Who said Apple’s event was all about the little things? Apple just unveiled its first redesign to its iMac desktop in three years. The new all-in-one makes the widely expected leap to Intel’s Ivy Bridge Core i5 and Core i7 processors, but also represents a much leaner and meaner replacement for the 2009-era template — its edges are just 5mm thick, and it’s constructed with “friction stir welding” as well as a gapless, less reflective display that’s laminated together with the glass. Screen sizes remain the same and include both a 21.5-inch, 1080p model and a 27-inch, 2,560 x 1,400 model — sorry, no Retina displays this year. They share 720p-capable front cameras with dual mics as well as NVIDIA’s GeForce 600-era graphics, up to 32GB of RAM and a panoply of storage options that peak at 3TB of spinning storage, a 768GB SSD or what Apple calls a Fusion Drive that mixes both 128GB of flash with 1TB or 3TB of conventional storage (a hybrid drive, for those of us who’ve seen it before). There’s no optical drive unless you plug in a USB option.
The 21.5-inch model ships in November, and will set you back $1,299 for a 2.7GHz Core i5, 8GB of RAM and a 1TB hard drive; pony up for the 27-inch model at $1,799 and you’ll get a 2.9GHz Core i5 as well as the same memory and storage. Apple’s larger iMac doesn’t ship until December, however, which will give some impulse buyers at least a brief respite.
The arrival of Windows 8 is a good excuse for the PC industry to flood the market with so much hardware, consumers will be blinded by so much choice. Acer’s jabbing its digits into your eyes with its new lineup of low-end desktops for the casual user. The ME micro towers will take an Intel Core i5 or I7, 2TB HDDs and up to 16GB of RAM. If you don’t have anywhere else to stash your smartphone, the chassis comes with a recess desk on top with a USB port for easy charging. Those looking for something a little less demanding can pick up an XC desktop, a space-saving unit that will take an Intel Core i3, a 1TB HDD and up to 6GB of RAM. Prices for the ME begin at $700, while the cheaper XCs will set you back a much more modest $400.
ASUS TAICHI 21 and VivoBook X202 go up for US pre-orders, spoil the party a bit early (update: VivoTab RT, too)
Just because ASUS has planned a grand October 23rd event to outline its US Windows 8 lineup doesn’t mean we can’t get an advance peek. Pre-orders have officially kicked off for at least two touchscreen PCs that also give us a very good feeling for the hardware we’ll see at our doors. The dual-screened TAICHI 21 is naturally the star of the show, but it will cost you: a base version of the 11.6-inch hybrid with a 1.7GHz Core i5, 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD starts at $1,300, while an uprated model with a 1.9GHz Core i7 and a 256GB SSD will set early adopters back by $1,600. We’d say the VivoBook X202 is more likely to get some purchases sight-unseen at $600 for an entry laptop with an 11.6-inch touchscreen, a 1.8GHz Core i3, 4GB of RAM and a conventional 500GB hard drive. Both of the systems should arrive in tandem with Windows 8′s October 26th launch and compound the traffic jams for couriers and retailers on what could be a very busy day.
HP has been very eager to take the Envy line in an Ultrabook direction, leaving performance hounds a bit wanting. Much to their (and our) relief, the full-fat Envy 15, Envy 17, and Envy 17 3D have all made the leap to Intel’s latest round of Ivy Bridge processors. Along with the 2.3GHz to 2.7GHz quad Core i7 chips we all know and love, the Envy 15 and regular 17 can get a dual 2.5GHz Core i5 to keep the price slightly closer to Earth. All of them ship with an equally upgraded AMD Radeon HD 7850M to give games that extra jolt of energy, and you won’t find one with less than 6GB of RAM and a 750GB hard drive. Should you like the Envy’s current formula and just wish it had that much more oomph, you can pay a post-discount $1,100, $1,250 or $1,530 to bring one to your door.
We saw a lot of things back at CES, and from the PC makers, it was mainly new Ultrabooks. Samsung, however, did present a pair of “regular” notebooks, and it looks like they’re just about to stretch their legs in the UK. The Series 5 550P is available in 15- and 17-inch varieties, sporting 1366 x 768 and 1600 x 900 displays respectively. Calling the shots will be quad-core Ivy Bridge Core i7 chips supported by 8GB of RAM. Graphics are dished up by a 2GB GeForce GT 650M, and there’s a Blu-ray optical drive plus capacity for up to 2TB of storage. Like the Series 7, sound is handled by integrated JBL speakers complete with “Max Bass Boost” subwoofer — crikey! Lower specification models will also be available (swapping the Blu-ray for DVD, and using shared graphics) when they hit UK stores this month.
