Whenever you play computer games that utilizes 3D graphics, a decent frame rate of about 25-30 frames per second is a prerequisite to make the games run smoothly and be at all enjoyable. If you play on a desktop PC, you always have the option to put in a more powerful graphics card, but that’s not an option with laptop computers. Another problem with laptops – but one that can be avoided – is the lack of updated graphics card drivers. Using updated drivers can provide better performance in new games thanks to game-specific fixes and improvements.

The Problem with OEM Drivers

Although both of the leading graphics card manufacturers (ATI/AMD and Nvidia) provide generic driver updates regularly that are designed to work with all of the respective manufacturer’s chips – even the laptop versions – most OEMs (laptop manufacturers) do not allow these to be installed on your laptop, since they prefer to use proprietary solutions for all their driver updates. As a result, you may be forced to use drivers that are as old as your laptop if the OEM doesn’t update their drivers on a regular basis, which is unfortunately often the case. More »

Toshiba said Wednesday that shipments of its HD-A20 HD DVD player had begun. The player is the first of the high-definition players, either Blu-ray or HD DVD, to offer 1080p resolution at a sub-$500 price point. The player will include an HDMI interface which Toshiba says could upconvert standard DVDs to near-HD quality, as well as standard interactivity and networking capabilities.

Over 900,000 HD DVD discs have been sold to date, Toshiba says, and 70 new titles are scheduled to be released between now and July. More »

Acer has long let it be known that it is gunning for Lenovo’s third place in the global PC market. In Q4 last year, it picked off an easier target, overtaking Toshiba to become the world’s third best selling notebook PC maker.

Toshiba’s sales fell slightly in the quarter, which would have been nice for Acer, but the rise in the ranks did not depend on the missteps of others, according to iSuppli. The market watcher attributes Acer’s Q4 sales success, particularly in Europe, to aggressive pricing. More »

intel

In anticipation of the 802.11n Wi-Fi specification being finalised later this year chipmaker Intel has started shipping Next-Gen Wireless-N chips to laptop makers, including Acer, Gateway and Toshiba. The first products are expected to go on sale in the US in the next few weeks. Key benefits include much faster data transfer rates, better range and lower power consumption, though the increase in speed is not going to be much use until products like 802.11n routers and access points become available, and that is unlikely to happen until the Autumn. In the meantime Wireless-N equipped laptops will still be able to connect to existing 802.11b and 11g networks