Not all midrange motherboards are created the same. Sure, these Z77motherboards all have a black-and-blue color scheme, and they all carry similar street prices, but differences emerge when it comes to features, specs, and performance. Which one should you pair with your new 22nm Ivy Bridge CPU? Glad you asked.
Dell has just announced release of a new Vostro series, the 3000, which will add some punch to Dell’s business laptop offerings. The 3000 series, which will range in size from 13-inches to 17-inches, will sport a range of Intel's newer Core processors.
The new Vostros are the 3300, with a 13.3-inch display, the 3400, with a 14-inch display, the 3500, with a 15.6-inch display, and the 3700, with a 17.3-inch display. All four Vostros have the Mobile Intel HM57 Express chipset, and are paired with i3 and i5 dual core processors, except for the 3700, which has the option of an i7 quad core processor. Graphics support is provided by an NVIDIA GeForce 310 with 512MB of memory, with the 3700 having an NVIDIA GeForce GT330M with 1GB. All LED screens are high definition and anti-glare. The 3500 will also have a touchscreen option (available in April). All use DDR3 memory, with support for up to 8GB (but only 6GB “offered”).
The basic goodies appear on each machine: USB 2.0 ports (no USB 3.0 sightings), Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, gigabit Ethernet, and flash card readers. There’s some variability, such as HDMI connectors only on the 3500 and 3700.
Starting prices are $669 for the 3300, $649 for the 3400 and 3500, and $679 for the 3700. All are available now at Dell’s web site.
While you sit around and wait about another month for Intel's launch of Core i5 and new socket 1156-based Core i7 processors, PC builders living in China and Taiwan can already purchase the new parts, says news and rumor site DigiTimes. Citing un-named market sources, DigiTimes says Core i5 750, Core i7 860, and Core i7 870 processors along with P55-based motherboards are already available in small volumes in some retail channels in Taiwan and China, while the rest of us will have to wait until September 6.
Take these prices with a grain of salt, but at the current exchange rate, Core i5 750 (2.6GHz, *MB L3 cache) is selling for about $206. The Core i7 860 (2.8Ghz, 8MB L3 cache) comes to about $303, and the Core i7 860 (2.93GHz, 3MB L3 cache) is selling for around $575, the sources said.
On the motherboard front, P55-based boards from Gigabyte range anywhere from $165 to $280, with MSI is selling P55 boards for anywhere from $150 to $245 depending on features.
Originally scheduled to debut in July, DigiTimes says Intel has gone ahead and postponed the launch of its Core i5 platform until the first half of September, or so that's what "sources at motherboard makers" have been telling them.
Bummer, right? Maybe not. The news and rumor site went on to say that Core i5 processors will show up in the retail sector by late August, with P55-based motherboards surfacing in mid-August. So to sum it up, Core i5 has been delayed until September, but Core i7 will be available in August. Color us confused.
As it currently stands, Core i5 will launch in three speed grades: 2.93GHz, 2.8GHz,and 2.66GHz for $562, $284, and $196, respectively (thousand-unit trays).