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COMPUTEX TAIPEI 2008 Nothing can stay hidden forever.
We are not sure exactly what the marketing folks who in charge of GIGABYTE's low-cost PC are doing but by accident we stumbled upon GIGABYTE's Atom N270 based Netbook 912 today while chatting to Microsoft in Hall 3.
Our mouths started watering at all this new hardware goodness, Microsoft got nervous and things started to go wrong.
We have known that GIGABYTE intended on producing an Eee PC challenger for many months now but getting any type of details on it proved to be like getting blood from a stone. All that doesn't matter now - we bring you an exclusive look at the convertible tablet 912 in more detail than ever seen before.
First, it's important to note that the system we played with today is by no means finished but it is close. We saw it running Vista briefly but then it crashed. After trying to get it to boot back up, it failed and then we couldn't get it to POST at all. We can confirm though that it was running a 1.6GHz Atom processor - you can see that by the picture we snapped below. We got a screenshot of another 912 running XP and as you can see the single cored Atom 1.6GHz with Hyper Threading enabled and working just fine under the older OS.
If you like specs and that type of thing, this little sub-notebook baby packs in an 8.9-inch screen rendering a maximum resolution of 1280 x 768, it gets 1GB DDR2-533 memory, 80GB of SSD goodness, 1.3MP camera, 802.11g wireless, 10/100 networking and it will first ship with Windows XP but it will be capable of running Windows Vista, if that's more your style.
It comes with a 4-cell 7.2 volt 4500mah battery and it weighs 1.2kg. After picking it up, we were surprised at how cool it was on the surface. Compared to the other solutions in the vicinity, the Netbook 912 was very cool operating considering it has been running all day during the show - the Atom and SSD inside might have had something to do with that...
Interestingly Microsoft at their booth was pushing the marketing message that "It's better with Windows". Redmond says that is the operating that customers know and trust, that's easy to use and compatible with their world (ED: is this correct?!)
We got another new Netbook coming right up which liked hiding out, too.
COMPUTEX TAIPEI 2008 We stopped by Intel this morning who had plenty of spicy hardware behind closed doors, all of which you are about to see.
We're going to kick off our coverage from the Intel hotel suite with a close up look at an Eee PC 901 from ASUS. We got a chance to play around with it briefly but weren't allowed to take any screenshots or run any sort of tests as at that stage it wasn't officially released.
Now it has been released in to the wild this morning here in Taipei, we can give you a good close-up look at it!
We have more very interesting shiny new products coming up from Intel in just a moment - stay tuned to this channel!
COMPUTEX TAIPEI 2008 With the major boost to the sub-notebook market with ASUS' release of the Eee 900 in 2008, they have to step up their game as the other sharks head in for the feeding frenzy.
The 901 brings us some newer features to the classic 900 design including the new Intel Atom processor, SSD storage up to 20GB (Linux) and 12GB (Windows XP).
One noted feature of the new Eee PC series is the super Hybrid engine concept that controls stepping of the Atom processor to increase battery life up to 7.8 hours.
The Eee PC 1000 and 1000H are the new 10-inch versions, sporting the Atom processor and SSD's of up to 40GB (Linux, Eee PC 1000) as well an 80GB standard HDD (XP, Eee PC 1000H).
The keyboard is purportedly 92% the size of a standard keyboard and the battery life has been increased using a 6-cell design that helps boost lifespan.
A quick boot comparison with the 900 and the 901 shows that the Atom is noticeably slower, which could be due to a number of factors and we hope to be able to bring you benchmarks in the near future.
ASUS still has one more ace up their sleeve with the E-stick! Essentially it's a Wii-mote for the PC... and that's it. Useful for navigation and gaming, it works just like a Wii-mote with an 8-way d-stick, 2 buttons and accelerometers to detect gestures.
ASUS brought out their CEO to speak to the assembled press and talked about developing the Eee PC as a family. They basically want everyone to have an Eee PC as a second PC in the next few years. An ambitious goal but they have show they are listening to their consumers by releasing the new models.
Also of interest is the multiple color-ways and designs available for each of the models. "Sakura", "Sweet Pea", "Urban Metropolis", "White Peony", "Pearl White" and "Fine Ebony".
More from Taiwan soon!
COMPUTEX TAIPEI 2008 We are happy to bring you a truly world exclusive of GeCube's Eee PC competitor.
