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News Archives for February 2008

World's Fastest NAND Flash Memory Developed by Intel and Micron

Posted: February 1, 2008 @ time: 05:28AM
Author: jammin

Micron -

Micron, in partnership with Intel today announced a new high speed NAND Flash memory technology that can greatly increase the transfer rate for devices that use the silicon based storage. Designed on a 50nm process and  manufactured by a joint venture of the two companies, IM Flash Technologies (IMFT), the new memory is five times faster than conventional NAND and can reach speeds of 200MB/s (yes, that's megabytes) for reading data and 100MB/s for writing data. When you consider how much faster that is than current NAND memory, all sorts of possibilities open up. The company is working with key partners to develop technologies that will be able to take advantage of this improved performance.

Some examples where this technology could be used are suggested, such as hybrid hard drives to increase transfer rates two, or even four-fold. Digital video cameras would also be able to take advantage of the high speed memory to transfer high definition content. There is also the upcoming USB 3.0 standard to consider, with bandwidth aims of ten times that of USB 2.0 (up to 4.8 Gigabits per second). With that kind of performance possible, it looks like the popularity solid state memory has achieved recently will continue to grow. Mass production of the new memory is expected to begin in the second half of 2008. Don't expect it to be cheap!


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Hardware Roundup: Friday Edition

Posted: February 1, 2008 @ time: 07:20AM
Author: Nemo

Our Friday roundup seems to have picked up a bit after yesterday's lull with a good mix of items.  Tech ARP starts off with a bit of news telling us Windows Vista Service Pack 1 Out Next Week, at least for OEMs.  PC Perspective has some additional news in their podcast as they look at AMD Q4 results, NVIDIA ESA, VIA Isaiah x86 CPU, AMD 3870 X2 and more.  The AMD Spider platform is designed for its line of Phenom processors.  Today we get a chance to examine the MSI K9A2 Platinum AMD 790FX Motherboard from HotHardware.  For Intel fans we have two more boards from MSI based on the P35 chipset.  First in the queue is a TweakTown review of the MSI P35 Diamond Motherboard.  This board supports DDR3 memory and offers onboard X-Fi sound.  Buying a new board based on the P35 chipset means choosing between DDR2 and DDR3 memory formats.  The are trade offs involved with going with either format.  Viper Lair reviews the MSI P35 Platinum Combo board that offers you the option of using either memory type.  What could be easier?  Then there's the choice of which processor to buy.  TechSpot has a look at Intel Core 2 Duo 45nm Wolfdale vs. 65nm Conroe to see what the new 45nm technology has to offer.  Back over at TweakTown we get a look at the ASUS Triton 75 CPU Cooler that uses a passive design but also allows you to attach a 120mm fan.  Also in the cooling arena, Techgage pits two aftermarket VGA coolers against each other in their GeForce 8800 GTS/GTX Cooler Comparison.  Next off you get to compare two other products with the Razer Pro|Click Mac Gaming Mouse at Virtual-Hideout and the Steelseries Ikari Optical Gaming Mouse at Tweaknews.  Computer builders are always looking for the perfect place to house their rigs.  With so many choices it's always a tough decision and motherboards.org has a look at the Ultra Products M998 Case.  Your iPhone deserves a case of its own as well. The Otterbox for iPhone Defender Series at ThinkComputers is a good way to protect your investment.  Bjorn3D has a review of the Thermaltake Muse X-Duo Raid external storage unit.  Finally PCSTATS has another installment in their ongoing series with the Beginners Guides: Setting up an FTP Server in WindowsXP.


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Microsoft Makes Bid for Yahoo

Posted: February 1, 2008 @ time: 02:11PM
Author: Nemo

ComputerWorld -

Microsoft yesterday made an unsolicited offer to buy Yahoo for $44.6 billion.  There has been much talk over the last year or so about the possibility although Yahoo's board was reportedly cool on the idea.  That all changed as Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer presented the offer to Yahoo.  The deal represents a fairly substantial premium over the final price at yesterday's market close and is to be made in a combination of cash and stock.  Yahoo's stock price was up over 50% before the market opened this morning based on the news.  Microsoft wants to combine the search and advertising Yahoo offers to better do battle with Google.  With the online advertising market being increasingly dominated by the search giant, Microsoft expects to be able to recognize greater economies of scale through the merger while reducing costs by over $1 billion through the combined efforts of the two companies.  Even if the deal goes through, Google's share of the search and online advertising market exceeds that of Microsoft and Yahoo combined, which presumably would eliminate Google from making a counter offer for Yahoo because of anitrust concerns.


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Foxconn at CeBIT 2008

Posted: February 1, 2008 @ time: 06:36PM
Author: Nemo

Foxconn -

The CeBIT trade show is not as well known here in the States as other events such as CES, but for over 20 years it's been a major venue for showcasing digital products for home and work.  Held annually in Hannover, Germany, it is billed as the world's largest trade show of its kind.  This year, one of the main themes of the show will be Green IT. Today Foxconn has announced it will be attending the show and showcasing new solutions with a focus on performance and green products.  More than just a catchphrase,  Foxconn is committed to offering customers energy-efficient products that help the environment as well as saving customers money through lower energy costs.  On display will be new motherboards featuring the latest chipsets along with new graphics cards and cooling products.  Foxconn has been paying more attention to the enthusiast market in the past year or so and it will be interesting to see what their new lineup will bring.


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Futuremark, making games?

Posted: February 1, 2008 @ time: 07:15PM
Author: Andrewr05

Bit-Tech -

Who would have thought that the makers of the popular benchmark utilities 3DMark and PCMark would ever develop their own games? I would have never thought such a thing would happen, yet Futuremark has recently cited that it will start producing its own in house games using its own software the "Futuremark Games Studio". Futuremark has been developing the most popular benchmarking software for just about a decade, the companies 3DMark software has been known to stress even the newest graphics cards on high settings. Futuremark claimed that they will be releasing the best possible gameplay combined with the stunning visuals you've grown to like from 3DMark using their new game engine. They also claim that it wont matter whether you have a top of the line system or a low end system, their games will look good no matter what.


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Hardware Roundup: Monday Edition

Posted: February 4, 2008 @ time: 06:16AM
Author: Nemo

Our Monday roundup kicks off with a chance to ponder the question How much is enough?  Or conversely, How much is too much?  When you're dealing  with computer enthusiasts, trying to get too philosophical this early in the week may be a futile exercise.  However, we're going to give you that opportunity as we bring you several reviews and articles about Intel's new Skulltrail platform.  Skulltrail is Intel's new enthusiast platform destined to redefine 'high-end'.  First off is the Intel D5400XS motherboard supporting two quad-core processors by way of dual LGA771 sockets.  Designed initially for the QX9775 processors it will also be the first Intel-based board to also support Nvidia SLI.  The platform will also support AMD Crossfire.  All of this via four PCI-e graphics slots.  But there are some caveats involved.  For the rest of the story you can check out one of the following: Intel Skulltrail Unleashed: Core 2 Extreme QX9775 x 2 at HotHardware and Intel Skulltrail Enthusiast Platform at Techgage.  PC Perspective also offers up two articles with Intel Skulltrail and Multi-GPU Graphics: Mixed Results and Intel Skulltrail Platform Review - Eight Cores, SLI and CrossFire.  If that wasn't enough to get your blood pumping then Madshrimps has a compendium of water cooling products in their 6 High End CPU Water Blocks Tested and Compared.  For more AMD/ATI graphics card news HotHardware has the Asus EAH3870 X2 1GB TOP Sneak Peek while TweakTown reviews the factory-overclocked HIS Radeon HD 3850 IceQ 3 TurboX.  In the case department 3dGameMan has a video review of the Silverstone CW03 HTPC Case.  This sweet looking case sports a 7-inch LCD touch screen monitor as well an an all-aluminum body.  For a look at a mid-tower case, check out the Cooler Master 690 at Overclockers Online.  Another Intel X38 motherboard makes the rounds today with a preview of the Gigabyte GA-X48-DQ6 at motheboards.org.  Madshrimps makes a second appearance in today's roundup with a look at 3 MSI Webcam Models Compared.  When you hear the name Zalman the first thing you think of is cooling.  PC Apex reviews the Zalman ZM850-HP Power Supply and shows us just how they incorporated that cooling experience into a PSU (think dual heatpipes).  If you need more storage but don't have enough available SATA ports, you owe it to yourself to check out TweakTown and their review of the HighPoint RocketRAID 2300 PCI-E SATA (you can also read OCC's review HERE).  Next we have another look at the AutumnWave OnAir GT (USB HDTV Tuner) from Bjorn3D (also reviewed by OCC HERE).  RBMods has the Corsair Flash Voyager 32GB USB Flash Drive recently announced at CES.  That gives us a perfect segue for Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2008 - Part 2 from Virtual-Hideout.  Finally, Tech ARP has a couple of updates with Intel Core 2 Processor Performance Comparison Guide and Desktop Graphics Card Comparison Guide.


