Intel's Pine Trail platform has already hit the netbook scene, so where's the next-gen Nvidia Ion graphics? Glad you asked, says Acer, the first company to show off a netbook outfitted with Nvidia's Ion 2 chipset.
Looking to set a "netbook trend in the digital world," Acer's just-announced Aspire One 532G sports all kind of higher-end goodies, at least in the realm of netbooks. The 10.1-inch unit comes with an Intel Atom N450 processor, 2GB of RAM, a 320GB hard drive, and Nvidia's Ion 2 with 512MB of dedicated memory to give the integrated GMA3150 graphics a boost when needed.
"Enjoy smoooth and flawless 3D computing, mainstream PC gaming, boost the performance of editing and converting videos, face-tagging photos, and hi-def video playback up to 1080p via HDMI-output to HDTV," Acer explains.
Acer also wants to put to rest any concerns of sub-par battery life, claiming you can expect up to 10 hours of run time.
The Aspire one 532G will start shipping at the end of the quarter and come in Sapphire Blue, Ruby Red, and Pearl Silver.
In case you missed our previous coverage, Nvidia's Optimus technology gives mobile warriors the best of both worlds: battery life and discrete graphics. It's a sort of hybrid solution in which Optimus determines how much GPU power is needed for a particular task and then routes the process either to Nvidia's discrete GPU or Intel's integrated graphics. And no special drivers are needed, just an Intel chipset.
Optimus supports Windows 7, Intel Core i3, i5, and i7 (Arrandale), Atom N450 and N4570, and Core 2 Duo (Penryn) chips, as well as Nvidia's GeForce 200M and 300M series and Ion 2. The first of the 50 upcoming models to sport Optimus technology will include a handful of units from Asus, including the UL50Vf, N61Jv, N71Jv, N82Jv, and U30Jc.
It’s getting easier to have your cake and eat it too, or so suggests NVIDIA in the announcement of its new Optimus technology. According to NVIDIA: “Consumers no longer have to choose whether they want great graphics performance or sustained battery life. NVIDIA Optimus gives them both - great performance, great battery life and it simply works.”
Optimus, at its heart, allows the automatic routing of graphics demands on a laptop to either a discrete NVIDIA GPU (which sucks up power), or to an Intel integrated graphics chip (which conserves power)--without the hassle of a reboot. Optimus directs the workload, as appropriate, to the most “efficient processor for the job”, thus extending battery life by up to two times.
According to Electronista, Optimus differs from Hybrid SLI in that it doesn’t need drivers to cooperate, but rather relies on the presence of an Intel chipset--be it the Core 2 Duo, Core i7 or Atom. NIVIDA also makes use of a new software model that ensures automatic switches occur when needed--in as little as 300ms. (Users, however, will be able to tweak these settings.)
NVIDIA says Optimus will first be available on an Asus line of notebooks (the UL50Vf, N61Jv, N71Jv, N82Jv, and U30Jc), which should be available soon.
"I think it is a big opportunity. We have two strategies at Nvidia: One is to put graphics everywhere, the other one is to [find more ways to] integrate discrete chips into the box," Haas said. "I think there is definitely a place for [external graphics cards for notebooks,] no question. We continue to look at whether this is a GPU [docking station] or external devices."
So what exactly is Nvidia planning for the notebook segment? We don't know, and Haas wasn't willing to divulge what exactly her company might be cooking up. But she did say that the price of graphics adapters is something that would need to be addressed.
"I think, the issue that has to be solved for something like that is the right price-point that hits the right segment. There is definitely a lot of interest in it and [this is] something we are keeping our eye on to be able to offer something there," Hass added.
Make no mistake, Fermi will be faster than anything Nvidia currently has on the market, and to drive that point home, the GPU maker will go with a higher number scheme to kick off its new architecture. How do we know that? Twitter, of course!
"Fun Fact of the Week: GeForce GTX 480 and GeForce GTX 470 will be the names of the first two GPUs shipped based on our new GF100 chip!," Nvidia tweeted yesterday.
It's just too bad that Twitter doesn't allow more than 140 characters per post, because if it did, maybe Nvidia would have thrown anxious upgraders a bone or two by revealing specs or a launch date. Perhaps a better venue for those sort of details is CeBIT, which kicks off exactly four weeks from today.
