Friday, November 23, 2007

Blu-ray Drives in Notebook PC's, A Brief Timeline

August’ 06: Sony introduced Blu-ray drives in notebook PC’s. The breakthrough model comes from VAIO AR series.

December’ 06: Dual layer Blu-ray discs are out that can hold up to 50GB of data. XPS M1710 is the first model from Dell to come out with a Blu-ray drive.

January’ 07:
Broadcom announced a first of its kind System-on-a-Chip solution that allows for support of Blu-ray as well as HD-DVD format. Acer also offers Blu-ray drive on Aspire 9810 model.

June’ 07: Broadcom announced the availability of Media PC technology in add-in card formats that permits the integration of Blu-ray technology in notebooks PC’s at an economical price. Alienware m9750 available with Blu-ray. Dell also extendeds Blu-ray capability to Inspiron 1420, 1520 and 1720 models.

August’ 07: Hitachi makes breakthrough with Blu-ray camcorders. With Blu-ray enabled high definition video cameras coming into the market, there will be a greater need of notebook pc’s that allow for high definition video editing.

September’ 07: Sony adds Blu-ray as an option to VAIO FZ series.

October’ 07: Fujitsu announces LifeBook N6460 with Blu-ray drive.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Cheap Laptops: Is It Time For An Old Dream Coming True?

Desperate for a portable PC and short of funds, perhaps you’ve been eyeing on cheap laptop deals for quite sometime now.

Here, we are listing a number of must-read articles that give you plenty of insight and advice before you finally make that move. Don’t act in ignorance.

Cheap As Chips
This is quite an informative article that was published in The Sydney Morning Herald’s Digital Life section. The article classifies a cheap laptop as anything under $500 currently and introduces you to a few models and options that are available within this maximum price limit. While the article also covers cheaper desktop computers, that’s towards the end of the article, it’s the ‘sub notebook’ and auction sites sections that are very helpful for those looking for advice on buying cheap laptops.

The ‘sub-notebook’ section is a mini review of ASUS Eee PC, a rather stripped version of a modern day notebook pc, and the ‘auction sites’ section describes the life cycle status of laptop pc’s that are made available through sites like eBay etc. Laptops sold on auction sites could be classified as ex-lease laptops, reconditioned laptops, resealed laptops and new laptops.

The article also touches the subject of exploiting open source software and linux operating system to keep the total cost of ownership of your notebook pc’s low.

PC Guy: A budget laptop could limit your options
In this eye-opening piece of writing, Peter Grad takes a look at how popular notebook pc brands entice customers with low cost laptop models that only pack yesterday’s technology inside.

Basically a laptop pc is as good as the computing requirements it can fulfill of yours. If you are only looking for a machine that offers a portable way of accomplishing simple everyday tasks, cheap laptop models sold by mainstream manufacturers give the permanence you are looking for. But if you have extra needs, as you may find out when you go through the article as it exemplifies the built of every component of these budget notebooks, you will find yourself stuck with a need to order a number of pricey add-ons.

10 Things To Look For In A Laptop
Erik Eckel has posted a very refined entry on the subject of what to look for in laptops when shopping around. And if someone puts in the effort to sort out the comments visitors have placed on this post, he may come up with a very meticulous list of 101 things to watch out for when buying notebook pc’s.

Make sure you measure up the cheap laptop model you are going to buy against these aspects to watch out for and come up with a decision that keeps you satisfied for a stretched period of time.

Monday, November 5, 2007

64GB SATA II SSD, Samsung Expands Its Line of Solid State Drives

The high premium that one has to pay for solid state drives, doesn’t seem to be pulling customers back from stores. It’s an endless race of new companies venturing into the market for flash based solid state storage and coming up with up-to-the-minute products.

