According to Engadget, a pair of problems have popped up on Apple's refreshed MacBook line, the first of which has to do with maxing out the RAM. Some users have complained that running 4GB, whether it be from Apple or a third party, is turning their MacBooks and MacBook Pros into pricey paper weights. With 4GB of RAM installed, affected users claim their MacBooks suffer from random freezes and the only solution is to downgrade to 3GB or 2GB. Apple hasn't yet acknowledged any known issues with maxing out the RAM, but forum users aren't the only ones reporting problems - mobile technology blog site jkOnTheRun reports seeing the same thing.
The other issue rumored to be affecting Apple's new MacBooks comes from news and rumor site The Inquirer, who claims that the MacBook Pro's Nvidia 9600M GPU suffers from the same material defect that affected previous MacBook Pros equipped with Nvidia's 8600M GT GPU. As The Inq tells it, to see the problem:
"You would need to buy a MacBook off the shelf, disassemble it, desolder the chips, saw them in half, encase them in lucite, and run them through a scanning electron microscope equipped wiht an X-ray microanalysis system like this. This is exactly what we did."
The Inq posted several pics with accompanying analysis, which it claims proves that at least some current MacBooks are still using older Nvidia chips containing 'bad bumps,' which in the past has led to blank screens and other video errors in some cases.
Earlier this month Nvidia reiterated interest in the mini-laptop market, essentially saying it was taking a wait-and-see approach. The graphics chip maker must have liked what it has seen since then, because it appears the company isn't going to wait much longer.
According to DigiTimes, Intel and Nvidia are taking their suddenly cozy relationship into the netbook sector. The two, who just recently finally resolved a licensing dispute allowing SLI technology on Intel chipsets, are said to be working together to enable Nvidia chipset support for the Atom platform. If the rumor pans out, Nvidia's MCP7A chipset will be the first to support Atom processors, with Asus, Gigabyte, and MSI ready to take advantage of the collaboration.
Rumors of a partnership between Intel and Nvidia have been going on since last summer. At the time, Nvidia and VIA had entered into an alliance, leading many to speculate the move was intended to give Nvidia a bargaining chip in convincing Intel to let its Atom chip support Nvidia's MCP73 IGP chipset, or face stiff competition from what could be a potent VIA Nano platform.
No matter what prompted the change of heart, this partnership can be viewed as another major win for Nvidia, who has had a tumultuous year. But more recently, the company has managed to wiggle its way into Apple's refreshed MacBook line, and now appears to be in position to profit from one of the few markets withstanding the global economic storm.
OCZ's making a pitch for its new Slate Series ExpressCard, a storage expansion drive the company claims is better suited than USB flash devices and external hard drives.
Compatible with USB 2.0
18 MB/sec read
12.5 MB/sec write
Voltage: 2.7V - 3.6V
The new ExpressCard storage drives aren't going to win any speed crowns, so OCZ is touting convenience and low power consumption over alternative backup solutions. Users who don't like to lug around external hard drives or who are prone to bumping into USB keys sticking out of a notebook may find appeal in an ExpressCard that stays put and out of the way.
Specific pricing and availability has not yet been announced, though OCZ did say its new Slate Series will come in 8GB, 16GB, and 32GB capacities.
It's hard to fathom anyone using a netbook as their primary PC. There's only so much you can do with an under-powered ultraportable ill-equipped to run Photoshop, let alone try to attempt any kind of gaming. But as a secondary unit, the pint-sized PCs have proven extremely popular. Is there potential for netbooks to be even more?
Nvidia this week reiterated interest in the mini-laptop market, however hesitant the company might be. Taking a wait-and-see approach, Marv Burkett, the company's chief financial officer, said "we're not saying we're not interested; it's a matter of how the market will evolve." Ironically enough, Nvidia jumping on board might be just the evolutionary step the netbook market needs.
Hit the jump to find out what impact Nvidia coudl have on the netbook market, and why you should care.
According to VIA's recently revealed processor roadmap, the company will begin mass producing dual-core Nano CPUs in June of 2010. The late entry would appear to give Intel a significant head start, as the chip maker has already launched its dual-core Atom 330 CPU. But unlike Intel's chip, VIA's dual-core Nano will zero in on both netbooks (notebooks) and nettops (desktops) instead of strictly nettops.
However, Intel might still beat VIA to the punch with Pineview, the company's dual-core Atom part with an integrated graphics solution. That is, if Intel makes the new chip available for netbooks. If not, Intel would be leaving the door open for VIA to step in as the only one to offer a dual-core solution for the uber popular netbook sector. Moreover, despite Nano's lack of penetration thus far, benchmarks typically show the chip outpacing Intel's Atom, albeit while also consuming more power.
Meanwhile, it seems nobody knows exactly what AMD has planned. The chip maker previously announced it was skipping the netbook market, but at the same time would target mini-notebooks. Should the markets overlap, or if AMD has a competitive change of heart, it could make for an interesting three-way battle royal.
