News Bits: Lenovo V100 Shows Up, New Toshiba Tecra M6 and Satellite U100, New nVidia and ATI Graphics Chipsets for Turion X2

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Lenovo V100 Ultraportable Notebook

The Lenovo V100 is an ultraportable that’s part of the Lenovo 3000 series the company launched this year, the V100 will join the Lenovo C100 15.4″ screen notebook and Lenovo N100 14.1″ notebook to round out the series offering.  The V100 is targeted at small business users and regular old consumers.  The V100 comes with a choice of Core Duo or Core Solo processors.  It has a 12.1″ widescreen display, non-glossy.  Included is a 5-in-1 card reader, 3 USB ports, 1.3 Megapixel web camera, fingerprint reader for security, 40 – 100GB hard drive @ 5400 RPM, and FireWire.


Lenovo V100 12.1″ screen ultraportable (view large image)

The Lenovo V100 weighs in at about 4lbs with 1.25″ of thickness.  It’s thicker than the sibling ThinkPad X60 series of notebooks, but this notebook has a built in optical drive (combo drive or DVD burner) while the X-series of ThinkPad notebooks do not.  The idea is to be portable yet have everything built-in.


Specs and configuration list for the V100 (view large image)

Graphics are integrated, as you would expect with this sized notebook.  The great news is that prices will start in the $1,000 range and not the typical $1,500 range that many ultraportable notebooks do.  Availability is expected for the beginning of June for the V100.

Toshiba Tecra M6 – 12.1″ Core Duo and Satellite U200 Launched

Toshiba has announced their latest ultraportable, the Tecra M6. It is available with the Core Duo processor, but can also come with a Core Solo or Celeron. The M6 looks like a slimmed-down version of the 14.1″ Tecra M5. Base configurations start at $1,059, and come with the following:

  • Intel Celeron M 1.6GHz
  • 256MB RAM
  • 40GB HDD
  • No WiFi

That’s not a very good configuration, but for about $1,600, a decent configuration can be had with a Core Duo T2400, 1GB of RAM, 100GB HDD, 802.11a/b/g WLAN, and Bluetooth, but no DVDRW drive.

The graphics are, as on most ultraportables, integrated. The M6′s target audience is a light-traveling businessperson. Security features include a fingerprint reader, TPM (Trusted Platform Module), Hard Drive Protection, spill-resistant keyboard, a Security Assist Console, and a ‘shock-absorbing’ design.

Read More about the Tecra M6
Toshiba Tecra M6 Product Page

Also launched yesterday by Toshiba was the Satellite U200 ultraportable, that is much like the Tecra M6 in its feature and design set.

Toshiba Satellite U200 Product Page

Apple updates MacBook Pro firmware, no reason given

Obviously, the MacBook Pro is not trouble free; it runs hot, and some have random whining noises. Apple released a firmware update on May 17th titled “SMC Firmware Update 1.0,” but there is zero explanation as to its purpose. SMC (System Management Control) manages heat-related issues, so it’s reasonable to say that the firmware update is designed to manage some of the issues with the notebook.

Many have already tested the firmware, and are reporting that it does fix the heat issues. As for the whining – some say it fixes it, some don’t.

Either way, Apple should come out and tell people what is going on, and admit that there are problems.

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HP Notebook lineup adopts Nvidia Integrated Graphics Processors

May 18th – Nvidia today announced that its new GeForce Go6150 IGP (Integrated Graphics Processor) and Go430 MCP (Media Communications Processor) are being adopted by HP into its new Pavilion dv2000 and Compaq Presario V3000 series notebooks.

General manager of the Notebook Platform Business at Nvidia, Manoj Gujral, said:

“Equipped with the energy efficient, high-performance, Nvidia GeForce Go GPU and nForce G0 430 MCP, the new HP notebooks bring advanced graphics and video capabilities to consumers, enabling them to enjoy the new wave of 3D and video applications.”

The Go6150 IGP and Go430 MCP support AMD’s recently announced Turion X2 dual-core processors. Nvidia’s PowerMizer technology helps reduce power consumption and heat, which enables notebooks to be smaller and have longer battery life. Although not targeted at gamers, there is support for DirectX 9 and SM 3.0 for 3D games. Hardware-accelerated HD video support (via Nvidia PureVideo) is another important feature. The Go6150 and Go430 are designed to run under the upcoming Microsoft Windows Vista OS.

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ATI launches new notebook chipsets to support Turion X2

May 17th – ATI Technologies launched its new Radeon Xpress 1100 series chipset to support AMD’s newly-announced Turion X2 dual-core processors. ATI specifically pointed out the graphics capabilities of the new chipset, including a faster graphics core and support for Windows Vista.

The Xpress 1100 inclues ATI’s power-saving technology, PowerPlay, which automatically balances power consumption and performance depending on the workload. It varies the speed and voltage of the graphics core, in addition to the LCD refresh rate to maximize battery life.

The Radeon Xpress 1100 series will be available in products offered through notebook OEMs, including Fujitsu-Siemens (FSC), Gateway, and Hewlett-Packard (HP).

Notebooks based on AMD Turion 64 X2 mobile technology should be available in retail stores and through commercial distribution channels this quarter, AMD stated. Systems are initially expected from Acer, Asustek Computer, BenQ, Flocity, FSC, Fujitsu, Gateway, HP, Micro-Star International (MSI), NEC, Packard Bell, Sotec and TongFang.

AMD is taking an open-standard approach to competing with Intel’s Centrino platform.

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Microsoft patch supposedly fixes battery drain problem on Core Duo

Owners of Core Duo machines have been reporting for a while now that when their notebooks are connected to USB devices on battery, the life is drained at a significantly faster rate.

Microsoft has released a patch that supposedly fixed this problem, finally – they announced they were working on it in February. Does it work? Well . . .

It fixes the faster-than-usual drains from the CPU’s inability to enter Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) processor idle sleep states due to the USB 2.0 driver leaving the “the asynchronous scheduler component running continuously”.

What the patch doesn’t do is stop the USB controller from finding itself unable to shut down when devices are removed from nested USB hubs, or when it is hooked up to devices that make use of a periodic scheduler. These are two major sources of a power drain, but the patch fixes neither.

Don’t laugh yet.

“Various factors can affect the battery life of different portable computers that use different types of batteries. Therefore, you may not notice any improvement in battery life after you apply this update.”

Ok, you can laugh now.

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Interesting Links

New DirectX 9 Benchmark expected soon

Lenovo PCs Unlock Potential of Tech-Savvy Students in Kentucky School Districts

Mac Developers stripped of freedom to fiddle with OSX kernel source code

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