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Intel Reaches Two Billion Transistors

Posted: February 4, 2008 @ time: 01:40PM
Author: oldfett

BBC News -

Intel appears to be the first out of the gate with a processor that totes over 2 billion transistors, you heard me right 2,000,000,000. Intel is taking Moore’s law to heart, the law states that the number of transistors you are able to pack into a chip doubles every two years, this new chip has just about succeeded in that. The equivalent processor to this one, codenamed Tukwila, two years ago had just 592 million transistors. Tukwila is clocked at a modest 2.0 Ghz, but the increased transistor count is primarily used for memory, a move that Intel believes will make the chip much more efficient. Will Intel be able to keep up with Moore’s law, even with this release? It looks promising as Tukwila is based off of Intel’s 65nm technology, so shrinking it down will leave more space for expansion. Look for Tukwila in the second part of the year, however be prepared as its use is largely reserved for commercial servers.


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Foxconn Blackops Motherboard

Posted: February 4, 2008 @ time: 09:17PM
Author: Nemo

Foxconn -

Foxconn continues to push hard in the enthusiasts/overclocking market.  Hard on the heels of the record setting 6GHz run set by Pete Tan at Foxconn comes OC Team Switzerland who have been gifted with one of Foxconn's new Blackops motherboards.  These board are not generally available yet, but the Swiss team will attempt some records of their own at the time2wonder 2008 event later this month.  The Blackops motherboard is the latest Quantum Force creation and will based on a new enthusiast chipset from Intel.  The board has some intriguing features such as 8-phase digital PWM and a unique 4-in-1 cooling solution.  This feature allows for passive, active air, water and extreme cooling and even includes a tower for LN2 or dry ice cooling for those insane overclocking runs.  The board will also feature the Quantum BIOS which has even more options than Foxconn's previous Gladiator BIOS found on the MARS line of boards.


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NVIDIA Agrees to Purchase AEGIA Technologies

Posted: February 4, 2008 @ time: 10:55PM
Author: Nemo

NVIDIA -

NVIDIA today announced an agreement to buy AGEIA Technologies.  NVIDIA we're all familiar with as the maker of graphics technology components and graphics processing units (GPU).  AEGIA is a developer of the PhysX physics processing software used by gaming developers in over 140 gaming tiles.  Their software can be found in games on the three major gaming consoles as well as PC-based games.  AGEIA is also the developer of the PhysX hardware accelerator for physics processing that has seen limited support among developers.  No details were disclosed concerning price or how the deal is structured, but NVIDIA has said it plans to provide more information during its quarterly conference call with investors on February 13.   This move continues a trend begun by Intel last year with its purchase of Havok whose software is also used in game development as well as producing special effects for movies.  As the industry moves toward a more tightly integrated computing model which combines the CPU and GPU on a single platform, more processing can be offloaded to the GPU and its massive parallel computing capabilities.  With NVIDIA and Intel having locked up the two major players one has to wonder where that leaves AMD/ATI and whether its graphics cards will be excluded from future games making use of the PhysX technology.


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Hardware Roundup: Tuesday Edition

Posted: February 5, 2008 @ time: 05:56AM
Author: Nemo

Our Tuesday wanderings turned up several sightings of the breaking news about NVIDIA and AGEIA.  NVIDIA Is Really Buying AGEIA! from Tech ARP and NVIDIA Moves In On PhysX IP. Ageia Acqusition Announced from HotHardware are just of few of the sites with the news item this morning.  The Vizo Ninja 2 Laptop Cooler from RBMods provides a way to keep your notebook (and other vital body parts) cool and has been updated to fit larger laptops than its predecessor.   Also in the cooling department is the Thermalright Ultra 120 Extreme Heatsink over at FrostyTech.  Thermalright's Ultra line of coolers has long been at the top of the cooling  performance charts so check out how well the next in the lineup performs.  For that growing collection of high-def media Viper Lair shows us nothing beats having something like the Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 ST31000340AS 1TB Hard Drive  (you can also find OCC's review HERE).  As drive capacities increase, storage systems have also evolved and TweakTown evaluates the Promise SuperTrak EX STEX8650 8-port SAS.  Now that's a way to build a serious storage array.  If LAN parties are your thing then you know the value of having a well-designed small form factor case and the NZXT Rogue at MetkuMods could be just what you've been looking for.  The name Zalman means cooling and the Zalman ZM500-HP 500W Modular Power Supply reviewed at ThinkComputers shows how they apply that expertise to PSUs.  Neoseeker has a look at the Asus EAH3870X2 TOP today.  It seems as if the trend is towrd bigger monitors these days with 22" inch widescreen model becoming more and more common.  So where does that leave models like the Samsung 743B 17-inch Monitor?  Head on over to Techgage to see if there is still a place for smaller displays.  Tech ARP is back with  an article on Upcoming Intel Processor & Memory Technologies along with an update to their earlier Windows Vista Service Pack 1 Out Next Week! item.


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Competitors for the MacBook Air are on their way!

Posted: February 5, 2008 @ time: 01:52PM
Author: kingdingeling

DailyTech -

The launch of Apple's MacBook Air added one item to most technophile's more or less realistic wishlist. However, the hardware contained in the laptop do not match what everybody is looking for, which is power and portability combined. This niche may be filled soon though, as Intel sells the shrinked CPU used in the MacBook Air to other companies. Intel's 1.6GHz Core 2 Duo Merom processor is a major factor why the MacBook Air can be kept so thin. It's a special development mobile processor, which is 60% than the rest of the Merom family CPUs.


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iPhone and iPod Touch Get Increased Storage

Posted: February 5, 2008 @ time: 05:52PM
Author: jammin

DailyTech -

Apple introduced new iPhone and iPod Touch models today with increased storage over those previously available. The iPhone is now available in a new 16GB flavour and the iPod Touch is available with 32GB of storage. Both if these increased capacity verions of the devices will set you back $499, and will also come loaded with the latest 1.1.3 firmware, which gives some extra applications to the iPod Touch (Weather, Mail, Stocks and Notes). The iPhone gets an updated Maps app with the new firmware (with position triangulation), plus improvements to text messaging and web clip support.

Both new versions of the devices are available as of now online at the Apple store, or at any of its retail sites.


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New PS3 color?

Posted: February 5, 2008 @ time: 10:26PM
Author: Andrewr05

Eurogamer -

I always wondered why America never received the Ceramic White PS2, it seemed like it would have been a great way to boost the sales of the PS2. I owned a V4 PS2 and I would have bought a White PS2 in a heartbeat. Previously anyone in the United States that wanted a "white" model Playstation whether it be a PS2 or PS3 has had to resort to importing one from Asia. As some of you may know importing a Ceramic White Playstation has its drawbacks. Unless you use a mod chip you still have to keep your American Playstation to play your current games and that can be considered a gray area for a lot of people, not to mention voiding your warranty on your new Playstation Console if you open its case to install the chip. Worry no more because some snooping around the FCC site has uncovered that a "White" PS3 is indeed coming to America, as to when it will be released no one knows...


