Acer Aspire S3 Ultrabook 13.3-inch – $100 off At Amazon, NewEgg

Amazon is running a $100 off promotion on the 13.3-inch Acer Aspire S3 Ultrabook (Acer Aspire S3-951-6646 S3 UltrabookAcer Aspire S3 Ultrabook at Amazon). That brings the price down to $799.99 with free shipping (check details at link).

The promotion is running through February 11, 2012, or “while supplies last”.

NewEgg has a similar price for the same S3-951-6646 model with a similar promotion, but we are not sure how long it lasts.

The promotion appears limited just to the US website and NewEgg, as the Acer Aspire S3 Ultrabook in the UK Amazon store with similar specifications still shows around the same suggested retail price.

– 1.6GHz Intel Core i5 (i5-2467M)
– 320GB SATA Hard Drive with a 20GB Solid State Drive (SSD) to allow for quick resume from sleep as well as long-term standby (up to 50 days). The SSD saves the state of the system when you put it to sleep.
– 13.3-inch LED-Backlit display, Acer’s “HD Widescreen CineCrystal” display, with a resolution of 1366×768
– 1x HDCP-compliant HDMI port for connection to displays/HDTV
– Up to 6 hours of battery life
– Bluetooth 4.0+HS

More Details: Acer Aspire S3 Ultrabook S3-951-6646

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Mac OS X Lion 10.7.1 Released, Contains Fixes for 2011 MacBook Air

Today’s release of Mac OS X Lion 10.7.1 includes fixes for the least MacBook Airs from Apple.

* Address an issue that may cause the system to become unresponsive when playing a video in Safari
* Resolve an issue that may cause system audio to stop working when using HDMI or optical audio out
* Improve the reliability of Wi-Fi connections
* Resolve an issue that prevents transfer of your data, settings, and compatible applications to a new Mac running OS X Lion
* Resolve an issue where MacBook Air may boot up when MagSafe Adapter is attached
* Resolve an issue causing intermittent display flickering on MacBook Air
* Resolve an issue that causes the SD card slot in Mac mini to run at reduced speed with SD and SDHC media

Even if you aren’t having issues with the booting with an attached MagSafe A/C adapter or the display flickering, this is a recommended update from Apple, given that it has the usual stability and compatibility updates. Article

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Intel Looking at Alternative Materials, Releasing More Ultrabook Information

DigiTimes is reporting that Intel and other companies are looking at alternative materials for ultrabooks.

Magnesium-aluminum is the preferred choice of materials for ultrabook chassis, but there are only a limited number of lathes that can handle such chassis. Two of the largest owners of such lathes, Catcher Technology and Foxconn Technology, are major suppliers for Apple, leading laptop makers into fiberglass chassis. Ultrabooks are supposed to be 0.8-inches (20.32 mm) at their thickest points.

One advantage with fiberglass is that it is cheaper, which could lead to fiberglass ultrabooks being up to $50-$100 cheaper, according to the report.

Just a day later, DigiTimes reported that Intel has supposedly revealed the Bill of Materials (BOM) for ultrabooks, with a cost of $475 – $650 USD for 21mm (0.83 inches) ultrabooks, and $493 – $710 for 18mm (0.71 inches) ultrabooks.

Intel is to meet with notebook makers in Taipei next week to discuss the ultrabook initiative, with the goal of retail prices below $1,000.

The article mentions that Intel will discuss the next geneartion of ultrabooks, slated for 2012 and using Intels’ 22nm Ivy Bridge CPUs. In 2013, they are to be using Haswell-based CPUs. Haswell is also 22nm, and is the replacement for Intel’s Sandy Bridge architecture.

Keep in mind that just because they are thin, does not mean that they don’t have larger displays. The Huron River (2011) and Chief River ultrabooks (2012) are to have displays ranging in size from 11-17 inches. The 18mm (0.71 inch) ultrabooks will have displays ranging from 11-13 inches while the 21mm (0.83 inches) models will be 21mm thick.

According to DigiTimes sources, some of tghe 18mm models include Asustek’s UX21 and UX31 ultrabooks.

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Computerworld: MacBook Airs Approach Perfection

Computerworld has put together an extensive review of the new Mid 2011 Apple MacBook Airs, both the 11-inch and 13-inch Intel Core i5 models. They feel that people in the market for a Mac laptop should look at the MBA, thanks to the new Ultra-Low-Voltage (ULV) Intel Core i5 CPUs that power both models. There is an Intel Core i7 upgrade, although the main benefits are speed and an increase in L3 cache. The move to Intel’s Sandy Bridge platform has been kind to the Macbook Airs, but Computerworld also points out that with the Thunderbolt port, the MacBook Airs increase the usability and potential market for the MacBook Airs. Thunderbolt lets you use an external display plus Thunderbolt-based stoage (much faster than USB or FireWire), and with an adapter, ethernet or FireWire.

It’s a very glowing review, with the claims of “If the MacBook Air is the future of the Mac laptop, the future is now” and “The 11-inch MacBook Air might not be the perfect computer, but it’s as close to perfect as Apple’s ever come..

Full article: Computerworld

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MacWorld Tests BTO MacBook Airs with Intel Core i7

MacWorld has taken a look at the 2011 Build-to-Order MacBook Airs that Apple released earlier this month.

The reason being, the BTO models have the option of an Intel Core i7 for both the 11-inch and 13-inch MBAs. Normally they come with ultra-low-voltage (ULV) Intel Core i5 CPUs

11-inch Standard: 1.6Ghz Intel Core i5
11-inch BTO: 1.8GHz Intel Core i7
13-inch Standard: 1.7GHz Intel Core i5
13-inch BTO: 1.8GHz Intel Core i7

As the review points out, the Core i5s that ship with both MacBook Airs already have Hyperthreading and Turbo Boost, so the main difference is clock speed and a larger L3 cache.

To upgrade the 11-inch, it costs $150 USD. 13-inch? $100.

The big differences on the 11-inch MBA: Parallels WorldBench (for Parallels Desktop VM software) saw a 25% increase, and Cinebench, iTunes encoding, Pages ’09 importing, and zipping a 4GB file saw right around a 20% increase. Keep in mind that both models use flash memory for their hard drives – the same as what you see Solid State Drives (SSD).

With the 13-inch MacBook Air, the differences are not nearly as much – Parallels WorldBench saw a 10% increase, and unzipping a 4GB file saw a 21% increase in performance. Otherwise everything else was very low.

Graphics wise, there isn’t much difference – the mid 2010 MacBook Airs had dedicated NVIDIA graphics chipsets and the new Intel HD Graphics 3000 didn’t perform much better. The CPU upgrades in the mid 2011 models were clearly the main difference.

Full Article: MacWorld

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