For reasons unknown to me, Intel launched Arrandale this past Monday but laptop manufacturers apparently couldn't discuss their new Arrandale offerings until Thursday… at which point we received a ton of information from all the usual suspects. We have put together pictures and commentary of some - and we emphasize that this is only some - of the new Arrandale offerings, along with a few other interesting laptops, netbooks, and notebooks.
Alienware and Dell
As one of the biggest OEMs in the world, Dell naturally has quite a few Arrandale systems to announce. They also have a new Mini using Pineview, i7 upgrades for Alienware laptops, and a ton of other non-mobile products. Here's a quick look at some of the more interesting announcements.
Tired of 15" (and often larger) gaming notebooks? How about trying this on for size: Alienware is coming out with the M11x, an 11.6" laptop that provides reasonable gaming performance. Details on the internal components are a bit light at present, but we're told it can last over 6 hours with the discrete GeForce GT335M switched off (or around two hours with the dGPU enabled). We love switchable graphics!
Of course, you're probably wondering what the GT335M provides, and we asked NVIDIA for details. The GT335M is built on a 40nm process with DX10.1 support. It has 72 SPs and provides up to 233 GFLOPS of performance. The core clock is 450MHz with 1080MHz shader clocks and up to 1GB of 1066MHz GDDR3 on a 128-bit bus (34GB/s of bandwidth). That puts shader performance right around the same level as the 9800M GS, but with 33% less memory bandwidth. As for the CPU, we're also trying to find out more, but we suspect it will use some form of Arrandale (Core i3/i5). We'll update if we can get an answer on the CPU options.
The big surprise is that pricing is set to start at $1000, though we don't know the specifics of that configuration. We do know that the ASUS UL series (UL30Vt, UL50Vt, and UL80Vt) use CULV with G210M graphics, and they provide a good, balanced platform for under $1000 as well. The GT335M is clearly faster than the G210M (about three times as fast by our calculations), so $1000 for a GT335M with any reasonable CPU would be a great deal, as long as you like the 11.6" form factor.
Dell also announced a ton of new Inspiron laptops with Arrandale CPUs. Again, specifics are light right now, but we know there will be new Inspiron 14 (14.0"), Inspiron 15 (15.6"), and Inspiron 17 (17.3") models with Arrandale CPUs, and at present it looks like all of the Inspiron line will use the new Intel HD Arrandale IGP. Battery life with the optional 9-cell battery is targeting 7+ hours, which is also nice to see, though that will drop to around 4 hours with the standard 6-cell battery. Availability is set for later this month, with prices starting at just $570 with Core i3. The Core i5 models bump the cost up significantly, starting at $850.
The Studio line is basically an enhanced Inspiron laptop, with the goal being better styling and/or features… and a higher price. Like the Inspiron, there will be new Studio 14, 15, and 17 models. We would assume (although we have not seen any details at present) that the Studio line will give users a dedicated GPU in addition to the Arrandale IGP. Availability is again scheduled for later this month, with the Studio 14 starting at $700, the Studio 15 at $850, and the Studio 17 at $950. There should also be a new i3/i5 version of the Studio XPS laptops; Dell had a red Studio XPS 16 on display but no details on what was inside it. Studio XPS 16 with Core i5 and a Mobility Radeon 5750 would be tasty….
The Alienware M15x and M17x have also received updates, only they support Core i7 CPUs rather than Core i3/i5. The M17x looks set to be the first Core i7 notebook to ship with SLI graphics, although now the GTX 280M GPUs are nearing EOL so we expect another update to whatever NVIDIA's next high-end GPU ends up being. The current M17x supports CrossFire configurations (one of only two notebooks to support the HD 4870), so it may receive support for HD 5850 as well. We'll have to wait to find out.
Like just about every company that makes laptops, Dell also has a new Mini 10 using the Pineview Atom N450 CPU. It has similar specs to every other Pine Trail netbook we've seen.
We're still waiting to test an Adamo XPS, though it's pretty easy to tell what Adamo and Adamo XPS offer. These are CULV platforms with an increased focus on design elements. They also come with SSDs in place of conventional HDDs, either 128GB or 256GB, depending on the model. With prices starting at $1500 for the standard Adamo and $2000 for the Adamo XPS, you really need to like the design. All of the Adamo laptops are already shipping.
For an alternative thin laptop catering to business users, the Vostro line is interesting. The Vostro V13 is a Core 2 Solo design, so it sacrifices performance in going for thin and light, but it does have an anti-glare LCD. In fact, most of the Dell business laptops (Vostro in particular) come with anti-glare LCD options. Tired of glossies? Give business laptops a closer look. With their current sale, the Vostro 1320 in particular is very promising: Core 2 Duo, anti-glare, and Win7 Pro for under $600.