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Toshiba Portege Z830
Toshiba's Portege Z830 is cheaper, lighter, and better equipped than Apple's 13" MacBook Air

Manufacturers are still trying to work out final details on pricing for Intel-based Ultrabooks, but the devices are on the way. For those that like the form-factor and weight on Apple's highly popular MacBook Air range, but can't be bothered with Apple’s pricing or OS X, Toshiba is serving up a fine alternative with the Portege Z830. 

Toshiba has worked some serious magic on the Portege Z830 as it manages to incorporate a 13.3" display (1366x768) and second generation Intel Core processors into a frame weighing in at under 2.5 pounds. Part of the low weight can be attributed to the Portege Z830's magnesium alloy body.

Although Toshiba won't tell us how fast the processors are in the Portege Z830, the specs are quite amazing. It will come with a 128GB SSD, backlit and spill-resistant keyboard, two USB 2.0 ports, one USB 3.0 port, GbE port, Secure Digital reader, HDMI-out, and stereo speakers.

According to Engadget, the notebook features an 8-cell battery, can be equipped with up to 6GB of DDR3 memory, and will have an optional Core i7 processor upgrade available.

"The Portégé Z830 Series sets a new standard for thin and light systems, not just in portability, but also in affordability for such cutting-edge designs," said Carl Pinto, vice president of product development, Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc., Digital Products Division. "Toshiba's engineering achievements and expert craftsmanship have resulted in a brilliant and fully thought-through innovation that exceeds expectations, perfect for both mobile business professionals and consumers." 

And keeping with Intel's mandate, the 0.63"-thin Portege Z830 will start at under $1,000 (we're guessing $999) when it launches later this year. That would make the lighter, better-spec'd Toshiba Ultrabook $300 cheaper than the entry-level 13" MacBook Air.



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Sorry...
By corduroygt on 9/1/2011 11:26:21 AM , Rating: -1
Even discounting OSX vs. Windows, it takes a lot more than weight and thinness to compete with the macbook air.

1. All aluminum casing vs. plastic covered magnesium frame.
2. Decent screen quality with 1400x900 16:10 resolution vs. 16:9 768p junk screen
3. The best touchpad in the industry vs. small, non-multitouch touchpad.
4. Backlit keyboard

I haven't seen a PC maker to cover all these bases as well as the Macbook Air. Only the Vaio Z series comes close but still loses out due chassis flex and too high of a price.




RE: Sorry...
By quiksilvr on 9/1/2011 11:32:59 AM , Rating: 5
*cracks knuckles and crinks neck*
Okay here we go:
1) It's actually magnesium alloy covering this.
2) You're comparing 1366x768 with 1440x900 on a 13" screen. Trust me, no one will notice. You can make it 1280x720 and still wouldn't notice on a screen that small unless you are doing serious photo editing, at which point you would use a second monitor and not a paltry 13" screen.
3) Source please as to where you saw this as a non-multitouch touchpad.
4) It has a backlit keyboard as well.


RE: Sorry...
By quiksilvr on 9/1/2011 11:36:25 AM , Rating: 3
Phones are 16:9. Monitors are 16:9. Televisions are 16:9. And now most laptops and all-in-ones are (even the smaller Macbook Air and iMac). It's going to happen. It has to happen. We can't keep wasting materials for different ratios on this crap anymore when almost every single display (even the Apple Cinema Displays) are following suit.


RE: Sorry...
By Argon18 on 9/1/11, Rating: -1
RE: Sorry...
By Smilin on 9/1/2011 12:12:33 PM , Rating: 2
Shenanigans.

16x9, 16x10, 16x9 here. Widescreen rocks.

Outlook and Lync fit side by side on a screen. Network traces are a hassle on 4:3. Plus on widescreen you can Windows+< and Windows+> with two docs and you're good to go. On 4:3 you would have to enlist one of your alternate monitors.

Besides if you need vertical height so bad 16x9 is FAR better than 4:3.


