Print 46 comment(s) - last by murphyslabrat.. on Jul 12 at 11:38 PM

Gigabyte gets onboard the netbook trend with the M912V

Ever since the launch of the ASUS Eee PC late last year, numerous manufacturers have been striving to bring competing products to the market. While most have just been a slightly different take on the Eee PC with larger screens, larger keyboards, or differing storage options, they've all pretty much stuck to the same basic idea: a small, portable notebook with a somewhat affordable price tag.

Gigabyte is finally giving the segment a bit of spice with its new entry, the M912V. The M912V packs a wealth of features into its 8.9" frame. Considering that the M912V is a Tablet PC, its screen swivels 180 degrees to lie flat on top of the keyboard for writing on the screen. The display also features a respectable resolution of 1280x768 and is LED-backlit for better battery life, increased visibility, and a thinner panel.

Other features include a 1.6GHZ Intel Atom processor, 1GB of DDR2 memory, a 160GB SATA HDD, 802.11b/g wireless, Bluetooth, and a 1.3MP webcam. Ports are plentiful as the M912V comes equipped with three USB 2.0 ports, VGA port, 56k modem, NIC, an ExpressCard slot, and an internal expansion slot for HSDPA.

The M912V manages to house all of these features into a frame that weighs only 2.86 pounds.

According to PCLaunches, Gigabyte's new netbook will be available for purchase later this month with a price tag of $699. By that time, the competition should be heating up with the arrival of the MSI Wind and the Eee PC 901/1001.

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By ksherman on 7/7/2008 8:16:16 AM , Rating: 2
Nice! A $700 Tablet! Now we are talkin....

RE: Tablet!
By Rugar on 7/7/2008 8:55:28 AM , Rating: 1
No doubt. Netbooks are nice, but an inexpensive tablet is awesome. Depending on reviews, this may be my next purchase.

RE: Tablet!
By ET on 7/7/2008 9:39:33 AM , Rating: 2
Sounds very nice, except for the Atom. I have a Fujitsu P1510D, and have been thinking about upgrading it, but there was nothing really compelling. This looks like a decent step up for a reasonable price, except for the Atom (and Vista).

RE: Tablet!
By ET on 7/7/2008 9:41:33 AM , Rating: 2
Ah, I see that the product page also mentions Linux and XP (which was also posted here). Sounds better already. :)

RE: Tablet!
By Spivonious on 7/7/2008 9:46:46 AM , Rating: 2
MS made tons of tablet-oriented improvements in Vista. Why do you consider it a fault?

RE: Tablet!
By therealnickdanger on 7/7/2008 9:58:30 AM , Rating: 3
He's faulting the Atom - he doesn't think it has the balls to run Vista. If you have enough RAM and give SuperFetch some time to learn, Vista should run just as well as XP on an Atom-based netbook... but there haven't been enough tests yet to verify.

The upcoming Sharp D4 will prove it can be done.

RE: Tablet!
By icrf on 7/7/2008 12:15:54 PM , Rating: 2
I hear 2GB of RAM helps a lot with Vista (based on a lot of Q1U reviews). I wonder if this is expandable (a second slot) or just replaceable (swap a 1G stick for a 2G stick).

RE: Tablet!
By therealnickdanger on 7/7/2008 10:16:30 AM , Rating: 2
Here's an initial test with the EEE 1000 running Vista - looks fine to me!

RE: Tablet!
By ET on 7/8/2008 11:55:22 AM , Rating: 2
Thanks for the link. My main worry is replacing a 512MB notebook with XP with a 1GB one with Vista. Assuming that 1GB for Vista is like 512MB for XP, it will not be enough for comfort. However, getting the same 1GB machine with XP will likely provide a smoother experience.

RE: Tablet!
By murphyslabrat on 7/12/2008 11:27:20 PM , Rating: 2
So toss on an extra $42 for a 2GB stick of RAM from NewEgg...

RE: Tablet!
By RamarC on 7/7/2008 10:13:27 AM , Rating: 3
i'd buy that for a dollar (+$698).

RE: Tablet!
By icrf on 7/7/2008 9:57:34 AM , Rating: 2
I like it. I kind of wish there was an SSD option, but I assume that's a user-servicable part if I really wanted. $700 ain't bad for the package.

What chipset does it have? Is it the whole Centrino Atom platform? I'm mostly interested in the hardware H.264 decoding of Poulsbo.

RE: Tablet!
By therealnickdanger on 7/7/2008 10:08:12 AM , Rating: 2
IIRC, you can't run Atom without Poulsbo. Poulsbo is the combined north/southbridge specifically designed for Atom.

RE: Tablet!
By icrf on 7/7/2008 12:14:15 PM , Rating: 2
Oh, Centrino is just MID marketing? That's good to hear. I don't have to worry much about that detail in future system specs.

RE: Tablet!
By kingpotnoodle on 7/7/2008 12:54:25 PM , Rating: 2
You recall wrong, Atom runs with 945 desktop/mobile chipsets, but is not so power efficient when doing so.

