There has been plenty of exciting news come out of the CeBIT trade show in Germany on the VGA front but one subject which we didn't see getting as much attention as it has is competitors to the almighty ASUS Eee PC.
We have already seen products demoed by Acer, GeCube and anothers and now Taiwanese motherboard maker ECS gets into the game to spice things up even more.
During the trade show, ECS were showing off its G10IL notebook which should end up costing less than $500 USD but doesn't disappointed in the features department.
While ECS could have used some more imagination in the naming department, the potential "Eee killer" sports a stylish white finish and even comes with 3.5G HSDPA support built-in. it also has all the usual goodies such as three USB 2.0 ports, single webcam, Ethernet and a 56Kbps modem. There is no mention of wireless or Bluetooth support but you would think it would be a given considering it packs in a HSDPA data card.
We will hassle ECS once they get back to Taiwan and learn more about it and report back to you.
ASUS has just announced it will begin shipping its Eee PC with Windows XP pre-installed.
This news has been floating around for a while and many users were able to install XP themselves as the Eee PC is capable of running the Microsoft operating system. ASUS didn't mention any pricing details in its press release or if they will still ship the Eee PC with Linux but we assume they will as by pre-installing XP, it will add a price premium.
Groundbreaking ASUS Eee PC Provides Greater Ease to Work, Learn and Play
Taipei, Taiwan, March 5, 2008 - Amidst great expectations, ASUS today launched the ASUS Eee PC pre-installed with Microsoft Windows XP. This new offering of the ever-popular Eee PC promises to let users enjoy an efficient online and work management experience with the incorporated Windows Live and Microsoft Works features. This will help create additional opportunities for students and other personal PC users who desire a portable and affordable PC to easily access the Internet virtually anywhere.
Read the full press release here.
GeCube is displaying its small black Genie PC at CeBIT which is clearly built to rival the mighty and hugely successful ASUS Eee PC.
The Genie weights in at just 950 grams (30 grams heavier than the Eee) and measures 230 x 146 x 33mm making it similar in size and weight to the Eee. It will come with a built-in 2200mAh LI-ion battery which offers up to 3.5 hours of battery life. It has built-in USB 2.0 interface with 10/100 Ethernet and appears as if it will be bundled with 802.11b/g wireless and Bluetooth dongle.
No surprises here, it includes Linux on an unspecified X86 CPU which we hope to learn more about soon. The screen is capable of an 800 x 480 resolution and it appears as if it includes no less than two built-in web cameras.
We will visit GeCube when they are back in Taiwan to learn more about this interesting device. We will try and steal one while they are not looking!
According to Engadget, the ASUS Eee PC is set to get an upgrade.
The specifications mentioned are 1GB of RAM up from 512MB, a 9" display, up from 7" display (8.9" to be exact), up to 12GB of SDD storage capacity an increase for the 4GB standard model and 8GB deluxe model, and last but not least, the price goes from 299€ to 399€.
While all these specs have not been confirmed, the rumor mill seems to be accepting them as a foregone conclusion. There is a Press event later today at CeBIT and all should be revealed then.
For pictures of the new EEE PC go here.
If it has anything to do with the ASUS Eee PC, it is big news!
Today ASUS issued a statement in regards to its "Warranty Void If Removed" seal over the single SODIMM slot on some models of the their hugely popular super ultra portable and affordable notebook.
The press release states: ASUS Computer International ("ASUS") recently received feedback from one of its valued customers with questions concerning the purpose of a seal stating, "Warranty Void If Removed" over the access door to the single SODIMM slot on some models of the ASUS Eee PC. ASUS wishes to assure its customers that merely breaking or removing this kind of seal will not void the ASUS Limited Warranty. Although ASUS recommends that customers use ASUS-approved service facilities and components, ASUS is committed to honoring the terms of its Limited Warranty and making sure that its customers are free to make appropriate hardware and software modifications and upgrades, regardless of whether the service is performed by an approved facility, a non-approved service provider, or by the customers themselves. ASUS will replace the warranty label with a label to warn users that ASUS will not be responsible for the damage caused by improper hardware change.
ASUS is taking steps to make sure that the seals in question are no longer used in its products that are intended to be sold in any country where these stickers are not permitted.
The press release is up on the ASUS USA website here.
