Posts Tagged sandy bridge
If you’ve been following along the last few days, you saw us highlight plenty of Ultrabook deals for those looking to snag a machine on the cheap for Black Friday or Cyber Monday. The deals came in many shapes and sizes and often spanned the gap between first generation (Sandy Bride) and second generation (Ivy Bridge) Ultrabooks. If you haven’t been following the Ultrabook space closely, as we have, you might be confused about the difference. This article aims to clear that up and tell you how to identify one from the other.
Continuing my Ultrabook game-testing, I wanted to highlight a game that’s free-to-play and worth a shot if you’re a fan of strategy-based games rather than twitch-based first-person shooters. The game in question is League of Legends  which is a standalone game based on the immensely popular Defense of the Ancients mod which ran within Warcraft III  and began its rise to fame in 2003. This is a multiplayer action-RPG which is highly strategic and can take some time to master. In my testing on the UX31 with Core i5 CPU, HD 3000 graphics, and 4GB of RAM, League of Legends runs flawlessly.
Lately we’ve been getting asked, “should I buy an Ultrabook now or wait for Ivy Bridge?”. Here I’d like to give my recommendation to help out those who might be ready to pull the trigger on an Ultrabook purchase.
Early in January I put forward an article which highlighted the differences between the ‘ultra low voltage’ CPUs you get in Ultrabooks and the ‘low voltage’ CPUs you get in many laptops. I gave some comparison figures for two devices in different usage scenarios by measuring ‘system’ power drain and it was only in the high-end tests where we saw the ULV processor being significantly more efficient. In this article I continue the testing and compare the LV and ULV cores directly. The results are blow.
Measuring ‘system’ drain on two different systems isn’t the most scientific of tests so a discussion broke out in the comments about how we could measure a true difference in efficiency between ULV and LV processors and whether it could be possible to run low-voltage processors at slower clockrates and get the same efficiency as a ULV processor.
The theory says ‘No.’ If you run a CPU at the same frequency but with a higher voltage, the power usage goes up.
Brad Linder of Liliputing has an article up today about the lack of Dell Netbooks on the US site. After a follow-up by Joanna Stern of The Verge, Dell has now confirmed it is dropping netbooks and, apparently, any development of notebooks on the Cedar Trail platform. The focus in 2011, according to the Dell spokesperson, is ‘Thin and Light.’
I have two thoughts. Number 1 is that the Cedar Trail platform doesn’t exactly equate to netbooks and I think there’s space for 11.6” ultralights on that platform. They would offer reasonable CPU power and with an SSD and a redesign have every chance of riding on the coat-tails of Ultrabooks to offer a very cheap and stylish thin and light solution.
The second thought, of course, is when are the Dell Ultrabooks coming?
Let me be up-front about my experience with €1600 laptops – I have none. In fact, I’ve never owned a laptop. Netbooks and ultra-mobile PCs and Tablets, yes. Since 2006 I’ve owned a number of them and tested probably hundreds through my work running UMPCPortal.com. Having ‘just enough’ processing power for my tasks in the smallest, best value package with the longest battery life possible was more important than all-out power. Because of a series of changes in the marketplace and in my own requirements though (think 720p video editing) I’m now extremely interested in something with more power. That’s why Ultrabooks caught my attention, that’s why I sold my last netbook recently and that’s why I started this blog. I also feel that many others are going to end up in the same boat as me. Intel thinks 40% of their laptops will be Ultrabooks before the end of 2012 and I can see why. It’s all about pro-sumer laptopping; Doing what you do on a desktop, in a lightweight, highly portable form factor. I call it high-dynamic-range computing.
Thanks to everyone that turned up to watch me mess about with the Samsung 900X3A yesterday evening. We spent a good 2 hours going over almost everything except Bluetooth 3+HS and USB 3.0 which we couldn’t test.
Were there any surprises? Not really. We had no issues and found no major showstoppers. The battery was hit hard during the tests though and it does highlight how easy it is to be focusing on working while forgetting that the battery might be suffering. In the 2 hours we tested, we saw 32% battery loss which is about 4hrs total battery time. Considering that we were testing gaming, 1080p YouTube videos and doing CPU and GPU tests, it’s not surprising but it goes to show that there’s quite a range of capabilities.
The other point I noted was that 1080p videos from YouTube played full-screen to a 1080p monitor worked smoothly along with 1080 samples (H.264) at 10 and 12mbps average. In fact, h.264 is handled perfectly by the hardware video decoder. The CPU barely moved!
I’m still writing up the full review of the is here.but while you’re waiting, here are three recorded sessions (recorded from the live stream so not the best quality) from last night. The first impressions post (with higher-quality overview video)
Thanks to Samsung Germany I’ve had the Samsung 900X3A (that you might know as the Samsung Series 9) for about 3 days of full use now and I’ve just done an overview video.
I’m typing this article on a 1.4Ghz Core i5 2357M device. It’s fast and efficient and representative of the type of performance that you’re going to get from Ultrabooks. It’s not quite the platform that the Asus UX21 will use when it launches though. On that you can expect one of the three new Sandy Bridge ULV (Ultra Low Voltage) CPUs that CNet highlighted today. There are two additional Core i3 parts I see too which brings the total to 8 CPU/GPUs, one of which is for embedded markets.
I don’t recall Intel saying anything about Ultrabooks having to run Windows so with the MacBook Air highly likely to get an upgrade to Sandy Bridge soon, it could quality as the first Ultrabook. The 11.6” version starts at under $1000 and it’s one of the thinnest, lightest 11.6”-ers you can get.
The latest on the Sandy Bridge upgrade comes from AppleInsider who’s source has told them that a initial production-run using the 32nm Sandy Bridge architecture is scheduled for June. Expect devices to be available soon after, obviously.