News Archive

Sunday, May 31st 2009
Thermaltake Luxa2 LM300 Touch Pro

Thermaltake Luxa2 LM300 Touch Pro

The Luxa² LM300 Touch Pro is a new HTPC enclosure for the discriminating home entertainment enthusiast. While Luxa² is a relatively new brand, they are a division of Thermaltake who are no strangers to HTPC cases and accessories. With features such as all aluminum construction, a touchscreen LCD and fully integrated media software, the LM300 Touch Pro seems to be the total package in terms of a complete multimedia enclosure.

Official Pictures from Sony's PSP Go Surface Ahead of E3

More pictures of the so called PlayStation Portable Go or PSP Go for short have surfaced over the weekend days. Specs of the device outline a 3.8-inch display that has 43% more brightness than the PSP-3000, a 16 GB of embedded flash storage, no UMD drive, a Memory Stick Micro slot, built-in Bluetooth and full compatibility with older PSP-3000 and PlayStation's Network channels. The new PSP will probably make first appearance during the upcoming Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) annual trade show for the computer and video games. Check out the official PSP forums here, if you're seeking updates on the PSP Go. A video of the new gadget is also available at Viddler.com.

Saturday, May 30th 2009

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
CPU Coolers
Graphics Cards
Motherboards
NAS
Processors
Storage

Onkyo Intros Full-HD 21.5 inch LA21TW-01S

Onkyo's latest addition to its monitor lineup is the LA21TW-01S. This 21.5 inch full HD monitor offers some desk aesthetics apart from its basic display functions. Apart from its native resolution of 1920x1080 pixels, it features a maximum brightness of 300 cd/m², and a static contrast ratio of 1000:1 (20000:1 ACR). The unit also holds two 1.6 W (RMS) speakers. It takes input from D-Sub, DVI, and HDMI connectors. It is currently priced at US $ 361.

Alienware Unveils M17x Flagship Gaming Laptop

Alienware on Friday took the wraps off it refreshed Aurora M17x gaming laptop. With a new chassis, the M17x can't be mistaken, its new shape is one of a kind. Inside the beast lie low a pair of NVIDIA GeForce GTX 280M 1 GB graphics cards, an integrated NVIDIA GeForce 9400M GPU with HybridPower technology, up to 8 GB of DDR3-1333 RAM, dual-hard drives, an Intel Core 2 Extreme quad-core CPU and all the stuff a top gaming laptop should have. The M17x comes with a 17-inch WUXGA display with 1920x1200 native resolution. It weights 11.68 pounds or 5.3 kg, and has a 9-cell battery. Other standard features include custom backlit keyboard, touchpad and trim lighting. Base price for this model is $1,799 and it gives you a single GTX 280M, 2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo processor, 4 GB of RAM, and a 250 GB hard drive. The Alienware M17x will start shipping to customers next week.

Patriot Memory Adds an XMP Line for SODIMM Memory

Patriot Memory, a global pioneer in high performance memory, NAND flash and computer technology, today announced their XMP certified SODIMMS.

Patriot's DDR3 SODIMM is the latest in the family of memory which includes Intel's Extreme Memory Profiles (XMP). XMP is a performance specification for DDR3 memory SPD settings that act as an integrated "plug and play" overclocking tool. The new Extreme Memory Profile options allow the end user to select extreme or ultimate performance through a framework of predefined and validated optimizations of individual settings without the hassle of manually adjusting each parameter, so the timings, voltage, and speed boot automatically for maximum performance. This enables a robust, profile based, high performance DDR3 over-clocking solution for Intel platforms targeted for enthusiasts, gamers and overclockers.

Intel to Cannibalize Core i7 920 / 940

Prepare to bid farewell to the $400 Core i7 upgrade dream. Chip major Intel is reportedly planning to discontinue some of the relatively affordable Core i7 processors, including the most commercially successful model, the 920. Cannibalizing the Core i7 920 and 940, will create market headroom for the company's upcoming Core i5 "Lynnfield" processors. Internal analysis reportedly show that the high-end Lynnfield processors perform too close to the lower models of Core i7, and that could potentially affect sales of those high-end Core i5 chips. Perhaps Intel is trying to oil the segment to make the most profits. Sources at motherboard manufacturers tell that the companies are already working on adjusting their X58 product lines to cater to the future lines of Core i7 processors, which, may start with the $649 Core i7 950 and beyond. What's more, 950 is expected to get the axe later down the line. It may have certainly been a good couple of quarters for you, saving for triple channel memory, true dual PCI-E x16 motherboards, and the elusive Core i7 920. You may want to execute your plans now, or change them.
Friday, May 29th 2009

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Game Controllers
Gaming PC
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Input Devices
Keyboards
Memory
Mousepads
Networking
Processors
SSD
Storage

LG Display Develops Full HD 3D Monitor Panel with Enhanced Brightness

LG Display Co., Ltd., a leading innovator of thin-film transistor liquid crystal display (TFT-LCD) technology, announced today that it has succeeded in developing a Full HD 23-inch 3D LCD panel with enhanced brightness for monitors.

The 3D panel employs LG Display's proprietary technology to realize Full HD images with twice the brightness of conventional 3D LCD panels. The product boasts the world's highest brightness among 3D displays. 3D LCDs apply time-sequential technologies so that the right and left eyes see different images. This makes the images look three-dimensional for human eye. In conventional 3D LCDs, the technologies were generally installed outside the panel or into the viewing glass.

New NVIDIA-Powered DELL Laptop Features Killer HD Video And Gaming To Go

Today's students and young professionals need a versatile notebook that can serve as their workhorse by day and entertainment center at night. The new Dell Studio 14z powered by the NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics processor provides a perfect blend of performance and portability with graphics support for gaming, HD video, and creative self-expression.

The GeForce 9400M in the Dell Studio 14z delivers up to five times faster graphics performance than Centrino 2 notebooks to accelerate image editing, video playback, and video conversion. With vReveal, the Studio 14z can fix grainy, shaky video twice as fast as comparable notebooks, and then let you upload the video to YouTube in minutes.

HDMI Licensing LLC Announces Features of Upcoming HDMI 1.4 Specification

HDMI Licensing, LLC, the agent responsible for licensing the High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) specification, today announced the features that will be incorporated in the upcoming HDMI 1.4 specification. This latest version of the HDMI specification will, among other advancements, offer networking capabilities with Ethernet connectivity and will add an Audio Return Channel to enable upstream audio connections via the HDMI cable. The HDMI specification 1.4 will be available for download on the HDMI LLC website no later than June 30, 2009.

Lancool launches DragonLord “K” Series Midi Tower Gaming Chassis

Lancool launches the DragonLord "K" series of mid tower chassis at Computex. These SECC steel cases are the perfect complement to a PC gamer's needs. The completely tool-less design which filtered down from Lian Li's high end aluminum cases makes this chassis both feature rich as well as friendly on price.

The cases come in four different models, ranging from the budget PC-K56, PC-K58, PC-K60 with the high-end PC-K62 dominating. They are all constructed with ease of use, and ease of installation in mind. The patented too-less HDD cage combines with patented anti-vibration rubber grommets to suspend the HDD's in a noise free environment. The ODD bays are mounted using a tool-less device to secure the drives fast, while dampening the noise from the mechanical moving parts. The power supply unit is clipped via a clasp with rubber anti-vibration support and also requires no tools. The all-new tool-less aluminum clasps for holding the PCI cards and tool-less cable clamps combined with innovative design features such as the unique vent holes below the PSU and special anti vibration fan mountings. The removable top cover and front panel, as well as special covered holes for water pipe installations make this series stand alone in terms of the price performance ratio. The case supports 8 PCI slots as well as VGA cards up to 285mm long, so for those who need to install 3-way SLI or CrossFireX, they will have the necessary space to do so.

MSI N275GTX Lightning Parts Pictured

MSI is building its GeForce GTX 200 Lightning series with its newest entry, the N275GTX, based on the GeForce GTX 275. With the new GPU being compatible with existing GeForce GTX 260 PCBs, it was expected of MSI to reuse the PCB and cooler the N260GTX Lightning featured. Instead, the company came up with a newer cooler, with a slightly different PCB. While retaining the Twin Frozr heatsink, MSI changed the shroud and added slightly larger fans.

The PCB makes use of an 8+2 phase power circuit, with more durable solid-state chokes. Simply put, instead of traditional chokes having the toroidal coil and ferrite bar (core) enclosed in a slightly cubical casing, these chokes use an iron chunk with the toroidal coil embedded. The lack of a ferrite core in its traditional form, effectively reduces energy loss. It also cuts the high-pitched noise heard when the GPU is at its maximum power draw. The PCB also uses flat-bed Hi-C capacitors that add to the durability. The card also features hardware APS (phase switching) that can power down phases when the card is idling or is performing low-power tasks. The outputs on this card are DVI, D-Sub, and HDMI. It features 1792 MB of GDDR3 memory. Additional details such as clock speeds, availability, and price, are not known at this point in time.

Scythe Readying Big Shuriken CPU Cooler

Japanese cooling specialist Scythe is readying a new variant of the Shuriken CPU cooler, this time of a slightly larger built, while respecting its design ideology that it should be slim form-factor friendly. The Big Shuriken differs from Shuriken in its dimensions, fan size, and number of heat-pipes. It measures 125 × 135 × 58 mm, and holds a slimmer 120 mm fan, in comparison to the Shuriken having a 100 mm fan, and a height of 64 mm, which is slightly higher.

The basic construction remains the same: from a CPU contact base that doubles up as a heatsink, originate four copper heat-pipes, that convey heat to a dense array of aluminum fins, which is directly under the air-flow of the fan. The PWM-controlled fan spins at speeds of 650~1600 rpm, pushing 15.77~38.05 CFM of air, with noise outputs ranging in 12.91~28.89 dBA. The cooler weighs in at 405 g (around 0.9 lbs), and is compatible with most existing desktop CPU sockets including LGA-1366/775, and AMD AM3/AM2+/AM2/939. There is no word on its global availability and price yet.

MSI Unveils GT729 Gaming Notebook

With msi exclusive Turbo Drive Engine Technology, while the msi GT729 is in AC mode, just touch the turbo button above the keyboard and you can increase the speed of your CPU. Your computer will run smoothly to the very best of its abilities.

In order to provide the best and strongest performance ever, the GT729 features the latest DDR 3 System RAM to boost up overall system power. Moreover, in order to deliver innovative mobile solutions with unrivaled processor performance, stunning new HD capabilities, great wireless connectivity, and long battery life for full blu-ray movie playback, it features the latest Intel Centrino 2 Processor Technology, which uses Intel Core 2 Duo processor and Intel PM45 Express Chipset for the best gaming performance.

Kingston Shows Off HyperX Fan

With advances in DRAM technology, memory vendors are able to up module densities, while also providing high DRAM speeds and latencies as low as possible. For enthusiasts and overclockers, even a slightly cooler memory module could make the difference between high speed and record setting speed. Memory manufacturers went beyond heatspreaders, and started off with heatsinks mounted on top of each module. The trend was started by manufacturers such as Corsair and Patriot. The former was even the first to start the trend of active air-cooling for modules with heatsinks.

Following the likes of Corsair, G.Skill, OCZ, and A-Data, Kingston seems to be ready with its own active memory cooler that is designed to cool the recent designs of the company's modules that feature integrated heatsinks. The HyperX fan cooler consists of a blue shroud with the "X" motif cut on its sides. The top holds two blue LED-lit 60 mm fans, with a maximum acoustic output of 28 dBA. The cooler latches on to the motherboard's memory module retention knobs. Kingston is expected to launch this at the upcoming Computex event. It will be available either separately, or part of its high end T1 series HyperX kits. A teaser video can be watched here.

Intel Core i7 950 and 975 Extreme Detailed

Two yet unseen CPUs, the Core i7 950 and 975 Extreme, that will replace existing Core i7 940 and 965 Extreme models, were detailed today by etailers PCs For Everyone and PROVANTAGE. The Core i7 950 model is now up for preorder at PCs For Everyone, priced at $649. It is set at 3.06 GHz, with 8 MB shared L3 cache, 4 cores with HT, and 130 W TDP (full specs below). Availability date according to the etailer is May 31st. The second and more powerfull CPU, the Core i7 975 Extreme is yet to receive release date, for now you can only wish list it. If right, the CPU will be clocked at 3.33 GHz, have 8 MB shared L3 cache, and cost well over $1,100.

Super Talent Releases Speedy Upgrade SSDs for ASUS Eee PC Netbooks

Trying to deliver even more options for third party netbook makers, Super Talent today made their fifth significant announcement of the week, by introducing the world's fastest upgrade SSDs for the ASUS Eee PC netbooks. The SATA Mini 2 PCIe SSDs are Super Talent's second generation product focused on enabling better performance for ASUS Eee PC users and feature a SATA-II (3Gbps) interface. They are compatible with all Eee PC models 900, 901, 901A, 901 GO, and S101. The products are available using both MLC and SLC flash memory. The MLC version delivers sequential read speeds up to 150 MB/s and sequential write speeds up to 100 MB/s, and is available in 16 GB, 32 GB, and 64 GB capacities at very affordable prices. The SLC version is available in 16 GB and 32 GB capacities and features sequential read speeds up to 170 MB/s and sequential write speeds up to 130 MB/s. Super Talent will showcase these products at the 2009 Computex Taipei show, no availability date was announced though.

Microsoft Xbox 360 Sees Record Growth in 2009

Microsoft Corp. announced today that sales of Xbox 360 consoles have passed the 30 million mark globally, with its Xbox LIVE community swelling to more than 20 million active members. After the biggest year in its history in 2008, Xbox 360 achieved the highest percentage growth in hardware sales of any console so far in 2009, up 28 percent over the previous year.
The success of the platform can be measured across the business, with Xbox LIVE now considered the world's largest global entertainment network. Increasing consumer desire to connect with friends, download and enjoy blockbuster movies and TV shows, and extend the life of their favorite games has been the primary driver behind the growth of Xbox LIVE membership and the reason Xbox continues to expand offerings on the platform.
Thursday, May 28th 2009

Today's Reviews

Accessories
Cooling
Graphics Cards
Keyboards
Memory
Motherboards
Mousepads
NAS
Netbooks
Notebooks
Processors
Servers
Speakers
SSD

OWC Announces Mercury On-The-Go Pro Portable Storage Solution

Other World Computing (OWC), a leading PC and Mac technology company, announced today the OWC Mercury On-The-Go Pro, the largest capacity, fastest bus powered portable storage solution on the market. The Mercury On-The-Go Pro is a high-performance, 500GB 7200RPM pocket-sized portable storage solution for Mac or PC users featuring FireWire 800, FireWire 400, and/or USB 2.0 interfaces for data transfer speeds up to 100MB/s. With its 500GB of storage capacity, the Mercury On-The-Go Pro can hold up to 500,000 JPEG photos, 250 DVD movies, 38 hours of digital video, or 175,000 MP3 songs.

The Mercury On-The-Go Pro 500GB 7200RPM line features three models, including a "Triple Interface" model for FireWire 800/400 and USB 2.0; a "Combo Interface" model for FireWire 400 and USB 2.0; and a USB 2.0 model priced starting at $189.99.

Patriot Announces Corza NAS

Patriot Memory, a global pioneer in high-performance memory, NAND flash and computer technology, today announced the release of Corza, their network storage server for the home.

The Corza is a network attached storage device that gives the consumer the ability to turn their home computers into their own network. The Corza features the latest networking technology which allows users to stream digital media files, their favorite music and videos, pictures or important data; accessible from anywhere in the world with an internet connection.

Thermaltake Announces Thermaltake Massive23 Series Notebook Coolers

Thermaltake Technology, a leading manufacturer of computer components, has launched a new member of their notebook cooling series, the Massive23 series! Equipped with a giant 23 cm quiet LED fan, the Massive23 series is specifically designed for users who spend a lot of time on their notebooks with performance hungry applications such as gaming or graphics processing. In order to cater to different needs and tastes, Thermaltake provides two models within their Massive23 series. The upscale Massive23 CS comes in a premium quality aluminum body and offers a variety of LED color-change functions. On the value end the Massive23 ST still offers a single color LED and a light-weight plastics body.

The color-change function of the Massive23 CS features 6 different modes. Users can adjust the LED color according to their mood, environment or just turn it off entirely. Those futuristic LED effects create and even more immersive gaming ambience. But most importantly a giant 23cm silent fan underneath the metal mesh net of hexagonal-vents offers a larger cooling surface with an optimized airflow. Massive23 series notebook cooler provide large cooling surface and sufficient cold air. With the Massive23 Series notebook cooler from Thermaltake you stay in the game longer than the rest of the crowd.

AMD, BMW Group DesignworksUSA and Thermaltake Present Level 10 Extreme Gaming Station

Thermaltake, leading PC chassis, cooler, and PSU brand manufacturer, is celebrating their 10th anniversary in the PC DIY industry and will therefore present a very special highlight at this year's Computex 2009 show in Taipei, Taiwan, June 2 ~ 6.

Herewith we would like to cordially invite you to this exclusive ceremony with the Director of the European Studio of BMW Group DesignworksUSA, Laurenz Schaffer the AMD Vice President of Platform Business Development Levi Murray and the CEO of Thermaltake Kenny Lin. Don't miss your chance to meet three of the most innovative technology leaders in their fields and directly ask them and tell what you think matters.

PhotoFast Unveils 1.8-inch G-Monster V3 Micro-SATA SSD

PhotoFast unveiled yet another 1.8-inch SSD, this time, compliant with more recent standards. The new G-Monster V3 uses a micro-SATA interface, that is available on some netbooks. Apart from its main NAND-flash storage, that comes in capacities of 32, 64, and 128 GB, it also features 64 MB of DDR2 memory to serve as a high speed buffer. The buffer ensures latency reduction on the host controller's side, especially since the drive offers high data transfer rates of 230/180 MBps (read/write). This may yet another product lined up for launch at Computex.

GELID Announces GC-2 - Premium Thermal Compound

Thermal Solutions specialist GELID Solutions launches the premium "GC-2" thermal compound as the successor of the multi award winner "GC-1". The "GC-1" thermal compound will be end of life by end of May 2009. Optimal heat conductivity and low thermal resistance make the "GC-2" best-in-class thermal compound and enables an effective heat transfer. At the same time the compound is non-electrical conductive, non-corrosive, non-bleeding and non-curing. Aiming for the same high performance and price range as its predecessor the "GC-2" contains 7g paste which is twice as much as most other competitors. The "GC-2" will be part of the SILENT product line of GELID Solutions.

PowerColor Announces the PCS HD4730

TUL Corporation, a leading manufacturer of AMD graphics cards, announces a new addition to HD4700 series: the PCS HD4730. The latest PCS HD4730 has 640 streaming processors, clocks at 700MHz core and 900MHz memory respectively, with the fastest ever GDDR5 memory, it supports up to 3.6 Gbps data rates. This offers an unbeatable gaming performance in its segment.

The PowerColor PCS HD4730 equipped with award-winning ARCTIC COOLING solution, increases air flow at a lower fan speed that easily dissipates heat from an optimized heat sink. The unique fan design avoids direct contact with high temperatures emanating from heat sink, extending the life cycle of the cooling fan. With PowerColor exclusive fan control technology, the fan speed can be adjusted automatically providing a perfect balance between silent operating environment and cooling performance.

Patriot Introduces Convoy Series 2.5-inch SDD/HDD Storage Enclosures

Patriot Memory, a global pioneer in high-performance memory, NAND flash and computer technologies, today announced their Convoy Series Dual 3.5" HDD/SSD enclosures.

Convoy XL is a complete RAID solution with USB and eSATA connectivity. Dual 2.5" drive bays hold either two SSDs and/or HDDs mounted in one standard 3.5" form factor bay. The built-in RAID controller can be configured for performance (RAID 0), redundant for backup (RAID 1) or two drives combined to be one large drive (JBOD). Additionally the one-touch-backup (OTB) feature is a perfect complement of SSD's robust and durability nature.

BioShock 2 Gets Official Release Date of October 30th

Quite possibly one of the most anticipated games of 2009, BioShock 2 has finally been given a set date from publishers 2K Games. Set for a simultaneous release on the Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and PC on October 30th 2009 internationally, while North America will have to wait another few days for their release on the 3rd November.

ASUS Designs Own Monster Dual-GTX 285 4 GB Graphics Card

ASUS has just designed a new monster graphics card that breaks the mold for reference design GeForce GTX 295, called the ASUS MARS 295 Limited Edition. The card, although retains the name "GeForce GTX 295", same device ID, and is compatible with existing NVIDIA drivers, has two huge innovations put in by ASUS, which go far beyond being yet another overclocked GeForce GTX 295: the company used two G200-350-B3 graphics processors, the same ones that make the GeForce GTX 285. The GPUs have all the 240 shader processors enabled, and also have the complete 512-bit GDDR3 memory interface enabled. This dual-PCB monstrosity holds 32 memory chips, and 4 GB of total memory (each GPU accesses 2 GB of it). Apart from these, each GPU system uses the same exact clock speeds as the GeForce GTX 285: 648/1476/2400 MHz (core/shader/memory).

The Microsoft Touch Pack for Windows 7 Gets its First Glimpse

The guys over at the Windows Team Blog have released details and imagery of the Microsoft Touch Pack for Windows 7, will which contain a collection of six applications and games specifically designed for touch screens. The only requirements are that the system must support Multi-Touch and obviously be running Windows 7. OEMs will have the option to pre-install some, none, or all of the applications available from the launch of Windows 7, and broad availability should be made soon after. An extract from the blog detailing each application and game including screenshots can be found below.

AMD to Cut HD 4850 Prices to Compensate for HD 4770 Shortages

It seems that in order to make up for the shortages of the now very popular HD 4770, due to TSMC's issues with 40 nm manufacturing, AMD is dropping the prices of the HD 4850 to around the MSRP of the HD 4770. That is around $99.99 US and about €90, this will be putting further pressure on NVIDIA as AMD brings down one of its top GPUs in to the sub-$100 market.

GELID Launches the Slim Silence AM2/LGA775 - 1U Slim ITX Heatpipe CPU Cooler

Thermal Solutions specialist GELID Solutions adds a 28mm high 1U Slim ITX heatpipe CPU Cooler with PWM fan to its popular line of Silent CPU coolers.

With a compact heatsink design for Mini ITX, Micro ATX, ATX, HTPC, Panel PC, Car PC and 1U server the "Slim Silence" is equipped with a high performance heatpipe and a silent fan. The high performance heatpipe ensures a fast and efficient heat transfer from core to aluminium fins. The frameless silent fan includes a ball bearing and a GELID intelligent PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) control which ensures a silent operation at low CPU temperature and accelerates the fan speed when necessary.

Super Talent Releases New Upgrade SSDs for Dell Inspiron Mini 9

Super Talent Technology today also adds to the broadest SSD portfolio in the industry by introducing faster and larger capacity upgrade modules for the Dell Inspiron Mini 9 netbook PC. The modules come in two form factors, the standard Half Mini PCIe form factor and Super Talent's innovative Double Wide Half Mini PCIe form factor. Both families of products feature a custom IDE/PATA interface used in the Mini 9 netbook.
"For the first time ever Mini 9 users can upgrade their netbooks with a high performance 128 GB SSD without any case modifications. We installed the hardware in less than 60 seconds and reinstalled the operating system in less than 30 minutes. We started thinking about how we could better solve our customers' problems, when we saw them posting videos online sawing their case apart to put in larger SSDs. So we innovated and invented the Double Wide Half Mini PCIe form factor to make upgrading to a high capacity SSD a whole lot easier."

Super Talent Introduces New MasterDrive EX2 and MasterDrive IX2 SSDs

Super Talent Technology, a leading manufacturer of Flash storage solutions and DRAM memory modules, announced it is now shipping new families of PATA/IDE 2.5" SSDs featuring both MLC and SLC Flash and nearly tripling previous performance specifications.
The MasterDrive EX2 is available with capacities from 16 GB to 128 GB, features sequential read speeds up to 80 MB/s and sequential write speeds up to 40 MB/s, and uses MLC flash. It also comes with a 2 year factory warranty.
The MasterDrive IX2 is available with capacities from 16 GB to 64 GB, enables sequential read speeds up to 80 MB/s and sequential write speeds up to 60 MB/s, and uses SLC flash. It also comes with a 3 year factory warranty.

Wednesday, May 27th 2009

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
CPU Coolers
Graphics Cards
Harddisks
Monitors
Motherboards
Mousepads
NAS
Networking
Processors
PSUs
Storage
Albatron HD 4830 Green 512 MB

Albatron HD 4830 Green 512 MB

Albatron is one of the first companies to come out with a HD 4830 design that does not require an external power connector. Another difference to the HD 4830 is the number of shaders. Instead of 640 like on the reference, Albatron has packed 800 shaders on their card for some extra performance.

ASRock P55 Deluxe and M3A785GXH/128M Motherboards Surface

Earlier today, we covered ECS coming up with two motherboards, based on Intel P55 (LGA-1156), and AMD 785G (AM3). Coincidentally, ASRock has a similar pair which is gearing up for launch at the upcoming Computex event. The P55 Deluxe could be the company's premium LGA-1156 motherboard, while the M3A785GXH/128M a rather high-end board, especially looking at its feature-set, that expands that of the the chipset typically offers.

The P55 Deluxe supports LGA-1156 processors sans the Flexible Display Interface feature (FDI), since it looks devoid of common display connectors. It supports four DDR3 DIMMs, with the Dual-Channel DDR3 memory interface, advertising support for DDR3-2000 (probably by overclocking). The board provides three PCI-Express 2.0 x16 slots, (x16, NC, x4) or (x8, x8, x4, when the slots are populated). Apart from ATI CrossFireX, NVIDIA 3-way SLI support is advertised.

Over to the M3A785GXH/128M, and there is an interesting feature here. Although AMD 785G isn't specified to support CrossFire, ASRock used an external lane switch card to support it. The first two PCI-Express x16 are eletrically (x16, NC) or (x8, x8, when both are populated). The third slot seems wired to the southbridge and is electrically x4. The board supports AM3 socket processors, with four DDR3 DIMM slots offering support for dual-channel DDR3-1600 memory. The Radeon HD 4200 IGP makes use of 128 MB of DDR3 SidePort memory. Standard display connectors such as DVI, D-Sub and HDMI apply. An external storage controller ups the number SATA channels, by providing an internal, and an eSATA port. ASRock wasn't very generous with its photography.

Razer Launches Sphex, Ultrathin Gaming Grade Mousing Surface

Razer, the world's leading manufacturer of high-end precision gaming and lifestyle peripherals, today announced the release of the Razer Sphex, the first Gaming Grade Desktop Skin with a distinctive ultrathin form factor.

"The Razer Sphex is a gaming surface that doesn't compromise tracking ability or durability even with its slim figure," says Robert "Razerguy" Krakoff, President of Razer. "We wanted to offer gamers a simpler and less expensive gaming-grade mouse mat alternative, while retaining extreme precision and a smooth consistent glide comparable to traditional gaming mouse mats."

Kingston Technology First to Release 12GB Triple-Channel DDR3 HyperX 1600MHz

Kingston Technology Company, Inc., the independent world leader in memory products, today announced it is first to market with DDR3 1600MHz 12GB triple-channel memory kits. The HyperX kit of three 4GB modules allows enthusiasts to get the most out of their Intel Core i7 and X58 platforms.

"Kingston was first to release 2GHz kits and has continued to lead the memory charge with more DDR3 offerings since Intel created the triple-channel architecture," said Mark Tekunoff, senior technology manager, Kingston. "Our latest kit of three was tested with great success on the Asus P6T Deluxe motherboard and runs at a speedy 1600MHz to take full advantage of the memory controller on the Core i7 processor for unmatched performance."

Corsair Launches Energy-Efficient High-Performance Modular 850W and 750W PSUs

Corsair, a worldwide leader in high-performance power supplies, and computer and flash memory products, today announced the launch of the new Corsair Professional Series HX850W and HX750W modular power supply units.

The Corsair Professional Series power supply units have been designed by Corsair and engineered to the highest quality standards to meet the demands of enthusiasts that expect the very best. The Corsair Professional Series HX850W and HX750W PSUs utilize advanced DC-to-DC circuitry and meet 80 PLUS SILVER certification standards for up to 90% energy-efficiency, reducing wasted energy and lowering the amount of excess heat generated.

ASUS M4A785-M EVO Motherboard Pictured, Another One to the RS880 League

Days after releasing its high-end Crosshair III Formula, ASUS is readying another motherboard, this time based on AMD's new 785G + SB710 chipset. This AM2+ micro-ATX board offers a fairly standard feature-set. The AM2+ socket supports nearly every AM2, AM2+, AM3 socket CPU ever made, while the four DDR2 DIMMs support up to 1200 MHz DDR2 by overclocking, while DDR2-1066 is a standard for AM2+/AM3 CPUs. The southbridge provides five SATA II ports, with a sixth one positioned as eSATA on the rear-panel. Display connectivity options include DVI, D-Sub and HDMI. The motherboard may be released during the upcoming Computed 2009 event.

The source also revealed a bit about the AMD 785G chipset, confirming our earlier assumption that it was based on the RS880 core. The chip embeds an RV620 graphics processor, which will be named as the Radeon HD 4200 IGP. It features UVD 2.0 video hardware decoder, and supports DirectX 10.1. It also supports SidePort auxiliary memory, apart from the usual UMA. AMD notes that the IGP will be slightly faster than the RS780, while being significantly faster than Intel G45 and NVIDIA's GeForce 8200 (although NVIDIA's fasted IGP for the AMD platform is GeForce 8300).