Dell has finally launched its XPS M1530 notebook which is the latest addition to its thin and light XPS models, which got popularized by the M1330. We're not sure if a 15.4-inch widescreen notebook can ever be classified as thin and light, but Dell has done its best to compact it together as much as possible. You're looking at a notebook measuring 357x263x35.1mm (WxDxH) although the height varies from 23.7 to 35.1mm. It weighs in at 2.62kg, which isn't too bad considering that many budget 14.1-inch models aren't far off this kind of weight.
There's a wide range of customizable options and the CPU range includes either a T5250 or a T5450 for the cost conscious buyer or anything from a T7250 to a T7800 for those looking for some extra performance. The XPS M1530 can be configured with up to 4GB of DDR2 667MHz memory and up to 320GB hard drive space depending on the kind of drive you want and SSD is also an option. It comes with a slim-line slot-loading DVD writer as standard and this can be traded in for a Blu-ray drive for an additional US$500.
The graphics power comes from either a 128MB GeForce 8400M GS or a 256MB GeForce 8600M GT, the latter should allow you to play games at full resolution, as to our dismay, the only screen resolution option is 1,280x800. This means that you can't watch Blu-ray movies at full resolution, as you're limited to 720p. Considering that Dell has several other models of 15.4-inch widescreen notebooks with higher resolution displays, we find this really odd.
Other features include HDMI, an Express card slot, a built in 2Megapixel webcam, various WiFi and 3G data options and Bluetooth. The XPS M1530 is available with either a black lid, or for US$25 you can have a choice between a white or a red lid. Pricing starts at US$999 for the "good" model with the "best" going for US$1,499. It's not as yet available in Australia, but with the XPS M1330 costing about AU$300 more than its US counterpart, we'd expect the XPS M1530 to be similarly priced.
Alienware has finally put up its AREA-51 m15x and m17x preview page, but neither model is available as yet. The pictures of the notebooks on the site appear to be renders as well, although Engadget has scored a whole bunch of pictures from the launch event in the US, although some are on the blurry side.
We're looking at some very powerful notebooks here as both models will feature a mobile Intel Core 2 Duo Extreme processors and our guess is that it'll be the X7900 rather than the X7800, but you might get a choice between the two. Graphics power comes from the just launched GeForce 8800M GTX and the m17x will even be available with a pair of these cards due to its larger formfactor.
Still not happy? How about features like up to 4GB of DDR2 667MHz DDR2 memory, two or three hard drives, Blu-ray burner and fancy user selectable LED backlight colours? It's all there and so is 1,920x1,200 displays, HDMI ports and it even looks like FireWire 800 has been given the nod. The m17x even has an optical S/PDIF output of the type you normally find on amplifiers or standalone DVD players.
Of course things like HD audio, Gigabit Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Express card support, memory card reader and a multitude of USB 2.0 ports are all thrown in for good measure. We're not so sure about the design being a hit, it looks sort of a mix between Mac Pro meets Tron with a touch of Saitek gaming keyboard design thrown in for good measure.
It will even be available with two lid designs (thank you Alienware), as you have a choice between the Skullcap design and the Ripley design and in this case subtle has to be the way to go, as this notebook is already screaming "steal me, steal me" just by having all those fancy lights glowing around the screen edge.
We doubt very much that either model will be all that portable considering all the hardware that Alienware has loaded them up with, but as a Lanparty machine which could possibly even replace your desktop system, they're not a bad option, if you can afford one, since we're not expecting either model to come cheap once they arrive in the first quarter of 2008.
It's been a long time coming for the mobile GPU sector of the market, and finally the wait is over. For those of you who are big on powerful gaming notebooks, you'll be excited to know NVIDIA have just officially launched their new 8800M series of notebook GPUs.
Up until now, the pre-gen "GeForce Go 7950 GTX" was as good as it got for gaming performance; it was in fact faster than the more recent 8600M GT and 8700M GT mobile GPUs.
The new 8800M series fixes that problem though. The lineup comprises two models on a 256-bit bus, the GTX and GTS. Clockspeeds are said to be identical on both with the core clock operating at 500MHz, shader clock at 1250MHz and memory clock 800MHz. However, the GTX sports 96 stream processors whilst the GTS has 64 to play with. Both are derived from G92 which the desktop 8800GT card uses.
There's a few reviews out there looking at these new mobile GPU parts, you can find them here :-
NVIDIA's official press announcement can also be found here.