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Intel's new ultramobile processor: Silverthorne

Posted: February 5, 2008 @ time: 11:26PM
Author: Andrewr05

ars technica -

Intel's new ultramobile processor code named Silverthorne is quite powerful for its size; the approximately half inch by half inch processor is clocked at 2GHz. The processor has a TDP of 2W whilst running at 2GHz with an input of 1 volt, although the processor is confirmed to work at .5 volts albeit at a lower clock speed. The Silverthorne has 512K L2 cache a measly 47 million transistors compared to Intel's newest CPU the Core 2 Duo which has 290 Million transistors on the 2MB L2 cache versions. Intel also has some neat power saving features that they designed to differentiate their chips from the lower power consumption chips made by ARM. Calling the feature "C6" Intel has said that when in that mode of reduced power usage that the SRAM and a special circuit that can save the data to be awoken as the user sees fit will be the only components left on. Able to spend up to 90% of its time in this state Intel has stated that the chips power consumption in this mode is drastically decreased thus lowering its average TDP.


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Hardware Roundup: Wednesday Edition

Posted: February 6, 2008 @ time: 06:25AM
Author: Nemo

The mid-week edition of the roundup brings more information on Intel's Skulltrail platform.  As we saw in the reviews earlier, the Skulltrail platform has a lot to offer including the first support for SLI cards on an Intel platform.  Legit Reviews dives further into the details with their Intel SkullTrail Preview - Dual Core 2 Extreme QX9775 Processors.  More details can be found in the Intel SkullTrail Platform from motherboards.org where they state the QX9775 processor is simply a LGA771 version of the QX9770 processor (reviewed HERE by OCC).  Neoseeker posted the Phenom 9600 Black Edition Review & TLB Fix Investigation and reveals the microcode fix for the TLB erratum has some pretty astounding effects on performance.  While we're discussing CPUs take a look at the Zalman CNPS8700 LED Low Noise Heatsink from FrostyTech for a capable low-noise cooling solution.  HotHardware is back with more workstation-class GPUs with their FireGL V5600 vs. QuadroFX 1700 vs. FireGL V3600.  In the gaming GPU department, there is the ASUS EN8800GTS TOP at Bjorn3D.  We also have the  BFGTech 8800 GTS 512MB OC2 WC Edition at [H]ardocp.  Not only is the card factory overclocked, it also includes a pre-installed Danger Den water block.  If water cooling is not in your budget then check out the Arctic Cooling Accelero Xtreme 8800 Video Card Cooler reviewed by Madshrimps.  Enthusiasts looking for an Intel-based board with PCI-E 2.0 and support for the 1600 MHz FSB need to check out the Asus Maximus Extreme Intel X38 Express Motherboard at PCSTATS.  Touch screens seem to be the rage a la the iPod Touch and the iPhone and the Super Talent VIDEGO28 Touch Screen Digital Media Player at ExtremeMHz is another entry with that feature.  Rounding out our selection today, ThinkComputers looks at the Zalman ZM-RS6F USB Surround Sound Headphones.


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Noctua Add 92mm NF-B9 to Fan Range

Posted: February 6, 2008 @ time: 02:39PM
Author: jammin

Noctua -

Noctua have always deviated somewhat from the norm when it comes to the design of its fans. We reviewed 80mm and 120mm versions of Noctua fans in March of last year, and were impressed enough to give them an Editors' Choice award. This was mainly down to their noise quality, or rather lack of it. Since then Noctua have introduced a 120mm fan with a 9 blade design and unique 'Vortex-Control Notches' that focussed on increasing pressure performance for applications such as CPU and radiator cooling. However what has always been missing from Noctua's range of fans has been a 92mm model. Until now that is.

The NF-B9 fills the gap in the line-up and claims to achieve high air flow and pressure that other fans would require much higher RPM to achieve. With the addition of bevelled blade tips as well as the vortex-control notches, the NF-B9 certainly looks different. With Noctua's track record I would guess they aren't just there for show either. The NF-B9 comes with adaptors to reduce RPM from the standard 1600RPM, down to 1300RPM or 1000RPM as well as vibration reducing mounts and a 6 year warranty. You should be able to get hold of the new fan immediately, though that recommended price tag of $21.90 may be a bit rich for some.


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Internet outages continue, possibly 8 cables cut

Posted: February 6, 2008 @ time: 11:06PM
Author: Andrewr05

Rense -

It seems as though things keep getting weirder and weirder. More cables have been cut in the Middle East/North African region since I posted about the first two occurrences last week. The original 2 were at first thought to have been cut by boat anchors, although now it is known there were no vessels traveling in that area during the time of the cuts. Although speculations of sabotage were denied by some officials last week it is advised that you take those implications with a grain of salt because 8-9 cables have now been reportedly cut in that same area. Now knowing that these cuts were not done by anchors and taking into account the shear number of actual cables that have reportedly been damaged or cut we can conclude that this is not a coincidence and that someone/something is behind this. Multiple telecommunications cables do not just happen to be accidentally cut or damaged within one week of each other all within the same geographical location.


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Hardware Roundup: Thursday Edition

Posted: February 7, 2008 @ time: 06:15AM
Author: Nemo

Thursdays seem to be a slow day in the roundup so that gives us a perfect opportunity to welcome our newest affiliate Fudzilla and give you a chance to check out their review of the Diamond dual slot 3850 512MB Ruby Edition.  On the green side ThinkComputers offers up the Palit GeForce 8600 GT Super+1GB Video Card.  3dGameMan has posted a video review of the Tuniq Ensemble 1200W Power Supply.  Powerline networking is one of those technologies that seems to offer a lot of promise but so many of the products out there have failed to deliver.  Techgage evaluates the Actiontec MegaPlug AV200 Mbps Ethernet Adapter to see whether it offers a viable option to extend your network.  PCApex has published an interview with Mark Friga Jr. owner of FrozenCPU.com.  Before you go, be sure to check out the SteelSeries Ikari Laser Gaming Mouse at OCModshop.


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Vuzix Corporation At GDC 2008

Posted: February 7, 2008 @ time: 09:34PM
Author: Nemo

Vuzix -

Vuzix is a privately held company located in Rochester, New York that manufactures 3D eye ware, or "personal display devices", allowing users to experience a more immersive experience in gaming applications.  Not limited to just personal entertainment, Vuzik also offers products used in medical and military fields.  The company will be in attendance at the 2008 Game Developers Conference where they will be featuring two of the most recent products in the 3D eyecare product lineup.  The first is a set of upgrades allowing applications supporting the iWear VR920 to operate using virtually any video card.  The VR920 eye wear enables the user to experience a 62" virtual screen as if viewed from nine feet away.  Vuzix will also be showcasing th VR920-X for Xbox 360 users giving them the same experience already available for the PC.  GDC 2008 runs from February 18 -22 in San Francisco.


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Hardware Roundup: Friday Edition

Posted: February 8, 2008 @ time: 06:18AM
Author: Nemo

The work week draws to a close and our meanderings managed to turn up several power supply reviews in today's edition.  PC Perspective kicks things off with the ABS/Tagan BZ800 800W Power Supply which is a modular unit sporting six +12V rails.   Next up is the Antec NeoPower Blue 650W, another modular unit at Overclockers Online.  Rounding out the power supply reviews today are two looks at a 750W unit from Ultra.  Having two reviews of the same unit is always interesting and these two provide some worthwhile reading.  The first look is the Ultra X2 750W Extreme Edition ATX Power Supply  courtesy of the folks at Virtual-Hideout.  They were careful to point out that their testing found good performance up to the roughly 350W load they were able to put on the unit.  However, their review also links to the Ultra X2 Extreme Edition 750w Power Supply at [H]ardocp.  I won't spoil your fun but [H] ramped up the load on the PSU and warns us to stay away from this unit and minces no words in saying so.  To top it off, the unit claims SLI certification when, in fact, that is not the case.  OK, moving on to video cards.  Representing the red team we have the Overclocked MSI R3870 X2 at Fudzilla.  Weighing in for the green team is the Leadtek 8800 GT 256MB aka G92 at Bjorn3D.  Cooling things off in the CPU department we find the Tuniq Tower 120 Ultra Silent CPU Cooler at RBMods and the Asus Triton 75 Heatsink from FrostyTech.  Both employ heatpipe technology and are designed for use with 120mm fans.  Which one comes out on top?  DDR3 memory prices continue to drop, even as speeds increase and  Techgage has a look at one of the latest offering with their review of the OCZ 2GB DDR3-1600 Titanium - Intel XMP Edition.  ThinkComputers checks out a different approach to equipping your computer with an external drive in their look at the Thermaltake BlacX USB Hard Drive Docking Station. PCSTATS returns with their Beginners Guides: Safe Mode in Windows Vista For Crash Recovery.  Finally, Tech ARP has an overview of the Samsung SGH-i450 Music Edition Mobile Phone.