RE: Sorry...
By geddarkstorm on 9/1/2011 12:18:13 PM , Rating: 2
Only if you believe you -have- to write a document in full screen mode. The beauty of wider screens is you can comfortably have multiple things going on at once, without the need for a second screen, since you have so much horizontal real estate.

So, I must disagree: 16:9 gives an increase in productivity for us who do a lot of multitasking. But that's my experience.


RE: Sorry...
By Reclaimer77 on 9/1/2011 4:29:03 PM , Rating: 1
Most every 16x9 that I've ever owned can be rotated vertically anyway if you need that much vertical pixels for something. So he's just being doubly stupid about this. Of course I've never actually used this feature because like you said, width is far more important in daily use.


RE: Sorry...
By Smilin on 9/2/2011 4:13:49 PM , Rating: 2
RE: Sorry...
By retrospooty on 9/1/2011 3:41:28 PM , Rating: 1
"The three 1280x1024 and 1600x1200 LCD screens on my desk beg to differ. 16:9 is cumbersome to use for doing real work"

I dont think anyone is disagreeing with you here, but the point is that LCD manufacturers arent making anything but 16:9 anymore other than small qualtities and they are charging premiums for it. The LCD industry has moved to 16:9 - I think it sucks rocks, but it is what has happened.


RE: Sorry...
By Reclaimer77 on 9/1/11, Rating: -1
RE: Sorry...
By corduroygt on 9/1/11, Rating: -1
RE: Sorry...
By quiksilvr on 9/1/2011 11:53:34 AM , Rating: 2
Screen QUALITY matters a lot. Resolution at these sizes don't.
1) You haven't used this laptop and have no idea what the color and quality of the screen is.
2) You spouted plastic being the skin when its clearly magnesium alloy.
3) You haven't used this touchpad yet to make any assumptions on its quality.

And as for PC equivalents:

11" equivalents in terms of hardware, the Lenovo Ideapad U160 and Asus UL20 do a handy job. And if you want a CPU equivalent, the Acer TimelineX does a handy job.

There are dozens of 13" superiors to the Macbook Air so all I'll say is go to Newegg and Amazon and see for yourself.


RE: Sorry...
By corduroygt on 9/1/2011 12:39:25 PM , Rating: 1
Check notebook forums which screen is the most popular option in the Sony Vaio SA (The only 13.3" laptop besides the more expensive Vaio Z and the MB Air that has more than 768p resolution). People get the higher 1600x900 resolution by far. 768p is woefully inadequate to do any real work. I have a 900p screen in my larger laptop and it's barely enough.

I have owned both the timeline X series and the UL30VT in the past. Their touchpads and chassis are garbage compared to the MB Air.


RE: Sorry...
By sviola on 9/1/2011 1:19:55 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
People get the higher 1600x900 resolution by far. 768p is woefully inadequate to do any real work.


Doing real work in a 13.3" laptop is terrible, no matter the screen resolution. It is good as a time-limited substitute on the road.


RE: Sorry...
By The0ne on 9/1/2011 3:15:56 PM , Rating: 2
Yep. But then again doing work on a heavy 17" laptop isn't all too fun either unless you're like me who loves using it a weight for a day walk or good hike :D


RE: Sorry...
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 9/1/2011 11:34:02 AM , Rating: 2
It has a backlit keyboard. That being said...

Three USB port, one of them being USB 3.0 (I still can't believe Apple is draggin' on this one)
GbE port in this lightweight body (Apple makes you buy a USB dongle)
Spill-resistant keyboard
Up to 6GB of memory vs 4GB max on the Air

But we can play the specs game all day long. $300 is still a lot of money.


RE: Sorry...
By corduroygt on 9/1/11, Rating: -1
RE: Sorry...
By DING on 9/1/2011 12:12:50 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I'd be willing to pay $300 to get a better screen than the 16:9 1366x768 GARBAGE they put into 13.3" laptops.


