Hewlett-Packard (HP) has tapped into AMD's stable of chips to power the company's upcoming ProBook laptop line. According to HP, architectural improvements in processor design have resulted in up to 69 percent better performance and up to 72 percent more battery life than previous AMD-based notebooks.
Among the new models are three ProBook S-series and two ProBook B-series, which will come configurable with AMD's Phenom II, Turion II, and Athlon II chips, including dual-, triple-, and quad-core parts, HP said. Other AMD ProBooks will include the 4325s, 4425s, and 4525s with screens ranging from 13.3 inches to 15.6 inches. Pricing will start out at $619 with availability slated for May.
There will also be a handful of ProBook laptops sporting Intel hardware inside, such as the 6445b and 6555b. These will ship in June starting at $779 and come with the same screen sizes as the above AMD laptops.
According to AMD's Dirk Meyer, the chip maker is "under represented" in the laptop space, which the company hopes to change with these new processors.
Perhaps HP replaced the company's water coolers with energy drinks, but whatever the reason, the OEM has gone on a redesign spree updating several consumer notebook lines, including the Envy, Pavilion, and Mini series. According to HP, the updated models reflect the company's "MUSE" (materials, usability, sensory appeal, and experiences) design philosophy, part of which includes etched metal finishes, touchable textures, and custom wallpapers.
"With these new designs, we offer customers a broad portfolio of notebook PCs and Minis that are innovative on the outside and the inside," said Kevin Frost, vice president and general manager, Consumer Notebooks, Personal Systems Group, HP. "Each notebook provides a unique experience for the customer and allows customers to express their personality."
The changes appear to be mostly cosmetic. HP's Envy, for example, still comes with configurable with up to a Core i7 802QM processor, Radeon HD 5830 graphics, and up to 2TB of storage. A brushed-aluminum finish etched with a stream design will be added to the Pavilion line, while the HP Mini 210 series is being expanded with a preppy pink and white crystal makeover.
As for pricing and availability, models will start appearing in mid-May starting out at $650 for the Pavilion and $1,000 for the Envy, while the new Mini 210 models will show up in mid-June starting out at $280.
In the coming months, Intel will begin fleshing out is mobile Core i7 processor line, starting with the Core i7 660UM. This one will come clocked at 1.33GHz and ramp as high as 2.4GHz with Turbo Boost technology.
This will be followed up by yet another mobile chip in the fourth quarter of 2010, the Core i7 680UM. This ultra low voltage chip will come clocked at 1.46GHz, and up to 2.53GHz with Turbo Boost. Other features include 4MB of cache, an 18W TDP, and integrated graphics clocked at 166MHz.
In the meantime, Intel has already begun shipping Core i7 620UM (1.06GHz stock, 2.133GHz Turbo, 4MB cache) and 640UM (1.2GHz stock, 2.266GHz Turbo, 4MB cache) chips, though there haven't been a ton of notebooks to utilize these 18W TDP parts just yet.
We first heard about MSI's GE600 gaming notebook at CES earlier this year, and at long last, MSI has begun shipping the 16-inch laptop to the North American market.
Not much has changed since our sneak peek several months ago, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. The GE600 sports a respectable spec sheet consisting of an Intel Core i5 420M processor (2.26GHz), 4GB of DDR3 memory, 320GB hard drive, ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5730 videocard with DX11 support, a DVD burner, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, 4-in-1 memory card reader, 1.3MP webcam, 6-cell battery, and Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit.
MSI's new notebook also features a scratch resistant chassis, illuminated touch sensitive hotkeys, a raised chiclet keyboard, wide touchpad, and a glossy exterior we imagine will act as a fingerprint magnet.
Intel appears to have reached an epiphany about how kids can be absolutely brutal on hardware, and as such, the chip maker on Monday announced the "most flexible and durable Intel-powered convertible classmate PC reference design yet." The new models continue with the clamshell and convertible classmate PC designs, only now they're harder to break. How so?
For starters, Intel equipped the new machines with a waterproof keyboard, touchpad, and screen, so it should be able to survive a glass of spilled milk or a juice box fight. Intel claims it also improved ruggedness with drop tests from "desk height," as well as with bump and scratch resistance surfaces and structures. And in tablet mode, the "palm rejection" feature will outright ignore the touch of hands resting on the screen so students can draw and write intuitively, Intel says.
There are different models available, including the 10.1-inch Quanta NL2. This one comes equipped with an Intel N450 processor, up to a 32GB SSD or optional 2.5-inch HDD, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, optional 6-cell battery, 1.3MP rotatable webcam, and choice between Windows 7, Windows XP, or Linux.
