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.
Nettops have slipped a bit out of vogue, but Shuttle is keeping the flame alive for those who like their desktops tiny and hushed. The XS35V3 and XS35GTA V3 have moved on to more contemporary Cedar Trail-era, 2.13GHz Atom D2700 processors that keep the power draw to a fanless 27W, even when everything is churning at full bore. That limit might get tested with the GTA variant, which brings in Radeon HD 7410M graphics for a lift to 3D performance, but neither mini desktop will exactly make the power company beg for mercy. Either is a barebones kit with the laptop-sized hard drive, optical drive and OS left to the buyer — if you don’t get them at the same time, you’ll have only the HDMI, VGA, USB and card reader to keep you company. Europeans are currently the only ones getting a crack, where it costs €172 pre-tax ($214) for the XS35V3 and €233 ($290) to get its faster GTA cousin.
If you’ve been missing out on the graphics card wars of late, then here’s a quick rundown. AMD launched its high-end $549 Radeon HD 7970 at the end of last year, and it reigned comfortably for a few months until NVIDIA came out with the masterful GeForce GTX 680. That would have been the end of the matter, at least for this product cycle, except for one crucial factor: time. Having reached the market so much earlier, AMD has now had six months to not only tweak its drivers but also its 28nm silicon. That process has already culminated in 1GHz cards at the low- and mid-ranges, and today it leads to the (slightly predictable) announcement of a Radeon HD 7970 ‘GHz Edition’ — priced at $499 and expected to be available from a range of board makers from next week. To keep you amused in the meantime, there’s plenty of detail in the gallery below and after the break.
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.
A fresh contender for your blow-out 2012 Olympic gaming rig: AMD’s first 28nm GPU, the Radeon HD 7970. It’s scheduled to arrive on January 9th, priced at $549 — nearly $200 more than its direct ancestor, the 6970. Then again, this newcomer packs some supremely athletic specs, including a 925MHz engine clock that can be readily OC’d to 1.1GHz, 2,048 stream processors and an uncommonly muscular 384-bit memory bus serving 3GB of GDDR5. At the same time, AMD hopes to make the card more practical than the dual-processor 6990 by bringing the card’s power consumption down to less than 300W under load and a mere 3W in ‘long idle’ mode, and promising quieter cooling thanks to improved airflow and a bigger fan. We’ll have to wait for benchmarks in January before we hand out any medals, but in the meantime NVIDIA’s forthcoming 28nm Kepler GPU might want to step up its training schedule.
There’s no shortage of multitouch-friendly all-in-one desktops to choose from these days, but you can now add one more to the list: Lenovo’s new C325. This one packs a 20-inch 1600 x 900 display (also available sans multitouch in the basic configuration), along with a dual-core AMD E450 processor, integrated Radeon HD 6320 graphics, up to 8GB of RAM, a maximum 1TB hard drive, and a built-in DVD burner (no Blu-ray option, unfortunately), among other standard fare. It’s also available in your choice of black or white, with prices starting at $699. Check out the gallery below for a closer look.
Lenovo multitouch-friendly C325
The eye-catching P220 ultraportable isn’t the only system LG is showcasing at Computex — the Korean manufacturer is also gracing Intel’s booth with the V300, an all-in-one with a few tricks up its sleeve. Not only is that 23-inch display using a beautiful IPS panel (full HD), but it’s even 3D-capable and includes a touchscreen in some versions. Yes, this isn’t your father’s PC. A variety of processors are available including Intel’s Core i7 with room for up to 8 GB of DDR3 RAM. Some models are paired with AMD’s Radeon HD 6650M video card. Blu-ray is an option, and storage maxes out at 750GB. The computer takes some visual cues from Apple’s iMac (the stand), but still manages to have its own personality. The display is quite thin, and while the model we played with didn’t appear to offer the touchscreen option, it did feature a Core i5 CPU. Take a look at the gallery below, and hit the break for our hands-on video and LG’s press release.
The heaviest of heavyweights in the all-in-one field has seen another update, another batch of new internals to liven up the aging (but still classy) chassis. Apple unveiled its latest iMac refresh last week, surprising nobody with a new selection of AMD Radeon HD graphics cards, quad-core Intel Sandy Bridge processors, and solid-state storage options, all designed to do one thing: go faster.
These latest iMacs are quite naturally the speediest yet, as you’d expect, but with the right configuration they can be properly quick. Faster internals plus Thunderbolt ports on the outside turn what’s supposed to be a family-friendly and eye-catching machine into an unassuming powerhouse that might just be quick enough for professional users. There’s a more important question, though: is this $1,999 system the right choice for you?