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Hardware Roundup: Saturday Edition

Posted: February 9, 2008 @ time: 12:15PM
Author: Nemo

Why wait until Monday when you can get the news today?  That's our thinking in posting our Saturday roundup.  We start off with a couple of looks at ATI Radeon video cards.  First we have a video review of the HIS HD 3870 X2 1GB GDDR3 Video Card at 3dGameMan.  Next up is the VisionTek Radeon HD 3850 reviewed by PC Perspective.  Then we hop the fence, metaphorically at least, to have a look at the PNY XLR8 GeForce 8800 GTS 512MB from HotHarware.  FrostyTech brings us an evaluation of the Auras SMF-660 TwinW Intel Heatsink, a compact CPU cooler tipping the scales at just over 400 grams.  3dGameMan returns to the roundup with Intel Q6600 CPU Overclocking and an invitation to readers to share their overclocking results on this processor.  Tech ARP has updated two guides by adding the Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6850 and QX6800 quad-core processors to its Intel Core 2 Performance Comparison Guide.  Their Desktop Graphics Card Comparison Guide has also been updated to include the NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GTX and the NVIDIA GeForce 9500 GT graphics cards.


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Hardware Roundup: Monday Edition

Posted: February 11, 2008 @ time: 06:41AM
Author: Nemo

Our week gets started with a lot of ground to cover.  Intel-based systems are dominating the roundup today so if that's your platform of choice we have a lot to offer.  LostCircuits leads off with an in-depth look at Intel's SkullTrail Extreme Platform.  By now you are most likely aware that Skulltrail is a dual-processor platform with Crossfire and SLI support.  You may have also noticed it will require a serious wallet to implement.  However, there are alternatives based on other Intel chipsets such as the P35 and X38 as well as the upcoming X48.  Today we have a chance to examine motherboards based on two of those platforms.  ThinkComputers reviews the ASUS Maximus Formula Intel X38 Motherboard.  If you've been wondering about the X48 and what it offers over the previous generation you can check out the MSI X48 Platinum Motherboard at RBMods.  To round out the news, Tech ARP has an article on Intel G45 & G43 Chipset Details.  Not all the news is around Intel's chipsets though.  NVIDIA has a new chipset supporting PCI-E 2.0 and the Intel 45nm CPUs, so if you're currently looking for SLI support you need to check out the EVGA 780i SLI Motherboard at motherboards.org.  A quiet, but effective, way to cool your processor is the goal of the CoolIT PURE Silent Liquid CPU Cooler reviewed at Techgage.  Thermalright is well-known among enthusiasts for it extreme air-cooling products.  When you combine that name with a name like Inferno Fire eXtinguisher you end up with the Thermalright IFX-14 CPU Cooler and this one is truly a monster with room for up to three 140mm fans.   Madshrimps gives us the chance to see what this behemoth can do.  For those looking for a more traditional air cooling solution you can check out the TweakTown review of the Cooler Master Hyper 212 CPU Cooler.  Your CPU is not the only item in your machine needing cooling.  Virtual-Hideout takes a look at the Thermaltake DuOrb VGA Cooler to see how well it performs.  Today's roundup also features more opportunities to check out the latest video cards from AMD/ATI as Fudzilla has their article HD3870 and HD3850 mix tested in Crossfire and Bjorn3D evaluates the PowerColor HD 3650 512M GDDR3 Xtreme PCS.  Just how well do those cards perform?  Every review has some sort of reference to a set of results from one or more benchmarks.  [H]ardocp challenges that approach in its Benchmarking the Benchmarks article.  We've had the opportunity to look at several software packages from Uniblue here at OCC and today Tweak News has another in that lineup with the UniBlue Process Scanner Software.  Last, but not least, there is the OnAir Solution GT Mobile HDTV Tuner at Overclockers Online.


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Yahoo Rejects Microsoft Bid

Posted: February 11, 2008 @ time: 04:48PM
Author: jammin

BBC News -

Microsoft's bid was worth over $40bn, yet Yahoo are saying that "substantially undervalues" the company. This is even though the bid from the Redmond giant was worth $31 a share. That is 62% above the level Yahoo shares were trading at when the offer was made. It is rumoured that that board members at Yahoo would be unlikely to accept an offer below the $40 a share mark. Analysts are also speculating that Microsoft will come back with an improved offer for the company, which if successful would give Google a worthy competitor in its main sector. If the two companies do manage to come to an agreement, it could be beneficial to them both, as they would become a huge player in the online ads market (which Google currently leads).

I guess we'll just have to wait and see how this one plays out.


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nVidia Introduces Mobile Applications Processor

Posted: February 11, 2008 @ time: 05:10PM
Author: jammin

DailyTech -

Want hardware decoding support for 720p H.264 and a string of other formats on your windows mobile device? Well then nVidia thinks it has an answer for you in the form of its new APX 2500 application processor. This little chip will decode the previously mentioned format as well as VC-1/WMV9 and MPEG-4, also being able to encode in both 720p H.264 and MPEG-4. If that's not enough, it supports the regular audio formats (MP3, WMA etc.) plus HDMI 1.2 to provide video output at 720p or output for monitors at resolutions up to 1280x1024. Sounds pretty promising, and hopefully they have managed to do all of this without ballooning power demand, which is all important in mobile devices of course.

The APX 2500 will be on display at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, and we might see more of it around by this upcoming summer.


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Hardware Roundup: Tuesday Edition

Posted: February 12, 2008 @ time: 06:35AM
Author: Nemo

Cruising the web today turned up an interesting mix of item from our affiliates.  The words 'notebook' and 'overclocking' are rarely used in the same sentence to describe a product, but today Fudzilla has a look at the MSI GX600, the world's first overclocking notebook.  We have a couple of CPU cooling options today.  Noctua from Austria has been in the news a lot with their low-noise cooling products and Legit Reviews looks at the Noctua NH-U12P CPU Cooler - The Sound of Silence.  CPU coolers have been growing in size and that often means having a monster size case to accommodate them.  FrostyTech evaluates a low-profile cooler in its review of the Scythe Shuriken SCSK-1000 Heatsink.  Tech ARP gives us a chance to see where Intel is going with the higher FSB processors in their Intel 1600 MHz Platform Update.  We also get an opportunity to look at another new Intel chip courtesy of Madshrimps in their review of the Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 45nm Wolfdale CPU.  HotHardware brings us a look at the factory-overclocked XFX 8800 GT 256MB XXX Alpha Dog Edition.  For you Xbox 360 gamers Bonafide Reviews takes us on a tour of Eternal Sonata, the latest RPG from Tri-Crescendo.  Couch potatoes will want to sit up and take notice of this next one as Techgage reviews the Logitech Harmony One Advanced Universal Remote.  Finishing up the roundup we found the E-TEN Glofiish X650 GPS Smartphone at TweakTown.


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Is Getting Behind HD-DVD Now Like Flogging A Dead Horse?

