Laptop Thoughts: News & Reviews on Laptops, Netbooks, Slates, and More.

Be sure to register in our forums and post your comments - we want to hear from you!

Android Thoughts

Loading feed...

Windows Phone Thoughts

Loading feed...

Digital Home Thoughts

Loading feed...

All posts tagged "intel"

Friday, April 13, 2012

Windows 8 Tablets to be made of Sugar and Spice or Something Nice

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Laptop Thoughts News" @ 01:00 PM

"Intel is offering more specifics on the features of future Windows 8 tablet at a conference in Beijing. It's a laudable goal, but can Intel make it happen this year? Underneath the glass will be beat an Atom Z2760 "Clover Trail" chip: dual-core capable with "burst mode" (for quick bursts of performance when needed) and Hyperthreading -- the latter allows a dual-core chip to behave in quad-core-like fashion in some cases."

If you are like me, you often sit under a tree on a great sunny day thinking, "I wonder what sort of specifications Windows 8 tablets will have!" Well, wait no longer, because Intel has published its specs on what things should be like. Some of the requirements are interesting, though I do wonder how many of them will make it into reality, and how many will find themselves quickly changed, like what happened to Ultrabooks. Of course, all these are on paper, and the real sauce will be what the actual experience will be like using a Windows 8 tablet. For that, I remain skeptical.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Intel Nikiski: An Windows 8 Ultrabook with Tablet Features

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Laptop Thoughts Talk" @ 10:00 AM

"During its CES 2012 press conference today, Intel took us on a tour of what might just be the future of the Ultrabook. That future is something the company calls ‘Nikiski’ and it’s a concept that replaces your normal trackpad, with a transparent touchpad, that can double as a gorgeous touchscreen when the Ultrabook is closed."

Pretty cool stuff maybe on the horizon! Operates as a standard notebook (ultrabook class) computer, but the transparent "full-width" touchpad functions as a mini-tablet when the computer is closed and flipped on its back. Email, calendar entries, alerts, etc; can all be handled in the tablet mode, and, when the notebook is opened, whatever is being worked on in "tiles" will be (quickly) active in notebook mode. Of course, this does require Windows 8 and Metro, and the video mentions to audience members to not even think about copying the technology, 'cause it's patented. Seems like an ideal melding of notebook and tablet to me.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Netbooks and New Intel Atom Processors: Still Here!

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Laptop Thoughts Talk" @ 09:30 AM

"Despite a recurring belief in the press that netbooks are dead, the lilliputian, low-power laptops are still selling in volume. Intel certainly isn’t giving up on the category. Today, the chipmaker announced its next-generation “Cedar Trail” Atom processor for netbooks, which promises even lower power consumption than current models, along with the ability to play 1080p video."

Intel's new Cedar Trail processors will be marketed as Atom N2600 and Atom N2800, using Intel's 32nm process. This should enable better power efficiency and allow thinner, lighter (and I assume faster) netbooks to be built. Intel says that this generation's battery run time should be around 10 hours. The new chipset(s) also enable playback of 1080p video, supports Intel's WiDi (wireless display) technology, and should allow one to stream content to a TV (additional hardware may be needed for this feature). Additional features support faster connectivity and startup. We should see netbooks from the usual suspects (minus Dell) in 2012. I still like this form factor, if the screen resolution is 1366x768 of greater, so it'll be interesting to see how this generation of netbooks is marketed.

Monday, October 31, 2011

A Q&A With Intel Canada on Sandy Bridge's QuickSync Feature

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Talk" @ 09:00 AM

Intel's second generation Core i-series processors, referred to by us geeks as "Sandy Bridge CPUs", brought with them a significant boost in overall processing power. What really got me curious though was Intel's QuickSync technology. Intel has a page on their Web site that talks about this technology, but I wanted to dig deeper so I reached out to Intel Canada and Joe Ellis, Market Development Manager for Intel Canada, responded.

DHT: A key feature in the second generation of Intel Core processors, known as Sandy Bridge CPUs in the tech circles, is the inclusion of an on-chip graphics processor. One of the benefits of this integration is Intel's Quick Sync video technology. Can you describe what Quick Sync technology is and how it works? Why is it better that a straight CPU-based video encode?

