News Bits: AMD and ATI to Merge?, New Envy u:734, XPS M2010 Closeup, HL2 Episode 1 Release

News Bits: AMD and ATI to Merge?, New Envy u:734, XPS M2010 Closeup, HL2 Episode 1 Release

VoodooPC introduces Middleweight Gaming Notebook, ENVY u:734

31stVoodooPC expanded its notebook lineup with the introduction of the Voodoo ENVY Middleweight u:734 Gaming Notebook. High-powered components at the heart of the system include the new Intel Core Duo processor and the top-of-the-line Nvidia GeForce Go7900GTX.

The powerful Core Duo processor allows for running multiple demanding applications simultaneously, and accelerates technologies such as 2- and 3-D modeling, video editing, digitial music and photography, and graphics-intensive PC games. The ultra-powerful Nvidia Go7900GTX is the fastest mobile GPU on the market, giving users the ability to enjoy exceptional high definition gaming and video playback.

The ENVY u:734 weighs in at 8.5 lbs, fairly light for a 17″ system. Dimensions are 15.6″ x 11.5″ x 1.57″. Up to five hours of battery is possible with the extended battery options. Other features of the u:734 include a 17″ WUXGA display, up to 160GB of hard drive storage, slot load DVD Burner, and a built in 1.3 megapixel video camera.

VoodooPC will accept orders starting 1st, and units will begin shipping early .

Link to Product

AMD + ATI merger looks likely

According to RBC Capital markets, AMD be looking to buy ATI Technologies. Analyst Apjit Walia wrote in a note to investors yesterday:

The synergies of this seem consistent with the recent announcements by AMD to significantly increase capacity over the next few-years.

The thought is not out of the ordinary – it has been speculated that the graphics companies would be likely to be bought by the microprocessor companies.

This tie-up might make sense for AMD at this juncture but we don’t think Intel should pursue tying-up with graphics companies and should instead look at the communications-space. . The competitive dynamics of the microprocessor-market seem to be changing permanently. We believe Intel is still not reading-the-writing-on-the-wall and continues to over-focus on PCs.

Intel is currently issuing drastic price cuts for its Celeron, Pentium 4, D, and Conroe microprocessors. In the analyst’s opinion, Intel has gained some share back from AMD as a result of the price cuts, but the impact on the margins is negative.

The PC Market continues to slow – Intel’s Quarter is looking progressively worse; revenues are down close to ten percent.

We turned neutral on Intel couple-of-weeks ago given our view of the risk-reward being balanced given the bad-news out there, but we remain negative on the semi-space. However, this AMD-ATI tie-up would obviously be a clear-positive for the graphics space.

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Inventec to ship 10 million notebooks in 2007

Inventec plans to ship over ten million notebooks next year, compared to seven million this year according to company sources.

Inventec shipped less than five million notebooks in 2005. However, with overall shipments to Acer, Toshiba and Hewlett Packard (HP) likely to reach 6.5-7 million units in 2006 and the clients further growing their shipments, Inventec stands a good chance of becoming the fourth notebook maker that breaks the ten million unit annual shipment mark, after Quanta Computer, Compal Electronics and Wistron, the sources said.

Acer and HP led the pack for shipment growth in Q1 2006. Inventec’s new plant in the Pudong district of China will start production in 2007 at the earliest. Volume production should begin in 2008.

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A closer look at the XPS M portable desktop

Featuring a 20.1″ LCD display (as indicated by the name), the Dell XPS M is essentially a portable desktop’. Senior Vice President of Dell in America, Ro Parra, described the M as something computer users could watch a movie on and then take it to the office for a presentation.

At 18 pounds, the M certainly isn’t a traveling machine. The power supply weighs in at a further 1.5-2lbs. In order to be moved, the screen is latched down the keyboard base.

We covered the M and the rest of Dell’s recently announced XPS series hereearlier this week.

TGDaily has put up an Image Galleryfor the XPS event – the rest of the story can be found here.

Valve releases Half-Life 2: Episode One

1st– Valve released the first in a trilogy of episodic games, Half-Life 2: Episode One. It reveals the aftermath of Half-Life 2 and goes beyond City 17. The game does not require Half-Life 2 to play, and also includes a first look at Episode Two, due at the end of this year.

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AMD says 45nm by 2008

Over the next three years, AMD is expected to increase production capacity of their Dresden Fab by four times, thanks to recent upgrades and transformations of Fab 30 and Fab 36. AMD is moving away from 200mm wafers, and is looking to completely replace them with 300mm wafers by Q2 2008.

In order to increase production capacity further, Fab 36 will loose its test facilities, but new ones will be built in Singapore and Suzhou, in addition to a separate facility in Dresden.

(view larger image)

65nm processor fabrication is currently on schedule for AMD; it will be replaced in mid-2008 with a 45nm SOI process. K8L is still a 65nm platform, and its anticipated release is next year.

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Alienware Aurora m9700 review

Alienware’s latest and greatest gaming notebook, the Aurora m9700 has been reviewed by HotHardware. It features the fastest AMD Turion processor, dual Nvidia GeForce Go7900GS video cards, up to two hard drives in a RAID configuration, a 17″ WUXGA display. Even with all its high-powered components, it still manages a surprising two hours of battery life.

Alienware m9700 Review

Asus A7J 17-inch Core Duo notebook review

PC Perspective reviewed Asus 17″ A7J multimedia notebook. It features an Intel Core Duo T2300 processor, 256MB ATI X1600 graphics, 1GB of RAM, 100GB Hard drive, and an 8X Dual Layer DVD Burner. It tips the scales at nine pounds and carries a pricetag of about $1,700. Although the unit has some design quirks, it still gets a recommendation from PC Perspective.

Asus A7J Review

Looking for something to do? Forum member ikovac is looking for experience input for his post graduation studies concerning notebooks, internal components, and causes of failures. Have a look here.

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