Antec Launches New ISK 300-65 Mini-ITX Form Factor Case

Antec, Inc., the global leader in high-performance computer components and accessories for the gaming, PC upgrade and Do-It-Yourself markets, today announced the ISK 300-65, the introductory case in Antec's newest line of cases designed exclusively for Mini-ITX motherboards: the ISK Series. The ISK 300-65 offers functionality and versatility, combining exceptional performance with quiet features for small form factor systems.

The ISK 300-65 is designed specifically to support Mini-ITX motherboards, the newest industry standard designed for low noise, minimal power consumption, and compact computing. The ISK 300-65 also utilizes a 65-watt power adapter for 65 watts of stable and reliable power. The ISK 300-65's cooling system is efficient and quiet, with a side 80mm TriCool three-speed exhaust fan to provide quiet computing, lower temperature and noise control.

ECS A785GM-M and P55H-A Motherboards Pictured

ECS is dressing up two new motherboards for a gala launch at Computex 2009. The A785GM-M and P55H-A were recently announced by the company to be heading for display and launch at the event, in its Computex booth invitation press-release. AlienBabelTech published exclusive pictures of the two.

To begin with, the A785GM-M is a micro-ATX motherboard based on the new AMD 785G chipset. The chipset features a Radeon HD 4200-class IGP. It is possibly based on the new RS880 core. The board supports AMD AM3 socket CPUs, and provides four DDR3 DIMM slots. Its display connectivity options include D-Sub, DVI, and HDMI. The rest of its connectivity includes FireWire, eSATA and one gigabit Ethernet interface.

The P55H-A on the other hand, is one of the company's first offerings that support the upcoming LGA-1156 socket processors. This is another of the motherboards we have seen so far, that lack display connectors, and hence, lack Intel Flexible Display Interface support, that connects integrated graphics processors on some CPUs to their output. It provides two PCI-Express 2.0 x16 slots (electrically dual x8 when both populated). Four DDR3 DIMM slots support dual-channel DDR3 memory, 8 channel audio, gigabit Ethernet, and 6 SATA II ports make for the rest of it.

Intel Previews Intel Xeon 'Nehalem-EX' Processor

Intel Corporation today previewed a new Intel Xeon processor codenamed "Nehalem-EX." The processor will be at the heart of the next generation of intelligent and expandable high-end Intel server platforms, which will deliver a number of new technical advancements and boost enterprise computing performance.

In production later this year, the Nehalem-EX processor will feature up to eight cores inside a single chip supporting 16 threads and 24MB of cache. Its performance increase will be dramatic, posting the highest-ever jump from a previous generation processor.

ASUS Preparing Atom-Based AT3GC-I Mini-ITX Motherboard

ASUS is preparing a new motherboard for DIY nettop builders. The AT3GC-I Mini-ITX motherboard, using an Intel Atom processor, takes care of the basics. The motherboard uses a common fan-heatsink to spread the heat between an Intel Atom 330 dual-core processor, Intel 945GC northbridge, and ICH7 southbridge. Memory support is covered by one DDR2 memory slot supporting a DDR2-533 module, and storage is care of two SATA and one IDE connectors. A standard PCI slot provides expansion. 6-channel audio and 10/100 Ethernet make for the rest of the mix. ASUS may use the Computex event as a launch vehicle for this entry-level motherboard.

Zalman Launches ZM500-RS Power Supply

Korean PC cooling specialist Zalman launched the ZM500-RS 500 W mainstream PSU. The PSU provides connectors most common to PSUs in its range, offering support for basic SLI or CrossFire setups, or powerful single graphics cards. Under its hood is the Resonant Switching Circuit Design (RSCD), which Zalman claims to be more efficient than dual-forward switching designs, in minimizing energy loss and heat output.

The PSU uses two 18 A +12V rails and Active PFC support. It has a rated efficiency of 87% and qualifies for the 80 Plus rating. On the connections front, apart from the 24-pin ATX and 8-pin CPU connectors, it provides four SATA, four Molex, one floppy, one PCI-Express 6+2 pin, and one PCI-Express 6-pin connectors. The unit is cooled by a silent 120 mm fan. Following the launch, the PSU should reach markets shortly.

Serial ATA Organization Makes SATA 3.0 Revision Official

The Serial ATA International Organization today, made the third-generation SATA interface official. The new interface provides a 6 Gbps high-speed serial data connection between the system and most of today's data storage devices such as hard drives, solid-state drives, optical drives, and enterprise tape drives. The interface also provides connectivity to external storage devices in its eSATA port variant. It is 100% backwards compatible with devices that support the SATA 150 MB/s and SATA II 300 MB/s standards.

The organization listed some of the standard's key enhancements, as follows:
  • A new Native Command Queuing (NCQ) streaming command to enable isochronous data transfers for bandwidth-hungry audio and video applications
  • An NCQ Management feature that helps optimize performance by enabling host processing and management of outstanding NCQ commands
  • Improved power management capabilities
  • A small Low Insertion Force (LIF) connector for more compact 1.8-inch storage devices
  • A connector designed to accommodate 7mm optical disk drives for thinner and lighter notebooks
  • Alignment with the INCITS ATA8-ACS standard
Hardware manufacturers have already implemented draft versions of the standard in some of their newest storage controllers. As the year progresses, it is hoped that the standard finds its way to storage controller cards and motherboards.

HP Expands Netbook Lineup with Mini 1101 and 110 XP/Mi

HP added two more netbooks to its growing lineup, the Mini 1101 and Mini 110. The latter has two variants: Mini 110 XP and Mini 110 Mi. Both these models feature 10.1 inch LED screens. Users can choose between Atom N270 and N280, with as much as 1 GB of memory, 160 GB HDD, and Intel GMA 950 graphics.

The Mini 110 XP offers a few exclusive features. Users can opt for a 32 GB SSD and WLAN. It comes with Broadcom Crystal HD Enhanced Video Accelerator, that provides smooth playback of HD video at resolutions of 1080p. It comes with Windows XP Home SP3 pre-installed. The Mini 110 Mi is physically identical, except for that it comes with a popular Linux distribution pre-installed, and allows users to opt for a 250 GB HDD or 2 GB of system memory. The Mini 1101 will retail in June with a base price of US $329. The Mini 110 Mi, with Linux, will be priced significantly lower, at $279.

New VIA Vinyl HD Audio Codecs Offer Full-Rate Blu-ray Audio with CyberLink PowerDVD

VIA Technologies, Inc, a leading innovator of power efficient x86 processor platforms, today unveiled the next generation of VIA Vinyl HD Audio codecs, the VIA Vinyl VT1818S and 1828S, with support offered by CyberLink in their latest award-winning DVD player software, CyberLink PowerDVD.

The leading Blu-ray Disc and DVD playback software, CyberLink PowerDVD provides enhanced high-definition audio through the embedded VIA Vinyl HD VIA Vinyl 1828S Audio codecs, which also support Blu-ray Disc audio content protection, allowing for optimal audio output. Without content protection support, audio quality is dramatically reduced to that of a regular CD with a sampling rate of only 16-bit/48kHz.

QNAP Announces 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch SATA HDD TS-219P Turbo NAS

QNAP Systems, Inc. today announces the first 2-bay network-attached storage (NAS) which supports both 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch SATA hard drives - TS-219P Turbo NAS. Dedicated to home and SOHO users, the TS-219P is an advanced version of the previously released TS-219. Powering Marvell 1.2GHz high performance processor and 512 MB DDRII memory, the NAS comes with 3 USB ports and 2 eSATA ports to deliver the best storage expansion capability compared with other 2-bay NAS in the market.

The TS-219P supports two hot-swappable 2.5" or 3.5" SATA hard drives with maximum 4TB storage capacity. The device can be accessed across Windows, Mac, Linux, and UNIX. It is a highly reliable and powerful NAS with abundant business-class features, such as built-in iSCSI target service (max 8 iSCSI devices) with Thin Provisioning, Online RAID Capacity Expansion, Online RAID Level Migration, automatic policy-based IP blocking, hard drive status report, instant SMS and email alert, built-in TwonkyMedia UPnP/ DLNA media server, BT and eMule download, schedule power on and power off, one Giga LAN port, and 2 IP cameras for network surveillance.

Super Talent UltraDrive Delivers over 5x Performance Boost on Apple Mac

Super Talent Technology, a leading manufacturer of Flash storage solutions and DRAM memory modules, announced it has self certified its award winning UltraDrive SSDs for compatibility with the newest Apple MacBook (13"), MacBook Pro (15"/17"), and Mac Pro (Quad/8-Core) based on Intel's Core i7 CPUs.

During compatibility testing Super Talent was able to improve boot time by up to 58% and achieve performance gains of over 5.3x vs. the stock Apple Hard Disk Drive (HDD). The UltraDrive ME delivered 32x the bandwidth of the HDD on 256K Random Writes as measured by the xBench standard benchmark. The UltraDrive also outperformed the Apple SSD by 2.5x.

Super Talent Launches PCIe RAIDDrive Workstations

Super Talent Technology, a leading manufacturer of Flash storage solutions and DRAM memory modules, announced it is introducing the PCIe RAIDDrive Workstation. These Workstations use Super Talent's patented RAIDSSD Technology to accelerate the adoption of systems with very high performance solid state disk subsystems through the integration of large numbers of SSDs. PCIe RAIDDrive Workstations are based on Intel's newest Quad-Core Core I7 Processors, and Super Talent's 1333MHz DDR3 DIMMs.

PCIe RAIDDrive Workstations scale up 6TB in a Workstation Tower form factor. Benchmarking data taken with Crystal Disk Mark v2.2 shows sustained sequential read speed of over 1.5 GB/sec (1500 MB/sec), sequential write speed of nearly 1.35 GB/sec (1350 MB/sec). Benchmarking data taken with HDBench showed random read speed of 725 MB/sec and random write speed of 515 MB/sec.
Tuesday, May 26th 2009

Today's Reviews

Accessories
Cases
Cooling
CPU Coolers
Game Controllers
Gaming PC
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Memory
Monitors
Motherboards
Multimedia
Notebooks
Processors
PSUs
Servers
Speakers
Storage
Cresyn C750E Earphones

Cresyn C750E Earphones

Cresyn C750E is the name of an interesting set of in-ears, from a relatively unknown manufacturer. The C750Es feature a sweet bundle and a well thought out design. With a price point of $100 they are positioned nicely for the average user who wants to get decent sound quality on the move without breaking the bank.

AMD to Unleash R800, RV870, RV840 and RV810 Within 2009

Graphics major AMD is set to unleash a near-complete lineup of DirectX 11 compliant 40 nm GPUs within 2009. The lineup begins with the entry-level RV810, all the way up to R800 (a supposedly dual-RV870 accelerator). Along the way are two of AMD's key GPUs at the start of its DirectX 11 conquest: the high-performance RV870, and mainstream-performance RV840. The two succeed RV770/RV790 and RV740 respectively. A full-range lineup also means that apart from the RV740, the company will be sourcing three more GPUs from its foundry partners.

Preliminary specifications of the RV870 point at it to have 1200 stream processors, and 143 GB/s of memory bandwidth. The GPU may feature in the Radeon HD 5800 series, and in a pair as R800, possibly Radeon HD 5870 X2. No specifications of the RV840 or RV810 GPUs surfaced from the sources.

GIGABYTE Intros GM-M7800S Wireless Luxury Mouse with Crystallized Swarovski Elements

GIGABYTE, a leading manufacturer of motherboards and graphics cards, proudly announce the luxury leather wireless mouse made with Swarovski elements. It goes without saying that this fine works enables you to demonstrate your unique stylish and taste.

GM-M7800S is another GIGABYTE commitment to bring fashion, style and exquisiteness to PC life. It's built to be classy. GM-M7800S is crafted with exquisite materials like Swarovski crystal, 18K gold plated and high quality leather, and comes in a stylish design. The mouse in a chic design can be your best collection. In addition to the admiration of its luxurious styling, it features the best performance as well:

Silicon Power Announces Portable eSATA/USB SSD II Portable Drive

Silicon Power, the leading brand among Solid State Disk (SSD) Manufacturers lifts the benchmark another notch with their new Portable eSATA / USB SSD II. It is the world's first eSATA (eSATA; External Serial ATA) /USB dual interface portable SSD drive. The new drive emphasis the convenience of USB connection and the ultra fast performance of eSATA interface as an external drive. Overall, the drive has excellent aesthetics and the performance to match.

Having won rave reviews with their 64GB eSATA /USB SSD, Silicon Power releases the new lidless and portable eSATA/USB SSD II. Through the eSATA interface, maximum read speed reaches 90MB/Sec and maximum write reaches 50 MB/Sec. Maximum read through the USB connection is rated at 30MB/Sec and 20MB/sec for write. It is the perfect solution for professional multimedia enthusiasts or users that often carry and transfer large capacity files.

NVIDIA To Host Inaugural GPU Technology Conference

NVIDIA Corporation, inventor of the graphics processing unit (GPU), today announced that its inaugural GPU Technology Conference will take place September 30 to October 2, 2009. The event will focus on how developers, engineers, and researchers are using the GPU to solve the world's most important computing challenges.

The conference will encompass three simultaneous events -- the Emerging Companies Summit, the GPU Developer Summit, and the NVIDIA Research Summit. Attendees will learn about the shifts occurring in computing, preview disruptive technologies, obtain tools and techniques that could impact mission-critical projects now, and network with experts and peers from across a broad range of fields.

Rambus Unveils New Innovations for Main Memory

Rambus Inc., one of the world's premier technology licensing companies specializing in high-speed memory architectures, today unveiled a set of innovations that can advance computing main memory beyond current DDR3 data rate limits to 3200Mbps. These innovations, available for licensing, build on Rambus' award-winning designs and include patented and patent pending technologies. Through this collection of innovations, designers can achieve higher memory data rates, higher effective throughput, better power efficiency and the increased capacity necessary for future computing applications.

"Product advancements in multi-core computing, virtualization and chip integration put ever-increasing demands on the memory sub-system, a key performance limiter in today's performance computing systems," said Craig Hampel, Rambus Fellow. "This collection of breakthrough innovations from Rambus allows for memory systems that are better suited for the bandwidth and workloads of these throughput-oriented multi-core processors, increasing the design and solution space for future main memory to enable a new generation of computing platforms."

NEC Unveils VersaPro J UltraLite VS Netbook

NEC unveiled one of the slimmest netbooks to the hit the market, literally the size of a large scribbling-pad, and as slim as 15.8 mm. This 10-inch netbook tips the scales at 725 g, and offers a screen resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels. Under its hood is an Intel Atom Z540 CPU, 1 GB of memory, and a 64 GB SSD. Its lone connectivity option is the gigabit Ethernet. Interestingly, it comes with Windows Vista Business Edition pre-loaded. It should hit the stores by July.

Sparkle Announces GeForce GTX 285 Plus Accelerator

Sparkle Computer today announced its custom-designed GeForce GTX 285 accelerator, boasting of better cooling efficiency and factory overclocked parameters. Sitting atop a blue custom-designed PCB is an Arctic Cooling Accelero Xtreme GTX cooler, which also makes use of the company's MX-2 thermal interface material. The fan blades are purple-coloured, a slight hint of customization for the cooler that is fast turning out to be an industry favourite for GeForce GTX 200 series accelerators.

Apart from the cooler, the card features higher clock speeds over the reference NVIDIA speeds: 666/1512/2520 MHz (core/shader/memory). The rest of its specs sheet looks fairly standard for the GTX 285: 240 shader processors, 1 GB of memory across a 512-bit wide GDDR3 memory interface, support for 3-way SLI, CUDA and PhysX.

Microsoft Windows Vista and Server 2008 Service Pack 2 Released

Microsoft has just posted the official download links for the final version of Service Pack 2 (SP2) for Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008. You need to have Service Pack 1 to install SP2 and that's pretty much everything. The standalone downloads are available in five different languages: English, French, German, Japanese, Spanish. Find more info in the download links.

DOWNLOAD: Windows Vista/Server 2008 Service Pack 2 x32 | Windows Vista/Server 2008 Service Pack 2 x64

Intel Delays Launch of Core i5 Platform

Intel's Core i5 series marks the consumer mainstream entry of the Nehalem architecture, in a bid to propagate quad-core processors, at the same time letting the market digest existing inventories of dual-core processors, and making sure its foundries are well-oiled to cater to the 32 nm process, Intel is giving its "Lynnfield" quad-core processor a quarter's head-start. Taiwanese industry observer DigiTimes notes that the platform' debut may have been delayed by a little over a month.

Originally slated for July, the industry debut of Lynnfield and its launch companion, Intel P55 chipset, have been pushed to early September. Stocks of the processors and compatible motherboards however, will be in time for the launch. The processors may be available to retailers about a week ahead, in late August itself, while compatible motherboards even earlier, in mid-August.

Intel plans to start the lineup with three models (yet to be named), clocked at 2.66 GHz, 2.80 GHz, and 2.93 GHz, and priced at US $194, $284, and $562 respectively (in 1000-unit tray quantities). Major motherboard vendors such as ASUS, Gigabyte, and MSI have already displayed some of their first compatible motherboards. The P55 chipset itself is expected to be priced at $40.

VIA Nano Processor Platform Receives Coveted 'Best of Computex' Award

VIA Technologies, Inc, a leading innovator of power efficient x86 processor platforms, today announced that the VIA Nano processor and VIA VX855 digital media IGP chipset received the 'Best of Computex' award from the Taiwan Computer Association (TCA) and the Taiwan Trade Council (TAITRA) during a ceremony today.

Nominated in the LSI/VLSI Category for Mobile Platforms, the VIA entry was honored for its power efficiency, miniaturization and optimized performance, enabling system builders to design ever smaller, lighter, and more portable systems. And with increasing consumer focus on multimedia capabilities, also praised was the platform's ability to offer true 1080p HD video playback through support for full hardware acceleration of the widest variety of leading video standards including H.264, MPEG-2/4, VC-1 and WMV9.

Single-PCB GeForce GTX 295 Pictured

Zol.com.cn has managed to take some pictures of the upcoming single-PCB GeForce GTX 295. Expected to arrive within a month, the single-PCB GTX 295 features the same specs as the dual-PCB model - 2x448bit memory interface, 480 Processing Cores and 1792MB of GDDR3 memory, and GPU/shader/memory clocks of 576/1242/1998 MHz respectively.

Gainward To End Partnership with AMD/ATI

Less than a year ago, Palit-owned Gainward, a premium graphics card manufacturer, signed a contract with AMD/ATI and began to manufacture graphic accelerators with AMD/ATI Radeon chips. However, it now seems that Gainward will end its relationship with AMD/ATI and return to being an NVIDIA-only board partner. This is further backed by the fact that Gainward has not released any Radeon HD 4890 or HD 4770 cards and apparently it has already notified some distributors about ending its AMD/ATI line-up.
Monday, May 25th 2009

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Graphics Cards
Processors
PSUs
SSD
Storage

Lenovo Debuts First Netbook with NVIDIA ION Graphics Processor

Lenovo today announced the IdeaPad S12, the company's first 12-inch netbook. The new netbook takes the best in connectivity, style and entertainment features in Lenovo's other netbooks and brings users the next level in netbook computing with improved usability and performance. These enhancements include a 12.1-inch screen, a 100 percent full-size keyboard and new graphics options with the NVIDIA ION platform.

"We've heard from consumers loud and clear about the need for affordable and extremely portable computing devices, and we've responded by introducing our third netbook with a completely new form factor, making mini-computing more usable and redefining value in today's market," said Dion Weisler, vice president, Business Operations, Idea Product Group, Lenovo. "We are pioneering new territory in the developing netbook arena by being the first vendor to give customers high quality video and entertainment capabilities in a netbook with optional NVIDIA ION graphics."

EK Water Blocks Working on Full-Coverage EVGA X58 Classified Solution

Known for good performance and value when it comes to water blocks, EK Water Blocks has water block for most applications. The company is working on a full-coverage block specially designed for the EVGA X58 Classified series of motherboards. The block cools the most significant heat sources of the motherboard, namely the X58+ICH10R chipset, the companion NVIDIA BR-03 chips, and the VRM areas. A draft design surfaced on XtremeSystems Forums, revealing the complex construction of the cooler. The design is still under development, and could vary from the actual product.

Arctic Cooling Announces Accelero L6 Exclusively for Manli

Swiss cooling solution provider ARCTIC COOLING has developed a new OEM project Accelero L6 with the leading NVIDIA card manufacturer, Manli Technology Group.

Exclusively for Manli, the Accelero L6 is a multi-compatible VGA cooler designed by ARCTIC COOLING. The 92mm PWM fan produces high airflow at lower fan speed. Together with an optimised heatsink and pre-applied thermal compound MX-2, heat can be easily dissipated out from the core, resulting in a low GPU temperature.

Raptor-Gaming H2 5.1 Headset Launched

Raptor-Gaming, a German-based gaming-oriented computer peripheral manufacturer, has announced the H2 5.1 headset, which should be available from next month. The headset comes with a 3 meter long cable, a noise canceling microphone, an amplifier, and features a frequency response of 20Hz ~ 20kHz. The package is completed with a carry pouch. The Raptor-Gaming H2 will be priced at 69.90 Euro.

Iiyama Launches ProLite E2407HDSV-1

The ProLite E2407HDSV features 16:9 High Definition 1920 x 1080 native resolution, complimented with a 2 msec response rate and a 30,000:1 Advance Contrast Ratio. The E2407HDSV is targeted at gamers and those using multimedia applications. The monitor is available in both black and white casings.

The new LCD also has two 3W speakers, D-Sub, DVI and HDMI connectors, and is backed by a 3-year warranty. The recommended price tag for the ProLite E2407HDS / E2407HDS-B is around $313.

Team Group Reveals Triple Channel DDR3-2000 Xtreem Memory Kits

Taipei-based Team Group has just announced the addition of two new triple channel memory kits to its Xtreem series product line-up. The upcoming 3 and 6GB PC3-16000 overclocking-ready kits are made up of modules equipped with black aluminum heatsinks with a exquisite texture and a distinctive X-logo design. They are rated at 2000 MHz with 7-8-7-20 latencies at 1.65V. The kits support XMP (Extreme Memory Profiles) and are backed by a lifetime warranty.

PhotoFast Prepares Cache-loaded 1.8-inch SSDs

Although it barely introduced the G-Monster V2 drives, PhotoFast is already planning on letting loose the V3 line-up of 1.8-inch SSDs. Set to be unveiled at the Computex show next month, the V3 will be available in 32 and 64GB capacities, have 64MB of built-in cache memory and come in three flavors - with 40-pin ZIF, 44-pin IDE or 50-pin IDE connectors.

PhotoFast hasn't provided any read/write speed estimates for the drives. Pricing is unknown at this moment in time.

Shuttle Launches Compact, Quiet and Durable XS29/XS29F Embedded SFF PCs

Shuttle Inc. - the leading designer and manufacturer of small form factor (SFF) computers and accessories today announced the addition of its first VIA Nano-based models - XS29 and XS29F to the Embedded Slim series. Powered by the VIA Nano processors, the XS29 series ideally suit requirement of superb performance with great power efficiency. The XS29 series is geared at light PC users, Internet users, novices and office administrators.

"Consumers have long been looking for solutions that offer the best balance of compact, stylish design and functionality. It's even better with power efficient feature. Shuttle has dedicated to innovation following this concept and launched slim PCs in 2008 for the first time," said David Yu, chairman of Shuttle Inc. "This year, we reached a new milestone by rolling out the XS29 series and more embedded slim PCs which adapt VIA's processors of powerful performance and energy efficiency."

Cooler Master Lets Loose at Computex 2009, Including a New LGA1156 Cooler

Cooler Master has a full line-up of impressive live demos and products on display at COMPUTEX 2009 Nangang exhibition hall on 1F, I1224, I1323. There is also the private meeting area for customers and the press on 4F, 402a.

The recently released mid-tower beast HAF 922 finally lets loose to show off its unbeatable look and High Air Flow structure. Also from the HAF family is the full tower HAF 932, with live demo to show-off a spacious and thermal superiority by housing a quad graphic card system.

A-DATA Presenting its Latest XPG DRAM Modules at Computex 2009

A-DATA Technology Co., Ltd., a worldwide leading manufacturer in high-performance DRAM modules and Flash application products, presenting its entire XPG - Xtreme Performance Gear product line and latest XPG Series DRAM modules with superior conductive technology in Nangang Exhibition Hall during Computex Taipei 2009.

As the success of presenting the leading XPG Xtreme series DDR3-2133X v2.0 DRAM module in the industry at CeBIT 2009, A-DATA presenting its XPG Plus Series v2.0 and Gaming Series v2.0 DRAM module with superior thermal conductive technology and characteristics heat sink design at Computex 2009.

MSI Intros ''Green'' GeForce 9800 GT Video Cards

Global graphics and mainboard manufacture, MSI, today unveils two new energy saving graphics cards - N9800GT-MD1G and N9800GT-MD512 - that meet customers demands for energy-saving and performance. Both cards use NVIDIA's all new, advanced GeForce 9800GT GPU, which not only delivers all the performance of its predecessors, but uses a more advanced power control technology to decrease power consumption by up to 25%. Additionally, this card equips MSI's latest generation of capacitors, Hi-c CAP, and solid state chokes (SSC) for better, more stable overclocking and the most fulfilling performance/energy-saving graphical experience.

Intel Core i5 Lynnfield 2.66 GHz Tested

Intel's quad-core Core i5 2.66 GHz processor based on the Lynnfield core, was tested on an Intel reference-design P55 motherboard (DIBX_CRB) by forum members of XFastest. The processor accompanies 2.80 GHz and 2.93 GHz variants higher up in the series, and is expected to be priced at US $196.

The test bed was put through 3DMark Vantage (Performance and eXtreme settings), Cinebench R10, Queen, Photoworxx and AES tests of Everest. The GPU is of little relevance, as the CPU test 1 is what is to be looked at. At Queen, the setup with 4 cores and HyperThreading enabled, edged a dual-Xeon L5320 (8 cores) setup. It proved to be roughly 25% faster than Core 2 Extreme QX9650 at Photoworxx, and scored marginally higher than it AES. More pictures of the motherboard at the source.
Sunday, May 24th 2009
Cooler Master HAF 922

Cooler Master HAF 922

The Cooler Master HAF 922 is not just a smaller version of the very cool looking 932. It manages to improve things in many areas, to look even cooler, be even more affordable and possibly strike more fear and awe into your opponent at that next LAN party.

XFX to Enter Power Supply Market with 850 W Black Edition

Manufacturers branching out in to different segments seems to be the in thing to do at the moment and XFX is no exception as leaked slides on the forums of Legit Reviews, reveal that XFX are getting ready to announce their first power supply line at Computex Taipei 2009 next month. The first of which has been dubbed the 850 W Black Edition (XPS-850W-BES), which follows suit of many of their Black Edition graphics cards. It is a modular PSU featuring 88% effeciency and sports a 70A single 12v rail capped at 840 W. It would seem XFX are taking this seriously as the combined output across all of the wattage caps is in excess of 1,000 W. According to the slides the PSU features 105°C Japanese brand capacitors, +/-3% voltage regulation, solid polymer caps, and a 135mm ball bearing fan. Using a combination of fixed and removable cables the XFX 850 W Black Edition has 4 PCI-E 6+2 Pin connectors, 11 SATA connectors and 8 Molex connectors.

Windows 7 Starter Hardware Limitations Leaked, 3 App Limit Also Said to be Removed

As it was with Windows XP and Vista, Microsoft impose certain hardware limits to be able to install and use the most basic SKU of Windows, the Starter Edition. It seems Microsoft have lifted the limit on the specifications over that of XP and Vista Starter editions, with the only exceptions being a reduction in screen size from 12.1" to 10.2" and still only 1 GB RAM. Microsoft will also be imposing the same limitations on Windows 7 Home Basic For Small Notebook PCs but in China Only.
Paul Thurrot also revealed on Friday that Microsoft will be removing the "3 app limit" on Windows 7 Starter, which would have prevented users from running more than three applications at any time, thus severely crippling the functionality of the OS.
Saturday, May 23rd 2009

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Graphics Cards
Harddisks
Keyboards
Motherboards
Mouse
Netbooks
PSUs
Storage

AMD Plans Massive 45 nm Transition, New CPUs Announced

Industry observer DigiTimes, citing anonymous sources, today reported that AMD is planning to move production of its desktop processors to 45 nm node process by the third quarter of this year.
AMD plans to move production of its desktop CPUs to its 45nm node process in the third quarter, helping to reduce costs, according to sources at motherboard makers.
Currently, only AMD's quad-core Phenom II X4 800 and 900 series (Deneb) and triple-core Phenom II X3 700 series (Heka) CPUs are manufactured under a 45nm process. The company plans to move its dual-core Phenom II X2 500 series (Callisto) and Athlon II X2 200 series to 45nm in June, and quad-core Athlon II X4 600 series and triple-core Athlon II X3 400 series (Rana) in September, the sources noted.
The chipmaker also plans to launch several CPUs during the period between the end of the second quarter and the third quarter. The dual-core Phenom II X2 550 and 545 will launch at the end of the second quarter, and the quad-core Phenom II X4 945 (95W) and 8xx (95W), triple-core Phenom II X3 7xx (95W), quad-core Athlon II X4 630 and 620, triple-core Athlon II X3 435 and 425, and dual-core Athlon II X2 250, 245 and 240 will launch in the third.
AMD also plans to launch 10 low-power consumption CPUs including the Phenom II X4 905e, Phenom II X3 705e and Athlon II X4 605e.
Friday, May 22nd 2009

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Motherboards
Mouse
Mousepads
Netbooks
Networking
Notebooks
PSUs
SSD
Storage
Vantec Nexstar Hard Drive Dock

Vantec Nexstar Hard Drive Dock

There is no question that harddrive docks are becoming increasingly more popular in the digital age. They offer faster installation time as well as competitive performance to the more common standard enclosure. Today will we see just how well Vantec's offering stacks up to the competition with a simple style, reliable performance, and ease of use.

