We visited Samsung and learned about their new Ultra Mobile Personal Computers (UMPC). They’re basically palm-sized computers with the power of a laptop. Their line starts with the Q1 Ultra, which runs Windows XP or Vista has a standard 80GB hard drive, a battery life of 4 ½ hours with WiFi enabled, includes a webcam, 2 USB ports and an SD Card slot, weighing only 1.5 pounds at a price of $1300 USD. There’s also the Q1 Ultra SSD, with a 32 GB solid-state drive for increased boot time and access to data. Finally, there’s the just-launched, award-winning Q1 Ultra Premium, with a powerful Intel Pentium Mobile Processor, 80GB hard drive, and a battery life up to 7.5 hours with WiFi enabled. Available at the end of the month for $1500.
New this week from Alienware is their desktop replacement laptop, the Area 51 M15x. Weighing in at only 7 pounds, with a battery life of 4 hours (and the added bonus of a second battery), and a rear cooling system, the M15x is the only 15” laptop to feature Intel’s Core 2 Extreme 2.8 gHz processor.
With a screen resolution of 1920x1080, the M15x sports true 1080p to fully exploit the binary graphics - it can switch between its NVIDIA 8800 512 mhz graphics card and its integrated Intel card, which is perfect for getting the most out of DVDs viewed on the integrated Blu-Ray player. It also has an HDMI output to enjoy those Blu-Ray movies on a big screen. Alienware’s Area 51 M15x is available at a price point of around $2200 to $2300.
We take a close look at AMD‘s recently announced “Puma” notebook platform. Puma is a tightly-knit system for notebook suppliers comprising of the chipset, CPU, GPU and wireless chipset. Similar in some ways to their Spider desktop platform, Puma takes it to the next level by allowing for a hybrid integrated and discreet graphics solution. While Intel has something similar, AMD is apparently the first to offer a dynamically switchable system, allowing your notebook to automatically switch to integrated graphics when it detects you’ve gone on battery, or to allow you to switch manually. I asked if they plan on making it automatic, based on load, which they seemed to think was a pretty great idea and relatively easy to achieve as well. What’s more, despite the fact that the integrated and discreet GPUs are chips of differing abilities and specs, they’re still able to operate in Crossfire/hybrid mode, providing an extra boost in power and achieving some very impressive framerates.
AMD shows us their reference bench system and two other identically-configured systems, the only difference between them an Intel versus AMD integrated graphics chipset. (And CPU, naturally.) With a price difference of around $25 to AMD’s favor, the AMD integrated chip actually performs considerably better in their demo, grain of salt included. The reference system shows off their hybrid processing and lets us see what framerates we might be able to hit on an entry- to mid-level hybrid Puma system.
Puma also brings about something that’s been announced with Intel as well—the ability to deactivate CPU cores and speeds, instead of just stepping down speed. This, coupled with an intelligent HD decoder will bring about several hours of additional battery life.
We take a few moments with AMD‘s Rick Bergman, General Manager of the Graphics Processing Group, about their new Spider platform—a three-tiered computing system that helps tie together and ensure compatibility between the chipset, CPU and GPU. We talk about what sort of benefits this means to the enthusiast-class consumer. We also dive into the nitty-gritty with the new Radeon, currently codenamed the R870—a dual chip design that has two separate GPU units with an internal Crossfire link and Alternate-Frame Rendering to tie them together. I also ask about some of the design challenges realized in smashing two cards together and getting an efficient, workable result. The design is impressive and the ability to link two of these cards together will come to mean a great deal of graphics processing power in the near future.
The card will be available late January and can be powered in a typical system by a 500 watt power supply; ATI has cut their power requirements for similarly powered cards in half, without sacrificing any performance.
We talk to AMD‘s Marketing VP, Pat Moorhead about the Smart House “portal” they had set up at CES. In contrast to our last post, they were much more open this time and let me ask just about any questions I asked, including questions about their roadmap and some very cool details about their new “Black” edition, incredibly overclocker-friendly CPU. We also learn more about their mobile device chipset and hear that we’ll be able to output HD content from cell phones and other mobile devices running on ATI chips within the next year or so, straight to an HDTV. Cool stuff.
We talk about the demographic reach of AMD and how AMD has its technology in hundreds of non-PC products.
Today’s tween girls are a huge market, and Merkury Innovations Fashionation line is just for them. Their iPod cases, star-shaped speakers and more come in neon and other cool colors, and many of the cases have embedded rhinestones for that bling factor.
We chat with AMD‘s Pat Moorhead, this time talking from their Smart House about their involvement in gaming systems like the Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii, and their new quad-Crossfire capable Radeon offerings.
The Motorola Q9h is a smartphone with Windows Mobile 6 and has seven dedicated keys for your most used applications, and a sensor that allows you to view what’s on your phone regardless of lighting conditions. Coming later this year.
Have a small business? Got signs and televisions in your retail space? Westinghouse wants to give you the best of both worlds with their DSB - Digital Signage in a Box. The Linux-based system integrates digital signage with television, allowing small business owners to promote and entertain at the same time.
The 1080p display is optimized to show signage that is fully customizable using only a keyboard and mouse plugged into the unit - no computer required. The ads can be programmed on a timeline of the user’s choosing and can be placed anywhere on the screen to optimize their impact.
Westinghouse will be releasing the DSB in the second quarter of this year, at a price point that is yet to be determined.
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