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Samsung Series 3 NP350V5C is a lightweight mid-range gaming laptop with Intel Core i7-3610QM, AMD Radeon HD 7670M GPU, 750GB hard drive and 8GB of RAM. The laptop delivers sufficient computing and multimedia performance. Priced at 999 euro, the Samsung Series 3 NP350V5C is significantly cheaper than more serious gaming behemoths. The 15-incher machine comes with a diverse array of ports; a couple of USB 3.0 ports, VGA port, full-sized HDMI port. The laptop uses 15” 1366 x 768 full HD LED-backlit display, which unfortunately shows annoying reflection when used outdoors.
The upper mid-range hardware configuration offers adequate performance for average gaming. Skyrim scores about 35fps at high detail settings, but slumps to 19fps when battery-saving mode is enabled. The notebook pleasantly hums at 32dB at idle with occasional clacking noise from the hard drive. It runs for 5 hours 40 minutes at idle, with minimal brightness and WLAN turned off; and slightly more than one hour under full load with maximum display brightness.
Netbook users would be familiar with AMD’s APU solutions, which combines a processor and integrated graphics solution. Unlike Intel’s built-in graphics capability, AMD’s platforms work more like dedicated graphic cards, allowing fluid full HD video playback and DirectX 11 representations. After releasing the highly efficient C50/C60 and the more powerful E350/E450, the company released the E2-1800, which turned out to be a disappointment with its slight performance increase compared to the E450.
In 2013, we would start to see ultra-portable laptops running the new E2-2000 dual-core processor clocked at 1.75GHz. The APU will feature 1MB of cache the Radeon HD7340 GPU (538-700MHz). From the technical standpoint, this would easily look like AMD’s attempt to rebrand the earlier E2-1800, as the 50MHz clock increase would offer nearly indiscernible performance boost during daily usages.
Significant improvements wouldn’t arrive until AMD releases APUs with 28nm Kabini core, which will be aimed to replace all Brazos chips in the market.
Consumers will start seeing the Asus BU400A ultrabook with touchscreen display in January 2013. The machine is aimed for enterprise use and although it doesn’t look quite as svelte as Asus’ Zenbook lineup, the BU400A is still a lightweight enough for any traveling businessperson. The laptop features a spill-resistant keyboard, HD display and solid carbon frame, as well fingerprint scanner, trusted protection module and data encryption.
The anti-shock system would easily protect the data stored within the mechanical hard drive. A more ultrabook-like version comes with a SSD for extra performance and reliability. The BU400A supports Windows 8 OS and its features, including the gestures. Weighing about 3.6lbs, the sleek laptop features SD card ports, VGA and USB 3.0.
In terms of processing and graphical powers, Asus BU400A will be equipped with 3rd generation Intel Core processors and Nvidia NVS 5200M graphic card. The Computrace LoJack and Intel’s Anti-Theft technology would help users retrieve stolen or lost notebooks and prevent harmful intrusions to enterprise data.
Retina Macbook Air Will Be Unveiled in 2013
Analysts say that there will be some big changes in Apple’s lineup in 2013. The company may introduce a Retina Display version of MacBook Air along with Retina iPad Mini in 2013. The new MacBook could have the new Mac OS X 10.9 under the hood and the iOS 7 would be released some point next year too.
Loyal Apple fans should get excited with other new devices the company plan to release in 2013. For example, huge Apple TV sets with screen sizes somewhere between 42” and 55” would be available for about $2000 at around Christmas 2013. The TV will serve as a hub that connects multiple iDevices near the area. The TV may include FaceTime, Siri and support for iOS apps.
Along with the Retina MacBook Air, the company will also launch the iPad Mini 2, which currently lacks full-HD resolution. This would address one significant issue that plagues the original iPad Mini. The display technology would also significantly enhance user experience for MacBook Air owners.
The Bay Trail-T is a direct follow-on of the current Clover Trail platform. With the 22nm architecture, these new processor models will require only half the power consumption of the 32nm Clover Trail. A leaked document shows that a machine running Bay Trail-T can go for about 11 hours, whereas the older Clover Trail offers only 9 hours of operational time with the same battery capacity.
