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MSI makes AMD-laden GX60 gaming laptop official with A10 heart, Radeon HD 7970M graphics

September 26th, 2012

MSI makes AMD-laden GX60 gaming laptop official with A10 heart, Radeon HD 7970M graphics

We can’t say that there’s a huge cross-section of buyers who want a gaming laptop but refuse to touch Intel components. Whatever the size, MSI likely has that group sewn up with the official unveiling of the GX60 following a stealth appearance at Computex. The 15.6-inch portable is built as showcase for AMD’s latest mobile technology: it revolves around a 2.3GHz, quad-core A10-4600M processor using the Piledriver architecture as well as a Radeon HD 7970M to feed its 1080p screen at full speed. Thankfully, the PC is more than just a marketing vehicle and carries some of the gamer-tuned parts that we’ve seen in other MSI rigs, such as dual SSDs in a RAID stripe, a low-lag Killer networking chipset and a heavy-duty SteelSeries keyboard. Buying a GX60 may prove to be the real obstacle — in keeping with most MSI introductions, there’s no mention of a price or ship date, and none of the usual suspects have it in stock as of this writing.

SOURCE via MSI

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HP announces Envy m4 thin-and-light, along with two slimmed-down Sleekbooks

September 20th, 2012

HP announces Envy m4 thin-and-light, along with two slimmed-down Sleekbooks

Remember the Pavilion m6? It was one of many, many lightweight laptops HP announced last spring. To recap, it didn’t technically fit Intel’s Ultrabook specifications, but it was still quite thin, and offered features not normally found on ultraportables — things like discrete graphics and a subwoofer. In any case, HP is expanding that particular line: it just announced the Envy m4, a 14-inch companion to the 15-inch m6 that went on sale this summer.

HP announces Envy m4 thin-and-light, along with two slimmed-down Sleekbooks

Like the m6, it has an aluminum design, along with Beats Audio and a subwoofer. Spec-wise, it’ll be offered with Core i3 and i5 processors, up to 8GB of RAM and either a solid-state drive or up to 1TB of HDD storage. The display resolution is fixed at 1,366 x 768 — typical for mid-range laptops. (Note: only one configuration will be available in the US, though additional variants will be offered in other countries.) Intel Wireless Display is standard, and the battery promises up to eight hours of runtime. It also has a fingerprint reader, which you can use with HP’s SimplePass technology to log into the PC and as well as websites.

HP announces Envy m4 thin-and-light, along with two slimmed-down Sleekbooks

Meanwhile, HP added two models to its growing line of Sleekbooks (read: thin-and-light laptops that for whatever reason don’t meet Intel’s Ultrabook requirements). These new models include the Pavilion Sleekbook 14 and 15, which look like the company’s entry-level G series, but are significantly trimmer. The laptops, available in black and red, will be offered with Ivy Bridge chips, optional discrete graphics, 1080p displays, up to 8GB of RAM and up to 1TB of HDD storage. In both cases, the battery life is said to max out at six hours — less than the m4 or most Ultrabooks, but still decent.

HP announces Envy m4 thin-and-light, along with two slimmed-down Sleekbooks

Last thing — and this really is apropos of nothing — HP also mentioned in its press release that the existing 11-inch Pavilion dm1 will be offered with an HSPA+ radio capable of running on T-Mobile’s network. HP says it will offer up to 200MB of free data per month, for two years. That deal is effective next month, on October 26th.

The Envy m4 will start at $900 while the Pavilion Sleekbook 14 and 15 will go for $500 and $560, respectively. These, too, will arrive on the 26th, the day Windows 8 launches.

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HP announces 15-inch Spectre XT TouchSmart Ultrabook, Envy 4 Ultrabook with touch

September 1st, 2012

HP announces 15-inch Spectre XT TouchSmart Ultrabook, Envy 4 Ultrabook with touch

If you thought laptop / tablet mashups were trendy, we can think of at least one other theme you’re going to see repeated ad nauseam over the coming months: PC makers putting touchscreens on things that didn’t used to have them. That’s right, in addition to all those funky-looking hybrids, you’re going to see lots of familiar-looking laptops get upgraded with touch in time for the Windows 8 launch. Exhibit A: HP, which just announced two conventional notebooks with touch. This includes a finger-friendly version of the 14-inch Envy 4 Ultrabook, as well as the Spectre XT TouchSmart Ultrabook, a 15-inch version of the Spectre XT announced earlier this year. Both will be available during the holiday season.