To solidify its presence in the SDD market, Samsung has announced introduction of 64GB SSD both in 1.8” as well as 2.5” format. However the chief element of the breaking news is that these latest drives follow SATA II interface, which takes the write and read speed of solid disk drives into the next level. To be more specific, SATA II offers a sequential write speed of 100MB/s over 45MB/s available in SATA I interface, and sequential read speed of 120 MB per second over 60 MB/s available earlier on.

At the same time, the latest 64GB SSD features enhanced power saving and will only consume half of what was required earlier on in solid state drives.

While demand for SSD’s continues to grow exponentially, Samsung stays at the top front of technological innovations, delivering avant-garde solutions.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

SlimEdge Design, Fujitsu’s Innovative Notebook Display Goes Public

From now on, notebook consumers will not have to choose a single option between screen size and portability, they can merrily go for both when they buy LifeBook S6510.

The efforts of Fujitsu’s research department have given birth to a notebook model that easily stands out from the crowd owing to Fujitsu’s SlimEdge design.

The SlimEdge Desgin features Fujitsu’s exclusive skill in expanding the screen real estate of an otherwise 13.3” display notebook into a 14.1” one. That’s right, LifeBook S6510 accommodates a 303.4 x 189.6mm active display (equivalent to 14.1” screens) within the boundaries of its 316 x 235 mm outer walls (equivalent to that of 13.3” screens).

The 12.5% expansion in notebook’s display size is made possible by cutting down most of the screen’s conventional sidewalls, precisely from 12.65mm to 5.6mm. The benefits that this modest albeit challenging trick has brought for customers are fantastic. Thanks to the SlimEdge design, one can now sit back in a more relaxed way while still enjoying the advantages that come with light and portable 13.3” portable notebook. Furthermore, the screen now features a 16:10 aspect ratio, which gives enough room for users to open two horizontal windows simultaneously.

Overall, the SlimEdge design results in users enjoying more of display size without any corresponding boost in weight.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Western Digital Ships Scorpio 320GB Hard Disk Drive For Notebook PC's

While Toshiba was the first to announce a 320GB hard disk for notebook PC’s, it’s Western Digital that has actually hit the market with a 320GB disk coming from it’s Scorpio series.

Interestingly, WD is still not the first one to reach this capacity. Back in September, Alienware announced its latest model to offer 2 x 320GB hard disk capacity powered by Samsung HM320JI disk.

Irrespective of the who-landed-first debate, it’s great to hear that this much of storage capacity is now available for notebook users and from a mainstream hard drive manufacturing company.

The model number for this hard disk is WD3200BEVT; it’s 2.5” SATA with 5400 rotations per minute, and has a generous cache of 8MB. WD claims that the access time for this disk is 12ms.

Apart from the towering storage capacity, WD’s far above the ground hard drive also boasts of chic technologies that help it stay exceptionally quiet even when in action, resist damages from shocks and consume less of power. Perhaps exactly what mainstream notebook manufacturers are looking for.

In this era of multimedia computing, where consumers are using their notebook pc’s to store a lot more than regular applications and files, specially high quality images captured via latest digicams, full-length videos, TV recordings via integrated tuners etc, Scorpio 320GB would surely hit the most wanted charts.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Lenovo Y410: Knocking at the US Market

Without making any major announcement, Lenovo has been successful in securing some of the U.S. shelf space for their Y410 model.

Lenovo Y410, which has been available in the Asian market for a while, is starting to show up at U.S retailers like Staples, Office Depot etc.

Buyers have a choice of going for either a Pentium Dual-Core super economy model, priced at $700, or an impressive one that boasts of 1.66GHz Core 2 Duo and better specs when they throw in another couple of hundred dollars.

The basic hardware specs are not bad for either model. It’s a 14.1” thin and light notebook that has 1gb of pre-installed RAM, 160gb of hard disk capacity, dual layer DVD writer, wireless internet connectivity options, integrated webcam, X3100 graphics card to support DirectX 10, and last but not the least a multi-format card reader. To spice it up, the notebook comes with face recognition software for enhanced security and high quality audio with dedicated media buttons to entertain without the need for booting up first.