SANTA CLARA, CA-November 19, 2007-This holiday season a new era of PC games, featuring advanced new graphics effects, will immerse gamers in cinematic realism like never before. Games like Crysis, Unreal Tournament 3, and Call of Duty 4 are sure bets to be at the top of the holiday gift list for the significant gamer in your life. And to supply the best visual experience when playing these new games, a new generation of notebook PCs equipped with ultra-modern GPUs (graphics processing units), such as the just-released GeForce® 8800M notebook GPUs from NVIDIA, will soon be available for order from notebook makers.
The new NVIDIA GeForce 8800M GTX and GeForce 8800M GTS score the highest on industry-standard benchmarks for GPUs in their class and are the perfect complement for the new generation of DirectX 10 games for the gamer on the go.
Fujitsu has announced that the LifeBook S6510 is now available in Australia and you're looking at a 13.3-incher with built in HSDPA. This is about two weeks after the launch in Asia, but it still seems to be ahead of the rest of the world. It should be a neat all-in-one solution for those that need fast wireless access to the internet where there's 3G coverage and you should be able to get speeds of up to 3.6Mbps where available.
The press release doesn't quite seem to match up with the specs sent out along with it, as the press release talks about a Core 2 Duo T7700 processor while in the spec list there's a Core 2 Duo T7500. We suspect that someone has been lazy and copied the CPU specs from the S6410, as it has a T7500 whereas the S6510 should come with a T7700.
It comes with 2GB of DDR2 667MHz memory as standard and has a 160GB 5,400rpm SATA hard drive. Graphics comes from the GM965 chipset and shares system memory. Other features include Intel PRO/Wireless 4965AGN Wi-Fi, which means you should be connect to just about any Wi-Fi setup in the world, HD audio, a 1.3Megapixel webcam, fingerprint scanner, Bluetooth and a dual layer DVD writer which accepts all common disc formats.
The display is apparently equivalent to that on a 14.1-inch widescreen notebook, as Fujitsu is using very thing edges on the notebook which allows for the bigger screen to fit into a smaller form factor.
The resolution is 1,280x800 which is pretty standard on a notebook with this size screen, although Fujitsu has gone with one of the fairly new LED type backlights, which should allow for a very bright and easy to read display.
At 1.7kg's it's also a very portable and with up to 4.7h battery life it should be a decent choice even for the road warrior and there's an optional battery that replaces the optical drive that should up this to 6.5h if needed. It also comes with a port replicator, which is something of a novelty these days. At AU$3,199 it doesn't come cheap, but it looks like a pretty decent machine for those in need of something like this.
It doesn't appear to be at the Fujitsu website at the moment, but you can take a look here as it should be updated shortly.
Just recently the hotly anticipated ASUS Eee PC has gone on sale here in Taiwan and we were one of the first to snap up one of the new low cost notebook devices.
It is a product designed for ultra portability weighing in at only 920 grams and affordable costing anywhere from $12,000 - $15,000 NTD (up to about $460 USD) in Taipei at the moment.
After hunting through many Taipei backstreets, we managed to find one for $13,900 NTD - more expense than usual, since these things are almost as rare as gold at the moment. After contacting a company official at ASUS, the Taiwanese company expects shortage issues as the device is so popular.
The model we picked up was the 701 version which includes a 4GB solid state hard drive and 512MB DDR2 memory with Intel CPU and chipsets. It also comes with a built-in camera, 4 cell 5200 mAh battery which provides up to 3.5 hours of life but there is no optical drive.
The device will run Windows XP but it ships with a modified version of Linux to suit the device. All of the models are listed on the ASUS website here.
We will have a full review online early next week but for now here are some pictures of this new device. We have not yet had a proper chance to play with it yet, so we will leave our opinions to the full review. Over the weekend we will probably dissect the thing too and see what exactly is inside.
More coming soon!
If you're getting a little sick of hearing music through your notebook's tinny hollow speakers when at home or on the go, Logitech have come up with a great little solution dubbed the "AudioHub".
The AudioHub is made up of two good quality satellite speakers and a subwoofer for improved bass levels, it's designed in such a way that it sits neatly behind your notebook and the satellites can be extended outward to suit the width of your notebook and stop them from being blocked by the back of the LCD display.
Logitech have also considered the fact that available USB ports are generally quite minimal, and have therefore added a three-port Hi-Speed USB hub to it as well. A single USB connection from the laptop powers both the hub and the speakers.
The Dailytech report that Logitech plan to make these available sometime in October with an RRP of $99.99 USD.