Posted: February 12, 2008 @ time: 06:11PM
Author: jammin

DailyTech -

If you have been following the high definition format war closely or have just been thinking recently that you might take the plunge and buy you first piece of HD Disc playing hardware, then you might have taken note of the news yesterday. It seems that Monday may have been a crucial point in deciding which format will eventually win out, and it was about time too. It all started early on Monday, when largest US online movie rental service Netflix declared it would be making the move to providing titles exclusively in the Blu-ray format. Netflix should have HD-DVD phased out by the end of the year. If that wasn't enough, influencial retailer Best-Buy also said yesterday that although it wouldn't be dropping HD-DVD all together, it would be pushing Blu-ray as the preferred choice to its customers.

The HD-DVD group responded to the bad news with, well a whimper quite frankly. Quoting numbers of players in the marketplace and simply expressing disappointment at the decision of Netflix doesn't sound like confidence to me. The statement even sounded glad that Best-Buy was keeping HD-DVD stocked and not simply dropping it completely. With the major movie studios already behind Blu-ray, HD-DVD will need to pull out something special to turn the state of affairs around. Will the format have the persistence to keep fighting? Will it just fade into the background with its tail between its legs? Do we even care and are just glad it looks like we won't have to make a format decision the next time we shop for movies? I'm personally opting for the latter.


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Downloading Illegally In The UK? Cutting Net Access Considered

Posted: February 12, 2008 @ time: 06:45PM
Author: jammin

BBC News -

Illegal downloading of Music, Movies and Applications has been big news for a long time now, with the entertainment industry consistently making claims as to how much money it is costing them in lost revenue (don't ask me how they estimate these things). With an estimated 6 million people a year in the UK said to be downloading files illegally, it is likely that you'll know someone that does. A draft document that has surfaced today has gone as far to suggest those caught illegally downloading should have their internet access blocked. The government is stressing that any proposals are still in early stages, but from what has been reported it seems Internet Services Providers would come under pressure to take more responsibility for the traffic that passes across their networks.

The ISP Association has already come back with a statement claiming data protection laws would prevent them from checking the content of packets passed over their networks, stating that "ISPs are no more able to inspect and filter every single packet passing across their network than the Post Office is able to open every envelope." Of course, the body which represents the UK record industry has a slightly different opinion on the matter. It says that ISPs have done very little to address illegal downloading and should stop hiding behind privacy issues and claims the problem is too complex to resolve. Either way, entertainment industry pressure is the likely cause for the goverment investigating such legislation.


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Hardware Roundup: Wednesday Edition

Posted: February 13, 2008 @ time: 06:07AM
Author: Nemo

Our middle of the week wanderings turned up some goodies from our affiliate sites so let's get started by visiting a couple of videocard reviews.  First in line is Neoseeker and their look at the VisionTek HD 3870 which differs from the reference design with the inclusion of an oversized heatsink and a more powerful fan.  For double the GPU fun on a single card, TechSpot has the ATI Radeon HD 3870 X2.  For a comprehensive look at over 336 graphics cards you can check out the Desktop Graphics Card Comparison Guide from Tech ARP which has updated to include several Intel integrated graphic processors.  Speaking of TechSpot, did you know they have a sister site written in Spanish?  They've just published  Prueba de desempeño AMD Phenom.  Next up we have a couple of CPU cooling products.  The Asus Triton 77 Heatsink that comes equipped with a "Sunon MagLev 92mm vapo-bearing PWM fan".  Sounds impressive, but how well does it perform?  Head on over to FrostyTech to find out.  Bjorn3D evaluates the Thermaltake Bigwater 760i and finds it somewhat lacking.  Can the SteelSeries Ikari Laser Mouse make you a better gamer?  Head on over to ThinkComputers to find out.  If you're looking to tame the noise from your rig, Virtual-Hideout has a look at the Nexus Caterpillar ATX Quiet Case to see if it can do the job.


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First amendment covers anonymous posting

Posted: February 13, 2008 @ time: 01:47PM
Author: Andrewr05

Dailytech - I have good news for all of you anonymous forum posters and trolls, the First Amendment now covers anything you say. A judge in California has now ruled that posting anonymously on the internet no mater how slanderous is now covered under the Constitution. I see two things happening with this: One a lot more spam is going to posted on the internet and there is nothing the legal system can do to punish them, that will be left to the forum operators. Two I see this having some unforeseen consequences such as allowing the anonymity of certain "groups" to be withheld. I'm sure a lot of "groups" are quite happy about this decision because it is a pathway to how many on the internet believe it should be anyway.


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Tutorial: HD 3870 X2 volt mod

Posted: February 13, 2008 @ time: 02:29PM
Author: Andrewr05

Quantum-Force - Want to squeeze the last Mhz from your HD 3870 X2? Do you find yourself wondering just how much more you would be able to push your card if only it had a bit more voltage? Well wonder no more because Foxconn's own "Quantum-Force.net" has a nice tutorial with step by step instructions for you adventurous modders. In this short but informative tutorial they show and tell you how to direct more voltage to the GPU Core and the memory as well. With nothing but a little common sense, a soldering iron, 2 50ohm resistors and one 5K ohm resistor you can turn your already potent card into a fire breathing beast. Just be careful to keep the card within its operating temperature and don't go extreme with the voltage without some sort of "aftermarket" cooling solution.


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Who needs crack when you have video games?

Posted: February 13, 2008 @ time: 03:09PM
Author: Andrewr05

The Inquirer - Ever wonder why it is so easy to get addicted to video games? I often find myself playing for hours upon hours nonstop without a care for anything in the world, the real world that is. As for things that go on in the game I sometimes get so in depth with the "game-world" that I often forget to eat or sleep. A recent study from Stanford University at the School of Medicine may be able to shed some light on the subject. The research has concluded that women have an easier time walking away from video games than men do, to men video games can be more addicting than crack cocaine. Whilst playing the games the mesocorticolimbic centre of both male and female participants were triggered, but the male participants MC was considerably more active. The also noted that in males the orbitofrontal cortex, the nucleus accumbens and the amygdala semed to be hyperfunctioning during times of reward. It is believed that winning or achieving certain goals in video game emulates the territorial instinct in males.


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Fire at Lite-On factory could prove problematic for PC industry

Posted: February 13, 2008 @ time: 03:48PM
Author: Andrewr05

Reuters - A recent fire in one of Lite-Ons Chinese factories could prove to be a problem for consumers of Lite-On based monitors, their partners partners are expected to bit hit the hardest in the first and second quarters of 2008. Dell, HP, and Lenovo who are close partners with Lite-On rely on approximately 20% of their monitors to be sourced from Lite-On. The fire caused $71.2 million in damages which include structural damage, inventory damage and equipment damage, fortunately no one was hurt in the incident. The fire is believed to have been started by an electrical line short circuiting. Lite-On has stated that 14 LCD monitor production lines have also been interrupted. To me it appears that there will be a rise in monitor prices this year and possibly into early 2009, whether it will be a gradual rise in price or a steep and abrupt spike in monitor prices only time can tell.


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Firefox 3 Beta 3 Released

Posted: February 13, 2008 @ time: 06:52PM
Author: jammin

Mozilla -

The development of Firefox 3 has been bubbling away nicely for some time now, and this week marked the next milestone in the development process. Firefox 3 Beta 3 provides a pretty good picture of what the final release version might end up looking like and introduces some nice improvements over previous beta versions. For a start Beta 3 now plays nicely with Mac and Linux operating systems by integrating more effectively with default styles. For example, icons, menu styles and buttons in Linux now adopt the native GTK theme. The download manager and auto-complete bar also get an overhaul, with Firefox now making use of you history and bookmarks to try and guess which site you are looking for. Particularly neat is the one-click site info feature, which as suggested gives you quick access to site security information via the address bar favicon (that little icon next to your current url).

