Many PC manufacturers will be touting tablet computers at Computex 2010, but the Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Products Group at AMD, Rick Bergman, believes that the company is in no hurry to enter this market, “AMD currently is still evaluating the tablet PC market and will wait until market demand start to appear before joining.” AMD is more optimistic towards future growth in the netbook market and currently has no plans into expanding into the smartphone nor consumer electronics markets.
Bergman also noted growing competition from Nvidia. In order to keep up with the competition, AMD will continue expanding its graphics technologies and launch new products including the ATI Radeon HD 5450, 5570, and 5670 graphics cards, which will target entry-level and mainstream consumer groups. In addition, AMD has already shipped 11 million units of DirectX 11-supporting GPUs since its launch.
Instead of entering the tablet PC, smartphone, or consumer electronics markets, AMD will also focus its efforts on its netbook-based Bobcat processor, which will be released in 2011.
After a very long development process, plagued with manufacturing problems and hassles, NVIDIA finally managed to finish its first DirectX 11 capable graphics cards. And there is one thing certain: if he was alive today and understood computer hardware, nuclear physicist Enrico Fermi would be proud to have the platform named after him. The infamously long-in-development Graphics Fermi 100 (GF100) chips that started production in January this year have finally made their way onto the GeForce GTX 470 & 480 cards.
The results are incredible. They soundly destroy their closest AMD/ATI competitor, the Radeon HD 5870, and elevate the bar to an insanely high standard. The most impressive component of this card is the Tessellation Engine, and its near-linear scaling bodies allow for a practically flawless SLI setup. The 480 has 480 CUDA cores with 1536 MB of GDDR5 RAM, while the 470 has 448 cores and 1280 MB.
While this is all very impressive, one wonders if it is actually worth buying. The power consumption on the GTX 480 is an absolute disaster, after all, requiring a 600W PSU for a single card, and a minimum of a 1000W for SLI. Power users might need to consider something on the order of a 1200W PSU. And there is still no word on OpenGL 4.0 support. All this is coupled with the fact the 480 costs $500 and the 470 costs $350, meaning the HD 5870 is far from dead. The Fermi line might need some work before it becomes practical for many people to use. This card is more like the Intel Core i7 980X of graphics than anything else.
It will be out on April 12 for those who want to play Crysis while running up their energy bill.
March 2, 2010 – This day marks the dawn of the coming generation of hardware platforms. Both AMD and NVIDIA unveiled their new platforms today, meaning some exciting GPU integration for future products.
First off is AMD’s 890GX chipset. This platform is for general motherboard usage across a variety of products. However, it is poised towards the HTPC market, providing high-quality HD viewing with a not so expensive price. The 890GX delivers this using the HD 4920 GPU for integrated graphic, which is DirectX 10.1 compliant and rendering 1080p video through MPEG2, VC-1, and H.264. Also look for USB 3.0 on certain motherboards.
On NVIDIA’s side comes the long awaited Next-Generation ION with Optimus technology, formerly known as the ION 2. The next-gen ION is boasting major gains over the original ION, and NVIDIA claims it will be 10x as powerful as the integrated GPUs supplied by Intel. It will be able to provide 1080p and 3D gaming to your tiny 10.1” screen.
The ION architecture will vary between 10.1” netbooks and larger 12-inch models, with each respectively getting 8 and 16 CUDA cores. There are already 30 products lined up for release with the next-gen ION, with the first being the Acer Aspire One 532G. Look forward to summer where these products should enter the market.
This 7-inch tablet is the second Android tablet to be released by ICD. While the previous Android Vega Tablet was directed towards home use, the all-new Ultra Android Tablet is a more portable internet device. The Ultra offers capacitive and resistive touch screen technology, as well as a list of impressive specifications that including an Nvidia Tegra T20 chipset.
The Ultra offers:
- 512MB of RAM
- 512MB of ROM
- 1.3 MP Web Cam
- 4 GB Internal SD
- Micro SD
- Wireless 802.11 b/g
- USB 2.0
- Bluetooth 2.1
- FM Radio
- Dual digital microphones
- 3.5mm Audio Jack
In addition, the device utilizes an ambient light sensor and accelerometer, which maximizes the web browsing and video playback experience offered by the ICD Ultra tablet. Its 186 x 158 x 18 mm frame also makes the Ultra a worthy competitor of similar tablets like the JooJoo.
