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CES 2011 News ? Laptops Preview

CES 2011 News – Laptops Preview   From processor updates to 3D technology, we give you the lowdown on what to expect for laptops at this year’s Consumer Electronics show.

There’s always big news for laptops during the Consumer Electronics Show, and this year is no different. From processor updates to 3D technology, these are exciting times for the mobile PC market. Read on for what to expect in laptops in the coming year.

 CPU and GPU Get Closer
In terms of the processor market, it isn’t just another speed bump this year, nor is it about adding more physical cores to the processor die, as with previous years. This year, graphics power is finally riding shotgun with the CPU. Both Intel and AMD will unveil new chips, followed by a sea of laptops that will for the first time feature on-die graphics. The mere fact that the graphics component is that much closer to the CPU means that novice and part-time gamers can actually play the latest 3D titles without having to spend extra money on a midrange graphics chipset from the likes of Nvidia and AMD. It’s a monumental improvement in 3D graphics-related tasks, coupled with big gains in CPU horsepower. Intel’s new chips, codenamed “SandyBridge,” will be revealed as the next generation Core i3, i5, and i7 processors in retail. Meanwhile, AMD refers to its latest APU (CPU and GPU on the same die) as its Fusion technology.

Nvidia and AMD Not Standing Down
Despite the buzz surrounding SandyBridge and its new and improved graphics platform, Nvidia and AMD aren’t backing down in the discrete graphics race. Their graphics chipset will boast about DirectX 11 and the graphically detailed images that Intel can’t achieve with SandyBridge, which will not support DirectX 11. You’ll see frame rates that will rival $ 2,000 gaming rigs from a year ago while paying a fraction of their costs.

Netbook Aren’t Going Away
Tablets may have been getting the lion’s share of attention this past year, but don’t put netbooks out to pasture just yet. This coming year, netbooks will continue to charge forward until tablets can prove their staying power. AMD, of all companies, is leading this charge with its APUs, promising an overall performance improvement without sacrificing battery life. They’ll be pitched as low-cost ultraportables, but the target is really the netbook market, which has been owned by the Intel Atom. Intel, of course, is still a big presence in the netbook space, and you’ll see plenty of netbooks that’ll launch with the dual core Atom.

USB 3.0, 720p Webcams, and 3D
USB 3.0, 3D technology, and 720p Webcams—get used to these terms, because you’ll be hearing them a lot in relation to laptops. USB 3.0, for instance, is already prevalent in desktop replacement laptops, but you’ll be seeing them in slim form factors like ultraportable laptops as well. It looks exactly like your average USB port, except it’s the icon is blue, and, oh yeah, it delivers 10 times the transfer rate of USB 2.0. It’ll eventually replace eSATA in laptops, since having both of these technologies on board is redundant.

Smartphones like the Apple iPhone 4 can shoot 720p video with its Webcam, so why shouldn’t laptops, with their bigger screens, be able to do the same? We’ve already seen the first 720p Webcam in the Dell XPS 15, and at least a few more laptops will allow users to video chat and shoot videos in high definition.

3D is still more gimmick at this point and even more so in laptops. But that won’t stop the countless manufacturers from launching 3D laptops that come with the fancy eyewear. Glasses-free 3D laptops aren’t out of the question, as Nintendo and Toshiba have already announced 3D technologies that can be viewed with the naked eye. Laptops will announce support for 3D even though their panels can’t display it. If you invested in one of the latest 3DTV flat panels for your living room or office, companies like Nvidia and ATI can push 3D content out of your laptop’s HDMI port to your 3D flat panel. This includes 3D Blu-ray content, games, and even home-made videos and photos (converted to 3D using special video editing packages.

Stay tuned for our moment-to-moment coverage of this year’s Consumer Electronics Show.

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