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Thread: Anandtech News

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    #1031

    Anandtech: Motorola Droid Bionic Review - Dual Core with 4G LTE

    It is something of an understatement to start out by mentioning that the Motorola Droid Bionic was easily this summer’s most anticipated smartphone. The story of the Bionic started at CES, where it immediately attracted attention thanks to its combination of 4G LTE connectivity and a Tegra 2 SoC.
    I remember seeing the Bionic on a table on the last bleary-eyed of CES, among its other 4G LTE brethren - from right to left, it goes HTC Thunderbolt, Motorola Bionic, Samsung Droid Charge, and LG Revolution. I don’t remember much about that Bionic, other than that it was the only one among the four that I didn’t get a chance to grab photos of loading the AnandTech homepage or Dailytech, and that reps were guarded about letting me touch it. Rumor had it that the Thunderbolt would come first, and then down the row of devices. Eerily, other than the Bionic, the devices launched in that order.

    The new Motorola Droid Bionic (codename Targa)
    That Bionic doesn’t exist anymore, instead the phone that launched in its stead is codename Targa, which was further down the roadmap and no doubt accelerated to take the Bionic’s place. Until now, 4G LTE and dual core SoCs have been mutually exclusive, and the result is performance now gated by the SoC instead of the last mile of air between you and a base station.
    Finally with the Bionic things change, and we have a smartphone that combines a dual core SoC with the fastest air interface around, 4G LTE. It’s been a long and arduous wait for the Bionic, but it’s finally here. The only lingering question is whether the wait has been worth it.


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    #1032

    Anandtech: iPhone 4S Preliminary Benchmarks: ~800MHz A5, Slightly Slower GPU than iPa

    Apple's ability to control the entire information chain, down to the point of limiting leaks, appears to be gradually slipping as it grows as a company. Case in point are the numerous hardware and performance leaks surrounding the newly launched iPhone 4S. Little did we know that several weeks ago we were staring at photos of the 4S' PCB, and more recently we've seen the first performance results from Apple's first A5 based smartphone thanks to a few eager users around the web.
    The results are pretty much as expected. Javascript performance finally catches up to Tegra 2 based Honeycomb devices, while general CPU performance is significantly higher than the iPhone 4. I suspect Ice Cream Sandwich will bridge the Android smartphone gap.
    Using some of the integer and fp tests of published Geekbench scores we can already conclude that Apple is shipping a lower clocked A5 in the iPhone 4S than it does in the iPad 2. This naturally makes sense as the iPhone 4S has a much smaller battery. Based on the Geekbench results it looks like the iPad 2 is clocked around 25% higher than the iPhone 4S, pegging the latter's clock speed at 800MHz.
    A lower clock not only means higher yields from the factory, but likely a lower operating voltage as well. Dropping a CPU's core voltage, yields a greater-than-linear decrease in power consumption, making the marginal loss in clock speed a good choice. At a lower operating frequency than its Android competitors, Apple does have to exploit its strengths in software to avoid any tangible performance penalties. Apple has traditionally done this very well in the past, so I don't expect the loss of frequency to be a huge deal to the few who do cross-shop iOS and Android.
    The GPU results tell a similar story courtesy of some early GLBenchmark 2.1 results. The 960 x 640 results are useless as they are bound by vsync at ~60 fps. Luckly GLBenchmark 2.1 added an off-screen render mode at 1280 x 720 where we can really see the differences between the iPad 2 and iPhone 4S A5 implementations:
    Here the iPad 2 holds a ~21% performance advantage, which once again I assume to be all related to clock speed. Also note the huge advantage over the existing iPhone 4. The GPU power in the 4S should be more than enough to run any well written, current generation title at well north of 30 fps on its display.
    We'll be reviewing the iPhone 4S in the coming weeks, stay tuned!



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    #1033

    Anandtech: WD My Book Live Network Attached Hard Disk Review

    The rise of powerful home networking solutions have led to the shift in consumer focus from DAS (Direct Attached Storage) units to NAS (Network Attached Storage) units in the home space. Storage solution vendors such as Western Digital and Seagate were quick to identify the needs of the consumers. We have NAS solutions ranging from simple network attached hard disks to multi-bay SMB / SOHO NAS units from both of them.
    Today, we will take a look at the recently introduced My Book Live from Western Digital. It is not advertised as a full blown 1-bay NAS solution, but more as a network attached hard disk. Western Digital stresses the personal cloud nature of the unit (after all, cloud is the hot keyword right now!) and provides smartphone apps to enhance this experience. Read on to find out how the My Book Live performs.



