The global economic downturn hasn’t been nice to anyone, tech sector included. According to a recent report Acer has reduced their 14 and 15-inch ultra-thin notebook orders due to low market demand.
Wistron, an OEM that often makes large orders for the two notebook models, is now only producing 200,000 units per month, down from the projected 600,000 units. It’s expected that the drop in production will hurt Wistron’s notebook shipments in August. It also noted that the sky is blue.
Acer appears to be weathering the global economic downturn just fine, thanks in no small part to its mobile PC business. Last December, the OEM became the new netbook top dog, supplanting Asus for the No. 1 spot in units shipped despite carrying a single netbook model versus Asus' bazillion Eee PCs, and the future looks just as bright.
Citing "market watchers," news and rumor site says Acer is on track to ship somewhere between 8-9 million notebooks. That number is all encompassing and includes both netbooks and ultra-thin models in addition to standard laptops.
The sources attribute the large number of shipments to rebounding demand in Europe, which helped Acer record about 2.5-2.7 million units shipped in July alone.
For several months we’ve been talking about what a great value Gateway’s P-7811 FX gaming notebook was (reviewed October 2008). So we were anxious to see how the update to that model, the P-7808u FX, holds up.
At first glance, “update” seems too strong a word for Gateway’s latest 17-inch performance-oriented notebook. The P-7808u FX looks identical to its predecessor, sporting the exact same black-and-orange chassis as the P-7811 FX, the exact same arrangement of ports— three USB, FireWire, eSATA, HDMI, VGA—and the exact same right-angle power connector that we griped about the first go-round.
The P-7808u FX even features the same videocard, a GeForce 9800M GTS. This card helped last year’s P-7811 FX win us over with impressive scores in our standard gaming benchmarks and the new P-7808u FX’s performance in those tests was equally strong. But compared with a dual-GPU notebook such as CyberPower’s Extreme M1 (May 2009), Gateway’s graphics solution shows its age. When faced with a more graphically intensive title like UT3, the P-7808u FX mustered a score of 64fps compared with the Extreme M1’s 114fps—and it would no doubt fare worse in more modern titles.
According to a recent interview with Sony’s Senior Vice President of Information Technology Products Mike Abary, there has been a recent push towards bringing touchscreen Vaios to consumers, as well as integrating them with a plethora of goodies.
The touchscreen Vaio, which will be known as the Vaio W, is reported to integrate the PlayStation Network to deliver movies and TV shows (possibly games) and come with eBook functionality. They’ll also be based off of Windows 7.
No official word yet on pricing, but you can expect them in time for the holidays.
Looking for a low-cost notebook that doesn't fall into the realm of netbooks? Both Best Buy and Walmart have you covered, with the latter beating out the former by a buck in the sub-$300 price tier.
"For the first time, a 3GB memory laptop from a well-known brand has ventured below $300," Walmart said in a statement on Thursday.
And as far as we know, Walmart's right. Best Buy's $299 Acer comes with 2GB of DDR2 memory and an AMD Athlon 64 processor in a 15-inch package, while Walmart's Compaq Presario (CQ60-419WM) packs 3GB of memory, a 160GB hard drive, Nvidia GeForce 8200M graphics, and a 2.10GHz AMD Sempron SI-42 processor. And for you penny pinchers, the 15-inch Compaq will sell for a dollar less than the aforementioned Acer starting July 26th.
If you're hoping to pick one up, you might want to set your alarm clock early on Sunday. Customers have been having a hard time tracking down the $299 Acer at Best Buy, and a Walmart blog warns that quantities of its $298 Presario "are limited" and "we expect this one will be quite popular."
Maingear claims its new eX-L18 laptop is the "World's Most Power Gaming Notebook," and while we've seem some desktop replacements built around the Core i7 platform that might dispute that title, the eX-L18 is at least one of the fastest spec'd Core 2 notebooks on the block.
Sporting a generous 18.4-inch LCD, Maingear's latest lappy comes configurable with up to an Intel Core 2 Extreme X9300 processor (2.53GHz), 4GB or 8GB of DDR3-1333 memory, up to three 2.5-inch SATA or SSD drives with RAID support, a DVD or Blu-ray optical drive, and the crème de la crème of mobile gaming hardware: A pair of GTX 280M GPUs in SLI.
"Maingear has equipped the eX-L18 with the world's fastest notebook graphics solution," said Rene Hass, GM of the notebook business unit at Nvidia. "With Nvidia GeForce GTX 280M GPUs, Maingear's customers will experience breathtaking in gaming physics from titles such as Terminator Salvation or Darkest of Days and are ready for GPU computing applications such as Badaboom, vReveal, and Arcsoft SimHD."