Image Via SlashGear
Is Google creating its own brand of netbooks? This wouldn’t be incredibly surprising, considering that netbook fever is running rampant in the technology world, but it’s still news that Google has decided to join in on the fun.
Michael Arrington, TechCrunch CEO, claims that more than one reliable source has revealed Google to be currently working with manufacturers to create a list of netbook specifications. The exact details of what Google’s netbook will contain are still a mystery, but it is speculated that the netbook will veer from the traditional and incorporate the new Nvidia Tegra graphics chip along with an ARM Processor.
The most exciting revelation is that Google will be selling their netbook and smartphone creations directly to consumers. That’s right – there might be a Google store popping up in your neighborhood in the near future.
After experiencing some problems with Intel’s Core i5 and i7 processors, which Apple currently uses in iMac desktops, the company may drop the processors altogether. Rumors are circulating that Apple will choose to stop purchasing the Intel Core i5 and i7 due to crashes and DOAs that have occurred while in use.
So what will happen next? Apple could switch over to Arrandale processors, but cannot do this until the chips are customized to their liking. If this occurs, Nvidia and ATI would be given a momentous opportunity to work with Apple. It is also possible that Intel will scramble to serve Apple with customized i5 and i7’s in order to prevent losing one of their largest customers. After all, isn’t the customer always right?
We hope you still have money left after Black Friday, because for the hefty price of $1700, you’ll be able to get your hands on the upcoming ASUS G51J 3D which claims to bring “real 3D” to laptops. Using NVIDIA’s 3D vision technology, the G51J is already able to play over 400 games.
The system employs shutter glasses, which is supposed to outperform the Polaroid lens alternative currently used by the Acer’s Aspire 5738DG. As for the ASUS G51J, it will include a GeForce GTX 260M card which boasts 1GB of DDR memory. It’s time to start saving!
“NVIDIA® is excited about the world’s first 3D Vision notebook coming from ASUS,” said Phil Eisler, General Manager of 3D Vision business unit at NVIDIA. “The ASUS G51J 3D notebook will set the standard by which gaming and 3D notebooks will be judged. Congratulations to ASUS for achieving this monumental milestone!”
Samsung’s Nvidia ION-powered N510 netbook is now shipping in the U.S. Only available in black so far, this netbook’s listed on Newegg for $599.99 and the offer includes free shipping.
It’s a bit on the pricey side for a netbook we agree, but you’re also getting some improvements over the European version, including 2 GB of RAM, a 250 GB hard drive, and Windows 7. (The European version of the netbook comes with 1 GB of RAM, a 160 GB hard drive, and Windows XP.) The Newegg listing also claims that the netbook comes with the Nvidia ION LE chipset rather than the originally proposed ION chipset, but this may or may not be a typo.
Q3 of fiscal year 2009, which ended on October 25, resulted in a 74% increase in profits for NVIDIA. Posted revenues amounted to $903.2 million and net income amounted to $107.6 million.
According to NVIDIA president and CEO Jen-Hsun Huang, the company “continued to make progress in the third quarter with healthy market demand across the board.” In the fourth quarter, NVIDIA expects revenues to increase by 2% from the third quarter and to have a gross margin fo 40-42%.
In time for the holidays, Acer has created a monster laptop, four times the weight of a run-of-the-mill netbook. The weight is worth it when you consider the potential to play World of Warcraft at mind-numbing resolutions anywhere you go. And the weight is literally worth it when you consider the price – starting at $1350 on Newegg, the AS8940G-6865 falls neatly into line with Acer’s usual highly competitive pricing.
For your $1350 and willingness to haul a 10-pound laptop with you, you will receive in turn the new Intel® Core™ i7 Quad-Core 720QM processor, 4 GB of RAM, a 500 GB hard drive, and an NVIDIA GeForce GTS 250M, all manifesting themselves across a glorious 18.4 inch HD screen. Also features Windows 7 and Blu-ray capabilities. Spinal support not included.
The ION 2 is designed for more platforms than the original ION processor, meaning notebooks and desktops – not just netbooks – are in the headlights this time around.
