Want to make waves in the mobile market? Slap a Core i7 Extreme Edition processor into a 15.6-inch chassis and call it the "world's most powerful" mobile workstation in its size class.
That's exactly what Dell has done with its just-announced Precision M4500. In addition to the super fast processor, the M4500 also boasts Nvidia Quadro FX 1800M graphics, an optional SSD MiniCard (another first for 15.6-inch mobile workstations), an optional HD+ sRGB LED screen, optional 3MP camera, and support for 32-bit and 74-bit versions of Microsoft Windows 7, Vista, and XP, as well as Red Hat Linux 5.3 64-bit support.
"The Dell Precision M4500 establishes new heights for performance and mobility for a workstation," said Greg Weir, senior manager, Dell Precision workstations. "This system provides the freedom to discover, create and imagine on your terms, wherever creativity takes you. Top that off with the assurance that you are backed by our robust ‘eco system’ of ISV partners and our ability to deliver the application performance you need to be productive…now that’s getting it done!"
As 2009 came to a close, the top five PC makers each held their position, but it's the battle for second place that's particularly interesting. According to iSuppli, Acer grew by 21 percent in 2009, ending the year with 38.5 million shipments, up from 31.8 million in 2008. No other top five PC maker enjoyed more growth.
Meanwhile, Dell was the only top five vendor to post a decline in shipments for the year, dropping 9.9 percent from 43.3 million PCs to 38.96 million. That means Dell shipped enough to maintain a lead over Acer, but only by a hair (0.2 percent).
"Acer's 2009 success was driven by the notebook PC market," said Matthew Wilkins, principal analyst, compute platforms research, for iSuppli. "Notebooks accounted for nearly 80 percent of Acer's shipments ni 2009. This allowed the company to capitalize on the fast-growing mobile-computing segment while limiting its exposure to the moribund desktop segment."
Acer may have already leapfrogged ahead of Dell by now (we won't know until the quarterly numbers are tallied), but even if it hasn't, given the continued growth of notebooks, we fully expect Acer to stand in the No. 2 spot by the end of the year. Watch out HP.
Say what you want about MSI, just don't try and claim the company doesn't have a sense of humor. How else would you explain the company's Toast PC?
Let us set the record straight - we're not the ones who labeled this a Toast PC. MSI is actually calling it that, at least during CeBIT. We'll have to see if the name sticks following the convention.
We'll also have to wait until after CeBIT to find out the Toast PC's specs. All we know so far is that it comes with a slot-load DVD drive located at the top, the same location you'd slide in a slice of bread if this were a real toaster. There's also a remote control that snaps onto the side of the PC. Oh, and we're pretty sure it doesn't actually make toast.
Nvidia this morning officially launched its next-generation Ion platform, and with it, we expect a deluge of product announcements. One of those comes from Zotac, who today announced what it claims is the world's first Ion 2 powered mini-PC.
"The ZOTAC ZBOX HD-ID11 mini-PC is perfect for home theater PC use as well daily usage. Watching high-definition movies with premium audio tracks is a rewarding experience with the ZOTAC ZBOX HD-ID11 mini-PC." Mr. Berger said. "The amount of clarity high-resolution 7.1-channel digital surround sound audio brings to the experience is phenomenal and can’t be put into words."
Boasting easy customization with a tool-less case design, Zotac says users can cram their own memory and 2.5-inch SATA hard drive into the ZBox HD-ID11. Otherwise, the rig comes built around Nvidia's next-gen Ion platform and includes an Intel Atom D510 dual-core processor clocked at 1.66GHz, 802.11n Wi-Fi, HDMI and DVI outputs, VESA monitor mount, OpenCL compliance, Gigabit Ethernet, and Windows 7. It also includes six USB 2.0 ports, a single eSATA port, and a 6-in-1 memory card reader.
We're not sure why these haven't received any fanfare up to this point, but for those of you who like to get all touchy-feely with your notebooks, Dell's new Studio 1558 Touch and Studio 1749 Touch notebooks both beg to be groped.
Perhaps a press release is forthcoming, but for the time being, you'll find these models in Dell's online catalog. From what little we're able to lift, both come with a mobile Core i5 processor clocked at 2.4GHz, 3GB of memory, a 320GB hard drive, and Windows 7 Home Premium.
"These Studio 1558 and Studio 1749 laptops put the fun in functional," Dell's catalog reads. "The touchscreens let you scroll, pan, and zoom within a variety of applications, manage and edit photos and videos with TouchCam, and indulge your artistic side with YouPaint, all with a simple slide of your fingertips."