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    #1034

    Anandtech: CTIA: AT&T Outs 5 New Android Phones, Atrix 2 for $99 on-contract

    The Fall hits just keep coming. Today AT&T joined partners Motorola, Samsung, Pantech and newcomer ZTE to announce 5 new Android handsets due out this Fall. The line-up includes big announcements, like the Atrix 2 we saw hints of previously, and some bargain phones including just their second Android GoPhone, the ZTE built AT&T Avail. Lots to cover so let's get right to it.
    The Motorola Atrix 2

    We first got a peak at this device when a Chinese leaker nabbed some hands-on time with a device whose model number (MB865) mirrored that of the Droid Bionic's original model number (XT865). This lead to the hopeful assumption that the device would be among AT&T's first LTE devices. Sadly, LTE has been left on the table, and though the Bionic's model number is no longer quite so similar (XT875) there's still much in common between these devices. The Atrix 2 is powered by TI's OMAP 4430, as in the Bionic, and backed by 1 GB of RAM. The PowerVR SGX 540 is clocked at 304 MHz, higher than in last generation's phones, and pushes a 4.3" qHD display that based on reports from This is my next lacks any sort of PenTile matrix.
    The Atrix 2 will be a WebTop enabled phone, and though it will sport HSPA+, LTE is nowhere to be found. With 8GB of on-board storage and a 2GB microSD card in place, there's plenty of room for apps and images or videos from the 8 MP shooter on the back and the VGA front-facing camera, likely the same pair as found on the Bionic.
    What really sets the Atrix 2 apart, is the price, which is reported to be $99 on-contract and available on October 16th. That's plenty of bargain for a modern dual-core chipset and what is surely going to be an impressive screen, even if real 4G isn't in the cards.
    Samsung Captivate Glide and DoubleTime

    The Samsung Captivate Glide could be categorized as a Galaxy R phone as it uses a Tegra 2 SoC and not one from Samsung's stable and joins the ranks of recent QWERTY devices from Samsung. The 4" devices uses a WVGA SuperAMOLED display and, as expected from a Tegra 2 device, is running its cores at 1 GHz and is backed by 1 GB of RAM. The phone sports 8 MP rear-facing and VGA front-facing cameras and is laden with the enterprise software that has become de rigueur from Samsung of late. Given the aggressive pricing on the Atrix 2, I'd be surprised if this phone was priced higher, but availability and pricing are TBA.

    The Samsung DoubleTime is almost sure to be among AT&T's cheapest smartphones, though it has its market, to be sure. The colorful body (available in pink and white) and flip keyboard harkens back to the LG Envy series making this a push towards the text heavy youth market. Like the Envy of old, the DoubleTime features two screens, one touchscreen, and another non-touchscreen only visible when the clamshell is opened to reveal the ful QWERTY keyboard. Each screen is just 3.2" HVGA (320x480) and the rest of the specs won't impress anyone with just 600 MHz on tap from a Qualcomm chipset. Froyo is the Android flavor of choice, and the 3.2 MP shooter isn't likely to impress camera snobs. But if you've got a few tweens looking to stay in touch with friends, this could be the right phone at the right price. We just don't know what that price is yet, nor when you'll have it in hand.
    Pantech Pocket

    The Pantech Pocket is another value play from AT&T, this time in a slim, device whose ergonomics target one handed operation. What's most immediately striking about the device is its screen, a 4" SVGA vanilla LCD with a 4:3 aspect ratio. For those born after 1990, SVGA is 800x600 resolution and was last seen in the CRT era of PC displays. The extra horizontal pixels (when held in portrait) provide more browsing room, while the small form factor makes the device easy to handle with one hand. There's not much else to say, the phone looks like a grown up Tomagotchi, and I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing. Pricing and availability are TBA.
    AT&T Avail

