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Acer unveils world's second HD DVD laptop

May ship with DVD support only, at first

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Acer yesterday announced the second notebook to support HD DVD, following the lead set by Toshiba, the next-generation optical disc format's chief cheerleader, and as predicted. But don't expect it to ship with such a drive immediately - the first models may only ship with DVD drives.

The Aspire 9800 will ship with a 20.1in, 1,680 x 1,050 CristalBrite display fed not only by the upcoming HD DVD drive but by the built-in analogue and digital TV tuners. Integrated webcams are in vogue, so it's no surprise to learn the 9800 has one, a 1.3 megapixel model dubbed the 'Orbicam'.

There's a DVI-D port to hook the machine up to an HD TV - the notebook can pump out HDCP-protected content.

According to Acer, the 9800 will initially ship with an "optional" DVD±R/RW drive with dual-layer support. The notebook's due to debut in May, but the best Acer could say about the availability of the HD DVD drive is that it'll ship when it ships.

The notebook will ship with an Intel Core Duo processor, an Nvidia GeForce Go 7600 GPU with up to 256MB dedicated video memory, 802.11b/g Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.0. With a 20.1in display defining its size, the notebook has room for two SATA hard drives, allowing buyers to kit it out with up to 240GB of unformatted storage capacity.

Acer's launch comes a month after Toshiba announced the HD DVD-supporting Qosmio Q30 notebook. ®

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