Nvidia execs confirmed that our good friend the Atom will be joined by other processors, including the Celeron, Core 2, and Pentium families in support by the Nvidia chipset. HD video improvement will be the first likely result of the release.
The ION 2 could also be much faster than the Nvidia ION, afford more shading effects, use less power, and smaller in general. Sounds pretty good so far – if the price tag is reasonable, Nvidia could be looking forward to an enjoyable holiday season.
As prices drop in the PC market due to competition by netbooks, the demand for netbooks has been a tremendous boon for the rest of the tech sector. Chip stocks seem to have felt the greatest effect so far.
Gartner recently reported that the worst of the recession may have passed for PC makers. With netbook projections initially set at 21 million, Gartner raised the number to 25 million for 2009.
iSupply analyst Len Jelinek has corroborated Gartner’s findings in an email to TheStreet:
“Intel with its Atom processor is definitely increasing sales and is poised to continue growth as they drive technology and performance with their next generation technology.”
Nvidia and Adobe had announced a committment to bring rich web experiences to netbooks through their all-new Open Screen Project. The project is designed to boost the capabilities of Flash Player 10.1 using Nvidia GPUs. Development of Flash through Nvidia could have a beneficial impact on netbooks, especially considering the extent to which Nvidia chipsets have already appeared in netbooks.
Dan Vivoli, senior VP of Nvidia, explained that “Consumers want the best Internet experience – whether it’s a mobile device in their pocket or a netbook at the coffee shop,” and “[Nvidia’s] engineers have worked closely with Adobe to make this a reality.” This will most likely mean smoother viewing experiences of flash platforms using SD and HD video via Nvidia GeForce, Ion, and Tegra GPUs.
Nvidia has a new netbook prototype in the works – the Mobinnova N910. The new netbook could see price points as low as $200.
It rocks a Tegra processor, more powerful than the Intel Atom we’re so used to. You can be confident that streamed HD video won’t be a slideshow with this setup, though the screen is a mere 8.9 inches.
Along with the smaller screen comes, unfortunately, a small keyboard – perhaps around 75% of full size. The touchpad is a little strange as well, with left and right clicks underneath the pad.
However, the Mobinnova N910 will include USB and HDMI ports, a hinged battery, Wi-Fi and 3G support.
The Point of View Mobii ION 230 might be an eyesore, but it’s not all for show. The new netbook pushes the competition just a bit by running the NVIDIA Ion platform with an Atom N230 CPU, which is usually reserved for nettops.
It comes with an upgradeable 1 GB of RAM and a 160 GB hard drive. One major flaw is a smaller battery, but Point of View claims the netbook can handle 1080p video, DirectX 10, and support for Shader Model 4.0. Unfortunately, its 10.2-inch 1024 x 600 pixel screen is unlikely to exploit that capability to its fullest.
The machine will likely still lag in graphics-intensive games, but this is surely a step up. Point of View reminds us that an affordable gaming netbook isn’t impossible after all – we just need to put a little energy in it.
The Mobii ION 230 will soon be available in Europe in three colors – red, green, and black – for €349 ($495). US release dates, if they exist at all, are thus far unknown.
Quite recently, there were rumors that NVIDIA would be selling netbooks under its own brands. Sorry NVIDIA fans, but it turns out that these rumors are not coming to reality anytime soon. The company says that it has no imminent plans to sell any netbooks.
Early in June, NVIDIA launched its Tegra “system-on-a-chip” package, which is supposed to improve audio and video performance in small tech devices. The Tegra package includes an 800 MHz ARM processor, audio processor, high-def video processor, imaging processor, and ultralow-power GeForce GPU.
While Nvidia has no plans to sell its own netbooks, Mobinnova is rumored to be releasing a Tegra-powered netbook in the future. This netbook, called élan, will weigh less than two pounds and offer between five and ten hours of high-def video playback.
People are starting to accept that netbooks aren’t DVD players (with a few exceptions), but it would still be nice if netbooks didn’t struggle with YouTube or Hulu. Nvidia has heard the market’s complaints and come out with a new system-on-a-chip named Tegra, set to boost netbook video immensely.
Mike Rayfield of Nvidia’s GPU described the new Tegra chip as “basically a full motherboard on a PCB (printed circuit board) the size of a pack of gum.”