We've been hearing about a possible Zune phone for quite some time now, and according to Spanish blog MuyComputer, Microsoft will unveil the rumored smartphone later this month at the MWC in Barcenlona.
"The Zune Phone presentation at Barcenlona's Mobile World Congress 2010 is 100 percent confirmed," Engadget claims to have heard from MuyComputer's editorial director, Javier Perez Cortijo.
Should the rumor prove correct, calling it a 'Zune Phone' might be a bit misleading. This won't be a Zune player with a phone tacked on, and instead will be a Windows Mobile 7 device with Zune software.
On the hardware side, the Zune Phone will tap into Tegra. It will also sport a 480 x 272 touchscreen and come with an HDMI video out port, MuyComputer reports.
Lame name aside, Acer's first foray into 3D-capable monitors serves up 1,920x1,080 pixels along with a 120Hz refresh rate. But it's the 3D that's of most interest, and to help give images an extra dimension, you'll need to don a pair of Nvidia's 3D Vision active-shutter glasses.
"As 3D content becomes more widely available in popular games and videos, users desire computing products that can take advantage of these new capabilities," said Acer America's senior product marketing manager Irene Chan. "We are excited to offer Acer's first monitor to support 3D technology."
Other specs include an 80,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio; 300cd/m2 of brightness; a 2ms response time; over 72 percent of the NTSC color gamut; and HDMI, DVI, and VGA inputs.
Acer plans to start shipping the GD235HZ this month for $400. Tack on another $200 for Nvidia's 3D Vision Kit.
Alienware is not usually known for building energy efficient systems. The amount of time you can keep a gaming laptop running is best measured in minutes. Certainly a netbook is unlikely to come from them, but that doesn’t mean they can’t have a sorta netbook.
The new Alienware M11x will apparently be capable of up to 6.5 hours of battery life. This feat is thanks to switchable graphics. When battery life is of concern, the laptop can use the integrated graphics. If setting up for a mobile gaming session, the unit can take advantage of the NVIDIA GT335M.
It’s in the upper realm of netbook size with an 11.6in screen, and weighs in at a rather hefty 4.5lbs. The design is a little weird, but aesthetics are such a personal thing. The MSRP is pretty reasonable at $799, though. Is anyone planning to take a look at one of these?
Having trouble overclocking your Nvidia-based graphics card? If so, you may want to give the company's just-released GeForce 196.34 beta drivers a whirl. According to Nvidia, the latest releas fixes a bug with v196.21 that prohibited GPU overclocking, so you should be good to go.
Other than the overclocking fix, the beta driver doesn't appear to bring anything else new to the table, or at least Nvidia hasn't listed any other improvements. But for those of you who decided to skip the previous driver update (196.21) because of the overclocking bug, other new features relevant to both packages include:
SLI and multi-GPU support for "many top new gaming titles," including Avatar Demo, Dirt 2, Mass Effect 2, and others.
Upgrades PhysX System Software to version 9.09.1112.
A ton of bug fixes.
Users without U.S. English operating systems can select their language and download the International driver from here.
The beta driver works with GeForce 6, 7, 8, 9, 100, and 200-series desktop GPUs, as well as Nvidia's Ion graphics.
Here at Maximum PC, we love Windows 7. Its snappy, riddled with handy new features, and is the most stable version of the OS to ever come out of Redmond. Regardless of how much fame and positive press it racks up however, we know it will take years for the majority of consumers and businesses to fully make the switch. Overall market share numbers pegged the OS at around 3.6% in November, with a slow but steady climb to around 6% in December.
We know these numbers will continue their march upwards over the next few years at a fairly health rate, but one demographic is breaking the adoption mold, that group is PC Gamers. According to the December Steam hardware survey, Windows 7 accounts for nearly 23% of all Steam users when you add up both the 32 & 64 bit varieties. Vista by comparison sits at around 31%, but that gap is pretty small when you consider that it has a three year head start over Windows 7. As for trusty ole Windows XP, it continues to hold the lead with a commanding 45% share, but is losing ground even faster than Vista.
If you haven't checked out the Steam hardware stats before, it gives a really interesting insight into the PC Gaming hardware landscape, and is definitely worth checking out. For example, a quick glance at the spread shows the average processer speed is 2.5Ghz, and despite ATI's commanding price/performance lead, Nvidia holds over 65% of the market share compared to ATI's 30%. Its a quick and easy way to see where your system ranks against your fellow gamers.