Today Toshiba's taking the wraps off its new netbook. That's right, the same people who brought you the original ultra-portable, the Libretto, are rolling out their first sub-$400 netbook! We got our hands on a pre-production sample of the NB200-series netbooks.
Toshiba sat out the first generation of netbooks, so they could address shortcomings with the genre, and at first glance the NB205 seems to make good on that. The main typing keys are full-size and use a chiclet-style design. When paired with Toshiba's standard-sized touchpad (the largest we've seen on a netbook to date), this is an extremely comfortable laptop for typing. Toshiba claims 9.5 hours of battery life (we haven't tested yet, but we'd expect 6ish hours in a real-world scenario).
PC makers have been decrying the impact of low margin netbooks on their bottom line for over a year now, but Intel is trying to calm their fears by making new predictions for the future of mobile computing. Numbers posted at the end of March peg netbook sales at around 16 per cent of all portable computer purchases, but Intel claims the steadily decreasing cost of ultra-thin laptops will help to keep that number from growing. The ultra-thin category is traditionally dominated by new ultra low voltage CPU’s, which offer better performance than both Celeron, and Atom processors, with an increasingly more reasonable price premium. According to Intel’s marketing chief, Sean Maloney, "Atom is eating into Celeron. And we're quite fine with this".
Maloney predicts that ultra-thin laptops will start offering stiff competition for high end netbooks priced above $400, primarily because the price difference has shrunk in some cases to as little as a $200. Intel’s internal projections released during the May 12th presentation shows sales increasing exponentially near the end of the year, and clearly, this is where they expect to see the bulk of their growth in the portable PC market.
Intel predicts that future growth markets for netbooks will be children and cellphone providers who bundle 3G service with the computer to further subsidize the price to consumers. Do you think people only buy netbooks because they are cheap? Or are some people just looking for a good ultra-portable?
An enterprising antique hardware collector known only as “Phreakmonkey” on You Tube has recorded and posted a video showcasing what the internet would have looked like in 1964. After detailing his lovingly preserved Livemore Data Systems “Model A” Acousitc Coupler 300 Baud Modem, he then proceeds to demonstrate how he uses it to establish a connection to the net.
Oddly enough, my 10 Mbps cable modem choked on the streaming video a bit, but my faith in my ISP was quickly restored when I compared it to the 300 characters per second this speed demon maxed out at.
This modem is about as (un)maximum as it gets around here, but it certainly is an interesting watch for nostalgic types who enjoy taking a look back at the history of digital communication.
Alienware is set to debut it’s new “allpowerful” gaming notebook at E3 next week, but conveniently enough, the detailed specs have been broken early by Gizmodo and I forced myself to read this twice just to make sure I wasn’t mistakenly looking at a desktop. The m17x crams in two 1GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 280m graphics cards, along with the new Intel Core 2 Extreme Quad.
It can also optionally be configured with up to 8GB of DDR3-1333, a 1TB hard drive (or optional 512GB SSD), as well as blue ray. Another amazing feature is the crystal clear 1920x1200 17” display, a resolution that is still somewhat rare in the notebook category. Additionally, since we all know this type of graphics horsepower can be somewhat power hungry, if your looking to do non-gaming tasks, it also has a build in Nvidia 9400M to help with battery life if all you need is aero glass. As for input/outputs, it comes with an impressive load out of options which includes 4USB, eSATA, as well as Display Port & HDMI.
The pricing is expected to start at around $1,800, but don’t expect to get all the features listed above at that price point.
Stop surfing the internet for a minute (we know, a tall order) and go get your last cable or satellite TV bill. Back? Good. Now skim to the bottom and look at the total amount of money you paid for TV last month. Do you feel like you got a reasonable amount of entertainment for that $60, $80, or even $100-plus? Are you happy about the money you spend for the privilege of watching TV? We’re not. The vast majority of TV we watch is available for free, over the air. Sure, we’ll occasionally watch an episode of Flight of the Conchords on HBO or a documentary on Discovery, but most of the TV we watch is on one of the big over-the-air networks—ABC, CBS, Fox, the CW, and NBC. So we started looking for alternatives.
It turns out that the vast majority of new TV shows are available online, either as part of an ad-driven website like Hulu or TV.com, or available for sale on iTunes or Amazon’s Unbox service. However, having a PC in the living room has traditionally sucked. After all, you don’t want to hear a big, noisy PC when you’re enjoying a movie or a TV show, and using a mouse and keyboard as the primary interface just doesn’t cut it when you’re kicking back on the couch. But times have changed. These days, it’s easy to build a PC that’s quiet enough to be virtually unheard, yet powerful enough to play all the high-definition video that’s currently available.