Super Micro Presents 80 Plus Gold (93%+ efficiency) 1200 W Server Power

Super Micro Computer, Inc., a leader in application-optimized, high-performance server solutions, today announced that its latest generation of enhanced, high-capacity storage chassis with Gold Level certified 1200-watt redundant power supplies are shipping in volume. These chassis feature Supermicro's advanced cooling subsystem designs to deliver optimal system efficiency and TCO by reducing customers' energy bills.

A pioneer of high-efficiency server technology, Supermicro has been leading the way with the most efficient systems for years. As the APAC chair of the Climate Savers Computing Initiative, the company has successfully encouraged others within the industry to improve, too. Enabling these new 93%+ power supplies has re-established Supermicro as the true leader in producing the industry's most energy-efficient systems.

Antec Readying Mini Skeleton 90

Case, power and cooling specialist Antec just shrunk the Skeleton enthusiast-grade bench chassis, just about enough to fit the Mini-ITX motherboard form factor, which is what makes the Mini Skeleton 90 surprising. The chassis retains the "picnic-basket" bench design the Skeleton has, measuring 210 (W) × 230 (D) × 190 (H) mm, and tipping the scales at around 2.5 kg.

A two-stage drawer holds the motherboard on the top stage which is cooled by a large LED-lit 150 mm fan, and the lower stage holding the disk drives and power supply. The chassis holds one 5.25-inch drive using a quick-release drive bay. There is one quick-release and two fixed 2.5-inch (yes, 2.5-inch) drive bays. Apart from the 150 mm fan on top, there is a 70 mm fan to cool the lower stage. Standard front-panel headers such as USB and audio are also present. The case is backed by a 3-year company warranty. Its price in the US is yet to be known.

PhotoFast Unveils 1.8-inch G-Monster V2 IDE SSDs

PhotoFast announced two 1.8-inch IDE solid-state drives under its G-Monster series. The two are demarcated by the interface, although both are IDE technically. The G-Monster 50 IDE V2 uses a 50-pin IDE interface, while the G-Monster 1.8" ZIF V2 uses a zero insertion-force IDE interface that's commonly found in portable devices such as PMPs, HD video cameras, etc. Both come in capacities of 32, 64, 128 GB, and offer transfer rates of 80/50 MB/s (read/write). The drives offer an MTBF of 1 million hours and are backed by a 1 year company warranty. Although there isn't anything spectacular about SSDs with sub-100 MB/s transfer-rates with the IDE interface, the durability of the drives over conventional hard-drives, especially for the kind of devices they end up in, may be their biggest selling points.

Patriot Brings a Cost Effective Solution to Gaming Memory

Patriot Memory, a global pioneer in high-performance memory, NAND flash and computer technology, today announced the release of their "G" Series DRAM memory kits.

Patriot will spotlight its new "G" Series kits around their 'Enhanced Latency' line for both DDR2 and DDR3 products. With the Patriot "G" Series, you get the look and feel of many of the high end, gaming memory products, but with an advantageous price.

"Consumers are looking for options; our goal is to give them the opportunity to add new technology, at a reasonable cost," says JR Wakabayashi, Patriot's Marketing Manager. "Patriot's 'G' Series is designed with the same quality and reliability that has made Patriot Memory a steadfast name in the gaming industry. The "G" Series will help us reach that segment that is looking for something new and original, but needs an economical solution."

ASUS P7P55 Pro Motherboard in Pretty Pixels

One of the first mid-range motherboards by ASUS, the P7P55 Pro smiled for the camera at XFastest. The motherboard comes across as yet another shining example of how simple Intel has made the motherboard by relocating the northbridge to the CPU package. The LGA-1156 socket CPU is powered by an 8+2 phase power circuit. Four DDR3 DIMM slots support dual-channel DDR3 memory, and use the click-slot retention mechanism the company experimented with, on the Rampage II Gene. The DIMM retention notches are available only on one side of the slot, creating uninterrupted room for a PCI-Express graphics card.

The board provides two PCI-Express 2.0 x16 slots (electrically x16, x4), two PCI-E x1, and three PCI slots. The P55 PCH provides six SATA II ports, while an extra one, along with an IDE channel and an eSATA port are provided by an external controller. 8-channel audio and gigabit Ethernet make for the rest of the mix. The way the SKU is named, tells us that this could be a successor for the P5Q-Pro, one of the most popular P45 motherboards by the company.

NEC Releases MultiSync LCD2490WUXi2 24-inch Full-HD Monitor

NEC added a new 24-inch, full-HD monitor to its lineup. The LCD2490WUXi2 features a native resolution of 1920x1200 pixels with a 16 ms response-time. The contrast ratio on offer is 1000:1, with a maximum brightness of 320 cd/m². A sensor adjusts brightness automatically to suit the ambient light conditions. It takes input from DVI and D-Sub. Although HDCP capable, the display does not feature an HDMI input. The LCD2490WUXi2 targets the class of users consisting of graphics professionals, and not necessarily that of gamers. Backed by a 5-year warranty, the LCD2490WUXi2 is expected to be priced around $1400.

Google Chrome 2.0 Reaches Stable Status

Eight months after Google's own attempts at a web browser were first launched, they have now announced on the Google Chrome Blog that the latest beta which was released in March, has reached a stable stage, by which they can now release it to the general public. If you're already using Google Chrome, you'll be automatically updated to this new version soon. Otherwise you can grab the latest version at google.com/chrome

EVGA SLI Enhancement Patch v12 (05.21.09) Released

EVGA released yet another version of its SLI Enhancement Patch, version 12 (05.21.09). This release comes barely a week after version 11, and continues to be based on NVIDIA GeForce 185.85 drivers. Apart from the list of new games the driver supported, namely Guitar Hero: World Tour, Earthrise, Digital Combat Simulator: Black Shark, Shadow Harvest, and Terminator: Salvation, the patch adds SLI support for SBK 09, Zeno Clash, and Merchants of Brooklyn.

The EVGA SLI Enhancement Patch works in with NVIDIA GeForce drivers, and helps expand the list of games that support NVIDIA SLI technology beyond what the drivers offer, by adding SLI profiles made by EVGA. Registered EVGA users can get the patch from here.

Team Fortress 2 Sniper/Spy Update Released

The TF2 Spy/Sniper Update is now available via Steam. To celebrate the launch and give players a chance to try the new content, Valve is hosting an extended TF2 Free Weekend. In addition, the game is being offered at 50% off its regular price on Steam. Both the sale and Free Weekend are on now. For more information, please visit Steam Games.

Details of the Sniper/Spy Update are as follows:

Maps
  • Added new map, Pipeline. Pipeline is the first map in a new game mode named payload race, which uses two carts in each map instead of only one like traditional payload maps
  • Added new arena map Sawmill
  • Added new arena map Nucleus
  • Added new community payload map Hoodoo
  • Updated Dustbowl to fix not being able to jump into the window in the first building of the second stage
Thursday, May 21st 2009

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Graphics Cards
Memory
Motherboards
Mouse
Processors
PSUs
SSD
Storage

Galaxy VGA Fan Card Design Unveiled

Graphics card major and NVIDIA partner Galaxy has come up with a new graphics card cooler design it calls "fan-card". The cooler may feature in some of the high-end graphics accelerators the company is working on. The cooler's design revolves around mounting three powerful fans onto a graphics card without straining its PCB (preventing gradual bending) caused due to the fans' weight and vibration, while also providing greater control.

The card's main heatsink remains fixed on to its PCB, while this card is installed right under it (or over, depending on which way the motherboard is oriented in a case (BTX-style)). The fan card holds three 80 mm LED-lit fans that push greater volumes of air than dual-slot cooling solutions with three fans the company has designed cards with do. The fan-card has openings behind the card that directs its air-flow onto the graphics card's exposed heatsink. The fan-card draws its power from a 4-pin Molex input, and also has a speed controller knob available to the user from the back of the case.

In related news, Galaxy published a picture of its upcoming single-PCB GeForce GTX 295 dual-GPU accelerator, while confirming a few specifications. The card is 267 mm (10.5 inches) long, and features two G200b GPUs with 240 shader processors each. A total of 1792 MB of GDDR3 memory is available. The board TDP is rated at 289W, and carries the reference NVIDIA clock speeds of 576/1242/2016 MHz (core/shader/memory).

Corsair Dominator GT is the Fastest Intel XMP-certified Memory

Corsair, a worldwide leader in high performance computer and flash memory products, today announced that the 6 GB Dominator GT 2000 MHz CAS 8 has passed Intel's XMP-Ready certification for Core i7 Extreme Edition processors, making it the fastest memory kit to gain Intel's stamp of approval.
The 6 GB Dominator GT 2000 MHz CAS 8 (TR3X6G2000C8GTF) is part of Corsair's award-winning Dominator GT line of hand-screened, hand-tuned, extreme performance DDR3 memory for Core i7 platforms. It is qualified and guaranteed to run at a frequency of 2000 MHz with tight timings of 8-8-8-24 at a voltage of 1.65V. The platform used for the Intel qualification was an Asus P6T Deluxe.

Spire Preparing CoolWave 5 Series LGA-1156 Compatible CPU Coolers

In the run up for the launch of Intel's newest line of desktop CPUs - the Core i5 series, companies with related products such as motherboards and coolers are in full swing gearing up Core i5. Spire is ready with two new coolers CoolWave 5 and CoolWave 5 Pro, that support LGA-1156, the socket Core i5 uses. The two are identical except for that the former features pre-applied S350 thermal grease, while the latter comes with a tube of superior-grade S420 thermal grease. The cooler doesn't leave out support for LGA-775, or interestingly, AMD AM3/2+/2 either. Measuring 90x90x80 mm (LxWxH), the CoolWave 5 makes use of a silent 90 mm, UV-reactive fan. The coolers will be available in late-June at prices of $9.95 for the CoolWave 5, and $14.95 for the CoolWave 5 Pro.

Researchers Find a Way to Write 1.6 TB of Information on a Single Disc

A talanted team from Swinburne University of Technology in Australia might be on their way to unleash new technology that can hold at least 1.6 TB of information on an optical disc. That's 32 times the storage capacity of a 50 GB Blu-Ray technology, and the team is optimistic as they claim their new technology could scale to 10 TB per disc in 10 years time.
"We were able to show how nanostructured material can be incorporated onto a disc in order to increase data capacity, without increasing the physical size of the disc," Min Gu, who worked on the research, said in a statement. "These extra dimensions are the key to creating ultra-high capacity discs." he added.
Samsung Electronics has signed a deal with the researchers and is looking to speed up the process of creating the new technology. A major obstacle appears to be the writing speed, at 1.6 TB of storage, simplicity and speed play a key role. More information on the project, can be found here.

VIA Offers Customized Security Solution Service to Embedded Customers

VIA Technologies, Inc, a leading innovator of power efficient x86 processor platforms, today announced that it will be showing examples of its customized security solution service at Computex 2009, helping customers to employ a comprehensive and effective security infrastructure in all segments.

VIA Nano, VIA C7 and VIA Eden processor platforms are the only processors that currently offer a built-in Advanced Cryptographic Engine. In order to better help customers access this unique feature, VIA is now offering a comprehensive security solution service that can accurately meet the security needs of individual customers across a range of embedded segments.

Micron Technology Introduces New Single-Chip Microdisplay Panel

Micron Technology, today introduced a new microdisplay panel, leveraging technology it recently acquired from Displaytech. The introduction of the new microdisplay panel is part of Micron's broader strategy of delivering differentiated products that leverage its expertise in semiconductor research and design.
The new panel Micron announced is a wide-screen quarter VGA (WQVGA) microdisplay solution designed to enable portable video and image projection for applications including head-mounted display products and embedded cell phone projectors. At the heart of the new WQVGA panel is ferroelectric liquid crystal on silicon (FLCOS) technology, which delivers superior image quality and color fidelity when compared to competing microdisplay technologies - all in a single, tiny package with minimal power requirements.

New EVGA Intel X58 Motherboards Coming

Two new EVGA Core i7 motherboards are being worked out at the company's factories, we've learned. First on the list is the EVGA X58 SLI LE (141-BL-E757) motherboard, which will be placed directly under and priced lower than the current X58 SLI (141-BL-E758) model. This motherboard has four PCI-Express 2.0 slots that run at x16/x16/x8/x8, and also features a PCI-E x1 slot and single PCI slot. The new X58 SLI LE utilizes a 6-phase analog PWM design with a single EPS 12v connector. The board includes six triple-channel DDR3 1600 MHz slots, 6x SATA II 3.0 Gb/s slots, an onboard LED for POST codes and has a simple passive heatsink with no heatpipes.
Second in the list lines up EVGA X58 SLI Micro (141-BL-E756). One of its most notable features is that it boasts Micro-ATX form factor. The board features two PCI-Express x16 2.0 slots and one PCI-E x1 slot. It has a 6-phase analog PWM design, six triple-channel DDR3 1600 MHz slots, 6x SATA II 3.0 Gb/s slots, an onboard POST LED, and the same passive heatsink found on the X58 SLI LE mainboard.
Expect to find the new motherboards in stock soon.

ASUS Presents Republic of Gamers OC Station

ASUS, the world's leading producer and innovator of motherboards, today shed brilliant light on the dark art of overclocking with the introduction of the ROG (Republic of Gamers) OC Station. The OC Station is a pure hardware-based, bay-mounted device with a large 3-inch display that takes OCing to a whole new level of ease, accuracy and sophistication. When used in conjunction with ROG motherboards, the strikingly-designed OC Station grants users on-the-fly access to overclocking parameters, ROG-exclusive features, fan speeds, system information and even a photo slideshow function.

Acer Launches Aspire easyStore Home Server

Acer today began shipping and selling its Aspire easyStore Home Server for customers in the United States. The Acer easyStore AH340-UA230N marks the company's entrance in the home server market. The black cude is outfitted with an Intel Atom 230 processor, 2 GB DDR2 RAM, 1 TB of storage, and an additional three 3.5-inch hot swappable bays for a maximum storage capacity of 7 TB. Microsoft Windows Home Server OS is running the server. The Acer Aspire easyStore AH340-UA230N Home Server is available now in the U.S. for a MSRP of $399.99.

Hynix, LG, Samsung Electronics and Silicon Image Join to Develop Serial Port Memory

Hynix Semiconductor, LG Electronics , Samsung Electronics, and Silicon Image, today announced the formation of an industry consortium that promotes Serial Port Memory Technology (SPMT) for broad market adoption as an industry standard. As the first-of-its-kind memory specification for dynamic random access memory (DRAM), SPMT will initially target the mobile handset market, enabling a new generation of devices capable of running highly data intensive, media-rich applications while at the same time extending battery life.
Wednesday, May 20th 2009

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Keyboards
Memory
Monitors
Motherboards
Mouse
NAS
Networking
Notebooks
Processors
PSUs
SSD
Storage

Kingston Technology Offers SSDNow M Series Bundle

Kingston Technology Company, Inc., the independent world leader in memory products, announced today it is shipping a bundle kit with the popular SSDNow M Series 80GB and 160GB solid-state drives. The SSDNow M Series are the Intel X-25M SATA SSDs. The bundle combines the solid-state drives (SSD) with the software tools necessary to clone the contents of one's hard-disk drive to the SSD, as well as installation hardware.

"This all-in-one kit is the perfect solution for enterprise companies, corporate end users and consumers to incorporate SSD technology into existing systems," said Ariel Perez, SSD business manager, Kingston. "The Kingston SSDNow M Series Bundle makes moving the operating system, applications and all other data from a hard-disk drive to a solid-state drive quick and easy whether for a notebook, desktop or workstation."

QNAP Unveils the First 2.5 inch SATA, 4-bay, Intel Atom-based SS-439 Pro Turbo NAS

QNAP Systems, Inc. today announces the first 2.5" SATA HDD, 4-bay, Intel Atom-based SS-439 Pro Turbo NAS dedicated to SMB and SOHO users. Designed with Intel Atom N270 1.6GHz CPU, 1GB DDRII memory, and DOM (Disk on Module) architecture, the SS-439 Pro is the most compact, powerful, and power-saving 2.5" 4-bay NAS that supports RAID 5/ RAID 6 for highly secure data protection. The NAS supports four 2.5" SATA hard drives which are featured with high stability, low power consumption, low vibration, and longer life expectancy. With excellent cooling and energy-saving design, the power consumption of the NAS with four hard drives installed is as low as 18W. Moreover, the SS-439 Pro supports 3 USB 2.0 ports and 2 eSATA ports for storage capacity expansion and backup destination, and advanced features such as built-in iSCSI target service (max 8 iSCSI devices) with Thin Provisioning, Online RAID Capacity Expansion, Online RAID Level Migration, AES 256-bit volume-based encryption, Wake on LAN, automatic policy-based IP blocking, instant SMS and email alert, BT and eMule download, schedule power on and power off, 2 Giga LAN ports, 4 IP cameras for network surveillance, etc.

"The SS-439 Pro is a compact, silent, and power-saving server which is ideal to work for long hours in the office. When four low power 2.5" hard drives are installed, the power consumption of the NAS is only 18W, which is almost the same as an energy-saving light bulb. It is an environment-friendly storage solution that largely saves the electricity expense of the users and minimizes pollution to the earth," says Jerry Deng, Product Manager from QNAP.

Corsair Dominator GT DDR3 Memory Hits 2533MHz, Sets World Record for DDR3 Frequency

Corsair, announced today that Corsair Labs has set the world record for DDR3 frequency on a Core i7 system. Corsair Labs achieved an astounding speed of DDR3-2533MHz with the aggressive memory timings of 7-8-7-20 using a triple-channel 6GB memory kit. This new world record, verified and validated by CPU-Z, the industry-standard tool for verifying overclocking results, is the first time this frequency has been achieved on a Core i7 system with 6GB of memory using three modules; most world record attempts use only a single 1GB module. Corsair Labs engineers used the award-winning Dominator GT 2000C7 memory with eVGA's X58 3X SLI Classified motherboard to shatter the world record for memory frequency. Validated results and setup details can be viewed here.

"When it comes to overclocking and memory, Corsair has proven-once again-that its engineering team truly is the best", said Kevin Conley, Vice President of Engineering for Corsair, "As the new world record shows, Corsair's modules are second-to-none in terms of performance, stability and quality."

Radeon HD 4730 SKU Emerges, Return to RV770

AMD is dressing up a new ATI Radeon SKU to go to office soon. The Radeon HD 4730 beats our guesswork, and wits both in one shot. The new SKU is not based on a scaled-down 40 nm RV740 GPU the HD 4770 is based on, but rather on a new RV770 variant, dubbed the RV770CE. This GPU is physically identical to the RV770, and has part of its configuration identical to the RV770LE (Radeon HD 4830), while its memory interface is 128-bit GDDR5 instead of 256-bit GDDR3.

The only explanation we have in store is that perhaps AMD is looking to save on using lesser number of memory chips per board (while not crippling the memory interface), and that RV770 is in healthier stock than the RV740. Pictured below is the PowerColor Radeon HD 4730 PCS, one of the first cards based on the GPU. Other important specifications, such as stream processor count, and clock-speeds are yet to surface. Ideally it should cash-in on a price-segment below that of the Radeon HD 4770.

At Least 30% of NVIDIA GPU Shipments on TSMC 40 nm Process by End of 2009

Nearly a month since AMD's introduction of the 40 nm RV740 GPU, there is still no concrete sign of a 40 nm GPU from NVIDIA slated for anytime soon, apart from timely scoops on the GT300. Sources at graphics card vendors however seem confident that by the end of 2009, 40 nm GPUs will constitute at least 30% of NVIDIA's GPU shipments, that too sourced from TSMC, a foundry-partner which has been in the news off late, for technical problems with their 40 nm node, that are affecting its output efficiency.

What's more, NVIDIA seems to have expressed interest in becoming one of the first clients for TSMC's upcoming 28 nm process that is expected to become a reality in Q1 2010. This should also tell you that for GPUs, the next step for silicon fabrication technology will be 28 nm, unlike 32 nm for CPUs.

Sapphire HD 4890 Vapor-X Pictured

Having hit the 1.00 GHz (core) mark with its recently-introduced Radeon HD 4890 Atomic Vapor-X, Sapphire still finds the need for a card with the Vapor-X cooler sans the factory-overclocking, leaving some headroom for enthusiasts to play with. The new HD 4890 Vapor-X uses a non-reference blue PCB, along with the Vapor-X cooler similar to that on the HD 4870 Vapor-X model. A vapor-chamber plate makes direct contact with the GPU. It conveys heat to a radial heatsink cooled by a central fan. The memory is cooled by heatsinks, while the VRM-area is cooled by a heatsink of its own.

Sapphire uses AMD reference clock speeds: 850 MHz (core), and 975 MHz memory. The card features 1 GB of GDDR5 memory. Its outputs are care of DVI, D-Sub, HDMI and DisplayPort connectors provided right on the card. The card will reach retail in a few weeks' time.

Buffalo Reveals 24x External DVD Burner

The Japanese company Buffalo is again in the news for the launch of its new ultra-fast external DVD writer DVSM-U24U2. The Buffalo DVSM-U24U2 is an excellent writer which can write DVD+R/-R at up to 24x, DVD-RAM at up to 16x, DVD-R/+R DL and DVD+RW at up to 6x, DVD-RW at up to 6x, CD-R at up to 48x and CD-RW discs at 32x. The DVD burner measures 164 (W) x 50 (H) x 266 (D) mm, weights 1.7 kg, and uses USB 2.0 connection to transfer information. Along with it, Buffalo bundles CyberLink's PowerDirector 7, PowerProducer 5, PowerDVD 8, Power2Go 6, InstantBurn 5 and PowerBackup 2 software products. The Buffalo external DVD writer is expected to ship early next month with a price tag of about $130 / 95 Euro.

WD Sells its Factory in Malaysia to Hitachi GST

Western Digital today announced that it has agreed to sell the assets of its media substrate manufacturing facility in Sarawak, Malaysia, to a subsidiary of Hitachi Global Storage Technologies, the hard drive manufacturing unit of Hitachi, Ltd. The employees of WD at the facility will become employees of the purchaser. The transaction is expected to close in the current quarter, subject to customary closing conditions. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
WD announced in December that it was taking actions to realign its cost structure to match a softer demand environment. This divestiture is one of those steps. The Sarawak facility, at which WD manufactured aluminum substrates for hard drive magnetic media, was acquired by WD as part of its acquisition of Komag, Inc. in September 2007. WD is consolidating substrate operations from the Sarawak facility into its other substrate facility in Johor, Malaysia. WD will continue to manufacture the majority of its magnetic media requirements at existing facilities in Malaysia and source the balance of its media needs through its strategic external partners.

WesternDigital Adds 2 TB AV-GP 3.5-inch Hard Drive

As demand for higher capacity storage continues to increase due to large video applications, including high-definition video, WD today expanded its WD AV-GP line of hard drives to include a 2 TB capacity, the industry's largest available drive to-date. WD AV-GP hard drives with WD GreenPower Technology provide cooler and quieter operation and lower power consumption.
Designed to withstand the stringent environment of the surveillance and security markets, the WD AV-GP line of hard drives for audio and video applications reduces power consumption by as much as 40 percent over standard drives in their respective classes. The new WD AV-GP 2 TB hard drive is perfect for applications such as DVRs (digital video recorders), media centers, media servers, as well as surveillance video recording that demand a higher capacity hard drive and exceptional reliability.

iBUYPOWER Launches Chimera Gaming System

iBUYPOWER, one of the largest gaming system manufacturers in the world, is excited to announce the Chimera Gaming System which is built in the company's first advanced function signature case. The Chimera systems combine a glossy fiery exterior with clear side paneling and optional internal lighting to give it the unique look gamers crave. Its three 120mm cooling fans, Asetek liquid cooling solution, and front panel thermal display keep the Chimera's flames at bay, and the system running cool during even the most intense battles.

iBUYPOWER is offering both an Intel Core i7 based system (Chimera X58) and an AMD configuration featuring the AM3 + Phenom II platform (Chimera AM3). The Chimera systems both support multi-GPU solutions from both ATI and NVIDIA to deliver an unparalleled visual experience.

BIOSTAR TPower X58A Now on Sale

Although Intel X58 chipset based mother board is sold at a relatively higher price in the market, BIOSTAR still has an excellent reputation for TPOWER series, in which TPOWER X58 and TPOWER I45 are very popular with a lot of power users. TPOWER X58A, one of BIOSTAR's top X58 motherboards, is on sale now. It is coincident that the price of Core i7 processors are recently falling, so TPOWER X58A is also a top choice for power users to pursue ultimate performance.

With adoption of ATX-size board, TPOWER X58A, based on Intel X58 + ICH10R chipset, supports Socket 1366 interface and newest Core i7, the CPU that is brand new Nehalem architecture. The motherboard supports Triple Channel Mode 2000 / 1600 / 1333 memory module, with Max Memory Capacity 24GB. It provides three PCI-Express 2.0 x16 slots, supporting ATI Hybrid CrossFireX and nVIDIA SLI technology; one PCI-Express x1 slot and two PCI slots for expansion; Gigabit Ethernet and 7.1 Channels HD audio for high quality of networking and multimedia.

MSI Announces 790FX/790GX Winki Edition AM3 Motherboards

MSI, in the spirit of quickly creating and releasing new innovations, has incorporated the Winki online environment - just announced at CeBIT 2009 - as a key feature in its new AM3 790FX and 790GX mainboards. Transforming the mainboard into a tool anyone can use, MSI's independently developed Winki online environment is perfect for a fast online nettop or netbook.

Winki is MSI's unique online environment An extraordinary combination of technology and research, Winki users can navigate the BIOS settings to instantly go online after turning on their PC, with absolutely no need to wait for an OS to start up. Winki includes four major Internet services: Web page browsing, online chat/instant messaging, online phone calls (VoIP), and fast photo viewing.

Microsoft LifeCam VX-2000: Share Life at a Price That’s Right

Today Microsoft Hardware, makers of the best-selling LifeCam line, delivers quality video calling for under $30 (U.S.) with the LifeCam VX-2000 - an easy-to-use webcam with a built-in microphone and vivid VGA video. This new webcam makes setup a cinch; consumers can easily connect with friends and family, using their broadband Internet connection, just minutes after opening the box.
"Microsoft is committed to delivering quality products at every price point," said Daniel Anguiano, product marketing manager at Microsoft Corp. "These days more than ever, consumers are looking for the biggest bang for their buck, and the LifeCam VX-2000 fits the bill, with an excellent webcam experience that's easy on the wallet."

Nexus Technology Launches Liquid Cooling Pad for Laptops

Dutch firm Nexus Technology enters the market for laptop accessories with a unique and patented liquid cooling solution. The TDD-9000 is a soft black velvet blanket with inside a gel-like liquid. The patented liquid has unique heat dissipating characteristics and works completely passive and noiseless.
"When you put the laptop cooling pad on your lap you will feel your lap turn colder within 10 seconds" says Michael van der Jagt, CEO of Nexus Technology. The Taiwanese testing institute SGS Taiwan has done independent tests that support these claims. Their tests with a laptop of their choice show significant improvement in temperatures of the laptop's components, with improvements up to 17°C.

Zalman Shows off Core i5-ready CNPS10X Extreme CPU Cooler

Zalman, the pioneer in ultra-quiet computer cooling, is gearing up to release the multi-fit Zalman CNPS10X Extreme processor cooler. Oddly enough, the CNPS10X shares no similarity with any of the previous Zalman products. It measures 135 x 100 x 160 mm, weights 920 grams and features a copper base and five 6 mm heatpipes. The heatsink of CNPS10X is nickle-plated and chilled from a dual ball-bearing 120 mm PWM controlled blue LED fan working at speeds between 1000 and 2500 rpm (noise level between 20 dBa and 39 dBA). The CNPS10X Extreme supports AMD's Sockets 754, 939, 940, AM2, AM2+, AM3 and Intel's LGA 775, 1366, and 1156. Bundled with the cooler is a tube of ZM-STG2 thermal grease and Zalman's PWM Mate - a nifty controller for the fan's rotation speed.

Xigmatek Unveils First Midgard Medium Tower PC Chassis

Cooling expert and power supply maker Xigmatek today extends its range of interests and is now officially producing computer cases too. First Xigmatek case to enter retail production is the 53 x 502 x 563 mm measuring Midgard mid tower enclosure. The steel case is all coated in black, both from the inside and the outside, and targets gamers on the low budget. Up to five 5.25-inch optical devices can be installed in the case, as well as up to five 3.5-inch hard drives, the hard drive cage is also rotated 90-degrees to save space. No instruments are needed when installing components inside the case. For maximum cooling, two 120 mm Xigmatek white LED fans come with the case, one in the front and one at the back, but there are holes for up to five more 120 mm or 140 mm fans (two on the side panel, one at the bottom of the case, and two on top). Other neat features include water cooling holes, cable management system, and a big gap in the motherboard try, for easy processor cooling manipulation. The Xigmatek Midgard is supposed to ship on June 12, 2009 for the price equivalent of 60 Euros.

