Ubuntu's Hardy Heron (8.04) operating system has been flapping its wings in full-release form since late April, and now the latest Linux distro lands on pre-configured Dell systems. This isn't the first time Dell has offered Linux as an OS option, but up until now, OEM shoppers looking for a Windows-alternative were stuck using Feisty Fawn (7.04), bugs and all.
So why the nearly three month-long delay? Dell claims it spent that time in development to ensure a smooth rollout with the new OS, as well as testing for peripheral support, including ATI graphics, fingerprint readers, HDMI, and other odds and ends. Linux support has increased leaps and bounds from the pre-Vista days, but the emergence into the mainstream segment has been a relatively recent development, so it comes as little surprise that pre-configured systems using the latest distro release wouldn't be as quick to market as a Windows PC.
Dell currently offers Ubuntu on its Inspiron 530N desktop, Inspiron 1525N laptop, and XPS M1330 laptop machines, and is expected to add its XPS M1530N and new Studio 15N laptops to the lineup by early August.
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?
Say what you will about Best Buy's Geek Squad and Circuit City's Firedog computer repair centers, but no matter what amount of ridicule each one might receive in tech circles, those without access to a next-of-kin techspert find themselves using the oft overpriced (and sometimes overzealous) services offered by each. Now Wal-Mart wants a piece of the fix-my-PC pie too.
According to the mega-chain, Dell is testing a repair and installation service for electronics in up to 15 of its stores in the Dallas area. The "Solution Stations" will not only offer PC repair, but HDTV and home theater installation, wireless support, and other electronic services.
"For Wal-Mart, the program provides an opportunity for us to understand more about what our customers need and expect in home installation and technology services, within a specific market," the company said in a statement on its website. Wal-Mart also indicated that the program is a small pilot and that there are currently no plans to expand outside of Dallas beyond the 15 select stores.
And what about pricing? According to the Dallas Morning News, memory installation will run $29 in-store, or $99 if making a house-call. To install a wall-mounted TV, connect cables, and integrate three video components, it is charging $289.
So it's official; you can now get everything and the kitchen sink at Wal-Mart, and that includes PC repair. But would you want to?
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.
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.
And thus, the grand story of the Dream Machine 2008 comes to its final edition. And do we have a reveal for you! We're going to show you the ultra-secret case that encloses the mighty guts of our speedy Skulltrail machine. We're also giving you a first-look at the not-quite-as-secret videocards powering the graphics of this hefty rig. Before it catches ablaze, we'll also show you the cooling setup and what we used to rock out whilst checking the cooler for leaks.
That's right. Today, you're getting the case, the graphics, the cooling and the sound--an epic conclusion to the most powerful rig we've ever built. If you're just joining us, you'll want to check out the beginning of the story as well as the second edition of the Dream Machine saga, where we officially showed off this machine's spankin'-fast processors.
But enough small-talk. Click that little "read more" link and prepare thyself for greatness.
There’s a civil war brewing within the PC: Intel says the CPU is the head honcho while Nvidia argues that the GPU is boss. With its Deluge-i A2, Puget shows whose side it’s taking in this debate. This budget gaming box spends big on the videocard but skimps on the processor.
Did they side with the right team? Find out after the jump
Buyers who can't wait to unbox their swank Envy 133 notebook might find themselves taking pause for the occasion. And to ensure they do, Voodoo's Raul Sood plans to give the high-end laptop the white-glove treatment. Inside the box (which Sood likens to one you'd get from shopping at a Tiffany & Co.) the Envy will come wrapped in a microfiber polish sleeve stamped with the company's logo. Underneath, an assortment of accessories includes:
Voodoo Aura power connect with an additional removable cable (should the original fray over time)
HDMI to VGA Presentation Adapter
ESata optical drive with hideaway cable
Sood also includes a few more close-up shots of the carbon fiber Envy in his package-pimping blog, which show a pre-production engineering sample. Shipping Envys will trade the red logo for one in silver and chrome. You can order one now, and if HP Live Chat operator iCrzyMonkey isn't flinging poo, expect it to ship in August, bodacious box and all.
If you're a subscriber to Maximum PC magazine, turn to page 8 in this month's issue (and for everyone else, hit the subscription link) and read Gordon Mah Ung's take on Intel and Nvidia's Secret War. Gordon discusses the issues preventing users from being able to run SLI on an Intel chipset, and what roadblocks might be in place for future Nehalem support on upcoming Nvidia chipsets. In other words, you might end up having to choose a side. Sound familiar?
Now there's talk of Nvidia want to support Intel's Atom processor, and whether or not you care about the low-cost PC and MID market, it might be in your best interest if the two sides can come to an agreement. But can they? Earlier in the year Nvidia and VIA entered into an alliance, and speculation suggests it was forged to compete against Intel's Atom. Now it appears Nvidia's intention all along may have been to gain a bargaining chip to convince Intel to let its Atom processor support Nvidia's MCP73 IGP chipset. If Intel agrees, DigiTimes reports Nvidia will then terminate its alliance with VIA and its Nano processor. And while VIA might not be too pleased with the idea (rebound relationships never work out anyway), an agreement over licensing terms in the low-cost PC market might open the door to better communication in the mid- to high-end desktop sectors.
Here we go again! It's time for our second look at what's going into the Maximum PC Dream Machine 2008! If you're just joining us, here's the skinny: once a year, the Maximum PC staff descends to its underground lair. After a number of bizarre and dark technological rituals (we sacrifice an iMac), the team emerges with a gift blessed by the Gods of Technology themselves: the Dream Machine. It is, hands-down, the single-greatest computer you could ever hope to assemble based on the year's best (and sometimes unreleased) products!
This is an epic three-part series, and you're on step number two. If you want to start from the beginning, check out our unveiling of the rig's keyboard, mouse, display and hard drive(s). If you're ready for more Dream Machine action, we're taking a look at the system's CPU(s), motherboard, optical drive, and memory this time around.
Grab a cold beverage and prepare to feast your eyes on splendor by clicking that little "Read More" link.