Meltdown! Kaiser! Spectre! How bad are these security threats? How much will they slowdown YOUR PC? We’ve got more info on these issues, and links to press releases and industry analysis. Buckle up folks! 2018 is off to a rocky start for the entire computing industry!
A terrible start for 2018 and Intel. A security flaw was discovered in Intel hardware, and the fix could be VERY costly. Depending on what processor is in your computer, you might see performance losses anywhere from 5% to 30%. Yikes. And yes, even you Mac users will be affected. Here’s the scoop on Intel’s Kernel Security flaw. Pretty sure my next PC build will be an AMD…
Ok sure. Lenovo is ramping up their consumer offerings, but I know them as the “Think” company, and they’re always going to get my attention with new pro gear.
Starting small, the Thinkpad 8 is an eight inch 1080p mini-tab powered by an Intel BayTrail Quad Core. Performance should slot in well between ARM powered tablets and low powered Core processors while still offering a full Windows 8 experience. None of the limitations of Windows RT, you get all the new apps and full support for legacy software. As it’s focused towards the business pro on the go, you’ll also be able to sign up LTE and 3G data service (carrier support to be announced. Add in up to 128GB of storage and a max price of $429, and Lenovo will have a handy competitor in the mini-tab arena.
Continuing the Lenovo onslaught, a couple of standard computing solutions.
The C560 is a very clean 1080p 23” all in one powered by a Core i7 and up to 8GB of RAM. It packs a few optional tricks like a multi-touch screen and a TV tuner.
The Z40/50 laptops are powerful, well balanced machines with full HD displays and up to Core i7 processors. NVIDIA graphics should keep you cranking, and you pack the sucker with up to 16GB of RAM. No touchscreen options here, but Lenovo is still including some of their more novel tech like voice commands and facial recognition.
The Y40/50 series lappies takes those same specs from the Z40 and drops in a 4K display for an incredibly high resolution experience. It’s a Retina busting pixel pitch . Pun intended. Combined with a new, edgier looking build (pic below), and it looks like it could be a really solid buy for a power user.
Windows 8 really comes alive with hardware built for its unique UI. After scoring some early success with the original Yoga, Lenovo is pushing farther into new form factors for Microsoft’s OS.
A new consumer variant of the Yoga 2 will feature 11 and 13 inch displays. The 11 will be powered by a lower power Intel Pentium processor, while the 13 steps up to a Core i5. Both rock the same swivel hinge which can flip the laptop screens around into full tablet PC’s. I’m really stoked to see the orange lid return from the Yoga 2 Pro. A nice touch of branding for a company mostly known for Thinkpads.
Good news everybody! Apple has apparently figured out how to manufacturer a powerful and compact workstation which is fairly easy to upgrade and repair! Someone should tell their laptop and tablet divisions, but I digress…
iFixIt tore the sucker down and found a refreshing lack glue or proprietary screws. Opening the casing allows you to easily get to the RAM. The SSD is proprietary but easy to swap out, which hopefully might encourage some companies to build 3rd party solutions. Even the CPU, while buried deep into the internals, is a stock Intel socket. iFixit estimates you could save almost $1000 buying a low end Mac Pro, and then swapping out the processor yourself.
Maybe the harshest criticism came from the proprietary graphics cards. Flanking the triangular heat sink, Apple had to design their own connectors and shape so they’d fit in the casing. iFixIt worries that this might prematurely age the system if Apple can’t keep up with newer graphics chipsets and offerings.
All in all though, this assuages most of the concerns I personally had over the construction of the Mac Pro. No machine badged a “pro” should ever lock out the user. A workstation is a MUCH longer term investment than a regular destop, and this radical new design from Apple looked like it might have followed in the same footsteps as their MacBooks, glued shut and with RAM soldered onto the logic board. Happily this is not the case, and I’m surprised that Apple themselves didn’t make more noise about it. The ability to improve the system over time larger destroys the perceived “Apple Tax” and should make homebrew OSX systems a little less cost/time effective for those looking at Bang for Buck.
If you’re shopping a high end workstation, I’d highly recommend checking out the iFixIt teardown guide, as they detail the whole process of stripping the machine with their usual wit and humor.
When I started writing about tech I made a promise to myself that I would try my hardest not to just bag on products. That I would take a second to use something, figure out who it might be for, and whether it could live up to the claims of the company who manufactured it. I can’t say I’ve always perfectly executed this regiment, but I’ve found that it has significantly changed my outlook on consumer electronics. I’m no longer satisfied with “thumbs up / thumbs down” reviews. I want to know about experience.
This opens up a whole world of discussion in that almost no product completely fails in its mission. Often, now the exploration of a gadget is better described by how wide or narrow a particular audience might be. In fact, most tech I get my hands on is actually quite good, once I figure out who it might be designed for.