Intel’s Itanium processor launches are few and far between given that only so many need its specialized grunt, but that just makes any refresh so much larger — and its new Itanium 9500 certainly exemplifies that kind of jump. The chip centers around much more up-to-date, 32-nanometer Poulson architecture that doubles the cores to eight, hikes the interconnect speeds and supports as much as 2TB of RAM for very (very, very) large tasks. With the help of an error-resistant buffer, Intel sees the 9500 being as much as 2.4 times faster as the Tukwila-era design it’s replacing. The new Itanium also ramps the clock speeds to a relatively brisk 1.73GHz to 2.53GHz, although there will be definite costs for server builders wanting to move up: the shipping roster starts at $1,350 per chip in bulk and climbs to an eye-watering $4,650 for the fastest example.
Anyone worried that Poulson might be the end of the road for Intel’s EPIC-based platform will also be glad to get a brief reminder that Itanium will soldier on. The next iteration, nicknamed Kittson, will be framed around a modular design that shares traces of silicon and the processor socket with the more familiar Xeon E7. Intel casts it as a pragmatic step that narrows its server-oriented processors down to a common motherboard and should be cheaper to make. It’s likely that we’ll have to be very patient for more details on Kittson knowing the long intervals between Itanium revamps, but fence-sitting IT pros may just be glad that they won’t have to consider jumping ship for awhile yet.
It’s been almost a year to the day since we reviewed Nokia’s first Windows Phone and now we’re staring at its second-generation flagship, the Lumia 920. Since the Lumia 800, Nokia’s taken a pretty big role in improving Windows Phone’s standing in a crowded (but lucrative) smartphone battlefield. While it may be sharing the spotlight with the new HTC 8X, this slab of hewn polycarbonate has garnered plenty of admirers. No doubt, a large chunk of those would-be phone buyers are, for better and worse, lusting after the phone’s PureView imaging tech — and after our early tests, it looks like it could be just as impressive as the lossless optical zoom seen on the PureView 808.
The Lumia 920 dominated Nokia’s presentation at Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 press event a few months ago, with the smaller Lumia 820 barely getting a look-in. It’s got a “better-than-HD” 1,280 x 768, 4.5-inch high-contrast IPS display, built-in contactless charging, solid build quality and more of Nokia’s exclusive software additions. This time, at least on hardware specifications, the company aims to put its flagship on equal footing with the likes of the Galaxy S III and the iPhone 5. Can Nokia’s biggest and (literally) brightest smartphone maintain its place at top of the Windows Phone pile? How does that camera fare with extended use? And will the Lumia 920 offer enough to pull you away from Android or iOS for your next phone? Continue reading
Whenever we review Chromebooks, we always come to more or less the same conclusion: it’s a neat idea, a computer where everything is done online, but it’s not worth the money. That was back when Chrome OS devices were priced at $500, competing with netbooks that could run not just the Chrome browser, but all manner of Windows apps. Ditto for tablets, which can be tricked out with many thousands of apps on both iOS and Android.
But what if we told you the price had been slashed to $249? Then could you see yourself pulling the trigger? That’s the gamble Google and Samsung are taking with the new Chromebook, which retails for $249 with an 11.6-inch display, 6.5-hour battery and a more compact design. All told, it’s as good a piece of hardware as any netbook you’ll find, only cheaper. And good luck finding a tablet-and-keyboard combo for less than $250.
There is one major change this time around, though, and that’s the Chromebook’s dual-core ARM processor, instead of something from Intel’s Celeron family. The performance isn’t likely to be as good, but will that matter if all you’re running is the Chrome browser? Will the lowered price be enough to lure in parents, travelers and other folks looking for a cheap second laptop? Let’s see. Continue reading
Surfaces. Turns out, the plural form of Microsoft’s new tablet range rolls off of the tongue with ease, but understanding the differences between the first two models may not be quite as easy — particularly for the everyman, or folks intimately familiar with Microsoft’s other Surface. Two editions — Surface for Windows RT and Surface for Windows 8 Pro — were unveiled today in Los Angeles, and while the exterior of each one looks nearly identical, the innards expose major differences in architecture. Let’s break it all down after the break, shall we?
Three months is a long time in tablet-land, it seems. Since we last brought you a buyer’s guide, a few things have changed. In fact, this is probably the biggest shake-up yet, with not only the long-rumored iPad mini making an appearance, but also new offerings from two other big guns — Microsoft and Google. Oh, and that means there’s a whole new species of device altogether. With Windows RT finally shipping, there’s new hardware to go with it, and we expect to see more popping up on the list in the months to come. This is all good news for you prospective tablet owners, as more competition can only mean more choice. With more options, though, comes more confusion. That’s where we come in, armed with a few notable picks. Read on to find out what made the cut this season. Continue reading