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Acer Started Shipping $199 C7 Chromebook

November 13, 2012 by mphillips  
Filed under Computing

Acer began shipping the C7 Chromebook netbook starting at $199 with Google’s Chrome OS and Intel’s Celeron processor.

The low-power laptop has an 11.6-inch screen, and is for those who do most of their computing on the web, Acer said Monday. the C7 Chromebook is mainly designed to be a secondary mobile device for those who want to browse the Web, check email or access social networks.

The C7 Chromebook will face competition from Samsung’s Chromebook, which starts at $249 and also runs on Chrome OS. Samsung’s Chromebook, which was announced last month, has the Exynos 5 Dual chip, which is based on ARM’s Cortex-A15 processor design. ARM, which dominates tablets and smartphones, is now trying to enter the laptop market, which is dominated by x86 chips from Intel and Advanced Micro Devices.

Acer and Samsung announced the first wave of Chromebooks in June last year. Google has coined the term “Chromebook” for netbooks with the Chrome OS.

The C7 will come with Wi-Fi connectivity. Samsung’s Chromebook by comparison comes with Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity, with prices for 3G netbooks starting at $329. Acer did not respond to requests for comment on whether it will introduce 3G or LTE connectivity in C7.

The C7 has Intel’s Celeron 847 processor, which is based on the Sandy Bridge microarchitecture and has a clock speed of 1.10GHz. The laptop has a 1.3-megapixel webcam and 320GB of storage, and Acer is offering 100GB of free Google Drive cloud storage for two years.

The C7 Chromebook is available from the Google Play online store or Best Buy’s retail and online stores. Acer did not respond to a request for information about C7 Chromebook’s worldwide availability.


Acer Announces $679 Ultrabooks Upgradable To Windows 8

June 21, 2012 by mphillips  
Filed under Computing

Acer on Wednesday announced new Timeline Ultra M5 ultrabooks starting at $679.99 that can be upgradable to Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 8 Pro for $14.99.

The ultrabooks are just 20.54 millimeters thick with a starting weight of 1.95 kilograms and come with 14-inch and 15.6-inch screens. Two of the Timeline laptops starting at $779.99 have Intel’s latest processors, code-named Ivy Bridge, while the $679.99 model has Intel’s older and slower Core processor, code-named Sandy Bridge.

The laptops come with Windows 7 Home Basic, Home Premium, Professional or Ultimate, and users can move to Windows 8 Pro by purchasing the upgrade from Microsoft’s website. The offer is valid through Jan. 31 next year. Microsoft has not yet announced a specific release date for Windows 8.

A sample configuration of a Timeline Ultra M5-481TG-6814 at $779.99 has a 14-inch screen and Intel’s Core i5 3317U processor, which runs at 2.6GHz. The laptop comes with Nvidia’s GeForce GT640M LE graphics cards, which could improve laptop graphics. A Timeline Ultra M5-581TG-6666 with a 15.6-inch screen and similar processors is priced at $829.99. The $679.99 Timeline Ultra M5-481T-6670 with the Sandy Bridge processor comes with Intel integrated graphics.

The laptops have a 1.3-megapixel webcam, two USB 3.0 drives and up to 500GB of hard-drive storage. An anti-theft features allows laptops to be disabled in case of theft, and to be enabled when found.

The laptops offer up to eight hours of battery life. The systems will become available in the U.S. at the end of June. The company did not immediately comment on worldwide availability.


Is MSI Entering The Tablet Space?

June 4, 2012 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

MSI has teased a rather interesting device that should be a direct competitor to Asus’ Transformer Slider tablet.

Unfortunately, the details are unknown and we do not have anything to go on other than the simple teaser posted on MSI’s Facebook page. On the other hand, our sources hinted that we might be looking at an “ultrabook” slider so in that case, Intel innards are most certainly guaranteed.

Of course, the size of the device is anyone’s guess as it can be anywhere between 10 and 15-inch, but it certainly looks interesting.

We will surely keep an eye out on this one once Computex show kicks off in Taipei on June 5th.



Dell’s XPS 13 Ultrabook To Ship Next Week

February 24, 2012 by mphillips  
Filed under Computing

Dell will begin shipping its first ultrabook, the XPS 13, in the U.S. and Canada starting next week, the company said on Thursday.

The XPS 13 has a 13-inch Gorilla Glass screen and belongs to a new category of thin and light laptops that Intel has named ultrabooks. The XPS 13 comes with Intel’s Core processors based on the Sandy Bridge microarchitecture.

The ultrabook is priced starting at $999 with a Core i5 processor, a Dell spokesman said. The XPS 13 will become available elsewhere later in March.