    The last entrant is AT&T's second Android prepaid handset, and their first ZTE handset. China's ZTE is set to grow its presence in the States but, like the Pocket and the DoubleTime, this is a bargain bin device that's not likely to wow anyone. No details on chipset or performance were given, simply that the phone has a 3.5" capacitive touch screen, a 5 MP shooter, 512 MB of onboard storage and a 2 GB microSD card preinstalled, and would be running Gingerbread. If you're looking to try out Android without a 2-year commitment, we can think of better ways, but travelers looking for a cheap back-up phone might just appreciate the Avail.
    AT&T's Android line-up seems to have something for everone, though things seem a little iffy at the bottom end. On top you'll have devices like the Galaxy S II, the Atrix 2 and the Captivate Glide. On the lower end we'll now be seeing more Gingerbread devices with the Pocket and the Avail. CTIA's just getting started so we can expect more announcements in the coming days. Stay tuned.
    Gallery: CTIA: AT&T Outs 5 New Android Phones, Atrix 2 for $99 on-contract




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    #1035

    Anandtech: ASUS' Zenbook Lineup: The First Ultrabooks Arrive October 12, Starting at

    ASUS just announced its first line of Ultrabook PCs under the new Zenbook brand at a press event in NYC. There are a total of five models in the Zenbook lineup ranging in price from $999 to $1499 and available in both 11.6-inch and 13.3-inch display configurations. Based on specs alone, the Zenbook lineup is very similar to Apple's 2011 MacBook Air. Dimensions are almost identical, although ASUS' 11 is a little heavier than Apple's while its 13 is a little lighter. The entire Zenbook lineup ships with 4GB of DDR3 memory and all of the systems use the same ULV Sandy Bridge parts that Apple uses in the MacBook Air. Battery capacities are identical to the Air models at 35Whr and 50Whr depending on the chassis size. ASUS does claim lower standby numbers than Apple (up to 10 days vs. up to 30 for the MBA), but that's likely an OS limitation. The Zenbooks typically give you a larger SSD than Apple (and 6Gbps on top of that) as well as a single USB 3.0 port to complement its USB 2.0 port. ASUS claims a 2 second resume time for all of the Zenbook models, presumably from a suspend-to-RAM state.
    ASUS Zenbook Lineup
    UX21E-DH52 UX21E-DH71 UX31E-DH52 UX31E-DH53 UX31E-DH72
    CPU i5-2467M i7-2677M i5-2557M i5-2557M i7-2677M
    OS Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
    Display 11.6-inch 1366 x 768 13.3-inch 1600 x 900
    Memory 4GB DDR3
    Storage 128GB 6Gbps SSD 256GB 6Gbps SSD
    Wireless Connectivity 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0
    Battery 35Whr (5+ Hours)
    up to 7 day standby
    50Whr (7+ Hours)
    up to 10 day standby
    Camera 0.3MP
    Audio Bang and Olufsen ICEpower & ASUS SonicMaster Tech
    I/O 1 x USB 2, 1 x USB 3, 1x audio/mic, 1x microHDMI, 1x miniVGA 1 x USB 1, 1 x USB 3, 1 x audio/mic, 1 x microHDMI, 1 x miniVGA, 1 x SD Card reader
    Dimensions 11.7 x 7.7 x 0.11-0.67" 12.8 x 8.8 x 0.11-0.71"
    Weight 2.43 lbs 2.86 lbs
    USA MSRP $999 $1199 $1099 $1349 $1499
    The first Zenbooks will be available for order in the US starting October 12th. I've included some head to head comparisons between the various Zenbook models and their MacBook Air counterparts below. For the most part the specs aren't all that different. I don't expect that there are a ton of users who cross-shop similarly priced Macs and PCs, the Zenbook simply looks like a good option for those users who want a MacBook Air but prefer Windows 7.
    ASUS Zenbook U31E vs. Apple 13-inch MacBook Air
    UX31E-DH53 Base 13-inch MBA
    CPU i5-2557M 1.7GHz/2C/3MB i5-2557M 1.7GHz/2C/3MB
    Display 13.3-inch 1600 x 900 13.3-inch 1366 x 768
    Memory 4GB DDR3 4GB DDR3
    Storage 256GB 6Gbps SSD 128GB 3Gbps SSD
    Wireless Connectivity 802.11 b/g/n 802.11 a/b/g/n
    Battery 50 Whr 50 Whr
    Camera 0.3MP 0.3MP
    I/O 1 x USB 1, 1 x USB 3, 1 x audio/mic, 1 x microHDMI, 1 x miniVGA, 1 x SD Card reader 2 x USB 2, 1 x audio/mic, 1 x Thunderbolt, 1 x SD Card reader
    Dimensions 12.8 x 8.8 x 0.11-0.71" 12.8 x 8.94 x 0.11-0.68"
    Weight 2.86 lbs 2.96 lbs
    MSRP $1349 $1299