See the Intel D945GCLF mini-itx board, and note that most of these sub-notebooks use a 945 derivative.

Poulsbo is what will crop up in the smaller MIDs, probably with the slower Atom chips.

RE: Tablet!
By therealnickdanger on 7/7/2008 2:09:29 PM , Rating: 2
You can only use 945 with the desktop Atom variant, not the mobile version.

RE: Tablet!
By psychobriggsy on 7/7/2008 3:08:16 PM , Rating: 2
Paulsbo is for MIDs and uses a CMOS version of the Intel bus running at 400MHz rather than 800MHz.

Other mobile and desktop Atoms can use any compatible Intel chipset with the non-CMOS based bus. Yes, this uses more power, hence the higher TDPs of Atoms with this bus type (the vast majority at the moment).

RE: Tablet!
By ImSpartacus on 7/7/2008 12:59:50 PM , Rating: 2
I'm interested most in the LED back lit screen. That, with Atom, would equal some nice battery performance.

A small SSD would've been nice though.

RE: Tablet!
By therealnickdanger on 7/7/2008 2:10:36 PM , Rating: 2
By the time this comes out, you'll be able to throw in a fast 64GB SSD for ~$250. Still under a grand for quite a sweet machine!

RE: Tablet!
By Oregonian2 on 7/7/2008 6:23:39 PM , Rating: 2
Interestingly, some of the alternatives (like the msi wind which my wife REALLY wants one of) has the LED backlight too.

This one is following the trend of incremental weight increases. EEE started around 2 lbs, and we're now getting close to 3 lbs. Low weight being one of the major reasons (IMO) in having one of these... so we'll be back to full laptop weight in another five or so model introductions. :-)

RE: Tablet!
By Calin on 7/8/2008 2:36:05 AM , Rating: 2
You can't fault the increased weight as the swivel panel needs heavier and hardier joints. Also, it might come with a bigger battery than the 2 pounds EeePC

RE: Tablet!
By Oregonian2 on 7/8/2008 12:23:55 PM , Rating: 2
Of course I can, and that's my very point. Feature-creep and the associated weight-creep with each step "justified" until we're back to square one (and wondering how we got there because nothing added more than a few ounces!).

P.S. - Feature creep is not a new concept. :-)

RE: Tablet!
By ChronoReverse on 7/7/2008 11:14:04 AM , Rating: 2
The price is right but if the screen is a passive one then it's still not going to be that useful.

I've tried HP's passive screen and it's far inferior to even a Gateway active.

RE: Tablet!
By Bigjee on 7/7/2008 11:57:08 AM , Rating: 2
Try the tx2000 series from HP it has an active screen. Way better than the earlier passive ones they had.

RE: Tablet!
By ChronoReverse on 7/7/2008 1:34:55 PM , Rating: 2
That's my entire point. Passive screens suck.

RE: Tablet!
By DASQ on 7/7/2008 11:25:06 AM , Rating: 2
Hell yes we are.

They should add a higher priced model at about $1000 with better screen/specs but in the same chassis (or a nicer chassis... I assume it won't be that great).

This might be my next laptop after I hand my current to my little brother.

What OS?
By FITCamaro on 7/7/2008 8:40:07 AM , Rating: 2
Title says it all.

RE: What OS?
By Brandon Hill on 7/7/2008 8:45:57 AM , Rating: 2
Your choice of Vista, XP, or Linux

RE: What OS?
By V3ctorPT on 7/7/2008 8:50:23 AM , Rating: 1
Vista is nice... but the atom will be more responsive on Win XP... that is really a nice notebook... ASUS was first, but MSI, HP and now Gigabyte are really making some great options...

RE: What OS?
By crystal clear on 7/8/2008 1:22:30 AM , Rating: 2
Got to update you on this-

July 2, 2008 (IDG News Service) Microsoft Corp. has loosened the hardware restrictions that PC makers must adhere to in order to install Windows XP on ultralow-cost PCs, according to documents seen by IDG News Service.

Microsoft is offering Windows XP Home Edition to encourage PC makers to use that operating system instead of Linux on the low-cost machines, but it has placed restrictions on the hardware that can be offered.

Under the new terms, outlined in the documents, PC makers must limit screen size to 14.1 in. and hard-drive capacity to 160GB. Ultralow-cost PCs with touch screens will also be eligible. Earlier terms set in April did not allow touch screens at all and limited screen sizes to 10.2 in. and hard-drive capacity to 80GB. The processors are still limited to a single-core chip running at no more than 1 GHz, with memory limited to 1GB of RAM.

As part of the new terms, Microsoft also added low-cost desktops to the list of products eligible for Windows XP Home, and it added Windows Vista Home Basic as a second operating system option.

Microsoft declined to comment on the matter, saying it doesn't speak publicly about the details of its agreements with PC makers.

The documents show that for developed markets, Microsoft charges $32 to install XP Home Edition on standard netbooks and $47 for netbooks with the larger screens. PC makers that meet certain requirements in Microsoft's Market Development Agreement can get a discount of as much as $10 on those prices, the documents show. There is a similar discount for systems sold in emerging markets, although the starting prices are lower, at $26 and $43, respectively.

