PC enthusiasts have reason to grin these days, because never has the market been as price friendly as it is right now. Just a shade over $100 suddenly gets you an overclockable Core 2 Duo, and it's not just Intel slashing prices either. Videocards have dropped in price so fast that at least two suppliers (XFX and Evga) are giving early adopters cash back. Prefer an ultraportable over a desktop? No problem, Asus has your back.
There was no announcement, but Engadget reports the Eee PC 1000H can now be had for $100 less than just one week ago. And they're right. A quick jaunt to Newegg verifies the price drop, though it's currently out of stock until Friday. Could this be a sign that the ultraportable market is heating up for a price war?
Stamford-based IT research firm Gartner has revealed the worldwide PC industry’s sales figures for the second quarter. Overall, the global PC industry registered a growth of 16% as a total of 71.9 million units were shipped during the quarter. More and more people are turning to notebooks, as opposed to desktops, as notebook prices continue to plummet. However, the US PC industry couldn’t keep up with the highly promising growth rate seen globally and managed a much subdued rate of 4.2% - total shipments stood at 16.5 million units.
If its Q2 performance is anything to go by, HP is not moving an inch from its position as the top PC maker in the world. HP’s sales grew at a faster rate than even the global average. But Dell is not too keen on staying at No.2 either. It raised its market share to 15.6% and even outshone HP’s year-over-year growth rate. These days one can’t resist mentioning netbooks but they really didn’t leave much of a mark in the US; still early days, though.
Forget about ultraportables and low powered laptops, and you can toss that MacBook Air into through the Wind. OCZ apparently wants nothing to do with current fads, and instead looks to appeal to the power user with a penchant for customization. And not just cursory customizations, but a full hands-on, do-it-yourself (DIY) approach. That's the idea behind OCZ's DIY whitebook solutions, and with the release of Intel's Centrino 2 (Montevina) platform, the company has announced a new model taking aim at "the high end gamer."
DIY notebooks can still be considered an emerging market, and OCZ will have to fight against other OEMs offering high-end notebooks already assembled. But as Maximum PC readers are fully aware, building your own rig carries with it a certain intangible, and combined with a bevy of performance-minded options, OCZ hopes its gamble will pay off.
Builders going all out can choose Intel's Core 2 Extreme X9100 processor on a GM47 foundation, slap in up to 4GB of DDR3-1066, and even run two ATI M88XT videocards in Crossfire mode, or a single Nvidia 8800GTX. For those looking to live a little farther away from the performance edge (and save a few greenbacks in the process), OCZ's whitebook can be configured with integrated graphics and a processor with less punch, all the while remaining on Intel's Montevina platform.
If OCZ proves to be right in seeing a growing market for DIY notebooks, enthusiasts might soon find themselves asking that long debated question: Build or buy?
Just call us licky. We mean, lucky. You've seen the official super-hot photos of the Voodoo PC's Envy laptop, but we got our hands on one and were able to take tons of close-up photos of the as well as try out the highly touted instant-on feature. Our initial impressions: the laptop is really light. HP claims the laptop (it was the SSD version) weighs three and a half pounds, and even though we didn’t have a scale in our messenger bags, it sure felt about the same weight as the Macbook air, power supply notwithstanding. Stacking the Envy against a Macbook Pro and Thinkpad X300, Voodoo’s pricey portable was both smaller and slimmer, though it sports a 13” screen.
Click the jump for more impressions and all the photos, including the instant-on Linux interface, laptop size comparisons, and gross licking details.
The company began shipping the XT tablet sans any multi-touch in December, 2007 but with an assurance that the feature would be added at a later time. It is very strange how some websites are highlighting the fact that the update is free. They shouldn’t forget that Dell hasn’t done a terrific job justifying XT’s exorbitant price – prime example of thickly veiled language – and the unavailability of the tablet’s purported forte for 6 months after launch implies that the company owes a favor or two to XT owners.
