Buffalo Technology, makers of high-end storage and networking peripherals (their products are apparently very popular in Japan), today announced several new products which they hope will bolster their market share in the US. One of the more exciting products they showed us is the Mini-Station portable hard drive, which is easily the smallest hard drive we’ve seen, period. The 60GB storage device is a mere 5 millimeters thick (.2 inches), and measures 3.4 by 2.2 inches. Inside the tiny frame is the smallest external spinning hard drive on the market, a single platter 1.8” drive.
Let’s face it, the only real difference between a mobile workstation and gaming notebook has been the sticker and GPU drivers. Lenovo’s ground-breaking W700 changes that with a slew of features that truly make it worthy of being called a workstation notebook. But it’s not just about the W700’s 2.53GHz Core 2 Extreme Q9300 quad core or its Quadro FX 3700M with 1GB frame buffer alone.
It seems everyone is getting bitten by the high-performance SSD bug, and that now includes Dell. The dudes at Dell have started selling its 2.2-pound Latitude E4200 with the only storage option being solid-state drives. But that doesn't mean you don't get a choice. Customers picking up the E4200 can opt for either a standard SSD or "Ultra."
As you might have surmised, the Ultra bumps up the performance specs a notch with a rated 100 MB/s read speed and 80 MB/s write speed. According to Samsung, these numbers represent a 60 percent performance hike over SATA I drives, and Dell's own testing claims a boost over its 5400RPM drives.
"Our labs benchmarked this drive in a Latitude notebook and saw a 35 percent overall system performance increase a over a standard 2.5-inch 5400RPM notebook hard drive using SYSmark '07," Dell said."That's even more impressive when you realize that the difference between standard 5400RPM and performance 7200RPM drives (in the same generation) is 10 percent on average."
There's been plenty of coverage surrounding Nvidia's admitted "abnormal failure rate" among what remains an unknown number of GPUs, but in case you missed it, here's the Cliff Notes version: Earlier this summer, Nvidia announced it would take a one time hit of $150-$200 million to cover warrany and repair costs associated with a bad batch of mobile GPUs. The chip maker insisted (and still does) that the failures were an isolated incident, but that's come into question. News and rumor site The Inquirer has been particularly vocal in its questioning of how widespread the problem really is, bringing up the possibility that the defective parts could be affecting both mobile and desktop parts, including G92 and G94 based GPUs.
Now that you're caught up, it's TGDaily who's bringing more speculation to the table. Referencing industry sources, the news site claims that Nvidia's future 45nm GPUs that have recently entered the qualification stage are being built with high-lead solder bumps. Earlier speculation pointed to Nvidia having made the switch to eutecic solders in reaction to the GPU failures, and if that's the case, the switch to solder bumps raises more questions than answers as to what's going on, and whether or not the problem has been solved or is ongoing.
Nvidia isn't commenting on the latest news, and it's a pretty safe bet that this won't be the last you'll hear on the matter.
Creative this week unveiled its Sound Blaster X-Fi Notebook, which as the name implies is an add-in soundcard for (cue the drum roll) notebooks. But wait, doesn't Creative already offer an X-Fi geared towards road warriors? The answer is yes, and the X-Fi Xtreme Audio Notebook has been available for some time now, but this re-release sports a slimmer profile, a new color scheme, and the ability to transmit wirelessly.
That's right - when paired with the optional Creative Wireless Receiver, the X-Fi will have the ability to beam music to your speakers rather than remain tethered. The new soundcard supports up to 4 wireless receivers, and each one can be placed up to 100 feet away from the notebook.
The slimmed down peripheral fits into both ExpressCard 34 and 54 slots (previous version is 54 only), and brings the usual assortment of goodies to the table, including CMSS-3D, EAX Advanced HD, and Creative's Crystalizer technology. You get a pair of headphones bundled in, along with a free download of PowerDVD with full DTS and Dolby Digital decoding support.
Look for availability by the end of month, with the X-Fi Notebook priced at $80 and optional receiver commanding $70.
The second-generation Slacker personal radio player is smaller, slimmer, and even better than the first. There may be no better way to listen to free music. Slacker announced a new version of its portable radio today, and we’re happy to say the Slacker G2 kicks just as much ass as the original product we reviewed last April.