What a lot of you will be interested in are any speed improvements, and the news is good here as well. Beta 3 introduces some major architectural changes under the hood that increase page drawing speeds. There have also been significant improvements to memory performance, with patches to leaks and the introduction of an XPCOM cycle collector to eliminate more. Hopefully the changes will prove effective, as memory usage is something that Firefox has known to have had problems with in its lifetime. You can click the read link for a full list of changes, or you can download it and try it for yourself here.


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Sun Takes On IBM With New Supercomputer

Posted: February 13, 2008 @ time: 07:23PM
Author: jammin

c|net -

Sun hasn't been a big player in the supercomputer arena for a while now, something which they will freely admit. However if everything goes as planned, the Univeristy of Texas' Advanced Computing Center (TACC) will lauch a Constellation System provided by Sun on the 22nd of this month. The system has already been up and running, but this gives those involved a day to make it official (and an excuse to have a party). Sun will look to sell Constellation Systems to other customers after the official launch. Now Supercomputers have always been things which take up a bit of space, and this one is no different. Made up of 82 Sun blade racks, the Constellation system is good for a peak performance of up to 500 teraflops (that's 500 trillion operations per second). That would be a considerable chunk of the cpu power behind the entire Folding@Home project!

The key to achieving this kind of performance is the special switch that Sun has engineered to link everything together. Code-named 'Magnum' it has 3,456 ports (an increase on the norm) that allows data pathways to be freed up and speeds along traffic among data storage, servers and memory. Sun also had to invent a new type of cable to connect the Constellation system together. Now if Sun can get a few more of these systems out to customers it may be able to challenge IBM and its Blue Gene systems in the supercomputer rankings. I'm not sure if the Big Blue will be worried yet though.


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Hello Kitty Online Goes Beta!

Posted: February 13, 2008 @ time: 09:14PM
Author: jammin

SanrioDigital -

I know, I can hardly contain my excitement either. I mean, who hasn't dreamed of living in a wonderfully colourful Hello Kitty themed world? ...What's that? You haven't? Well, it is obviously not aimed at the same demographic as this site and none of our members are going to freely admit to being interested even if they were. Who knows, maybe an overly cutesy online gaming experience would be a nice release from blowing up everything in sight in games like Crysis or recreating that authentic "there are so many controls I wouldn't know where to start!" experience in your favourite flight-sim?

Hello Kitty Online starts you out in the aptly named 'Flower Kingdom', a 3D world with a sickeningly sweet colour pallette filled with all the kinds of charcters you would expect to find in the Sanrio (Hello Kitty's creators) world. Of course, most MMORPG work around a combat based system which usually involves slaying all kinds of monsters. While Hello Kitty does have a combat system, this is not the main focus. That is taken up by puzzles, mini-games, storylines and 'adventures'. Some of the features include being able to build and maintain your own house, run a farm and craft items including clothing and furniture. And the best part about it? Hello Kitty online is free to play, just download and away you go! Just don't get too excitied now, as the beta is a closed affair, but anyone is welcome to apply at the site.


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An End To Facebook Application Spam?

Posted: February 13, 2008 @ time: 09:51PM
Author: jammin

allfacebook -

If you're a member of Facebook you probably already know what I'm talking about. One of your friends sends you an invite to an application, which when added presents you with a page encouraging you to "invite x amount of friends" to use the application fully or simply gives you no other option but to send invites. It's a pretty underhanded way for developers to try and get a popular app out there and Facebook administrators have obviously noticed this trend as well. Facebook recently updated its platform policy to include specifics on what applications can and can't do with regards to forcing invites. Apparently the developers of such applications haven't taken enough notice to this, as it seems Facebook recently sent out a mailing to all offending developers informing them of a temporary restriction on invites for their application, whilst reiterating the updated policy.

Hopefully now we will see a halt to the proliferation of what could be termed 'throw-away' applications imposing themselves on Facebook members. Anything that discourages lazy developing of applications is bound to be better for the Facebook platform in the longer term as well.


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Hardware Roundup: Thursday Edition

Posted: February 14, 2008 @ time: 06:53AM
Author: Nemo

Our Valentine's Day roundup kicks off with a look at the Thermaltake Armor + Case from RBMods.  The Foxconn G33M-S Micro-ATX Motherboard  would easily get swallowed up by a case that huge, but Virtual-Hideout finds it a great mATX board in the $100 price range.  FrostyTech evaluates Scythe Zipang SCZP-1000 Ultra Low Noise Heatsink which is as near as you can get to a true silent active cooling option thanks to its 138mm fan.  Next up are a pair of articles on AMD/ATI video cards.  3dGameMan has a review of the HIS HD 3450 & 3650 Video Cards.  Combining different cards in SLI/Crossfire can be a dicey proposition.  Today Legit Reviews tries just that in their article on ATI Radeon HD 3870 + 3850 CrossFire - Mixing Video Cards.  For power supplies, we have two top end units both offering single +12V rails.  Leading off is the SilverStone Decathlon DA800 800W Modular Power Supply at ThinkComputers.  Next, TweakTown looks at the Corsair TX750W 750watt Power Supply.  For truly portable storage, legit Reviews has a look at the Kingston DataTraveler HyperX 8GB USB Flash Drive.  ASUS is truly a recognized name in the computer world, but it might not be the first name you associate with notebook computers.  That may well change after you check out the ASUS U6S Ultraportable Notebook at HotHardware.  Techgage has the TRENDnet TEW-631BRP Wireless N Router up for review and tells us what you can get in this reasonably priced Draft N router.  We close out today with the Bjorn3D review of the PS3 game title Uncharted: Drake's Fortune.


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Hardware Roundup: Friday Edition

Posted: February 15, 2008 @ time: 06:10AM
Author: Nemo

Looking around the web today revealed several video card card articles.  We begin with a look at the ATI Radeon HD 3870 X2 from motherboards.org (also reviewed by OCC HERE).  ATI is certainly back in the game with their new 3800 series of cards, but how does it stack up against the green team?  Bjorn3D  has a look at the factory-overclocked Gigabyte 8800GT TurboForce which features a Zalman after-market cooler.  If you're in the hunt for a new video card, how do you decide which one to get amongst all the ones out there.  Take a moment to read the Sweet 16 Mid-range Graphics Cards Compared article at The Tech Report for more insight.  The 790FX is AMD's latest chipset designed to support their Phenom line of processors.  By now you're most likely aware of the issues the current processors are having with the TLB and the microcode fix available.  Viper Lair evaluates the MSI K9A2 Platinum AMD 790FX Motherboard and has a look at performance and the impact the fix has by toggling the fix on and off.  While AMD is still using DDR2 memory, Intel-based boards are moving towards the faster, yet still pricier, DDR3 format.  The Aeneon Xtune DDR3-1333 2GB Memory Kit from ThinkComputers is one such offering (see the OCC review HERE).  PC Perspective takes the Ultra m998 Mid-Tower ATX Case out for a spin and comes away liking what they saw (OCC review).  For something on the fun side, you can read about the Cyberlink YouCam at OCModShop.  Vitual-Hideout likes the Razer Destructor Gaming Surface (also reviewed by OCC HERE).  Tech ARP has just published its Hard Drive Performance Comparison Guide.  Finally, OCModShop shows us how to Solve File Copy Problems: Tweak Vista's Auto-tuning Network.


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New High-Speed 4GB Memory Kit From OCZ

Posted: February 15, 2008 @ time: 12:34PM
Author: kingdingeling

OCZ - OCZ's ReaperHPC (Heat Pipe Conduct) line-up of memory modules just got another sibling, the 4GB (2x2048MB) PC2-8500 set. With the games and applications becoming more and more demanding, running 4GBs of memory in your computer is becoming more and more common not only among enthusiasts. However, running high speed and high bandwidth memory in your computer is essential for overclockers and gamers alike, so OCZ should make a decent hit with this ReaperHPC 4GB kits. Overclockers will aim to squeeze the last little bit of extra performance out of their machines, therefore having a warranty that covers voltages of up to 2.15V's is a nice bonus on the high frequencies that this 4GB kit can run. The set has stock timings of 5-5-5-15 (CAS-TRCD-TRP-TRAS) at 1066MHz, supports EPP and of course comes with OCZ's lifetime warranty.