ELLIS: "Intel Quick Sync Video has often been described as "hardware acceleration" technology built into 2nd Gen Intel Core processors. This is partially correct. Traditional hardware acceleration has been enabled through software optimizations for general-purpose CPU resources otherwise shared with multiple PC functions. This approach was widely adopted with the first MMX instruction set in 1995, and resulted in much faster multimedia rendering and playback times - though often at the expense of other computing functions waiting for those same computing resources. Subsequent Intel CPU generations introduced ever more powerful instructions and architectural advancements to accelerate a variety of parallel tasks, but always using processor resources common to every task." Read more...

Monday, September 19, 2011

Potato-powered Computing ...

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Laptop Thoughts Talk" @ 05:00 PM

"Last week, Intel demonstrated a "near-threshold voltage" processor that uses so little energy that it could be powered by solar energy, kinetic energy, or even a potato."

I like the premise here, that since we're really struggling to improve batteries for devices, maybe a better approach is to get devices to need less power. Intel has displayed a new microprocessor processor (code-named Claremont), running at 10 millivolts, or about 1% of that used by today's processors (1V). Currently powered by a solar cell the size of a postage stamp, scientists think that these devices could be powered by kinetic energy from walking, solar energy, or even from a potato. They don't explain the potato charging. While this is a bit in the future, imagine how cool it would be to recharge a phone or other mobile device simply keeping it in a pocket while walking. Time to invest in potato futures?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Introducing Windows 8 Ultratablets

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Laptop Thoughts Talk" @ 12:00 AM

"This week we have warring conferences as Microsoft and Intel scheduled their developer events on top of each other. This means there are a massive number of us trying to be in two places at once, mostly unsuccessfully."

Intel and Microsoft are trying to hasten the evolution of the transportable computer by melding an ultralight laptop and a touchscreen tablet. Windows 8 aims to kick-start things on x86-based Ultratablets by running both the new Metro UI (touchy-feely) for tablet-style apps, and a traditional desktop for legacy Windows apps. ARM computers (tablets) will be limited to Metro UI style apps (no legacy Windows) at least until legacy apps are ported. In the Apple world, this is analagous to Mac OS X gaining the ability to run iOS apps, along with OS X, while iOS devices can run only iOS (not legacy OS X) apps.

Assuming that the big brains can get this all right, we'll see Ultratablets with a great touch interface (but also a keyboard), long battery life, under $1000, with the power to run any (type of) apps. So no more laptops that are great content creators but lousy content providers/consumers, or tablets that are lousy content creators but great content consumers. One device that meets all these needs, the Ultratablet - isn't this what we're all hoping for?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Asus UX31 Ultrabook: This Could Be My Next Laptop

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Asus Laptops & Netbooks" @ 10:00 AM

"We've heard the stories, but we've yet to appreciate it in the flesh until now. That's right, Pocket-lint was present and correct at the first UK showing of the Asus UX31, the company's new Ultrabook. Shown at an Intel Tweet Up in London to an unsuspecting audience, the new flagship Asus device and MacBook Air destroyer, according to some, settled in for a quiet 20 minutes with Pocket-lint."

I'm smitten...this may very well be my next laptop. The design is fantastic, the specs are right in line with what I'm looking for (256 MB SSD, Core i7 CPU) and, best of all, the 13.3" screen will come with a 1600 x 900 option. FINALLY someone doing something other than 1366 x 768! Assuming the price point is around $1500 (give or take) and the reviews are good, this is the laptop I'll be buying this fall. More photos here as well.

LAPTOP's Toshiba Portege Z830 Hands-On

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Toshiba Laptops & Netbooks" @ 09:39 AM

"We caught up with the 13-inch system in the IDF Ultrabook Pavillion, where it was being used to demonstrate Intel's new Pair and Share media streaming technology. We didn't get a chance to do any real work on the demo model, but we were struck by the system's sleek, business-first looks and its svelte 2.45-pound, 0.63-inch thick design."

It doesn't have the same "WOW" factor as the Asus UX31, but it's got all the right stuff on the inside (no mention of CPU though). I'm super excited about these Ultrabooks, but I'm a bit irked that in typical Windows OEM fashion, we're being shown things we can't buy for months. Apple has the right approach: announce something and have it on store shelves soon. Don't lose the buying impulse by making people wait months and months...

