Macworld Tests New MacBook Airs – Standard Models

Macworld has been very busy since Apple’s new Intel Core i5 MacBook Airs launched. They’ve been testing and benchmarking all of the standard Intel Core i5 MacBook Airs. An Intel Core i7 is available as a Build-to-Order (BTO) option, for $150 USD more on the 11-inch model, and $100 USD more on the 13-inch model. They’ve found the Core i5 upgrade from last year’s Core 2 Duo is a major boost.

The marketing for the MacBook Airs is pretty accurate – Macworld found performance increases of up to twice as fast on quite a few tasks. Granted, the 2010 MacBook Airs were running on Core 2 Duos that were slower speedwise than the newer Sandy Bridge Intel Core i5 processors.

With the multimedia test Cinebench CPU, the i5 pushed the MBAs up to 2.4 times faster, and HandBrake was 2.3 times faster.

Some graphics-intensive tasks such as games or OpenGL benchmarks were actuall faster on the older 2010 MacBook Airs, due to the NVIDIA GeForce 320M dedicated graphics chipsets instead of Intel’s HD Graphics 3000 integrated chipset.

Full article: Macworld

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Ultrabooks Set For September Production

DigiTimes is reporting that Acer, Asustek (ASUS), Dell, HP (Hewlett-Packard), and Lenovo are going to be launching ultrabooks later in 2011, with production starting up in September.

Acer, Lenovo, and Asustek have already been mentioned a lot, especially with Asustek’s UX21 being one of the first ultrabooks to probably launch, and which has already been designed and developed, but there’s not been a lot said about HP and Dell. DigiTimes’ sources are saying that some of the laptop/notebook are having problems with production, leaving the ASUS UX21 to be one of the first ultrabooks to land in the hands of buyers. They are also claiming that Asustek has ordered up to 400,000 – 450,000 “ultra-thin” noteboks from its component suppliers, with 100,000 being ultrabooks, per month. I have no idea on the breakout of those numbers as far as the mix of UX21 and UX31 ultrabooks.

They are still maintaining that Acer and Dell plan to start production in September, while HP’s ultrabook might not make it out until early 2012.


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Apple Discontinues MacBooks for Consumers

I guess it’s no surprise. Several websites were reporting that Apple was going to discontinue the MacBook, and Apple has now removed the 13-inch Intel Core 2 Duo powered laptop from it’s main website as of yesterday, July 20, 2011.

This was the last of Apple’s polycarbonate (“plastic” as some call it) laptops as well as the last Apple laptop powered by an Intel Core 2 Duo processor.

Have no fear though, Apple is not abandoning the under $1,000 laptop market. It’s clearly positioning it’s $999 11-inch MacBook Air, and what an upgrade it is from the MacBoook. With an Intel Core i5 CPU and with a Thunderbolt port allowing for high resolution displays, super fast peripherals and mass storage, it’s a natural progression for Apple.

One big change between the MacBook and 11-inch MacBook Air besides the materials – the display, while being smaller on the MacBook Air, is actually of a higher resolution and better quality. There is still the 13-inch MacBook Air, but it starts at $1,299. There is also the loss of the optical drive, although Apple has been moving down this road with the MacBook Air, and now the Mac mini. There are USB DVD drives available everywhere, including Apple’s own external USB drive.

While the MacBook was targeted at students, the MacBook Air should be a suitable fit – it’s smaller, more powerful, and has a better battery life.

That’s not to say the MacBook isn’t still available. Amazon still has MacBooks from other retailers and you should be seeing MacBooks popping up in the Refurbished and Clearance section of Apple’s online store. And for those students and educational institutions that prefer the MacBooks or need optical drives, MacRumors is reporting that Apple will still make them available for educational instituations.

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HP Introduces AMD Fusion-Powered Pavilion dm1

HP has formally announced the 11.6-inch HP Pavilion dm1. It’s powered by AMD’s new Fusion line, with a dual-core E-350 APU (Accelerated Processing Unit), and will be a rival to the Lenovo ThinkPad X120e with a starting price of $449 US.

One advantage it has over the X120e – it’ll be shipping next week.

While it’s not referred to directly as a netbook (and neither was the ThinkPad X120e), it definitely falls into that price and size range.

Thanks to the APU, the CPU and graphics processor are integrated into one chip, with hardware support for DirectX 11 (DX11) graphics, which is a Big Deal for laptops/ultraportables in this range. AMD refers to the graphics as a Radeon HD 6310

This dm1 features a redesign over previous Pavilions, with a “Grid Imprint” finish on the lid, as well as a redesigned touchpad (or clickpad). It does feature the same CoolSense functionality present in larger HP laptops, and the APU is placed under the keyboard instead of the palm rest which will help keep things cooler for the user. It looks like it comes standard with a 6-cell battery that provides up to 9 hours of battery life if you are not using WiFi. There is an option for a Solid State Drive (SSD) which can increase the battery life even further.

Other options include GPS and 3G/4G mobile broadband.

HP Pavilion dm1 Specifications:
– 11.6-inch display
– 1366×768 display
– AMD Fusion E-350 CPU (dual core) running at 1.6GHz
– HDMI/VGA Ports (weird)
– Full-sized keyboard
– 2GB DDR3
– HDD options from 250GB up to 750GB or SSD
– Weighs 3.5 pounds

LAPTOP Magazine has a hands-on preview:
Continue reading

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Lenovo Announces 11.6-inch AMD Fusion Powered ThinkPad X120e

As well as 12.5-inch Intel Core-based ThinkPad Edge E220s announced by Lenovo today, they have also announced another ultraportable, this one falling into the netbook category with an 11.6-inch display. It’s the Lenovo ThinkPad X120e, the successor to the X100e. The netbook-sized ThinkPad is based on AMD’s Fusion line that was announced last fall.

While Lenovo does not refer to it as a netbook, with a price that starts at less than $400, the comparisons will be made.

Lenovo is also claiming that it’s the first commercial laptop that features the E-Series APU (Accelerated Processing Unit). The Fusion E-Series APU will definitely increase the performance available at this size and price point.

Lenovo ThinkPad X120e Specifications
– 11.6-inch display
– HDMI port
– Full-size keyboard
– More than 6 hours battery life
– Meets Energy Star 5.0 specifications
– 1″ Thick
– Weighs under three pounds

It will be available starting in February for under $400. Whether these will be single-core or dual-core models remains to be seen. It will also feature the Lenovo Enhanced Experience 2.0 for Windows 7, similar to the larger 12.5-inch Edge ThinkPads.

Read: Lenovo Newsroom

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