The ultrabook has a thin design much like Apple’s MacBook Air and Dell said that the XPS 13 is packed in an 11-inch frame, which will help save some desk space. It weighs 2.99 pounds (1.35 kilograms) and measures 0.2 inches (6 mm) thick. It can run up to eight hours on a battery charge. The XPS 13 also supports up to 256GB of solid-state drive (SSD) storage and 4GB of RAM.

Ultrabooks are an effort by Intel to redefine laptops, which are losing favor to tablets. Dell joins Hewlett-Packard, Acer, Toshiba and Asus as ultrabook vendors. The competition for XPS 13 includes HP’s Folio 13 and Spectre.

Some XPS 13 features include Smart Connect technology, which keeps the laptop connected to the Internet in sleep mode so email and social network feeds can be updated. That feature is also available on other ultrabooks.

The XPS 13 starting price could be an issue. Buyers have frowned on ultrabooks exceeding $800, which are priced partly because of the high price of components. Intel has said it will bring down the price of ultrabooks to about $699 by the end of the year.

Intel next quarter will introduce new Core processors based on the upcoming Ivy Bridge microprocessor, which will bring better graphics and performance to ultrabooks. AMD has said that it will counter Intel’s ultrabook push by offering processors for thin laptops that will be priced starting at $500.


Intel Releases Sandy Bridge Pentium Processor

November 22, 2011 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Intel has released a rather interesting Sandy Bridge processor that might very well have the lowest TDP of any non-Atom desktop processor to date.

The Pentium 350 is a dual-core 32nm processor based on the Sandy Bridge architecture and it’s clocked at just 1.2GHz, making for a very energy efficient LGA 1155 package with a 15W TDP. The polar bear friendly chips lacks onboard graphics, but it supports hyperthreading and comes with a rather generous 3MB of L3 cache.

To put things in perspective, the most power efficient Sandy Bridge parts in the desktop segment have a 35W TDP, and 15W is pretty impressive even by mobile standards. For example, the 1.2GHz Pentium U5400 has an 18W TDP. The new Pentium 350 appears to be a derivative of low-voltage Xeon chips, since it supports ECC memory and does not have integrated graphics.

It sounds like an excellent choice for HTPC builds and other small form factor machines with an emphasis on low power consumption and noiseless operation. However, Intel has a tendency to slap pretty high price tags on its ultra low voltage parts, so don’t expect it to come cheap.





Intel Says Touchscreen Ultrabooks On The Horizon

November 18, 2011 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Intel has hinted that touchscreen enabled Ultrabook laptops will tip up next year with the introduction of Windows 8.

Next year’s Ultrabook selection will offer Intel’s Ivy Bridge processor and will also feature touchscreen control, according to Tom’s Hardware. This makes some sense, considering that the Windows 8 user interface has a tile system similar to that of the Windows Phone operating system.

Intel CEO Paul Otellini said at the Intel Capital Global Summit, “Starting with Windows 8, you [will] have a mainstream operating system incorporating touch.”

“Our view is that in the ultrabook lines, touch is a pretty critical enabler. When users see that new Windows interface, they’re going to want to touch it. If the screen does nothing, you [will] have disappointed [the] consumer.”

We saw an Ultrabook running Windows 8 at this year’s Intel Developer Forum in September. However, it did not have a touchscreen and was demonstrated using just the keyboard and mouse. The demonstrator was keen to point out the fact that it worked fine without touchscreen support.

The Ivy Bridge Ultrabooks we saw at IDF didn’t have Windows 8 or touchscreen support either, but apparently they were just on stage to look pretty.

Otellini said that to achieve this, “we have to get touch to a lower cost. This is particularly important, as we move to the launch of Windows 8. The iPad and the iPhone have made touch a paradigm.” He also said that Chipzilla will invest in this area with the Ultrabook Fund.






Sandy Bridge “E” Processor Makes Its Debut

November 14, 2011 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Intel has launched its first Sandy Bridge E processor, the Core i7 3960x Extreme Edition.

For those after the ultimate peak of performance, Intel’s latest processor has six cores and a base clock speed of 3.3GHz. It has Hyper-Threading technology and with Intel’s Turbo Boost 2.0 the chip jumps to 3.9GHz.

Intel’s latest and greatest comes with 15MB of Smart Cache but requires a new motherboard with the LGA2011 socket based on Intel’s X79 Express Platform Controller Hub. It has twice the memory bandwidth as the previous Core i7 990x with its four memory channels.

Intel said, “The [second] generation Intel Core i7 processor Extreme Edition is the perfect engine for power users who demand unparalleled performance for unlimited digital creativity.”

A second six core chip, the Core i7 3930K has a clock speed of 3.2GHz, a 12MB cache and can reach up to 3.8GHz using Turbo Boost 2.0. Both chips have unlocked multipliers for overclocking and, for the first time, four memory channels.