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Intel Adds $300 Million to Ultrabook Fund

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Other Laptops & Netbooks" @ 09:00 PM

"My desktop isn't the only computer I plan to replace in the next few months. I need a new laptop too, and my goal is simple: to find a 13" MacBook Air that isn't made by Apple. It turns out that I'm not the only one wanting this mythical non-Apple MacBook Air. Intel wants them too—it calls them Ultrabooks. The chip company has been kicking the Ultrabook idea around for a few months now, and it has grand ambitions: by the end of next year, it wants 40 percent of PC laptops to be Ultrabooks."

Intel has grown increasingly frustrated with the inability of PC OEMs to build a laptop that can seriously compete with Apple's MacBook Air, so they've created an Ultrabook fund with a cool $300 million to start. Money aside, the author then goes on a bit of a rant about how Apple can't seem to get some of their hardware right - in his estimation. To summarize: keyboards stink, a trackpoint is needed (a la ThinkPad), Bootcamp is lazy and driver support is lacking. I'd agree that the Apple keyboard could use PG UP and PG DN keys, like Apple's full-sized keyboard, but a trackpoint screams 1995 to me. As for Bootcamp, it meets my rather simple needs for Windows. With all the new ultrabooks coming out, I'd say that there are already some serious competitors in the Windows space.

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Intel Ultrabook Gets Backed by Money

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Laptop Thoughts News" @ 01:00 PM

"At this year's Computex Intel announced a "new" category of notebook computer designed to further blur the lines between traditional notebooks and tablets: the Ultrabook. Requirements for an Ultrabook are straightforward: it needs to be thin and light, it needs to have an SSD and it needs to be available at less than $1000. Think MacBook Air, but for all manufacturers."

The $300 million fund may help drive more interest in the Ultrabook spec, but I am not really sure how it will help. Companies are already seeking to achieve the same coolness factor that the MacBook Air, or Samsung Series 9 have. Those that currently do not have something comparable offer basic laptops at half the cost, or are investing their energies into the hot tablet market. If it catches on though, I suspect that there will be an increase in manilla folder sales.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Intel Based Honeycomb Tablet on the way from Acer

Posted by Craig Horlacher in "Android News" @ 11:00 AM

"Taiwan-based notebook brand vendor Acer is set to launch a tablet PC featuring the Intel Oak Trail platform and Google Android 3.0 operating system with the device already going under mass production by Compal Electronics and will start selling in July at the latest, according to sources from upstream component players."

There you have it! Acer has a 10" Android Honeycomb tablet coming, probably in July. While this is not the first Android tablet with an Intel processor, I think that would be the Cisco Cius, it is the first one running Honeycomb that I'm aware of. Since the architecture is different than the ARM architecture used by all other Android devices there would be some compatibility issues to work through that would probably involve recompiling the Android kernel and who knows what bugs could come up. Let's hope Acer worked out all the kinks and the tablet works just like a ARM Honeycomb tablet. Since Android uses Java which is supposed to be platform independent there is a good chance that with a recompiled JVM it should be able to run all the current Android apps - without the actual apps being recompiled. It think it's good Intel is finally going to start challenge ARM. This could help innovation and prices! Will you be waiting for an Acer Honeycomb tablet?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Not Enough Tablets to Choose From? Don't Worry, Here Come More from Intel!

Posted by Craig Horlacher in "Android News" @ 11:30 AM

"For all its processing might, Intel is a non-player in the booming tablet space. Consumers, no longer trapped in the WinTel PC juggernaut, are increasingly opting for devices running software experiences optimized for more power efficient ARM processors. Intel hopes to break back into the market it once dominated with the release of "more than ten new tablets" at Computex later this month."

The tablet world is exploding and Intel wants in on the action! Back in Pocket PC days Intel used to make StrongARM mobile processors (actually bought it from DEC) and then replaced that line with the XScale line. Of course there were the Tablet PCs as well. Really though, Intel don't have a lot of experience with low-power high-performance processors, especially when it comes to graphics and everything being done with mobile devices now. Who knows, Intel may come up with just the right CPU for your tablet needs. Intel expects to have their chipsets (probably including an Intel CPU) in more than 35 tablets shipping by the end of the year - that's crazy! I love all the shapes and sizes of tablets available and, as always, I'm glad to see more competition entering the market. What do you think? Will you hold out for a tablet with an Intel inside?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Intel's "Ivy Bridge" Gives Moore's Law a Lifeline