Forgetting for a moment what's underneath the hood, Asus has officially introduced its redesigned Eee PC 1002HA, a gorgeous looking netbook that first appeared on the web back in October. The sleek new chassis owes its good looks to a brushed black (er, 'Agent Grey') aluminum LCD cover and palm rest in an attempt to bring "a touch of elegance to every day computing" in a lightweight package weighing just 2.6 pounds and measuring 1-inch thick.
On the inside, the familiar Intel Atom N270 processor makes an appearance, along with 1GB of DDR memory and a 160GB hard drive. Storage duties are complimented with another 10GB of hosted online space through Asus' Eee Storage service, free for the first 18 months.
Asus says you can expect up to five hours of unplugged computing time on its custom-made two-cell 4200mAh polymer battery.
The Eee PC 10002HA is available now through the usual outlets with an MSRP set at $499.
Call it fear of commitment or old fashioned skepticism, but we have no idea how Fujitsu plans to pull off its latest marketing promotion. In what the company is rightfully calling a "unique proposition," Fujitsu's looking to create a life-long partnership with Lifebook owners as part of its new Lifebook'4'Life replacement program.
The way it works is you purchase a new qualifying Lifebook and opt for the extended 3-year warranty, and Fujitsu will then replace your notebook with a brand new one every three years for the rest of your life. Not only that, but Fujitsu will kick in an extra 10 percent of the original purchase price to offset inflation. So what's the catch?
None that we can find, though there are a few niggling caveats. First, the offer is only valid to UK residents (bummer!). Second, while you can choose to keep your laptop after 3 years, doing so boots you off of the program. You also must hold onto your original purchase invoice so you can send in a copy every 3 years. And finally, your laptop has to be "in good working original order." Other terms and conditions apply, but nothing that strikes us as obvious deal killers, which then raises the question, how can Fujitsu afford to do this? For that, we don't have an answer.
Would you pounce on this if it were offered in the U.S.? Hit the jump and tell us what you think of Fujitsu's new promotion.
It’s pretty clear MSI is serious about Netbooks and updates to the platform have been coming in pretty steadily since its introduction back in July, but they aren’t done yet. According to Liliputing MSI is adding two new models to its fleet, the U110 and U115. While the U110 is more of a traditional design, the U115 promises to change things up a bit. Instead of asking customers to choose between the speed & reliability of an SSD, and the large storage capacities offered by traditional hard drives, the U115 will feature a new “hybrid storage” system. This feature will allow MSI to store the operating system on an SSD, and will augment the storage a built in hard drive.
With this approach they are hoping to appeal to a broader audience who are looking for a dependable and responsive experience on the OS side, while still satisfying the digital packrats who need a bit of extra mobile storage. The SSD’s will come in 8,16, and 32 GB capacities. And the hard drives will range from 80 to a maximum of 160 GB, currently the maximum for Windows XP on netbooks. Both new models will feature the familiar 10 inch, 1024x600 pixel display, 802.11b/g/draft-n WiFi, Bluetooth, and a 4 in 1 card reader.
Analysts have been speculating for almost a year now on the future of netbooks, and if this new category of ultra mobile PCs would ever threaten sales of their larger form factor brethren. Intel’s Vice President of sales and marketing Stu Pann has weighed in on the issue, and he states in no uncertain terms, netbooks will never replace laptops. According to Pann "If you've ever used a Netbook and used a 10-inch screen size--it's fine for an hour. It's not something you're going to use day in and day out."
Maximum PC readers have spoken out in the comments, and the forums with similar concerns, but somehow it seems a bit more shocking to hear it from Intel itself. Many have questioned the reason for Intel’s statement given that they seem to be denouncing a market for which they are almost single handed responsible for creating. Then again, Intel is pretty much free to say anything it wants given that competition from VIA is slowly fading away and AMD isn’t even interested in competing. AMD has openly criticized the form factor and has made it clear that they don’t see a future in netbooks. According to AMD netbook return rates are disproportionately high as disappointed consumers come to grips with the hype not living up to reality. So what do you think of ultra portables? Will the dual core models make a difference?
Opera Software has released the final version of Opera Mini 4.2 for mobile phones, giving G1 handset users looking for change from Android's built-in WebKit browser a third party alternative to play with. Opera Mini, which is the first web browser alternative on Android, sports a number of enhancements, including what Opera claims is up to a 30 percent performance boost.
"With Opera Mini 4.2, we are showing the world that Opera never gets complacent. We will always be improving our product, adding speed, new functionality and features, and ensuring that it is accessible by all,” says Jon von Tetzchner, CEO, Opera Software. “Our support of the Android platform helps fulfill our mission to be available on more platforms, for more devices and reach more users, anywhere in the world."
Opera Mini also boasts greater multilingual support with more than 90 language versions, personalization through skins, Opera Link support for notes, and support for mobile video on a wider range of phones.