News Bits: Intel Napa Power Leaks, 13-inch Intel Widescreen iBooks, Western Digital Scorpio Notebook HD

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Microsoft Driver Bug Causing Serious Power Consumption Issues on Intel Core Duo 945 Chipset (“Napa”) Notebooks When USB 2.0 Peripherals Attached

Microsoft has acknowledged to Intel that they believe the problem found in poor battery life and power consumption issues on a Napa Core Duo processor Tom’s Hardware tested a week ago are related to a Windows XP SP2 driver ( the Advanced Configuration and Power Interface – ACPI driver), used as part of the operating system’s power management scheme for USB 2.0.  TG Daily reports this USB 2.0 issue that arises in conjunction with the new Intel 945 Chipset and Windows XP SP2 can cause an hours drop in battery life — now that’s some serious power drain.

And the resolution for this right now?  None, and Microsoft is not responding to direct inquiries from Tom’s Hardware.  The hope would be Microsoft issues a patch for this driver — but how easy or even possible this is is not known.

More: http://www.tgdaily.com/2006/01/28/toms_hardware_uncovers_power_drain_issue/

13-inch Widescreen Apple iBook With Intel Core Solo for Spring?

AppleInsider.com is reporting new 13-inch widescreen Apple iBook laptops with the Intel Core Solo processor will be available early this Spring.  From AppleInsider.com:

“Although processor specifications for the upcoming iBook series remain largely unconfirmed, it’s only logical to assume the laptops will be powered by Intel’s 1.67GHz Core Solo processor — the only processor on the chip maker’s roadmap suited for a laptop that is neither equal to, nor greater than, the Core Duo chips used in Apple’s MacBook Pro laptops. As the name implies, Intel’s Core Solo processors contain one processing core, compared to the Core Duo’s two.”

The article goes on to say the new iBook look will be similar to that of the MacBook Pro but smaller and more industrial looking.  The iBook will have FireWire 400 (earlier rumors said it would not), 2 USB 2.0 ports and a built-in iSight webcam like the current MacBook Pro.

The price of the iBook will be in about the $1,000 range with a couple of configuration offerings.

Dell to Move All Production of Notebooks to Malaysia

At the current time 95% of Dell’s notebooks are assembled in Malaysia, the other 5% of notebooks are assembled in Ireland.  But according to Tan Say Peng, director of Dell’s South Asia service business units, Dell plans to assemble all of its notebooks in Malaysia in the future.

Currently, Dell’s Penang production base houses five notebook assembly lines, one desktop PC line and one server line. The plant area is 240,000 square meters but is slated to expand to handle the increased demand for notebooks and shift of all notebook production to Malaysia.  All of the base units for Dell notebooks are made in Taiwan but final assembly takes place in Malaysia.

According to Dell, when shipping notebooks from Penang to global customers it usually takes 4-5 days to reach the final destination.

More: http://www.digitimes.com/systems/a20060126PR214.html

Dell Says They are Taking Acer Seriously

As Acer moves into the #3 spot for shipping the most notebooks globally, after bumping Toshiba from that spot in Q4 of 2005, Dell says they’ll be taking paying extra attention to Acer.

Dell is taking competition from Acer very seriously, according to company CEO Kevin Rollins, who noted that Acer has demonstrated adaptability with a well-built supply integration in the PC industry. The Taiwan-based company could be a real competitor for Dell in the near future, said Rollins.

More: http://www.digitimes.com/systems/a20060127A1001.html

Wistron to Ship 10 Million Notebooks in 2006 Making Notebooks for Dell and HP

Wistron computers is a Taiwanese company that makes Dell’s widescreen notebooks and will be making most of HP’s Napa-based notebooks in 2006.  Last year Wistron produced about 5-million notebooks, but this year they expect that number to double to over 10-million notebooks shipped.  Now that folks, is a lot of laptops.

More:  http://www.digitimes.com/systems/a20060127PB202.html

Western Digital Now Shipping 120GB Scorpio Notebook HD — 5400 RPM Drive Uses Same Power as Past 4200 RPM Drives

Western Digital has started shipping its news 120GB Scorpio hard drive for notebooks.  The hard drive operates at 5,400rpm, but only consumes power at a level consistent with past 4,200rpm drives. It’s got 2MB to 8MB of cache, depending on which version you choose, and is offered in both Serial ATA and EIDE forms. Its average seek time is 12ms.

More: http://www.westerndigital.com/en/products/Products.asp?DriveID=164

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