Few would argue that Windows 8 is a radical departure from a software perspective, however this generation it won’t just be Microsoft looking to set new trends. Redmond’s hardware partners are gearing up fast for the October 26th release date, and Dell has started taking pre-orders for its new XPS 12 convertible Windows 8 tablet/Ultrabook.
Having trouble deciding between a notebook or a tablet? Asus invites you to splurge on both by announcing the Taichi at this year's Computex convention. The Taichi isn't unique for the fact that it's a hybrid notebook that pulls double duty as a tablet PC -- there are plenty of other products on the market that pull off the same trick -- but it's unlike anything else out there because it's the first hybrid with a double-sided IPS screen that we're aware of.
Samsung’s hugely successful Galaxy family of devices seems to have found another star performer. The Korean electronics giant has revealed that its 5.3-inch Galaxy Note smartphone-tablet hybrid, which began shipping a couple of months ago, has crossed 1 million global shipments. Oddly enough, the company chose photo-sharing site Flickr, of all places, to announce the milestone.
Even though ultrabooks have managed very little in the two months that they have been around, chipmaker Intel and its PC vendor chums remain hopeful. And to be fair they are right in doing so as there is still a long way to go before we can start judging the category. While most people feel that the category could do with better specs and pricing, there are those who believe ultrabooks with touchscreens are all that is needed for a turnaround.
Nvidia's Tegra ARM CPUs are hitching a ride to Spain where the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC) is a developing a new hybrid supercomputer that, for the first time, will combine quad-core Tegra CPUs with high performance Nvidia CUDA GPUs, Nvidia announced. It will be the first large scale system based on this technology, and BSC expects to demonstrate two to five times improvement in energy efficiency compared with today's most efficient systems.
Asus is trying to do what others so far haven't been able to, which is to knock the iPad off its perch as the most popular tablet PC. Samsung's Galaxy Tab wasn't able to do it, and neither could Motorola's Xoom. RIM's PlayBook held promise, but the lack of email and contacts support for non BlackBerry owners are major omissions. Will the Eee Pad Transformer present the first real challenge to the iPad?
We're not sure what's up with Lenovo's cone of silence, but despite the lack of a press release, formal announcement, or any other ballyhooing, the company's new ThinkPad X220 laptop and X220 convertible tablet are both ready to order on Lenovo's website. Pricing starts at $849 for the X220i, which sports an Intel Core i3 2310M processor, $949 for the X220 built around Intel's Core i5 2410M chip, and $1,249 for the X220 Tablet (Core i3 2310M processor).
There's no question solid state drives (SSDs) are fast, especially now that the latest controllers have all but eliminated the stuttering problem that plagued first generation drives. The problem is SSDs are still expensive, forcing system builders to choose between performance (SSD) or storage space (HDD). Western Digital recently acknowledged as much during a recent conference call with financial analysts, XbitLabs reports.
"We have taken a look at and in fact shipped product in the SSD, in the client environment, and we do not find a compelling value proposition there either for manufacturer or for customer because the economics do not work," said John Coyne, chief executive officer of Western Digital. "The cost of the storage/performance is too high."
There was some hope that SSD pricing would have dropped by now, and while it has somewhat, the more popular trend seems to be to release lower capacity SSDs that cost less and market them as boot drives. The price-per-gigabyte ratio is still high, prompting Western Digital to consider hybrid drives as an alternative.
"We also continue to evaluate the opportunity to combine rotating magnetic storage with flash into hybrid solutions... We look at client environment and look at what might be an attractive offering that combine the best of both worlds in terms of performance of solid state with the capacity of rotating media," Coyne explained.
This, Coyne says, would "provide an accessible price point," but would also need operating systems to play ball with native support. According to Coyne, hybrid solutions are "not really supported well today," but could be in the next couple of years.
Origin today unveiled "The Big O," the company's latest gaming rig that's as orgasmic (from a hardware standpoint) as it sounds. Not only will The Big O get frisky with any PC games you throw at it, but it also tosses monogamy out the window and pulls double duty as an Xbox 360 gaming console.
A baseline config includes a Danger Den Tower 21, Intel Core i7 930 processor overclocked to 4GHz, Rampage III Extreme Edition motherboard, two Nvidia GeForce GTX 480 graphics, 6GB of Corsair DDR3-1600 memory, two 50GB OCZ Vertex 2 SSDs flanked by a 2TB Western Digital hard drive, 1500W Silverstone PSU, Creative Fatal1ty soundcard, fan controller, LED lighting, liquid cooling all around, and of course Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit. This little gem will set you back $7,700.
Upgrade options abound, and every Big O gaming PC comes with a liquid-cooled Xbox 360 slim console built in. Origin says you can even game on the Xbox 360 while your PC is busy dong whatever it is you have it doing, like Folding@Home, downloading torrents, ripping DVDs, etc.
We knew Seagate was cooking up a hybrid hard drive that would combine an SSD and HDD under the same hood, but most of the information we had was based on speculation and leaked specs. Things are a bit more concrete now, as Seagate today officially unveiled what it claims is the "world's fastest hard drive for laptop computers."
It's called the Momentus XT and it comes in three capacities, including 250GB, 320GB, and 500GB. These hybrid drives will sport 4GB of fast SLC NAND solid state memory, a 7200RPM spindle speed, 32MB of drive-level cache, and SATA 3Gb/s with NCQ.
"We see the Momentus ® XT drive as a game changer, a product heralding a new generation of hard drives that combine SSD and HDD capabilities so that laptop users don’t have to make trade-offs on speed, cost or capacity," said Dave Mosley, Seagate executive vice president of Sales, Marketing and Product Line Management.
To squeeze the most performance out of its hybrid drive, Seagate has implemented what it calls Adaptive Memory technology. What this does is analyze patterns in how often certain digital data is used and then moves the most frequently used bits to the embedded solid state memory for faster access.