RE: What OS?
By crystal clear on 7/8/2008 1:06:39 AM , Rating: 2
M912V uses 2.5” SATA HDD 160GB as large capacity, the Express Card slot, the option for HSDPA expansion, and a built-in 1.3M pixels webcam.
Running on Microsoft Vista Home operating system, M912V provides consumer a great platform for superior software application.

RE: What OS?
By V3ctorPT on 7/8/2008 4:00:52 AM , Rating: 2
I have Vista... but I have a extra XP key... i bought it... so I can use it... I think the Atom will be more at ease with XP, as it is less heavy than Vista... just that... no need to rate down... :s

no video out port?
By herm0016 on 7/7/2008 10:16:28 AM , Rating: 2
without a video out port I do not see this as a good Option. You can not use it for presentations or lectures and this is where a tablet pc really makes sense. It would also be nice to be able to hook it up to a larger monitor or TV to increase your screen area when working.

RE: no video out port?
By pattycake0147 on 7/7/2008 3:35:46 PM , Rating: 2
Ports are plentiful as the M912V comes equipped with... VGA port....

RTFA you can hook it up to a VGA capable projector or monitor.

RE: no video out port?
By Ajax9000 on 7/7/2008 8:58:56 PM , Rating: 2
Why the hell do they continue to put VGA ports in these devices? Gimme mini-DVI or HDMI!

RE: no video out port?
By murphyslabrat on 7/12/2008 11:35:28 PM , Rating: 2
hear, hear! If compatibility is an issue, why not go the extra two inches and add a mini-DVI to VGA dongle as a free/extra option?

Like Seriously...?
By LorKha on 7/7/2008 11:08:58 AM , Rating: 2
Ports are plentiful as the M912V comes equipped with three USB 2.0 ports, VGA port, 56k modem , NIC, an ExpressCard slot, and an internal expansion slot for HSDPA.

Ditch the 56k modem and hit that tablet with a Gigabit NIC or something.

By now, I can't see someone doing...

"Hey, I just bought a brand new, $700 tablet laptop to hook up to my dial-up internet access."

How much I use to hate that dial-up connection sound...

RE: Like Seriously...?
By DASQ on 7/7/2008 11:24:00 AM , Rating: 3
Hey, that was the sound of 'electronic fun' in my childhood!

RE: Like Seriously...?
By murphyslabrat on 7/12/2008 11:38:17 PM , Rating: 2
And now it plays to the tune of, "OMG why the hell can't you afford DSL?"

By Visual on 7/7/2008 9:59:05 AM , Rating: 2
I'll really be looking up for this one now. Let's hope it has a decent battery life and the touch-screen is good quality...

It's time multi-touch tablets start coming out... the next version of windows will be making a good use of it. Who would be the first to give us this breakthrough?

Personally I've been looking for a larger convertible, 14" maybe, with a decent GPU so that it can manage a bit of gaming as well - on an external monitor would be good too... Gateway had a good one but they aren't available in Bulgaria, so I've been kept waiting. I may very well give up on this idea and go for the atom now... and a few years there may finally come a decent performance alternative to upgrade to.

RE: finally
By Fluppeteer on 7/7/2008 10:11:42 AM , Rating: 2
I've been waiting for them to put a release date on this one for a month or two now - I've been waiting for an Eee-alike with a decent screen resolution. It's still a little big (compared with, say, a Libretto U105), but the price might tempt me.

Not so fussed about the CPU or touch screen. I've been using a Libretto 70CT (significantly smaller than an Eee) for years.

Atom - 32 bit cpu
By wordsworm on 7/7/2008 10:57:07 AM , Rating: 2
Well, I suppose we're far from 4GB+ on these. I was surprised, really, to find out that Atom's a 32 bit processor. I guess it shouldn't be a deal breaker, but it's still a surprise.

RE: Atom - 32 bit cpu
By psychobriggsy on 7/7/2008 3:11:18 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, especially as Intel have been talking up it's 64-bit capabilities... only to seemingly remove that functionality on the shipping product.

Seems worthy of an investigative article I think.

Awesome price
By psychobriggsy on 7/7/2008 9:40:13 AM , Rating: 2
For the specification described, that is an awesome price.

If you don't need that specification, then one of the other cheaper devices might do, but it does basically make any of their competitor's >$600 options quite undesirable.

(Well, until we see the UK pricing anyway...)

Have you read about Acer Aspireone?
By d1nn0 on 7/7/2008 11:04:28 AM , Rating: 2
Last week I saw this -
Acer Aspireone AOA110-1955 Notebook - White - Intel Atom N270 (512KB shared L2 Cache, 1.6GHz, 533MHz FSB), 512MB DDR2, 8GB SSD, 5-in-1 Card Reader, Wireless LAN B/G, Webcam, 8.9" WSVGA, Preloaded With Linux

Available for pre-order and the announced price is $379.99 (Canadian money).

It sounds pretty tempting to me...

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