Archive for June, 2012

Ultrabooks Boost Laptop Sales

According to an NPD report, Ultrabooks are selling well in some segments of the US market. In the Jan-May 2012 period they helped push an increase in sales of the $700 + segment and comprised nearly 11% of that part of the market.Month-on-month growth seems to be strong too.

700 segment growth

Soure: NPD

Overall the $700 segment represents  14% of the laptop market but profit per unit and profit margins are generally higher so it’s an important figure.

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Poll: Would You Use Smart Connect on an Ultrabook?

Intel’s ‘Smart Connect‘ function is an optional Ultrabook feature that allows a computer to wake from sleep to connect to a WiFi network and update application data. Intel has been pushing this as a great ability which will help you to “stay current with automatic, no-wait updates to your e-mail, social networks, news, and more”. While that all sounds great, I can’t think of any scenario where it would actually be useful, especially given today’s landscape of applications that run from the cloud anyway. So we’re putting it to the readers, step inside and give us your thoughts on Smart Connect.

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XPS 14 Brings Ivy Bridge and Discrete Graphics to Dell's Ultrabook Lineup, Claims 11 Hour Battery Life

Unlike the “new” XPS 13 which we warned you about the other day, Dell’s XPS 14 Ultrabook actually is new and starts at $1099 for the base model with a 1600×900 display. Dell says it’ll last for 11 hours on a charge. Four configurations are offered, all of which are Ivy Bridge, and range from Core i5 with integrated graphics to Core i7 with discrete graphics. Step inside and we’ll break it down.

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Ivy Bridge Core i3 CPU introduced. Available in Lenovo U410

i3Were you wondering when the low-end Ivy Bridge Ultrabooks would start to appear? Right about now is the answer.

Intel have launched the Core i3-3217U. There’s no Turbo Boost but it comes with a handy 1.8Ghz base clockrate.

The Core i3-3217U also comes with all the Intel Quick Sync Video and HD4000 goodness you’d expect from an Ultrabook and together it forms a huge improvement over the 2nd Gen Core i3 option which was only clocking at 1.3 or 1.4Ghz. In fact, in long-term high-power scenarios, there may not be any difference between the Core i3 and Core i5. Take the Samsung Series 9 under battery power for example. The Core i5 CPU is locked at 1.8Ghz max in this mode – exactly what the Core i3 would deliver.

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Latest Ultrabooks at Amazon.com this week.

Three new Ultrabooks have appeared at Amazon US in the last week. The Lenovo U310, Lenovo U410 and Acer Aspire S5

3 ultrabooks

Starting with the Acer Aspire S5-391 you can pre-order for $1399.99. [Amazon link] It sounds expensive but as is often the case, the high-end version is being made available first. Core i7-3517U at 1.9-3.0Ghz with 4GB RAM and a healthy 256GB SSD. Be aware though that the screen is 1366×768. At this price it could be a difficult sell don’t you think?

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Mod your ASUS UX32VD from Hybrid, to SSD, for Free!

A user in the Notebookreview forums has posted a method to split the SSD from the HDD in the  ASUS UX32VD – making it an even more interesting purchase!

ASUS_Zenbook_UX32_02-800

ASUS have used a standalone Sandisk i100 SSD soldered on the mainboard as the cache in the ASUS UX32VD rather than an integrated SSD/hard drive and as it appears as a separate disk it’s possible to install Windows onto it.

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Review – Samsung SE-208 Slim DVD Writer

Part of the SSD upgrade how-to yesterday required buying a new CD/DVD writer. The old LG unit I was using bit the dust during the test so after a quick online check I found a cheap one in-stock at our local electronics Shop. While I was there I spotted the Samsung Slim Portable SE-208. For just 2 Euro more, looking way better than the cheap offering next to it and having a USB HDD mode, how could we ignore it? At just 34.95 Euro (inclusive of 19% sales tax) the Se-208 is working out well. The SE-208 is currently $30.75 at Amazon USA.

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The SE-208 weighs 300gm, doesn’t require any device drivers or software with Windows 7 and is powered via USB. On the Toshiba Z830 that means just one USB3.0 connector or one USB2.0 connector. A Y-cable is provided if a single USB port isn’t enough to power the device but in-use we found it to be extremely efficient.

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Ultrabook Shopping Alert: 'New' Dell XPS 13 is Not New

Print advert from Dell showing the ‘New’ XPS 13 based on Sandy Bridge next to the New XPS 14 based on Ivy Bridge

At the beginning of June, Computex revealed to the world a flood of new Ultrabooks based on Intel’s third-generation Ivy Bridge platform. These new Ivy Bridge Ultrabooks, which must meet certain criteria to be called an Ultrabook, represent the second generation of Intel’s Ultrabook specification. Dell’s XPS 13 Ultrabook, while well received, is a first generation Ultrabook based on the previous generation Sandy Bridge platform, but this hasn’t stopped the company from branding it as ‘New’ in online and print advertisements.

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SSD Upgrade How-To: Toshiba Z830/Z835 Ultrabook

We’re happy with the Toshiba Z830 that Intel sent to us for a long-term loan. It’s a fast, lightweight and well-connected Ultrabook. We’ve already dropped in a 4GB RAM module to take it up to 6GB but there’s one more thing we can do to pimp it out – upgrade the SSD.

We contacted MyDigitalSSD with the plan and they kindly sent us a 256GB BulletProof mSATA SSD with SATA III interface. Not only are we going to see over double the usable space on our drive, we’re going to be upgrading to a drive that in theory can push 500GB/s through the bus.

 

P1100871 (1024x575)

 

This article will show you how to upgrade an existing SSD but before you start, here’s your checklist.

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Ultrabook Reference Updated

If you are looking for a primer on Ultrabooks, we’ve got just the thing for you as we’ve just finished updating three of our main reference articles.

Ultrabook reference

What’s an Ultrabook? – An overview of the Ultrabook.

Ultrabook Features Guide – Looking into some of the key features of an Ultrabooks

Ultrabook Buying Tips – Read this before you buy your Ultrabook

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