And making the proposition even more appealing, there are software frontends like Boxee and the new Hulu Desktop that let you harness all that hardware power in an easy-to-use, remote-friendly interface that combines the massive library of streaming video on the web with the DRM-free content you rip from discs or purchase legally on the web. We’ll introduce you to a couple of the options, then help you configure our favorite. By combining a few hundred bucks’ worth of hardware with a free software app and your broadband connection, you can reduce the money you spend on entertainment from $100 a month to $100 a year.
Zalman has attracted more than a few fans of air cooling (pun only slightly intended) with its CNPS line of high-end heatsink/fan combos, and the company's newest entry -- the CNPS 10X Extreme -- trades in its signature circular heatpipe design in favor of a block design.
The new cooler supports a variety of sockets, including Intel's 775, 1366, and upcoming 1156, and AMD's AM3, AM2+, AM2, 754, 939, and 940. The nickel-plated cooler also comes with what Zalman says is the "world's first RPM controllable PWM fan speed controller," which overrides the motherboard's PWM signal for manual fan speed control, or can alter the signal for low, medium, or high. Best of all, Zalman says the PWM mate can be installed on the case's exterior, when far too often that isn't the case.
Five heatpipes run up through the 10X, which checks in at a hefty 920g. Other specs include aluminum fins, copper base, and noise levels between 20 - 30dBA.
No word yet on availability or price, though you can spy a handful of pics here.
According to reports, AMD’s six-core Istanbul server processor is set to be unveiled this upcoming Tuesday.
The chip is slated for its official unveiling at the Computex conference on June 2nd. It is meant to rival Intel’s Dunnington processor, and will sport 6MB of L3 cache to share amongst the cores. Each core will also have 512 KB of L2 cache per, and will presumably feature DDR3 support (depending on the socket).
According to the chip’s lead architect, Hans de Vries, AMD will be pitting two of these against one of Intel’s offering, thanks to the size of the chip. The Istanbul chip is reported to only take up 300 square millimeters, while the Dunnington is expected to take up 700 square millimeters.
Early looks at Intel’s new Core i7 chips have surfaced on retail sites, allowing all of us to see just what Intel has in store for the future.
The new chips are scheduled to launch on May 31, according to the web retailer PCs for Everyone. According to several sites, the new chips will consist of the Core i7 Extreme 975 (which will have a clock speed of 3.33GHz) and the Core i7 950 (which will run at 3.06GHz). These two will reportedly sell at $1,129 and $649 respectively.
Rules, rules, rules. It's one of the few things the open-source world has in common with its closed alternative. There are rules for downloading open-source projects. Rules for using open-source projects. Rules for distributing open-source projects. Rules for modify... ok. You get the idea.
It's one thing for open-source developers to define the legal parameters associated with the tinkering of their pet projects. That's the pill you swallow when you agree to download these bits of community-driven software. But that's also where the control factor ends. You can run open-source software on any platform you like. Depending on the parameters of the license, you can even populate your favorite open-source software applications to a new platform of your choosing--like a little bee in a digital garden, if you will.
Flying over the friendly skies of the closed-source world tells a different tale. Microsoft makes the rules here. Or, at least, as many rules as it can get away with making in relation to which of its operating systems you can use and how you can go about using them. Want to run a ton of programs at once? That's a license issue. Want access to additional functionality? Buy a better license. The list goes on, but it doesn't just end at the software level. A recent report has revealed Microsoft's intentions for Windows 7 in the netbook space, but this isn't the first time Microsoft has demanded that hardware manufacturers bow to a certain specification in order to bundle its operating systems along for the ride.
Check out Microsoft's full restrictions after the jump!
Taking DIY to a whole new level, Steve Chamberlin, a Belmont, California, videogame developer, rolled his own 8-bit CPU for an aptly named project he calls "Big Mess of Wires," or BMOW. The project took him 18 months, $1,000, and 1,253 wires to complete.
"Computers can seem like complete black boxes," Chamberlin said. "We understand what they do, but not how they do it, really. When I was finally able to mentally connect the dots all the way from the physics of a transistor up to a functioning computer, it was an incredible thrill."
The project began with a 12x7-inch Augat wire-wrap board with 2,832 gold wire-wrap posts purchased on Ebay for $50. Over time, BMOW came to encompass 1,253 pieces of wire painstakingly wrapped at a rate of 25 wires per hour to create 2.506 individually wrapped connections. More than just a prototype, Chamberlin has added a keyboard, LCD output, USB connection, three-voice audio, and VGA video to demonstrate a working computer.
For those of you in the San Mateo area, Chamberlin's BMOW will be on display at the fourth annual Makert Faire this weekend, May 30-31, as one of 600 DIY exhibits.