While they may not be the Sony ultrabooks we’re still all itching to see, the company’s E Series 14P laptops have reappeared with some Ivy Bridge bones. According to Sony Australia, the previously Intel Core i3 processor has been bulked up to a third-generation 2.1GHz Core i7-3612QM, capable of 3.1GHz with Turbo Boost. That’s not the only difference, with the 14-inch display boosted to 1600 x 900 and a new choice between AMD’S Radeon HD 7670M or Intel’s HD Graphics 4000 to provide the graphical horse power in the updated hardware. The aluminum-splashed laptops, priced at $1,500 AUD (around $1,608 USD), will still house Sony’s Gesture Control functions. This should allow you to navigate around websites and media playback with some arm flailing — provided you’re using Microsoft perennials like Internet Explorer 9 and Windows Media Player. These updated specs are tinged with some (minor) bad news; it looks like the pink iteration won’t be getting the same improvements seen on the black and white models. Regardless, monochrome fans can hit up the source for all the new details.
You don’t have to be a marketing skeptic to agree that “Ultrabook” is a somewhat hyperbolic term for a class of devices designed a little thinner, a little lighter and maybe a little quicker than those notebooks that have come before. From a pure hardware standpoint there’s nothing particularly “ultra” about them when compared to a standard Wintel lappytop, but manufacturers are, thankfully, using this as an opportunity to raise their game on another front that’s becoming increasingly important in the world of portable computing: aesthetics.
Compared to clunky laptops of yore, many Ultrabooks mark a truly massive step forward when it comes to purity of design and Dell is showing some impressive chops with the new XPS 13. But, when you’re buckled in to coach class and it’s time to get to work, looks are less important than having a solid laptop that performs. Does the new XPS have the brawn to match its beauty? Let’s find out.
Breaking new ground in the nearly nonexistent market of “hardcore gaming tablets” with renders is interesting, but there’s nothing quite grasping something tangible. Razer’s project Fiona, for example, is something to grasp — sporting twin joystick handles on either side, it begs to be held. We couldn’t help but oblige, and dropped by Razer’s CES booth for a few minutes with the bold Windows 8 slab. Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan gave us the skinny — read on get it yourself.
The recently announced Acer Aspire S3 Ultrabook is now available with a solid state drive (SSD) and energy-efficient second-generation Intel Core i7 processor power. This new breed of ultra-light-weight PCs are just half-an-inch thin and weigh about 3 pounds. New technology lets them power on instantly and connect to the Web in seconds. Available this week at several retailers including Amazon, NewEgg, TigerDirect and BestBuy.com, the Core i7 version of the Aspire S3 Ultrabook retails for $1299 (Core i5 versions begin at $899).
AMD fans have endured a long wait for this, while being reduced to spectators as Intel spews out an ever-increasing horde of Sandy Bridge variants and builds up the hype around its next-gen Ivy Bridge architecture. But the new FX series of processors is finally here and will be available to buy in the next few days, with the top-end FX-8150 priced at $245 in exchange for eight cores, a 3.6GHz base clock speed and easy over-clocking to 4.8GHz using the packaged Overdrive software. Your AM3+ motherboard is crying out for the upgrade, but don’t succumb until you’ve clicked past the break — we’ve got details of the full range and pricing, our initial impressions and an eyes-on video that includes a detailed chat with the guys from AMD.
Of all the “TV-like” all-in-one PCs we’ve seen, this Toshiba is perhaps the most convincing. Something about its glossy black, consumer electronic packaging and Onkyo soundbar just screams (tiny) HDTV. But, behind that 23-inch 1080p, multitouch panel is a Windows 7 PC powered by a Core i5 or i7 and 4GB of RAM. You also get a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, a 1TB hard drive, a DVD drive and a lone USB 3.0 port. There’s also an HDMI in jack for use with a game console or cable box — not bad for the oddly specific starting price of $957. When the DX735 starts shipping exclusively from Best Buy on October 2nd you’ll also have the option of adding on a TV tuner for a truly all-in-one entertainment solution. Check out the gallery below, as well as the PR after the break.
