For being tucked inside a case that's just 1.3 inches thick, the specs for Shuttle's new XS35, debuting at next week's CeBIT expo, aren't half-bad.
Laptops & Desktops
John Morris and Sean Portnoy deliver straight talk about notebook and desktop computers.
Sean Portnoy started his tech writing career at ZDNet nearly a decade ago. He then spent several years as an editor at Computer Shopper magazine, most recently serving as online executive editor. He received a B.A. from Brown University and an M.A. from the University of Southern California.
<p>John Morris is a former executive editor at CNET Networks and senior editor at PC Magazine. He now works for a private investment firm, which may at any time invest in companies whose products are discussed in this blog, and no disclosure of securities transactions will be made. No investment advice is offered in this blog. All duties are disclaimed.</p>
Nvidia's first Fermi-based GPUs, the GeForce GTX 480 and GTX 470, will finally be available starting March 26. How will they stack up AMD's ATI Radeon 5800 series?
Nvidia designed its Ion platform to provide netbooks with the graphic boost that they lacked from their Intel integrated graphics. Nvidia has Ion 2 ready to go even though systems with first-generation Ion graphics just recently hit the market.
While it's fun to benchmark the latest Intel "Extreme" processor and hear about the performance tweaks that have been implemented over the previous iteration, the fact is that most buyers can't afford to drop $1,000 on a CPU, or even $200-$300 for its still-powerful but more affordable siblings.
If you're not a notebook fanatic, you may not be aware of the Clevo brand, though you may be familiar with its laptops if you purchase a system from Sager or Prostar (which merely rebrand Clevo machines). You'll have to go the boutique vendor (like AVADirect, Malibal, XoticPC) to get hold of a Clevo au naturel, but if you're a hardcore gamer, you might want to track down the just released X8100.
Forget the gods being crazy: I might be a little nuts thinking Shuttle has an odd promotional tie-in with the upcoming remake of Clash of the Titans. It's releasing limited editions of its new J Series small-form-factor desktop and X50 V2 all-in-one PC with designs based on the movie.
Intel may own the present, but AMD believes the future belongs to Fusion. At a recent conference AMD provided the first glimpse of its first Fusion APU slated to ship in 2011.
The Windows 7 budget laptop onslaught continues, this time courtesy of MSI, which has launched four new systems that all run Windows 7 Home Premium. One of them even includes a Blu-ray reader/DVD writer combo drive for under $700.
Asus kicked off the netbook craze about 18 months ago with its original Eee PC, and now the line has graduated to Windows 7 and a multi-touch, swiveling screen that turns the T101MT into a tablet PC. The T91 was the first Eee PC that worked as a convertible tablet, but it had a smaller 8.
Nvidia's Ion graphics solution for netbooks provides the extra video power that's lacking from Intel's current Atom processor. It can handle Direct X graphics as well as 1080p "full" HD.
In the same week that it introduced its new switchable graphics mobile platform Optimus, Nvidia revealed that it's mulling an external graphics solution to boost the graphics capabilities of laptops. An Nvidia exec told X-bit Labs that it was a "big opportunity," but that the company hadn't decided if it would take the form of an adapter or a GPU docking station.
They get scorn for selling systems that costs thousands, but even in this "great recession" many boutique PC builders have done a lot better than you might expect. Digital Storm has one of the best reputations among this clique (which includes Falcon Northwest, Maingear, and several others), and with its new Black|Ops desktop series, it's promising extreme performance starting at a relatively modest price.
Other than iMacs, I'm not sure that all-in-one PC designs are actually big sellers. Nonetheless, companies like HP and Dell keep cranking them out.
The ever-busy Asus has recently been releasing gaming laptops in the sweet spot around $1,500you don't pay thousands extra for multiple graphics cards and/or Intel Core 2 Extreme processors, but you can still play Crysis, albeit with some settings turned down. The latest entry in the company's lineup is the G73JH-X1, now available for $1,549.
Along with Nvidia's announcement today that it's upgraded its Hybrid SLI switchable graphics mobile solution to the company's new Optimus technology, Asus has disclosed the first five laptops that will support the graphics platform, ranging from thin-and-lights to bigger, more multimedia-friendly machines.The UL50VF-A1 (pictured above) is the one that's making the rounds of reviewers, including PC Magazine and Laptop Magazine.