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.
OWC has introduced a quad-interface Blu-ray burner that uses a Pioneer BDR-205. You will never be short of options with the Mercury Pro 12x Blu-ray burner as it supports four different interfaces: FireWire 800, FireWire 400, USB 2.0 and eSATA. It ships with a cable each four all the interfaces that it supports. It is capable of writing to BD-R media ( single or double layer) at 12x speed, BD-RE media at 2x speed, DVD±R at 16X, DVD±R DL at 8X, and CD-R at 40X. The Mercury Pro 12x Blu-ray burner can be yours for $350. The burner is also available along with Roxio's Toast 10 Titanium Pro for $450, though the bundle is only meant for Mac users.
While the mobile world drools over Droid, there's another smartphone that has a shot of stealing a few headlines. We're talking about Acer's upcoming Liquid A1, which is expected to ship in Europe within the next few weeks.
The Liquid A1 is the first Android-based smartphone to be built around Qualcomm's Snapdragon chipset. And even though the CPU has been downclocked to 768MHz, that's a lot more pep than most Android phones are boasting.
Oddly, Acer has decided not to step up to Android 2.0 (Eclair), and the Liquid A1 will instead run on Android 1.6 (Donut). That puts it a generation behind the Droid and other upcoming Android 2.0 smartphones, although this could change by the time the A1 ships. We also wouldn't rule out a software update after the fact, although Acer has spent some time tweaking "a new user interface with easy access to entertainment and web bookmarks."
No word yet on price or when this one's expected to land in the U.S.
HP may have jumped the gun a bit when they listed an “Envy 14-1000” on a support page recently. The Envy line of laptops currently come in 13 and 15-inch varieties. The PCs bear a striking resemblance to Apple’s MacBook Pro line with chiclet keys and large trackpads. The Envy 13 packs a Core 2 chip, while the Envy 15 is equipped with a Core i7. Might we see a Core i5 in the new Envy 14? It certainly would fit nicely in the lineup.
No specs were actually listed on the support page. Mobile Core i5 CPUs are expected to make the scene in the first quarter of next year. So, watch for an Envy 14 announcement around then.
For the most part, Klipsch bowed out of the multimedia computer speaker market a long time ago, leaving behind a rabid fan base hoping it would one day return. That day has come, sort of. Klipsch is back and has brought with it a new 2.1 speaker-set, or more accurately, a new twist on an existing 2.1 setup.
It's hard to believe Klipsch's original ProMedia 2.1 speakers have been around for almost a decade. The new ProMedia 2.1 Wireless purports to look and sound like the THX-certified original, only this time without the wires. Replacing them is a USB wireless transmitter that plugs into your notebook's USB port.
"Only a few simple steps are required to get the ProMedia Wireless up and running. Just plug, play, and enjoy the full sonic impact of your music, movies, and games without being tied down, "said Don Inmon, Klipsch director of product development for personal audio. "No router or installation software is needed."
Klipsch says the wireless range extends about 30 feet in a single room, making it deal for dorm rooms, offices, living rooms, or anywhere else you might tote your notebook.