You are using marketing terms. Exactly what makes the screen on the toshiba laptop garbage? What makes the screen on the macbook better?

The max resolution is only a single part of what makes a screen good. You have the underlying panel tech, the brightness, and colour accuracy.

You can talk about screens all you want but the reality is that if you absolutely NEED to have a good screen for photo editing purposes, then you'd be working on a desktop and not a macbook air.


RE: Sorry...
By corduroygt on 9/1/2011 12:45:00 PM , Rating: 1
Here, objective proof that it's far better than anything else in the 13" and smaller range:

http://www.anandtech.com/show/4528/the-2011-macboo...


RE: Sorry...
By DING on 9/1/2011 1:52:07 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Here, objective proof that it's far better than anything else in the 13" and smaller range: http://www.anandtech.com/show/4528/the-2011-macboo...


I agree that the MBA screen is good but you said that the toshiba screen is garbage. The only reason why I replied is because you made such a blanket statement about screen quality and max resolution.

Now, you've obviously looked into LCD screen quality a bit more but you haven't even seen any reviews on the toshiba screen yet to warrant any judgement call on the toshiba screen.

Even if a direct comparison has determined that the MBA screen quality is better than the one on the toshiba laptop, your judgement call before was made strictly based on emotion rather than fact.

This is what I am addressing. I am not addressing whether the MBA or the Toshiba screen is better.


RE: Sorry...
By bigboxes on 9/1/2011 5:03:50 PM , Rating: 2
But... but... it just... costs more. It must be better. Please, Holy Steve above, make the blind see, the wicked clean and the lost Windows users see the light! Can I get an AMEN?


RE: Sorry...
By siberus on 9/2/2011 12:42:52 PM , Rating: 2
Imen brother!!


RE: Sorry...
By Argon18 on 9/1/11, Rating: 0
RE: Sorry...
By JDUC on 9/1/2011 12:04:08 PM , Rating: 1
Like you said, give credit where credit is due - Thunderbolt is all Intel. Apple is ahead of the curve when it comes to implementing high speed laptop connections.


RE: Sorry...
By Shadowself on 9/1/2011 9:38:52 PM , Rating: 2
Then really give credit where credit is due. Don't leave something out to make a point. Thunderbolt is (was) not *all* Intel.

Even Intel admits that Apple had a hand in the design of LightPeak/Thunderbolt. That's the main reason why the initial, public demonstrations of LightPeak were done with Macs. That's one of the reasons why Apple was able to ship units with it installed many months ahead of any competitor.

Noone outside of the development teams knows who had what percentage hand in it (50/50? 90/10? or ??), but both sides freely admit it was a joint project.


RE: Sorry...
By wiz220 on 9/1/2011 12:10:52 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
While all the other manufacturers are adopting a turd interconnect called USB3


Well, if you say it, it must be true right? USB 3 has 5gb/s throughput, it's full duplex, provides a great deal more power than USB 2.0, and it's faster than firewire 800 even when providing power. True, it's not as fast as thunderbolt, but as another person commented, that's an Intel product so I have no doubt it will be on PC's pretty soon as well.


RE: Sorry...
By Argon18 on 9/1/2011 2:01:21 PM , Rating: 1
5 Gb/s for USB3 = LMAO. Have you even bothered to look at any of the real world benchmarks? Just like USB2 before it, USB3 is a turd, it barely achieves a small fraction of its theoretical maximum.

USB2 was 480 Mbit/s. 480 Mbits / 8 = 60 MB/s. Yet it barely manages 30 MB/s. *half* of the limit. Firewire 800 on the other hand gets real world 75 MB/s out of a theoretical 80 MB/s. Far better utilization.

The problem is two fold:

The USB protocol sucks, it was designed for keyboards and mice. It isn't designed for large bulk data transfer, and the benchmarks make this fact painfully obvious.