A third Sandy Bridge E chip, the Core i7 3820 will be a quad-core chip clocked at 3.6GHz. However, it will only be partially unlocked with a maximum core multiplier. All three chips have a thermal design power (TDP) of 130W.

These processors are aimed at power hungry users with deep pockets, as the chips price start around $550 dollars.





The Government Buys Counterfeit Processors

November 8, 2011 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

The US military thought it was a good idea to buy its chips for major Pentagon weapon systems from a Florida drag racing entrepreneur with a history of amphetamine use.

For four years Shannon A. Wren’s nine-employee company brokered the sale of more than $15.8 million in computer parts to government customers and others from a small office in a central Florida business park. According to many items were labeled as “military-capable” and were shoved under the bonnet of advanced fighters, radar systems, and missiles.

However all the parts were made from a single factory in China, using inferior and recycled materials and falsely labelled as being made by Intel, Texas Instruments, and Motorola. Some of them are so dodgy that they pose the risk of exploding or catching fire.

According to a U.S. District Court filing the Naval Air Systems Command has warned that any failures had the potential to ground military aircraft or prompt mistaken shoot-downs of friendly planes. Wren’s company, VisionTech has been shut down, but it appears that the Defense Department has largely failed to impose significant controls on the origin and quality of the electronics it buys.

Wren died in May at the age of 42, before he had to face trial on federal charges. But it is starting to look like there is a mess as the US military looks to find how many dodgy chips are in their military machines.





Llano and Sandybridge Get Praised

November 7, 2011 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

The IDC has given it’s thumbs up to integrated GPU and CPU chips from Intel and AMD. In a report IDC analysts said that the average selling price of processors in the third quarter jumped more than five percent.

Processors with integrated graphics technology in the third quarter represented 73 percent of all processors shipped. Shane Rau, director of semiconductors and personal computing research at IDC, said in a statement that Intel’s Sandy Bridge and AMD’s Fusion microprocessors were rising in each company’s product stack and driving the price increase. Meanwhile low-end processors, notably Intel’s Atom processors, were declining.

Intel and AMD led a global PC processor market that IDC said grew in both revenues and shipments in the third quarter. Worldwide PC chip revenues increased to $10.7 billion which was a 12.2 percent jump over the second quarter and a 16.1 per cent rise over the same period last year. Unit sales grew 6.7 percent over the second quarter and 5.2 percent over the third quarter last year, IDC said.

Intel saw its worldwide market share grow 0.9 percentage points from the previous quarter, to 80.2 percent while AMD’s share fell 0.7 percentage points, to 19.7 percent. Via’s market share was 0.1 percent, a loss of 0.2 percentage points. But in the mobile chip area. AMD saw its market share grow 2.4 percentage points, to 17.6 percent, while Intel’s share dropped 2.1 percentage points, to 82.3 percent.




AMD Gains Processor Market Share Over Intel

November 2, 2011 by mphillips  
Filed under Computing

Worldwide processor shipments grew during the third quarter this year and Advanced Micro Devices gained market share from Intel over last year despite being plagued by manufacturing problems, according to a study released by Mercury Research on Tuesday.

Shipments of processors during the third quarter went up by just 5% compared to the same quarter last year, according to Mercury Research. Chip shipments have grown despite flat-to-slow growth in PC shipments worldwide over the past year, said Dean McCarron, principal analyst at the research firm.

Intel held an 80.3% market share, a small drop from 80.6% market share during the third quarter last year. AMD’s market share was 18.8%, growing from 18.3% market share last year.

Mercury Research’s numbers cover all x86 systems including laptops, desktops and servers. The company did not provide full microprocessor shipment numbers.

AMD’s Fusion mobile chips for netbooks and laptops are doing much better this year compared to last year, which helped the company gain year-over-year market share over Intel, McCarron said.

Fusion combines a powerful Radeon graphics core and CPU inside a single chip, and the processors are a giant upgrade over the previous generation of chips shipping last year. AMD’s Fusion chips compete with Intel processors code-named Sandy Bridge, and both chips were released starting early this year.

Intel’s latest Sandy Bridge chips are also doing well, but AMD’s processors are finding wide acceptance among PC makers and buyers, McCarron said. The lower average selling price of AMD’s chips may have also been an advantage, McCarron said.


Intel To Release E Model of Sandy Bridge

July 18, 2011 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

According to Intel will be releasing three Sandy Bridge-E models, the Core i7-3960X, Core i7-3930X and the Core i7-3820 in the near future.  Apparently, the first one is the Core i7-3960X and will feature six cores clocked at 3.30GHz with Turbo set at 3.9GHz. The processor will have 15MB of cache and since this one bears Intel’s Extreme Edition badge, the multiplier will be unlocked.

