News Bits: Vista Premium Requirements, Ferrari at Computex, No Laptop Love at Harvard, AMD in Dell Desktops

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Windows Vista Premium 2007 Requirements

Microsoft has been following the advancements in technology closely, and has incorporated changes into Windows Vista’s requirements for the actual launch.

The official names for the versions of Windows Vista are:

  • Windows Vista Home Basic
  • Windows Vista Home Premium
  • Windows Vista Business
  • Windows Vista Enterprise
  • Windows Vista Ultimate
According to Microsoft, the only SKU not eligible to have a Windows Vista Premium logo slapped onto it is the Home Basic, which does not have the ‘Aero Glass’ GUI (Graphical User Interface). Systems that wish to have a Premium Logo must have very specific requirements met, regardless of the SKU (minus Home Basic). According to Microsoft, the compliance is as follows:

At a system level, if it includes a device, then all the requirements associated with that device class must be met for the appropriate compliance level of the logo (basic or premium). To qualify for a basic system logo, the devices of a basic system that includes embedded or add-in devices must comply with the basic requirements (if a logo program exists for the device categories). Likewise, to qualify for a premium system logo, the devices of a premium system that includes embedded or add-in devices must comply with the premium requirements for the device category.

I need a drumroll . . ladies and gentlemen, here are the requirements for a Windows Vista Premium logo-compliant PC, to be mandated by June 1st, 2007:

  • Must have H.264 hardware decoding
  • Must have HDCP
  • Must support multi-monitor support
  • Must have HD audio
  • Must have HD audio jack presence detection
  • Must have Serial ATA 2.5
  • Must have minimum of 50MB NV cache on hybrid HD’s with at least 8MB/s write
    16MB/s read (for mobile only)
  • Must support booting from USB flash drives
  • Must have Windows Vista Green Button on all remotes
  • Must have Green Driver Quality Rating (DQR)
    • Green score of 7 to 9
    • Yellow score of 4 to 6
    • Red score of 1 to 3

All Premium logo PCs must support the Aero Glass interface – integrated or dedicated video cards must support hardware DirectX 9.0C. DirectX 10 is not a requirement. Graphics solutions must support hardware decoding of HD video codecs (H.264, MPEG2, MPEG4) in order to make sure they can play back HD DVD and Blu-ray at full resolution.

As you can see, the high definition experience is carried through all the way. Hybrid hard drives are only required for mobile systems with the Premium logo.

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Acer’s Ferrari at Computex 2006

Acer showcased its new Ferrari 5000 (15.4″) and 1000 (12″) notebooks this year at Computex, perhaps a bit too discretely.


(view large image)

The overall external appearance hasn’t changed considerably, but the specifications are refreshed to about the same level as the Ferrari 4000 had when it came out.

The 1000, the newest addition to the Ferrari series featuring a 12″ display, comes with a webcam, Turion X2 processor, and ATI’s Radeon 1150 chipset. The 15.4″ 5000 has a webcam as well, but is also bundled with a bluetooth VOIP phone. There’s no official word about whether a mouse will be included as has been with previous Ferraris.

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Laptops at Harvard being blocked from classrooms by some professors

Don’t expect Harvard University Law School to prohibit the use of wireless Internet and laptops in its classrooms, but instructors at the school have different thoughts. They’re deciding on a case-by-case basis on whether or not to exile computers and pull the wireless plug after class starts.

A professor of law at Harvard, Bruce Hay, states:

“So far as I know, there is no proposal to ban laptops. The current policy is that it’s up to the individual professor whether to permit laptops in the class, and I’m quite sure that will remain the policy.”

Hay is one of a small group who asks students to not bring laptops to class.

“I personally think classes are better without them, so I ask students not to bring laptops. But, the faculty would never force a professor to keep laptops out of the classroom if he or she wanted to let the students use them.”

Harvard isn’t the only school struggling with the ongoing issue of laptops in the classroom; many other across the country are also having trouble dealing with it.

The issue has troubled many students at Harvard, which rely on wireless access during class to access Lexis Nexis and other database resources. Many are opposed to a general ban on laptops. An online survey conducted by Harvard’s Law School Council student group in April, 24.7% of students supported the ban, and 64.6% did not.

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Draft-N wireless coming to Dell Notebooks

Even though the full 802.11n specification hasn’t been ratified, it isn’t stopping manufacturers from shipping products using the draft standard. Lab tests show that 802.11n products are having issues with legacy 802.11g networks; performance is unreliable at times. There is no guarantee that 802.11n draft products will be upgradeable to the final 802.11n specification.

In spite of all the concerns, sources report that Dell is going ahead with its plans to release notebooks in Q3, which utilize the 802.11n draft standard wireless modules. To quote Digitimes:

Market information related to Dell’s orders began to circulate in the local channel amid reports that Taiwan WLAN-device makers have started to increase output of the pre-N devices, with their combined shipments to exceed one million units in the second quarter, the sources noted.

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AMD chips in Dell desktops for September?

   

According to Citigroup Inc. analysts, Dell is expected to offer a desktop PC using an AMD processor chip in September. Analyst Glen Yeung told Reuters that he and his colleagues were basing this information from PC component makers in Asia. Dell declined to comment on the note. Yeung said details of the desktop computer’s configurations were not available.

After breaking Dell’s 22-year long exclusive relationship with Intel, this could be yet another sign of a growing relationship between Dell and AMD. AMD’s vice president of commercial business, Marty Seyer, stated, “I have yet to see a partnership we have in which that one entry point doesn’t expand into multiple products.”

If a desktop is to be introduced with an AMD processor, it will most likely be of the low-end variety.  Yeung indicated September would be the timeframe for seeing this happen

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Mac market explosion predicted by market analyst

No doubt there’s been some excitement regarding the latest release of Apple notebook products, the new Intel platform and possibility to dual boot the Mac OS X and Windows XP operating system is exciting.  Does that mean sales for Apple will grow?  One analyst from Needham & Co. who is particularly excited says that Boot Camp and the Intel platform could be “Conjuring the magic that could double its market share.”  He goes on to say that Apple could triple its home sales marketshare.  The footnote to this prediction is that the analyst based his findings from an online survey of college students — a higher education population is not representative of the market as a whole.

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Matrox’s TripleHead2Go expands capabilities; DualHead2Go more compatible

June 13th – Matrox Graphics Inc. today announced its TripleHead2Go has expanded its capabilities to include new resolution modes, supporting dual monitor configurations, widescreen flat panels and a higher refresh rate for CRT monitors.

TripleHead2Go is a palm-sized box which allows users to add two or three monitors to computers, even if they only have a single display output.

All new resolution modes included with the TripleHead2Go will be enabled through a software applet called the Matrox TripleHead2Go Mode Expansion Tool (TMET), available here.

Matrox also announced that its DualHead2Go has increased system compatibility, now compatible with Nvidia and ATI based add-in boards, and most laptops based on Intel, ATI, and Nvidia integrated graphics. A complete list of tested and compatible devices can be found here.

Is your system compatible? Find out here.

Ten 14″ widescreen notebooks tested

Xbit Laboratories takes a look at ten contemporary notebook models with 14″ widescreen displays. How do they stack up? The following models were tested:

  • Acer TravelMate 3222WXMi
  • Acer TravelMate 2423NWXMi
  • Asus W3H00V
  • LG LW40
  • LG T1
  • MSI MegaBook S425
  • Samsung X1
  • Samsung X11
  • Sony VGN-FJ1SR
  • Toshiba Terca A6-S513

Link to Review

Interesting Links

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