OCZ Technology Introduces Summit Series SSDs

OCZ Technology Group, a worldwide leader in innovative, ultra-high performance and high reliability memory and computer components, today released the highly anticipated Summit Series 2.5" Solid State Drives, tailored to meet the stringent demands of business professionals, enthusiasts, and entry-level enterprise applications. Building on their premium flash-based storage solutions, OCZ's Summit Series strives to bridge the gap between the needs of high-end gaming and professional desktops and notebooks to small scale server PCs that require amplified criteria for maintaining a solid and stable work environment.

Microsoft Launches New BlueTrack Products

Consumers are taking their notebook and netbook PCs everywhere these days and can now work or play wherever they go with three new Microsoft BlueTrack Technology products: the Wireless Mobile Mouse 6000 featuring Microsoft's first nano transceiver, the full-sized ambidextrous Wireless Mouse 5000, and the sleek mouse and keyboard combo Wireless Desktop 3000. With these new products consumers can work with confidence on more surfaces than ever- from a granite kitchen countertop to the living room carpet. Microsoft Hardware continues to deliver technology innovations that meet consumer needs - from optical technology one decade ago to BlueTrack Technology today.

Tuesday, May 19th 2009

IBM and Intuit Help Small and Medium Businesses Work Smarter

IBM today announced a first time agreement with Intuit aimed at simplifying the technology and business requirements of small and medium businesses. As part of the news, IBM will deliver an automated appliance together with Intuit's accounting software, with no manuals required.

The agreement combines IBM's Smart Business solution -- including hardware, software and technical support -- with Intuit's QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions financial management software in a pre-integrated, automated appliance that can be up and running in four easy steps. Available starting at less than $8,000, it includes all of the fundamental capabilities needed to run a small or medium business including email, calendaring, security and finances.

Enthusiast Designs Custom Water-Block for Rampage II Extreme

A certain enthusiast by the name (or alias) Mo Lan at Expreview.com has come up with a custom unified chipset water-block for the ASUS Rampage II Extreme motherboard. The block draws inspiration from the industrial design of the board, and features an etched, see-through ROG logo. The block uses a full-coverage design, that covers the X58 northbridge and ICH10R southbridge, while also cooling a small portion of the board's VRM under the memory slots (perhaps the vDIMM) along the way. Expreview plans to thoroughly evaluate this water-block soon.

Update (05/19): One of our readers has pointed out that the cooler design is based on the Koolance MB-ASR2E coupled with Koolance MB-ASR2E DRAM attachment, with a custom top designed by the enthusiast.

Intel to Detail 8-core Nehalem-EX Processor Next Week

Having successfully established the Nehalem architecture-derived Core i7 series as the industry's fastest consumer processors available, and recently propagating the architecture to two-socket Xeon series for servers and high-end workstations, Intel is set to push up parallelism two-fold with the Nehalem-EX 8-core enterprise processor. The company will detail this new line of chips next week, although a commercial-launch can be expected only in late 2009 or early 2010.

The new chip will succeed the company's own Xeon E7000 "Dunnington" series 6-core processors, for having the highest available parallelism per socket. The 8 physical x86-64 processing cores will further feature HyperThreading technology, sending the logical-processor count to 16 threads per socket. Each processor packs 2.3 billion transistors. The processor will further be designed for systems with more than two sockets per board. Currently although server-builders sell 1U and 2U servers with more than two Nehalem quad-core processors, the system is designed by using two (or more) two-socket mainboards interconnected using Infiniband. The announcement will be made on May 26, in an address headed by Boyd Davis, Intel's general manager of Server Platforms Marketing Group.

ATI Catalyst 9.5 is Now Official, Release Notes too

ATI has finally updated its web page to include the official WHQL version of ATI Catalyst 9.5, four days after we first informed you that the driver is ready and provided you with download links. The driver packs uploaded on the AMD servers should be exactly the same as the once we have uploaded on our page last week. Below the text separator are the final release notes and everything you need to know about the 9.5 release. This time I'll link you to AMD GAME! for downloads, but remember our links from the previous post here are still operational and can do the work.

DOWNLOAD: ATI Catalyst 9.5 WHQL for Microsoft Windows XP 32-bit/64-bit, Windows Vista 32-bit/64-bit, Windows 7 32-bit/64-bit

Creative Unveils Aurvana Air Earphones

Creative Technology today announced their latest Aurvana Air earphones. Using premium materials and Creative's EaseFit ear-hook design, the new Aurvana Air earphones will provide listeners with superior comfort over long hours of extended use. The Aurvana Air earphones have a 1.2 m long Oxygen-Free Copper (OFC) cable, a gold-plated 3.5 mm jack and come carefully placed in a leather carrying bag. Each earphone holds one 15.5 mm Neodymium magnet driver, with frequency response of 20 Hz to 20 kHz, impedance of 32 ohms and sensitivity of 102 dB/mW at 1 kHz. The Creative Aurvana Air earphones are supposedly arriving at stores now, and they should cost around 200 Euro (ouch). For more information, please click here.

JEDEC Publishes First Standard for 1.8-inch Solid-State Drives

JEDEC Solid State Technology Association, the global leader in standards development for the microelectronics industry, today announced that it has published the first official standard for solid-state drives. MO-297 defines the dimensions, layout and connector position for 54mm x 39mm 1.8-inch solid-state drives with a standard SATA connector. Adopting a standard form factor for these types of solid state drives will enable interoperability throughout the supply chain, benefiting drive manufacturers, product designers and consumers. Conforming to a single standard will further simplify the product design process, and increase the adoption of SSD storage solutions among different segments as replacement for the traditional hard disk drives or as complementing storage options. The MO-297 registered outline also corresponds with the SFF Committee specification SFF-8156, and the Serial ATA International Organization's (SATA-IO) Revision 2.6 specification for connector dimension and tolerance. The document with the new MO-297 standard is now available for free download here, as part of JEDEC Publication 95: Registered and Standard Outlines for Solid State and Related Products.

HP and Microsoft Expand Alliance in Unified Communications and Collaboration

At Interop Las Vegas 2009, HP and Microsoft today announced a four-year strategic global initiative to deliver an end-to-end unified communications and collaboration solution.

As part of their Frontline Partnership, the two companies expect to invest up to an additional $180 million in product development, professional services, as well as joint sales and marketing, to help organizations lower costs and improve productivity.

The solution, which is planned to span software, hardware, networking and services, would enable customers to improve business output and reduce travel, telecom and IT operating costs. This would be accomplished by streamlining communications across messaging, video and voice with connected applications and devices. HP and Microsoft also plan to provide the flexibility and control customers need to manage their communications infrastructure efficiently.

Transcend Teams Up with Trend Micro to Release Antivirus USB Flash Drives

Transcend Information, Inc., a worldwide leader in storage and multimedia products, today announced its alliance with Trend Micro, Inc., a global leader in Internet content security, to offer advanced Trend Micro USB Security software preloaded on its newest USB flash drive, the JetFlash V15. With this powerful combination of Transcend hardware and industry-leading Trend Micro software, users can now share, store and manage valuable data more safely and securely than ever.

To combat against a rise in Autorun malware that infect removable drives and then spread across corporate networks that Trend Micro threat researchers discovered last year, a unique software program called Trend Micro USB Security was developed specifically to protect against malicious content in files transferred to a USB flash drive. With its easy-to-use interface and simple one-step activation process, Trend Micro USB Security protects the JetFlash V15 from the first moment it is plugged in. If threats are discovered, users will be alerted and all infected files will be quarantined.

TechPowerUp Radeon BIOS Editor v1.21 Released

TechPowerUp Radeon BIOS Editor (RBE) has been updated to version 1.21. RBE is our popular ATI Radeon graphics card BIOS manipulation utility. The new version brings about a few changes that enhance the application's functionality and stability. The developer has listed the following important changes:
  • Fixed minor glitch in BIOS flashing procedure
  • Minor fixes and enhancements for hex editor
  • Updated WinFlash link
  • Fixed more Radeon HD 3650-related bugs
  • Added some DeviceIDs
  • Improved specs string analysis code
  • Added fan support for Radeon HD 4770
For a complete version history, and to download the software, please visit this page.

NEC Rolls-out First USB 3.0 Add-on Cards

NEC unveiled the first add-on cards based on its recently announced µPD720200 USB 3.0 host controller. This is the typical route taken by a company to propagate the standard in an environment where motherboard vendors and chipset makers haven't yet embraced it. For the desktop segment, the reference-design PCI-Express x1 add-on card provides two SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports that are backwards-compatible with USB 2.0, 1.1, and 1.0. NEC also released an add-on card for notebooks, in the ExpressCard-34 form-factor based on the same controller, offering the same two ports. With these reference designs, NEC plans to propagate add-on card vendors to design their own cards based on the NEC µPD720200 controller. Typically, these cards should be priced around the $15~20 mark. A successor to USB 2.0, USB 3.0 offers 10-times the bandwidth (4.8 Gbps), although it will take a while for devices to use all that bandwidth, let alone support the standard. Perhaps this is why the company seems to find PCI-Express x1 sufficient as its system interface.

NVIDIA Accuses Intel of Anti-Competitive Pricing for Atom Processor

Intel was recently awarded a fine of over a billion Euros by the EU for anti-competitive malpractices in the EU. Speaking at Reuters Technology Summit, NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang accused Intel of anti-competitive pricing for the Intel Atom processor, although made it clear that NVIDIA won't be pressing charges any time soon.

According to NVIDIA, Intel sells an Atom processor typically for US $45 a piece, while in a bundle with Intel's own chipset consisting of an i945-class northbridge and ICH7-class southbridge for just $25, that's $25 for the processor and Intel chipset. This is driving away motherboard manufacturers from opting for Intel Atom paired with NVIDIA's single-package Ion chipset, which NVIDIA claims, (and reviews have shown,) to offer superior performance and features at almost half the board footprint. "That seems pretty unfair," Huang said. "We ought to be able to compete and serve that market."

Intel Announces Development of Ultra Low Voltage Video Encoding Accelerator

Intel announced that its researchers have crossed an important milestone in the ongoing Tera-Scale project the company flagged-off last year. The company has just developed an ultra low voltage special-purpose video encoding accelerator. Built on the 65 nm CMOS, the device could accelerate video compression, and encoding at speeds in excess of 10-times that of what general-purpose execution manages while consuming as low as 220mV. The company however, did not go into specifics on products based on the technology.

T-RAM and GLOBALFOUNDRIES Team up to Deliver Thyristor-RAM Embedded Memory

T-RAM Semiconductor (T-RAM) and GLOBALFOUNDRIES announced today that they have entered into a joint development agreement targeted toward the application of T-RAM's Thyristor-RAM embedded memory to advanced technology nodes. According to Gregg Bartlett, Senior Vice President of Technology and R&D at GLOBALFOUNDRIES, "We are pleased to be jointly developing T-RAM memory for 32nm and 22nm technologies. T-RAM's embedded memory technology shows a great deal of potential for use in low-power, high-performance dense cache applications for advanced technology nodes."

Dell Debuts 10.1-inch Latitude 2100 Netbook for Education

Dell today brings Latitude 2100 to little students and their activities in class. The new Latitude 2100 netbook is also well suited for any business or public institution that needs affordable, durable, Internet-ready devices for e-mail and collaboration. It harbors traditional netbook internals, with kid-friendly design, along with options for a carrying handle, shoulder strap, antimicrobial keyboard, and even a touchscreen LCD. A 10.1-inch LCD screen, an Intel Atom N270 CPU and a choice of three operating systems - Microsoft Windows XP Home, Vista Home Basic or Linux Ubuntu - give live to the netbook. Standard models come with a 3-cell battery and weight 1.32 kg. The base Latitude 2100 configuration retails now at $369.

ASUS Announces ROG Crosshair III Formula, Set Your Sights on Blazing Benchmarks

ASUS, the world's leading producer of motherboards, today put world record-breaking power into the hands of AMD Phenom II users with the launch of the ROG (Republic of Gamers) Crosshair III Formula. Based on the AMD Socket AM3 platform, the Crosshair III Formula harnesses its full complement of ROG-exclusive features and technologies to unleash the full overclocking potential of Phenom II processors-enabling budget-conscious enthusiasts and gamers to enjoy extreme levels of performance at an affordable mid-price point.

ASUS Unveils New M4A78-HTPC Series Motherboards Catering Specifically to HTPC Users

ASUS, the world's leading producer of motherboards, today released its new M4A78-HTPC Series motherboards that are developed specifically for use in Home Theater Personal Computers (HTPCs). HTPCs have become more prevalent due to the vast popularity of the Internet and the ease with which content can be found, downloaded and viewed. Also, the chipset technology that supports Full HD 1080p is maturing, and large-sized widescreen LCD monitors are becoming more mainstream-allowing users to download and watch HD videos directly on their PCs. M4A78-HTPC Series motherboards are based on the AMD 780G chipset, which fully integrates HDMI/DVI support to display HD videos smoothly. Together with audio innovations like the ASUS Absolute Pitch Hi-Fi and DTS Surround Sensation UltraPC Technology, audiophiles can look forward to pure, crystal-clear sound for the most exhilarating HTPC enjoyment. Furthermore, M4A78-HTPC Series motherboards come with a user-friendly media center dubbed Home Theater Gate and a low-noise, energy efficient Tranquil Mode that offer users greater convenience and a more conducive music environment respectively.

ASUS Unveils New Xonar HDAV1.3 Slim Sound Card

ASUS, a leading producer of home theater PC (HTPC) solutions, today added a new member to its HDAV family: the ASUS Xonar HDAV1.3 Slim sound card. The CES-award winning Xonar HDAV1.3 Series of audio cards has been credited for revolutionizing the world of HTPC by offering the world's first and only solution to bitstream true Blu-ray audio on the PC platform, and this new offering is no different.
Monday, May 18th 2009

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Graphics Cards
Harddisks
Headphones
Keyboards
Memory
Monitors
Motherboards
Mouse
Netbooks
Notebooks
PSUs
SSD
Storage
Thermaltake Element S Case

Thermaltake Element S Case

Thermaltake says the new Element S case is designed for Pros: is that true? With a stylish black finish, no annoying lighting, anti-vibration side panels and room for up to seven hard drives and two SSDs that may just be the case.

NEC Electronics Introduces World's First USB 3.0 Host Controller

NEC Electronics today introduced the world's first Universal Serial Bus (USB) host controller (part number µPD720200) for the new SuperSpeed USB 3.0 standard. NEC Electronics expects rapid adoption of the device and standard as the need to transfer larger and larger amounts of information between PCs to external hard-drives, portable electronics devices, and flash-based thumb drives, continues to grow rapidly.
The µPD720200 device is a host controller for PCs and other digital devices, and is based on the new version of the SuperSpeed USB standard. Supporting the world's fastest USB transfer speeds of up to 5 gigabits per second (Gbps) of data, which is 10 times faster than previous USB 2.0 transfer speeds. The NEC Electronics device, as well as the standard, is fully backward compatible with the USB 2.0, 1.1 and 1.0 versions of the USB standard.

AMD to Showcase Tigris Mobile Platform at Computex 2009

With the notebook and sub-notebook segments, AMD faces an even taller cliff to climb as far as earning market-share goes. Having tasted much-needed success with the Dragon platform, AMD plans to deliver the same technologies to the mobile segment, with the Tigris platform. The platform consists of a 45 nm AMD dual-core "Caspian" processor, coupled with AMD RS880M chipset, and optionally, an ATI Mobility Radeon 55 nm or 40 nm M9X mGPU setup. The company plans to showcase this at the upcoming Computex 2009 event held in Taiwan. The platform is targeted at the 14-inch (and above) mainstream notebook segment, while the company continues to push Yukon and Congo platforms for 13-inch (and below) sub-notebooks. The source also revealed that AMD could detail its next-generation mobile platform for 2010, that uses 45 nm quad-core processors, RS800M series chipset, with support for DDR3 memory and USB 3.0.

Dell Ready with VIA Nano-based Server

Prominent server builder Dell is looking to tap the potential of VIA's Nano processor, in building compact server called XS11-VX8, that will be ready for high-density web-server applications. The compact form-factor, coupled with its energy-efficient chipset made the 64-bit Nano the obvious choice.

Dell intends to make this a "hot-plug" server, which is not much larger than a 3.5" hard drive. Twelve of these servers could fit into a 2U chassis, so power cooling, and connectivity could be shared and managed better. Each server will have room for its dedicated hard drive, and will have up to 3 GB of RAM.

This product will be marketed by Dell's Data Center Solutions group, which targets customers who buy these in thousands of units at a time. There are reportedly 30~40 such companies worldwide. The server also uses low power consumption as one of its biggest selling points. According to Dell, it idles at a mere 19W, and consumes no more than 29W at full-load. The XS11-VX8 will be officially introduced in June.

Iomega Introduces eGo Portable Hard Drive

Iomega, an EMC company, and a global leader in data protection, today announced the worldwide availability of a new generation of the exciting Iomega eGo Portable Hard Drive, featuring new look USB 2.0-powered models with superior ruggedness and the broadest suite of bundled data protection software in the industry, and all backed with a three-year limited warranty. Available in four different colors and up to 500GB in capacity, the new Iomega eGo Portable Hard Drive is the ultimate embodiment of style and function in portable drives today.

"The new Iomega eGo Portable Hard Drives are the perfect companions for home users and professionals that want to take their files anywhere with the assurance of a superior rugged portable drive that has style to spare and a compact form with flair," said Jonathan Huberman, President of Iomega and the Consumer and Small Business Products Division of EMC. "After two very successful years with the previous model, the new eGo drive sports a compact, sleek new aluminum enclosure in eye-catching colors and comes complete with a suite of backup and anti-virus software to protect your data and your laptop, netbook or personal computer. Top it all off with the best drop spec in the industry and the new eGo drive is the portable hard drive this summer for dads and grads and everyone else."

SilverStone Readying 1500 W Monster PSU

SilverStone is going for the (over)kill with a 1500W enthusiast-grade PC power supply. The Strider Series 1500W (model: SST-ST1500) is one of the first 1000+ Watt PSUs to carry the 80 Plus Silver efficiency rating. This PSU made for an early-sighting at this year's CeBIT event, and is gearing up for launch very soon. It delivers 1500W of continuous, and 1600W of peak power. It features a 100% modular cable design, meaning that even the 24-pin ATX and EPS cables are modular unlike in most modular PSUs.

The unit measures 150 x 86 x 220 mm (WxHxD). Under the hood are eight +12V rails, that belt out up to 120A of current. Active PFC is available. The ATI CrossFireX and NVIDIA SLI certified PSU features four 6+2 pin, and eight 6-pin PCI-Express power connectors. High-grade Japanese capacitors are used. A 135 mm fan with a minimum noise-output of 19 dBA keeps this beast cool. Applications? Plenty: an enthusiast could run a highly-tweaked multi-GPU PC, and be able to directly power one or two thermo-electric coolers.

Thermaltake Launches Element T Mid-Tower Chassis

Thermaltake today updated its Element series mid-tower cases to include the Element T chassis with emphasis on gamers. Key features of the Element T (part number: VK90001N2Z) case include:
  • Clean and sylish looks for maximum airflow
  • Fan holes for 120 mm rear fan, up to 200 mm front and top fans, and a massive 230 mm side fan
  • Massive storage capability with 7x 3.5-inch, 1x 2.5-inch and 3 x 5.25-inch bays
  • Security lock for keyboard & mouse for Lanparty events
  • Bottom mounted power supply unit
  • 480 x 210 x 525 mm Middle Tower dimensions

Mozilla Firefox 3.5 to Get New Browser Icon

For the upcoming new Firefox 3.5 (Shiretoko), Mozilla is planning an important final update: fresh new looks of the venerable Firefox icon. Mozilla has already announced its intention to slightly revisit the logo and today the team behind Firefox's development issued first renders. The refreshed icon is work of Jon Hicks, the original logo creator, and from his words it "introduced additional detail to the fur, and the flames starting to wrap around planet mozilla which significantly modernizes and streamlines the appearance of the icon." With the new icon, Mozilla aims to stamp the various changes it has made during the evoluion of the Firefox web browser. First release candidate of Firefox 3.5 is slated for June this year, no one can predict when the final version will be out.

TDK Launches SDG2A Series Solid-State Drives

TDK Corporation announced today the launch in late May 2009 of the SDG2A series of serial ATA(SATA) II compatible industrial solid state drives(SSDs) with a maximum memory capacity of 64 GByte.
These products are industrial SATA Flash discs equipped with GBDriver RS2 SATA controller ICs developed by TDK. They support high-speed access with an effective read speed of 95 MByte/second and effective write speed of 55 MByte/second. They also feature powerful error correction capabilities scalable to 15-bit/sector ECC(error correction code), providing high levels of data reliability. The use of an internal power supply protection function prevents errors in the event of a power interruption. These SATA drives are also equipped with an auto-recovery function that automatically recovers data when read disturbance errors occur from repeated reading of data, making them ideal for use on automotive application such as car navigation systems.

Acer Aspire Revo Hits Retail in UK

Acer's Aspire Revo has started appearing in UK. Etailer Play.com (UK) is currently offering the base Aspire Revo model for £149.99 with free delivery. Acer Aspire Revo is the first nettop to sport NVIDIA's ION platform - that comprises of a GeForce 9400M-class graphics coupled with an Intel Atom CPU, a combo that will run 1080p HD video without a problem. The model listed is equipped with a 1.6 GHz Intel Atom N230 processor, 1 GB of DDR2 RAM, an 8 GB solid-state drive, GeForce 9400M graphics and a Linux operating system. The small PC is also armed with HDMI and VGA outputs, eSATA port, 6x USB ports, a memory-card reader, 10/100 Ethernet and 802.11b/g Wi-Fi connectivity, a wired keyboard and a mouse. All of the specs described above come in a compact 7.1 x 7.1 x 1.2 inches box. If you're willing to pay £249.99 you can get a more powerful version of the base model, with 2 GB of RAM, a 160 GB hard drive and Microsoft's Windows Vista Home Premium operating system.

EVGA GeForce GTX 285 2 GB FTW Edition Video Card Launched

EVGA today launches the latest "tuning kit" for GeForce GTX 285. EVGA GeForce GTX 285 2 GB FTW Edition (part number 02G-P3-1187-AR) is based on the NVIDIA's reference design, from the outside nothing has changed except for the cool front sticker. The same stock dual-cooler is used, but the card's BIOS has been modified to deliver 702 MHz (648 MHz stock) GPU, 1584 MHz (1476 MHz), and 2484 MHz memory clock speeds. The card has 240 Processing Cores, 512-bit memory interface, two 6-pin PCI-E external power connectors, two DVI outputs and support for NVIDIA 3-way SLI technology. The EVGA GeForce GTX 285 2 GB FTW is now listed with a MSRP of $439.99 USD, it should be available very soon.

Pricing Potential Spoilsport for Windows 7 Adoption: Dell

Thanks to Microsoft's free sneak preview of Windows 7 in the form of its downloadable release candidate. Users world over are enjoying a fully-functional license of Windows 7 Ultimate that will expire in June 2010. In the mean time, Microsoft expects you to get a hang on the new OS, help it with mass-testing, and gear-up for its commercial launch later this year. The pricing of the OS however, seems to have people like Dell's Darrel Ward, director of product management worried. "If there's one thing that may influence adoption, make things slower or cause customers to pause, it's that generally the ASPs (average selling price) of the operating systems are higher than they were for Vista and XP," he said, in a telephonic interview with CNET.

"In tough economic times, I think it's naive to believe that you can increase your prices on average and then still see a strong swell than if you held prices flat or even lowered them. I can tell you that the licensing tiers at retail are more expensive than they were for Vista. Schools and government agencies may not be able to afford [the additional cost]. Some of the smaller businesses may not be able to enjoy the software as soon as they'd like," he added. Apart from its pricing, Dell however, feels optimistic about Windows 7. The OS seems to have already built up a lot more momentum, and enthusiasm than what Windows Vista could manage.

Blizzard BlizzCon 2009 Tickets on Sale Now

This story is less hardware important, but still the word Blizzard is mentioned, so I'm sure you'll make it count. Blizzard Entertainment is glad to inform its admirers that tickets for the game developer's fourth BlizzCon gaming convention are now on sale. Tickets are priced at USD $125 each and can be purchased through the company's event website here. BlizzCon is a celebration of the global player communities surrounding Blizzard Entertainment's Warcraft, StarCraft, and Diablo game universes. The event will take place August 21st and 22nd at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California, and will feature an array of activities, including developer panels, contests, tournaments, hands-on gameplay with upcoming Blizzard Entertainment games, and more. The ticket-purchase process uses the online Blizzard Store and requires an active Battle.net account. For those of you that won't be able to make it to BlizzCon, Blizzard will offer the DIRECTV BlizzCon Pay Per View service for $39.95. A minimum of eight hours of live HD coverage from the show floor on each day of the convention, including exclusive interviews, demos, and more will be captured and streamed to DIRECTV subscribers. All they need is to watch and enjoy the show from their PCs. Find more information at BlizzCon.

Larrabee Only by 2010

Last week, Intel announced its Visual Computing Research Center at Saarland University in Saarbrücken, Germany. During its opening ceremony, details emerged about when Intel plans to commercially introduce Larrabee, the company's take on graphics processing using x86-based parallelism. The company categorically stated that one could expect Larrabee to be out only by early 2010.

"I would expect volume introduction of this product to be early next year," said Intel chief executive Paul Otellini. Until now, Larrabee was known to be introduced coarsely around the 2009-2010 time-frame. "We always said it would launch in the 2009/2010 timeframe," said Intel spokesperson Nick Knupffer in an email to PC Magazine. "We are narrowing that timeframe. Larrabee is healthy and in our labs right now. There will be multiple versions of Larrabee over time. We are not releasing additional details at this time," he added. In the same event, Intel displayed a company slide with a die-shot of Larrabee, revealing what looked like the x86 processing elements. Sections of the media were abuzz with inferences drawn on the die-shot, some saying that it featured as many as 32 processing elements.

DisplayLink Technology Goes to Linux Users too

Today DisplayLink is taking steps to bring its USB display technology, formerly only available on Windows and Mac, to Linux. DisplayLink's chips enable one or more high resolution displays to be connected via the standard, universal USB 2.0 connector. The library released today enables the creation of Linux software - X Servers, drivers, and other applications - which will work with the growing universe of products using DisplayLink technology.
The library is provided under the GNU Lesser General Public License v2 (LGPL), enabling software to be ported by the community to cover the widest possible range of processors, platforms, and applications. This ultimately enables companies to create products which will work on the full variety of Linux devices like netbooks, notebooks, mobile Internet devices, mobile phones, embedded displays, embedded devices, digital signage, and more.

GIGABYTE Presents Radeon HD 4650 AGP Version

If you still feel some love for your old AGP platform, GIGABYTE's new Radeon HD 4650 AGP edition video card might be the best present for it. Named GV-R465D2-1GI, the card has 1 GB GDDR2 memory, 128-bit memory interface, supports Microsoft DirectX 10.1/OpenGL 2.1 and the AGP 8x standard. The card is even suitable for older media PCs as it features ATI's Avivo HD technology and Dual-Link DVI-I, analog D-SUB and a single HDMI outputs. Now the bad news, the GV-R465D2-1GI is still missing from GIGABYTE's official page as their product. There's no word on pricing and availability date either.

Two More Acer Aspire One Netbooks Launched

Besides the HD friendly Aspire One 571, Acer has launched two new netbooks - the first 11.6-inch Aspire One AO751h netbook to enter production and a new 10.1-inch Acer Aspire One AOD250 netbook. Starting with A0751h, it features a new 11.6-inch CrystalBrite HD LED backlit screen with 1364x768 resolution and full-sized keyboard, while still being thinner and lighter design than its predecessor. In the 10.1-inch Aspire One AOD250 you'll find nothing new, except for the new shell or maybe the better choice in colors which now includes Diamond Black, Ruby Red, Sapphire Blue and Seashell White for both models.
The Acer Aspire One AO751h 11.6-inch netbook has a starting MSRP of $349.99. Models with extended 6-cell battery start at $379.99. The Acer Aspire One D250 10.1-inch netbook base configuration costs $298. Both netbooks are now available.

Sunday, May 17th 2009

TechPowerUp! World Community Grid Team Surges Past 6 Million Points at Free-DC.org

The TechPowerUp! World Community Grid (WCG) Team passed an important milestone, in its relentless pursuit of the top spot. The team scored an aggregate of 6 million points yesterday as per the scoring system of popular distributed computing score aggregator Free-DC.org (6,061,211 as of now). Currently holding world rank 170, the team's score is growing with an average of 160,000+ points per day. To give you an idea of the growth rate, statistics show the team to have aggregated close to 4 million points in the last 28 days alone. The team currently has 79 registered contributors, and believes in doing its bit for the various scientific, socially-relevant challenges WCG attempts to solve. Our hearty congratulations to the team. Extended team statistics can be viewed here. To learn more about contributing to the team, please visit this page.

