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MSI has officially released what is being claimed as the world's first hybrid storage netbook today; the U115 Hybrid. The way it works is there is both an SSD and a larger capacity HDD inside; the SSD (choice of 8 or 16GB) holds the operating system (Windows XP Home) and the 120 or 160GB hard disk can be used for regular content (music, documents, movies etc.). The netbook will power down the standard hard disk when not in use so as to prolong battery life.
Other features of the U115 include a 10" LCD with a resolution of up to 1024x600, 3 or 6 cell battery, WiFi and Ethernet connectivity, 4-in-1 card reader, optional Bluetooth and 1.3 or 2.0MP webcam, whilst keeping to a weight of no more than 1Kg with dimensions of 260x180x31.5mm
As far as the base platform goes, it's powered by Intel's 1.6GHz Z530 Atom processor on the Poulsbo US15W chipset.
The netbook is being expected to hit stores sometime in January. No mention of pricing yet. You can read more about the U115 and view its spec sheet within the official announcement here folks.
-Taipei-MSI today announces U115 Hybrid. The very first notebook computer in the world that is capable of operating both SSD and HDD hard drives simultaneously, combining all the features of SSD and HDD in the U115 Hybrid for your enjoyment.
With MSI Exclusive Hybrid Storage Technology, in the "ECO on" mode, the battery life of U115 Hybrid is super long *. This amazing battery life can escalate the mobility and the productiveness of the U115 Hybrid, which can also make your daily lives much more convenient.
Sony in New Zealand has just finished constructing a teaser site for an extra special VAIO series notebook they plan to release on January 9.
Sony are keeping it under tight wraps for the time being and we're not really sure what will set it apart from the rest of their VAIO range. However, Sony makes a very bold and somewhat intriguing claim on the site that it will change the way we look at laptops, forever. There's also a link running off the site that allows you to enter a draw to win one of these revolutionary new VAIOs.
Perhaps it's set to become the world's thinnest laptop or reaches a new milestone in battery life. But we can only speculate at this stage. We'll bring you more info as it comes to light folks.
You know the netbook was originally meant to be used as an ultra portable system that you could perform some basic tasks on. I can imagine developers thinking of a small 7-8" screen that had good enough graphics for document, presentation and internet browsing.
Now it seems that is not good enough for nVidia, they would like to enable high definition content on the netbook and push sizes up to 12" and beyond. This new push may soon leave Intel out as nVidia aims to push a replacement for the Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 950 in the form of its 9400M.
Things could get ugly very soon according to Cnet
Read more here.
And here's where it gets nasty: chipsets. Apple serves as a perfect example of why it may get rough and tumble and what's at stake. In the newest MacBooks, Nvidia not only seized graphics turf from Intel but took the chipset socket too. Intel was relegated to supplying only the processor. That's analogous to Nvidia snagging a piece of prime Manhattan real estate right from under Intel's nose. While Intel holds onto Times Square, Nvidia walks off with Rockefeller Center.
To put it charitably, Intel doesn't like to lose socket space. But that is exactly what Nvidia is aiming for with Netbooks.
Will Nvidia be able to convince Netbook makers like Acer and Asus to make the switch in the face of Intel's very persuasive bundling offers? (The word "persuasive" and may not be strong enough.) These vendors may not be as open-minded as Apple, which has always prided itself on a feisty independence (i.e., no one takes center stage but Apple and no Intel stickers).
Australia's APC Magazine has just been given first rights to an exclusive look at Dell's all new Inspiron Mini 12 super-slim netbook and it looks to be a beautifully constructed piece of kit.
There's no shortage of photos and details which go over all aspects of the netbook from head to toe. Some of the main features include a 12" screen (which is the largest seen in any "netbook") capable of running a resolution of 1280x800. Given the larger than usual screen size, Dell do an exceptional job of keeping to an ultra slim and almost featherweight design. The profile tapers from 24mm down to 21mm and with the three cell battery installed it only weighs 1.24Kgs.
Storage options are limited to mechanical drives only; at this stage 60 and 80GB 1.8" 4200RPM Samsung Spinpoint series drives. There's also a host of connectivity options including two mini-card slots, 3G HSDPA support and standard GSM/EDGE, WiFi and Bluetooth 2.1.
looking at the heart of the netbook, we see that Dell opt for Intel's new Silverthorne-class Atom processor (shown at the left above) and SCH-US15W chipset (more commonly referred to as Poulsbo - shown on the right above).
Poulsbo is a ground-up design which combines the Northbridge memory controller and Southbridge IO controller, integrated 3D graphics (through the GMA500 graphics core) plus HD audio and HD video (all the way to 1080p decode we're told, although external resolution peaks at 1,366 x 768 or what the boffins now say is called 'HD Minus' in an effort to make it sound more respectable).
For a further detailed rundown of the Inspiron Mini 12, head over here.