Here’s Slacker in a nutshell, if you don’t want to re-read our previous review: Slacker radio is much like Pandora or Last.FM in that you can listen to music on the Internet for free (along with an occasional advertisement) while the service analyzes your expressed taste in music and recommends new artists it thinks you’ll enjoy.
The trade-offs are that you can't always choose which songs you want to hear, and you can skip only a limited number of tracks. Slacker also a subscription plan ($7.50 per month if you pay for a year at a time) that eliminates the ads, enables you to call up saved tracks at will (as long as you maintain your subscription), and allows you skip an unlimited number of tracks.
The second-generation Slacker personal radio player is smaller, slimmer, and even better than the first. There may be no better way to listen to free music. Read on for our full review.
HP released two new high definition notebooks today, adding to a variety of model releases from the company this year. The notebooks were designed for high-def entertainment purposes, with one model boasting a full 1080p display while the other has 780p.
Both notebooks are packed with hardware, including an Intel Centrino 2 processor, an Nvidia GeForce 9600M GT graphics card, and up to 4GB of RAM. The HDX18 (which has an 18” screen) and contains dual HDD bays with 250GB SATA drives in each and a LightScribe Blue-Ray ROM with SuperMulti DVD±R/RW Double Layer. The HDX18 costs $1550, while the HDX16 costs $1300. Both models contain two headphone jacks, HDMI and VGA plug-ins, and a remote control.
Move over Acer, Asus, BenQ, Dell, ECS, Everex, Gigabyte, HP, Lenovo, MSI, and everyone else, and make room in the netbook bandwagon for Toshiba and Samsung. Citing un-named "sources in the notebook industry," Digitimes says both companies will soon jump into the ultraportable fray.
Later this year, Toshiba is expected to launch its 8.9-inch Satellite NB105. Like many netbooks, the NB105 will come equipped with an Intel Atom processor. Other specs include a modest 1GB of memory and 120GB hard drive, with Windows XP at the helm.
Slightly bigger at 10.2 inches, Samsung's nameless model will also sport an Intel Atom chip and 1GB of memory with Windows XP, but will come with either an 80GB or 120GB hard drive. Europe will get first crack at the new netbook next month.
Digitimes points out an interesting side note, in that looking at the top 10 notebook vendors, only Apple and Sony have yet to enter the netbook market.
At this week’s CTIA trade show in San Francisco, Research in Motion, developer of the BlackBerry, announced the release of its first flip-design phone. Based on the candy-bar-style Pearl, the Pearl Flip 8220 will include a 240x320 primary display, a camera, music and video capabilities, and Wi-Fi. Like the Pearl, the Pearl Flip has been designed for the consumer market. Instead of a full keyboard, the device includes two letters on each key and also has a trackball, similar to the Pearl’s. T-Mobile will be the exclusive carrier of the Pearl Flip in the United States. Although no street price or relapse date were provided at the show. It is widely expected that the Flip will be available by the holiday season.
AMD appears to be targeting the low pricing sector with a vengeance. Earlier this week the chip maker released three new affordable tri-core processors and introduced some price cuts, and the company looks to be coming out with what it's calling an Ultra-Value Client (UVC) line.
AMD's UVC processors will only be available through OEMs, which will allow OEMs to better target emerging markets and basic PC usage with form factors optimized to fit their needs. But lest anyone get the wrong idea, AMD points out that UVC products will be aimed at more than just the netbook market and be capable of delivering traditional PC performance.
UVC processors will be compatible with AMD's AM2 socket and S1g1 notebook infrastructures. Specifically, the Athlon X2 3250e, which will be available in Q4 2008, will come clocked at 1.5GHz with 1MB of L2 cache and sport a 22W TDP rating. Available now, the Athlon 2650e comes clocked at 1.6GHz with 512KB of L2 cache and sips just 15W. Both processors are being positioned above Intel's Atom DT 230 processor in terms of performance, but they both also consume more power.
Is AMD correct in thinking OEMs and the netbook crowd will be willing to sacrifice battery life for better performance?