Marvell had their booth as usual MWC this year at beautiful Barcelona, Spain. What they had with them seemed pretty ordinary till you realized what was really going on. They had a two-screen set up, one small and another a large HDTV. The small screen had a 3D game on it and the HDTV was displaying and HD Movie. And both of them were being fed by just one little box that was powered by the Armada chipset.
Armada from Marvell has the potential to completely change the way we look at Smartphones and netbooks it the future. This puppy has the power to drive up to four 2K by 2K displays all at the same time. If you think that is more than 1080p, you’re almost there — that is way more than 1080p. But there already are chips like this, right? Wrong. Because this one barely sips at the battery while doing all this. Armada can power a home theatre rig and a gaming rig all at the same time and still stay cool and satisfied with very little power.
At the heart of the Armada 618 SoC is an ARM A7 design chip, explaining its power efficiency. It is capable of working with Linux, Android and Windows Mobile but that is only because they are focussing on phones. Just imagine what this can do to a netbook!
Intel Atom is nowhere near this kind of power efficiency and it still can’t provide the kind of performance that the Armada 618 can do at less than that amount of power. It can finally bring HD video and gaming to your netbook and not in a 720p, 2D way. Its 3D rendering engine can render 45 million triangles per second, which is means killer game performance. If this replaces Atom, we will be living in a world of bliss (and addictive gaming on the go).
This just had to happen sooner or later. But looks Alienware’s entrance into the netbook playing field is slightly on the ‘later’ side of things. So Dell has introduced a new ‘Ultraportable’ called the M11x. This device, from the very looks right down the name, has Alienware written all over it. The design, the backlight, the grills, it’s just all too familiar. So what’s to special about the first ever Alienware netbook (so to say)?
Well, this 11.6″ device is packed with a Core 2 Duo chip that is complimented by a 1GB NVIDIA 335M graphics card. Yes, it is very powerful. Dell claims it is the most powerful notebook below the 15″ mark. That title is held by Alienware itself by the way, with their Nehalem mobile laptop with crossfire graphics.
The screen displays 1366×768 pixels and is covered with plastic instead of the usual glass. The body is also plastic but features the signature Alienware design, as mentioned before. So yes, this device that is basically a netbook has a 720p screen and can play games that other netbooks wouldn’t even think of in their wildest dreams.
During a demonstration at CES, the M11x played Call of Duty (a favorite for in-game performance benchmarks) at 30 FPS, which is extremely decent performance. You will not be able to play CoD if you turn on anti-aliasing on the M11x but that matters little for a little old 11.6″ ultraportable.
It also has 3 USB ports, 1 mini-firewire port and one VGA out port. They are certainly out to woo the legacy gaming crowd. Who uses a mini firewire these days anyway? It also has a SIM slot, to aid in your mobility.
The price is supposed to be below $1000 with all specs maxed out. But why would you want to buy an 11.6″ portable for $1000? That just does not make economic sense. But when has that ever stopped people from spending. It will hit sometime in February it seems.