From what we've been seeing and hearing so far, this year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas is going to serve a heavy dose of Ultrabooks to attendees and could emerge as the prevailing theme, much in the same way 3D dominated last year's show. Hewlett-Packard is getting a head start and has released a short teaser video of its upcoming Spectre Ultrabook, presenting it as if it's going to be the Holy Grail of laptops.
If you're a sports fan, you can't help but feel sorry for people living in Cleveland who watched in disgust as LeBron James took his talents to South Beach a year ago (and then delight when he choked in the NBA Finals), and haven't witnessed a hometown professional championship since 1964. Bummer. But hey, they still have AVADirect, a boutique system builder located in the outskirts of Cleveland, and while it'll never bring home a sports title, it has won other awards, including our own Kick Ass award just a few months months ago for a custom gaming PC. Perhaps looking to tackle a new challenge, AVADirect and its team of builders have starting putting together compact gaming and small form factor (SFF) systems based on Intel's X79 chipset.
For whatever reason, we envision the "god of war" being bigger than 15.6 inches, but let's not fault MSI for being excited about its new GT685 gaming laptop and calling it such. With a traditional screen size in tow, the GT685 has the chops to be a desktop replacement, and could even be a desktop killer depending on how it's spec'd out. Let's have a look at what it brings to the table.
The introduction of Intel's Cedar Trail platform might spark some renewed interest in the netbook category, especially as buyers looking for an affordable and highly portable machine grapple with whether to overspend on a underpowered/under-equipped tablet PC, or really overspend on a newfangled Ultrabook. A new generation of netbooks could be just the thing these folks are looking for, and Asus will try to entice them with its upcoming Eee PC Flare series.
Shakespeare once wrote, "What's in a name? That which we call a netbook by any other name would smell as sweet," or something like that. Or maybe Juliet was rambling about a rose when she was justifying her secret relationship with Romeo. In any event, Lenovo's upcoming IdeaPad S110 is a netbook even if the OEM insists on calling it a "mini notebook" instead.
All-in-one (AIO) PCs are quickly becoming a dime a dozen with little to separate one Sandy Bridge or Fusion model from the next. Credit MSI with finding a way to differentiate its new Wind Top AE2071 model from the rest by supposedly being the first in the industry to use an LED panel. Combined with MSI's "unique energy-saving technology," power consumption is reduced by 30 percent compared to conventional CCFL panels, MSI claims.
The netbook form factor isn't dead, it's just not the new kid on the block anymore, nor the most popular or even the most portable. Those designations belong to Intel's new Ultrabook category, which sport only slightly larger screens (11.6 inches and 13.3 inches) but a much slimmer profile, and better hardware to boot (albeit with much higher prices). And then there are tablets, these thin slabs of hardware currently incapable of fully replacing a notebook PC, but certainly able to cannibalize a sale here and there. If you're a fan of netbooks, keep your chin up, Asus is still in your corner, plugging away at the once crazy popular form factor.
With less than a week to go before the calendar flips to 2012, CyberPowerPC, who is "taking no prisoners to close out the year" by refreshing its Fang desktop gaming PC series. Now in its third generation, the Fang III series consists of the Rattler, Viper, Cobra, and top-of-the-line Black Mamba, each one re-armed with Intel's second generation Core i processors and fully customizable.
We try to steer clear of explosive atmospheres, freezing conditions, and sand storms whenever possible, but if there's no way around it, you can bet we'll leave our Ultrabook at home. A more appropriate companion is a rugged PC designed for harsh environments, and GammaTech claims its new Durabook R13C convertible is the type of PC that's perfectly suited for law enforcement, military, homeland security, field service, mining, and mobile works in any type of outdoor environment.
The marketing mavens at Dell are singing praise about the OEM's new Alienware Aurora system, which they describe as "a serenade to raw gaming power." The rebuilt Aurora debuts on Dell today starting at $2,199 and is supposed to be "without a doubt, the most advanced Alienware desktop to date," and not just because it's sitting pretty on a Sandy Bridge-E foundation.