One of the pitfalls to using a notebook exclusively is that it tends to have speakers that are not that great for those wanting to listen to music and watch movies. One of the other problems is that notebooks tend to lack the USB ports important to users with lots of gadgets and peripherals.
Logitech has a new item called the AudioHub that aims to remedy both of these common notebook shortcomings. The AudioHub is a 2.1 speaker system designed to sit behind your notebook. The two satellite speakers are width adjustable allowing you to position them to the sides of your notebook rather than having them behind the computer where some of the sound is blocked.
This is a great idea for notebook owners who are often copying data to and from their lappy using the typical USB connection. A.C. Ryan have developed the "eSATA ExpressCard34 2-port", which as the name implies adds an eSATA port to your notebook via an ExpressCard slot. The device is also available in a PCMCIA format for older notebooks as well.
In case you didn't know, eSATA is significantly faster for external data transfer compared to USB2.0. So if it's large amounts of data you shift from time to time, this could be a great investment for you.
For more details check out the product page on AC Ryan's website.
Ran out of space on your notebook harddisk? Why settle for slow USB speed. In these days of gigamania, watching and waiting for that file to stroll across USB must simply be not acceptable. Move into the gigabit data generation and eSATA your notebook now.
With the ExpressCard34 format, you'd be able to use this in all ExpressCard slots - irregardless whether your notebook has a 34 or a 54 format slot - it works in both!
Also available in PCMCIA format mainly used in notebooks before 2007.
Maker of high performance notebooks "MAINGEAR" have just gone all out and produced what they claim to be the world's fasted laptop to date, the mighty "DB-R". Also launched are a range of other (not so impressive) gaming and business laptops.
The DB-R has it all; a 17" LCD, Core 2 Duo / Extreme CPU, support for DX10 Nvidia SLI technology, duel solid state drives in RAID 0 and more.
Union, New Jersey - July 25th, 2007 - MAINGEAR®, the leading manufacturer of highperformance gaming and business, desktop, notebooks and entertainment centers, has revealed today a new generation of Gaming and Business Laptops, the XS™, RS-X™, DB-R™, and the VEX™. The showpiece laptop within this line, the DB-R™, has set the stage to rule supreme as the fastest laptop in the world.
HotHardware has got some more dirt on the Linux powered Asus Eee PC, which is a very basic notebook, but it retains a pretty attractive design. The specs of the Eee PC weren't revealed at Computex last month, but according to the information on HotHardware, we're looking at a version of Intel's mobile 910 chipset and a 900MHz Dothan based Pentium M processor.
The Eee PC has 512MB of DDR2 memory, built in 802.11g Wi-Fi and a 4GB flash based drive. Not bad for US$199 and add another $100 and you get an 8GB drive thrown in, although this seems like an expensive upgrade option to us. At 890 grams, the Eee PC can compete with many so call ultra portable notebooks in terms of weight.
In terms of ports we're looking at two USB 2.0 ports, a headphone and mic jack, a 10/100Mbit Ethernet port and a 56k modem jack on the left side. Moving to the right there are a further two USB 2.0 ports, a D-sub and a memory card slot for SD/MMC cards. The Eee PC also has a small 4 cell battery that is apparently good for about 3h of un-tethered usage.
Looks like this could be on top of a lot of people's Christmas list year, as it should be available worldwide in the middle of August. Let's hope the price stays at $199.
You can read HotHardware's coverage here and have a look at some pictures and screenshots of the Eee PC
Deal of the Day details:
Offer: This is just about the cheapest nice quality laptop you can get! This full-sized laptop includes Windows Vista Home Basic, a diagonal 15.4" WXGA BrightView widescreen, 512MB of memory, 802.11b/g wireless LAN, a 6-cell Lithium-Ion battery, and Microsoft Works 8.0. The C500T includes three USB 2.0 ports, an RJ-11 (modem), an RJ-45 (LAN), and an S-Video. You also get integrated 802.11a/b/g wireless LAN.
According to a post over at TechwareLabs, it seems like someone is working overtime on finishing off the first quad core notebook design. If the information they have is correct, this beast will feature a 17-inch display, which should give it quite a roomy chassis, a good thing in this case as the specs don't stop here. Apparently it will also use two GeForce 8800M graphics cards in SLI. The GeForce 8800M series hasn't even been announced by Nvidia as yet, so we'll take this with a pinch of salt for now, even though one of the pictures clearly shows a graphics card.
