CTIA snooping is in full swing today, as the HTC EVO 3D has seen its major specs divulged courtesy of a document within the exhibition halls of the show. True to our initial scoop and subsequent spec leak, we’re looking at a 3D-capable successor to the EVO 4G, this one rocking a 1.2GHz dual-core processor (Qualcomm’s MSM8660), a 4.3-inch qHD ( 960 x 540) display, dual 5 megapixel cameras around back, and the sweet, sweet promise of 1080p video playback. That’s constrained to 720p for viewing 3D content, but there’s no denying this new Sprint smartphone’s shaping up to be yet another multimedia powerhouse. Specs of the EVO View tablet have also been snapped, marking it as indeed a Sprint rebadge of HTC’s 1.5GHz, 7-inch Flyer slate. Look for both to become official at Sprint’s presser later this week.
Nvidia dropped by today to demo some of the awesome things that the GeForce 9400M in the new MacBooks can do that Intel’s integrated graphics just can’t touch, and to discuss a few technical points. Besides confirming that you’ll see it in other notebooks soon, they definitively answered some lingering questions about the chip’s capabilities: It can support up to 8GB of RAM. It can do on-the-fly GPU switching. And it can work together with the MacBook Pro’s discrete 9600M GT. But it doesn’t do any of those things. Yet.
Since the hardware is capable of all of these things, it means that they can all be enabled by a software/firmware/driver update. Whether or not that happens is entirely up to Apple. While you can argue that Hybrid SLI—using both GPUs at once—has a limited, balls-to-the-wall utility, being able to switch between the integrated 9400M and discrete 9600M GT on the fly without logging out would obviously be enormously easier than the current setup, and allow for some more creative automatic energy preferences—discrete when plugged in, integrated on battery. Hell, you can do it in Windows on some machines.
But since it’s Apple it’s also entirely possible we’ll never see any of this to come to pass—GPU-accelerated video decoding has totally been possible with the 8600M GT in the previous-gen MacBook Pros, and well, you know where that stands. [Apple & Nvidia Coverage@Giz]
We already knew the basic details about the processor at the heart of Apple’s MacBook Air, but those itching to know exactly how Apple and Intel managed to cram everything into that oh so small package may want to head over to AnandTech, which has pieced together a fairly thorough report on the matter. As the site reports, the processor is based on Intel’s 65nm Merom architecture and packs an 800MHz bus, yet it uses the significantly smaller chip package that Intel had originally only planned to debut with the launch of its Montevina laptop platform later this year. That combination, along with the Intel 965GMS chipset with integrated graphics, allowed for a 60% reduction in total footprint size, and a TDP rating of just 20W, as opposed to 35W from the regular Core 2 Duo processor. If that’s still not enough MacBook Air minutia you, you can hit up the link below for the full rundown.
For a long time, the notion of a “gaming laptop” was a contradiction in terms. After all, everyone knew that notebooks had to compromise on features and performance to achieve maximum portability, right? And even with advances in chips that make it possible for today’s laptop PCs to outpace the desktops from 12 minutes ago, you’re still faced with awkward controls and a screen that’s too small. Am I right?
“Dude, you’ve been misinformed,” is what Toshiba would say to that. The notebooks in the company’s Satellite series are designed with gaming in mind, as the P105-S9722 shows. It sports a 17-inch widescreen LCD monitor (1,440 x 900 pixels) and some serious multimedia hardware, including an Nvidia graphics card with 256 MB of memory and dual-core processing power. We’re way beyond Pong here.
Not everything’s in the specs, though. When it’s all said and done, the P105 has one simple mission: Convince me that a laptop can serve as a primary gaming platform. After all, if you’re spending 2 Gs on a rig, it damn well better not be a “secondary” one. Let’s see how it did.
THE ESSENTIALS: TOSHIBA P105-S9722
WHO WANTS THIS
PC Gamers looking for a midpriced portable rig.
The P105 has respectable hardware and a 17-inch screen, both of which should ably handle most game demands.
The big, bright LCD will impress the moment you load your first game. Fingerprint reader is way cool — and handy!
Why is the mousepad so small and tricky?
FINAL MARK: B+
The Toshiba will more than satisfy as long as you remember it’s a laptop.
See Toshiba’s website for more details.