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Laptop Thoughts News" @ 11:00 PM

"SANTA CLARA, Calif., May 4, 2011 - Intel Corporation today announced a significant breakthrough in the evolution of the transistor, the microscopic building block of modern electronics. For the first time since the invention of silicon transistors over 50 years ago, transistors using a three-dimensional structure will be put into high-volume manufacturing. Intel will introduce a revolutionary 3-D transistor design called Tri-Gate, first disclosed by Intel in 2002, into high-volume manufacturing at the 22-nanometer (nm) node in an Intel chip codenamed "Ivy Bridge." A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter."

"Moore's Law is a forecast for the pace of silicon technology development that states that roughly every 2 years transistor density will double, while increasing functionality and performance and decreasing costs. It has become the basic business model for the semiconductor industry for more than 40 years." So, how does Intel ensure that Moore's Law continues to be valid? Move into a third dimension. 22-nanometers, or 22 billionths of a meter - an amazing technical accomplishment. So, just to give us an idea of how small these technologies have become, Intel states that "more than 6 million 22nm Tri-Gate transistors could fit in the period at the end of this sentence." Production availability is scheduled for the end of 2011. Do we live in interesting times, or what?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Atom Z670 Ready And Willing

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Laptop Thoughts News" @ 02:00 PM

"Built using a 45nm manufacturing process, the Z670 runs at 1.5GHz and promises to support 1080p video with the aid of Intel's GMA 600 integrated graphics, while also keeping power consumption to a minimum and allowing for smaller, thinner, and fanless devices."

Intel seems to want to move the ultraportable x86 market at a glacial pace. The Z670 is an improvement. Woo hoo! Look! It can how handle 1080p video! If that is the biggest claim it can make, I worry about how incremental we can get. Next year, a new model Atom will come out that can decode 3D 1080p video. With AMD's APUs now out in the wild, providing some real competition, the only leverage I can see Intel having is branding and possibly manufacturing capacity. And that is only if the ARM behemonth does not come up and smack the bottom out from under the market.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Intel 320 SSD Review

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Laptop Thoughts News" @ 10:30 PM

"When Intel first launched its X25-M SSD in 2008, the chip-maker helped start a new era of high-performance solid state drives with reasonable prices. However, in the last three years, Intel has only updated its mainstream SSD once, while facing stiff competition from over a dozen other players. In fact, in our most recent SSD round-up, Intel's 120GB X25-M drive trailed drives from Samsung, OCZ, and Crucial by a wide margin. Now here comes the new Intel SSD 320 ($529 for 300GB, starting at $89 for 40GB), which promises not only blazing performance but offers strong encryption."

Nice to see that high performance SSD drive prices are finally dropping (but slowly). With high performance and 128-bit AES hardware encryption (requiring a password for use), the drive is fast, but doesn't support the new SATA 6Gb/sec interface, topping out at 3Gb/sec. Intel's product line ranges in size from 40 to 600 GB, at prices from $89 to $1,069 before any discounts. Performance on various benchmarks ranged from 'middle-of-the-pack' to 'near-the-top,' depending on the test. I do like the fact that hardware encryption is standard 'out of the box.'

Friday, February 25, 2011

Evertyhing You Wanted to Know About Thunderbolt

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 01:00 PM

Simply put, Thunderbolt's a familiar-looking port, a brand-new chip, and a cord, which allows devices to pipe two data streams simultaneously -- in both directions -- over a single cable at up to 10 gigabits per second to start, primarily using PCI Express x4 for data and DisplayPort for video.

The announcement of Thunderbolt instantly reminded me about the old Firewire vs. USB battle. If you have read the comments or even the press release about Thunderbolt, you have probably seen how people are comparing Thunderbolt to Firewire, and the battle is now between USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt. There are certainly a lot of parallels but I do not know if there is a clear winner, or even if there will be one that dominates the other.

