PC vendors were hoping that the launch of the much anticipated Windows 7 would result in a sales boost. The first reports from those vendors, however, are not painting a very rosy picture. Most vendors report only modest increases in sales.
We know that sales of standalone upgrade licenses for Windows 7 were very good at launch, but it seems not many people went out to get a new PC. Vendors are not expecting sales to pick up in 2009. This may be due, in part, to the fact that Vista users can easily upgrade their existing hardware to the lighter weight Windows 7.
Some notebook manufacturers produced extra units running Windows 7 in anticipation of high demand. With demand ending up weaker than expected, these PCs end up discounted. Expect PC prices to continue to slide. Good for us, not so much for the manufacturers and vendors.
It looks like we'll have to wait a little bit longer for Asus' Eee Keyboard, which was was supposed to launch in October. That didn't happen, nor does it look like we'll see the keyboard this month because it hasn't yet passed wireless regulation testing in te U.S. and Europe. How long that will take is anyone's guess, and it's up in the air whether Asus will manage to ship the Eee Keyboard in time for the holidays.
Perhaps turning lemons into lemonade, Asus said it will use the delay to its advantage by beefing up the hardware specs. The company plans to swap the CPU for one that is faster, and it will get a new OS too. On top of it all, the Eee Keyboard will add capacitive touchscreen capabilities. All this while still checking in around the $500 mark.
We'll update you with more info as soon as we have it.
We’ve long loved Eye-Fi’s series of Wi-Fi-enabled SD cards that allow you to instantly upload pics from your camera to a website, but it has lacked two key features: the ability to select which photos you want to upload and the ability to perform peer-to-peer transfers from the camera to a computer or laptop. This new card addresses those needs.
The card continues to support all the good stuff we’ve seen before in Eye-Fi cards: the ability to connect to open access points to upload your photos to a photo service, Wi-Fi-based geo-tagging, and video sharing. But we’re more excited by the improvements in the Eye-Fi Pro. Now, instead of uploading every image on the card, you select which photos you want to upload by checking the write-protect on the files and the card dutifully uploads them. JPEG, video, and even RAW files are now supported, too. And in case you’re wondering whether RAW is too large to transfer via Wi-Fi, we moved an 18MB RAW file from a Canon EOS Rebel T1i to a laptop in about two minutes using the Eye-Fi Pro’s Ad-hoc mode. Not bad.
Late last month, several owners of Intel's X25-M G2 solid state drives cried foul when a firmware update promising a 40 percent performance boost ended up bricking their drives instead. Oops! That marked the latest in a what's becoming a string of problems plaguing the 34nm SSDs, and once again, Intel says a fix is on the way.
"Intel has replicated the issue on 34nm SSDs -- X25-M -- and is working a fix," wrote Alan Frost of Intel's NAND Solutions Group. "Intel is pursuing the resolution of this as a high priority. Intel is seeking direct feedback on this issue from members of the [Intel Support Community]... asking them to send their drives directly to Intel to expedite the analysis of the issues. This action will enable us to more quickly generate a resolution for this issue."
Frost added that there have been no reports of related issues by users who were able to successfully upgrade to the 02ha firmware via the firmware upgrade tool, which would suggest the problem isn't the firmware itself, but a bug in the loader software.
Gigabyte will soon start shipping its Booktop M1305 ultraportable that was first shown back in June, and peering over the spec sheet, there doesn't appear to be much to get excited about. Not until you look closer, anyway.
The M1305 will come equipped with an Intel Core 2 Duo, Pentium, or Celeron ULV processor. Pushing pixels on the 1366x768 display is Intel's 4500MHD integrated graphics. It will also come with 4GB of DDR3 memory, 320GB or 500GB hard drive, 802.11b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth, a 1.3MP webcam, slim-type DVD burner, fingerprint reader, two USB 2.0 ports, an eSATA/USB combo port, HDMI, a 4-in-1 card reader, and Windows Home 7 Premium.