Starting with that Spectre XT, this is the same aluminum-and-magnesium design introduced on the 13-inch XT, right down to that soft-touch bottom. Aside from being bigger, though, it also steps up to a 1080p IPS touchscreen, making this the first time HP’s used a 1,920 x 1,080 display on one of its Ultrabooks. It’s also relatively thin, at 17.9mm and 4.77 pounds — an impressive feat given that Intel requires Ultrabooks this size to be no thicker than 22mm (and that’s without factoring in touch-enabled machines, which are allowed to be a bit thicker). On the inside, it runs Ivy Bridge processors and can be configured with either solid-storage or a hybrid hard drive paired with a 32GB SSD.

HP announces 15-inch Spectre XT TouchSmart Ultrabook, Envy 4 Ultrabook with touch

As you can imagine, that larger footprint means the Spectre XT TouchSmart has room for more ports than its little brother: take a tour around the device you’ll find an Ethernet jack, two USB 3.0 ports, one USB 2.0 socket, a memory card reader, a 3.5mm headphone port and a Kensington lock slot. Incidentally, too, it’s the first HP system to have a Thunderbolt port. Software-wise, it comes with a two-year subscription to Norton antivirus software as well as full copies of Adobe Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements. It comes with a generous two-year warranty, too, but only if you buy it through HP Direct.

Moving on to the Envy TouchSmart Ultrabook 4 (how’s that for a mouthful?) this has the same exact industrial design as the current Envy Ultrabooks and Sleekbooks, except the touchscreen adds a little heft (it weighs 4.77 pounds and measures 23mm thick). For the unfamiliar, though, this has a similar interior to the Spectre XT TouchSmart, but the chassis has some plastic bits, and the screen resolution is a mediocre 1,366 x 768. That makes sense, given that this is supposed to be more of a mid-range machine, but it’s worth noting you can configure this with higher-end specs like a 2GB AMD GPU (sorry, we don’t know the exact card yet). Either way, the system comes standard with Beats Audio and a subwoofer, so we expect the sound quality should be decent for a mid-tier system.

The 15-inch Spectre XT TouchSmart will be available sometime in December starting at $1,400.

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Second generation Razer Blade laptop sharpens its edge with GTX 660M, unannounced Core i7 CPU

September 1st, 2012

Second generation Razer Blade laptop sharpens its edge with GTX 660M, unannounced Core i7 CPU

The 17-inch behemoths that call themselves gaming notebooks are traditionally quite large, trading extreme performance for substantial bulk. These machines routinely flirt with double digit weigh-ins, and flaunt meaty 1.5-plus inch bezels. They represent a unwieldy reality in portable power that most gamers have learned to expect. Not Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan, however — he’s still chasing the dream: thin, powerful and sleek. Tan caught up with us this week to brief us on the next generation Razer Blade, a rig that still boldly claims to be the “world’s first true gaming laptop.”

Razer’s first laptop hit shelves earlier this year, packing a 2.8GHz Core i7-2650M CPU and a GeForce GT 555M GPU into a svelte 0.8-inch aluminum shell. Tan explained that the rig’s attractive hull hadn’t changed much, but its internals sure have. “The Blade was our first laptop, and we’ve taken feedback really seriously since then,” the CEO told us. “We’ve been listing to gamers and made a chart of all the pros to keep, and all the cons to address. Every single one of them.” That chart eventually mapped out the refreshed rig’s internals, which include an unannounced Core i7 processor, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M graphics, 8GB of 1600MHz DDR3 RAM, a 500GB 7200RPM hard drive and 64GB of fast-booting solid state storage. All this comes in the same aluminum shell as the first Blade, of course, sporting a 17.3-inch high definition display and the firm’s exclusive multitouch LCD Switchblade interface. Tan says the new build addresses some of our own complaints too, noting that the sticky hinge that plagued our review unit has been tweaked to bend to a lighter touch. The machine’s internal speakers have been upgraded as well, and are said to be 250% louder with no distortion.

