It appears AMD is channeling former Supreme Court Justice, Potter Stewart. Back in 1964, in the case of Jacobellis v. Ohio, the Supreme Court was asked to define hard-core pornography. Stewart conceded it was hard to define, but “I know it when I see it.” I’ll just bet he did.
It’s not pornography this time. It’s netbooks. Just what are those little thingies? AMD tells us they aren’t ultra thin notebooks, except that sometimes they are. The only thing definitive AMD can offer that netbooks make up the web browsing/emailing segment of the market.
Rather than worry about labels, perhaps because Intel has a lock on the netbook market at present, AMD recommends worrying less about “cute” and more about what you want your portable to do.
The enterprise market is made up of big business, which places heavy, mission critical demands on their hard drives. You need some serious hard drive storage if you plan to offer email, web applications, or cloud-computing services. Drives that can handle the stress long-term, with little chance of failure are favored in this market, currently dominated by Seagate and Hitachi Global Storage Technologies.
Western Digital’s first offering is the WD S25, available in 147 Gb and 300 Gb capacities. The drive, which has a 2.5-inch form factor, spins at 10,000 RPMs. It also includes the technologically necessary Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) interface, either SAS 3 Gb/s or SAS 6 Gb/s. While similar in appearance to Western Digital’s VelociRaptor, it has faster read and write seek times, and a higher MTBF rating of 1.6 million hours.
Intel hopes to eventually make a thunderous entrance in the discrete graphics market with its upcoming GPGPU chip codenamed Larrabee, and to do that, the company needs to line up some chip partners willing to jump on board. Intel CEO Paul Otellini set out to do that recently, talking privately to several China-based videocard makers.
According to what un-named sources have been whispering in DigiTimes' ear, Intel plans to offer preferential pricing for just the GPU by itself, as well as when bundled with other Intel products. This is a similar strategy to what Intel has been doing with its Atom platform, and it remains to be seen how many graphics partners will warm to Larrabee in this manner.
As it stands, some first-tier graphics card vendors are a bit leary about Larrabee on fears that the first release may end up buggy. But within the next couple of years, vendors expect Larrabee will be able to hold its own against what AMD and Nvidia have to offer.
The new VIA Nano 3000 series is based on the 64-bit superscalar "Isaiah' architecture and comes with a bevy of noteworthy features. Among them is the ability to support 1080p playback. Other notable traits include 64-bit support, SSE instructions, and encryption and security capabilities.
"With the VIA Nano 3000 Series, we are launching our fastest and most power-efficient processors yet," commented Richard Brown, VP International Marketing, VIA Technologies, Inc. "Coupled with our market-leading digital media chipsets, they enable the richest experience across a broad range of mobile and all-in-one system designs."
The new chips will ship in early 2010 at clockspeeds ranging from 1GHz to 2GHz and all run on an 800MHz frontside bus. The x86 parts are also compatible with both Windows and Linux.
Want to get in Mother Nature's good graces and maybe save a buck or two while doing so? Combine Samsung's memory chips with Microsoft's operating system. That's the message in a nutshell the two companies will work together to promote.
"There is not doubt that the combination of Windows 7 and 40nm DDR3 in new PCs will make users very happy," said Dong-Soo Jun, executive senior vice president of memory marketing at Samsung Electronics. "If you opt for 4GB of memory in a Windows 7-based system, over typical 2GB-based systems used today, you'll see an increase in performance, while using less power thanks to the efficiency of Samsung's 40nm DDR3 DRAM."
If this all sounds a little bit hokey, you may just have to get used to it. Depending on how this marketing campaign plays out, Samsung suggested it might further collaborate with Microsoft on more green IT efforts on a global scale.
Acer's been talking up a storm about its future notebook plans and how it's going to take on the likes of Dell and HP, and it begins with the release of the Aspire AS8940G-6865 with an 18.4-inch display and Intel Core i7 720QM processor.
Driving the large screen display is an Nvidia GeForce GTS 250M graphics card with 1GB of dedicated memory. Other specs include 4GB of DDR3-1066 memory, a 500GB hard drive, 4X Blu-ray drive, multi-card reader, 802.11a/b/g/Draft-N WiFi, five USB 2.0 ports, HDMI and eSATA ports, and Windows Home Premium 64-bit.