Statistics Courtesy: Free-DC

NVIDIA GT300 Already Taped Out

NVIDIA's upcoming next-generation graphics processor, codenamed GT300 is on course for launch later this year. Its development seems to have crossed an important milestone, with news emerging that the company has already taped out some of the first engineering samples of the GPU, under the A1 batch. The development of the GPU is significant since it is the first high-end GPU to be designed on the 40 nm silicon process. Both NVIDIA and AMD however, are facing issues with the 40 nm manufacturing node of TSMC, the principal foundry-partner for the two. Due to this reason, the chip might be built by another foundry partner (yet to be known) the two are reaching out to. UMC could be a possibility, as it has recently announced its 40 nm node that is ready for "real, high-performance" designs.

The GT300 comes in three basic forms, which perhaps are differentiated by batch quality processing: G300 (that make it to consumer graphics, GeForce series), GT300 (that make it to high-performance computing products, Tesla series), and G200GL (that make it to professional/enterprise graphics, Quadro series). From what we know so far, the core features 512 shader processors, a revamped data processing model in the form of MIMD, and will feature a 512-bit wide GDDR5 memory interface to churn out around 256 GB/s of memory bandwidth. The GPU is compliant with DirectX 11, which makes its entry with Microsoft Windows 7 later this year, and can be found in release candidate versions of the OS already.
Saturday, May 16th 2009

Windows 7 Benefits from HyperThreading Better

Intel's HyperThreading technology (HTT) was a nifty feature back in the Pentium 4 days, where the single-core processor could interact with the OS by providing two logical processors. The feature was known to enhance performance for applications that supported SMT. With the Core i7 and Atom series, HTT made a comeback, and software major Microsoft seems to be busy optimizing its newest OS, Windows 7, to make the make the most out of HTT, better than older versions of the OS could.

Speaking with InformationWeek, Microsoft's senior VP for Windows development Bill Veghte said "The work that we've done in Windows 7 in the scheduler and the core of the system to take full advantage of those [HyperThreading] capabilities, ultimately we think we can deliver a great and better experience for you." This could particularly come as good news for users with multi-threaded productivity applications, and newer 3D games. Intel's roadmaps show a rosy future for HTT, after entry-level Atom and enthusiast-level Core i7 featuring it, Intel has an entire lineup of CPUs under the Core i5 series that support HTT.

EVGA SLI Enhancement Patch v11 (05.15.09) Released

EVGA published the 11th version of its SLI Enhancement Patch. Version 11 (05.15.09) is based on NVIDIA GeForce drivers 185.85, and enables SLI support for Zeno Clash and Merchants of Brooklyn, beyond the new additions NVIDIA's general release brings along: Guitar Hero: World Tour, Earthrise, Digital Combat Simulator: Black Shark, Shadow Harvest, and Terminator: Salvation.

The software works in conjunction with NVIDIA GeForce drivers, and helps expand the list of games that support NVIDIA SLI technology beyond what the drivers offer. For a 3D application to take full-advantage of SLI technology, typically NVIDIA creates an SLI profile that is released along with a usually new driver release. Registered EVGA users can download the patch from here.

Zotac Uses High-End PCB Design for new GeForce GTX 260 Accelerator

Having tried its hand in several PCB designs for the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 200 series, Zotac created itself enough room to come up with new SKUs at will. The company is using a recently-designed 10-layer PCB it used for a high-end GeForce GTX 285 accelerator featuring Arctic Cooling Accelero Extreme cooler, to design a new GeForce GTX 260 model (GTX260-896D3) with essentially the same design, except for a change: While the GTX 285 card featured 0.77 ns GDDR3 memory chips made by Hynix, this one uses 1.0 ns chips by Samsung.

The card retains the 6+3 phase power circuitry, the Accelero Extreme cooler, and standard features for the GeForce GTX 260: 216 shader processors, 896 MB of GDDR3 memory across a 448-bit interface, support for 3-way SLI, CUDA and PhysX. It will use reference NVIDIA clock speeds of 574/999 MHz (core/memory). Backed by a 3-year warranty, this card will hit stores in China at a price of 1299 RMB (US $190).

XFX HD 4890 Black Edition Pictured

Following the trend of other manufacturers, after AMD officially announced 1 GHz variants of their HD 4890, it looks as though XFX will be releasing a Black Edition HD 4890 with the famed 1 GHz GPU clock speed. It would appear that XFX are using a black PCB and a change to red DVI ports as seen on some of their other ATI based graphics cards. Whether or not the PCB uses a reference design is not known at this point but XFX have stuck to the reference cooler with an XFX Black Edition sticker.

MSI Launches the GX723 Gaming Notebook

With MSI exclusive Turbo Drive Engine Technology, while the GX723 is in AC mode, just touch the turbo button above the keyboard and you can increase the speed of your CPU. Your GX723 will run smoothly to the very best of its abilities.

The GX723 selects the brand new ECO Engine, the outstanding and unique power saving function by MSI Notebook, as the power management function to extend the battery running time while performing different tasks. Touch the ECO quick launch touch sensor repeatedly to switch among the 5 different modes - Gaming mode, Movie mode, Presentation mode, Office mode, and Turbo Drive mode while performing game applications, playing multimedia applications, performing presentation applications, dealing with office documentation tasks, or looking forward to minimizing the battery power consumption.

ASUS Xonar Essence ST Audio Card with World’s First Precision Audio Clock Tuning

In its search for the purest essence of sound, ASUS have broken the boundaries with the newest soundcard on the market, the Xonar Essence ST. This PCI card is the world's first audio card to incorporate precision clock tuning to minimize audio jitter, bringing the user a clearer, crisper listening experience. The Xonar Essence ST card can also be upgraded to 7.1 channel output with the use of the Xonar H6 multi-channel extension board, which will be sold separately in the near future.

The Xonar Essence ST is capable of achieving an industry-leading 124dB SNR (Signal-to-Noise Ratio) in signal clarity and offers a built-in headphone amplifier to obtain the best performance out of any available pair of headphones. Thanks to ASUS' exclusive Hyper-grounding and EMI Shield design, even the most demanding audiophile will be satisfied with the unprecedented sound quality.

Acer Prepares HD-Friendly Aspire One 571

Acer's Aspire One is the world's leading brand of netbooks, and the company is building on the lineup with more, premium variants. The chassis of the Aspire One 571 resembles that of the D150 series. Under the hood are some interesting components: Intel Atom N280 clocked at 1.66 GHz, aided by Intel's homegrown chipset. The 10.5-inch screen provides a resolution of 1280x720 pixels (HD 720p), and the netbook boasts of HD video hardware acceleration thanks to the Quartics QV1721 multimedia coprocessor, that accelerates full-HD (1080p) video encoding/decoding. Removable storage is care of a V-Media disc-drive left of the touchpad. A V-Media disk is a Blu-Ray disc with a diameter of 32 mm enclosed in a plastic sheath (floppy-style). It provides 1 GB of storage, with a 2 GB version in the works. Its launch-date isn't known although with Computex around the corner, this netbook may have found its launch-vehicle.

NVIDIA Falls out With Insurance Company Over Faulty GPU Fiasco Claims

Graphics giant NVIDIA found itself in trouble last year, with the infamous mGPU failure fiasco, that ended up costing the company around $200m over replacement of faulty GeForce mGPUs. The company then assured investors that the money spent on handling the situation would be covered by insurance claims. Now, the insurance provider, National Union Fire Insurance Company (NFUI) of Pittsburgh filed a case against NVIDIA at a California district court, leaving it to decide upon insurance coverage.

The filing reads "Concurrently with, or prior to, placing National Union on notice of the chip claims, NVIDIA has engaged in settlement negotiations with the chip claimants and, on information and belief, has agreed to settlements and/or the material terms of settlements with respect to some or all of the chip claims." The company complains that NVIDIA did not permit NFUI to participate in any of the settlement negotiations with the clients NVIDIA sold the faulty GPUs to. Instead of sharing data relating to the actual settlement negotiations, NVIDIA allegedly "flooded" NFUI with technical data the insurer could make little or no sense of, what it takes as an evasive move to cloak the actual dealings. "[NVIDIA]cloaked its refusals to provide information under the guise of preserving commercial relationships with the chip claimants." In short, the insurer doesn't want to pay up, and wants the court to decide upon the matter.

Gigabyte Slips in Atom-Powered GA-GC330UD ITX Motherboard

Gigabyte added its entry to the league of Intel Atom-embedded mini-ITX motherboards, the GA-GC330UD. This motherboard features the typical combination of dual-core Atom 330 paired with Intel i945GC, with a pinch of the manufacturing technologies Gigabyte is known for. The Atom 330 dual-core is clocked at 1.60 GHz, and features 512 KB of cache. It remains passively cooled as against the northbridge which uses a fan-heatsink. A single DDR2 memory slot will accept up to 2 GB of DDR2 533/667 MHz memory, although 533 MHz is as far as the memory controller can support.

Storage is care of an IDE and two SATA connectors, supporting four storage devices in all. Basic 6-channel audio and 10/100 Mbps Ethernet make for the rest of the mix. Gigabyte used a 2 oz copper bi-layer PCB, and an all solid-state capacitor design that ups durability. Gigabyte looks to target the grass-root of the market, with this motherboard targeting businesses and internet kiosks.
Friday, May 15th 2009

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Graphics Cards
Harddisks
Memory
Motherboards
Mouse
Multimedia
Netbooks
PSUs
Sound Cards
SSD
Storage
Mushkin Redline XP3-12800 6 GB Kit

Mushkin Redline XP3-12800 6 GB Kit

The Redline Tri-Channel Kit from Mushkin manages 1600 MHz at CL6-7-6-18 right out of the box, making it one of the fastest kits at this speed on the market. We push the kit way past the red line for you in this review, reaching well over 2000 MHz with more relaxed timings.

DFI Announces Blood Iron P45-T2(R)S Elite Series, The Most Affordable OC Motherboard

From now on, amazing performance becomes available on affordable motherboards. In addition to the development of high-end overclocking motherboards that set world record in performance, the LANParty team has recently committed to a research program called "top performance at affordable prices", allowing more consumers to enjoy low-price yet high-performance motherboards.

The BI P45-T2(R)S Elite family is the first wave of the "top performance at affordable prices" series. High-end hardware layouts, excellent BIOS design, and ex-factory overclocking stress test are totally migrated to the product. With the price under USD $110, it can surprisingly challenge $150-level products in terms of performance.

Akasa Readies Freedom Force Universal VGA Cooler

Akasa is readying a new graphics card cooler for the consumer segment, this time touting support for almost all current single-GPU graphics cards. The Akasa Freedom Force was first pictured at the CeBIT event. It measures 190(L) x 107.5(W) x 55(H), and weighs in at 440 g. Its design consists of a GPU contact block that doubles up as a heatsink, from which four aluminum heatpipes convey heat to two aluminum fin blocks on either side of the GPU block. Each block is subject to air-flow by its own white LED-lit fan that spins at 2200 rpm. The GPU block has mount holes for 43.2 mm, 53.2 mm, and 61.5 mm cooler mounts. Also bundled are nine memory chip heatsinks. The cooler supports one of the broadest range of GPUs, including NVIDIA GeForce GTX 200 (GTX 260, 275, 280, 285), ATI Radeon HD 4000/3000/2000, GeForce 9/8/7 series, etc. A word of caution however, would be that the cooler doesn't pack VRM heatsinks, or heatsinks for NVIO display processors featured on G200(b) and G80 based graphics cards. It will reach retail in about a month's time, and is expected to be priced at 30 EUR (US $40.5).

ATI Catalyst 9.5 Released

Attention all ATI users: your Catalyst 9.5 drivers have just been released. I'm still awaiting AMD's Game website to be updated to show the info on the new Catalyst, but meanwhile direct download links with the valid new driver are working. I'll update the news as soon as some new info is available. Until then, download and enjoy the new driver release.

DOWNLOAD: Catalyst 9.5 for Windows XP 32-bit | Windows XP 64-bit | Windows Vista/7 32-bit | Windows Vista/7 64-bit

MSI Intros More X-Slim Laptop Offerings

MSI today added a pair of X-slim laptops to its portfolio, the 14-inch X400 and 15-inch X600. The X-Slim series of notebooks are based on Intel's Consumer Ultra Low Voltage (CULV) platform. The X400 and X600 are less than one inch thick, have LED-backlit 16:9 widescreen displays, and support the Blu-Ray standard. Although available with different screen sizes, both monitors support one 16:9 native resolution - 1366x768 pixels. The X400 weighs in at 3.3 pounds (1.5 kg), and the X600 comes in at 4.6 pounds (2.1 kg). The X400 comes with a 4-cell Li-polymer battery or 8-cell extended life battery. The X600 is available with an optional 9-cell extended life battery as well. All X-Slim notebooks use external optical drives. Both the X400 and X600 feature Intel Core 2 Solo processors, up to 500 GB hard drives, and up to 4 GB of RAM. A main difference between the X400 and the X600 is in the graphics department; the X400 has an integrated Intel X4500HD graphics card, while the X600 features an ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4330. As for the price and ship date don't ask, MSI never tells such things.

Varlink Announces New Yuma Rugged Tablet Computer From Trimble

Varlink, the York based mobile computing and data capture specialist distributor, is delighted to introduce the Trimble Yuma rugged tablet computer, an extremely rugged IP67 device that brings full office capabilities to the field in an all-in-one mobile package with its Microsoft Windows environment and wireless capabilities. The Yuma is designed to operate in any outdoor environment - no matter how extreme.

The Yuma's rugged tablet package features Microsoft Windows Vista Business, integrated WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity, GPS and two geotag enabled cameras. The Yuma also features a 7" sunlight-readable WSVGA touch screen display.

Micron Plans to Enter Graphics Memory Business

The current No. 3 global memory maker Micron Technology is said to enter the graphics memory business, fighting against Samsung and Hynix. Micron will make the chips mainly for NVIDIA and ATI video cards.
"Our upcoming 50-nanometer technology is very competitive when it comes to power consumption and performance," Robert Feurle, Micron's VP of DRAM marketing said. "I think it's a good point in time to begin discussions with big enablers NVIDIA and AMD and get started with some design-ins," Feurle said. "No decision has been made yet but we're looking into that very seriously," he added.
Plans are to start production of GDDR3 memory with speeds of 1600 MHz and up. After that a possible transition to GDDR5 manufacturing will be made. Unfortunately, that's all there is to know for now, Micron is mum on all other details.

DFI Announces LANParty DK 790X-M2RS

DFI LANParty AMD series motherboards, including the highest end 790FXB family and multi-media 790GX family, have proved excellent performance on Phenom II overclocking. Now, LANParty team is focusing on "Main stream Overclocking", DK 790X-M2RS is the first product that aims this segment.

Compared with the high-end 790FXB family, the DK 790X-M2RS has the equivalent overclocking BIOS settings and also retains exclusive overclocking features such as "debug LED", "built-in power/reset button", and "six fan connectors". Therefore, the DK 790X-M2RS is really a cost-effective overclocking motherboard.

Novac Places 2.5 inch HDDs in Expansion Card Slots

In case you have completely run out of 3.5", and 5.25" drive bays to cram in the last of your hard drives, and have a few slots next to your RAID card left, you would probably like this enclosure. Novac designed what it calls "PCI mounting kit", that uses one expansion card slot to hold a 2.5" HDD. What's more, it even provides a door that allows users to add or remove the drive from behind the case, without having to remove it. This perhaps is also its biggest USP, as 2.5" drives, especially SSDs, are very pocketable. Novac plans to sell this for about $36 a piece.

MSI Reveals Secret Behind Twin Frozr Cooler Design

In the graphics card industry every manufacturer is particularly focusing on development and research for special thermal solutions. No matter how strong a product's performance, if it is not possible to guarantee stable and low temperature operation at all times, such high performance doesn't make a good product. This is especially the case for high-end products which can easily consume more than 150W and therefore need advanced thermal provisions. In order to meet the particular thermal dissipation demands of power users, the global high-end graphics card and professional motherboard manufacturer MSI Technology, introduced their exclusively developed Twin Frozr thermal design. This brand new thermal design incorporates a dual fan, 5 heatpipes, an extra large heat sink and a copper-nickel base. When compared to reference fan designs of the same level MSI's thermal solution is by far exceeding in performance and low temperature, making it one of the best design available on the market today.

Spire Announces Slider Pro Tool-Free 3.5 HDD Enclosure

The all new Slider Pro Hard Drive Enclosure Series offers you the very best in design, combined with the peace of mind that Spire is protecting your harddrive with its all aluminum casing for maximum heat dissipation and strength. And to make it that much easier, the innovative SliderPro is equipped with a slide tray that will save you time and hassle installing or replacing your Hard Drive into the enclosure. Equipped with a pre-installed 30mm cooling fan in the front for fresh cool air intake to keep your drive at best operating temperatures.

The Slider Pro HDD enclosures are portable and stand alone, not base or support is required. Date transfer is safe and fast between office, home or laptop computer with the RIFD and OTB features available on the Slider Pro enclosures. Enjoy that piece of mind and ensure safe back up and data storage with the new Slider Pro from Spire - Powered by Innovation!

Core 2 Duo E8700 Gets Listed, Price Displacement Model Stays

Although Intel made the Core 2 Duo E8700 official as early as in January, the chip showed little or no signs of reaching retail. Even the most popular retailers in US and EU don't offer this chip, and continue to sell the Core 2 Duo E8600 at its target price range of US $250~$270. Chinese retailer PCPop started listing E8700, at a price that displaces E8600: 1750 Yuan (US $256). While the store doesn't list E8600 so we could tell to which extant it is displaced, its nearest neighbour E8500 is priced at 1210 Yuan ($177), showing that the displacement may affect the price of E8600 to a greater extent than it would to its lower models, as E8500 remains at its common price. The E8700 is clocked at 3.50 GHz, with an FSB speed of 1333 MHz, and a bus multiplier of 10.5x. Despite its high clock speed, the processor continues to come with a rated TDP of 65W.

Acer Joins Open Patent Alliance to Advance Mobile 4G WiMAX Innovation

Further advancing mobile WiMAX worldwide, Acer has joined the Open Patent Alliance (OPA), a group dedicated to offering intellectual property rights (IPR) solutions that support the development and widespread adoption of WiMAX. The first global PC OEM board member, Acer will help the proliferation of WiMAX technology, devices and applications around the world.
The OPA was formed in June 2008 by members of the WiMAX ecosystem. Acer joins current OPA members Alcatel-Lucent, Alvarion, Cisco, Clearwire, Huawei Technologies, Intel Corporation, and Samsung Electronics to foster an ecosystem focused on broader choice and competitive equipment and service costs for WiMAX technology, devices and applications globally.

Antec Introduces Easy SATA 3.5-inch to 5.35-inch HDD Cage

Antec, the global leader in high-performance computer components and accessories for the gaming, PC upgrade and Do-It-Yourself markets, today announced the Easy SATA, the latest addition to Antec's line of PC accessories. The Easy SATA hot swap hard drive caddy is a storage solution designed to let users swap their hard drives quickly, easily and conveniently. The Easy SATA is the first product of its kind to be released by Antec.
The Easy SATA installs inside any 5.25" drive bay and gives users instant hot swapping capability. The Easy SATA supports 3.5" SATA hard drives. Users are able to access and swap their SATA hard drives by sliding them in and out of the Easy SATA caddy, while a locking switch ensures secure docking each time.

Toshiba Files Suit for Infringement of its Essential DVD Patents in Federal District

Toshiba Corporation announced today that on May 14, 2009, Toshiba filed suit in the United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin against Imation Corp. ("Imation"), several manufacturers and several distributors of recordable DVD media, as a means to prohibit infringement of Toshiba's DVD patents. Toshiba's complaint seeks damages for past infringement and requests that the court enjoin the sale, manufacture, and importation into the United States of recordable DVD media by the defendant companies named in the complaint. The infringing recordable DVD media is sold in the United States under at least the Imation and Memorex brand names.

NZXT Helps Laptops With Cryo S

NZXT, manufacturer of gamer grade computer cases, on Tuesday unveiled Cryo S - a laptop cooler designed to help reduce the working temperature of laptops with up to 15-inch displays. This brushed aluminum cooler has two 120 mm fans and two USB ports. It is powered via a USB port, thus no batteries or power adapters are necessary. Also featured is an anti-slip rubberized plastic surface to avoid notebooks from sliding. Cryo S will reach the market this month costing around USD $50. Visit NZXT Cryo S page here, for additional info.

ASUS Eee Keyboard to Launch by End of June

First debuted during the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January, ASUSTeK's Eee keyboard is now said to ship sometime by the end of June. According to Engadget Chinese the keyboard/PC combo will ship in June with specs that should include an Intel Atom N270 processor, a 32 GB solid-state drive, 800x480 pixel touchscreen display that doubles as a trackpad, 802.11n wireless, Bluetooth, HDMI-out, stereo speakers and a mic. The keyboard PC is running Microsoft Windows XP as standard. Two versions of the ASUS Eee keyboard will be launched, a wired one that will carry a $400 price tag, and a wireless one that will bump the price to $600. Expect more detailed information next month.

Apple Mac OS X 10.5.7 Update Released

Good news, Mac users, as it looks like Apple is kicking 10.5.7 update of Mac OS X Leopard. Apple recommends this update to all users running Mac OS X Leopard. This upgrade includes general operating system fixes that enhance the stability, compatibility and security of your Mac. For detailed information on the update, please visit this website here. You can obtain the update from either the Software Update option found in your Apple menu, or from the links below:

Super Talent Upgrades UltraDrive Series SSDs

Trying to squeeze the maximum from its products, Super Talent today said that it is now shipping its award winning UltraDrive SSDs with Firmware version 1370 which enables improved performance when used with Microsoft Windows 7. Super Talent has made a firmware upgrade tool available to allow existing owners to improve the performance of their UltraDrive SSDs. SuperTalent has also developed an "UltraDrive Performance Refresh Tool" which users can run to refresh their performance, should they experience performance degradation associated with all SSDs when files become fragmented and data becomes stale. With the new firmware Super Talent has increased the maximum sequential read speed of both the UltraDrive ME and UltraDrive LE to 260 MB/sec max and the sequential write performance of the UltraDrive ME to 200 MB/sec max and the UltraDrive LE to 210 MB/sec max, delivering the world's fastest SATA 3 Gb/s SSDs in a small 2.5" form factor.

NVIDIA GeForce 3D Vision Driver 185.85 WHQL Released

NVIDIA has just released new WHQL certified driver kit for its GeForce 3D Vision technology. 3D Vision driver version 185.85 adds support for Mitsubishi Home Theater TVs and also several new game titles that now can benefit from the 3D glasses and 120 Hz LCD monitors. The full list of game names is below the "Read full story" marker.

DOWNLOAD: Windows Vista 32-bit and 64-bit | Windows 7 32-bit and 64-bit

Patriot Memory Announces DDR3 ECC Modules for Servers

Patriot Memory today starts offering high-performance unbuffered DDR3 DIMMs with ECC for servers. Designed to compliment the triple channel technology of Intel's Core i7 platform, Patriot's new products offer both single channel and triple-channel kits that range from 2 GB on a single module and exceed 12 GB on three 4 GB modules. All modules are also covered by a lifetime warranty and free technical support.

OCZ Technology Unveils New High Performance DDR2 Memory Solutions

OCZ Technology Group, a worldwide leader in innovative, ultra-high performance and high reliability memory, today expanded their lineup of DDR2 to include new high-speed 4 GB kits qualified to operate and excel at a low voltages. These new OCZ solutions are designed to be the ultimate upgrade for users who not only want to reap the benefits of performance memory, but want a future-proof choice for their system.
"Though enthusiasts are known for applying increased voltage to modules in order to obtain higher performance, our newest modules offer exceptional speeds at lower voltages improving overall performance and stability," commented Eugene Chang, Vice President of Product Management at the OCZ Technology Group. "By engineering modules with both high speed and reduced voltage requirements we are able to offer enthusiasts and gamers memory with increased headroom and overall better stability and performance over the long term."

HP Recalls Notebook Computer Batteries Due to Fire Hazard

Important, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and Health Canada, in cooperation with HP, are starting recall of the Lithium-Ion batteries used in some Hewlett-Packard and Compaq notebook computers, due to fire hazard. Around 70 000 batteries are reported as dangerous, due to overheating and rupture problems, that may cause fire. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed. Models that can contain a recalled battery include:
  • HP Pavilion: dv2000, dv2500, dv2700, dv6000, dv6500, dv6700, dv9000, dv9500, dv9700
  • Compaq Presario: A900, C700, F700, V3000, V3500, V3700, V6000, V6500, V6700
  • HP: G6000, G7000
  • HP Compaq: 6720s
Thursday, May 14th 2009

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Gaming PC
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Motherboards
Mouse
Netbooks
PSUs
SSD
AZZA Fantom 900

AZZA Fantom 900

The AZZA Fantom 900 takes some cues from similar styled cases and gives its interpretation on how a budget minded mid-sized gaming case should be. With many cases that are out there for new builders and gamers wanting to save on money, we'll take a look at what sets the Fantom 900 apart from its competitors and why it's a solid choice for all.

Dell Quietly Ships P2210, E190S, and E170S Budget LCD Monitors

Dell has quietly rolled out three new budget LCD monitors, that include the widescreen P2210, plus the standard 4:3 ration E190S and E170S models. The 22-inch P2210 display supports 1680x1050 16:10 native resolution, analog VGA, DVI-D with HDCP, or DisplayPort connections and a USB 2.0 hub with four ports. Model P2210 also meets EPEAT Gold and Energy Star standards.
The 19-inch E190S offers maximum resolution of 1280x1024 pixels, with 800:1 contrast ratio and 250 cd/m2 brightness. Only VGA connection is supported, although the monitor could be used for both business and home use. The device meets Energy Star and EPEAT Gold standards, while integrating halogen-free laminates and using a chassis composed of 25-percent post-consumer recycled plastics.
The E170S features the same eco-friendly design as the E190S, but in a more compact 17-inch screen size. The monitor supports 1280x1024 resolution and comes only with a VGA port.
Dell is now offering the monitors for $240, $130 and $110, respectively.

Corsair Readying 16 GB 4-piece DDR2 Memory Kit

Memory (and power supply) specialist Corsair is dressing up a new 4-module DDR2-800 kit, consisting of four 4 GB modules (16 GB in all). Carrying the model number QUAD2X16GB-6400, this kit uses a new heatspreader design Corsair has been using lately. The modules are screened for high-reliability. At 800 MHz, this kit may seem like a late-Kate into the market, but might use its module density as a selling-point. Corsair seeks an estimated 83,000 Yen (US $867?) for this kit. We admit, the price looks on the higher side, but are awaiting clarity on May 16, when the company officially announces it.

AMD Comments on EC Ruling that Intel Violated EU Law, Harmed Consumers

The European Commission today found Intel guilty of abusing its dominant position in the global x86 microprocessor market, saying that "Intel has harmed millions of European consumers by deliberately acting to keep competitors out of the market for computer chips for many years. Such a serious and sustained violation of the EU's antitrust rules cannot be tolerated." The Commission also stated that "there is evidence that Intel had sought to conceal the conditions associated with its payments." The EC decision requires Intel to change its business practices immediately and fines Intel a record EUR 1.06 billion (US $1.45 billion).

"Today's ruling is an important step toward establishing a truly competitive market," said Dirk Meyer, AMD president and CEO. "AMD has consistently been a technology innovation leader and we are looking forward to the move from a world in which Intel ruled, to one which is ruled by customers."

Toshiba Launches First Laptop with a 512 GB Solid State Drive

Toshiba's Digital Products Division (DPD), a division of Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc., today announced the world's first laptop configured with a eSATA second generation 512 GB Solid State Drive (SSD) with the Portégé R600-ST4203. Toshiba's newest development shows its dedication to pushing innovation as the company has increased SSD capacities on laptops from 32 GB to 512 GB in just two years. At just 2.4 pounds and 0.77 inches thin, the Portégé R600 with SSD provides customers with an enhanced level of protection, portability, reliability and fast data access.

Seagate Restructures to Further Reduce Operating Costs

Seagate Technology today announced it has initiated a restructuring plan that includes a reduction of approximately 1,100 employees or 2.5% of the company's global workforce. This reduction is required to support a targeted run rate of product development and marketing and administrative costs of less than $300 million per quarter and to position the company to be cash flow and earnings positive within its fiscal year 2010.

The restructuring plan, which the company expects to be largely complete by the end of July 2009, is expected to result in total pretax restructuring charges of approximately $72 million. These charges will primarily be incurred in the June 2009 quarter and consist mainly of cash based employee termination costs which are expected to be substantially paid in the September 2009 quarter. The annual savings generated from this restructuring action is expected to be approximately $125 million.

Since the beginning of fiscal year 2009, and including today's announcement, the company has reduced its global headcount through attrition and restructuring, resulting in a reduction in the company's labor costs in excess of 25%. In addition, Seagate previously announced the realignment of its organizational structure to increase efficiency, as well as the closures of two recording media facilities and its Pittsburgh research facility, company-wide salary reductions announced in January 2009, and other cost reduction initiatives. Seagate continues to assess options to further reduce manufacturing operating costs.