According to the catalog, the 1558 and 1749 start at $999 and $1,049, respectively.
MSI, as you're well aware, markets and sells its own line of branded hardware, everything from motherboards and videocards, to netbooks and notebooks, and a spattering of products in between. But the company also maintains an OEM business, and for the first time, MSI is losing OEM orders, says Henry Lu, vice president of MSI.
According to Lu, MSI shipped less than two million notebooks in 2009, which failed to meet expectations. And of those it did ship, about 70 percent were branded models, which Lu says is indicative of its brand business showing significant improvement.
MSI noted a similar trend in its graphics card business, which saw a big drop in 2009. According to Lu, some clients are concerned about the rise of MSI's brand business, and as a result, he expects shipments of both its notebook and graphics division to continue to drop in 2010.
One solution would be to spin off its brand and OEM businesses, but Lu said this isn't likely to happen, at least not within the next three years. Instead, MSI will put a much greater focus on its branded business in an attempt to offset the losses from its OEM orders.
MSI this week beefed up its "Classic Series" notebook line with a trio of new 15.6-inch models built around Intel's Arrandale platform, and one 16-inch model with Nvidia graphics.
The CR620-030US and CR620-033US -- both 15.6 units -- sport a Core i3-330M processor and a 320GB hard drive, while the former also comes with a DVD burner and the latter a Blu-ray reader. The last of the 15.6-inch models -- CR620-031US -- ups the hardware ante with a Core i5 430M CPU and 500GB hard drive, though no Blu-ray option. All three models boast Intel's Arrandale HD graphics and 4GB of DDR3-1066 memory.
The 16-inch CR600-234US notebook switches gears to a Pentium dual-core T4500, 3GB of DDR2 memory, 320GB hard drive, DVD writer, and Nvidia's GeForce 8200M G graphics.
All four models are available now for $$630 (CR620-030US), $700 (CR620-033US), $730 (CR620-031US), and $530 (CR600-234US).
It turns out that AMD is being downright sneaky about the launch of their next generation Magny-Cours server class CPUs. Some recent reports indicated that the 12-core chips, officially called the Opteron 6100 series, were shipping out to OEMs. AMD’s Product Manager for Server/Workstation John Fruehe finally came clean and admitted that the new server parts have been shipping since earlier in February. He also said that full scale production was underway, but no announcements were being made at this time.
This news certainly helps to explain where the set of Magny-Cours processors on eBay came from. AMD is most likely looking to get the new chips out the door to combat Intel’s anticipated 6-core Xeons. No official pricing for the Opteron 6100s has been announced, but the set on eBay is still listed for $7,700.
When you think of Onkyo, you probably picture surround sound receivers and other home theater accessories, but as it turns out, the company also dabbles in home PCs. Once of those includes the just-announced DE411 all-in-one desktop.
A pretty impressive PC on paper, the DE411 boasts a 21.5-inch 1080p Full HD display. Inside the sleek looking AIO sits a dual-core Intel Atom 330 processor clocked at 1.6GHz, Nvidia's GeForce 9400M Ion graphics, 2GB of RAM, and a 320GB hard drive. You'll also find a DVD burner, digital TV tuner, 5W speakers, Wi-Fi, multiformat memory card reader, and a handful of USB 2.0 ports.
Looking short term, Onkyo plans to release the DE411 in Japan for about $985. At that price, we'd like to see a touchscreen included, and so far, there isn't any mention of there being one. There's also no mention of whether or not Onkyo plans on shipping this one to the U.S. market.
IBM earlier this week lifted the wraps on its new Power7 systems designed for a range of applications, including smart electrical grids and real-time analytics for financial institutions, the company said.
The Power7-based servers have been optimized to chew through huge workloads of simultaneous transactions, data handling, analysis, and other related tasks. And according to IBM, customers can expect "dramatic improvements" in the price-to-performance ratios, as well as energy savings and server virtualization. More specifically, IBM claims its new systems can deliver four times the performance and four times the virtualization capability as its predecessor for the same price.
There are four new systems in all, including the IBM Power 750 Express for mid-market clients, IBM Power 755 with 32 Power7 cores, IBM Power 770 modular enterprise system with up to 64 Powe7 cores, and the IBM Power 780, "a new category of scalable, high-end servers, featuring an advanced modular design with up to 64 Power7 cores."