Gamers will also experience a noticeably lighter wallet with pricing starting out at $3,000 for a base configuration. All configurations include a "Nighthawk Black Automotive Finish."
Three months after it arrived, Dell Adamo has received a price cut. A price cut for the Adamo became inevitable once Apple slashed the price of its svelte MacBook Air -perceived to be Adamo’s archrival - in June. Prices of all Adamo ultraportables have been lowered.
The basic Dell Adamo is now available for $1500 as opposed to its original price of $1999. This places it on level ground with the entry-level MacBook Air in terms of price. The basic version has a 1.2GHz Core 2 Duo, 2GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD. But at the other end of the spectrum, the top-end Adamo variant still remains pricier than its MacBook Air counterpart. The new price of the top-end Adamo is $2,230. It features a 1.4GHz Core 2 Duo processor, a 128GB SSD, and 4GB RAM.
Normally, aesthetics are a secondary part of a notebook review, but Toshiba forces the issue with the Qosmio X305’s wild design. Seriously, the lid’s audacious three-tone, metallic-red paint job alone is enough to challenge the interest of a potential buyer, but the X305 also sports an unusual formfactor involving curves and lips that add to both the machine’s footprint and height. And like the majority of notebooks in its class, the 17-inch X305 is heavy—although, with a carry weight of approximately 11 and a half pounds, it’s still more than a pound lighter than the CyberPower Extreme M1 we reviewed last month.
Of course, there’s more to the Toshiba X305 than its physical spectacle. The machine has the distinction of housing a 2GHz Core 2 Quad Mobile Q9000 processor, making it only the second quad notebook we’ve reviewed—the first was Lenovo’s Kick Ass ThinkPad W700 (http://tinyurl.com/al9wjn). Those two extra cores gave the X305 a healthy advantage over its higher-clocked, dual-core competitors in our application benchmarks. In Premiere Pro CS3, ProShow Producer, and MainConcept Reference, which are all heavily multithreaded, the X305 surpassed all the dual-core rigs we’ve reviewed over the last several months—including the 2.8GHz HP HDX 18 we reviewed in January—by greater than 50 percent, in most cases. Interestingly, it also scored much better than those machines in Photoshop, which isn’t heavily multithreaded. We attribute it more to the X305’s hard drive configuration: a speedy Toshiba 64GB SSD is dedicated to the OS, while applications write to a virtually empty 320GB HDD.
With CyberPower, Eurocom, and probably a few others already offering Core i7-based notebooks, you can now add gaming notebook manufacturer Rock to the growing list, who announced two new models, the Xtreme 790 and Xtreme 840. Keep in mind we're talking about shoving a desktop processor into a notebook chassis - Intel's Nehalem-based mobile Clarksfield is still a couple months away.
Interestingly, it's the smaller of the two -- the 17-inch Xtreme 790 -- that packs a Core i7 chip inside. The larger 18.4-inch Xtreme 840 gets its groove on with Intel's Core 2 Duo or Core 2 Quad CPUs.
Both models come configurable with Nvidia's GeForce GTX 280M graphics card with a 1GB frame buffer, Blu-ray drive, up to 6GB of DDR3-memory, and up to 1.5TB of storage. The Xtreme 840 can also be equipped with a second GeForct GTX 280M videocard for SLI gaming.
Other features include four USB 2.0 ports, WiFi, a 7-in-1 card reader, and Windows Vista Home Premium with a free upgrade to Windows 7.
Pricing starts at about $3,259 for the Xtreme 790 and $2,770 for the Xtreme 840.
Like The Little Engine That Could, the worldwide PC market kept chugging onward against all economic odds, pushed in large part by an emerging netbook market that seemingly popped up overnight. But the ultraportable PCs could only do so much to stave off the inevitable, and according to market research firm iSuppli, the global PC market will suffer its first decline in 2009 since the Dot-Com bust of 2001.
"An annual decline in unit shipments is highly unusual in the PC market," observed Matthew Wilkins, principal analyst, compute platforms for iSuppli. "Even in weak years, PC unit shipments typically rise by single-digit percentages. The last decline -- in 2001 -- was a 5.1 decrease in unit shipments due to the extraordinary impact of the Dot-Com bust, which caused inflated IT spending levels from the previous years to collapse."
The market research firm predicts global PC shipments to dip to 287.3 million units in 2009, marking a 4 percent drop from the 299.2 million shipments in 2008. Ironically enough, a growing notebook market -- which we assume also includes netbooks -- might be part of the reason for the overall drop in PC shipments. While notebook PC shipments will rise by 11.7 percent, desktop PC shipments, including entry-level servers, is expected to plummet 18.1 percent and is being cited as the "primary factor driving the decline of the PC market in 2009," according to iSupply.