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Thursday, 13 March 2008 08:32

Acer launches Gemstone Blue

Written by test
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World's first 16 and 18.4-inch notebooks

Acer has just launched its new Gemstone Blue range of notebooks and it's the first manufacturer to launch notebooks with 16 and 18.4-inch screens. As you might already have guessed, these notebooks are targeting the consumer market as with the previous Gemstone range. The first two models are the Aspire 6920G and the 8920G, and both are available with 16:9, 1,920x1,080 panels, but the 6920G also comes with a 1,366x768 panel.

However, the first models are very much high-end products, as they incorporate a wide range of new features apart from the larger displays. These new models will support the latest Penryn-based mobile Core 2 Duo processors, although no specific CPU models are currently listed and will most likely depend on the market in which the Gemstone Blue range will be sold. All models use the Intel PM965 chipset, which gives away the fact that they're using discrete graphics.

Both models are available with the Nvidia Geforce 9500M GS GPU with up to 512MB of onboard GDDR3 memory and an addiotional 768MB of Turbo Cache, however Acer seems to have added an extra 8 in their documentation as they state that they come with up to 12808MB, when it should've been 1280MB of graphics memory. The 8920G also comes with the Geforce 9650M GS as an option and this is a new mobile GPU to us. Most likely, this will be a custom 9600M GS, which is slightly faster than the base model. Nvidia is known for making these kind of special chips for large OEM/ODM's.

Both models support up to 4GB or DDR2-667 system memory and up to 320GB hard drives, although the 8920G can accept a pair of drives due to its larger size. Both machines come with a Blu-ray drive, although once again the 8920G gets the better deal with a dual speed drive, whereas the 6920G only gets a single speed drive. These are combo drives which will write DVDs at up to 8x. Other features include a built-in multi-format card reader,Dolby Digital sound and optical S/PDIF out, HDMI, an Express Card 54 slot, 802.11n WiFi, Bluetooth 2.0 with EDR, a built in Webcam, Gigabit Ethernet and a finger print reader or biometric security.

Both models also have what Acer calls CineTouch controls on the side of the keyboard which take advantage of some of the dead space you would get by the side of the keyboard on a large notebook such as these. The 6920G measures 385x275x44mm (WxDxH) at its thickest point and weighs in at 3.5kg with the standard 8-cell battery. The 8920G, on the other hand, is a fair bit larger at 441x300x40mm (WxDxH) and weighs a massive 4.1kg with the same battery.

According to Engadget, prices are expected to start at around US$900, but expect for it to be closer to US$1,700 for a decent model. You can find the product page here
Last modified on Thursday, 13 March 2008 10:04

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