Lab Update: The Pre, Nokia and Intel, SSDs and Moreby Anand Lal Shimpi on June 24, 2009 6:00 PM EST
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My head has been deep in testing and writing for these past couple of weeks but I managed to get my head above water enough to provide an update on what I'm working on.
The Pre Update
I have to give it to Palm, releasing two OS updates since the Pre was launched does show commitment to the platform. I've been working on the iPhone 3GS review and I already miss using the Pre regularly. While I was running battery life tests on the 3GS I got to switch back to the Pre as my primary phone and immediately recognized three things:
1) I miss background applications/multitasking.
2) The Pre is noticeably slower than the 3GS
3) I miss the iPhone App store and its apps when I'm on the Pre.
I think the Pre is quite compelling. I'm guessing it's one major update away from a significant performance update. I've even found that web browser performance is far closer between the 3GS and the Pre on webOS 1.0.3 than it was on 1.0.2 (you'll see results in the 3GS review). I'm very, very eager to see where the Pre is in 6 months. For Sprint's sake, I would hope that Palm can get everything worked out and polished before the carrier exclusivity agreement is up.
I have heard about the HTC Hero and if I could get a good contact over there I'd like to look at the Hero and its installation of Android. Between Palm, Google, Microsoft, Nokia and Apple, I'm really curious to see how many players the smartphone market can really support in the long run.
Nokia and Intel
Yesterday I spent some time on a conference call with Intel and Nokia. They didn't really say much other than they've formed a close partnership. They've agreed to work on mobile platforms together (Netbooks, MIDs and smartphones), Moblin (Intel's mobile Linux distribution) and Nokia has agreed to license their 3G/HSDPA modem technology to Intel.
The first part means we'll probably see some sweet smartphone designs based on Atom and its platforms.The Moblin announcement means that we'll see Moblin on some of these new Intel based Nokia devices. And the last part means that Intel will be able to offer an Atom platform or SoC with integrated 3G modem functionality. Remember that Samsung, Toshiba and other ARM partners can already offer this sort of support in their SoCs so Intel is simply trying to build a similarly stacked deck.
Realistically, Intel is still at least 2 years away from being in something like the Pre or the iPhone, but it's getting there.
It's a Mac Sort of Week
I'm out of the office for the rest of this week but I'm working on wrapping up two major projects: the 3GS review and my Nehalem Mac Pro article. The latter is pretty unique since we managed to upgrade the CPUs in the Mac Pro, which proved to be much more complicated than you'd think at first.
EVGA also sent me their new GeForce GTX 285 Mac Edition that I'm going to start work on next week. I would've gotten to it earlier but my head has been in the smartphone clouds for longer than I expected.
The WePC Update
For the past two weeks my posts over at WePC mirrored much of my life on AnandTech. Last week I talked about Apple's new MacBook Pro and the end of removable batteries in notebooks. This week the topic of conversation was gaming on smartphones. When I was little I used to carry a Gameboy with me on trips but I never carry my PSP or Nintendo DS when I'm out and about these days. If my smartphone becomes the next portable gaming platform of choice then I'd be quite content.
SSDs and Ion
I haven't forgotten about the SSD stuff, you may have even seen a sneak preview of some numbers in my recent MacBook Pro update from the top three contenders in the market. The smartphone and Mac stuff has pushed it back a bit but I also haven't come to any significant enough conclusions on changes to the market. The way I see it is this:
1) The X25-M continues to be my top pick.
2) The Samsung based drives (e.g. Corsair 256GB) offer great compatibility (that's a newer version of what Apple uses in its MacBook lineup) but their worst case performance isn't as good as the Indilinx or Intel drives. This won't be an issue for everyone but it does leave a sour taste in my mouth.
3) The Indilinx based drives (e.g. OCZ Vertex) seem to provide the best of both worlds between the X25-M and the Samsung based drives. You get higher peak transfer rates (like the Samsung) but you get better random write performance (like the X25-M).
Things haven't changed too much but TRIM is just around the corner...
I've also been playing with ASRock's Ion system as well. It's good to see more Ion based systems around, and ASRock is delivering something different enough from the Zotac Ion that it deserves some attention.
