ASUS U36JC Hands on (NetbookNews)

NetbookNews.com was able to get their hands on an 13.3-inch ASUS U36JC at the ASUS’ press conference yesterday. The U36Jc is very interesting – it’s fairly lightweight for the size, and is packing an Intel Core i5-460M (2.53GHz, dual-core). The graphics are powered by an NVIDIA GeForce 310M with a dedicated 1GB DDR3 RAM. You read that right. Also, there is the option of using the Intel GMA HD graphics to save on battery life when the NVIDIA graphics are not needed. While it does come with a glossy display and a small webcam (0.3MP), it’s still powerful for the size. You also have an HDMI out.

They estimate the price will be around $1,100, which is very good – it comes with an 8-cell battery, a 500GB 7200rpm HDD, and 4GB DDR3 system ram.

They’ve also posted a video hands-on:

Read: NetbookNews.com

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Netbooks – They are Everywhere (even Toys R Us)

Netbooks. They are everywhere. Even at Toys R Us, as you can see by the image to the right of this article.

I’ve been aware of them on display at Toys R Us for a year or two, but I’m surprised to see them still sold there. In a way, it makes perfect sense though – netbooks are probably the best bet for buying kids their own computer, although I’m sure they’d argue in favor of an Apple iPad.

While the ad to the right for a free printer only applies to in-store purchases up through tomorrow afternoon I believe, Toys R Us actually has a fairly comprehensive netbook section on their website, including a video demonstrating the differences between a netbook and a regular laptop or notebook.

Online, they sell everything from Sylvania 7-inch netbooks with a VIA 8505 Processor up through 10-inch HP Mini 210 running the latest Intel Atom CPUs, alongside the Toshiba NB305.

If you want to check any of them out in person, they are a little sparse, only having these models in store:
– Asus Eee PC 900 (8.9-inch)
– Sylvania G Meso with Intel Atom (8.9-inch)
– HP Mini 210-1085NR (10.1-inch, Intel Atom N450)

Yes, that Eee PC 900 maybe the original, since the model # is EEEPC900BK091X, but they are carrying some of the latest netbooks.

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Laptops With Intel’s Sandy Bridge Discovered

We knew that Intel would be formally introducing Sandy Bridge at CES 2011 in January. These are the second generation of Intel’s Core CPUs/platform. One of the major features would be moving the graphics processing completely onto the processor and sharing cache in a much tighter integration. This would allow graphics performance to more closely match dedicated chipsets, without increasing the size of the CPU/platform. There will also be security enhancements.

Laptoping has discovered a couple of laptops that contain known Sandy Bridge CPUs, and that maybe manufactured using the 32nm process.

They were looking for information on the AMD Mobility Radeon HD 6550M, and came across a couple of Sandy Bridge-based laptops:
– 17.3-inch Acer Aspire with the Core i7-2630QM (Quad-Core)
– Gateway laptop with the Core i7-2630QM
– Lenovo IdeaPad Y560P with the Core i7-2630QM

While those are the extreme opposite of what is normally covered on Small-Laptops.com, and they may also have a dedicated AMD graphics chipset, it might be an indication that Sandy Bridge-based ultraportable laptops could be available fairly soon at or shortly after CES 2011.

Read: Laptoping

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Microsoft Drops Drive Extender from Windows Home Server

By now, you may have heard that Microsoft has decided to pull Drive Extender from it’s upcoming Windows Home Server V2 (codenamed ‘Vail’). Keep in mind that we are eight months into the beta of Vail. This is not some alpha product and this is not the start of the beta cycle. While WHS V2 was supposed to be out this year, that’s not going to happen at this point, but it’s still significant that we are eight months into the beta, and Microsoft is deciding to remove a key component.

Windows Home Server has a very dedicated following, and manufacturers such as Acer and HP have put a lot of effort and resources into supporting this market with appropriate hardware. Windows Home Server is aptly named – it’s a product targeted towards consumers, and it allows you to put together a small home server using either your own components or buying servers such as HP’s MediaSmart line, that allow you to add up to 4 hard drives. What attracts so many to Drive Extender is that it allows you to see all of those drives as one drive or one storage pool, while duplicating your files and providing some redundancy/backup capabilities that you wouldn’t have with just a single backup or a single drive (such as a USB drive). It also allows you to grow your storage as you need to. One of the really nice things, in addition to not losing data if one disk goes bad, is the ability to pull any of the disks out and read them in another system. It should be noted that that ability unfortunately was going to be removed with Vail, due to changes with Drive Extender, however the changes that necessitate the removal of that ability might have offset that decision. DE was going to become more robust with Vail.

With Windows Home Server, it’s easy to back up your laptops or netbooks or PCs to a central location, as well as provide an easy way to share files between systems. For those who make frequent use of laptops/netbooks, it is very handy to have a place to back your system up to over the network, and it provided some redundancy since the data was duplicated across two drives.

While there are other features that make Windows Home Server attractive, Drive Extender was a major selling point to many people – you didn’t have to be a server expert to put together a large mass storage system to back up your media, your laptops, etc. and it could easily be expanded in the future as you needed more space. Given the high resolution digital cameras and the move to HD video in the consumer market these days, space was becoming a lot more important than in times past. All of it was “out of sight, out of mind” so to speak – you didn’t have to be an expert to setup WHS, expand the storage, and make sure everything was backed up. While WHS had a rough start, it matured quickly into a great solution to a problem that wasn’t being adequately addressed in the past.

I’ve had a few days to digest the news, and it still leaves a bad taste in my mouth. After giving up on a similar solution from Apple, WHS was very attractive to me, and HP even supported Apple’s Time Machine solution, which was the best of both worlds – backing up Macs and Windows systems. I’ve used WHS in the past and currently have a WHS system I built that I’m using, but was looking forward to seeing what happened with V2/Vail and perhaps buying a pre-built WHS system, probably from HP due to the Time Machine support.

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Dell Inspiron Duo: The First Week of December

Remember the Dell Inspiron Duo video from a few weeks ago?

Well the 10.1-inch multi-touch Dell Inspiron Duo is on track to be in the hands of customers within a month.

It should be available the first week of December, and pre-orders will start soon. We’ve also now got more details. We already knew about the dual-core Intel Atom N550 CPU, but now we have a starting/base price ($549), and information on the display’s resolution – 1366×768.

Speaking of the display, that’s one of the main selling points, if not the main selling point. The way the Duo is constructed, the display can be easily rotated and then laid down over the keyboard, forming a typical Tablet PC. In fact, the “Duo” in the name refers to the convertible dual-nature of the device – either a netbook or a small tablet.

The price? Starting at $549, which will get you:
– Intel Atom N550 dual-core CPU
– 2GB of RAM
– 10.1-inch 1366×768
– 250GB HDD
– Windows 7 Home Premium
– Broadcom Crystal HD accelerato

$649 will add:
– Larger HDD
– JBL speaker dock

Read: Engadget

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