At Computex 2009, Nvidia said that Foxconn, Wistron, Pegatron and Mobinnova are all planning Tegra netbooks by the end of this year. The new chip will need to compete with Intel’s Atom, the Qualcomm Snapdragon, and the VIA Nano if it hopes to get a chunk of the 21 million netbook sales expected this year.
Tegra is basically an 800 MHz ARM CPU, an HD video processor, an imaging processor, GeForce GPU and an audio processor. Nvidia says they can be used independently or in sync, while keeping battery life long. Power efficiency is going to be a strong focus with the Tegra, so much so that Rayfield says that “with Tegra you can get 120 times longer battery life while listening to music than with the Atom processor and about 10 times more than Snapdragon.”
While comparisons may be tempting, the Tegra family is quite different from the Ion, according to Dean McCarron of Mercury Research.
“Ion is a chipset that pairs graphics capabilities with an Intel Atom CPU… Tegra takes the graphics core and combines it with a CPU that is not an x-86 class.”
Regardless of all the hype surrounding the Tegra, it’s possible that manufacturers won’t bite. “In the netbook market, their chances with Tegra are not great,” said McCarron. “So it is possible that we could see them emphasizing Tegra-based devices in geographies such as China that are more receptive to non x-86 architecture.”
Chinese PC manufacturer Lenovo is offering a netbook (the IdeaPad S12) that will operate on the Nvidia Ion chip. Essentially, this computer chip is a combination of the Intel Atom chip and a Nvidia 9400m graphics unit. Examples of this the S12’s performance capabilities include 1080p video and accelerated h.264 and Blu-ray playback.
Other tech specs of the Lenovo S12 netbook include 1 GB of RAM, a 160 GB hard drive, a 4-in-1 card reader, and an ExpressCard slot for 3G expandability. The S12 also comes with a 3-cell battery, which can be upgraded to a 6-cell battery.
The Lenovo S12 will have a 12″ screen and have a price tag of roughly $450-$500. The unit is rumored to start selling in July 2009.
Nvidia’s CEO, Jen-Hsun Huang, has complained that Intel has an unfair pricing structure for its computer chips. Nvidia complains that Acer, Asus, HP, and Dell netbooks all ship with an Intel Atom processor and 945GSE chipset, but larger-sized netbooks that are powered by a combination of Intel computer chips wouldn’t be as good at supporting high-quality media content.
Nvidia believes that the Intel Atom is a solid computer chip, but isn’t as fond of the Intel graphics chips. Nvidia thus plans on producing graphics chips that are compatible with the Intel Atom.
While Huang believes that the pricing structure of Intel is “unfair,” Intel spokesman Bill Clader states that netbook makers are able to purchase chips from whatever manufacturers they want and that the Intel Atom chip can be bought either separately or with other chips. (Purchasing the set of chips would be cheaper though.) As of now, Huang has no legal action planned.
Image from ExtremeGaming.
HD video is a much-coveted asset that laptop users enjoy but many netbook users imagine they’ve sacrificed in their selection of a cheaper machine. The Intel Atom N270 doesn’t support it, so until now that’s been the end of the story.
However, in recent history, the Intel Atom N280 has been announced to support 720p HD video. In addition, NVIDIA’s Ion platform bundles an Atom with its own GPU for an astonishing result: full 1080p video. The Dell Mini 10 netbook will even use 720p HD video with its TV tuner and possible DVD drive.
But Intel and NVIDIA won’t get all of the fun for long. The latest and most promising announcement affecting HD on netbooks comes from VIA Technologies, which has developed a new Media System Processor named the VX855. The new processor will be able to decode 1080p video with multiple standards, including “H.264, MPEG-2/4, DivX and WMV9.”
VIA says the VX855 MSP will be ideal for netbooks, for which its TDP of 2.3W will ensure efficient power usage. It will support all the leading operating systems – even Windows 7.
The VIA VX855 will also have the ability to work in fanless designs. It uses VIA Chrome9 with DirectX 9 to offer high performance graphics. The product also supports up to eight channels of HD audio and up to six USBs.
It will be exciting to see how the VX855 is integrated into new netbook releases, so we’ll keep our eyes peeled.