    ASUS Zenbook U31E vs. Apple 13-inch MacBook Air
    UX31E-DH72 Base 13-inch MBA
    CPU i7-2667M 1.8GHz/2C/4MB i7-2667M 1.8GHz/2C/4MB
    Display 13.3-inch 1600 x 900 13.3-inch 1366 x 768
    Memory 4GB DDR3 4GB DDR3
    Storage 256GB 6Gbps SSD 256GB 3Gbps SSD
    Wireless Connectivity 802.11 b/g/n 802.11 a/b/g/n
    Battery 50 Whr 50 Whr
    Camera 0.3MP 0.3MP
    I/O 1 x USB 1, 1 x USB 3, 1 x audio/mic, 1 x microHDMI, 1 x miniVGA, 1 x SD Card reader 2 x USB 2, 1 x audio/mic, 1 x Thunderbolt, 1 x SD Card reader
    Dimensions 12.8 x 8.8 x 0.11-0.71" 12.8 x 8.94 x 0.11-0.68"
    Weight 2.86 lbs 2.96 lbs
    MSRP $1499 $1599

    ASUS Zenbook U21E vs. Apple 11-inch MacBook Air
    UX21E-DH52 Base 11-inch MBA
    CPU i5-2467M 1.6GHz/2C/3MB i5-2467M 1.6GHz/2C/3MB
    Display 11.6-inch 1366 x 768 11.6-inch 1366 x 768
    Memory 4GB DDR3 2GB DDR3
    Storage 128GB 6Gbps SSD 64GB 3Gbps SSD
    Wireless Connectivity 802.11 b/g/n 802.11 a/b/g/n
    Battery 35 Whr 35Whr
    Camera 0.3MP 0.3MP
    I/O 1 x USB 2, 1 x USB 3, 1 x audio/mic, 1 x microHDMI, 1 x miniVGA 2 x USB 2, 1 x audio/mic, 1 x Thunderbolt
    Dimensions 11.7 x 7.7 x 0.11-0.67" 11.8 x 7.56 x 0.11-0.68"
    Weight 2.43 lbs 2.38 lbs
    MSRP $999 $999

    ASUS Zenbook U21E vs. Apple 11-inch MacBook Air
    EX21E-DH71 Upgraded 11-inch MBA
    CPU i7-2667M 1.8GHz/2C/4MB i7-2667M 1.8GHz/2C/4MB
    Display 11.6-inch 1366 x 768 11.6-inch 1366 x 768
    Memory 4GB DDR3 4GB DDR3
    Storage 128GB 6Gbps SSD 128GB 3Gbps SSD
    Wireless Connectivity 802.11 b/g/n 802.11 a/b/g/n
    Battery 35 Whr 35Whr
    Camera 0.3MP 0.3MP
    I/O 1 x USB 2, 1 x USB 3, 1 x audio/mic, 1 x microHDMI, 1 x miniVGA 2 x USB 2, 1 x audio/mic, 1 x Thunderbolt
    Dimensions 11.7 x 7.7 x 0.11-0.67" 11.8 x 7.56 x 0.11-0.68"
    Weight 2.43 lbs 2.38 lbs
    MSRP $1199 $1199




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    #1036

    Anandtech: The Bulldozer Review: AMD FX-8150 Tested

    AMD has been trailing Intel in the x86 performance space for years now. Ever since the introduction of the first Core 2 processors in 2006, AMD hasn't been able to recover and return to the heyday of the Athlon 64 and Athlon 64 X2. Instead the company has remained relevant by driving costs down and competing largely in the sub-$200 microprocessor space. AMD's ability to hold on was largely due to its more-cores-for-less strategy. Thanks to aggressive pricing on its triple and hexa-core parts, for users who needed tons of cores, AMD has been delivering a lot of value over the past couple of years. Recently however Intel has been able to drive its per-core performance up with Sandy Bridge, where it's becoming increasingly difficult to recommend AMD alternatives with higher core counts. The heavily threaded desktop niche is tough to sell to, particularly when you force users to take a significant hit on single threaded performance in order to achieve value there. For a while now AMD has needed a brand new architecture, something that could lead to dominance in heavily threaded workloads while addressing its deficiencies in lightly threaded consumer workloads. After much waiting, we get that new architecture today. Bulldozer is here.
    Read on for our full review!