ELSA Rolls Out Gladiac 998 GT SS (Save Power & Silent) Graphics Accelerator

Japanese NVIDIA partner ELSA unveiled a new graphics accelerator based on the GeForce 9800 GT. The Gladiac 998 GT SS (Save Power & Silent) falls into the new breed of 9800 GT cards that have been touting features such as energy-efficiency, some even abandoning the use of auxiliary PCI-Express power input. The clock speeds of this card stay below the reference speeds for 9800 GT, although kosher considering the number of companies that have done something similar to lower power consumptions. The core is clocked at 550 MHz (1375 MHz shader), while the 512 MB memory adheres to reference speeds of 900 MHz (1800 MHz DDR). The double-slot cooler is very quiet according to the company, with a rated noise output of 15 dBA. The card is yet to reach Japanese markets for a quote of its price.

DisplayLink Demonstrates Market Success, Sells more than 1 Million USB Graphics Chips

DisplayLink Corp. today celebrated reaching sales of more than one million USB graphics semiconductors. Embedded in more than thirty consumer and business products, DisplayLink chips - the DL-120 and DL-160 - make it possible for people to connect various visual computing devices to displays with an easy USB connection.

"DisplayLink has completely reinvented the way computers talk to displays. Our IC's make it possible to use standard plug and play USB to connect a laptop to one or more displsys, bringing the world a major step closer to the ideal "single world connector" status. Achieving sales of one million chips clearly shows the mainstream reach of our technology with customers and end-users who readily appreciate the simplicity of our approach and the productivity benefits of using multiple displays" said Hamid Farzaneh, president and CEO of DisplayLink.

ASUS Introduces Xonar DS 7.1 Channel Sound Card

ASUS today launched the Xonar DS 7.1 channel audio card which is equipped with design features found only on high-end audio equipment, fully catering to audiophiles seeking to enjoy high fidelity audio on their PCs-across all forms of entertainment including music, movies and games.

The Xonar DS boasts 107dB SNR, which is 12 times clearer than most onboard audio solutions. By eliminating 91% of background noise, the Xonar DS lets gamers hear every detail in the game audio, allowing them to locate enemies from a distance and thus giving them the edge in their games. This noise elimination also leads to a more enjoyable movie watching and music listening experience.

Futuremark Announces World’s Largest PC Overclocking Competition

Futuremark Corporation today announced a new competition for PC overclockers everywhere. The contest will see game, DIY, and overclocking enthusiasts from Europe, Asia and the Americas competing for the "Lord of Overclocking" title for their region. With Futuremark anticipating over 200,000 entries the online contest will be the largest overclocking competition ever staged.
Competition Home Page

The contest will run from May 18th to June 14th with prizes on offer for the top weekly and overall winners in each region. Furthermore one overall top winner will also be invited to attend the MSI Master Overclocking Arena 2009 event in Beijing, China in September 2009.

Inno3D to Launch the Fastest 9800 GT Yet

Expreview has got hold of details and imagery of an iChill 9800GT, which Inno3D are claiming to be the fastest 9800GT around, as a counter to AMD's recently released HD 4770. Although the core clock of 670 MHz is no faster than many factory overclocked 9800GTs from other manufacturer's, it is the memory where Inno3D have made the biggest advance. The iChill 9800GT's memory is clocked in at 2,200 MHz, an increase of 400 MHz or 22% over NVIDIA's reference clocks. Not only that but with the card making use of 0.8 ns DDR3, the memory is theoretically capable of being clocked at 2,500 MHz, leaving much overclocking headroom and the possiblilty of a 700 MHz or 39% increase above stock 9800GT memory clocks.

Fujitsu Develops the Fastest CPU in the World

10 years after they last held this title, Fujitsu have now snatched the status from previous record holder Intel, by developing a CPU (Central Processing Unit) capable of 128 billion calculations per second. Codenamed Venus, the chip is said to be able to calculate 2.5 times faster than the previous fastest CPU and using miniaturization technology, Fujitsu have managed to double the number of central circuits integrated onto a chip measuring about 2cm from four to eight. Venus is also said to consume only a third of the electricity compared to current levels.
Tens of thousands of these new chips are set to be used in a next-generation supercomputer for an Institute of Physical and Chemical Science which will go into operation at the end of fiscal 2010. It has also been said that should the Venus come to be used in devices such as personal computers and digital electronic appliances, it could lead to the development of equipment such as portable simultaneous interpretation devices and automated driving devices for cars.

Patriot Adds SSD Bracket to Conform to Desktop Drive Bays

Patriot Memory, a global pioneer in high-performance memory, NAND flash and computer technology, today announced the release of their "value add" bracket to be included in all future Warp and Torqx SSD drive purchases

SSD drives have been predominately associated with mobile laptop computers. With 3.5""desktop drive bays, the standard SSD size of 2.5" is not currently an option for desktop owners. The Patriot SSD bracket clears that hurdle for desktop owners

"Consumers are looking for options; our goal is to give them that opportunity to add new technology," says JR Wakabayashi, Patriot's Marketing Manager. "By including the SSD bracket in all SSD purchases for the Warp and Torqx series, Patriot makes SSD an attractive choice for Overclockers, gamers, and PC enthusiasts; a definite 'value add' for all consumers."

For more information about Patriot's Torqx and Warp SSD series and other memory module and flash memory solutions, please visit Patriot Memory.

Gigabyte Readying Odin GT 1200W PSU

Gigabyte has its Odin Pro PSU lineup for about two years now. The company prepared a new model to top the it, with up to 1200W of power output, modular cabling, and a USB data connection to the system it powers. Perhaps a monitoring and/or control software is packed along. The Odin GT 1200W measures 150 (W) x 180 (L) x 86 (H) mm, and weighs in at 2.5 kg (around 5.5 lbs). It is said to feature high-grade Japanese capacitors, and four +12V rails that belt out 99A, 1188 W. It has a rated efficiency of above 80%. Also featured is active power compensator (Active PFC). Cables include six 6+2 pin PCI-Express, along with ten SATA power, and eight Molex connectors. A 140 mm fan cools the unit. The SLI-certified PSU is expected to hit stores soon.

ASUS ROG OC Station Makes a Reappearance, Slated for Computex 2009

The ASUS Republic of Gamers (R.O.G) OC Station first surfaced at the CES event earlier this year, where it was referred to as G-Panel. Heading towards a gala Computex launch, perhaps along with the recently pictured Crosshair III Formula, the OC Station represents the company's attempts to woo the professional overclocker with a hardware OC management device.

The ROG OC Station is a device that features controls for the system's overclocking on the fly, along with various temperature, voltage, and fan speed control/monitoring added to the mix. As a fan controller, the OC station provides output to four fans. The device connects to the ROG series motherboard and provides "hardware-based OC", meaning that it isn't merely a human-interface extension for a software running on the OS. Controls are care of three buttons along with a rotary switch, while a TFT-LCD screen keeps the user posted about clock-speeds, voltages, fan-speeds and temperatures, which might help when the system's display is busy running a 3D benchmark. The device can be used on the desk, where it's front panel moves along a hinge, for better user orientation, or its 2U size can occupy two 5.25-inch drive bays on a PC case.

SUPoX AP55+ GTR Motherboard Surfaces

Remember EPoX? A reminiscent of that company now operates under the name SUPoX, and seems to have an entire range of PC motherboards including the Core i7 compatible AP58+ GTR. The company is gearing up to cater to the LGA-1156 socket processors with a new feature-rich motherboard based on the Intel P55 chipset called AP55+ GTR. The socket supports Core i5 series processors, along with support for Intel Flexible Display Interface (FDI), that relays display handled by embedded graphics controllers on Intel processors to their DVI, D-Sub, and HDMI outputs. The PCI-Express x16 slots (electrical configuration not known) support ATI CrossFireX, although NVIDIA SLI support for most LGA-1156 motherboards largely remains unknown. Along with support for as much as 16 GB of DDR3 memory, the motherboard provides connectivity in the form of gigabit Ethernet, Bluetooth 2.1, and WiFi. The motherboard should release towards the end of Q3 2009.
Wednesday, May 13th 2009

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Graphics Cards
Motherboards
Multimedia
Netbooks
Processors
PSUs
SSD
Storage
Sennheiser IE8 Earphones

Sennheiser IE8 Earphones

IE8 is the name of a brand new earphone solution from Sennheiser. The Sennheiser IE8 boast a dynamic driver and an innovative bass adjustment feature that allows the user to tweak the bass response on the move. With a price of $400 they don't come cheap, but for an audiophile who is looking for the best sound quality possible, these might still be a very viable choice.

Corsair Launches Advanced Cooling Options for Dominator and Dominator GT Memory

Corsair, the worldwide leader in high performance computer and flash memory products, today announced the new Corsair Cooling range of advanced cooling solutions for Dominator and Dominator GT modules, including the world's first sub-ambient cooler for PC memory.

The new cooling solutions include the Corsair Cooling Hydro Series H30 water-block and Ice Series T30 thermo-electric cooler, which is capable of cooling memory to below room temperature for enhanced overclocking performance and reliability.

HiFiMan Sets HM-801 PMP on Charitable Pre-order

HiFiMan has come up with a new high-fidelity portable media player, the HM-801. Unlike consumer-ended product appearance and feature-sets of PMPs such as Apple iPod, Microsoft Zune or Creative Zen, this one sits in its niche of audiophile products, emphasizing on audio output quality and support for high-bitrate lossless audio formats.

To begin with, the HM-801 uses a unit design that is uncompromising from a sound perspective, featuring a modular amplifier section and the highly regarded Burr-Brown PCM1704 DAC capable of 24-bit/96 KHz. That, coupled with the OPA627 Op-Amps, which have quite the reputation among audiophiles, is bound to give you world class sound quality on the move. Supported audio formats include WMA (including Pro and Lossless), MP3, FLAC, AAC, Ogg-Vorbis, and WAV (PCM,MS-ADPCM,IMA-ADPCM). Its storage is care of an SDHC slot, that will support SDHC cards with capacities as high as the standard supports.

The HiFiMAN PMP also features an analogue and digital line out (via coaxial SPDIF) so that you can feed your portable DAC or amplifier with a good signal. Uncompromising sound quality on the move is bound to cost big bucks and the HiFiMAN is also quite costly at $700, which is $600 at launch due to discounts that include donating $10 per purchase to audiophile website Head-Fi.org. The bigger charity of course would be that you are getting this with $100 off. And this is even without a memory solution you have to buy the SDHC card yourself.

ASUS Crosshair III Formula Cometh

ASUS finally got generous with AMD enthusiasts seeking an avant-grade Republic of Gamers motherboard to drive the AMD Dragon platform. Enter Crosshair III. Traditionally, ASUS used the Crosshair name for high-end AMD motherboards based on NVIDIA nForce chipsets, but this time around, it will be using AMD's workhorse high-end desktop chipset: AMD 790FX coupled with SB750. The choice could have been influenced by two factors: reasonable demand for ATI Radeon graphics, and the Advanced Clock Calibration (ACC) feature vendors haven't been able to ship with nForce chipsets so far.

An 8+2 phase circuit powers the AM3 socket, which supports the latest processors from AMD, that support DDR3 memory. "Only" two PCI-Express x16 slots are provided, that support ATI CrossFireX. Other feature include ROG-exclusive LCD-poster, and the iROG overclocking management system. Audio is care of an ASUS SupremeFX X-Fi audio riser. While the board just may seem a little basic compared to the M4A79T Deluxe, you have to consider the fact that it carries the "Formula" sub-branding. If ASUS wants to sell a better board, there just could be a Crosshair III Extreme in the works. ASUS may use the upcoming Computex event to launch this. It is expected to be priced around US $200.

PowerColor Announces Radeon HD 4890 PCS++

TUL Corporation, a leading manufacturer of AMD graphics cards, today announced a powerful addition to the PowerColor HD4890 series: the PCS++ HD4890. As an advanced version of the PCS+ HD4890, the PCS++ HD4890 has all the key features of the PCS+ HD4890, including ZEROtherm's exclusive cooling system, the fastest ever single GPU solution and a four-heatpipe design to deliver the most efficient cooling performance. The ZEROtherm cooling system provides the perfect balance between operating in a quieter environment and heat dissipation performance.

The PowerColor PCS++ HD4890 overclocking ability shines through, delivering the utmost gaming experience with its default 1010MHz core speed and 1100MHz memory speed. In order to offer the most stable overclocking platform, the PCS++ HD4890 has an upgraded PWM design through, using polymer capacitors and reducing RDS(on) of MOSFET. The result is a reduction in temperature and output voltage, providing a stable and cool overclocking solution.

Statement by Intel President and CEO Paul Otellini on EC Ruling

Paul Otellini, Intel Corporation president and CEO today issued the following statement regarding the European Commission decision on Intel's business practices:

"Intel takes strong exception to this decision. We believe the decision is wrong and ignores the reality of a highly competitive microprocessor marketplace - characterized by constant innovation, improved product performance and lower prices. There has been absolutely zero harm to consumers. Intel will appeal."

Intel Tables Plans to Tackle Notebook and Netbook Markets in H2 2009

Intel has everything going its way when it comes to mobile computing, and the processors it sells that power notebooks and netbooks across every segment of the market. Intel uses the common classification of portable computers (consumer segment), using sizes and form-factors to differentiate mainstream notebooks, performance notebooks, ultra-thin notebooks, "larger" sub-notebooks (netbooks), and common entry-level netbooks. To cater to each of these, Intel made things easier by coming up with platforms (sets of processor and chipset combinations), a market approach both Intel and AMD have been using recently.

Starting with mainstream, and performance notebooks (traditionally above 14-inches in size, above US $1200 in price), Intel has the Calpella platform, that marks the entry of Nehalem architecture to the mobile scene. This is slated for 3Q 2009. Intel will simultaneously lower the prices of its current Montevina platform, to let inventories digest. Major hardware manufacturers are preparing their "launch-vehicles" for the Calpella platform, which will make it in time for Q3 2009.

EU Fines Intel a Record €1.06 Billion in Antitrust Case

Following the news we covered the other day, the verdict is now in, and as expected Intel has been found guilty and fined €1.06 Billion ($1.45b/£948m) by the European Commission for anti-competitive practices. This fine smashes the €497 million fine issued to Microsoft by the EU in 2004 for abusing its dominant market position. Nine years on from when AMD first made a complaint that Intel had paid computer manufacturers not to use AMD chips in Europe the EU have ruled that Intel had given rebates to manufacturer's if they only used their chips, and had also found that a retailer had been paid to sell only Intel based systems.
"Intel has harmed millions of European consumers by deliberately acting to keep competitors out of the market for computer chips for many years," said Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes, "Such a serious and sustained violation of the EU's antitrust rules cannot be tolerated."

PowerColor HD 4770 AGP Gets Listed, Fastest AGP Card in the Making?

ATI looks to be still in the mood to cater to the dying breed of AGP motherboard users. A Radeon HD 4770 graphics card made by PowerColor surfaced on Amazon.com (model: 1A1-G000004992), that boasts of support for the AGP interface, although a picture of the PCI-E variant accompanies it. The store claims it to be in stock, and priced at US $99, although PowerColor's website has no trace of it. We are in the process of finding out more about this card.

If indeed PowerColor made such a card, AGP users have something to rejoice: the fastest AGP accelerator, one that puts them into the current-generation of GPUs. The card features 640 stream processors, is DirectX 10.1 compliant, and features 512 MB of GDDR5 memory across a 128-bit memory interface. Until now, the fastest AGP card from ATI is the Radeon HD 3850 AGP.

Update (05/13): PowerColor responded to this article saying that the product is falsely advertised, and that the company neither has an HD 4770 AGP accelerator, nor is it currently in the works. In the course of the conversation however, the company disclosed that it is working on products based on the Radeon HD 4600 series (HD 4650, HD 4670) that are AGP-compatible.

Samsung Launches 32-Gigabyte Embedded Memory Card, Uses 30nm-class NAND Technology

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., the world leader in advanced semiconductor technology solutions, announced shipment of its 32-Gigabyte (GB) moviNAND, the highest density embedded memory card utilizing advanced 30-nanometer (nm) class process technology. Use of high-density embedded memory improves the performance of high-end phones and other mobile consumer electronics when processing and storing large amounts of multimedia content such as videos, video games and TV broadcasts.

The 32 GB moviNAND is the first embedded memory card to use 32 Gigabit (Gb) NAND devices produced with 30nm-class process technology. The new Samsung card doubles the density of the previous generation of moviNAND that is now being produced with 16 Gb 40nm-class NAND chips.
Tuesday, May 12th 2009

Today's Reviews

Case Modding
Cases
Cooling
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Input Devices
Memory
Motherboards
Mouse
Nettops
PSUs
SSD
Lian Li PC-B71 & Silent Force 650W

Lian Li PC-B71 & Silent Force 650W

The Lian Li PC-B71 takes the same concept as the A7010 - which is already an excellent choice - and improves on it in many areas. You will get a whopping seven hot swappable SATA bays, with access to them from the front of the chassis, along with an incredible, sophisticated, metal locking mechanism for the mainboard expansion slots. This case may just be the one to inch closer to that perfect 10, even if it comes at a price.

Intel Larrabee Die Zoomed in

Intel chose the occasion of the opening ceremony for the Intel Visual Computing Institute at the Saarland University in Germany, to conduct a brief presentation about the visual computing technologies the company is currently working on. The focal point was Larrabee, the codename for Intel's upcoming "many-cores" processor that will play a significant role in Intel's visual computing foray way beyond integrated graphics. The die-shot reveals in intricate network of what look like the much talked-about x86 processing elements that bring about computing parallelism in Larrabee. Another slide briefly describes where Intel sees performance demands heading, saying that its growth is near-exponential with growth in common dataset sizes.

Leadtek WinFast HPVC1100 Becomes First External SpursEngine-based Video Encoder

Leadtek has been toying with the idea of bringing Toshiba's SpursEngine HD video encoder to the masses. The company earlier unveiled one of the first consumer add-on cards to sell this technology, and now has an external video encoder unit called Leadtek WinFast HPVC1100. The device connects to a host PC using PCI-Express cabling. It weighs 194x45x90 mm, and 0.7 kg (1.54 lbs).

SpursEngine is a video encoding concept originally conceived by Toshiba, which uses a modified CELL Broadband Engine chip to handle HD video on some of its premium laptops. It is said to accelerate PEG4-AVC/H.264, MPEG-2 video encoding, although performance figures are yet to surface. The SpursEngine processor makes use of 128 MB of Rambus XDR memory. The pricing and availability for HPVC1100 are yet to be known.

Worldwide PC Microprocessor Market Remained Weak in 1Q09, IDC Reveals

Worldwide PC microprocessor shipments in the first calendar quarter of 2009 (1Q09) fell significantly for the second quarter in a row, according to new data from IDC. While the decline was slightly more than typically occurs between fourth quarter and first quarter, IDC believes that the market's decline is slowing.

In 1Q09, worldwide PC processor unit shipments declined -10.9% from 4Q08 to 1Q09, as compared to -17.0% from 3Q08 to 4Q08. Unit shipments declined -13.0% from 1Q08 to 1Q09.

Market revenue declined -11% from 4Q09 to 1Q09, as compared to -18.0% from 3Q08 to 4Q08. Revenue declined -25.1% from 1Q08 to 1Q09.

ZOTAC Unleashes Blu-ray Ready ION Mini-ITX Platforms

ZOTAC International, an award-winning manufacturer of graphics cards and motherboards, today unleashes its first eco-friendly all-in-one platform - the ZOTAC ION. The ZOTAC ION delivers an integrated CPU and GPU with high-definition video playback and SATA RAID capabilities into a single mini-ITX platform. Powered by a brand new NVIDIA ION graphics processor, the ZOTAC ION is ready to take on DirectX 10, OpenGL 2.1, NVIDIA CUDA and PhysX games and applications with its 16 blazing-fast stream processors. An integrated Intel Atom processor provides ample performance for daily productivity, email and web browsing tasks.
Single and dual-core Atom processors power the ZOTAC ION. A single-core Atom N230 processor delivers plenty of power for daily computing uses while an optional dual-core Atom N330 processor is available for those demanding more power.

First Single-PCB GeForce GTX 295 Accelerator Spotted

So it is true! NVIDIA does have a single-PCB GeForce GTX 295 accelerator in the works, and partners already seem to have access to it. The card must have had some serious development put into it, given the sheer complexity of the PCB (to cram two G200b GPUs, their display processors, and the PCI-E bridge chip, along with 28 memory chips). The accelerator first surfaced in the form of CAD drawings, in March.

The PCB is pretty straight-forward: populate all the important logic on its business-side, and the memory on either sides. The card maintains its requirement for 8 + 6 pin PCI-E power input. Its VRM is spread across two main areas, to power a GPU system each. Internal SLI connects the two systems, while also providing support for Quad-SLI. Each GPU features 240 shader processors, along with 896 MB of GDDR3 memory across a 448-bit memory interface. Also pictured is the cooler: A fan nucleates the cooler, and blows in two opposite directions. The air is guided by the shroud onto two dense aluminum fin arrays that cool each GPU-system. The back of the card may use a heatspreader to cool the memory, like how the GeForce GTX 280 does it. While we don't expect this design to bring down the retail price of the card, we do believe that the design is mainly to provide partners, and retailers with decent margins that make selling the card a worthwhile venture. With the older design, it might not have been the case.

Intel Invests $12 Million to Create Visual Computing Research Center in Europe

Intel Corporation is investing $12 million to create a new research center that will explore advanced graphics and visual computing technologies. Opening today, the Intel Visual Computing Institute is located at Saarland University in Saarbrücken, Germany. The investment, to be made over 5 years, represents Intel's largest European university collaboration.

Visual computing is the analysis, enhancement and display of visual information to create life-like, real-time experiences and more natural ways for people to interact with computers and other devices. Applications include games, medical imaging and interactive 3-D data models used in areas such as scientific research and financial services. Intel's visual computing vision is to realize computer applications that look real, act real and feel real.

ASUS Announces My Cinema-EHD3-100/NQA/FM/AV/MCE RC Dual Hybrid TV Card

ASUS today proved that TV quality and CPU bandwidth do not have to be trade-offs with the launch of its new ASUS My Cinema-EHD3-100/NAQ/FM/AV/MCE RC PCI-express Dual TV card. Designed for users seeking to watch and record both digital (ATSC/QAM) and analog (NTSC) TV channels simultaneously without taking a CPU hit, the ASUS My Cinema-EHD3-100/NAQ/FM/AV/MCE RC is embedded with a MPEG2 hardware encoder that dramatically reduces CPU loading while guaranteeing high quality video. With the ASUS My Cinema-EHD3-100/NAQ/FM/AV/MCE RC PCI-express Dual TV card, any PC can easily be turned into a smart multimedia center.

Windows 7 to Hit Retail This Holiday Season

Laying to rest months of speculation surrounding the launch date of Windows 7, Microsoft categorically stated that it is readying the OS to ship in time for the holiday shopping season (aka Christmas 2009 shopping season). "With early RC testing and extensive partner feedback we've received, Windows 7 is tracking well for holiday availability," says Bill Veghte, senior VP of the Windows Business at Microsoft. The launch comes ahead of what was earlier speculated, "three years after the launch of Windows Vista", putting it sometime early 2010. Windows 7 launch will be accompanied by the company's release of Windows Server 2008 R2. While the company is yet to provide an actual release date, a recent statement from Acer's Bobby Watkins saying that it would reach retail by October 23 sounds plausible. It comes after the "back to school" season, and weeks ahead of the holiday shopping season.

Galaxy Rolls-out New GeForce GTS 250 With Faster Memory

Graphics major Galaxy pulled out another GeForce GTS 250 accelerator from its hat, this time, laying design emphasis on the cooler and memory. The new cooler design, as claimed by the company, keeps temperatures up to 5 °C cooler than what a reference-design cooler would manage. To bring about electrical stability, Galaxy used a 5-phase power circuit. Its 512 MB of GDDR3 memory is made of high-performance 0.8 ns DRAM chips made by Samsung. This, again as the company claims, offers memory overclocking headroom till 1300 MHz (2600 MHz DDR), from its stock speed of 1100 MHz (2200 MHz DDR). Its clock speeds are in tune with the reference speeds: 738/1836/2200 MHz (core/shader/memory). Its price is yet to be known.

Patriot's Introduces Torqx Solid-State Drive, latest in SSD Buffered Technology

Patriot Memory, a global pioneer in high-performance memory, NAND flash and computer technology, today announced the release of their Torqx SSD Series.

The Torqx SSD line is one of Patriot's latest releases designed with Patriot's new cutting-edge technology that adds 64MB of DRAM cache in conjunction with its current equipped NAND technology.

"With SSD technologies becoming more 'mainstream' in the consumer market, Patriot's goal is to give their customers discretion across their purchasing preferences," says Meng J. Choo, Patriot's Flash Product Manager. "In these tough economic times, consumers are looking for options; our goal is to give them that opportunity to add new technology, and have no reservations about their decisions."
Monday, May 11th 2009

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Game Controllers
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Input Devices
Keyboards
Motherboards
Mousepads
Nettops
Notebooks
PSUs
Storage
AirLive! WMU-6000FS

AirLive! WMU-6000FS

The AirLive! WMU-6000FS is not just an access point/wireless router. It can also hold a 2.5" hard drive and has USB ports to function as print server or network storage device. An interesting device for people wanting to share their documents on a home network without creating a cable mess or having countless separate devices.

Corsair Announces New 256GB High-Performance Solid-State Drive

Corsair, a worldwide leader in high-performance computer and flash memory products, today announced the launch of the Corsair Storage Solutions P256 high-performance 256GB solid-state drive (SSD).

The Corsair Storage Solutions P256 has been designed using cutting-edge technology to deliver the highest performance and compatibility, in a capacity that is big enough to replace conventional storage solutions in a high-performance PC. The P256 uses specially selected Samsung MLC flash memory and a sophisticated Samsung Controller IC, coupled with 128MB of super-fast cache memory and Native Command Queuing (NCQ) support for blistering, stutter-free performance, delivering read speeds of up to 220MB/sec and write speeds of up to 200MB/sec.

NVIDIA Releases WHQL-Certified nForce Drivers for Windows 7

Since Microsoft kicked off its WHQL certification program for Windows 7, hardware vendors such as NVIDIA have taken serious initiatives to release new drivers that are certified to run with the new OS. Less than a week after releasing GeForce 185.85 WHQL drivers for Windows 7, NVIDIA today made nForce WHQL drivers official. NVIDIA uses a unified driver for its nForce series motherboard chipsets, which are of two main classes: for chipsets with integrated GeForce graphics, and for chipsets without integrated graphics. nForce WHQL 15.35 supports nForce chipsets for both AMD and Intel platforms without integrated graphics, while nForce WHQL 15.37 deals with support for nForce chipsets for both platforms with integrated graphics. Refer to the "supported products" tab at NVIDIA's driver page for more information. The driver package provides drivers for the Ethernet controller(s), SATA/IDE controller, RAID/AHCI controller, SMU, the IGP (depending on the driver you choose, and if an IGP is present), and provides Network Management Tools along with RAIDTool. You need to install the appropriate driver irrespective of your chipset featuring an IGP that has been disabled.

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Integrated Graphics Chip Market to Disappear by 2012 According to Jon Peddie Research

Jon Peddie Research (JPR), the industry's research and consulting firm for graphics and multimedia, today announced a new study that indicates the end of the market for the popular integrated graphics chipset, known as the IGP.

After fifteen years of stellar growth the IGP will cease to exist, replaced by embedded graphics in the processor. Integrated graphics are used in desktop and net top PCs, notebooks, and netbooks, and various embedded systems such as point of sale, set-top boxes, and signage systems.

Windows 7 Retail Jewel-case Designs Surface

Microsoft impressed many by releasing the evaluation version Windows 7 Release Candidate ahead of the formal launch of its Windows 7 line of client operating systems. Polish website CentrumXP.pl caught early glimpses of what the jewel-cases of the some of the variants of Windows 7 could look like, along those of the Anytime Upgrade packs that let users promote their Windows 7 variant to a higher variant. The case design resembles that of Windows Vista, along with variants retaining the box color scheme from those of their predecessors. The Windows logo looks frosty-white, and gets some of the motifs from the default user login background Windows 7 RC sports.

EU Completes Intel Antitrust Case Investigations, Likely to Find it Guilty: Sources

The European Union trade regulatory body is expected to announce its verdict on the high-profile antitrust case against Intel on Wednesday. The company has been booked under charges relating to market malpractice, by influencing computer hardware manufacturers to postpone and/or cancel launches of their products that use CPUs made by its rival AMD. Intel allegedly abused its market position in the CPU industry, to cripple the growth of AMD in Europe, by offering special rebates to computer hardware manufacturers to restrict or eliminate the use of AMD processors. The company allegedly even influenced retailers by offering inducements to sell computers only with Intel processors installed.

The first violation by Intel is that it allegedly set set percentages of its own chips that it wanted PC makers to use, according to sources. Examples include NEC, which was told that only 20 percent of its products could use AMD processors. All Lenovo-made notebooks use Intel processors, while 95% of HP's product-line features Intel processors, sources said.

Koolance Releases its First LN2 Evaporator

Water-cooling specialist Koolance released its first liquid-nitrogen evaporator. An LN2 evaporator, sometimes called "LN2 pot" is a metal flask that makes direct contact with a heat source, and conveys its heat to liquid nitrogen that the user pours into the flask. The heat instantly evaporates nitrogen, and some extremely low temperatures are brought about. Koolance CPU-LN2 measures 6cm x 20 cm x 6 cm (WxHxD) without the support bracket, and weighs in at 1.58 kg (around 3.5 lbs). It is built using nickel-plated copper, with acetal to shroud its upper portion. It supports the entire range of current CPU sockets, that include Intel sockets LGA-1366, LGA-775, LGA-771, s603/4, s478, and AMD sockets AM3/AM2+/AM2, s939/940, and s754. It is available at the company website for US $144.99.

