A Way Better Operating System
We have been blunt about it: Windows 7 kicks arse, especially Vista’s. Sure you can upgrade a current Vista laptop to Windows 7 but there’s a hassle involved. Buy a laptop now and you get a free upgrade to Win 7, but the laptop manufacturer (not Microsoft) has to send you the install disc via snail mail after October 22. A clean install of the OS done at the factory is more likely to be hassle-free. On top of that, a number of laptops will be optimised for Windows 7, meaning they will have new hardware features that will take advantage of the new operating system which brings us to point number two.
If you have been looking for the opposite of a netbook and a high-end mobile machine, you’ll have your pick come November (actually, late October). That’s when Intel ought to roll out the latest edition of the Centrino platform, codenamed Calpella. This chipset is expected to feature a less power-hungry version of the Core i7 desktop processor we like so much, with perhaps mobile Core i5 and Core i3 versions on the way later. We expect a slew of these laptops to hit then. We already know that MSI will ship 15.4 and 17-inch notebooks powered by Intel’s new Core i7 7200M, Core i7 8200M, and Core i7 920XM with Windows 7.
Mac users take note: The Centrino platform is also found in all manner of MacBook—just without the Intel sticker—so this applies to you, too. And fans of the shiny white plastic MacBook know that it’s due for a cosmetic upgrade, so whether you want the faster processors in a unibody MacBook Pro, or a full makeover, inside and out, on the plastic MacBook, it pays to wait.
The arrival of 64-bit-savvy Windows 7 and Snow Leopard means that system builders will also be able to bump up the RAM. Now it will make sense to go beyond 4GB, pushing us out of the current RAM rut, though perhaps at an added cost.
Serious Weight Loss
The thin-and-light laptops that are coming are so thin they make me hungry. If you don’t care about the kind of horsepower needed for games and 1080p video, Intel is also shipping new dual-core ULV processors. Laptops that used to cost north of $US1,500 now thanks to Intel’s ULV (once called CULV) are gonna be under a grand. The new dual-core chips are aimed at ultra thin laptops (those right in between netbooks and mainstreamers, like the Acer Timeline). MSI told us about the new Core 2 Duo SU4100 and SU7300 chips—it is our guess that these are the same chips that will be in Sony’s rail-thin X Series and Samsung’s X120.
It may still seem too early think about the Christmas holidays, but spring has already arrived. Many of these new notebooks will be released at the end of October to coincide with Windows 7’s Oct. 22 official launch date, and a scant month later we hit Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the biggest sales days of the year. Retailers and manufacturers would be stupid if they didn’t mark down even the newest stuff, so if you hold out just a few weeks, you will not only get the best laptops out there but you’ll get them at some unbelievable prices.
We don’t necessarily expect you to wait for GScreen’s dual-screen laptop, but some other pretty great new technology will start hitting notebooks before year’s end. SuperSpeed USB (aka USB 3.0) will be showing up soon, and after Windows 7 arrives, more and more laptops will be built with multitouch capability. Additionally, chances are good that the price of solid-state drives will start dropping, and that more laptop manufacturers will also start selecting the faster SSD models.
The future is upon us. So don’t buy anything right now. Save your money, handcuff yourself to a piece of furniture, and wait it out. Just two months, that’s it.