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CES 2012: Something that has been needed for a while is external graphics for notebooks, but bandwidth has always been an issue. How do you solve this? Well, if you're MSI, you wait until Thunderbolt hits, wait until CES and then show it off in person.
MSI showed off "GUS II", which is a prototype at this stage and was hooked up to a MacBook Pro. GUS II had a Radeon HD 5770 rocking inside, and was rendering the Unigine Heaven demo, driving an external display. Better yet, MSI says that GUS II supports double-wise PCI-Express x16 graphics cards, with power consumption up to 150W. This is the most power available from a single PCIe slot, plus one 6-pin power connector.
Pricing and availability are, as usual, not known at this time. But, with Intel's 22nm Ivy Bridge processors, we could see Thunderbolt pulled into the mainstream and then we could see a sudden rush of external graphics. This means notebooks could be sold with integrated graphics and if you wanted any more GPU juice out of them, you could tap some Thunderbolt-powered external graphics.
CES 2012: Intel had quite a few announcements at CES 2012, and one of them was from Intel PC chief Mooly Eden where he says that so far, there are 75-plus Ultrabooks set to launch this year. Yes, more than 75 different Ultrabooks!
Out of these 75, 50-percent of them will sport 14- and 15-inch displays. This is a move to take some of those customers away from buying an Apple MacBook Air, as they'll be just as, if not more thin, light and inexpensive than their fruit-logo'd counterparts.
On top of this, Intel is kick starting one of their biggest marketing campaigns for the Ultrabooks. This new marketing campaign has been dubbed "A New Era in Computing". This will be Intel's biggest marketing campaign since 2003, so you can see they mean business. They haven't planned a launch this large since they introduced Centrino chips for Wi-Fi-capable laptops eight years ago.
Intel also stated that they will also team up with Nuance Communications, where they'll create voice recognition technology for Ultrabooks based on Nuance's Dragon voice command technology. The news just doesn't stop flowing from Intel, it seems.
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CES 2012: Ultrabook, ultrabook, ultrabook. Say it three times in front of mirror and it'll haunt you for this entire year. I think that's all we're going to see from companies this year, and it's not necessarily a bad thing, either.
Samsung unveiled their Series 5 line of ultrabooks, which include a 13-inch model and a 14-inch model which sports an optical drive. Both Series 5 ultrabooks are powered by Intel Core i5 processors, sport 4GB of RAM, eight-hour batteries and Intel integrated graphics. They also feature the same matte, 300-nit (1366x768) display that was in the Series 5 Chromebook.
The 13-inch model includes a 128GB SSD option, but both the 13- and 14-inch models feature a standard 500GB 5,400RPM drive, with 16GB of express cache for that faster boot time you all want, as well as speedy application launches. The Series 5 ultrabooks from Samsung weigh in at 3.5 and 3.95 pounds for the 13- and 14-inch models, respectively. While they may weigh in a bit heavier than other ultrabooks we've seen lately, they do sport a tonne of connectivity.
CES 2012 - During the "Meet the Executives" event at the GIGABYTE suite here at CES we ran into Nick from the notebook department where he was kind enough to introduce us to the new T1132N. It's similar to the older T1125N except it comes with a newer and faster CPU and CPU and some other nice bits such as USB 3.0.
The device is rather unique in that it can act as a notebook, tablet and desktop PC thanks to its functionality. The screen can twist 180 degrees and pushed down to become a slate-like device and when in tablet mode it can be installed in the included dock to turn into a desktop PC. The dock comes with a DVD player (which can also be removed and connected to the system via USB) and also some additional connectors such as gigabit LAN and USB 3.0 ports.
This 11.6-inch capacitive multi-touch device comes with the Intel Core i502467M processor clocked at 2.3GHz, Intel HM65 Express chipset, NVIDIA GeForce GT520M 1GB graphics and a 500GB 2.5-inch HDD.