Microsoft to Test Windows 7 Update System

Having propagated Windows 7 RC to a sizable amount of users, Microsoft has created an ideal environment to test the operating system's update system. To test it, Microsoft will release up to ten mock updates this week, starting from Tuesday. The updates do not affect the system in any way, except that they are used by Microsoft to test how the update system itself is able to deal with the various kinds of updates to the OS and its components, in various scenarios generated by people's different hardware configurations and software environments.

These however, won't be the first updates Windows 7 RC received so far. On May 7, Microsoft released a critical-update that fixes an important stability issue with the 32-bit version of Windows 7 RC. Most mock-updates will install automatically. A certain mock-update will also test a notification feature. This particular update will not install automatically, but rather the user will be prompted to install it (which is what is being tested). To decline from testing the updates, users must toggle Automatic Updates to a setting other than what the OS recommends. Under the hood, the mock-updates simply replace system files with their exact duplicates that are downloaded, hence the system isn't affected in any way. Tests such as these will help Microsoft come up with a much more stable OS when it finally releases.

GLOBALFOUNDRIES Appoints Head of Design Enablement

GLOBALFOUNDRIES, the new leading-edge semiconductor foundry company formed by a joint venture between AMD and Advanced Technology Investment Company (ATIC), today announced the appointment of Curtis "Mojy" Chian as senior vice president of design enablement.

Chian brings more than two decades of leadership experience in silicon process technologies, most recently at Altera Corporation, where he served as vice president of technology development. At GLOBALFOUNDRIES, he will be responsible for global design enablement and will be the primary technical customer interface-working closely with customers to efficiently bring the world's most sophisticated chip designs to market.

GIGABYTE Launches GV-N98TSL-1GI Graphics Accelerator with Silent-Cell Cooling

GIGABYTE Technology Co. LTD., a leading manufacturer of motherboards and graphics cards, today released GIGABYTE passive thermal resolution graphics accelerator GV-N98TSL-1GI. Adapting leading passive thermal technology, GIGABYTE is proud to provide the only passive GV-N98TSL-1GI in the market. GV-N98TSL-1GI features 1GB GDDR3 memory and 112 stream processors to provide all professional gamers with an extremely quiet and exciting gaming environment.

With outstanding innovation ability, GV-N98TSL-1GI rewrites the records of passive thermal technology. First features GIGABYTE latest in-house passive thermal resolution: Slient-Cell on NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GT, GV-N98TSL-1GI supports all heavy loading games and provides excellent cooling effects. By adopting ultra-huge pure copper base with 3 heat pipes, heats can spreads effectively from hot areas. In addition, GV-N98TSL-1GI enhances the overall cooling capability by utilizing the precision process to deliver zero-interval combination between heat pipes and fins.

New MSI GeForce GTX 260 Accelerator Draws Inspiration from Red Camp

With NVIDIA lowering the prices of the GeForce GTX 260 almost at will, its partners are pushed to innovate their own designs that lets them make the most margins out of the tight market segment. At $170~$200, partners have come up with a newer breed of GeForce GTX 260 (55 nm, 216 SP) accelerators with some very interesting designs. MSI on its part has come up with a certain design that looks very familiar for the fact that it looks to be inspired to a large extent by the ATI Radeon HD 4870/4890. The MSI N260GTX-T2D896-OCv4 uses a red PCB, and a cooler design that takes inspiration from that of the reference Radeon HD 4870 to the extent that it looks pleasantly amusing. The heatsink over the card's VRM area coarsely resembles a shorter one on the reference-design Radeon HD 4850. Aesthetics apart, this card is factory overclocked, with speeds of 655/2100 MHz (core/memory). It packs 896 MB of GDDR3 memory. American retailer Newegg.com has it listed for $174.99, which further goes down to $154.99 with the optional rebate.

Images Courtesy: Newegg.com

Photofast Lures With 128 GB 1.8-inch G-Monster IDE V2 SSD

Japanese storage specialist, famed for its recent 1000 MB/s G-Monster Promise SSD Card is on the prowl with what looks like an entry-level notebook SSD that offers some of the core advantages of solid-state storage along with legacy compatibility. The Photofast G-Monster 1.8" IDE V2 is exactly what its name carries: a 1.8-inch SSD with the IDE interface. The speeds it offers can be easily matched by a high-end conventional hard-drive in its form-factor, 85 MB/s sequential read, and 50 MB/s sequential write, though its USP isn't exactly its speed: it is that of portability, much better shock-resistance against conventional hard drives, and the lower access time flash-based storage offers. It comes with a capacity of 128 GB, and a MTBF of 1 million hours. The drive is backed by the company's 1-year warranty. Its price isn't known just yet. Detailed specifications can be read here.

Pentium Dual Core E6300 Spotted

Intel continues to use the Pentium brand name for its series of downscaled Core 2 series processors between the Core 2 Duo and Celeron lines. Japanese website ASCII.jp spotted a new model under the series, the E6300, originally slated for end of May. A retail box was spotted at a ground store. The most peculiar part of the name is its model number "E6300", which that has been used by one of the earliest Core 2 Duo models. The Pentium E6300 however, is the faster chip. While the Core 2 Duo E6300 is clocked at 1.86 GHz, with 2 MB of L2 cache and 1066 MHz FSB, the Pentium E6300 is clocked at 2.80 GHz with the same FSB speed and L2 cache size.

The Pentium E6300 achieves its 2.80 GHz speed with a bus multiplier of 10.5 (x 266 MHz). It is based on the 45 nm Wolfdale-2M core. The model follows the Pentium E5400 (2.70 GHz, 13.5 x 200 MHz) and falls into the E6000 series for having the 1066 MHz FSB. So in essence, it falls between the E5000 series' use of the Wolfdale-2M core, and the E7000 series' use of the 1066 MHz FSB. ASCII.jp notes its price to be at ¥8,880 (around US $90).
Saturday, May 9th 2009

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Graphics Cards
Keyboards
Monitors
Notebooks
Processors
PSUs
Storage

Samsung Introduces New Slim Touch of Color LCD Monitors

Samsung Electronics America, a subsidiary of Samsung Electronics Corporation, the number one worldwide brand of LCD display products, today announced the release of its 70 Series Monitors: the P2070, P2370 and P2370HD. These slim LCD monitors, with screen depths of 30 mm (1.18 inches) for the P2070 and P2370 and 65.5mm (2.58 inches) for the P2370HD and Touch of Color (ToC) design, are the latest release of Samsung's high performance displays.
"The 70 Series offers our customers a sophisticated-looking LCD monitor with the performance capability of our televisions," said J.H. Kim, President of Samsung Electronics America's Information Technology Division. "The 70 Series is the new standard as more people upgrade their monitors for additional uses, like watching television programs and playing video games."

A-DATA Launches New DDR2-1066 XPG Gaming Dual-Channel Kits

Although DDR2 memory slightly going out of fashion, in favour of DDR3, A-DATA recently said it is releasing new DDR2-1066 memory kits under the company's XPG Gaming DRAM line. New dual-channel kits comprised of two 2 GB or 1 GB DDR2-1066 MHz modules will be made available. Both memory kits will work with CL6-6-6-18 timings at 2.0±0.1 V. Like most high-performance memory products, the new XPG kits will come with a lifetime warrany.

NVIDIA Releases CUDA ToolKit Version 2.2

NVIDIA announced today it has released version 2.2 of the CUDA Toolkit and SDK for GPU Computing. This latest release supports several significant new features that deliver a major leap forward in getting the most performance out of NVIDIA's massively parallel CUDA-enabled GPUs. In addition, version 2.2 of the CUDA Toolkit includes support for Windows 7, the upcoming OS from Microsoft that embraces GPU Computing.
Developers can download the latest CUDA Toolkit, SDK, and drivers now from here.

Fujitsu Terminates Business Alliance with TDK

Fujitsu Limited today announced that it has come to an agreement with TDK Corporation ("TDK") to terminate their strategic business alliance in regard to hard disk drive ("HDD") heads, and in conjunction, the companies will dissolve their joint-venture agreement regarding HDD head manufacturer TDK FUJITSU Philippines Corporation ("TFPC"; 66% owned by TDK and 34% owned by Fujitsu).

Cooler Master Presents Core i5 Compatible Hyper TX3 CPU Cooler

Cooler Master last week presented its new Hyper TX3 cooler to the world. Measuring 90 x 51 x 139 mm, the Hyper TX3 will fit the yet to be released Intel Socket LGA 1156. The cooler uses three heatpipes and aluminum heatsink that supports up to 92 mm fans, although the standard cooler fits only one 92 mm fan which spins between 800 and 2800 rpm and has a minimum sound output of 17 dBA. Except LGA 1156, Hyper TX3 is also compatible with Intel's LGA 775, and AMD sockets 754/939/940/AM2/AM3. Expect the cooler to go on sale next month for $19.99.
Friday, May 8th 2009

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Keyboards
Memory
Motherboards
Mouse
NAS
Netbooks
Processors
Storage

MSI Announces Syren Series PC Audio Products

MSI, the worldwide high-end graphics card and professional motherboard brand-manufacturer, today proudly announced a new series of audio products - Syren series. As the name, the dreaming sound of Syren can hypnotize every person that she wants to. The person who is hypnotized can't help falling in the dreaming sound, feeling comfortable and satisfied. This is the most important feature of Syren series: "dreaming sound." The latest Syren series products include "SyrenSound X-Fi" high-end sound card, "SyrenPhone Gaming" professional gaming Headphone, and "SyrenSpeaker mini" Mini-Q speaker, targeting the user who seeks for pure and clear sound.

Point of View Releases its First NVIDIA ION Mainboards

POINT OF VIEW, well known for its range of NVIDIA based Graphics cards, is presenting today the first in a series of NVIDIA ION based mainboards: the mini-ITX POV/ION230 and POV/ION330.

Multiplying the performance level of Intel Atom based systems, the NVIDIA ION technology has been received with massive success in the market. A strong performance combined with the small form factor and extremely low power consumption; make this platform perfectly suitable for media center and family computer applications.

Fleets of New AMD Processors Closing in

After launching its 45 nm desktop CPU with its high-end CPUs such as Phenom II X4 940 and 955 Black Edition, AMD is preparing two distinct lines of mainstream and value processors: the energy-efficient line denoted by an "e" next to the model number, and the standard variant. Close to a decade into using the "Athlon" CPU brand name, the company finally chose to place a "II" next to it to denote a generation bump. The Athlon II keeps up with the Phenom II line, to make it slightly easier for consumers to discern which generation the processors belong to. The lower-end variants of the K10.5 "stars" core, that lacks L3 cache will be using this brand-name.

Taking advantage of the 45 nm core, Phenom II 900e series processors will operate in clock-speeds between 2.50 and 2.40 GHz, with complete 6 MB L3 cache. The rated TDP for the chips is 65 W. The triple-core Phenom II X3 700e series processors models 700e and 705e will operate in the same clock-speeds, with the same rated TDP. The Athlon II X4 600e and Athlon II X3 400e series processors in the making, 605e, 600e, 405e, and 400e, operate at speeds between 2.20 and 2.30 GHz. With no L3 cache to address and lower clock-speeds by the notch, the rated TDP is even lower, at 45 W.

NVIDIA Posts Net Loss of $200 Million

NVIDIA Corporation today reported financial results for the first quarter of fiscal 2010 ended April 26, 2009. For the first quarter of fiscal 2010, revenue was $664.2 million compared with $1.2 billion for the first quarter of fiscal 2009, a decrease of 42 percent. During the first quarter of fiscal 2010, NVIDIA recorded a non-recurring charge of $140.2 million in connection with a previously announced cash tender offer to purchase employee stock options. This charge represents stock-based compensation expense associated with the stock options that were tendered, plus associated payroll taxes and professional fees.
NVIDIA's results for the first quarter of fiscal 2010, computed in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), included a net loss of $201.3 million, or $0.37 per share. Non-GAAP net loss for the first quarter of fiscal 2010, which excludes recurring stock-based compensation charges, the non-recurring charge related to the tender offer, and the associated tax impact of these items, was $46.7 million, or $0.09 per share.
Thursday, May 7th 2009

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Graphics Cards
Harddisks
Headphones
Motherboards
Mouse
Multimedia
Nettops
Printers
Processors
PSUs
SSD
Storage

AMD SSE5 Gets an Instruction-Set Expansion, Coins XOP (eXtended Operations)

AMD kept up with the SIMD processing standards Intel set by licensing its popular CPU instruction sets such as MMX, SSE, SSE2, and SSE3. The three were used as is by AMD, except for that AMD chose not to conform completely with Supplemental SSE3, SSE4 and its revisions (SSE4.1, SSE4.2). The company devised the SSE4A instruction set to feature with its K10 micro-architecture. SSE4A is a lighter version that features LZCNT (Leading Zero Count), POPCNT (bit population count), EXTRQ/INSERTQ and MOVNTSD/MOVNTSS (Scalar streaming store instructions). What's more, the company even decided back in 2007 that it would come up with SSE5, that then Intel sought to leave development with AMD.

In due course of time, Intel started development of AVX (Advanced Vector eXtensions) that enhances processing of FPU-intensive workloads. AMD gained interest in this technology, and is looking to make it compatible with the originally-conceived SSE5. The instructions that remain as part of the superset that doesn't include AVX is now referred to by AMD as XOP (eXtended OPerations). In addition to this, AMD will include FMA4 (Floating point vector Multiply-Accumulate). The new instruction sets make it to AMD's next-generation Bulldozer micro-architecture slated for 2011. Meanwhile, Intel's AVX makes it to the Sandy Bridge micro-architecture slated for 2010~11. AMD published the Programmer's Manual document on 128-Bit and 256-Bit XOP, FMA4 and CVT16 Instructions, which can be read here (PDF).

Intel, Novell Extend Collaboration to Drive Moblin Adoption

Intel Corporation and Novell Inc. today announced broad efforts to closely collaborate and encourage original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and original design manufacturers (ODMs) to adopt Moblin, an optimized open source Linux software platform for enabling rich Internet experiences on Intel Atom processor-based netbooks and other mobile systems.
Intel and Novell signed an agreement outlining their plan for collaboration. Novell also announced it will create a Moblin-based product for netbooks that it will take to market to a wide range of OEMs and ODMs. Additionally, Novell will establish Novell* Open Labs in Taiwan to foster the adoption of Moblin and will work with the Taiwan Moblin Enabling Center (MEC), a joint effort of Intel and the Taiwan Institute for Information Industry, to validate designs for Moblin compliance.

SmoothCreations Announces Bulldozer Mobile Workstation

Soon after becoming the first to be out with a portable desktop alternative featuring the Intel Core i7 processor, SmoothCreations dished out another of its kind, this time a portable workstation named Bulldozer. The company is looking to target two classes of consumers with this product: gamers, and graphics professionals, who will take advantage of its hardware for high-definition gaming or CAM/CAE/CAD, medical imaging, forensics, government or military use. The applications are broad thanks to the hardware, which just might come at the expense of a little portability.

The Bulldozer features a 17-inch screen with a native resolution of 1900x1200 pixels. Under its hood is a Core i7 (models 940 or 965 XE) or Xeon X5580 processor. Up to 16 GB of memory can be opted for, along with up to 1.5 TB of storage thanks to three SATA HDD bays. A Blu-Ray combo drive provides removable storage. Connectivity options include WiFi, Gigabit Ethernet, and Bluetooth 2.0. Graphics is care of NVIDIA Quadro FX 3700 with 1 GB of memory. Depending on the application, 64-bit Windows XP, Windows Vista, or RedHat Linux could be opted for. Its pricing is not known.

Hynix, Numonyx and Phison Join to Develop NAND Memory System Solutions

Hynix Semiconductor Inc, Numonyx B.V. and Phison Electronics Corp. today announced that they have signed a collaboration agreement to jointly develop controllers for the next generation of managed-NAND solutions based on the newly released JEDEC eMMC 4.4 industry specification. The collaboration is expected to speed the delivery of the industry's most advanced eMMC specification available, helping to manage and simplify high-capacity storage requirements and improve the overall system-level performance of wireless and embedded applications.
Under this agreement, Phison, Hynix and Numonyx will leverage their respective competencies to develop controllers used in combination with a variety of NAND flash products. Phison will exclusively supply the jointly developed controllers to Hynix and Numonyx, which will enhance their respective NAND flash memory solutions portfolio.

ASRock Lists 'Windows 7-Ready' Motherboards, Has First Motherboard with Certification

Motherboard innovator ASRock has issued a partial list of its motherboards that it endorses as ready for Windows 7. The company also released the first motherboard to qualify for the Compatible with Windows 7 logo. With certification, hardware vendors look to reach out to most grass-root consumers in assuring support for the new OS, although the discerning user would know what components in the PC would suffice, even if the hardware doesn't carry certification logos.

ASRock added 14 motherboards for the Intel, and 15 for AMD platforms to its list. It includes a broad range of motherboards starting from Intel X58, Intel 4-series, NVIDIA nForce 700i series, AMD 7-series, NVIDIA nForce 700a, and 600a series. The ASRock P45XE is the company's claim to be the industry's first to sport the Windows 7 compatibility logo. Its specifications are pretty standard for motherboards in its class, and so with it, one could easily make out what are the criteria for Windows 7 compatibility. The P45XE supports the entire range of LGA-775 processors, and supports DDR2-1200/1066/800/667 MHz memory. Six SATA ports offer storage, although RAID isn't on offer since the ICH10 southbridge is used (instead of the RAID-supportive ICH10R). Two PCI-Express x16 slots supporting ATI CrossFireX technology, gigabit LAN and 8-channel audio, and ASRock's proprietary Intelligent Overclocking Technology (IET) make for the rest of the feature-set.

ASUS Dresses Eee PC 1002H in Aluminum, Makes it Faster as 1002HAE

ASUS gave the Eee PC 1002H a makeover coupled with a faster processor. The new model, 1002HAE comes in shades of deep-blue and red. It comes with a stylish aluminum skin. Under the hood is the faster Intel Atom N280 CPU clocked at 1.6 GHz, wireless networking with 802.11b/g/n, 1 GB of system memory, 160 GB of storage, 10-inch 1024x600 LED backlit display, 3.8-hour Lithium ion battery, and a 1.3 MP embedded web-camera. At the moment this model is exclusive to Japan, where it is priced at ¥49,800 (around $506).

MSI Readies R4890 Cyclone, GPU Reaches 1.00 GHz

There are overclocked Radeon HD 4890 cards, and then there are overclocked Radeon HD 4890 cards. The difference between the two seems to be that the latter comprises of the "real" RV790OC-class SKU that runs at speeds in excess of 900 MHz, and offers a considerable overclocking headroom. The former, is mainly partners utilizing whatever headroom standard batches of RV790 offer, to come up with factory-overclocked settings that spice up specs-sheets. MSI joined the league of AIBs making a high-end Radeon HD 4890 accelerator, keeping the 1.00 GHz core frequency as a milestone.

Following Sapphire with its Atomic HD 4890 Vapor-X, MSI seems to be readying the R4890 Cyclone. This card uses a cooler similar to what some of its Radeon HD 4870 cousins sport, while using an elaborate, yet standard power circuitry. The cooler consists of a radial heatsink from which 2~4 8 mm heatpipes convey heat to two aluminum fin blocks that are arranged on either sides of the heatsink. A fan nucleates the heatsink, although it didn't make it to the picture. Over to the PCB, MSI does away with the lavish digital PWM circuitry on the reference PCB, and in its place, put a 5+2 phase standard DPAK power circuitry. What's fascinating about this PCB is that it carries the AMD brandmark, leading us to believe that AMD may have come up with a cost-saving PCB design that is available to its AIBs. The R4890 Cyclone is set for launch in the upcoming Computex 2009 event.

Not all AMD Processors Support 'XP Mode' in Windows 7

A new feature of Microsoft's Windows 7 operating system that created a stir is its "XP mode" feature, where the operating system provides the user with a sandbox Windows XP desktop environment, complete with all its features, and application support. What makes the feature even more interesting that documents, settings, and XP-affine applications installed in the environment could be seamlessly integrated with the host Windows 7 environment.

It turns out now that the feature explicitly requires hardware-level virtualization support. AMD and Intel, both have their proprietary virtualization features, although the two chose to make it available only to a few CPU models. Generally, entry-level desktop/mobile CPUs don't carry the feature. For consumer client desktop variants of Windows 7, the "XP mode" feature would require AMD-V feature by the processor. Currently all processors by AMD support this, except those from the Sempron series, according to an AMD spokesperson. For enterprise variants of the OS, Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization (MED-V) MED-V 2.0 builds on top of Windows Virtual PC and provides centralized management of Windows XP Mode. MED-V is a virtualization management platform. It will be made available within 90 days of the commercial availability of Windows 7.

AMD Tightens Organization Focus on Microprocessor, Graphics, and Platform Leadership

AMD announced a new operating model that centers the organization on four equally critical functions: products, technology, marketing and customers. The new structure is designed to better optimize AMD's operations to drive industry-leading performance graphics and microprocessors and further integrate the company's x86 processor and graphics technologies.

"We are tightening our focus on delivering the winning products and platforms our customers want based on AMD's industry-leading microprocessor and graphics technologies," said Dirk Meyer, AMD president and CEO. "The next generation of innovation in the computing industry will be grounded in the fusion of microprocessor and graphics technologies. With these changes, we are putting the right organization in place to help enable the future of computing."
Wednesday, May 6th 2009

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Graphics Cards
Keyboards
Memory
Monitors
Motherboards
Multimedia
NAS
Notebooks
Processors
SSD
Storage
ASUS EAH4890 TOP w/ Super ML Capacitor

ASUS EAH4890 TOP w/ Super ML Capacitor

ASUS has sent us one of the first samples of their new EAH4890 TOP which uses a SuperML capacitor that is supposed to offer cleaner voltage resulting in better overlocking. Also this is the first card to feature a 6+8 pin PCI-Express power connector for improved voltage delivery. Last but not least, ASUS is now using a dual fan cooler with six thick heatpipes.

Intel Kicks-off 'Sponsors of Tomorrow' Campaign

Sandboxes, rock stars and clean rooms mean something entirely different at Intel Corporation, and a new integrated branding campaign by the leading silicon innovator and computer chipmaker will tell the world how.

Representing Intel's biggest marketing campaign in nearly 3 years and the first that spotlights the promotion of the Intel brand and not a processor product, "Sponsors of Tomorrow" will launch May 11 in the United States, Germany and the United Kingdom with limited teaser ads starting today online. Over the next month the campaign will expand to more than two dozen countries with Brazil and Japan rounding out the planned markets in the third quarter. The ambitious campaign conveys the message that gigantic advances of the digital age have been made possible by silicon - the key ingredient in microprocessors - and the vast majority of this silicon has come from Intel.

SiS Announces Atom-supportive SiS672/96/307DV Chipset, Drives Pegatron Ultra Slim PC

SiS today announced the SiS672/96/307DV chipset supporting the latest Intel Atom 230 CPU which has been adopted by PEGATRON to develop the Ultra Slim Atom NetTop project. SiS672 of low power consumption and fanless is equipped to bring Ultra Slim Atom NetTop into full play.

The PEGATRON Ultra Slim Atom NetTop platform, demonstrating its unique aesthetics and elaborate design with practical features to enhance the implementation of multimedia and video and to provide high quality of visual entertainment. The space-saving design is only 0.5L of the mini tower chassis with SiS672/968/307DV chipset on motherboard. The frequency of Wi-Fi wireless network options can reach up to 2.4~2.5GHZ for remote access. The ultra slim NetTop system is designed to perfectly link with various LCD monitor models so as to catch on the All-in-One LCD PC market.

Arctic Cooling Announces Alpine 11 Series Coolers for Socket LGA-1156

To cope with the future demand for the up-and-coming Intel socket 1156, the Swiss low noise cooling solution provider ARCTIC COOLING today announced the launch of the new Alpine 11 series. This new CPU cooler series consists of three models - Alpine 11 Pro, Alpine 11 and Alpine 11 GT to target different purchasing groups.

The Intel Core i5 for socket 1156 is expected to be released in Q3. Multi-compatible with both the new sockets and 775, this new Alpine series is definitely a perfect choice for those who would like to go for a future-proof cooler.

Corsair HX850W Pops Up

Following a recent exposé of the modular HX750W, another PSU from Corsair caught us by surprise: the HX850W. This one comes near-identical to the HX750W, in terms of its built, and the cable connectivity on offer, except for that it offers a higher DC output at 850W continuous. Its standard features include compliance with ATX12V v2.3 and EPS12V 2.91 standards, double forward switching circuitry that offers stellar efficiency of up to 90%, 105 °C industrial-grade capacitors, and flat-modular cables. This model also fills that little gap that existed between the HX750W and HX1000W, by offering nearly the same features as its cousin from the TX series (TX850W), with the advantage of modularity. TechConnect Magazine also disclosed its price to be £140 (around US $210) in the UK.

Samsung PRAM Reaches Production in June

Silicon giant Samsung is making PRAM a reality next month, after its announcement back in 2006. PRAM, or phase-change random-access memory, uses a technique of phase-transition of chalcogenide glass to store data. The active component can quickly change its form from crystalline, to micro-crystalline (amorphous), when subjected to charge. The cycle takes place so quickly, that it can be used to store and deliver data at speeds up to 30 times higher that NAND or NOR flash memory, and support write-cycles at least 10-times higher than the two.

The best of both NOR and NAND are on offer: the random-access speeds of NOR, and the permanent-storage of NAND. The first line of PRAM chips from Samsung are set for mass-production in June. It will arrive in capacities of 512 MB. On its application front, so far no other companies have announced products that can utilize the new technology, nor has such an announcement come from Samsung, but the company will definitely need a few "launch-vehicles" for PRAM in the very near future.

NZXT Launches Beta Classic Mid-tower Chassis

NZXT has officially rolled out its Beta classic chassis, targeting value minded LAN-going gamers. The mid-tower steel case measures 200 x 430 x 501 mm and weighs around 7.28 kg. The result is a case big enough to fit four external 5.25-inch drives, 5x 3.5-inch hard drives, and large 10.5-inch performance graphics cards. Inside, the Beta case is all painted in black. For good air circulation, NZXT has prepared mouths for 4x 120 mm fans (1x front, 1x rear, and 2x side) and a meshed front panel that improves airflow. The front mounted 120 mm fan can be 38 mm thick, to maximise airflow even further.
"Given the current economic conditions, we wanted to offer gamers a sleek, sturdy case built for performance and maximum expandability without breaking the bank" said Johnny Hou, Chief Designer at NZXT. "Beta provides the perfect solution for a sub $1,000 PC and will give gamers multiple options when configuring a rig with phenomenal value."
The Beta will be available in May at an MSRP of $49.99 . For more information on the case click here.

AMD Releases Industry's First WHQL-certified Drivers for Windows 7

AMD is ready with the industry's first WHQL-certified set of drivers for Microsoft Windows 7. The Catalyst WHQL Windows 7 driver comes as yet another first for AMD, and a first for Microsoft's Windows 7 certification program. Dated 5/5/2009, the drivers carry the version 8.612, feature full support for Windows Display Driver Model (WDDM) 1.1 and works with ATI Radeon HD 2000, HD 3000, and HD 4000 series. The drivers also provide support for ATI Stream GPGPU technology.

DOWNLOAD: ATI Catalyst 8.612 WHQL for Windows 7 64-bit, and Windows 7 32-bit.

Core i7 940 to be Phased Out

Intel's Core i7 has proven to be a fitting successor to Intel's higher-end Core 2 series processors, and is the fastest series of microprocessors the industry has to offer. Introduced in three variants: models 920 (2.66 GHz), 940 (2.93 GHz) and 965 XE (3.20 GHz), Intel targeted the sub-$300, sub-$600, and sub-$1100 segments. Due to the reasonably good overclocking potential the chips offer, 920 has been a successful variant due to its price, while 965 XE sold due to the sheer fact that it's a high-end chip with bus multipliers unlocked. The 940, however seems to have fallen in a tough spot, where buyers have to pay almost twice the price of 920 for a small increase in speeds.

To provide a better deal for the sub-$600 segment, Intel is in the works of phasing-out the Core i7 940. In its place, Intel will introduce the Core i7 950. This chip first surfaced in February. Its specifications include clock-speed increased to 3.06 GHz, while retaining the 4.8 GT/s QPI speed. This chip widens the gap between itself and the 920, providing the incentive of a significantly higher bus multiplier (23 x 133 MHz). An increased multiplier value will have its impact on the overclocking potential. As for 940, the company will continue taking orders from channel vendors till September 4th, in both tray and boxed forms, which will be delivered by November 5th and December 4th, respectively.

LaCie Introduces Two Network Storage Servers for Workgroups

LaCie announced today the availability of two new high capacity Network Attached Storage (NAS) solutions - Big Disk Network and d2 Network. These professional file servers are optimized for users to instantly store, share, and back up files, from any PC or Mac on a wired or wireless network. LaCie's new NAS solutions deliver high-performance and professional-class reliability, in an easy-to-use network solution for the home or small office.