Let’s see if the Olympic logo helps Lenovo do great sales with the Y410.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Blu-ray: Background Article, Laptops & Notebook PC's with High Definition Video

It’s October 2007 and by launching Lifebook N6460, Fujitsu finally joins the Blu-Ray bandwagon driven by Sony and acknowledged by many other mainstream notebook manufacturers. With Blu-Ray discs outselling HD DVD, their only rival in high definition video format, with a leading ratio of 2:1 in the first three quarters of 2007, it’s no surprise that Dell, Acer, ThinkPad, ASUSTek, Alienware etc all bring forward elite notebook models that support Blu-Ray drives.

In an attempt to make Blu-ray technology more popular with the masses, Sony has recently given a face-lift to its line of VAIO notebooks. In addition to the VAIO AR Series, the series where Blu-ray drive first ever appeared in any notebook PC, Sony has also equipped VAIO FZ20 series with high definition Blu-ray drives. The VAIO FZ series consist of 15.4” notebook PC’s, are less pricey than the AR’s and more portable at a weight starting 2.8kg.

It all started back in August 2006 when Blu-ray disc drives were first integrated into notebook PC’s and hence a milestone was achieved in notebook technology. Sony was the first to ship a notebook PC that boasted of high definition Blu-ray drive. The pioneer model from the VAIO AR series, powered by NVIDIA’s PureVideo HD Technology, came equipped with Sonic’s Roxio software to burn up to an unprecedented 25GB on a single layer disk.

Apart from the gigantic size of data, Blu-ray technology also allows for exceptional picture and video quality at an astounding resolution of 1920x1080 pixels.

The coming out of Blu-ray disc drives, in the second half of 2006, also called upon software developers to design solutions that would enable consumers to make use of the high definition features. InterVideo and Ulead were among the first of the developers that worked on to fulfill this demand. InterVideo’s WinDVD offered navigational and playback solution for Blu-ray disc formats and Ulead’s DVD Movie Factory with Blu-ray support allowed easy post-production processing of high definition content.

It wasn’t until December’ 06 that dual layer Blu-ray discs, with the capacity to hold up to 50GB of high definition content, were sent out in the market by Sony. The same month also saw Dell embracing the Blu-ray technology and equipping its first notebook model with a Blu-ray drive, namely XPS M1710, the superior gaming and home entertainment platform.

Acer played it safe by announcing the availability of notebook models with not only Blu-ray drive but also the other of the cutting edge high definition formats, which is HD DVD drive. Acer incorporated Blu-ray in Aspire 9810, while offering HD-DVD format on TravelMate 8210 notebook.

The competition between two similar technologies, Blu-ray and HD DVD that fight for the status of next generation DVD standard has been termed as “War of Formats”. While this war continues, it’s not only the companies behind these technologies, namely Sony for Blu-ray and Toshiba for HD DVD, that stand mystified, but notebook users at large who can’t decide which high definition technology to go with when upgrading from older laptops.

It’s this war of formats that has lead to creation of products like Broadcom’s System-on-a-Chip solution that allows for support of Blu-ray as well as HD-DVD format. Apart from this first-of-its-kind hybrid solution for high definition content, Broadcom has also designed a solution specifically for Blu-ray that addresses the need of mainstream notebook manufacturers to offer high definition video playback capability in their systems without too much of hike in prices. The solution, available as add-in card format, makes use of Broadcom’s Media PC technology. The technology calls for lower CPU utilization, lower power consumption, while still rendering ideal high definition content.

As of now, many notebook manufacturers have integrated Blu-ray drives on their selected models. The more popular of these, and not mentioned above, are ThinkPad R61, Alienware m9750, Acer TravelMate 8215WLMi, HP Compaq 8710p, ASUS Lamborghini VX2 & W2W, as well as a few models from Dell Inspiron series. To be more precise, the Inspiron models are 1420, 1520 and 1720.