The new Blade’s sharpened specs will come with a price cut, ringing in at a penny under $2,500 — and gamers who picked up its predecessor (which will be getting its own price cut, to $2,299), we were told, can snag one for $500 less. Pre-orders are slated to start on September 2nd, and should ship within 30 days. The new laptop is being unveiled for the first time at PAX Prime this weekend.

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ASUS Zenbook Prime faces teardown, affords a little expansion in an even smaller space

August 17th, 2012

ASUS Zenbook Prime faces teardown, affords a little expansion in an even smaller space

We often assume that Ultrabooks scarcely have any room to budge on the inside, and that’s usually true. An iFixit teardown of ASUS’ Zenbook Prime has proven that there’s always an exception to the rule. Looking at a UX32VD with the same base layout as the UX31 we reviewed, the repair outlet finds that the upgraded Zenbook has both embedded and removable RAM: provided owners are still willing to perform some surgery, they can upgrade past the 4GB of included memory on their own terms. The repair team is a bit dismayed that there’s a 5,400RPM hard drive spinning near the mini SSD — how very 2011 — but notes that it’s equally swappable by those who want something faster. Whatever you think of the fully pieced-together ASUS PC, it’s apparent there’s a reward for those willing to take it apart.

SOURCE via iFixit

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Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Carbon Ultrabook gets official: on sale August 21st for $1,399 and up

August 13th, 2012

Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 Carbon Ultrabook gets official: on sale August 21st for $1,399 and up

Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Carbon has been a known entity since May, when the company gave us a look at the 14-inch, Ivy Bridge-packing Ultrabook. Up until now, though, the successor to the ThinkPad X1 remained somewhat shrouded in mystery, with no pricing or specific availability information to its name. But no more — Lenovo’s just raised the official curtain on the Carbon, announcing a pricing scheme of $1,399 and up and targeting an on-sale date of August 21st at Lenovo.com. The entry-level model will run a 1.7GHz Core i5-3317U CPU with 4GB, and it includes a 128GB SSD and Intel’s HD integrated graphics. Like on the ThinkPad X1, 3G connectivity will be an optional feature. Head past the break for more info on the business-centric Ultrabook.

A $1,499 configuration has 1.8GHz Core i5 CPU and a 128GB SSD, while the $1,649 model includes the same processor but 256GB of solid-state storage. The top-of-the-line configuration offers a 2GHz Core i7 chipset for $1,849.

In addition to getting Ivy Bridge processors, the laptop steps up from the ThinkPad X1 with a higher-res 1,600 x 900 display (versus 1,366 x 768), and though its panel is an inch larger, the Carbon still weighs 0.7 pounds less and is 0.13 inches thinner than the original X1 (3 pounds and 0.71 inches versus 3.7 pounds and 0.84 inches). And if the name isn’t a giveaway, Lenovo crafted this Ultrabook with a carbon fiber shell.

The company is marketing the ThinkPad X1 Carbon as the lightest business Ultrabook, and it included Intel’s vPro management technology and BIOS locker to give the machine some corporate cred. Lenovo also stocked the Carbon with its RapidCharge utility, which can juice up the laptop’s 45Wh battery to 80-percent capacity in 30 minutes. Speaking of the battery, Lenovo rates the system for up to 6.3 hours of runtime.

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Corning and Samsung plan LCD glass plant in China, may toughen up a few laptop screens

August 1st, 2012

Corning and Samsung plan LCD glass plant in China, may toughen up a few laptop screens

Corning and Samsung were the best of friends well before even the Lotus Glass deal, but the relationship just got a little cozier. The two have agreed to build a plant in China’s industry-heavy Wuxi New District focused on making glass to cover LCD panels in laptops and desktop displays. The roughly $600 million factory will be a major production hub for Samsung, not just an expansion: it’s planning to stop some of its glass production in South Korea and send that work to the new facility when it opens. There won’t even be signatures on the agreement until sometime later this year, so the plant itself is still a distant prospect — but while the two haven’t outlined their exact strategy, the new plant may be the ticket to toughening up that future Series 9 laptop with a touch of Gorilla Glass.