The d2 Network supports up to 1.5TB capacity, while the Big Disk Network combines two drives in a RAID 0 setting, for up to 3TBs of storage. Both NAS solutions are perfect for advanced users or small to medium sized offices that want to develop workgroup environments for up to 50 users (15 at one time). Network administrators can choose from various security levels for user profiles, groups, and public or guest access. Users can connect an external USB drive to increase security through scheduled backups, or even expand capacity. The d2 Network also includes an eSATA connection for storage expansion.

Patriot Memory Expands their DDR2 SODIMM Line with 4GB and 8GB

Patriot Memory, a global pioneer in high performance memory, NAND flash and computer technology, today announced their DDR2 4GB and 8GB SODIMM mobile solutions to answer the need of extreme mobile computing.

"The performance gap between mobile and desktop computing has reduced significantly over the recent introduction of more powerful mobile platforms," commented Les Henry, Director of Engineering at Patriot, "By adding Patriot's DDR2 4GB module or 8GB in dual channel mode, mobile systems can eliminate that gap and perform like a true desktop replacement."
Tuesday, May 5th 2009

Today's Reviews

Accessories
Cases
Cooling
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Memory
Monitors
Motherboards
Mouse
NAS
Notebooks
PSUs
SSD
Storage

Photofast Ready with 1000 MB/s PCI-E SSD

Recently there has been a boom in production of PCI-Express SSD cards. The cards offer fast storage by coupling arrays of SSDs across dedicated storage controllers to achieve high bandwidths. With market-heavyweights such as OCZ in the ring, this little class of storage products is here to stay. Fresh out with its first G-Monster PCI-E SSD that offers godly read/write speeds of 750/700 MB/s, Photofast is looking to push the bandwidth envelope with the G-Monster Promise. This SSD card "promises" bandwidth that scrapes the 1 GB/s mark, a significant milestone for fixed-storage.

The 3+ slot monstrosity packs 128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB, or even 1 TB of data. It uses MLC NAND-flash chips, along with a storage controller that has 256 MB of dedicated ECC DDR2 memory. The controller uses PCI-Express x8 to connect to its host. The device assures 2.5 million hours of MTBF, and read/write speeds of 1000 MB/s. All of this comes at a price, US $1616 for the 128 GB variant, $2002 for 256 GB, $3015 for 512 GB, and $4534 for 1 TB, in Japan, where it will start selling later this month.

ASUS Adds More U Series Laptops

A whole fleet of ASUS U Series laptops was launched today, ranging from the tiny 12.1-inch U20A to the well speced U80V. All in all seven laptops were introduced - U20A, U80V, U50G, U81A, U51Vg, UX50V, and UX30. Each one of them comes with a different screen size, a choice of Intel Core 2 Duo or Core 2 Solo processors, graphics options from NVIDIA and Intel, and various HDD sizes. The U series laptops come with Altec Lansing speakers and also integrate light sensor, which adjusts the brightness of the screen, as well as the backlighting of both the illuminated keyboard and interactive touchpad. Lastly, the U/UX portables also incorporate Express Gate which can boot preinstalled Linux-based operating system right after the system boot screen and before your main OS is loaded. Find full specs of all new models after the "Read full story" marker.

GT300 to Boast Around 256 GB/s Memory Bandwidth

Recently, early-information on NVIDIA's next-generation GT300 graphics processor surfaced, that suggested it to pack 512 shader processors, and an enhanced processing model. A fresh report from Hardware-Infos sheds some light on its memory interface, revealing it to be stronger than that of any production GPU. According to a piece of information that has been doing ping-pong between Hardware-Infos and Bright Side of News, GT300 might feature a 512-bit wide GDDR5 memory interface.

The memory interface in conjunction with the use of the lowest latency GDDR5 memory available, at a theoretical 1000 MHz (2000 MHz DDR) would churn out 256 GB/s of bandwidth, the highest for a GPU so far. Although Hardware-Infos puts the lowest-latency figure at 0.5 ns, the math wouldn't work out. At 0.5 ns, memory with actual clock rate of 1000 MHz would churn out 512 GB/s, so a slight inaccuracy there. Qimonda's IDGV1G-05A1F1C-40X leads production today with its "40X" rating. With these chips across a 512-bit interface, the 256 GB/s bandwidth equation is satisfied. The clock speeds of the memory isn't known just as yet, the above is just an example that uses the commonly available high-performance GDDR5 memory chip. The new GPU, at least from these little information leaks, is shaping up to be another silicon-monstrosity by NVIDIA in the making.

Lian-Li Launches Red ARMORSUIT PC-P50R Mid Tower Chassis

Lian-Li Industrial has launched the ARMORSUIT SERIES PC-P50R Mid Tower chassis ideal for gaming systems. The hair-line brushed all aluminum chassis features advanced thermal dynamics, using one fan on the front (1x 120 mm@1200 RPM), plus dual vibration reduced top mounted fans (2x 140 mm@1000 RPM) and one rear 120 mm@1500 RPM extraction fan. The 8x PCI expansion slots enable CrossFireX and Tri-SLI graphic card setups. The chassis front face has 9x 5.25" ODD bays which have filters that are washable. The front panel clips off easily and conveniently. The entire chassis is designed for tool-less implementation, so installing your hardware and getting your system up and running is extremely quick and easy. The dimensions stand at 210x490x490 mm (W, H, D). The top and front panels are clipped via special plastic kits which reduce metal on metal contact wear as well as prevent vibration. The red parts are individually anodized before assembly to ensure a quality look and feel.

Supermicro Launches 4W and 8W Atom Server Solutions

Super Micro Computer, Inc., a leader in application-optimized, high performance server solutions, today announced the launch of 4-watt and 8-watt Intel Atom processor-based Server Building Block Solutions. These extreme low-power and quiet solutions deliver the best expansion and storage features of any Atom-based platform and are designed for embedded industrial PC (IPC) applications.

These quiet, energy saving solutions make ideal storage and network appliances or print and email servers. In addition, Supermicro's mini-tower chassis with advanced user-friendly design features create a very cost-effective home or office workstation for basic computing including Internet usage, office and educational applications.

MSI Introduces MS-9A08 Industrial Platform

Micro-Star International (MSI), the top motherboard and netbook makers worldwide, has developed the powerful embedded system MS-9A08 by Industrial Platform Service Department (IPS). MSI MS-9A08 support Intel Core 2 Extreme, Core 2 Quad, Core 2 Duo, and it is designed with Intel GM45 Chipset and great for applications like digital signage, Kiosk, gaming, and thin client to satisfied high performance request.

MSI debut MS-9A08 with GM45+ICH9M-E chipset to support Intel's latest 45nm Core 2 processor, the most powerful processing core with mighty performance and advanced power-saving mechanism which help to save the earth. Besides, it adapts new generation Intel GM45 north-bridge chip which integrated with Intel GMAX4500 HD graphics core to boost 1.7 times 3D performance, its fully support to Microsoft DirectX 10 ensure visual effects and gaming compatibility. Further more, the ClearVideo technology inside MS-9A08 fully supports Blu-Ray video playback, and smoothen multiple video formats' encoding and decoding, including MPEG2, H.264 and VC1 via hardware acceleration.

GeIL Launches a Wave of New 6-channel DDR3 Kits

GeIL wants to be the first manufacturer touting the term "hexa-channel" (6-channel) DDR3 memory. While machine architectures using 6-channels (384-bit wide) memory interfaces don't exist, dual-Nehalem Xeon machines use two triple-channel memory arrays. It's a play of the word "6-channels" there. In any case, GeIL is now selling DDR3 memory in kits of six modules. Its lineup spans across three of its main memory product-lines: Value, Ultra, and Gaming series. The kits are available in a variety of configurations that include specified DRAM speeds, and timings, as listed by the table below. The kits come backed by the company's lifetime warranty.

QNAP Brings 2-bay, Intel Atom-based TS-239 Pro Turbo NAS with iSCSI

QNAP Systems today launches the 2-bay Intel Atom-based TS-239 Pro Turbo NAS with iSCSI target service for SMB and SOHO users. Adopting the low power Intel 1.6 GHz CPU, 1 GB DDRII memory, and DOM (Disk on Module) architecture, the TS-239 Pro delivers outstanding system performance in data intensive business environment. The NetBench test result shows the TS-239 Pro delivers an extremely high throughput of over 350 MBit/s when 20 clients are accessing the NAS simultaneously, which is 3 times faster than other NAS brands in the same class. With the support for two 2 TB hard drives, hot-swappable disk trays with locks, two Giga LAN ports, three USB 2.0 ports, and two eSATA ports, the NAS has become the top-class 2-bay NAS model with the best specifications and of the highest scalability, redundancy, storage capacity, and stability in the current market. The TS-239 Pro supports Windows, Mac, Linux, and UNIX OS.

Super Talent Releases New DDR3 Apple Certified Memory Modules

Super Talent made official today a new line of Mac DDR3 memory modules, which have been certified for Apple products in Apple's own compatibility labs. This new line of Mac DDR3 memory includes products for each of Apple's most popular desktop, notebook and workstation/server systems:
  • W1066SA1GA - 1 GB SODIMM DDR3-1066 Mac DDR3 memory for iMac, MacBook, MacBook Pro
  • W1066SB2GA - 2 GB SODIMM DDR3-1066 Mac DDR3 memory for iMac, MacBook, MacBook Pro
  • W1066EB1GA - 1 GB DDR3-1066 ECC Mac DDR3 memory for Mac Pro
  • W1066EB2GA - 2 GB DDR3-1066 ECC Mac DDR3 memory for Mac Pro
Shipping now, all Apple certified memories also come with a lifetime warranty. For more information, please click here.

Microsoft Windows 7 RC Available for Download

The wait is over, Microsoft has published the official download page for Windows 7 Release Candidate (RC), that's not some pirated torrent link. Offered now directly from Microsoft are five different language versions (English, German, Japanese, French, and Spanish) of both the 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows 7 RC. Minimum system specs to run Windows 7 include:
  • 1 GHz or faster 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
  • 1 GB RAM (32-bit) / 2 GB RAM (64-bit)
  • 16 GB available disk space (32-bit) / 20 GB (64-bit)
  • DirectX 9 graphics processor with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver
Don't waste more time, and go directly to the Windows 7 RC download page.

Intel Capital Invests in ASM International

Intel Capital, Intel Corporation's global investment organization, today announced an investment in ASM International (ASMI). Intel Capital's investment through open market stock purchases is 4 percent of ASMI's total common share capital, based on approximately 54 million common shares outstanding.
ASMI has been at the forefront of delivering materials and equipment innovation to integrated circuit manufacturers worldwide. ASMI's equipment and materials are used in wafer processing, assembly and packaging of semiconductor devices. Its advanced technologies, which meet key International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors criteria, are important to extending Moore's law.
Monday, May 4th 2009

Today's Reviews

Accessories
Cases
Cooling
Graphics Cards
Keyboards
Memory
Monitors
Motherboards
Mouse
Mousepads
Notebooks
PSUs
SSD
Storage
Cooler Master Storm Scout

Cooler Master Storm Scout

The CM Storm Scout is the newest additon to the gaming line-up of Cooler Master. It comes packed with a lot of gamer oriented features and mean looks. To top things off, the Scout features a built-in handle so you can carry your rig to that next big LAN party without breaking a sweat.

Sanho Extends MacBook Battery Life Up to 32 Hours with HyperMac

Sanho Corp., a company that specializes in making Apple accessories, today introduces HyperMac - an external MacBook battery pack that works with the entire Apple MacBook family of notebook computers, including all MacBook, MacBook Pro and MacBook Air models. Available in 4 different capacities of 60 Wh, 100 Wh, 150 Wh and 222 Wh (compared to MacBook Air 37 Wh only internal battery), the external battery is capable of powering the MacBook for up to 32 hours when needed - allowing for long haul flights, extended outdoor shoots, expeditions to remote locations or any situation where electricity is simply not an option. Users can check the HyperMac battery level anytime with the built-in 4-stage lighted LED indicator. HyperMac battery also comes with a USB power port to charge any USB device including the latest iPhone 3G individually or simultaneously with the MacBook. The HyperMac battery packs are now available for pre-order at HyperMac and will be shipping later this month for $199.95 (60-watt-hour battery), $299.95 (100 Wh), $399.95 (150 Wh) and $499.95 (222 Wh).

MSI Unveils N285GTX HydroGen Graphics Card

Along with the shiny new laptops, MSI today took the wraps off their latest N285GTX HydroGen graphics card powered by the 55 nm NVIDIA GeForce GTX 285 GPU series. As you have probably figured it out from the pictures, the card is equipped with an all-copper full-cover watercooling solution, specifically designed to fit in a single slot and make possible overclocking the GPU and memory components to 702 MHz (648 MHz stock) and 2600 MHz (2484 MHz stock) respectively. The card is also equipped with 1024 MB of 512-bit GDDR3 memory. No other specific characteristics have been mentioned at the time of this publication. MSI is also mum on the pricing and availability date.

AMD and Learning Games Network Sponsor A-ha Moment Video Contest

AMD and Learning Games Network today announced the A-HA Moment video contest, a competition for students to demonstrate how video game play can result in serious learning.
The contest, open to U.S. students age 13 and older in middle school, high school and post-secondary school, consists of two main categories. The "A-ha Moment" category asks contestants to create a video explaining how playing video games reinforced something they had first learned elsewhere. The "My Dream Assignment" category asks them to describe a game that could be "required playing" for a class at school. The contest is open now through May 31.

MSI Launches the GX623 and GX633 15.4-inch Laptops

MSI has rolled out two new portable PCs today, branch of the company's wide-ranging line of ECO Engine gaming laptops. The new G-series laptops dubbed GX623 and GX633 both provide a 15.4-inch display, ECO functionality with 5 different modes (Gaming mode, Movie mode, Presentation mode, Office mode, Turbo Drive mode), stylish looks, and backlit W/A/S/D keyboard buttons. The two machines recognise up to 4 GB of DDR2 RAM, up to half a terrabyte of storage and can utilize either a DVD writer or a Blu-Ray drive. What makes the two models different is the platform they are using. Model GX623 features the latest Intel Centrino 2 platform, which uses variety of Intel Core 2 Duo processors, Intel PM45 Express chipset, and mobile ATI Radeon HD4670 graphics with 512 MB DDR3 RAM. The second laptop, GX633 uses the newest AMD Turion X2 Ultra dual-core mobile processors, NVIDIA MCP77 chipset and NVIDIA GeForce GT 130M video with 512 MB DDR3 memory. Extra traits of the two laptops comprise two HD Audio speakers, wireless 802.11 b/g/n and optional Bluetooth module, 10/100/1000 Ethernet, 2x USB ports, D-Sub port, a 2 MP webcam and offer choices of 6-cell or 9-cell battery packs. Expect MSI GX623 and GX633 to arrive very soon.

Swiftech Launches Komodo Full-Cover Single-Slot Water Block for GeForce GTX 285 Cards

Recently, Swiftech has started production of a single-slot waterblock solution for NVIDIA reference design GeForce GTX 285 graphics cards named Komodo. This "full cover" waterblock cools the GPU, Voltage Regulators, I/O chip, and memory modules. Komodo represents Swiftech's latest achievements in water cooling. It uses embedded 0.6 mm pin matrix located directly above the GPU area and low restriction water channels across the whole block. The base is made of chrome plated C110 electrolytic copper, and the top is machined in black Delrin. High thermal conductivity grease pads are pre-applied in the memory and mosfet areas for user convenience. Short barb fittings are included with the block for 3/8" or 1/2" tubing. Since Swiftech Komdo occupies only one slot, it is compatible with dual and even triple SLI setups. Total weight of the block is 772 g. You can purchase it now, directly from Swiftech for $134.95.

DDRdrive LLC Claims 300,000 IOPS with Hybrid PCI-E x1 Solid-State Drive

DDRdrive LLC, another fighter in the SSD market arena, on Monday introduced the DDRdrive X1 - a PCI-Express expansion card featuring a complete solid-state storage system designed for IOPS intensive tasks. The DDRdrive X1 is a PCIe Gen 1-based hybrid SSD, that combines 4 GB of DDR memory and 4 GB of NAND flash memory. Both solid-state technologies work in concert to provide the superior characteristics of DRAM (speed, reliability, and longevity) with the NAND part used for backups. In terms of read/write speeds, the DDRdrive X1 is not that spectacular. Limited by the PCIe x1 interface it can "only" do about 215 MB/s in reads and 155 MB/s in writes. But it's the Input/Output Operations Per Second (IOPS), where X1 really shines. A single drive can hit 300,000+ IOPS Random 512B Reads and 200,000+ IOPS Random 512B Writes. That's a massive bump in operation speed compared to practically all other solid-state drives currently in production. For comparison Fusion IO's enterprise drives are estimated at 200,000 IOPS 512B read, while other consumer SSDs are rated at about 100,000 IOPS 512B read. And those 300,000+ IOPS can be achieved with a maximum power draw of only 9.91 Watts. DDRdrive X1 can also be configured to work in striped (performance) RAID 0, mirrored RAID 1, or RAID 5 regimes.
The DDRdrive X1 is shipping now for $1495 with a 5 year limited warranty. For more information, please be sure to check this page here.

Inno3D Releases GeForce 9 Series Energy Save Editions

Inno3D launches the energy efficient Inno3D GeForce 9 series E-save edition build ready for CUDA technology and delivers a best-in-class gaming experience. The effects of Global warming are concerns to people all over the world and now it is time for PC users to also save energy. The outstanding benchmark performances for the Inno3D GeForce 9 series E-save edition will continue to outwit competition while consuming less power energy.

Hitachi GST and Lenovo Sign Agreement

Hitachi Global Storage Technologies (Hitachi GST) announced that it has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Lenovo to continue its long-standing relationship as a supplier of hard disk drives (HDD) for the development of PCs and notebooks on a worldwide basis. The MOU was signed at the "2009 U.S.-China Trade and Investment Cooperation Forum" taking place during the Chinese Ministry of Commerce's customary, commercial purchasing delegation visit to the United States, which aims to improve the trade balance between China and the United States.

Acer Aspire One 751 Already Available in Taiwan

Official pictures of the $650 Acer Aspire One 751 have surfaced during the weekend. Don't get confused from the price tag, for that money you get a 11.6-inch netbook, not a notebook. System specs of Aspire One 751 are pretty standard, and as always they are based on the Intel Atom platform running a 1.33 GHz Intel Atom Z520 processors, mobile Intel US15W Express chipset, 1 GB of DDR2 RAM, and single 160 GB hard drive. The 11.6-inch display is LED backlit and comes with 16:9 1366x768 pixels resolution - ideal for HD content. Power source of the netbook, when not charging, is a 6-cell 5200 mAh battery that promises 8 hours worth of computing. Aspire One 751 is also Dolby Pro Logic sound certified and will be available in red, white, blue and black. All models will come with one year warranty and Microsoft Windows XP or Windows Vista installed. Currently the netbook is listed for sale in the Taiwanese etailer PCChrome for NT$ 21,600 (approximately $654 / 491 Euro), availability in Europe is expected later this month.
Saturday, May 2nd 2009

''Compatible with Windows 7 Logo'' Surfaces

Ahead of the launch of Microsoft's next big update to its Windows operating system, the company seems to be ready with its product compatibility assurance logo. The "Compatible with Windows 7" logo, was leaked to the media, sourced by MadboxPC. It may feature electronically, or printed as stickers. The logo will be featured on computer hardware and software that is compatible with Windows 7. What criteria exactly define qualification for this logo is not known at this point in time.

Corsair Readies New HX-series PSU

Memory specialist turned PSU specialist Corsair, has a new PSU up its sleeves. The Corsair HX750W modular PSU is an attempt by the company to fill the gap between the HX620W and the high-end HX1000W, in its HX series, a large one to begin with. There is a definite need for such a PSU since it ups the count of PCI-Express power cables from the PSU, over the relatively paltry two that HX620W offers. Cable modularity is enhanced with the flat-cables the company has been using. With the "750W" marking, we are to assume that is the continuous power rating, as with every other Corsair PSU. The model may fall in league with other ones by the manufacturer to come with a 5-year warranty. It is also indicated that the PSU will come with an 80 Plus efficiency rating. This PSU comes after the company's recent launch of the HX450W.

Intel to be Slapped with Greatest Fine in EU History

It is predicted that silicon giant Intel may face the greatest fine for its alleged anti-competitive practices, in a case heard in the European Union. Intel is currently being investigated for irregularities including encouraging hardware vendors not to use AMD products, and offering discounts. Legal analysts estimate the fine to be well over 1,000,000,000 EUR, over double that of what is heading Microsoft's way. In a statement to the New York Times, says Howard Cartlidge, head of the EU competition group at law firm Olswang in London, "I would be surprised if the fine isn't as high or higher than in the Microsoft case. Technology markets are where the European Commission has perceived particular problems due to dominant companies."

The ongoing trial in EU runs parallel to similar anti-competition trials in Japan and Korea, where Intel is found guilty. It is a joint effort between EU and United States Federal Trade Commission investogators. Despite previous convictions, Intel maintains that it has done nothing wrong and is confident of being found innocent. Says Intel spokesperson Robert Manetta, "Overall, Intel's conduct is lawful, pro-competitive and beneficial to consumers." Naturally, AMD begs to differ. Sources in AMD reveal that Intel conducted anti-competitive practices throughout, to maintain an 80-20 competition. The number took very little change even when AMD was at the peak of technology advancement over Intel.

Left 4 Dead Freaky Free Friday Held Over, Backed by Weekend Offer

The free 24-hour trial of Left 4 Dead (PC) is being extended through the night. The free trial includes access to the recently released Survival Pack DLC, which introduced a new multiplayer game mode and two additional Versus campaigns. Those who wish to give L4D and the Survival Pack a free try now have until Saturday at 5 pm GMT, with no obligation to purchase. Those who decide to purchase the full product and do so this weekend will save 40% off the regular price. For more information, please visit Steam Games
Friday, May 1st 2009

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Graphics Cards
Memory
Motherboards
NAS
Processors
PSUs
Sound Cards
SSD
Storage

Imation Ships New M-Class and S-Class SSD Drives

One more flash products maker - Imation - is announcing solid-state drives that will hit retail market in the US. The fresh S-Class and M-Class Imation drives are both available in 32 GB, 64 GB, and 128 GB capacities, and 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch form factors. For the budget-minded consumer, the M-Class boasts a 150 MB/s read speed and 90 MB/s write speed, and sports a black oxide finish - starting at $189.99. The S-Class drives bump read and write speeds to 130 MB/s and 120 MB/s respectively, but also come at a higher cost that starts from $659.99. Imation SSD drives should already be available through the company's authorized distributors, wholesalers, resellers and e-tailers in the US.

ARCTIC COOLING Unveils Accelero L2 Pro VGA Cooler

For the second time this week, Swiss company ARCTIC COOLING pulls out new product. Named Accelero L2 Pro and measuring 119 (L) x 94 (W) x 51 (H) mm this cooler fits most ATI and NVIDIA graphics cards. It features an aluminm heatsink with pre-applied MX-2 thermal compound, and a 27 CFM 92 mm PWM fan that spins from 900 to 2,000 RPM. The full weight of the cooler is measured 240 g, and with these concrete specs it has up to 100 Watts cooling capacity. The Accelero L2 Pro comes with a 6-year limited warranty. It will be available in June 2009 for US $16.00 and 12.50€ (excl. VAT). Full list of supported graphics cards follows:
  • ATI Radeon series: HD 4850, 4830, 4670, 4650, 4550, 3870, 3850, 3650, 3470, 3450, 2600, 2400, X1950, X1900, X1800, X1600, X1550, X1300
  • NVIDIA GeForce series: 9800, 9600, 9500, 9400, 8800, 8600, 8500, 7950, 7900, 7800, 7600, 7300, 6800,
    6600, FX5950, FX5900, FX5800, FX5700

S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat for PC Announced

GSC Game World, publisher of the highly-acclaimed Survival FPS S.T.A.L.K.E.R. title, is glad to announce today that a new project in the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series is on its way - S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat for PC. Call of Pripyat is the working title of the game, so it might change before the final game is released. S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat will become the third stand-alone game from the series. The events in the game unfold shortly after the end of S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl. Having discovered about the open path to the Zone center, the government decides to hold a large-scale military "Fairway" operation aimed to take the CNPP under control. However, the operation becomes a major fail, and a team of Ukraine Security Service agents is sent to collect information on reasons behind the operation's bad ending. Players will take on the role of an agent, and write their own story from that point on. The title is slated for release in fall 2009. Below are some of the main features of this new exciting game.

Dell Expands Art Choices for Studio 15 and Studio 17 Notebooks

Dell has substantially extended the amount of art available for its Studio notebooks, according to the company's official press release posted yesterday. More than 120 additional art choices are now at your disposal, waiting to be applied to any of Dell's popular Studio 15 and Studio 17 laptops. The artist names that stay behind the new arts are Deanne Cheuk, Maya Hayuk, Jason Holley, TWEEQIM (the design studio made up of husband and wife team miQ and Thuy3), Thailand native Korakrit Arunanondchai, Filth (the nom de guerre of designer and artist Lucas Irwin), painter Robert Hargrave, Peter Stevens, Keith Warner and OBVLN. To make your choice easier, Dell has categorized the art by theme: classic designs, artists, patterns, colors and (PRODUCT) RED. The company will offer the full line of new designs in the US only for now. More info here.

Toshiba and Fujitsu Conclude Definitive Agreement on HDD Business Transfer

Toshiba Corporation and Fujitsu Limited today announced that they have concluded a definitive agreement on the transfer of Fujitsu's hard disk drive (HDD) business to Toshiba. The agreement follows a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed by the companies on February 17, 2009. The companies will now seek to complete the business transfer by the target date of July 1st, 2009.

AMD Marks its 40th Year as a Technology Innovator

AMD today kicked off activities to recognize 40 years of innovation in the semiconductor industry and its important role as a catalyst for enabling next-generation solutions. May 1, 2009 will mark the official 40-year anniversary of AMD's founding by Jerry Sanders and seven co-founders in 1969. As part of the year-long anniversary celebration, the company is holding a series of contests in the U.S. and Canada as a gesture of thanks to the dedicated customers who have been, and continue to be, key to AMD's critical presence in the processor industry.
As a central hub for the contests and information about AMD's history, the company also launched a site dedicated to the 40th anniversary, with a complete timeline of AMD milestones and full details about the upcoming contests. In coming weeks the site is also expected to feature employee and customer-generated anniversary content.

ASUS Launches Graphics Cards with Super ML Caps

ASUS, world-leading producer of top quality graphic solutions, has today introduced the world's first graphics cards to utilize Multilayer Polymer Capacitors (Super ML Caps) with the self-designed ENGTX285 and EAH4890 Series. Both equipped with the Super ML Cap, the ASUS designed ENGTX285 Series allows users to enjoy up to 3.3 times GPU overclocking margins and up to 15°C cooler GPU temperatures when compared to reference designed boards; while the ASUS designed EAH4890 is equipped with the Super ML Cap, Voltage Tweak Technology and a specially designed fansink to offer up to 3 times GPU overclocking margins and 10°C cooler GPU temperatures. Additionally, with the inclusion of the EMI Shield, covered chokes, low RDS(on) MOSFETs, and solid capacitors, users can achieve extreme performances while enjoying total peace of mind.

Acer Says Windows 7 Will Be Available From October 23rd 2009

In a conversation with Pocket-lint, Acer's UK MD Bobby Watkins, has said that Windows 7 will be available pre-loaded on their upcoming All-In-One Z5600 PC from the 23 October 2009. Any of these models which come pre-loaded with Vista which are purchased up to 30 days before this date are also eligible for a free upgrade to Windows 7.

"23rd October is the date the Windows 7 will be available. There is a 30 day upgrade time so that customers don't wait to buy a new computer, so if you buy during that 30 day period, you'll get a free upgrade to Windows 7", Bobby Watkins, Acer's UK MD told Pocket-lint.

The Z5600 comes with a built-in touchscreen which one would presume is the reasoning behind Acer's decision to start pre-loading their AIO PC with Windows 7, so as to take advantage of the new OS's capabilites. Also mentioned was the fact that the new Asus Eee Top shipping at the end of september will be in store for people to "touch and feel".

There is still no official word from Microsoft on the matter, but although Windows 7 may be released to manufacturing from the end of October, it could still be a long wait to the expected date of January 2010 for Windows 7 to hit retail.

Corsair Announces 16 GB Flash Voyager GT

Corsair, a worldwide leader in high-performance computer and flash memory products, today announced a new 16GB high-performance "GT" Flash Voyager USB drive. The new MLC-based Corsair 16GB Flash Voyager GT has been designed to deliver best-in-class performance for a high-capacity USB flash drive.

"People expect Corsair to deliver the highest performing products," said Jim Carlton, VP of Marketing at Corsair. "That's why our latest Flash Voyager GT offers both higher speeds and higher capacities than standard USB drives, making them ideal for discerning customers for whom high performance is a key criteria" added Carlton.

L4D Freaky Free Friday Coming on Steam

Beginning Friday at 12:01 am GMT, the PC version of Left 4 Dead will be available for a free 24-hour trial via Steam. The free trial will include access to the recently released Survival Pack DLC, which introduces a new multiplayer game mode and two additional Versus campaigns. Those who wish to give L4D and the Survival Pack a try may now pre-load everything needed to play with no obligation to purchase. For more information, please visit Steam Games.