Secondly, USB uses PIO mode. It does not use DMA mode. PIO mode requires a processor interrupt, and is generally sucky and slow. Firewire, PATA, SATA, eSATA, SCSI, SAS, and yes Thunderbolt all use DMA mode. That's why they're so fast. DMA beats PIO mode every time, period.


RE: Sorry...
By DING on 9/1/2011 2:11:34 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
USB2 was 480 Mbit/s. 480 Mbits / 8 = 60 MB/s. Yet it barely manages 30 MB/s. *half* of the limit. Firewire 800 on the other hand gets real world 75 MB/s out of a theoretical 80 MB/s. Far better utilization.


OMG

The file transfer speed is not limited by USB2.0 or USB3.0 bandwidth but by the HARDDRIVE RPM! If you attach a SSD SATA3 to a 2.5" HDD SATA3-compatible enclosure I am sure you will hit the top speed easilly on a USB2.0 connection easilly or get up to 250MB/s on a USB3.0 easilly

right now there are no storage mediums that can take advantage of the full 5Gb/s connection save for RAIDed SSD NAS


RE: Sorry...
By Argon18 on 9/1/2011 7:19:00 PM , Rating: 2
Wrong. You really don't understand how computers work. Please find a new hobby, golf perhaps?

The fastest SSD in the world will still only give 30 MB/s on a USB 2.0 connection. Try it. You might actually learn something.

And USB 3.0, theoretical limit of 5 Gb/s which equals 649 MB/s. Two or three SSD's in RAID1 can easily push that much, you don't need a "RAIDED SSD NAS" as you erroneously claim. But too bad you will never see that kind of speed on USB 3.0, as the crap USB protocol and PIO mode won't let you reach even a third of that.


RE: Sorry...
By Onimuto on 9/2/2011 12:36:39 PM , Rating: 2
Really just really , on my 2 terabyte back up drive in usb2.0 i am getting 40-45 megs
And if i use the e-sata the speed doubles.
O yea these speeds coming from the internal 5,400 rpm 750gig that came with the note book
Transfering to a usb 2.0 / e-sata falcon green drive 2tb
Hp dv7t-5000
I-7 2630
Ati 6570
8 gigs ram
These are numbers pulled out my ass eithier
After download a few mini series that have last over 10 years or better
150gig transfers speed observations and a 423 gig transfer observation
Why dont you get a new hobby.


RE: Sorry...
By Onimuto on 9/2/2011 12:37:07 PM , Rating: 2
Really just really , on my 2 terabyte back up drive in usb2.0 i am getting 40-45 megs
And if i use the e-sata the speed doubles.
O yea these speeds coming from the internal 5,400 rpm 750gig that came with the note book
Transfering to a usb 2.0 / e-sata falcon green drive 2tb
Hp dv7t-5000
I-7 2630
Ati 6570
8 gigs ram
These numbers are not pulled out my ass eithier
After download a few mini series that have last over 10 years or better
150gig transfers speed observations and a 423 gig transfer observation
Why dont you get a new hobby.


RE: Sorry...
By MrPete123 on 9/1/2011 3:19:18 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
That's why they're so fast. DMA beats PIO mode every time, period.


Probably true, however this is why Thunderbolt is so insecure as well. Unlike USB, any device that plugs into a Thunderbolt port gets full read/write access to the system's memory. A device with buggy firmware could compromise the stability of the system...or heaven forbid a malicious person with a device could steal or plant data by merely plugging into an external Thunderbolt port.

Another problem with Thunderbolt is the price... it's MUCH more expensive for OEMs to put a Thunderbolt controller than USB 3.0. There are certainly good reasons for not supporting Thunderbolt, and it will likely remain a niche port unless Microsoft decides to bless it.