Thunderbolt definitely has more impressive specifications but will that be enough? USB has a far larger install base and is likely to remain much cheaper to implement for various peripherals. Does my mouse really need a 10Gbps lane? Will a Thunderbolt based keyboard cost more than a USB one? I personally suspect that the two will live together, with USB remaining the dominant connection type, with Thunderbolt serving the more demanding uses like external video cards, displays and hard drives. What do you think? Is Thunderbolt the future? Or do we all live in a USB world?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Intel's Lightpeak Technology is now Dubbed Thunderbolt

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home News" @ 02:10 PM

"Intel Corporation today announced the availability of ThunderboltTM technology, a new high-speed PC connection technology that brings together high-speed data transfer and high-definition (HD) display on to a single cable. Running at 10Gbps, Thunderbolt technology can transfer a full-length HD movie in less than 30 seconds. This Intel-developed technology is coming to market through a technical collaboration with Apple, and is available first on Apple's new line of MacBook Pro laptop computers."

One of the key technologies revealed today in Apple's line of refreshed Macbook Pros is Thunderbolt. I knew it was based on Lightpeak, but when I saw Apple calling it Thunderbolt I was concerned it was going to be an Apple-only term, and we were about to enter into an era where every laptop OEM would have their own term for the technology: "No, no, this isn't Thunderbolt, it's ULTRABOLT!" Turns out that's not the case: Thunderbolt is the new name for Lightpeak, and it will be used by all the OEMs. That's good news. What do you think about the name? It's an unusual name for a technology when compared to the likes of USB 3.0 and SATA; it's more in line with Firewire. Regardless, Thunderbolt is here to stay and offers some compelling features (more on that later).

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

MeeGo Gets Demoed by Intel

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Laptop Thoughts Software" @ 05:00 PM

"MeeGo is designed to be a mobile OS that can be used across a wide variety of devices. Cars, netbooks, smartphones, tablets and even TVs are supposed to be built around the totally open OS. Intel hopes that MeeGo will be the truly open alternative to Android. It's a lofty goal to say the least." open OS that seems to pick up a lot from the philosophy of the Windows Phone 7 UI. While this is certainly interesting I think the fact that Nokia (who was a partner with Intel on this) seems to be pulling the plug on Maemo in favor of Microsoft's offerings going forward would seem to suggest that there might not be room in the market for a second open OS.

Tags: software, intel, meego

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Intel's Sandy Bridge Architecture: Great Performance and Battery Life In Notebooks

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Laptop Thoughts News" @ 09:30 PM,2838.html

"Today's desktop replacements deliver a ridiculous amount of performance compared to the mobile flagships we've seen in the past. But these powerhouses come with a trade-off, other than their hefty price tags. You see, there is an unbreakable relationship between compute horsepower and power consumption."

A very detailed report on processor architecture, this story provides scads of information on Intel's latest moves to stay ahead of AMD in their never-ending competition. Some highlights: Intel's naming scheme of Core i7, Core i5 and Core i3 corresponds to good, better, and best; Mobile and Desktop processors now can be nearly equivalent in performance; Top Intel processors are expensive; In benchmarks, Sandy Bridge beats Arrandale, Clarksfield and Clarkdale across a gamut of tests; Sandy Bridge-based chips use less power than older platforms. Last but not least, tom's hardware recommends that if you're looking for a full-sized notebook, wait for one based on Sandy Bridge: you'll get better performance and a substantial increase in battery life.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Intel Identifies Serious Chipset Error on Sandy Bridge Support Chip, Halts Shipment

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Laptop Thoughts News" @ 12:00 PM

"This morning, Intel announced it had detected a serious error in one of the support chips that ships with its 2nd Generation Core Series CPUs (aka Sandy Bridge), and has stopped shipment of the affected chipsets while it manufactures new versions of the chip for shipment to customers in late February. The company expects full volume recovery in April and, accordingly adjusted its revenue projections lower by about $300 million. Due to the delays in shipping the chipset, OEMs may also choose to delay shipping some or all of the their new Sandy Bridge notebooks, though none of the notebook vendors has commented yet."

Given the incredibly complexity of the technology we use today, it's somewhat surprising problems don't happen more often - but Intel is certainly doing the right thing in jumping on this issue before it impacts the wider public. It seems the lessons they learned from the Pentium floating point bug back in the '90s haven't been forgotten.

Reviews & Articles

Loading feed...


Loading feed...

Reviews & Articles

Loading feed...


Loading feed...

Reviews & Articles

Loading feed...


Loading feed...

Reviews & Articles

Loading feed...


Loading feed...

Reviews & Articles

Loading feed...


Loading feed...

Sponsored links