The nettop/netbook market is a growing market. It brings inexpensive, highly portable desktops and laptops to the consumer with decent power for doing most office related tasks. The problem is that even though nettop and books are very portable and have good CPUs they are severly laking in graphical power. nVidia is working on the cure for that called the Ion plaform.
The Ion is a new platform that will bring high-end graphics to the netbook market (something that is currently lacking). Ion is a single chip 9400M attached to the Atom CPU. This will allow for greatly enhanced graphics for the netbook.
Of course you have to wonder if the netbook really needs this as they are really only intended for minor office work and internet usage on the go. Not for hardcore gaming or BluRay movies (the screens are simply too small).
Hexus has more here.
Intel's Atom has been a shot-in-the-arm for the mobile space because its introduction has allowed partners to bring extremely thin-and-light notebooks (ahem, netbooks) to market at low prices. These ultra-mobile laptops have caught the public's imagination but, now, we believe, users are clamouring for more performance. It seems that both AMD (with Yukon) and NVIDIA (with ION) are in agreement on this front.
NVIDIA's solution for a do-it-all netbook takes in GeForce 9400M and builds around it. We like the basic technology, but readers must be aware that the provision of extra power- much-needed in our opinion - will come at a greater financial and spatial cost. Expect these kind of netbooks to cost £350+ and ship with larger screens, optical drives, bigger batteries and, of course, heavier weights.
Building on the success of Atom, we further believe that a significant market opportunity exits for a ~1.5kg netbook that has graphical/multimedia grunt to burn, and ION seems like a good fit, on paper at least.
It is looking like Intel is acknowledging the lack of real graphics power behind the current chipsets for the Atom CPU.
According to Digitimes they have contacted nVidia to enable support for the atom on the MCP79. If this is true it will bring a more robust graphics solution to the netbook world.
Read more here.
Nvidia's MCP79 chipset will be the first to support Atom CPUs, however the support will only apply to nettops during the initial period.
Asustek Computer, Gigabyte Technology and Micro-Star International (MSI) have said they welcome the partnership between Nvidia and Intel and believe the cooperation would give them more pricing flexibility.
Get out your heat resistant knickers, it looks like nVidia is still eyeing the netbook market and wants to muscle in on this (at the moment) Intel only playing field.
In an article at PC world nVidia says that with the growing netbook there is a space for graphically robust netbooks that can handle gaming and other high(er)-end graphics demands.
Read more here
The netbook market is growing, and it could branch out into product categories such as smartphones and multimedia netbooks that can handle graphics effectively, said Marv Burkett, the company's chief financial officer, on a webcast from the Credit Suisse annual technology conference being held in Scottsdale, Arizona.
"We're not saying we're not interested; it's a matter of how the market will evolve," Burkett said.
Most netbooks today contain Intel's Atom processor and are not capable of handling video games or multimedia effectively, said Michael Hara, vice president of investor relations at Nvidia. Netbooks offer good battery life and are good for basic programs like Web applications, but they don't have the graphics capabilities to effectively play video games or video files, he said.
It looks like MSI is gearing up to fight Asus directly on the netbook battle field. With the recent launch of the Wind U120 and now with information about two new Winds the U110 and U115.
According to UMPC portal the new pair will have some great new features including up to 250GB of storage for the U110 and hybrid storage (combination of SSD and HDD) for the U115. The two new Winds will also include Draft n Spec wireless.
Read more here
Now news is spreading that MSI will be releasing two additional netbooks some time around January. The netbooks will be the U110 and U115; I've put the interesting things in bold:
1024×600 10" screen
1.6GHz Intel Atom Z530 CPU - which is a more expensive but less power hungry chip (2w) than the Atom N270 (2.5w) which is in almost every netbook you see today
Poulsbo US15W chipset - most netbooks are using the Intel 945G. Poulsbo in combination with the Z530 CPU will make for a total chipset drain of 4.3w
Up to 250GB HDD for the U110
Toshiba is looking to drop a high performance laptop on the market soon.
To make sure they capture the enthusiast and gamers out there they are going stuff three nVidian GPUs under the hood for the world's first three GPU notebook.
The new Toshiba Qosmio X305-Q708 and X305-Q706 will feature two discreet GeForce 9800M GTS GPUs with NVIDIA SLI® technology, and a GeForce 9400M GPU. For maximum power the two 9800M GTS GPUs will run in SLI for great gaming while for maximum power savings they can be powered down and allow the 9400 to take over.
Drool after reading more here
A future member of ASUS' Eee portfolio could launch for $200, according to this report from DIGITIMES.
The company has adjusted the pricing and market positions of its entry-level and mid-range Eee PC offerings and expects, to reach the $200 milestone in 2009.
As widely expected, the company has also confirmed that it will phase out its 7 and 8.9" Eee PC offerings, replacing them with 10" iterations instead.