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Samsung's 27" 275T Widescreen Display

Posted: February 17, 2008 @ time: 11:59AM
Author: Andrewr05

PC Stats - Samsung's 27" Syncmaster 275T Widescreen Display is for anyone who wants a larger high quality monitor but would like to stay under 30 inches. This monitor is 1920x1200 native (16:10) which means that for the most part all of your HD content can be viewed on this monitor and look nearly identical to a 16:9 display, of course to some people the "slight" stretching might be more noticeable. With 3 different video inputs besides the basic DVI connector ( S-Video, Component, Composite) you can connect a plethora of video devices to your monitor and with a 6ms gray to gray response time, a contrast of 1000:1 and an excellent viewing angle 178 degrees in all direction you can ensure that they all look great. Another nice feature of the monitor is the fact that it has a built in 4 port USB hub so you can connect all of your peripherals to the front of your monitor which you'll be fairly close to during your computers usage. The monitor its self has a matte black finish which impedes fingerprints getting all over your nice new monitor, the bezel is is approximately ~1 inch, which makes for a very unobtrusive monitor despite its size.


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Hardware Roundup: Monday Edition

Posted: February 18, 2008 @ time: 06:29AM
Author: Nemo

Monday rolls around again and we have quite a few reviews in tour roundup this morning.  For the video card section Fudzilla dissects the PowerColor HD 3850 1GB complete with a factory overclock and a ZEROTherm after market cooler.  Also from the ATI camp Techgage reviews the ASUS EAH3870 X2 1GB.   Moving over to the NVIDIA side, there is the Leadtek WinFast PX8800 GT ZL 512Mb Video Card from Madshrimps.  This card also features a factory overclock and an after market cooler, but this one is from Zalman.  If you're curious to find out how the upcoming 9600 series of cards from NVIDIA will perform you need to check out the NVIDIA GeForce 9600GT 512MB G94 review from TweakTown.  We'll have to wait to see about NVIDIA's pricing and ability to deliver sufficient stock levels on this new card.  PC Perspective returns with its latest news with the release of Podcast #22 - Skulltrail, NVIDIA buying AGEIA, AMD merger talk and more!.  You've been treated to several articles in our roundup regarding Intel's new Skulltrail platform.  Some of Intel's partners are also scheduled to release boards based on the the dual socket LGA771 configuration and HotHardware has the Asus Z7S WS Skulltrail Motherboard Exclusive Sneak Peek for your perusal.  So where does that leave you if you want a single processor setup based on the LGA775 socket?  Check out the Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9650 Quad Core Processor at Tech ARP.  They also updated their Intel Core 2 Performance Comparison Guide to include the QX9650 numbers.  For the latest in DDR3 memory, Overclockers Online evaluates the Patriot Viper Extreme 2x1024MB PC3-15000.  Acrylic and home theater PCs are both segments of the specialty  case market.  Combine the two and you get the Sunbeam Acrylic HTPC Case and Overclocker Cafe checks it out.  RBMods has a look at the Ultra X2 Extreme Edition 750W Power Supply.  HotHardware also treats us to a look at a prebuilt performance system in their Maingear Ephex 3-Way SLI Gaming System review.  ThinkComputers offers up a look at a pair of notebooks today with its Lenovo ThinkPad T61p 14.1-inch & 15.4-inch Laptops.  With terabyte hard drives seeming to rule the roost in terms of size the sweet spot in terms of cost per gigabyte is in the 500GB-750GB models and ExtremeMHz has the Seagate 750GB SATA II Hard Drive up for review.  With drive prices falling and storage requirements increasing perhaps its time to invest in a nice RAID array.  The HighPoint RocketRAID 3120 at Bjorn3D is one way to achieve that goal without breaking the bank.  PCSTATS has a look at the Samsung Syncmaster 275T 27-inch LCD Display, a sweet-looking display offering good ergonomic features and HDCP support.


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Hardware Roundup: Tuesday Edition

Posted: February 19, 2008 @ time: 06:13AM
Author: Nemo

Let's get thing rolling with a look at the Thermaltake SwordM VD5000 Chassis at Virtual-Hideout.  The SwordM takes a different approach to the run of the mill chassis design with some unique features.  If you'd like to see a killer mod based on this case you need to check out the AMD Case Mod in the OCC forums.  Now that the Gigabyte GA-X48-DQ6 has been officially released, motherboards.org has the full review and really likes what this board has to offer.  Madshrimps bring us a look at a P35 based board in their review of the ASRock 4Core1600 P35 WiFi+ S775 Motherboard.  This board supports the latest 1600 MHz FSB Intel processors and offers the option of using either DDR2 or DDR3 memory.  Next up we have video cards from both camps today starting with the factory-overclocked MSI Radeon HD 3870 512MB OC from TweakTown.  For those NVIDIA fans who prefer to do their own overclocking, there is the Palit GeForce 8600GT Super+1GB.  So what does all that extra memory get you?  Not much based on what the folks at Techgage discovered.  Next in line are a pair of pre-built systems with two different purposes in life.  HotHardware takes the Systemax Endeavor Workstation out for a spin.  If workstation class hardware is not what you're after, the next system may be of more interest as 3dGameMan has a video review of the Uberclok Reactor Gaming PC.  Legit Reviews listens to the Altec Lansing UHP336 In-Ear Earphones.  For you Xbox 360 aficionados Bjorn3D finds Devil May Cry 4 to have great graphics and game play.  Closing out today's offerings Tech ARP is back with their first upgrade to its Hard Drive Performance Comparison Guide.


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Arctic Cooling Introduce Accelero Xtreme

Posted: February 19, 2008 @ time: 10:11AM
Author: jammin

Arctic Cooling -

Releasing a product with an 'Xtreme' qualifier has been popular with a number of manufacturers, and why we can't use the regular spelling I don't know (maybe that wouldn't be 'Extreme' enough?). It seems Arctic Cooling is the latest to jump onto this product naming band wagon, with the release of its Accelero Xtreme graphics card coolers. The Accelero Xtreme comes in two variants, the '2900' model being designed for use with ATI HD2900 series cards, and the '8800' model being for use with the 8800Ultra, GTX and GTS/GT (G80). The first question I find myself asking is why release a new high end cooler for cards that are essentially a generation old already? I guess Arcitic Cooling must think the demand is there, so what does the new Accelero Xtreme have to offer?

Both models of the Xtreme bear a resemblance to earlier models in the series (S1 and S2), although taking on a longer and slightly thinner profile than the S1. AC manage to pack in an impressive 5 heatpipes, 107 cooling fins and 3 80mm PWM fans, so cooling potential definitely isn't lacking here, and with a claimed heat dissipation of up to 240W it should be able to handle pretty much anything you can throw at it. Of course, as with most of AC's products, those fans are likely to be almost silent. The Accelero Xtreme 2900 comes with an MSRPof $49.90 and the 8800 version comes in at $47.90. It will be a tough job living up to the very popular S1, but it does look like it offers consumers an 'Xtreme' solution (no matter how much that name may grate with some).


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Scythe Shuriken; Scythe's lowest profile heatsink to date

Posted: February 19, 2008 @ time: 06:03PM
Author: Andrewr05

Scythe - With so many large coolers coming out with huge surface areas and large heatpipes it makes anyone with a small form factor case wonder where all of the low profile heatsinks are. Scythe has recently announced it Shuriken low profile heatsink which at a measly 355g (close to stock AMD/INTEL heatsinks weight) is only 105x116x64mm. The engineers designed the included 100x100x12mm fan to be as low height as possible but still provide adequate airflow, the fan delivers 31.91CFM with a max speed of 2200RPM at only 31.67dBA. The fan mounts with Sythe's VTMS system which allows tool free mounting to allow easy access to clean the supplied fan or to change the fan to any number of available aftermarket 92/100MM fans. The heatsink is compatible with the most recent CPU sockets, which includes socket 939, 940, AM2 and 754 from AMD and socket 478 and 775 from Intel. The fan will retail for ~32 USD and ~27.95 euro.


