This Week's Hot News: Oct. Week 4

Dell XPS One 24: iMac Fighter

This week, Dell released a 24-inch all-in-one LCD PC, which incorporates everything you need in a modern desktop computing system. While these types of computers are great for saving space, they all have one major drawback in that you can’t upgrade them much, aside from the usual memory options.

Of course, if you’re inclined to do so, you could crack open the case and upgrade the hard drive too. But hard drive and memory upgrades are about as far as you can go. Think of all-in-one PCs as laptops: small, easy to manage, but nearly impossible to upgrade. (Ed.—Bah, notebook upgrades are easy!)

The other major draw back is that you’re forever stuck with a 24-inch screen. The screen is about the most important piece of hardware in a computer system. If you invest in a great screen, it should outlast your computer for a long time—so don’t skimp on displays when you’re out hunting for one.

Check out the full report on Dell’s new all-in-one XPS here.

Microsoft's Windows Azure

Microsoft is jumping on the cloud computing bandwagon. Clearly this has been something in the works at Microsoft for a long time, since Google, a major competitor to Microsoft, has been working on cloud computing for several years now. Just this year, Apple did much of the same with MobileMe—although Apple has been having problems with its service.

Microsoft also spoke about a new version of Office that will be online-only and contain all the major components of its offline suite. Google itself has had Office-like features for several years now with Google Docs and Spreadsheets.

Microsoft has been playing a game of catch-up with many other companies lately, it seems.

Roundup: Very Portable Laptops

Laptops are all the rage these days—even a new report released this week noted that laptop sales have now surpassed desktop sales. Not only this, laptops themselves are increasingly becoming smaller and smaller. Devices like UMPCs and MIDs are becoming popular not only with business people, but mainstream consumers in general.

Our sister site Tom’s Guide takes a in-depth look at five of the hottest new ultra mobile laptops from five different vendors, including Asus, Fujitsu, Lenovo Sony, and Toshiba. The winner is a clear indication that in tech, you do get what you pay for.

Check out the round-up here!

What's In A Name?

Just this week on Tom’s Hardware, there was a debate in the comments on whether a laptop should be called an ultra mobile device or a netbook. Dell’s new Inspiron Mini announced this week blurs the lines between what a all the recent acronyms really mean.

Dell’s new Inspiron Mini 12 is defined as a "netbook," yet its size is that of a typical UMPC. So which one is it? If the new model was released a few years ago, everyone would still be calling it just a laptop.

Check out the new Inspiron Mini 12 from Dell here.

X58 Motherboards Previewed

This week on Tom’s Hardware, we released a huge gallery of the latest Core i7 based motherboards. Running on Intel’s latest X58 chipset, the new motherboards ditch the traditional front-side bus for Intel’s QuickPath Interconnect technology. Are you familiar with AMD’s HyperTransport? Then you already know much about how QPI works.

With the new Core i7 platform, the memory controller is also integrated into the CPU itself, much like what AMD has been doing for the last several years.

Take a good look at the X58 motherboards here, but just a note, Intel’s NDA on Core i7 doesn’t lift just quite yet, so we weren’t able to go into too much detail. However, look out for our Core i7 gaming performance article coming soon!

Windows 7: Great Battery Life?

There has been a lot of talk recently about Windows 7, the successor to Windows Vista. Some say that Windows 7 should have been what Vista was when it was released. Others say that Windows 7 will essentially be more of the same—and that’s a bad thing.

However, during PDC this week, Microsoft unveiled several new features of Windows 7 that were previously kept secret. The new task bar, for example, borrows a page from Apple’s Mac OS X and simplifies task management. Icons are now replacing longer text-based buttons. The new task bar and Start menu have also been optimized and changed to allow for easier program management.

It’s been a long time coming since the days of "Program Manager" and Microsoft is definitely moving in the right direction with Windows 7. The OS is shaping up to be quite a good operating system, even though it really is still Windows Vista.

One major area of concern for Microsoft is improving battery life for laptops. Currently, the gold standard is five hours, but there’s hardly ever a "typical" usage model, since everyone uses their laptops differently. Microsoft claims however, that Windows 7 will improve battery life greatly over Windows Vista.

Windows 7 clearly has some catching up to do. Check out the report on Windows 7 battery performance here.

Terrorists To Use Twitter

A new report by the U.S. Army now says that terrorists can communicate with each other remotely and plot out attack plans using popular social site Twitter. At this rate, any social site could be used for terrorist communications.

If we’re going this far, we’re sure it’s possible to use everyday technology like FTP servers, newsgroups, and Web site commenting systems and forums to do essentially the same thing. When will all this just stop? Who knows? But, the U.S. Army thinks it has a plan. Check out the full report on terrorist possibilities on Twitter here.

Marcus Yam
Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.
  • afrobacon
    This week was rather dull. I'm not blaming Tom's for this, there just wasn't much out there. The system build's are always an interesting and useful regardless of the complaints readers have. It's just disappoints me when a Dell advertisement makes this weeks "hot news."
  • colsec
    afrobacon.... I must agree
  • jprevost
    A Dell advert? You're kidding right? It didn't sound like much of an advert to me by saying things like you'll be stuck with this display and no room for upgrades... kind of an anti-ad but hey, that's just how I read it.
    So what is it when they review a new motherboard and mention it's from Asus? Is that disappointing because it's also an "advert"? Or are you saying that because this is a technology site that they shouldn't report on RTR computer systems?
  • zak_mckraken
    If you put it this way, I guess Tom's is just one big Intel ad then!