The Bay Trail-T has bumped the number of cores to four, with clock rate ranging from 1.5GHz to 2.1 GHz, which means the new platform should provide nearly 60 percent of performance increase compared to the Clover Trail.
Bay Trail-T processors are fully optimized for Windows 8 notebooks, with the Intel HD 4000 integrated graphics solution, also used by the current Ivy Bridge chips. This would allow Bay Trail-T machines to have up to 2560 x 1600 pixels resolution and three-fold boost in performance
PC maker looking delivers a large number of touchscreen notebooks may suffer supply problems in 2013. Major vendors like Asus, Acer, Lenovo, HP, Sony and Dell are struggling to acquire a steady supply of touchscreen component for their notebooks. Current touch panel makers are still concentrating on huge demands in smartphones and tablet market.
Also, there is almost no indication that consumers want touch-based Windows 8 notebooks, although the new OS version is fully optimized for touch operations. Acer expects that touchscreen notebooks will account for 15 to 30 percent of its total shipment in 2013, if Windows 8 successfully reshapes the PC industry by encouraging people to use the touch-based interface more.
As touch panels makers are still fully committed to satisfy demands in mobile industry, notebook vendors will experience poor yield rates. Compal further reiterates this prediction that in 2013 the biggest hurdle for touch-based notebooks is not the lack of demand but supply.
It is an undeniable fact that Microsoft Windows is dominating the computing world with its appealing user-friendly interface and support for a wide range of devices. Although some would quickly argue that Windows OS isn’t the best in the market, Microsoft has improved significantly and Windows 7 was often praised as its best Windows version yet. Windows 8 will arrive soon and the market would be inundated with new PCs and laptops designed specifically for the new OS.
If you are planning to purchase a Windows 8 laptop next year, there are a few changes to consider. Touch capability may finally arrive to laptops, as Windows 8 interface are fully optimized for both mouse/keyboard input and touch. It is also important to expect a lot of convertibles and hybrids, as Windows 8 finally allows these devices to work properly. It is also quite possible that there will be close integration between Windows Phone 8 smartphones and Windows 8 laptops.
Some new laptops released in 2013 are expected to deliver twice the performance and battery life with the new Intel “Haswell” Core processor. The new processor family will succeed Intel’s current mainstream processor family, the Ivy Bridge. Haswell will deliver twice the battery live and double the performance of Ivy Bridge. When used in Ultrabooks, this could be equal to approximately 6 to 8 hours of battery life.
The processor giant shed some light on the processor last September at the Intel Developer Forum. It claimed that the power consumption has been reduced sharply to the point where Haswell processor can run in tablets. The most power-efficient model of Ivy Bridge draws 17 Watts, while low-power versions of Haswell processors will draw 10 Watts during idle.
More powerful 15 Watts and 17 Watts models are also available for standard laptops. Haswell tablets running Windows 8 could reach performance levels never achieved before in the mobile industry. The ultrabook market has stagnated following the slumping PC industry and the Haswell processor family can create a spark that everybody needs.
Ultrabooks are known for their elegant, lightweight and slim design that delivers full-scale performance without sacrificing battery life. These devices are more portable than standard laptops and can be used anywhere. Despite its small footprint, they have all the features you need, including SSD drive and USB 3.0 ports.
Apparently, some manufacturers are noticing the eventual convergence between tablets and notebooks. Some tablets models can transform into netbooks with their docks or integrated physical keyboard, and in turn, some ultrabooks models in 2013 will have touch capability. This would significantly close the gap between two computing devices and offer consumers significantly much more options.
Future release of touch-capable ultrabooks is announced during the Annual One Summit in New Delhi, India. Intel and Microsoft are currently working to develop an exceptional touch experience in Windows 8 environment. Intel has also worked with Nuance to create an immersive voice-based capability, which allows voice commands on PC and laptops.
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