A shortage of Intel's new Arrandale processors, including some Core i3 and Core i5 CPUs, appears to be getting worse, leading some vendors to delay the rollout of new laptops. According to chip distributors and industry researchers, part of the problem is that chip buyers bid the price of the microprocessors up by as much as a 20 percent premium over contract prices on the open market.
"It is unusual to find a device shortage that cannot be solved in the open market," says Converge, a U.S. chip distributor. "We also believe the Arrandale shortage must ease soon or it will have a prolonged effect."
Hewlett-Packard, Acer, and Asus all declined to comment, but according to Shane Rau, a research director at IDC, the shortage of Arrandale chips is mostly affecting smaller PC vendors. Large vendors typically get first priority when there are shortages, leaving smaller vendors to fend for themselves.
"We were slightly behind, quite frankly, satisfying all the demand our customers wanted on 32nm in the first quarter even though we were producing much more than we first thought," said Paul Otellini, Intel's CEO. "We expect to catch up to that demand in the second quarter on 32nm over the course of the quarter."
We care about a notebook endorsed by professional gaming team "Evil Geniuses" about as much as we give a hoot about seeing Fatal1ty's stamp of approval on a computer peripheral, but for what it's worth, they seem to like MSI's new GX640 gaming notebook.
Maybe you will as well, if you're considering a modest gaming rig housed in a 15.4-inch WXGA+ chassis. Pop the hood of the GX640 and you'll find an Intel Core i5 430M processor, ATI Radeon HD 5850 GPU with a 1GB frame buffer, 4GB of DDR3, 500GB hard drive spinning at 7200 RPM, 802.11a/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 2MP webcam, 4-in-1 card reader, HDMI, DVD burner, and a handful of other nuggets.
The GX640 sports a brushed aluminum chassis in "fire engine red accents." As is becoming standard these days, there's a raised chiclet keyboard, and in a nod towards gamers, the W A S and D keys come marked.
How much gaming goodness can you cram into a 15-inch chassis? That's what Maingear set to find out and the end result is the relaunched eX-L 15 gaming notebook.
Driving the Full HD 1920x1080 LED display is ATI's Mobility Radeon HD 5870 graphics adapter, the fastest mobile graphics chipset on the planet. The baseline configuration also includes an Intel Core i5 520M processor clocked at 2.4GHz, 4GB of DDR3-1333, 250GB Western Digital hard drive, memory card reader, 8X DVD burner, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, a 2MP webcam, and Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit.
As configured above you'd be spending $1,600. If your pockets run deeper there are several upgrade options available, including up to a Core i7 820QM processor clocked at 1.73GHz, 8GB of RAM, up to a 750GB hard drive or 512GB SSD, Blu-Ray, and a handful of other upgrades.
Other features include a 30-day zero dead pixel warranty, DVI, HDMI, and S/PDIF ports, 4 USB ports, eSATA, Firewire, and a dual-heatpipe cooling design.
Don't assume that your next Vaio laptop will be built by Sony. In an interview with PC Pro, Ryosuke Akahane, deputy president of Sony Vaio's Business Group, announced a two-tier strategy for the company's laptop division. According to Akahane, Sony will continue to design and build Vaio laptops designed as "division one," while "division two" will be built by the company's partners.
All laptops will still carry Sony branding, as well as have the "taste of Vaio [and] the style of Vaio." Sony will have to approve all third party designs, which Akahane ensures will be just as reliable as division one laptops.
"The quality criteria itself is no different between division number one and division number two," Akahane explained.
So why the change? Put simply, the company wants to sell more laptops. Ten million to be exact, which is the goal Akhane laid out for 2010.
"We need a certain market share," Akhane said. "And if we don't have a certain market share, it's tough to survive."
The TSA has some good news for frequent fliers. The next time you catch a flight from Hereville to Thereville, you'll be able to leave your iPad, netbook, and other similar size electronics in your carry-on luggage during checkpoint screening.
So what exactly are you allowed to keep tucked inside your bag? The TSA lists a handful of items, including "iPads, Kindles, Neos, Nooks, Sony Readers, etc." Other items, such as a PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo, full-size DVD players, and video cameras that use video cassettes will still need to be removed. Also, if you don't want someone else putting their grubby paws all over your smaller sized gadgets, be sure to pack appropriately.
"It’s important to remember, however, that our officers are trained to look for anomalies to help keep air travel safe, and if something needs a closer look, it will receive secondary screening. The key to avoiding bag searches is keeping the clutter down. The less clutter you have in your bag, the less likely it will be searched."