Turning on the Toshiba for the first time, I was greeted by a dialogue box asking me if I wanted to disable CD burning in case I wanted to record on DVD-RAM discs, obviously referring to the built-in SuperMulti drive, which can write data to any of the five recordable DVD formats floating out there. Um, awesome, but I’m not interested in burning DVDs right now, thanks. Let’s just hit Cancel. Oh, you mean that box is always going to come back to greet me every time I restart? Great. Although I’m sure there’s a way to remove it permanently, who wants to bother with this right out of the box? In fairness, this is more of a Windows problem (XP, not Vista) than a Toshiba problem, but it sure made me immediately long for my MacBook.
One way-cool perk on many of Toshiba’s Satellites is the built-in fingerprint reader to the right of the mousepad. After you set it up, it provides a nice way to speed up any logins and add security to your computer. It also has the effect of making you feel like James Bond for a few seconds. Even though it sometimes took two or three swipes to work, I’m a fan.
A bit further down my list of “noteworthies” is the Dual Mode mousepad, which adds some extra functionality via a few “virtual” buttons. They light up when you touch the pad in a specific spot and do things like call up Outlook or a turn up the volume. Three of the buttons are customizable, though they can do only simple stuff like launch applications or skip tracks in a media player. I was hoping I could make them do fancy gaming actions like switching weapons or skipping a turn (depending on which game I was playing), but not so much. Plus the pad is just kind of small — or maybe it only looked that way right next to that brightly colored sticker touting the P105’s features. Nope, it really is tiny. Strike three: the pad seemed to click things from time to time when my finger hadn’t gone anywhere the mouse button. Yeah, not a fan here.
Okay, the gaming. After a quick install of Guild Wars: Nightfall, I was ready to save the people of Elona with my party of warriors while accepting a quest… you get the idea. To fully get your war on, the Guild recommends a 2-GHz Pentium 4 processor, an Nvidia GeForce FX5700 graphics card, and a gig of RAM to play. Since the Toshiba is equipped with a pair of 2-GHz Centrino chips, an Nvidia GeForce Go 7900 GS card, and 2 GB of RAM, I think I was well covered. And with a colossal 200-GB hard drive, you’ll never run out of room for saving games.
Gameplay was as silky smooth as you’d expect from such a system. Guild Wars is an action-packed fantasy role-playing game; not only does it have a lot of elements moving at any moment, but also a fully customizable “camera” view that you can change on the fly. The P105 handled every spear throw, axe strike, and magic spell deftly. To be completely honest, when my party came to a village with dozens of online players present, there were some hiccups, but this was probably due to the speed of the network connection, not the hardware.
The only issue I had was that tiny mousepad. It could be just my style, but it was just too small and awkward to play a dynamic game like Guild Wars as effectively as I’d like. And, hey, if the monitor’s widescreen, why doesn’t the pad match its aspect ratio? Sure, you could hook up an external mouse, but then you might as well have a desktop. Whether or not this is a deal-breaker depends if you think you could get used to it. For me, it would take a while.
There’s no question the Toshiba P105-S9722 has tools to impress. It’s no Dell XPS tower, but the guts of this baby will run most anything you can throw at it — even Vista. The performance is impressive given the price tag. A big, bight screen and other perks help to make you forget it’s a laptop, although eventually you’ll run into some inherent limits of portable computers. Stil, if you need to ditch the desktop for a notebook, the P105 won’t stop trying to win you over. Given enough time, it may even succeed.
The introduction this morning by AMD of new dual-core desktop processors, including the Athlon 64 X2 6000+, and the company’s subsequent lowering of prices of existing processors, may have nearly or completely equalized the price/performance balance between AMD and Intel processors, according to an updated performance model using newly published data balanced against this morning’s average street prices for CPUs.
Last July’s introduction by Intel of Core 2 Duo processors enabled that company to effectively wrest the price/performance crown from AMD, which it had previously held for several years. In the intervening months, AMD has held a slim lead in the value segment – meaning that for about the same $100, you’d be likely to get a slightly better performing AMD-brand processor than an Intel. But Intel’s mid-range Core 2 Duo E6600 proved a better value than comparable AMD products by as much as $200.
Today, that gap may have been erased, as AMD’s introduction of the 6000+ at a suggested retail price of $464 in the original retail box (OEMs will pay less) has been followed up by a slash of $171 in the suggested retail price of the Athlon 64 X2 5200+, down to $232.
In fact, Intel’s very slight lead in price/performance over AMD based on our computer models could dissipate by the end of this week, as artificially high prices for pre-ordered 6000+ models, according to figures supplied by Froogle, will probably plummet to just above suggested retail.