We’d handled ASUS’ UX21 back at Computex, but we’d never gotten up close and personal with its larger brother, the UX31 — until now. We spotted the 13.3-inch aluminum beaut just chilling at the Ultrabook pavilion at Intel Developer Forum. With the same 0.67-inch profile as its smaller sibling, that larger footprint means it’s naturally a bit heavier (2.9 pounds), yet it’s available with the same Core i5 (or optional i7) innards. Expect more when the duo goes on sale later this month, but for now take a peek at our hand-on video after the break.
The 1982 Lockheed Sea Shadow may be rusting away in Suisun Bay, but its Commie-spooking contours haven’t been forgotten. They apparently inspired the design of the Asus G74SX-A1, which just won a HotHardware recommendation for its cheese-eschewing looks as well as its performance, efficient cooling and realistic $1749 price tag. For once, the Core i7-2360QM CPU coupled with a GeForce GTX 560M and generous 12GB dollop of DDR-1333 RAM actually conspired to surpass the manufacturer’s 3DMark benchmark claims. It wasn’t flawless though: overall computing performance was middling compared to rivals; the speakers were shoddy when it came to producing music rather than explosions; and the 17.3-inch Full HD display was slightly wasted on some games that only ran smoothly with high quality settings at 1280×720. Still, all this naval talkmakes us fancy some Silent Hunter 4 — and that should play just fine. Check out source link lurking below for the full review.
It’s sad to say, but most of you who are going back to school have probably already returned by now — though if you’re in class right this moment you should probably be paying attention. If you managed to get back to campus without bringing a new laptop along, you might just want to keep reading — Sony’s just released a 15.5-inch addition to its VAIO S Series that not only adds a crucial bit of extra display acreage, but also bumps things up to a full 1080p.
Yes, this is a laptop that can not only be configured with a Blu-ray drive but has enough pixels to do the resulting footage justice, meaning it could make a passable player for movie night. But, does it have the chops to do your workload justice? Is it worth the $1,000 minimum asking price, at least a $100 premium over Sony’s 13-inch models? Join us as we find out.
One of Samsung’s Series 7 laptops was outed not long ago, but that PC was made for fragging, while the rest in this line of laptops is meant for more pedestrian purposes. The new members of the family come sheathed in the same silver aluminum skin, but sport a smaller 300-nit, 1600 x 900 matte display in both 15.6-inch and 14-inch versions. Those displays are surrounded by a minimalist bezel, which allowed Samsung to stuff a 14-inch panel into a 13-inch chassis. Around the sides, there are two USB 3.0 ports (and one of the 2.0 variety), Gigabit Ethernet and HDMI and VGA sockets (the latter requires an included dongle a la the Series 9).
On the inside, users can get up to a Core i7-2675QM CPU clocked at 2.2GHz, up to 8GB of RAM, Radeon HD 6750M graphics and a 750GB HDD spinning at 7,200RPM. On all but the base model, there’s an additional 8GB of flash memory mounted on the motherboard that helps shave boot times down to mere seconds using Sammy’s FastStart technology. A lithium polymer battery powers everything, and Samsung claims the 80Wh cell will maintain 80 percent of its original capacity for up to 1,500 charges. Prices start at $1,000, and run all the way up to $1,300 for all the fixins’. Sound good? Head on past the break for some hands-on impressions.
Remember that Qosmio F750 glasses-free 3D laptop we got our greasy paws all over back in early July? Well, it seems like it’s gotten minor moniker makeover for its US debut, and is now the F755. Thankfully, the news doesn’t end with a new name — we’ve got a price and release date for this parallax-packing lappietoo! On August 16th you’ll be able to pick up Toshiba’s latest 15.6-inch media machine starting at $1,699. The notebook will hit Fry’s, Best Buy, and Newegg all on the same day, sporting the same Core i7 processor, 6GB of RAM, 750GB hard disk, Blu-ray drive, and GeForce GT 540M GPU. Sadly, it won’t be able to convert 2D games to 3D out of the box, but Toshiba is working with Nvidia to deliver that feature by November. Now you’ll just have to bide your time till this 8-pound, “portable” 3D rig starts shipping in about two weeks.