We have heard rumors about it the news for a month or two but nothing official. We can tell you that GeCube was planning a 10.4-inch model that didn't go to plan and instead they are reverting to a 10.2-inch model that will be OEM'ed out too anyone interested.
Inside said system is going to reside a VIA C7-D processor running at 1.6GHz (so not the new Nano but newer models probably will), Internal 64KB - L1 & 128KB - L2 cache memory and 400MHz FSB. It will be outfitted with DDR2 533 512 MB RAM with an additional single SODIMM slot expansion to 1024MB if required.
As far as the all important screen goes, it will be capable of a resolution of 1024 x 600. An 80GB 2.5" SATA hard will be packed in along with two speakers that output Intel HD audio. Included in the mix is 10/100 Ethernet, 802.11g wireless, a triplet of USB 2.0 ports.
As far as dimensions go, it comes in at 275mm (Width) x 188mm (Height) x 32mm (Depth) and weighs in at 1.5KG. It will come with gOS installed but it also supports Windows XP if you want it.
Can it compete at the same level as the ASUS Eee PC? That remains to be seen and price will be a big factor, which we weren't told about yet but we do look forward to getting one in for some full testing.
We would have honestly preferred to see GeCube wait a little and go with either an Atom, Nano or Tegra chip but it was a race against the clock before Computex begin nevertheless we are going to pay super close attention to GeCube to see what they come out with from now on.
Following on from our extreme close up look at the MSI WIND notebook, now we check out the WIND PC desktop in as much detail or more. MSI wants you to "Ride with the Wind!" Shall we?
As far as specifications go, we can tell you that models we saw on display in Taipei this afternoon were using a new Intel CPU, 1GB DDR2-533 memory, 160GB SATA hard disk drive, Gigabit Ethernet, DVD combo drive and 65-watt power adapter.
MSI WIND PC desktops are powered by their Micro-ATX based MS-7314 Wind Board motherboard which is passively cooled with a large aluminum heatsink covering the Northbridge and CPU. The board is nothing special with normal capacitors (not Japanese made solid capacitors), two DIMM slots for a total of 2GB memory in dual channel mode, two SATA-II ports for HDD and DVD combo drive, one PCI slot which could be used for an old sound card or TV tuner and finally an IDE port which could be used for an old hard disk drive for additional storage space.
MSI was demonstrating the WIND PC playing back 720p video and it managed to do it fairly smoothly for the most part. As you can see from the pictures it was using up around 45 - 55% CPU for video playback. When asked if it is powerful enough to playback 1080p video, MSI said that WIND PC is not ready for 1080p video at the moment but didn't rule it out for newer and faster models in the future.
As far as power consumption goes, it excels with flying colors. For starters it has gained Energy Star 4.0 compliance which not many computers can claim at this stage and in the demo MSI was showing, it was using just 30 watts of power with a 1.6GHz processor - we were told that the MSI WIND PC will use no more than 35 watts. It was compared side by side with a full sized desktop PC (we didn't get the specs but we'll assume it was a gaming PC) that was chewing up a total of 242 watts of power. MSI said during its presentation that if you switched over to a WIND PC from a regular desktop computer that you could save $3900 NTD (or $134 USD) per year on electricity bill in Taiwan.
MSI had many WIND PCs on display in varying colors and styles. Take a look for yourself...
More coming up a little later!
During the MSI ECOlution press conference in Taipei this afternoon, MSI let press get up close and personal with its full line of upcoming products.
You've seen MSI's WIND notebooks pictures online before now but not in this sort of detail.
We over heard someone from MSI being asked when the WIND notebook will begin selling. Someone suggested one month but the MSI representative said that would not be quite enough time. So, I guess it is still going to be a month or so until you'll be able to buy one. MSI did give away two of these small new notebooks to a couple local Taiwanese press members and took their details for delivery later, so they couldn't be too far off.
Exact specifications on the model we saw were not disclosed but we can tell you they are the U100 model and come in a whole bunch of different colors (we saw pink, red, black and white but we are told there will be more) 10-inch models fitted with an Intel Atom CPU, DDR2-667 memory with Windows XP installed.
Anyway, we'll let the pictures do the talking and there are a whole stack of them. Go!
MSI WIND PC is up next!
In the lead up to Computex Taipei next month we are seeing things really starting to spice up from our Taiwanese computer company buddies.
Just yesterday news leaked out about MSI's ASUS Eee Box competitor featuring an Intel Atom processor as well as full pricing details for MSI's Wind PC and now today we see reports that ASUS is preparing yet another Eee PC sub-notebook with model name 901.