Here’s the current situation: Based on recently updated performance figures from Tom’s Hardware Guide, our computer model suggests that, in an average of five benchmarks from varying categories, an Intel Core 2 Extreme X6800 processor delivers exactly twice the performance of a single-core Pentium 4 520. This remains the best performing processor tested thus far, with Intel’s Core 2 Quad QX6700 performing slightly lower overall.
AMD’s best performing processor tested thus far is its top-of-the-line Athlon FX-74 pair, which uses the company’s new Quad FX architecture. Still, there’s a performance gap, with the FX-74 performing only about 69% better than the P4 520, versus the Quad FX’s 100%.
Recent performance tests show the new 6000+ performing 69% better than the P4 520 – indeed, better overall than the midrange pair of Quad FX processors put together. The 6000+’s processor-in-a-box (PIB) price of $464 helps push the street price of its recently introduced Athlon 64 X2 5600+ down to $325.
When you bring Intel back into the picture, the nearest Intel processor in performance to the 5600+ is the E6600, now priced at $314 on average. That $9 represents the remainder of the price/performance gap between Intel and AMD for now.
Shoppers should take note of the fact that the 6000+ single dual-core CPU is a better performing processor in many categories than AMD’s own Quad FX double dual-core CPUs. That may raise some eyebrows for enthusiasts considering investing in a high-power platform. But for customers who are looking not so much for power but for the proper balance between power and performance, there’s a familiar knock on their door once again.
The high definition video market is quite a jungle, and it’s absolutely not certain that your computer is capable of playing high definition video. NVIDIA has announced a a new chip called PureVideo HD that is capable of producing great high definition end results. More information inside.
Full press release from NVIDIA:
NVIDIA Enables an Outstanding HD DVD and Blu-Ray Movie Experience With Newly Released NVIDIA PureVideo(R) HD Technology
NVIDIA is First Graphics Company to Enable Users to Build or Upgrade a PC to Play HD DVD and Blu-ray Movies
SANTA CLARA, Calif., Nov. 2 — Movie lovers can now build a PC to enjoy a spectacular HD DVD or Blu-ray experience with the release of new NVIDIA ForceWare(R) drivers featuring NVIDIA PureVideo HD technology. PureVideo HD technology combines high-definition video decodeacceleration and post-processing to deliver extraordinary picture clarity, smooth video, brilliant color, and precise image scaling for high definition movies(1). The drivers are available now from NVIDIA.com.
“This is a milestone in PC entertainment,” said Scott Vouri, general manager of multimedia at NVIDIA. “NVIDIA is proud to be the first graphics processing company in the world to make it possible for consumers to build or upgrade a PC to play HD DVD and Blu-ray movies.”
PureVideo HD technology is included with all 7-series NVIDIA GeForce graphics cards. However, there are several requirements for building or upgrading a system to enjoy protected high definition content. To enjoy the ultimate HD DVD or Blu-ray movie experience on a PC, consumers will need:
- A PCI Express graphics card with NVIDIA GeForce 7 Series HDCP-capable GPU, secure HDCP CryptoROM, and 256MB graphics memory (see list here).
- WHQL-certified NVIDIA ForceWare drivers that feature PureVideo HD technology (http://www.nvidia.com/content/drivers/drivers.asp).
- An optical disc drive that supports Blu-ray or HD DVD movie playback
Blu-ray or HD DVD movie player software from CyberLink, InterVideo, or Nero
An HDCP-compliant display.
- A dual-core CPU with 1GB of RAM PureVideo HD provides hardware acceleration for decoding H.264, VC-1, WMV, and MPEG-2 movies to display crystal clear images that have up to six times the detail of standard DVD movies. In addition, the PureVideo discrete video processing core offloads the CPU and 3D engine of complex video tasks, freeing the PC to run multiple applications simultaneously. PureVideo HD delivers the ultimate high-definition movie experience on a PC.
PureVideo HD-compliant graphics cards include required content protection circuitry (HDCP) for playing the new Blu-ray and HD DVD movies at the highest quality possible, and are directly integrated with the leading HD movie software players. For more information about building or upgrading a system to support Blu-ray or HD playback, go to:
1) As HD DVD and Blu-Ray are new formats containing new technologies, certain disc, digital connection, compatibility and/or performance issues may arise, and do not constitute defects in the product. Flawless playback on all systems is not guaranteed.