When the words “gaming” and “desktop” come to mind, we often associate the words “pricey” and “unaffordable” with them. HP hopes to change that mindset with the launch of their new series of low cost gaming computers. At CES this week, HP will be showcasing not only an inexpensive line of gaming PCs but also a new line of affordable and ultra-light notebooks.
The Firebird desktops will come equipped with a Core 2 Quad, 4GB of DDR2 memory, and dual GeForce 9800 video cards. These desktops will be utilizing energy saving components, usually found in notebooks, to lower power consumption. HP claims the power usage by these desktops will not exceed 350 watts, which is impressive considering your average GeForce 9800 card can consume almost 250 watts under load on their own. With a price tag starting at $1800, consumers will be happy to know they’re saving money both at the register and on their energy bill.
The 3.8 pound HP Pavilion DV2 is said to be less than an inch thick while sporting the new AMD Neo processor, a 12.1 inch screen, 500 gigabyte hard drive, and an ATI Mobility Radeon 3410. The DV2 is said to hit stores this March with a price tag between the $600 and $800 range.
As if we weren't already enamored with Lenovo's monstrous W700 Thinkpad, which earned a 9-verdict/Kickass award thanks in large part to a combination of high end hardware and a high color gamut screen, Lenovo's new dual-screen W700ds has us doing a double take.
All the innards remain the same, but this time around Lenovo adds a secondary 10.6-inch display to the exterior. That's larger than some netbooks! The 400-nit, 72 percent wide color gamut WUXGA display slides neatly out from the PC cover behind the primary display giving mobile power users the same dual-screen goodness as a multi-monitor desktop, albeit in a smaller package. The secondary display can be tilted up to 30 degrees and only adds a few millimeters in additional thickness to the Thinkpad, GottaBeMobile says.
"The ThinkPad W700ds dual screen mobile workstation challenged our international development team to engineer a notebook to fit the way workstation users work - in the office and on the road,” said Mark Cohen, vice president, Notebook Business Unit, Lenovo. “Bringing this level of innovation to the most extreme PC users required continually balancing size and functionality with keeping the PC cool and quiet."
The W700ds is available now direct from Lenovo with pricing starting at $3,663 (currently on sale starting at $3,070).
Don't want to trade power and and versatility for light, thin, portability? Lenovo says, 'Why should you?' with its new Y-series IdeaPad laptops. The new IdeaPad Y series features three different models, all of which include:
16x9 HD screens
Up to 500GB hard disks
Lenovo OneKey Theater display and sound effects settings to optimize gameplay or movie watching
Up to 4GB of DDR3 memory
VeriFace facial recognition technology
OneKey Rescue system recovery
Optional features include NVIDIA GFX graphics and Bluetooth wireless connectivity.
A few years ago, SUVs were riding high, with throngs of the massive gas-guzzlers clogging the highways. Compact cars were considered wimpy and passé. Fast-forward to the present day and suddenly small is back in style. It’s not the size that matters, as the saying goes, it’s what you do with it. Since the advent of Asus’s Eee PC, manufacturers have been racing to bring tiny, low-powered laptops, also known as netbooks, to the market. You probably won’t use a netbook as your primary computer: limited storage space, integrated graphics, and the lack of an optical drive make them unsuitable for any really intensive tasks. But as small, eminently portable word-processing and Internet-browsing devices, netbooks hit the price/performance sweet spot for many people. By the end of 2008, more than 8 million netbooks will have been shipped.
In just the past several months, the netbook market has gone from nonexistent to immense, with dozens of models out already, most of them built around Intel’s low-voltage Atom processor, but some on VIA’s C7-M.
For this roundup, we chose three Atom-based netbooks running XP from three different vendors at three different price points to determine what this new category of portable PCs is capable of and how much price figures into performance. Ultimately, we aim to answer whether this new breed of portable PC is something we should even care about.
MSI has been moving into the notebook market in a big way over the past few years, with forays into business and gaming notebooks, and, this summer, netbooks, with the Wind U100. We have to say, we’re impressed.
Asus’s Eee PC kick-started the netbook craze and remains the brand most associated with the category. Early iterations were praised for their low-cost Linux-based architecture, but lately Asus has ratcheted up its product line to compete with higher-end netbooks, like the HP Mini-Note 2133 (http://tinyurl.com/5lu4un). The 901 runs on Intel’s Atom architecture at 1.6GHz and has 1GB of DDR2 RAM clocked at 533MHz.
