News Bits: MacBook Speed Exaggerated, WiFi 802.11n, Laptop Undervolting, Alienware Game Site

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Apple MacBook Pro and iMac Core Duo Not as Fast As Claimed

Wishes do come true — or do they? (view larger image)

While Apple claims their new Intel based MacBook is 4x faster than the G4 PowerBook and the new iMac Core Duo is 2x faster than the G5 processor, real world benchmarks aren’t exactly playing that claim out.  So did Steve Jobs lie to the world?  Well, maybe.  According to MacWorld their lab tests “do show that the new Intel-based iMac is faster than the iMac G5 when running native applications. However, we found that those improvements are generally much less than what Apple claims is a 2x improvement in speed.”

MacWorld found that for the Intel-native applications that have been ported the iMac ran about 10% – 30% faster than the G5 (that’s not 2-times as fast!) but for applications that hadn’t been ported properly to the Intel platform the applications ran half as fast as the same application running on the iMac G5 — that’s 50% slower.

Full iMac Core Duo benchmarks can be found in this MacWorld article: http://www.macworld.com/2006/01/features/imaclabtest1/index.php

Here Comes 802.11n — Support for up to 600Mbps Wireless Transfer Rates and Greater Range

Streaming media or files over your home wireless network can often be a time consuming task with the current 802.11b (11 MBps) or faster 802.11g (54 MBps).  How about a wireless standard that offers a theoretical maximum of 600 MBps?  That would get things moving.  Good news, the IEEE this week approved the 802.11n standard that will enable higher performance wireless networking (up to 600 MPps theoretical) and greater range than existing Wi-Fi.

Belkin already has some existing “Pre-N” products on the market that were developed before the 802.11n standard was completely finalized, so they are not 100% compatible with the final standard 802.11n.

Broadcom and Marvell, two U.S. wireless product vendors, are the first to claim to have a 100% 802.11n compatible product, it’s likely Belkin and Linksys will try to make a firmware update to make their existing products completely compatible.

More: http://www.digitimes.com/systems/a20060123PR208.html

More: CNet Review of Belkin 802.11 Pre-N Router

Undervolting Your Laptop Article

Why would you want to undervolt your laptop?  That question is answered in an article by NordicHardware.com — hint, if you don’t need top performance and want better battery life and less heat from your notebook then this could be a good move:

More: http://www.nordichardware.com/Articles/?page=2&skrivelse=465

Alienware Launches Digital Download Store for Downloading PC Games

Alienware has opened a new digital download store located at http://downloads.alienware.com to provide quick and easy access to purchasing, downloading, and playing the latest PC games.  The Alienware Digital Download Store features a growing catalog of PC games ranging from your favorite classics to the newest titles, strategy guides, and other gaming content, all available for immediate download.

A lot of people associate Alienware with gaming notebooks so this seems like a logical move on the part of Alienware.

Dell and Vodafone Bring 3G Wireless Broadband to Laptops for UK, France and Germany

Dell has announced it will bring Vodafone’s third generation (3G) wireless broadband technology to Dell’s notebook customers in the UK, France and Germany. With its build-to-order capability, Dell aims to expand customers’ wireless connectivity options by delivering built-in access to Vodafone’s high-speed wireless data network in these countries.  This new service will mean users will have readily available access to email, Internet and servers through the Vodafone mobile broadband data network.

Dell will offer notebook computers with optional integrated High-Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA) wireless broadband capability, which will boost current 3G download speeds by approximately four times.  The Latitude notebooks with this technology will launch in Europe sometime during Q1.

The built-in mobile broadband technology will also be backwards compatible with Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS — also known as 3G) technology and General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) wireless data networks.

Dell continues to set the pace in ensuring mobile users have the widest choices in wireless connectivity by integrating optional mobile broadband capability in future notebook products. It is the first major personal computer supplier to announce multiple wireless carrier partnerships in multiple regions, including agreements with Vodafone initially in France, Germany and the UK.

Sony Cybershot DSC H1 Digital Camera Review

Our sister site DigitalCameraReview.com has a review of the cool new Sony H1 Digital Camera that has an incredible 12x optical zoom at a price of around $400.  From DCR:

“The Sony Cybershot DSC H1 is a perfect example of that consumer driven product evolution. The H1’s 5.1 megapixel resolution, 2.5 inch LCD screen, and Super Steady Shot (image stabilized) 12X optical zoom provide photographers with an incredible increase in performance, flexibility and creative potential when compared to the cameras of five years back — and the H1 costs about a hundred bucks less than consumers shelled out for the C3000 in 2001!”

sony cyber-shot DSC-h1

New Sony DH1 Digital Camera (view larger image)

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