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    #1037

    Anandtech: iCloud, iOS 5, iTunes 10.5, and OS X 10.7.2 Released

    In accordance with last week's keynote, Apple users have some downloading to do: iOS 5, iTunes 10.5, and Mac OS X 10.7.2 have all been released. These updates collectively enable Apple's new iCloud service, which will eventually replace the older MobileMe service and provide syncing and backups for users' documents, pictures, and other data.
    iOS 5, which supports the iPhone 3GS, 4, and 4S, all iPads, the third and fourth-gen iPod Touches, and the Apple TV 2, enables a number of other new features: a new notifications system and the Notifications Center, the iMessage protocol, wi-fi syncing, and over-the-air OS updates. You can download the update to your devices after downloading iTunes 10.5. Expect our full, in-depth review of the new OS soon.
    Mac OS X 10.7.2 doesn't bring major new features to the OS, but it does apply a range of security and reliability patches to the operating system which should help with some of the teething issues most new OS X releases have. Release notes for the update haven't yet been published, but we'll update the article to link to them when they're live.
    Along with these updates, Apple has also published a Lion Recovery update, which updates Lion users' recovery partitions to work better with the new Find My Mac feature.



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    #1038

    Anandtech: AirPort Utility for iOS Launches

    When we reviewed the 5th generation Airport Extreme and 4th generation Time Capsule, several people pointed out that the iOS 5 beta included an Airport configuration mode inside settings. This mode allowed for initial setup whenever the iDevice was in range of an unconfigured Airport.
    We heard grumblings later that Airport Utility was coming to iOS, and today Airport Utility for iOS appeared in the App Store. The application works for iPhone/iPod Touch sized devices, and on the iPad 1/2, though iOS 5 is a requirement for the application. This is yet another part of Apple's attempt to make computing possible without the expressed requirement of also owning a desktop, and eliminates another interesting edge case in that puzzle.
    Thus far I've spent a while poking around inside the Airport Utility release and am impressed with the depth of configuration options present. While the desktop Airport Utility analog for OS X or Windows still has more options, the big things are here, including network setup, WiFi configuration (everything from SSID to wireless channels), a list of wireless clients and their RSSI, ability to reboot AirPorts, and even perform firmware updates. I've put together a gallery with most of the important menus below.
    Gallery: AirPort Utility for iOS


    Source: Apple Store



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    #1039

    Anandtech: BenQ EW2420 Monitor Review

    The EW2420 from BenQ is designed for use as a multi-purpose display. While it has the standard DVI and HDMI port you would expect on a current monitor, it also has an additional HDMI port for another video source like a video game system or Blu-ray player, as well as speakers for the audio from these sources.
    Of course, if the panel doesn’t perform well then it doesn’t matter how many inputs it has, but the BenQ looks promising with both a VA panel and an LED backlight. The last time we checked out a BenQ LCD, it was an MVA panel that caused us to lament the decline in quality seen over the years. Read on as we determine whether the EW2420 can stand with the better offerings on the market.


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    #1040

    Anandtech: Ubuntu 11.10 Released

    Canonical has just released the latest version of Ubuntu, 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot, to end users. Most prominent among its new features are upgrades to the Unity interface, the new shell introduced in version 11.04. New users can download the open source OS from the Ubuntu web site, and current users can try their luck upgrading their existing install through the Update Manager.
    Other changes include the replacement of the Evolution email client with Mozilla Thunderbird, version 3.0 of the Linux kernel, and the ability for developers to sell software through the Ubuntu Software Center. Newer versions of Ubuntu's built-in apps, including Firefox and OpenOffice, are also included.
    Ubuntu is officially available in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions, though ports (and forks like Kubuntu and Xubuntu) are available for other architectures and platforms as well. The next release, 12.04 ("Precise Pangolin"), is due in April of 2012, and will be an "LTS" or Long Term Support version supported by Canonical for three years after its release.
    Source: Canonical



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