MSI, Asus Showcase Sandy Bridge Notebooks At CES

Notebook manufacturers at the Consumer Electronics Show 2011 in Las Vegas this week are increasingly lining up behind Intel's Sandy Bridge integrated graphics platform.

MSI and Asus Wednesday joined the expanding list of PC makers that have launched products featuring Intel's Core i7 2600K and Core i5 2500K processors, which include an integrated high-resolution graphics processing unit and video compression, as well as access to system clock settings. Hewlett-Packard and Lenovo said they will incorporate the much-anticipated low-cost processors in their products when Intel unveiled Sandy Bridge at the opening of CES Monday.

MSI Wednesday launched the GT780, GT680, GE620 and GR620 notebooks, each of which includes a Core i7 Sandy Bridge processor. The 15.6-inch MSI GT680 notebook will be available later this month for a starting price of $1,499. The 17.3-inch GT780 will ship in the second quarter of this year; no price has been revealed.

MSI's G Series features discrete GPUs from Nvidia with DirectX 11 support. The Nvidia GeForce GTX 500 Series and 400 Series graphics cards are inside select G Series models, along with Dynaudio speakers and USB ports across the board. In December, Nvidia said that more than 200 PC upcoming PCs from a range of OEMs will feature Nvidia's GeForce GPUs paired with Intel's Sandy Bridge platform , noting that the integrated solution did not render discrete graphics any less attractive to high-end graphics users.

Sponsored post

MSI also is releasing new motherboards aimed at taking advantage of Sandy Bridge's capabilities, after Intel this week launched the P67 chipset for LGA1155 socket motherboards. With high-end P67A-GD-80 and the more affordable H67 and P67 boards, MSI said users will be able to configure their motherboards for Intel's Core i7, Core i5 and Core i3 processors, although the manufacturer did not offer pricing details.

Fellow Taiwanese OEM Asus Wednesday launched its G73SW A1 laptop powered by Intel Core i7 Sandy Bridge processors. The G73SW comes with a 17.3-inch HD display offering 1,920 x 1,080-pixel resolution, two detachable 2.5-inch SATA hard disk drives, an ATA interface, and a 1-inch optical drive bay. Weighing in at 8.5 pounds, it includes 64-bit wide DDR3 memory, a digital video camera and storage space expandable to 16 GB DDR3.

NEXT: More Travels On Sandy Bridge

Like MSI, Asus added new motherboard products to its portfolio with the P8P67 WS Revolution, which targets the enterprise space. The product includes a PCI-Express controller, memory controller and graphics all integrated into the new P67 Express chipset. Still, Intel does not offer native support for USB 3.0 with these chipsets.

So far, Apple has yet to throw its hat into the ring by showcasing a Sandy Bridge-powered device. However, Apple enthusiasts this week successfully installed the Sandy Bridge platform on Apple's Mac OS X Snow Leopard and published instructions for other developers seeking to do the same in the short term, lending credibility to reports of an upcoming Sandy Bridge announcement.

Rumors leading up to CES suggested that Intel's upcoming Sandy Bridge platform will power Apple Macbooks measuring 13 inches or less scheduled for release next year.

Other companies led the way to Sandy Bridge in the first two days of CES.

Lenovo Tuesday introduced the ThinkPad E220s and E420 notebooks, at 12.5 and 14 inches, respectively. Lenovo expanded on its Edge design with features including a rubberized soft-touch finish, real chrome trim and a high-definition 720p webcam.

The same day, HP said it plans to offer Sandy Bridge upgrades to the HP Pavilion dv6 and Pavilion dv7 notebooks as well as its higher-priced and higher-powered Envy 17 notebook. The new upgraded models will start at $900 for the dv6 and $1,000 for the dv7. HP did not offer pricing for the Envy 17.

The Pavilion dv6 features a 15.6-inch LED-backlit display with a 2GHz Intel Core i7-2630QM CPU that includes Turbo Boost technology, offering processing performance of up to 2.8GHz.

Last week, ahead of Intel's announcement, Italian manufacturer Santech said it plans to launch a 15.6-inch N67 laptop with either 2.2GHz Intel Core i7-2720QM, 2.3GHz Intel Core i7-2820QM or 2.5GHz Intel Core i7-2920XM Sandy Bridge processors. The N67 includes support for up to 16 GB of DDR3 RAM, USB and HDMI ports and optional SSD storage.

Intel has said that the channel will play a major role in the distribution strategy. System builders have anticipated the impact of Sandy Bridge with attentive curiosity, but also said they wanted more details regarding its capabilities.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday at CES rival AMD launched its Fusion line of Accelerated Processing Units that also integrate CPU technology with HD video acceleration and high-performance GPU processing on a single die. Several manufacturers have begun lining up their products with AMD's integrated solution as well.