Just in time for the fall semester, we've gone and reviewed more than two dozen new back-to-school laptops. For this particular roundup, we stuck to relatively recent configurations that were available on the shelves of big consumer electronics stores (so, for example, you'll find the in-store version of Dell's 1525, rather than the configurable version available on Dell's Web site).
You can peruse the entire collection of 27 back-to-school reviews, but we've gone ahead and picked our favorites in four different price ranges.
I miss the old SGI. Silicon Graphics was widely regarded as the greatest computer company in Silicon Valley back in the 1990s. Sometimes forgotten--but not gone--SGI was one of our greatest success stories and one of our greatest tragedies.
Apple may have had more revenue by virtue of shipping millions of small systems, but SGI's hardware spanned the range from video-game consoles (the Nintendo 64) to workstations to supercomputers. SGI's Unix-based operating system, IRIX, was one of the most sophisticated in the industry.
I used to lust over SGI machines. I'd obsess over lists of used SGI gear, looking for a great deal that would let me have my own IRIX box at home. In 2004, I finally bought an Octane with MXI graphics... but that was years after these machines were effectively obsolete, and I paid less than 0.5% (1/200th!) of the original retail price of the machine.
In the mid-to-late 1990s, SGI was not well managed, losing huge amounts of money because its leaders would not… Read more
According to a recent IDC report highlighted by ZDNet, Linux is booming. At just 9.4 percent of the overall server market in terms of revenue in 2007, Linux has now climbed to 13.4 percent of the overall server market, with Unix at 7.7 percent and Windows at 36.5 percent. If Linux server vendors want to continue to grow, at some point they're going to have to come to grips with Windows, rather than eating into the low-hanging Unix fruit.
The big winner in the quarter was IBM, with 33.2 percent of the market. Hewlett-Packard … Read more
Slate recently published a great article Take That, Stupid Printer! How to fight back against the lying, infuriating, evil ink-and-toner cabal by Farhad Manjoo. The title is a bit meaner than the article, which makes for interesting reading.
If you own a Brother HL-2040 printer, the article is especially relevant. The author suspected that the printer was lying about being out of toner and he figured out how to lie back to it, making it think there was a new cartridge. Sure enough the printer had lots of toner left, as Mr. Manjoo puts it "At least eight months … Read more
Solid-state drives, if not yet ubiquitous, have arrived. You can find them in laptops big and small and as a high-octane storage option for gaming PCs.
SSDs made their mark by appearing in the trendiest ultraportables like the Apple MacBook Air and Asus Eee PC--typically as stratospherically priced options, fashion statements rarely seen in the real world.
These drives are now coming off their rarefied shelf space and appearing across a wider range of laptops and ultraportable computers.
Any new, lightweight enterprise laptop worth its salt comes with a large-capacity solid-state drive option now. Hewlett-Packard recently introduced the 3-pound EliteBook … Read more
Hewlett-Packard completed on Tuesday its mega-acquisition of computer services giant EDS.
The deal, worth about $13.9 billion when it was first announced in May, is among the largest in the technology industry. It's also the second largest one for HP since its acquisition of Compaq was completed in 2002.
HP executives have said they are buying EDS to expand HP's business beyond traditional computing and printers. HP has been trying to develop its software and services business over the last few years. EDS adds a service component that will help the company compete head-to-head with IBM.
Annual … Read more
As it kicks off its Nvision conference Monday in San Jose, Calif., chipmaker Nvidia must be hoping that the N stands for "new" and "now"--and not "no thanks."
Nvidia is trying to shake off a tough second quarter and is staring down a slump in earnings tied to chip glitches and stiffer competition from rival Advanced Micro Devices. The home page for the Nvision 08 conference urges interested parties to "join the visual revolution" and promises attendees two days' worth of "jaw-dropping visual wonderment" in the realms of games, movies, and science.
A big chunk of the graphics chip supplier's woes stem from a $196 million second-quarter charge taken for defective graphics processors. Though Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang has said that the "failures are only seen in a small percentage of all the chips," Hewlett-Packard and Dell have listed a number of models affected by the glitch.
A possibly bigger challenge is AMD's resurgent ATI graphics chip unit. Huang said in the second-quarter earnings conference call that his company had "underestimated" the price and performance of AMD's latest graphics chips, leading Nvidia to "to misposition our fall lineup" of chips.
(See: "AMD reclaims the high-end 3D card belt.")
AMD's recently introduced midrange and high-end graphics boards have been well-received and typically come at a discount to Nvidia boards that are roughly equal in performance. This forced Nvidia to cut prices on its performance graphics chips.
What does Nvidia think about AMD's new products? "Our competition has built a nice product but...the nice things that people write about their product is that it's well-priced," according to Huang, speaking during the earnings call.
Analysts confirm that AMD is making inroads. "(It's) pretty discernible. Certainly desktop standalone graphics, they've seen improvement there," said Dean McCarron, the principal and founder of Mercury Research, a company that tracks chip market movements. … Read more
Last week we showed you Epson's newest line of WorkForce printers, and this week Epson is back with another announcement: an "Artisan" series developed with the creative designer in mind. Unlike the WorkForce Series, the Artisan 700 and 800 are perfect for both household consumers and entrepreneurs that want a do-it-all printer that can perform multiple functions.
The Artisan 800 ($300) is the flagship model of the series with a comprehensive list of functions that include Wi-Fi, fax machine, copier with an Automatic Document Feeder, PictBridge support, and a dual paper tray to separate plain and photo-specific … Read more