Dell's Vostro family just keeps growing, this time adding the Vostro 1220, a 12.1-inch ultraportable designed for business travelers more than anyone else.
"Today's globe-trotting entrepreneurs need a laptop that is power and lont-lasting," said Sam Burd, global vice president of Dell Small and Medium Business, in a statement. "That used to mean carrying around an ungainly device. The Vostro 1220 combines performance, built-in security, and long battery life."
A base package, starting at $799, includes an Intel Celeron 900 processor (2.2GHz, 1MB of L2 cache, 800MHz frontside bus), 2GB of DDR2-800 memory, 160GB hard drive, integrated Intel GMA 4500M graphics, 8X DVD burner, and Windows Vista. Throw an extra Benjamin into the mix and you can upgrade to an Intel Core 2 Duo T6670 processor (2.1GHz, 2MB L2 cache, 800MHz bus), 3GB of DDR2-800 memory, and a 250GB hard drive spinning at 7200RPM instead of 5400RPM. All in a lightweight 3.36-pound package.
Taiwan-based Shuttle Inc. is mulling an entry into the notebook market, if the grapevine is to be believed. The rumor gained currency after Elitegroup Computer Systems' (ECS') ex-president of notebook business moved to Shuttle as its new president. However, the company has tried to downplay the rumor by contending that it is a bit farfetched to jump to conclusions based on the professional background of its new president. Shuttle is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of motherboards. Its product portfolio also boasts an assortment of small form factor computers and barebones.
We've long heard that good things come in small packages, and that appears to have been Cooler Master's inspiration for its SNA 95, a compact 95W power adapter for laptops. In fact, it's the "smallest 95W adapter in the world," Cooler Master claims, measuring just 2.9 x 0.7 x 5.7 inches.
The late Billy Mays (may he rest in peace) would have a field day with this one, as not only is the SNA 95 the tiniest 95W adapter you can get, but it also sports a few extras, like a USB charging port, cable management base, and nine power tips so you can use it with your iPod, smartphone, PDA, GPS, and other mobile gadgets. It also comes with a smart LED indicator.
So far, we've only spotted the SNA 95 at Sundial Micro for $70 (currently out of stock), but expect to see more retailers carrying the device in the coming weeks.
AMD hopes it will be able to wrest a sizable chunk of the global notebook market from Intel with the help of its new Tigris notebook platform, which is due out in September. According to a Digitimes report, quoting sources at notebook vendors, the company expects to gain back 15% share of the notebook market. Some of the major notebook vendors, HP, Toshiba, Acer and Asus, are said to have already placed orders for AMD’s upcoming Tigris notebook platform.
According to some resent research by The NPD Group, many of the people that are buying netbooks don’t know that they’re doing so.
Sure, the two names may sound familiar (notebook and netbook), but a whopping 60 percent of the people that purchased a netbook expected the same functionality as a notebook. Needless to say, the confusion has led to some irritation.
“We need to make sure consumers are buying a PC intended for what they plan to do with it,” stated Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis at NPD. “There is a serious risk of cannibalization in the notebook market that could cause a real threat to netbooks' success. Retailers and manufacturers can't put too much emphasis on PC-like capabilities and general features that could convince consumers that a netbook is a replacement for a notebook. Instead, they should be marketing mobility, portability, and the need for a companion PC to ensure consumers know what they are buying and are more satisfied with their purchases.”
Acer, always looking to turn their laptop line into a laptop army, recently added the Aspire AS7735Z and the Aspire AS5536 (pictured) to their arsenal.
The AS7735Z will come with a 17.3-inch display, and feature Nvidia’s PowerSave functionality (allowing users to get prolonged battery life by activating variable graphic settings). Under the hood it’ll come with an Intel T4200 processor, a 250GB HDD, and an 8X DVD-super multi double-layer drive (sounds like a Japanese game show!).
