Feeds

Cell-based GPU zaps laptop batteries, admits Toshiba

Yet GPU launches in... er... laptops

Security for virtualized datacentres

Exclusive Toshiba has announced a pair of laptops that use its Cell-based SpursEngine graphics chip. But don't expect the chip to work when the notebook's on the road - SpursEngine consumes too much power, Register Hardware can reveal.

The Japanese giant has rebranded SpursEngine for UK audiences. Due to be incorporated into two laptops later this year, the GPU will now be called the Quad Core HD processor.

And, to be fair, it does have four cores: a quartet of the Synergistic Processor Element (SPE) used in the Cell chip that powers each Sony PlayStation 3 and - next year - Toshiba TVs.

Toshiba today said it will include the chip, as promised, in a number of notebooks, specifically the Qosmio F50 and G50. The GPU enables "premium" - ie. HD - DVD upscaling, video editing, "high speed" video transcoding and "unique hand-gesture control" which offers "unique product navigation using simple hand movements".

Toshiba Qosmio G50

Toshiba's Qosmio G50: with hand-gestures and superior DVD upscaling - just not on battery power...

Here's how Tosh describes it: "By using each notebook’s integrated web-camera, Toshiba’s Gesture Control technology recognises simple hand movements, such as a ‘thumbs-up’ or an open palm, and quickly translates them into commands for controlling AV functions. The result is the unique ability to control a number of multimedia applications with a wave of the hand or a flick of the wrist."

What's wrong with a good, old-fashioned infra-red remote, we want to know? At least it works when the laptop's running on battery power. The Quad Core HD processor certainly doesn't. At today's launch, one machine was displaying an on-screen message to the effect that gesture control was disabled because the laptop was in battery power.

When pushed, a Toshiba staffer admitted that the Quad Core HD chip is turned off when the laptop is disconnected from mains power. He confessed that the Quad Core HD is simply too power-hungry. Had Toshiba enabled the part, battery life would fall to a mere "40 minutes".

That's probably why the company's not yet flipping the finger to the likes of Nvidia and AMD - the new Qosmio's, despite the Quad Core HD, still need a second GPU to handle the graphics. Toshiba admitted that the "all new Qosmio laptops will be equipped with the latest Nvidia GeForce graphics processor units".

The F50 and G50 will go on sale in UK in Q3.

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

More from The Register

next story
Oi, Tim Cook. Apple Watch. I DARE you to tell me, IN PERSON, that it's secure
State attorney demands Apple CEO bows the knee to him
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Monitors monitor's monitoring finds touch screens have 0.4% market share
Not four. Point four. Count yer booty again, Microsoft
Getting to the BOTTOM of the great office seating debate
Belay that toil, me hearty, and park your scurvy backside
Hey, Mac fanbois. HGST wants you drooling over its HUGE desktop RACK
What vast digital media repository could possibly need 64 TERABYTES?
In a spin: Samsung accuses LG exec of washing machine SABOTAGE
Rival electronic giant tries to iron out allegations
Lumia rebrand begins: Nokia's new UK web home is Microsoft.com
Yarr, them Nokia logos walking the plank and into the drink
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.