIA GT335M.
It’s in the upper realm of netbook size with an 11.6in screen, and weighs in at a rather hefty 4.5lbs. The design is a little weird, but aesthetics are such a personal thing. The MSRP is pretty reasonable at $799, though. Is anyone planning to take a look at one of these?
Being two-faced doesn't have to be a bad thing, and that's exactly what Razer is banking on with the release of its Vespula "gaming grade" mousepad, a dual-sided mat giving gamers the choice between speed or control.
"The Razer Vespula was designed with gamers in mind that need a single solution for every game they play. Different genres call for different gameplays. The advanced technology in the improved dual-sided mouse mat gives gamers the choice of a smooth Speed Surface or a textured Control Surface, which delivers just that flexibility," said Robert Krakoff, president, Razer USA. "The Control Surface is great for games that use small, precise movements, while the Speed Surface is an ideal match for gamers that prefer large, sweeping motions."
In addition to the two sides, the Vespula also comes with a gel-filled memory conformance wrist rest. The whole thing measures 300mm x 240mm x 4mm (length x width x height).
Here at Maximum PC, we love Windows 7. Its snappy, riddled with handy new features, and is the most stable version of the OS to ever come out of Redmond. Regardless of how much fame and positive press it racks up however, we know it will take years for the majority of consumers and businesses to fully make the switch. Overall market share numbers pegged the OS at around 3.6% in November, with a slow but steady climb to around 6% in December.
We know these numbers will continue their march upwards over the next few years at a fairly health rate, but one demographic is breaking the adoption mold, that group is PC Gamers. According to the December Steam hardware survey, Windows 7 accounts for nearly 23% of all Steam users when you add up both the 32 & 64 bit varieties. Vista by comparison sits at around 31%, but that gap is pretty small when you consider that it has a three year head start over Windows 7. As for trusty ole Windows XP, it continues to hold the lead with a commanding 45% share, but is losing ground even faster than Vista.
If you haven't checked out the Steam hardware stats before, it gives a really interesting insight into the PC Gaming hardware landscape, and is definitely worth checking out. For example, a quick glance at the spread shows the average processer speed is 2.5Ghz, and despite ATI's commanding price/performance lead, Nvidia holds over 65% of the market share compared to ATI's 30%. Its a quick and easy way to see where your system ranks against your fellow gamers.
Nvidia’s CEO Jen-Hsun Huang offered some interesting thoughts on the PC industry in a recent BBC interview. He said that people are no longer wowed by their computers. Huang chalked this up to a maturity in PC hardware. He explained that people have been doing things the same way for so long, that the platform has lost some of its luster.
So is there hope? Huang seemed to think so, imagining a future of gesture-based input and intuitive smart computer systems. The Nvidia CEO focused unsurprisingly on playing up the GPU as a way to reach this more interesting PC future. "These kinds of capabilities are certainly within the next generation, because we have created a processor for the GPU that makes it possible to do parallel processing so much faster on a PC," said Huang.
Nvidia’s expansion into areas beyond their traditional graphics card business, combined with multiple delays of their new Fermi GPUs, led some to speculate the graphics giant was through with PCs. But Huang took the opportunity to make it clear that PC gaming will continue to be Nvidia’s focus.
Boutique system builder iBuyPower this week announced the availability of what the company claims is the planet's first ever multi-touch gaming notebook, the Battalion Touch CZ-10.
"Availability," in this case, means you can pre-order the unit, but you won't have to wait very long. iBuyPower says it will begin shipping the CZ-10 starting on January 22, just over a week from now.
"We believe multi-touch compatibility is the future of mobile gaming," said Darren Su, Vice President of iBuyPower. "We are proud to be the first company to market with a multi-touch gaming notebook and look forward to all the new multi-touch games due out this year."
The customizable Battalion Touch comes standard with an Intel Core 2 Duo P8700 processor, 2GB of DDR3-1333 RAM, ATI Radeon HD 4650 graphics, a 250GB hard drive spinning at 5400RPM (7200RPM available for $11 more), 3X DVD burner, 3-in-1 media card reader, 802.11a/g/n Wi--Fi, a 6-cell battery, and Windows 7 Home Premium. Pricing starts at $999.