RE: Sorry...
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 9/1/2011 5:12:11 PM , Rating: 2
As soon as Intel puts Thunderbolt support into the southbridge it'll get massive adoption. Intel is one of the few companies in a position to create a new standard and push it without much effort. They effectively dominate the processor, integrated video, chipset, and controllers on over 80% of the PC market. If they want to put thunderbird on every system for pennies they can do it and nobody can stop them. Their reference boards and chipsets are the standard for every other OEM to stick in their budget systems. Only the high end hardware makers like ASUS or ABIT tend to tweak and fiddle with the motherboards and chipsets to get the best of the best in one package. Everyone else buys in bulk the Intel reference design and ships to the masses.


RE: Sorry...
By Argon18 on 9/1/2011 7:23:08 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, Thunderbolt is exactly as "insecure" as eSATA, SATA, PATA, SCSI, and SAS. No more and no less.


RE: Sorry...
By rage33 on 9/1/2011 12:11:58 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
And next time I refresh my gear, it'll all be Thunderbolt. Thunderbolt is way way better than USB 3.0. While all the other manufacturers are adopting a turd interconnect called USB3, Apple is adopting something faster and better - Thunderbolt.


Ok, so lightpeak is faster than USB 3. It sure is a lot more expensive too! You'll spend $50 per cable on your device--hope you won't need a spare or have multiple devices. This is another way for apple to control who gets to make accessories and price gouge. Though, their loyal following will buy whatever they throw out.


RE: Sorry...
By DING on 9/1/2011 12:15:02 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
You'll spend $50 per cable on your device


<sarcasm>If you want the best quality signal you need the $500 Monster cable</sarcasm>


RE: Sorry...
By Dr of crap on 9/1/2011 12:32:44 PM , Rating: 1
HA, HA, HA

Where can I get that cable for $500?
I just have to much cash so I NEED to spend it needlessly, you know on things like with the eaten apple on it!


RE: Sorry...
By Shadowself on 9/1/2011 9:52:32 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, no matter who you get a Thunderbolt cable from in the next few months it will be about $50. That's because it is a smart cable with chips at each end.

This cable cost is not excessive for cables for comparable speed connections. Please note that Thunderbolt has TWO 10 Gbps full duplex links in the same connection/cable for an aggregate throughput of 20 Gbps full duplex. Cables supporting comparable bandwidths under other protocols are in the same ballpark for price.

If (as I've said elsewhere here) Intel puts Thunderbolt in their chipsets and Thunderbolt becomes ubiquitous then the price of the cables will drop radically. You'll probably never be able to by 99 cent Thunderbolt cables, but for 20 Gbps full duplex even a $5 cable is a bargain.

If Intel never puts Thunderbolt into any of its chipsets Apple will have another QuickRing on its hands.


RE: Sorry...
By KPOM1 on 9/1/2011 12:28:32 PM , Rating: 2
Again, let's wait to see what the specs are on the $999 model. Lenovo's U300s has the 1.6GHz i5 2467 chip (the same as the 11" Air), 4GB RAM, and 128GB SSD and comes in at $1199. I'm guessing that the Toshiba spec-ed out above will carry a similar price. The $999 might use a Core i3 or have a 64GB SSD.

Let's face it. The biggest driver of the price of these is the SSD. SSD storage is about $1.50 per GB at the OEM level, so figure $200 for a 128GB SSD and $400 for 256GB. Everyone is also paying the same $250-$317 to Intel for the Sandy Bridge i5s and i7s, and crafting aluminum or carbon fiber unibody cases isn't cheap, either. The only way right now to get these reliably under $1000 is to cut corners somewhere (smaller SSDs, less RAM, Core i3s, less sturdy cases). The manufacturers are going to tout the specs of their top end machines while emphasizing the prices of their lower-end machines.


RE: Sorry...
By Shadowself on 9/1/2011 9:41:56 PM , Rating: 2
Apple believes they are leapfrogging USB 3.0 with Thunderbolt. It is a *MAJOR* gamble on their part, but one that might pay off IF (extremely huge if) Intel integrates Thunderbolt into their standard line of chipsets. Certainly Apple thinks the risk is worth it.

Only time will tell.


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