As you may or may not have heard, CES is coming up, and there will be plenty of big name vendors there. That includes MSI, who has recently announced their full 2009 lineup, which is chock-full of new goodies!
First up, their netbook announcements! Thanks to the success of the Wind U100, MSI is planning to release a U115 and U120 to compliment the previous model. The U115 sports the option of being the first netbook capable of simultaneously running an SSD and an HDD. The U120 will be the power user’s option, designed for being portable without sacrificing performance.
They’ll also be offering 16”, 19” and 22” versions of their new All-In-One Wind at CES. It’ll feature an Intel Atom processor, which will allow it to consume a fraction of the power that a 250W PC does. The All-In-One will also feature a nice 16:9 display.
Finally, the gaming notebooks will be expanded to include the (deep breath) GT725, GT727, GT627 and the GX420. Reportedly, the GT725 and GT727 are capable of breaking 10,000 3D Marks.
While unfortunately most of this information is pretty broad (thank you, press releases!) CES will provide us a great opportunity to check out these new toys and find out more about them. Who knows, with any luck we’ll be able to figure out exactly what’s under the hood and how much they’ll cost!
2008 will defiantly go down in technology history as the year of the netbook. Ultra portable PC’s defied the economy and helped push sales of notebooks beyond that of desktop’s for the first time in history. Netbooks have been thoroughly reviewed here at Maximum PC (see December 2008’s issue) and it’s clear from the both the comments, and the activity in the forums that those who are holding out are doing so primarily for one of two reasons.
1.) The form factor is too small. 2.) The machines are underpowered.
Though not much can be done to address the first complaint, the second will likely become a moot point in 2009. This is the year we will start to see dual core and graphics accelerated netbooks go main stream. With the Intel Atom 330 already launched, the stakes will be raised considerably with new offerings from both VIA and AMD. As disappointing as this must be for AMD, it appears as though the VIA offering will be the strongest Intel competitor, but this may change closer to launch. The VIA 3000 family will be an X86-compatible processor based on its existing Nano 1000, and 2000 series platform. What promises to give VIA the edge over AMD however, is compatibility with the SSE4 instruction set. This will give them a substantial performance boost in many processor intensive tasks.
To be fair, little is yet known about AMD’s offering and more details are likely to be released at CES next week. What we do know is that two new processors under the code names Caspain and Consesus have been added to the company’s roadmap. We also know that despite the fact that AMD claims it has little interest in netbooks, these chips are the closest competitor to the Atom we can find from the AMD camp. One thing is certain, by late 2009 or early 2010, netbook shoppers are going to have a lot more choices. And as we all know competition will go a long way towards helping to drive down prices.
What would it take to make you consider a netbook?
Think Intel's Atom processor is only good for use in nettops and netbooks? So does Intel, who currently restricts the use of its low power processors to netbooks with up to 10.2-inch panels. But HP sees a bigger future for the Atom processor and is reportedly in discussions with Intel about using the chip maker's Atom CPU in mini-note PC models.
Asus and Acer lead the pack in netbook shipments and combined the two companies claim nearly 70 percent of the market, according to DisplaySearch. HP sits at a distant third with its Mini 1000 netbook, which managed to grab just 5.8 percent of the market in 2008. HP hopes to be a bigger player in the little notebook market by adding to its netbook line in 2009, including an 11.6-inch model in Q2 2009 and a 13.3-inch model in June 2009, DigiTimes says.
Negotiations between Intel and HP could reach a conclusion by the end of next month.
Unlike in the desktop market where quad-core computing has become commonplace, the four-core revolution has yet to make any real headway into the mobile sector. That might change soon as Intel has launched an affordable quad-core mobile chip.
The new Q9000 processor comes listed at $348, which is far easier to swallow than the $1,038 asking price for the existing mobile quad-core QX9300, or $851 for the Q9100. To make the lower price point possible, Intel cut the amount of cache in half from 12MB (QX9300 and Q9100) to 6MB. The Q9000 races along at 2.0GHz.
Acer has already jumped on board as one of the first OEMs to announce a Q9000-based laptop, the Aspire 8930G-7665, priced at $1,800. In addition to utilizing Intel's new quad-core chip, the Aspire also comes with an 18.4-inch WUXGA screen and GeForce 9700M GT GPU.
In other mobile chip news, Intel announced a handful of new dual-core mobile processors. These include the T9800 (2.93GHz, $530), P9600 (2.66GHz, $348), T9550 (2.66GHz, $316), and the P8700 (2.53GHz, $241).