So, Press Releases. Everyone hears about them, but you don’t get to read them much. I mean they’re all boring details, right? You want the reviews, the benchmarks, the scores! But for those slightly more patient folk, press releases are a good indication of where a company intends to take its product, and whether they’re confident in its ability to succeed or not. So we’ve done most of the hard work for you, picking out the needles in the haystack that stand out and may influence of affect your buying decisions in future. We’ll be doing this weekly to keep you in the loop. All you need to do is read!
Atom processors have never been synonymous with capable media playback. In fact, up until the Pine Trail refresh last year, many netbooks struggled with any 1080p decoding unless you had an Nvidia Ion chipset thrown into the mix. Since then, Pine Trail has featured the revised HD3000 graphics chip which actually does a good job of things, but it isnt always perfect. Intel looks set to change this with the announcement of the Atom CE5300. Featuring more graphic muscle, the CE5300 is aimed at content providers looking to bundle the package into their set-top boxes and coming out with an elegant, compact design that fits into your home theatre setup. It may be no Apple TV, but you’ll certainly see the CE5300 in set-top boxes later this year.
Last year PC shipments picked up by an average of 1.8% in all polled countries in a market review done anually by some clever people in the IDC (International Data Corporation). Last year consumer interest was held back by growing economic concerns and price fluctuations. In addition, many natural disasters worldwide set back manufacturing arms months, especially in Japan in the aftermath of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. This year growth is expected to rise to 5% especially in developing countries, with most of the growth increasing in the second half of this year. While strong, consumer interest is most concentrated on tablet computers, especially with the release of the iPad 3, Microsoft’s development of Windows 8 and the introduction of Atom and Tegra 3 tablets running Android 4.0.
Every time I look at hard drive prices, I cry inside as if I’m peeling 1KG onions. Mechanical drive prices have shot through the roof thanks to the Japan tsunami last year, and things are only expected to calm down towards the end of November this year (just in time for the end of the world, then). In the absence of price drops, SSD manufacturers have begun to price their products more cheaply, resulting in more uptake than what was usual for the niche performance segment. Despite this, Western Digital have begun shipping the world’s first 2TB external drive as part of their My Passport range. Its pricey, as you can imagine.
Intel’s Sandy Bridge budget Celeron and Pentium processors are currently eating up the market share AMD once proudly claimed with their Athlon II dual and tri-core chips. Llano fills that space, but not before being beaten by the Pentium G840 which is now the budget gamer’s choice. Intel is expected to trump its own contender later this year with the arrival of Ivy Bridge processors. The Pentium G2120 will come stock at 3.1Ghz, the highest ever for the low-end model. Accompanying the high clock speed is 3MB of L3 cache and a 65watt TDP. In earlier days this would have been badged as an overclocker’s toy, but the lack of Turbo Boost, AVX, a lack of PCI Express 3.0 support and Hyper-threading firmly put his at the low end of the spectrum. Still, great value for gamers, especially those still stuck on LGA775 platforms. Strangely, no mention is made of the integrated graphics core inside. As a budget chip, expect it to feature a basic Intel HD GPU that performs similarly to the previous generation HD2000 chip.
For those of you still interested in the rest of the Ivy Bridge lineup, the complete list of specs for the launch family can be found here.