That's it for now - have a great week guys :)
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Pandamonium - Monday, June 29, 2009 - linkAnand,
Is AT doing a review of the ASRock ION 330-BD? I'm very much interested in its FLV capabilities. Sorry to harp on the HTPC-potential, it's just that since it doesn't look like Intel will be releasing a dual core Atom in the near future, the 330 is all that we can play with. Tweaktown's review suggests that the ASRock units might be overclockable to 2.1 GHz, and I think it might use the 9400 compared to Zotac's 9300. If this is enough additional horsepower to handle Hulu, then I know what I'll buy. Tweaktown's reviews, however, aren't as thorough or clear as yours though. So I'm waiting for the AT verdict.
Tutor - Friday, June 26, 2009 - linkIf you're interested in the possibility of upgrading an i7 or Xeon Mac Pro check out this discussion thread and benchmark result to see what Anand's blog has inspired:
Tutor - Saturday, June 27, 2009 - linkUpdate: Thread is at:
gwolfman - Friday, June 26, 2009 - linkThanks Anand for the updates... keeps us eager for more news/reviews. :)
procaregiver - Thursday, June 25, 2009 - linkPlease tell me the CPU upgrade was for the 8-core Nehalem Mac Pro. It should be as easy as purchasing two off-the-shelf Xeon (Gainestown) and having a bit of patience in removing the heatspreaders from the replacement CPUs. The only issue I see is with the 3.2GHz W5580, as the TDP is 130 W and it's only a guess whether it will work until somebody with large pockets tries it out.
doclucas - Thursday, June 25, 2009 - linkThis cool PCIe drive delivers insane performance and huge storage at quite an affordable price (in comparison with other SSD prices). When can we expect a review of this monster?
halcyon - Thursday, June 25, 2009 - linkI know you are in the USA, but a big portion of your readers come from outside.
Please do not make the same idiotic mistake that 99% of US mobile bloggers do: assume that their readers only care about Sprint, Verizon, AT&T or that they think that iPHone is the world's most sold smartphone (it's probably not even in top 5).
Symbian dominates the smartphone world, totally, even if it sucks in market share in the US. While I'm on WM myself, I like to see coverage of all the major platforms and Symbian is one of them. Talking about Pre/WebOs so much with it's miniscule installed based, US-only availability and just a few phones sold really skews the picture.
There are more symbian and windows smart phones sold every week than the combined total of Pre. More Symbian devices every day than 3GS in the first whole week.
That should give you an idea of what the "rest of the world" (outside) US is buying and concentrating on.
And yes, new and upcoming things are interesting, but so are old, tried and tested.
anandtech02148 - Thursday, June 25, 2009 - linkWe are at a point where Apple has less to improve on except more market shares, a purple or metallic iphone that can play more nintendo video games.
I hate to see Apple or Google dominate the smartphone market with their cheap built on the fly from Taiwan/China.
I'm a big fan of Symbian Os for Nokia E71, one of the best looking phone/price without the evil ccellphone contract, i feel as though Nokia is like Bmw and minicoop.
Also anything coming from Rim is just excessive plastic from China, with their Gui heading toward the Palm Treos graveyard.
Nvidia and Intel are going to bring their guns to the smartphone market. Yay for us all.
Nvidia Tegra, Intel should make the smartphone market much more interesting.
PaulaTejano - Thursday, June 25, 2009 - linkWell , I'm thinking a SSD is a need for my new rig. I was looking between x-25 M or OCZ vertex 60gb.
These are the prices in Swiss francs (and the same amount in dollars)
Intel X25-M 80GB, SATA-II, 2,5 Zoll : 369.- ($ 337.60)
OCZ SSD Vertex 60GB, SATA-II, 2,5 Zoll, MLC 32MB Cache : 315.- ($288)
The 128 gb version will cost me like : 479.- ($ 438)
I'm thinking it's still time to wait , to see prices come down...
What you guys think about it ?
djc208 - Thursday, June 25, 2009 - linkHave to agree, I'm thinking my Win 7 upgrade may be a good time to move my system drive to an SSD. My CPU and GPU are both fast enough for the work and play I do, so this may be a good upgrade path.
Price will always be moving, I'm not sure you'll see a big change, especially in Intel pricing till someone gets much closer to their performance level.
I am curious to see if anything significant is around the corner. It doesn't sound like it but it may change my timeline.