The floodgates have opened and you can expect to see plenty of manufacturers rolling out new notebooks built around Intel's Centrino 2 platform in the coming weeks. Leading the charge, MSI jumps on board with its GX620, a Centrino-2-based notebook equipped with the company's exclusive Turbo Drive Engine Technology; when in AC mode, pushing the turbo button ramps up the CPU clockspeed.
Further power management duties come courtesy of MSI's new ECO Engine. An ECO quick launch touch sensor gives users the ability to switch between five different modes - Gaming mode, Movie mode, Presentation mode, Office mode, and Turbo Battery mode - with each one automatically adjusting the brightness and distributing power where it's needed most to prolong battery life, the company claims.
Find out what MSI's packing under the hood after the jump.
Flip someone the bird and they'll know just what you're telling them. But wave your hand in front of your monitor all you want, and no matter how many times you've watched Obi-Wan use the Force, you're just not going to manipulate your PC. At least not yet.
Toshiba's Qosmio G55-Q802 looks to the change the way you interact with your PC by reading hand signals. Make a fist and move it around to control the mouse pointer, or flip your thumb up like Fonzie to select an object. Force-push won't work, but raising an open palm will tell the system to stop or resume video playback, giving you hands-free media control.
Built around the Centrino 2 platform, an Intel processor performs most of the tasks on the G55, but to read hand signals the laptop will use a quad-core HD processor powered by the same Cell processor found in Playstation 3 consoles. The Cell also lets the PC scan videos and index every new face it finds.
Owning a laptop used to mean being condemned to a low performance hard drive, but that's no longer the case. This past year has seen a surge in both higher performing and higher capacity notebook drives, and as of today, Toshiba tosses its new 2.5-inch 400GB model in to the ring.
The 7200RPM MK4058GSX packs 400 gigs onto just two platters with "an improved read-write head and enhanced magnetic layter to boost areal density to 477Mbit/mm²". Further separating itself from Toshiba's previous flagship 320GB 2.5-inch drive, the new model purports to cut acoustic noise during data seek by 2dB, all the while consuming 20 percent less power than its predecessor.
Five other drives round out the new lineup, coming in 80GB, 120GB, 160GB, 250GB, and 320GB flavors, and all of them support an optional Free Fall Sensor function Toshiba says will detect a failing hard drive and park the head before impact. Look for mass production to kick in late this summer.
It seems everyone and their mother has jumped onto ultaportable bandwagon, and now it appears the mother of all OEMs will be getting in on the action too. Citing un-named "market sources", DigiTimes says come August, Dell will introduce a low-cost notebook of its own.
Dell's anticipated late entry has given other first-tier vendors the jump, but helping to play catch-up, Dell can be expected to use its leverage as a leader in the OEM market to undercut the competition. DigiTimes claims the Dell E series low-cost laptop will cost just $299, which checks in $100 cheaper than Acer's Aspire One. The anonymous sources also estimate Dell can penetrate the market with 2-3 million units this year.
Intel's long anticipated Centrino 2 platform (previously codenamed Montevina) makes its official debut this week, and a number of top-tier vendors will begin selling configurations to Centrino 2 specifications. Montevina chips are manufactured using high-k metal gate technology on a 45nm die, and Intel promises faster performance, improved mobility features, and support for high-definition graphics on the Centrino 2 platform.
Centrino 2 chips include Intel's second generation Core 2 Duo processors (Penryn) with speeds expected to range from 2.26GHz to 3.06GHz on a 1066MHz frontside bus. Sipping just 29W, the low power draw should result in both a cooler running chip and longer battery life.
The new platform moves away from the GM965 chipset and now uses Intel's Mobile 45 Express chipset. Other goodies include integrated GMA X4500 graphics, Intel's 5000 series wireless chip with support for WiFi and WiMax, flash memory caching (Intel Turbo Memory), and support for DDR3 memory, the first mobile platform ever to do so.
The release of Centrino 2 might also spark tantalizing price cuts as vendors look to clear out old inventory. Know of any good deals? Post them below!