MSI is positioning its Eee PC competitor very aggressively in the US market at $399 and it does seem as if ASUS has acted very quickly. Blogeee.net managed to get (or be purposely given) press shots of the ASUS Eee PC 901. It is said to include a new motherboard with an Intel Atom processor presumably clocked at 1.6GHz like the Wind and it has the same screen size and other specs as the Eee PC 900.
It does have some subtle cosmetic changes such as shortcut buttons above the keyboard and the power and audio ports have been changed as well as the Kensington lock in a better position.
There are no details on exact release date yet but ASUS does have some work to do to reduce the price by $150 USD to bring it in line with the slated RRP for MSI's Wind in the US.
OCZ have been making a big push into new areas of the computing market over the past few years, moving into segments that include graphics cards, power supplies, coolers, memory cards and SSDs.
Their focus has now turned to the notebook market, and they plan to enter it in a rather interesting way. A little later this year OCZ plan to release their first Do-It-Yourself gaming notebook, whereby the buyer has more control over customizing the systems' specs with a range of components of his/her choice to better suit their requirements.
Although the shell/base notebook itself is one we've seen used by other vendors in the past, it's good to see OCZ enter the notebook market in this fashion. With a little experience under their belt I'm sure we'll be seeing some very serious and competitive models show up.
While most people know OCZ Technology as a memory company, it has recently branched out into many sector of the computing market. OCZ's portfolio has now expanded to include video cards, power supplies, memory cards and solid-state drives (SSDs).
OCZ hopes to branch out even further with the announcement of a new do-it-yourself (DIY) gaming notebook. End-users will be able to purchase the DIY notebook barebones and add components to the machine to build an entire system. OCZ venders, however, will be able to spec the notebooks however they see fit.
Attempting to cash in on the success of the ASUS Eee PC, A-DATA has announced a range of new themed flash memory devices for the highly popular Taiwanese made low-cost notebook PC.
First up is the A-DATA class 6 SDHC memory card which offers a hefty 8GB of additional storage to the Eee. It's promoted as a permanent second hard drive for the Eee with its branded color coding scheme - however, it begs question - what good it is that if you never see it installed inside the card reader? Tsk tsk tsk...
Next up is the S701 USB sliding pen drive also offering a hefty 8GB of storage. It not only color and style matches the Eee PC but it also includes support for Windows ReadyBoost which is a Vista only feature - again the questions come begging, isn't the Eee really only properly capable of running XP? Sorry for being picky A-DATA but somebody has to be.
You can read more details on both products over at the A-DATA press release which you will find right here.
ASUS Eee PC, ASUS Eee PC, ASUS Eee PC... it's all we seem to hear these days.
That is all about to change and the consumer is about to get a lot more choice in this lower cost ultra mobile notebook segment. MSI is one of many companies (Acer, GIGABYTE, ECS and GeCube are the others who will have models out in around June - July) who are busily working on Eee competitors.
Over the past month or so MSI's Wind notebook has been widely documented over the web but until down specific details and photos have been hard to come by. U100 will be MSI's first major fighter against Eee and in an exclusive internal document seen by TweakTown, it claims 6 out of 9 design specification wins against the 7" Eee PC.
Shipping in mid to late May, the U100 ships with your choice of Windows XP or Linux and will get its power from an Intel Atom 1.6GHz processor based on a motherboard using the 945GMS + ICH7M chipsets. It supports up to 2GB of DDR2 667 memory and includes an 80GB 2.5" SATA hard drive. It sports a 10" WSVGA LCD with a wide screen resolution of 1024 x 600 which MSI claims is going to be much better for web surfing compared to Eee. MSI makes notable mention of the 12" wide keyboard which should be much easier to work with compared to smaller keyboards - each letter key measures 17.5mm wide and the touch pad is 54mm wide.
You'll also get a 4-in-1 card reader, three USB 2.0 ports, GB network port, 802.11B/G wireless and Bluetooth V2.0 EDR. As far as multimedia goes, you'll get HD audio through its stereo speakers and a 1.3MP camera (0.3MP on the 8.9" model which comes later).
You get a choice between 3 cell and 6 cell batteries and with the 3 cell battery installed, the whole system weighs less than 1KG and measures 260*180*19-31.5mm.
Now, about those pictures...
Expect a full hands-on a little later next month.
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