The second will be the Core i7-3930 and is part of the Extreme Edition lineup and will also have an unlocked multiplier. This hexa-core works at 3.2GHz with Turbo set at 3.8GHz. The Core i7 3930 will have 12MB of cache while the TDP should be rated at 130W, same as the Core i7-3960X.

The final one is the non-EE quad-core Core i7-3820 which is clocked at 3.6GHz (Turbo at 3.9GHz) this one will not feature unlocked multiplier, will have 10MB of cache and should have the same 130W TDP. also says all three models should feature support for quad-channel memory.

The only thing we need to see now is the pricing.



AMD’s Llano Finally Available

June 14, 2011 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

AMD has finally released the long awaited Llano processors.

The chips have been shipping to OEM over the last couple of months and finally hitting the streets.  That said, had Llano launched on schedule, AMD could have capitalized on Intel’s Sandy Bridge chipset fiasco.

If most reviews are to be judged, AMD might have winner in its corner. Llano is not a serious contender to Intel’s Sandy Bridge in the high-end.  However, overall it delivers a better bang for the dollar in the mainstream market. Furthermore, AMD has done a great job to improve the battery life compared to its previous mobile platform and on the same level as its rival Intel.

Finally, AMD appears to be a serious player in the notebook space. Last year, AMD went after Intel’s Atom with the Brazos platform, and won so to speak. Now AMD is facing tougher competition.  It’s not all roses for Intel; they have quite a hard time competing with Llano APUs, particularly the affordable A4- and A6-series parts, which are on par with Intel’s Core i3 and Core i5 processors.

Unfortunately, the only downside appears to be Llano’s rather sizable gap between Llano and Brazos products, both in terms of performance and TDP. Intel has a much comprehensive processor offer, custom-made almost to everyone’s needs.  Therefore, Intel can offer better coverage of some niche market segments and pack more performance into increasingly popular light portables with 13-inch form factors.

Overall, it’s great to see AMD back in this the game and giving Intel a run for its money.  As always, there is nothing like competition that will end up benefiting the consumer.


Acer Launches Their Sandy Bridge Notebooks

June 10, 2011 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Acer updated its Timeline notebook series with Intel’s Sandy Bridge family of CPUs.  The Timeline X series will come in three sizes, 13.3-inch, 14-inch and 15.6-inch and they are about an inch thick.  Furthermore, the notebooks will be equipped with Acer’s PowerSmart Technology that is supposed to provide battery life of up to nine hours on models with integrated graphics and up to eight hours for those models with discrete graphics.

Acer’s TimelineX series also ship with High-Definition audio support with Dolby Home Theater v4 Audio as well as HDMI 1080p output. Acer was also savvy enough to move to USB 3.0 for those who need fast transfers.  Another neat feature of the USB 3.0 that the port can charge devices even when the notebook is turned off.

The lowest level model starts around $599.


Ivy Bridge May Launch Next Spring

May 23, 2011 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

As of late, we have been getting a lot of information on Intel 22nm Ivy Bridge CPU and its platform; and most in the industry are predicting the launch will probably happen in the Spring of 2012.  That said, most are saying the launch will specifically happen in the month of March.

Intel has been in close discussions with its partners and informed them that Ivy Bridge’s launch is scheduled for the second quarter of 2012; and not in the first quarter as they would usually do.

Intel’s previous strategy had always been to debut a new processor in the first quarter to get people to buy a new PC early in the year; since consumers were more focused on other forms of electronics.

We are hearing that Ivy Bridge will launch for both desktops and laptops this go round. If you do not have the patience to wait on Ivy Bridge you can always go for Intel’s Sandy Bridge platform, which it actually quite nice.  Let’s just hope Intel does not delay Ivy until the Summer of 2012, which will not please their stockholders.


Is Intel Facing The Heat?

May 20, 2011 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Analysts at Goldman Sachs are saying that chip maker Intel may be in a pickle as microprocessor shipments slow and it faces stiff competition. That said, analysts have advised stockholders to sell Intel as they downgraded the stock.

James Covello and Simon Schafer of GS said that there will be a surplus in chips due to plant expansion. Meanwhile the rest of the gang on Wall Street is forecasting a six percent year-over-year rise in Intel’s sales, amid expanding gross margins, Goldman says otherwise and that sales will be flat due to excess capacity.

Furthermore, Intel is expected to face problems dealing with better chips from their main rival AMD: while tablets are cannibalising notebooks with ARM kicking its tail in the mobile space.

Yesterday, Intel stock priced dropped roughly six percent before recovering slightly and stabilizing.  We guess investors said to heck with Goldman’s predictions and backed Intel on the positive.