"This new Aspire notebook offers multimedia enthusiasts the ultimate in mobile entertainment -- cinematic quality sound and visuals, an industry-leading feature-set, and the performance to handle demanding digital media," said Preeta Anil, Product Manager, Notebooks for Acer America. "The addition of Intel's new Core i7 processor further boosts the power and performance of the Aspire AS58940G for games, movies, videos, and more."
Acer says its new notebook will be available for purchase in time for the holiday season for $1,350. Not a bad price for the hardware.
It’s no secret that chip sales have been hurting in this economy. In fact, semiconductor sales fell last year for this first time since the tech bubble burst in 2001. However, the newest numbers out seem to show a reasonable rebound. Global chip sales in Q3 rose 19.7% over Q2 to 61.9 billion, according to the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA). The bad news is that sales were still over 10% lower than Q3 last year.
To a degree, this sort of increase is expected as demand ramps up approaching the holidays, but SIA president, George Scalise, has called the results “above expectations”. He pointed out that sales of PCs and cell phones have been running ahead of predictions. These devices are the largest consumers of semiconductors.
Positive signs continue to accumulate for the chip market. In addition to the just released numbers, previous values indicate that September actually saw a year-over-year gain of 7.8% in American sales. SIA is raising their projections for total 2009 sales. Is this a premature decision, or not? We’ll find out in a few months.
There’s no good reason for the existence of Asus’s Xonar HDAV 1.3 Slim soundcard, and yet it’s a godsend for those of us who want to hear the high-definition soundtracks on so many of the Hollywood movies released on Blu-ray disc. Blame Microsoft for the contradiction: No one would need a product like this if Vista provided a protected audio path.
After all, this card doesn’t decode Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks, nor does it enhance the audio or the video; it just passes the signals through to your A/V receiver. Using the included HDMI cable, the card takes the output from your videocard, re-encrypts the soundtrack so that no one can intercept the bit stream to make a bit-perfect copy, and outputs the encrypted audio and video to a second HDMI port. For those without HDMI, Asus also includes a DVI-to-HDMI cable.
The protected audio path requires a software component, too, so Asus bundles a copy of ArcSoft’s TotalMedia Theatre with the Xonar. Not your favorite media player? Too bad, it’s the only one that’s compatible. For what it’s worth, we don’t have any complaints about the program. There’s nothing objectionable about its user interface; it can handle all the major codecs; and it supports BD-Live, so you can access whatever online content is linked to the movie you’re watching.
Organic light-emitting diodes, or OLEDs, are often touted as the next big thing in display technology, offering brighter colors, true black, lower power consumption, and better off-axis viewing than traditional LCD screens. They’ve popped up in gadgets from high-concept to mundane: The infamous Optimus Maximus keyboard, for example, utilizes many tiny OLED screens in its programmable and customizable keycaps, and both Sony’s new X-series Walkman and Microsoft’s new Zune HD have OLED screens. OLED technology has made great strides in the past 10 years, and cheaper and better manufacturing processes mean they’ve started appearing in everything from media players to phones to high-definition televisions—even keyboards. But what are OLEDs?
The rumors missed the mark by a day, but still turned out to be true in that Sprint has teamed with Dell to offer a subsidized netbook with a data plan subscription. That netbook is the Dell Mini 10 and is available at select Sprint stores throughout the Bay Area for $200 (after mail-in-rebate) with a two-year Sprint Mobile Broadband agreement.
The 10.1-inch Dell weighs 2.6 pounds and sports an Intel Atom Z520 processor. Other specs include a 160GB hard drive, 1GB of RAM, 1.3MP webcam, integrated Intel 500 graphics, a 5-in-1 media card reader, Bluetooh, WiFi, and Windows XP Home. In other words, nothing sexy like a dual-booting Android platform or anything else to separate the Mini 10 from the standard netbook fare.
While not particularly exciting, it's hard to argue with the price. Just be sure to factor in the cost of the service agreement, which includes 5GB of data for $60 per month. That comes out to an extra $1,440 over the next two years.