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Thursday, March 13, 2008
Acer to Launch 6-speaker Blu-ray Laptop

Acer, the Taiwanese computer maker that bought Gateway last year, released on Thusday Acer Aspire 8920 Aspire 6920, two new notebook families equipped with Blu-Ray Disc drive, Full High Definition LCD screens and native 16:9 resolution.

The top model of the new "Gemstone blue" line of laptops has a screen with the same resolution as an a top-of-the-line HDTV, at 1,920 pixels by 1,080 pixels, and will have six speakers, including a subwoofer, for 5.1 surround sound.

The computer will go sale next month in the U.S. for $1,999. A model with three speakers and a smaller screen (but still HD resolution) will cost $1,699. Both will have built-in Blu-ray disc drives.

Acer said the laptops would be the first with 1,920-by-1,080 screens, and the top model is the first laptop with six speakers.

The $1,999 model has an 18.4-inch 8ms screen, placing it in the "desktop replacement" category of heavy laptops that aren't meant for more than occasional travel.

The system is shipped with a choice of graphics engines and can be equipped with either the NVIDIA GeForce 9650M GS graphics engine with up to 1280 MB of TurboCache (512 MB of dedicated GDDR3 VRAM, up to 768 MB of shared system memory) or by the NVIDIA GeForce 9500M GS with up to 1280 MB of TurboCache (512 MB of dedicated GDDR2 VRAM, up to 768 MB of shared system memory). Both of them support NVIDIA PureVideo HD technology, Shader Model 4.0 and Microsoft DirectX 10.

High-definition viewing is guaranteed by an HDMI connector with HDCP support.

Even with six speakers, the laptop isn't capable of true surround sound, since that requires speakers on either side of the listener at ear level. Some current laptops use two speakers to simulate the enveloping experience of surround sound. Acer's laptop will do the same, but the simulation is better with six speakers than with two, said Acer senior vice president Jim Wong.

At the presentation in New York, Acer president Gianfranco Lanci said the company plans to keep the Gateway and eMachines brands it acquired last year and use them to meet its goal of selling 300 million units worldwide this year. It was the third largest PC maker in the world in 2007.

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