The AS5536 will come with an Intel Core 2 Duo mobile processor, 4GB of RAM, a 250GB HDD and a 15.6-inch screen. This machine is being marketed as a “mobile multimedia powerhouse,” and is reported to feature a Dolby Home Theater surround sound system, two built-in stereo speakers, an Acer Tuba CineBass booster and 5.1-channel audio output.
Both of these machines will come with high definition CineCrystal LED-backlit 16:9 displays, and the AS7735Z and AS5536 will cost $599.99 and $479.99 respectively. They’ll be available for those of us in the US at the end of June.
AMD isn't happy with the way some battery claims are made, saying the reliance on a test called MobileMark 2007 doesn't yield an accurate indicator of what to expect. The problem, says Patrick Moorhead, a vice president for marketing at AMD, is that the parameters for the test include dimming the screen the just 20 percent brightness, turning off WiFi, and making sure no music, video, games, or webpages are running. Not only is the test flawed, says Moorhead, but it also favors Intel.
"Intel is advantaged in this environment because they have optimized their architecture to have bettery battery life when the computer isn't doing anything," Moorhead said.
Intel shrugged off AMD's complaint, saying if the No. 2 chip maker is so passionate about the subject, it would "encourage them to bring any new proposals or edits to the nonprofit industry consortium called BAPCo."
But is AMD out of line? Not likely. In the June issue of Maximum PC, Editor-in-Chief Will Smith discussed the topic in his Ed Word titled "Notebook Battery Life is a Trap."
"You'd think testing battery life would be straightforward, but benchmark results rarely jibe with real-world results -- in part, because there are an infinite number of potential workloads (each tapping power differently), and battery life decays over time," Smith wrote.
AMD warns that either the industry starts better regulating itself, or there's a high possibility of a consumer filing a lawsuit or the FTC stepping in.
Asus is probably looking to toy with the definition of netbook. It has made official the Eee PC 1101HA netbook. The 1101HA features an expansive 11-inch screen. Though it can be placed in the netbook segment by the virtue of its specs and price, the size of its screen does cast a serious doubt on its netbook status. According to rumors, Asus plans to begin shipping the 1101HA later this month. It will feature an Intel Atom Z520 processor with a clock speed of 1.33 GHz, 1GB memory, a 160GB hard-drive, WiFi, Bluetooth, 1.3MP camera and - hold your breath - an untrimmed keyboard. Its price is expected to be between $550 and $750.
ASRock, a subsidiary of Asus which made a name for itself offering hybrid AGP/PCI-E motherboards in the socket 939 days without a performance penalty, plans to release a netbook built around Nvidia's Ion platform. Or as ASRock wants to call it, a Multibook.
The 12.1-inch Multibook G22 will come with Intel's dual-core Atom 330 processor (1.60GHz), 2GB of DDR2-667 memory, Nvidia Ion graphics, 320GB hard drive (with support for up to 500GB), a 10-in-1 card reader, 1.3MP webcam, DVD burner, 3 USB 2.0 ports, HDMI, and a bunch of other connections.
At 3.3 pounds sans battery and over an inch thick, it might be tough to classify the G22 as a netbook, which seems to be just fine with ASRock.
Intel might officially scoff at the thought of OEMs shoving Core i7 processors and X58 chipets into full fledged desktop replacement notebooks, but that hasn't stopped a handful of system builders from doing so anyway. The latest to enter the 'mobile' Core i7 fray is CyberPower, which today introduced its Xtreme S1 notebook.
Available in a variety of configurations, the base model includes an Intel Core i7 920 (2.66GHz) processor, Intel's X58 chipset, 6GB of DDR3-1066 memory, Nvidia GeForce GTX 280M graphics with a 1GB frame buffer, 320GB hard drive sputtering along at 5400RPM (7200RPM and SSD options available), and 8X DVD burner all wrapped in a 17-inch package with a 1920x1200 resolution LCD display.
The Xtreme S1 is available now starting at $2,335 (Protip: Enter coupon code 'INSTANT' for 5 percent off).