Here at Maximum PC we love to refresh our hardware with a new OS. Windows 8 is controversial, but given time who knows, we might actually warm up to it. Most consumers on the other hand don’t typically upgrade just software, they will pick up Windows 8 on a new PC. Hardware makers usually count on a new version of the OS to spur a new round of consumer spending, and according to Intel, OEM’s have over 20 Atom-based Windows 8 tablets coming down the pipe, along with 140 new Ultrabooks.
Giada, a Chinese manufacturer specializing in mini PCs, last week announced a “book-sized” mini PC called the i53, which is very similar to the last Giada product reviewed by us—the Giada i50—in that both look virtually identical and pack an Intel Core i processor. While it may be hard to distinguish between the Giada i50 and i53 at first glance, the two are actually quite different.
While the rest of us were busy browsing through the deal-tastic Steam Summer Sale, Intel was busy quietly releasing a new set of WHQL-certified graphics drivers for Windows 8 to ensure that integrated graphics types -- including people who like to casually frag on their notebooks -- will be able to get their game on with a minimum of buggy fuss. The new drivers run with Windows 8 Release Preview, but Intel says they'll be good for Windows 8 proper, too.
Intel’s new 22nm “tick” brings native USB 3.0, PCIe 3.0, and twice the integrated graphics performance (not that we’ll need it) to Socket LGA1155
THE MISSION Intel’s Ivy Bridge CPUs (and the corresponding Z77 Panther Point chipset) finally dropped in late April, and Ivy Bridge brings more than just the expected thermal and power improvements over Sandy Bridge. You can read an in-depth report on Sandy Bridge in the June 2012 issue of Maximum PC, but for our purposes, it’s enough to know that the Ivy Bridge Core i7-3770K is the successor to the Sandy Bridge Core i7-2600K. It has a slightly faster clock speed than the 2600K, but it requires less power and delivers more performance per clock than its predecessor. It doesn’t make sense to upgrade from a Sandy Bridge to an Ivy Bridge processor or motherboard, but if you’re building a new PC, Ivy Bridge is the way to go.
This month’s project, then, is simple: Build a new gaming PC with an Ivy Bridge motherboard and CPU. I’ll also be using Nvidia’s GTX 680 GPU and Western Digital’s new 1TB VelociRaptor, just for kicks.
As with each new version of Windows, Microsoft is not the only one counting on the success of Windows 8. The entire PC industry is hoping that the next iteration of the world’s most popular PC operating system will help lift sluggish sales. But not everyone foresees the launch of Windows 8 later this year stimulating PC sales.
The Dell XPS line has always done a decent job of offering above average mobile performance for a fair price, however the current generation is growing a bit long in the tooth. Dell fans on the hunt for a new 14” or 15” notebook haven’t had many options, but a set of leaked photos and specifications have emerged for the XPS 14 and XPS 15.
Back in March, Dutch site Tweakers.net claimed that Dell was working on a new, improved version of its XPS 15 notebook. The report did not stop there though, going on to list some of the upcoming Ivy Bridge-powered notebook’s important features. It turns out the site was right.
Dell on Tuesday announced the launch of the first Ivy Bridge-powered Vostro business notebooks: the 13-inch Vostro 3360, 14-inch Vostro 3460, and 15-inch Vostro 3560. While the Vostro 3560 is available now on Dell.com, its smaller siblings will be available starting June 21.
First at PAX East and then at the inaugural Intel Platinum Summit in London, a diminutive PC designed by Intel managed to get a lot of eyeballs back in April. Dubbed “Next Unit of Computing” by Intel, this small PC stood out due to both its small size and powerful entrails. At 4x4”, it lies somewhere between the Raspberry Pi and traditional mini-desktop PCs, but has just about enough space for powerful Ivy Bridge innards.
You might have forgotten all about Lenovo's IdeaPad Y580 line of laptops, which the OEM first introduced to the world way back at CES in January of this year. Well, here we are six months later and you can finally order one. Lenovo's Y580 notebooks pack a one-two punch that consists of an Intel 3rd Generation Core i7 3610QM processor (Ivy Bridge) and Nvidia's GeForce GTX 660M graphics (Kepler) with 2GB of video memory.