Seagate is making a belated but potentially market-changing entry into the solid-state drive market.
Solid-state drives are generally faster than hard-disk drives, particularly at retrieving data, and have won limited acceptance in the laptop market. Seagate, however, is targeting the more lucrative and potentially larger server market and will compete with likes of Intel, Micron Technology, Samsung, and STEC.
Seagate's first salvo in the market is the new Pulsar drive, which is designed for blade computers and general server applications and offers up to 200 gigabytes of capacity based on the industry-standard Serial ATA interface.
Though pricier than hard-disk … Read more
The Hewlett-Packard Envy 13 offers an excellent example of what a cutting-edge ultraportable should be--and it moves past the Apple MacBook Air in some important respects, despite its overly ambitious price tag.
First, let me say that I use a MacBook Air as my main machine and am well aware of its merits. That said, it is beginning to look a little long in the tooth when juxtaposed with the Envy 13--which, like the Air, offers an aluminum chassis. I will also draw comparisons with 13-inch MacBook Pro since the Envy seems to fall somewhere between this and the Air.
(See CNET review of Envy 13.)
Let's start with the Envy's engine. The Envy offers a ULV (ultra-low-voltage) processor option that you won't find in any Apple MacBook: a 1.6GHz Core 2 Duo SU9600 that draws a mere 10 watts. This is Intel's highest-performance 10-watt dual-core processor--a crucial power-saving and heat-reducing option for ultra-thin designs like the Envy or MacBook Air. The more widely used SL9600 (which many reviewers mistakenly refer to as ultra low voltage) draws 17 watts.
But HP charges a premium for this processor, too. Selecting the power-sipping SU9600 adds $200 to the cost of the Envy. But at least it's an option.
Next, graphics. The Envy has switchable graphics. What does this get you? More battery life. When plugged in, the Envy uses the "discrete" (standalone) ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4330 graphics processor. When unplugged it switches to the less-power-hungry--and lower performance--Intel integrated graphics.
The truth be told, most of the time users don't need discrete graphics. But it can be a godsend in Windows 7, for example, when doing transcoding--which converts, for instance, a movie on a PC to a format that makes it viewable on an iPhone or iPod. And, of course, discrete graphics is needed for playing demanding games.
The ATI 4330 graphics seem to be more capable than… Read more
Toshiba has unveiled solid-state drives based on the new mini-Sata interface standard, which lets manufacturers create very small drives for use in Netbooks and other portable or embedded devices.
The Japanese hardware maker introduced on Monday the two 32-nanometer-process SG2 SSD modules, each of which comes in two capacities. In a separate announcement the same day, the Sata-IO consortium said it is developing mini-Sata (mSata).
The new interface specification will provide a "high-performance, cost-effective storage solution for smaller devices like notebooks and Netbooks," said the Sata-IO consortium, which includes Toshiba.
One of Toshiba's SG2 modules uses an … Read more
As the next generation of Universal Serial Bus technology nears commercial reality, next week's Intel Developer Forum will play host to more USB 3.0-capable devices.
A Fujitsu laptop, a high-end video camera, and a solid-state drive using USB 3.0 technology, among other hardware, will be demonstrated at IDF, according an announcement from the USB Implementers Forum on Thursday.
USB technology is now used on virtually all computing devices globally as well as the lion's share of consumer electronics products. Also referred to as "SuperSpeed USB," next-generation USB 3.0 boosts the data transfer rate … Read more
Intel and Microsoft will hold an event next week to discuss collaboration on improvements to Windows 7.
The event, on September 1 in San Francisco, will "share how the two companies collaborated on key enhancements during the development of Windows 7," according to Intel. Steve Smith, vice president and director, Intel's Digital Enterprise Group Operations, and Michael Angiulo, general manager of Windows Planning and PC Ecosystem at Microsoft, will talk at the event. Microsoft plans to launch Windows 7 on October 22.
Windows 7 collaboration will be demonstrated by engineers from both companies, according to Intel. Not … Read more
Memory chip makers will offer more sophisticated flash drives for smartphones--technology that will be comparable to the solid-state drives found in laptops today.
Today's flash drives, which typically range up to 32GB in capacity in products like Apple's iPhone, often use relatively unsophisticated techniques for reading and writing data. In general, the technology is not very different from that used in basic cell phones or digital cameras, according to Brian Shirley, vice president of Micron's memory group.
But as smartphones--and possible future tablet devices--become more like personal computing devices and less like basic MP3 players, memory chip … Read more
Updated at 9:10 a.m. PDT: adding analyst comments.
On Tuesday, Intel and Micron Technology announced the development of high-data-capacity flash memory technology for flash cards and USB drives.
And in a related announcement, Intel said Monday that it has validated a fix for its new 34-nanometer X25-M solid-state drive, which is based on similar flash memory technology. The bug affects users who set a BIOS drive password. That update is available here.
The two chipmakers, which partner in the manufacture of flash memory chips, said Tuesday that they have developed NAND flash memory capable of 3 bits per … Read more
Toshiba has begun volume shipments of solid-state drives ranging up to 512GB in size, as these hyper-fast storage options bulk up on capacity.
Drives are also offered in 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB capacities and are built on a 43-nanometer manufacturing process using multi-level cell (MLC) technology. MLC technology allows drive makers to increase capacity while keeping production costs under control.
All drives come in either a 1.8-inch enclosure, typically used in ultraportable laptops, or a 2.5-inch housing, the standard size for mainstream laptops.
Windows 7 will be more than just a better interface. Under-the-hood changes will allow chips from Intel, Nvidia, and Advanced Micro Devices to ratchet up Windows 7 performance above previous Microsoft operating systems.
Microsoft on Wednesday said it has finalized the code for Windows 7, set to ship with new PCs starting October 22. Improvements will include how Windows handles multitasking, graphics acceleration, and solid-state drives.
Microsoft is working closely with Intel, whose chips will power the vast majority of PCs running Windows 7. A July 22 post from Intel's Joakim Lialias, Alliance Manager responsible for Microsoft, described how … Read more