SOURCE via Reuters

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NEC’s LaVie Z Ultrabook has definitely lost weight: just 875 grams and priced from $1,600 in Japan

July 4th, 2012

NEC's LaVie Z Ultrabook has definitely lost weight: just 875 grams and priced from $1,600 in Japan

No one complained when we reported NEC’s initial claimed weight of 999 grams (2.2 pounds) for its LaVie Z Ultrabook, but it turns out that statistic is brutally unfair. The 13.3-inch laptop actually tips the scales at just 875 grams (1.9 pounds) thanks to the magnesium lithium alloy used in its 0.59-inch chassis — not bad when you consider that there are still 1.3kg netbooks wandering the planet. Of course, in line with Intel’s official Ultrabook spec, you’re getting a minimum Core i5-3317U processor (yes, that’s Ivy Bridge) and 128GB SSD, plus USB 3.0, SDXC slot, HDMI out and a claimed battery life of 8.1 hours. There’s no word on US pricing yet, but that base spec will set you back ¥130,000 ($1,600) in Japan, while the top model with Core i7-3517U and 256GB SSD will add another ¥30,000 ($375) to your bill.

SOURCE via NEC

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Acer Aspire Timeline Ultra M5 Ultrabooks with Kepler graphics coming to the US for $680-plus

June 22nd, 2012

Acer Aspire Timeline Ultra M5 Ultrabooks with Kepler graphics coming to the US for $680-plus

Acer’s new Aspire Timeline Ultra M5 laptops were spotted at Computex earlier this month, and though we already knew some key specs (Nvidia’s Kepler-based graphics, for example), these Ultrabooks hadn’t yet been announced for the US market. Today that has changes, as Acer has just revealed full specs and pricing details for those in the states.

The Aspire Timeline Ultra M5, available with 14- and 15-inch screens, lives up to its Ultrabook classification with a 0.81-inch thick profile and up to eight hours of battery life. As we noted previously, the M5 maintains some of the Aspire M3′s design cues, including the chiclet keyboard, 1366 x 768 display and thin silhouette. At the same time, it ups the premium quotient with aluminum alloy done up in a brushed-metal finish. All models include a DVD drive and 500GB of storage plus a 20GB SSD.

Acer Aspire Timeline Ultra M5 Ultrabooks with Kepler graphics coming to the US for $680-plus

The base configuration will feature a second-gen (read: Sandy Bridge) Intel processor clocked at 1.5GHz, but higher-level options step up to an Ivy Bridge CPU clocked as high as 2.6GHz. The 14-inch version weighs 4.3 pounds and starts at $680 with Intel HD Graphics 4000 but is also available with an NVIDIA GeForce GT640M LE GPU for $780. The $830 15.6-inch M5 features an edge-to-edge screen, along with that same NVIDIA chip, but it weighs a heftier 5.07 pounds. The Aspire Timeline Ultra M5 Series will ship at the end of June.

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Toughbook goes Ivy Bridge with 10-inch magnesium CF-19

June 20th, 2012

Toughbook goes Ivy Bridge with 10-inch magnesium CF-19

One thing we haven’t seen too much of from the ongoing Ivy Bridge onslaught, is rugged notebooks. Sure, there was that Durabook from last week, but not much else — and we all know the big name in indestructible laptops is Panasonic’s Toughbook line. Luckily, for those of you with jobs or hobbies that tend to involve dust storms and head-on collisions, the CF-19 is on the way with a 3.3GHz Core i5 under its 10.1-inch hood. The €2,950 (roughly, $3,727), convertible notebook has an optional touchscreen, 500GB hard drive, SSD options for the drop prone, as well as lone USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports. If you’re a truly mobile warrior, there’s even an HSPA+ upgrade available for the wireless card. Basically it’s the Toughbook 19 we’ve all grown to know and love, but with some nice Intel upgrades on the inside. The updated rugged lappy should start shipping in Europe this July, but we’re still waiting on availability info for the US.

SOURCE via Electronista

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