As PC games continue their eternal march onward, many a laptop is left in the dust shockingly fast. What’s usually holding them back is the poor graphics solution. Even laptops with dedicated cards find themselves unable to run newer games inside of a year. A new AMD product called ATI XGP could solve all that. The AMD 5000 Series Mobility External GPU would provide the power for a real 3D gaming experience.
The new cards will require a full PCI-e pinout, which isn’t currently standard. However, the existence of MiniPCI-e means this shouldn’t be too much of a problem. The new system was demoed on an old Acer Ferrari running a Radeon X1270. The difference was quite clear. The external GPU was able to run Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. on a triple monitor system using the Eyefinity system.
The external box itself has one DVI connector, one HDMI, three display port, two USB 2.0 ports, and a 35W power adapter. No word yet on when you’ll be able to get a laptop that supports ATI XGP, but keep an eye out.
Dreaming about what the Xbox 720 (or whatever Microsoft decides to name the Xbox 360's followup console) will be like? Well, keep dreaming, because the Redmond outfit has no plans of replacing the four-year old console any time soon, and is instead focused on Project Natal and other ways of extending the console's lifespan.
"I think it's important to say that the Xbox 360 is the console of the long future for us. There is no need to launch a new console, because we're able to give this console new life either with software upgrades or hardware upgrades like Project Natal," said David Hufford, senior director of Xbox product management. "The Xbox 360 was designed for a long life, and I don't even know if we're at the midpoint yet."
Microsoft is concentrating on bringing Project Natal to the Xbox 360, which the company indicated should be ready for the 2010 holiday season. After that, it's anyone's guess what else Microsoft has planned, especially if, as Hufford suggested, the console hasn't even reached its midpoint yet. Could Blu-ray finally be in the Xbox 360's future? Probably not.
"We love our prices right now," Hufford added. "I don't want to say that technology stops, but we believe we have a high quality console, and we stand by that quality with an unprecedented warranty, so we think we're in a good place now heading into the Natal era."
No need to lug that big desktop around to the next LAN party. Asus has outed their new Republic of Gamers (ROG) laptop at a CES press event. The ROG G73hj is packing the sort of hardware that puts to shame many desktop gaming PCs; other laptops need not apply. The G73hj runs a Core i7-720QM CPU, and is configurable with up to 8GB of DDR3 RAM and 1TB of HDD space.
No gaming laptop would be complete without discreet graphics, and the G73hj is no exception. This little beast will come with the Radeon HD 5870 for DX11 support. This marvelous video card will push the pixels around on a 17.3-inch LCD with a resolution of 1920x1080. There are also all the usual goodies like Wi-Fi 802.11b/g, Bluetooth, webcam, and a Blu-Ray/DVD drive. No word on pricing or release date yet, but maybe you should start saving those pennies.
To help ring in the new year, Asus has a new 17-inch gaming laptop on tap for a late January launch. The upcoming G73JH will carry the company's Republich of Gamers logo and boast an Intel Core i7 processor and ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5870 graphics.
Screen resolution checks in at 1920x1080, which is entirely appropriate (and manageable) given the CPU and graphics combo. Other specs include up to 8GB of DDR3 memory, two SSD/HDD slots, optional 2X or 4X Blu-ray drive, up to a 45-in-1 USB 2.0 card reader/writer, Bluetooth, 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, 2.0MP webcam, and a bunch of other odds and ends.
It’s not all that much to go on--a PowerPoint slide purported to have been disgorged from the bowels of Intel, but with actual provenance unknown. It does, however, offer the possibility of interesting speculation on the direction that Intel might be taking in its quest to cobble on a graphics processor to its CPUs, in its effort to compete with ATi and Nvidia.
The slide originates at donanimhaber.com (which Google says is in Turkish, so good luck with it--even translated it doesn’t make sense). Matthew Humphries, at Geek.com, offers his take: Intel is going to focus on middle- to low-end gaming environments in building an integrated graphics processor (IGP), and leave the high end alone.
What’s Intel aiming for? According to the slide, their IGP will be targeted at games such as World of Warcraft, Battlefield Heroes, The Sims 2, Peggle, Bejeweled, and Diner Dash. Each level targeted constitutes either “a broad user community” or the “fastest growing PC games segment”. Roughly translated: the places where numbers favor Intel’s venture being successful.
Whether this represents Intel’s thinking on its HD Graphics project we may soon know. Humphries expects the slide to make an appearance, if it’s legitimate, at CES in January.