Furthermore this machine is expected to take dual SATA drives of up to 160GB. What doesn't sound very likely is the fact that it's mean to use the 975 chipset, since to our knowledge there is no mobile version of the 975 chipset and even if there was, it wouldn't support SLI unless Nvidia has done some special deal with Intel that we're not aware of. A notebook with SLI isn't unthinkable, but it would have to use a chipset from Nvidia and TechwareLabs seems to have got some of the details about this notebook mixed up, but hopefully we'll see this beast at Computex in a couple of weeks time.
You can find the original story here.
Coinciding with the launch of their new HD 2000 series desktop parts today, AMD/ATI have also announced a new breed of ATI Mobility Radeon solutions, these essentially mobile variants of the HD 2000 series desktop family, bringing DX10 goodness to notebooks.
Beginning with the immediate availability of the Mobility Radeon HD 2300, this is the 90nm entry-level variant but it is said that the mid-range 65nm DX10 parts (being the Mobility Radeon HD 2400 and HD 2400 XT) will surface in July, and also the high-end Mobility Radeon HD 2600 and HD 2600 XT solutions.
The Dailytech have the rundown on them here folks.
For unparalleled graphics performance on the go, the ATI Mobility Radeon™ HD 2600 series combines the ultimate DirectX® 10 gaming experiences with the graphics performance gamers demand in a high-end mobile system. Thin and light notebooks featuring ATI Mobility Radeon HD 2400 series can multitask with ease using the new Windows Aero™ interface, run the hottest upcoming DirectX® 10 games or play exciting new HD DVD and Blu-Ray™ discs. Those in the market for a value notebook will enjoy great performance in Windows Vista™ and astonishing multimedia using the ATI Mobility Radeon™ HD 2300. ATI Mobility Radeon HD 2000 products feature ATI Avivo™ HD technology and UVD to deliver outstanding HD DVD™ and Blu-ray™ disc playback, and ATI PowerPlay™ 7.0 power management for long battery life and optimized performance-per-watt operation.6
Notebooks from OEM partners including Acer, ASUS, Fujitsu, Fujitsu-Siemens Computers, Gateway, HP, LG, Packard Bell, Samsung, and Toshiba, and ODM whitebook partners including Arima, ASUS, ECS, First International Computer Inc., and MSI, will be available beginning in May.
If you thought Asus was the only company out there with a solution for external graphics cards for your notebook, think again. Magma has two products, although only one of them is likely to actually be able to accommodate a graphics cards. The Magma ExpressBox and Magma ExpressBox Pro are two external boxes that will take work in conjunction with an Express Card that slots into your notebooks Express Card slot or via an internal x1 PCI Express card in your PC. Although these solutions only work with single slot, sub 55W graphics cards that don't require an external power connector, so it's a slightly more limited solution than the XG station from Asus.
However, Magma is promising a tailor made solution for graphics cards that should make an appearance later this year. The biggest downside to either of these products is the steep price point, US$ 729 and $749 respectively, not exactly what you'd call cheap as you have to add the cost of whatever you want to put inside the box as well.
Have a look at Magma's product page for more information
A mob by the name of Cradia have just issued us with a PDF formatted document which details their new Flex cradia notebook stand, designed to keep your laptop running nice and cool with its massive 220mm fan whilst providing the user with a more comfortable working setup as well.
Though the next-gen 802.11N wireless standard technically hasnt even been finished yet, somehow D-Link are in a position to claim they're the first to release a device compatible with 802.11N, this being an ExpressCard based network adapter for notebooks.
Reg Hardware posted up some brief details on it here.
D-Link has begun shipping one of the first pre-standard 802.11n wireless networking adaptors that will slip into a notebook's ExpressCard slot.
The Xtreme N-branded DWA-643 is an ExpressCard 34 device so it should also fit into laptops with ExpressCard 54 bays. Alas, the the device only operates with Windows, so MacBook Pro owners who don't possess a Core 2 Duo-based model remain out in the cold as far as next-gen Wi-Fi goes.
A little unsatisfied with the quality / features of your notebook's built in audio? Creative come to the rescue there, with a new Express Card based X-Fi audio solution which features optical out/in jacks and a port for the breakout box to connect up your speakers.
Creative Labs may have the entire PC desktop market covered with its extensive X-Fi product family, but the company has yet to bring X-Fi to the notebook realm -- until now.
Creative's current top notebook offering is based on its previous generation Audigy family. The Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS Notebook is a PCMCIA-based card that provides THX certified 24-bit Advanced HD audio and 7.1 surround sound.