But where this ultraportable stands out from the crowd is with the included docking station. The docking station brings NVidia's GeForce GT220 graphics to the table, giving the M1305 a major boost over its integrated chipset, and includes a bunch of I/O ports. Sure, lugging around the docking station might defeat the purpose of an ultraportable, but leave the thing at home and unwind with a bit of gaming goodness after a busy day on the road.
With some of the first USB 3.0 and SATA 6 devices already released, the first capable motherboards are now available for purchase. Asus and Gigabyte were both known to be working on new boards earlier this summer and both companies are now shipping their latest models.
Asus is shipping two boards, one with a P55 chipset, and the other with an X58. Due to the single lane bandwidth bottleneck of the P55 chipset, Asus uses a bridge chip (PLX8613) and four PCIe lanes so the board can run in SLI and Crossfire modes. Gigabyte is shipping seven different boards in the P55A series. Gigabyte opted to avoid the bridge chip so dual-card modes will not be enabled in the board.
These motherboards are shipping despite delayed chipset releases from Intel supporting the latest interfaces. Manufacturers do not expect to have new Intel chipsets with USB 3.0 support until 2011.
The shortage of the 40nm ATI Radeon HD 5000 series is being blamed on Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company's inability to keep pace with the demand due to low yields. On the other hand, the dearth of 55nm GPUs is due to the fact that they no longer figure prominently in AMD’s plans.
The report further claims that AMD has delayed the shipment of “its ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5000 series (Manhattan) GPUs for notebooks to the first quarter of 2010 from the originally planned fourth quarter of 2009.”
The most capacious 1.8-inch hard drive on the planet now checks in at 320GB, says Toshiba, who just introduced a new line of tiny HDDs
Toshiba's targeting thin and light mobile PCs and portable external HDD contraptions with its new storage series, which also includes two other models sized at 160GB and 250GB. All three drives sport a perpendicular magnetic recording head, efficient power consumption, a high level of durability, and quiet seek operation, Toshiba says.
The new drives come equipped with a SATA interface and spin at 5400RPM. All three models also include a 16MB buffer. Combined with improvements to areal density, Toshiba claims you can expect data transfer rates to improve by 15 percent over previous drives.
Toshiba's tiny drives will start mass production in December. No word yet on price.
After a short stint in the 680i chipset era, ECS hasn't aggressively targeted the motherboard market with its own-branded mobos, and instead has focused more heavily on providing boards for OEM partners. David Chien, VP of ECS' channel business, said that's going to change in 2010 and you can expect to see a lot more ECS-branded boards aimed at both the mid-range and high-end sectors.
ECS-branded motherboard shipments will likely remain flat at 7-8 million units to close out 2009, but next year, Chien said he expects growth of around 20 percent on shipments of anywhere from 8.4 million to 9.6 million units. Most of those will be Intel-based boards, with about 20 percent aimed at the AMD crowd, he said.
You can also expect ECS to promote its use of 15-micron Gold contact technology as it looks to gain some geek cred in the higher-end crowd. According to ECS, the 15-micron gold coating applied to the CPU and memory slot pins helps prevent rusting that, um, occurs from frequently removing the CPU and memory modules. o_0
It looks like Walmart is gearing up for Black Friday a little early this year. How so? The mega-chain has begun advertising several one-day in-store specials slated for this Saturday November 7th at 8AM.
Among the sale items is an Xbox 360 Arcade console for $199, which will be accompanied by a $100 gift card. That essentially brings the price down to just $99, provided you can make use of the gift card.
Other sale items on tap for the one-day special include a 15.6-inch HP notebook with an Intel Celeron processor for a shade under $300, a Blu-ray player for $150, a 42-inch 1080p Sharp LCD TV for $498, and a few more items.
According to Fudzilla, this is just the first of ongoing Saturday specials that will continue until Black Friday.