CES 2012: Acer started their CES unveiling with quite the bang, showing off its second ultrabook, the Acer Aspire S5. The Aspire S5 is due for a Q2 arrival, is just 15mm thick and weighs under 1.35kg.
It sports an Onyx Black magnesium-aluminum alloy cover, a 13.3-inch LCD screen, chiclet keyboard, an Intel Core processor, a solid state drive, and a MagicFlip I/O port panel, which includes HDMI, USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt connectors. Thunderbolt, on an ultrabook? Very good news for 2012 products.
Acer also include their Green Instant On technology which provides super fast booting and resume, and the Always Connect solution which enables users to 'manage their multimedia and data on all their devices at anytime, anywhere'. At the moment, there's no details on Aspire S5's pricing.
A HP employee has sent The Verge a new video showing off a new ultra-think notebook from HP. The video has dramatic music that really, er, sets the mood for the launch of a new MacBook Air competitor.
Is it thinner than the MBA or the upcoming ultrabooks? There's nothing more than a 30-second tease, and then "Spectre" at the end. One thing is for certain, is if HP are showing off (well, at least have a video that an employee can "leak") then the Spectre must be close to release.
CES is next week, so we might actually see some Spectre action in Las Vegas. The Verge reports that it may be the 14-inch HP Envy 14 Spectre, which showed up at the FCC just two weeks ago. Only time will tell, and when that time comes, HP will either hit or miss.
Razer Blade gaming laptop delayed until January, offers free Razer Orochi Blade Edition mouse for the wait
For those of you wishing for one of Razer's Blade gaming laptops for Christmas, Santa will not be delivering it. Razer has delayed the laptop because of a delay in relation to Razer swapping out the mechanical 320GB hard drive with a 256GB solid-state drive.
In a note on Facebook to fans, Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan announced that the company received an "overwhelming response from the press and gamers for the Razer Blade." Tan says that the delay is a result of an SSD shortage, and now will miss the Christmas ETA. The Blade will reportedly ship in mid to late January for North American customers.
Razer is making up for the delay by letting customers sign-up to be notified of when the Blade will ship, by offering a coupon for a free Razer Orochi Blade Edition gaming mouse. Now, this is how you keep your customers happy, by offering them a free mouse for just waiting another month.
This rumor has been heating up for a while now, but some news posted by DigiTimes this morning is reporting that the high-DPI panels will hit the MacBook Pro's, too.
They say that a "new MacBook Pro lineup" sporting 2880x1800 displays, which "sources in the upstream supply chain" should see the light of day in Q2 2012. That resolution is 400-percent more pixels than the current 13-inch MacBook Air displays, which have a resolution of just 1440x900.
Quadrupling the number of pixels is the same tactic Apple used when they put the "Retina" display into the iPhone 4 when compared to the 3GS.
If Apple do this, it might make me want to upgrade my 17-inch MacBook Pro, yes it has a nice IPS panel with a 1920x1200 resolution, but 2880x1800... oh my.
ASUS are reportedly working on a new ultrabook style laptop where they are said to be baking in a swivel design display that transforms the device into a tablet. Since Windows 8 is much more tablet-friendly, this move would actually be quite the bold move by ASUS. DigiTimes says the device will be unveiled at 2012 Computex in Taipei, Taiwan, and might hit retail shelves in time for the launch of Windows 8 next September.
ASUS have been here before, with their Eee PC T91 netbook (as pictured above) in 2009. The device did not sell that well, but with tablets being more popular than ever, and Windows 8 having the OS build a tablet UI directly into the OS itself, it could really work.
There has, to this day, not been a device that could do both. Apple have the iPad and their MacBook range, but nothing that can do both. I personally own a 2011 17-inch MacBook Pro and I've wished for a long time now that I could disconnect my 17-inch display and use it like a big iPad. If ASUS can pull this off, I can tell you now, I'll be all over that in a heartbeat. I can see it now, it'll be called Asus Ultrabot or similar, in line with their "Transformer" line of products. You heard it here first, folks! I call Ultrabot from here on out.