News Bits: Dell Orders AMD Notebooks, Asus Unveils New Notebooks, If Laptops Were Banned on Flights

by Reads (11,112)

Dell puts in ~2 million orders of AMD-based notebooks and desktops

According to a report by Bank of America, Dell has ordered about 1.2 million desktops and 800,000 notebooks based on AMD processors. The report indicates that the machines should be arriving in late Q3/early Q4 this year.

Although AMD is getting a boost from Dell, their profit margins will be under pressure according to analysts. AMD is expected to post poor financial results due to a combination of increased price pressure from Dell, its large debt from the ATI acquisition, and expansion investments. In the long term, AMD should be making impressive progress.

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Asus rolls out Core 2 Duo F2, V1, and R1F notebooks

August 19th – Asus unveiled three new notebooks series with the new Intel Core 2 Duo processor. The notebooks have specifications as follows:

Asus V1 Notebook Series

  • 15.4″ widescreen display
  • Intel Core 2 Duo CPUs from T5500 (1.67GHz) to T7600 (2.33GHz)
  • ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 with 256MB
  • 80GB – 120GB hard drive, dual hard drive option available
  • Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11a/b/g WiFi, Bluetooth 2.0
  • ExpressCard slot, fingerprint reader
  • Dimensions: 2.5 – 3.57cm thick, 2.7kg (with traveler drawer)

The F2 has similar specifications, but slightly different specs include:

Asus F2 Notebook Series

  • 15″ XGA or SXGA+ display
  • Intel Core Solo to Core 2 Duo T7400 (2.16GHz) CPU
  • ATI Mobility Radeon X1400 with 128MB
  • 1.3 megapixel webcam
  • Dimensions: 1.7 – 4cm thick, 2.7kg (w/ battery)

And finally, the R1F Tablet PC has similar specifications to the F2 and V1 for the most part:

  • 13.3″ WXGA
  • 80-120GB hard drive
  • ExpressCard slot, fingerprint reader
  • Dimensions: 3.5cm thick, 1.98kg

There is no word on pricing or date of availability from retailers.

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Dell and Sony knew about battery flaws for some time

Both Dell and Sony knew about ten months ago that small metal particles had contaminated the Li-Ion batteries made by Sony, which caused them to fail or overheat. They decided to hold off issuing a recall until the flaws were linked to “catastrophic failures”.

Since the two companies met in October, Sony changed its manufacturing process to minimize the presence/size of the particles in the batteries. They decided that a recall wasn’t necessary because it wasn’t clear whether or not the particles were dangerous. Other companies using Sony batteries are also apparently looking into recalls.

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If laptops were banned on flights…

According to a New York Times article, in a survey of 200 travel managers 2/3 said their company’s employees would definitely travel less if laptops were banned on flights.  The other 1/3 of travel managers simply weren’t sure if their employees would travel less or not.  Travellers got a taste of this potential limiation two weeks ago during the heightened terrorist alerts on flights from Britain to the U.S. when business travelers were forced to put all electronics in their checked luggage, and essentially had nothing to do on the plane.

According to one business traveller named Greeley Koch who flew from London to Chicago last week:

“They made me check my laptop and other electronics, I went to buy a book and was told I couldn’t take a book on board….They said a weapon could be hidden in a hollowed-out book. It didn’t seem to matter that a screener can easily flip through a book and see.”

After his flight took off many hours late, Mr. Koch had the occasion there being nothing else to do to reflect on the fact that dozens of business travelers like himself were on this long-haul daytime flight, unable to get any work done.

With the recent battery explosions in laptops and greater concern with terrorists getting creative the NTSB is looking more closely at banning certain electronics on flights, that might include laptops.  If the 2/3 number of people that would simply reconsider travelling at all is true, it could be a huge blow to the airline industry if laptops indeed were banned on flights.

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ATI releases driver update for Windows and Linux

ATI has released its Catalyst 6.8 driver package for both Windows and Linux. The Windows package aims at performance improvements, and the Linux package is supposed to add features and broaden hardware support.

According to ATI, the Catalyst 6.8 driver suite gives application-specific frame rate gains of 6.5% to 16% due to shader compiler and transform engine optimizations. 22-30% performance increases under Direct3D come from tweaks to the code’s memory management routines. It mainly benefits cards with 256MB VRAM.

For Linux, the 6.8 drivers support two monitors running at different resolutions, and also remember the settings when the system shuts down. Support has been added for the Radeon Xpress 1200, 1250, and 1300 chipsets. The installer works with both 32- and 64-bit versions of the OS – no need for a platform-specific release.

Here’s where to get your standard drivers.

And if you have a laptop, use the direct link to download your drivers (Windows).

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