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Hardware Roundup: Wednesday Edition

Posted: February 20, 2008 @ time: 06:13AM
Author: Nemo

Our roundup of reviews from our affiliates begins with a look at the Silent Zilent MSI 8800 GT from Fudzilla.  This card has a slight overclock from the factory along with  a Zalman VGA cooler running a silent 75mm fan that managed to drop temperatures 17 degrees C below the reference design.  DDR2 memory is still very much in the mainstream due to price/performance advantages over costlier DDR3 memory.  Today RBMods has a look at the Asus P5K Pro Motherboard based on the Intel P35 chipset.  We move on to a Intel X38 based board in Madshrimps review of the DFI Lanparty LT X38-T2R S775 Motherboard where we get a chance to examine the differences between the P35 and X38 chipsets.  So, what happens if you don't want to make the commitment to DDR3 memory because of the cost, yet don't want to be stuck with 'old' DDR2 memory down the road?  Take a look at the MSI P35 Platinum Combo from Neoseeker for a board that can support either format.  With Intel having made its extreme Skulltrail platform official along with releasing pricing details, most of us can only dream of building such a rig.  Based on current prices, two QX9775 processors and a D5400XS motherboard would set you back close to $4,000US (no, that's not a typo).  What if there was a cheaper way to build a similar system?  Head on over to Techgage for their Building an Affordable "Skulltrail" System.  PC perspective has a look at Alienware m9750 Notebook which boasts SLI graphics, RAID 0 SATA and a dual-core processor.  Networked attached storage is a perfect way to add the ability to share files among networked computers.  Today  ThinkComputers evaluates the Buffalo LinkStation EZ 500GB Network-Attached Storage Device.  As drives increase in size along with our storage requirements, the need to manage that capacity and back up your critical files grows as well.  The Paragon Hard Disk Manager 2008 Suite is one tool that answers the call and Bjorn3D checks it out.  FrostyTech has the Zalman ZM-MFC2 Multi Fan Controller for those looking to keep fan noise to a minimum.  We've all heard the news this week of Toshiba's decision to exit the high-definition format market.  Today we get an inside look at the announcement from TweakTown in their Live @ Toshiba HD-DVD Press Conference in Sydney.  We end our tour of the web today with Confirmed Schedule Of Microsoft Windows Vista SP1 Releases from Tech ARP.


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Digital Photo Frames a Vector for Trojan Horse Infection

Posted: February 20, 2008 @ time: 08:44AM
Author: Nemo

SFGate -

When you choose a gift, you'd like the recipient to remember you for a long time.  Apparently that's what happened to people who purchased digital photo frames over the holidays but probably not in the way intended.  Security researchers recently discovered a rather nasty Trojan horse on digital photo frames from major retailers such as Sam's Club, Best Buy, Target and Costco.  By reverse engineering the code, experts have been able to track the origin back to a group in China.  This particular Trojan is very sophisticated and is capable of identifying and blocking antivirus software along with the Windows firewall.  The thing that makes this malware particularly difficult to identify and clean is that it downloads files from remote locations and hides the files under random names.  Currently the malware is only stealing passwords for online games, but has the capability to other personal information as well.  Four additional Trojans have been located on the frames in addition to the new one.


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Corsair To Introduce Faster DDR2 and DDR3 lineup

Posted: February 20, 2008 @ time: 01:50PM
Author: oldfett

Corsair -

Are you into overclocking and getting the maximum gaming and benching performance from your machine? Of course you are, thats why your here isn’t it? Picking out the perfect CPU and Motherboard for your new build is important but you can’t skimp out on the RAM, at least not if your planning on pushing for that higher stable overclock, the higher benchmark score and lower SuperPI time. If you fit the description above maybe you should take a look at the new products Corsair is rolling out the door. Corsair isn’t dropping the DDR2 lineup just yet, instead offering 1066MHz (PC2-8500) and 1142MHz (PC2-9136) memory kits in 2 x 2GB sticks. Their DDR3 lineup is also expanding to include 2000MHz (PC3-16000) modules that are just entering production and additional models expected sometime this quarter. These DDR3 kits will be available in 2GB kits at the time of their release. Both the DDR2 models and DDR3 models will take advantage of Corsair’s patented DHX heat sink technology, giving you maximum performance and better overclocking capability.


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Hardware Roundup: Thursday Edition

Posted: February 21, 2008 @ time: 06:32AM
Author: Nemo

Overclocking on a budget can be a frustrating experience.  Fudzilla takes the Celeron E1200 1.6GHz and pushes it to 3.1GHz.  Not bad for a processor that can be had for under $60US.  Lately it seems as if all the motherboard news has been about Intel-based boards and their X38/X48 chipsets.  What little we've seen regarding about motherboards for AMD systems has been about AMD's own 790FX chipset boards as part of their Spider platform.  NVIDIA has a new chipset now for Phenom/Athlon 64 processors dubbed MCP78 and officially referred to as the GeForce 8200.  Today we get a chance to look at a board based on this platform with the NVIDIA GeForce 8200 Preview - Palit N78S.  There are some interesting features here like hybrid SLI that combines the power of a separate graphics card with the onboard GPU.  AMD/ATI's CrossFireX technology allows for a lot more flexibility in combining multiple graphics cards, evening allowing you to use different ATI cards in a mix.  PC Perspective takes a look at the yet unreleased driver set in their AMD Quad-CrossFire - CrossFireX Performance Preview.  Madshrimps investigates the Seagate 750GB Recertified Hard Drive as a way to add a large amount of storage at a reduced cost.  ThinkComputers brings us their review of the Sigma Shark 635W Power Supply (check out OCC's own review HERE).  Noctua is a name we're seeing more of lately and we head back to Madshrimps for their look at the Noctua NH-U12P CPU Heatsink (also reviewed by OCC HERE).  Modding fans will want to check out Animating Multilayered Engravings over at MetkuMods.  For a look at one of Corsairs top of the line memory kits, check out Corsair Dominator TWIN3X2048-1800C7DFIN G Kit at HotHardware.  Next in line are a pair of reviews for the audiophiles and gamers out there.  Overclockers Online has the eDimensional AudioFX Pro 5+1 Headset that offers a comfortable surround sound experience.  For a decent set of headphones for under $100 see what motherboards.org has to say about the TRITTON AX51 5.1 Headphones.   There's more about Toshiba's recent exit from the high-definition format wars from TweakTown in their Interview with Toshiba GM, Mark Whittard.  And we finish up with Tech ARP and its article on Bad Pool Header In Windows XP.


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Hardware Roundup: NVIDIA GeForce 9600 GT Edition

Posted: February 21, 2008 @ time: 05:49PM
Author: Nemo

Release days always bring of flurry of initial reviews of new products as sites are freed from their non-disclosure agreements and today is no different as NVIDIA officially launched it GeForce 9 series of video cards with the release of the GeForce 9600 GT.  The new cards are designed for the PCIe 2.0 standard and represent a way to get improved performance at a price point that would normally classify it as a midrange or budget card.  Targeted to sell below $200US you should expect to see cards in the $169-$189US range depending on the included bundles.  A quick look at the specifications shows the GPU to have 64 stream processors, a core clock speed of 650MHz with a memory clock of 900MHz.  The reference cards will sport a 512MB frame buffer with a 256-bit memory interface.  OCC was quick off the mark with its own review of the XFX 9600 GT 512MB.  Additional reviews by our affiliate sites include: ZOTAC GeForce 9600GT 512MB AMP! Edition at TweakTown, EVGA e-GeForce 9600 GT SSC at NVNews, NVIDIA GeForce 9600 GT - G94 Launched at HotHardware, EVGA, Palit and XFX GeForce 9600 GT Video Card Review at Legit Reviews, Palit 9600GT Sonic at Neoseeker,  BFGTech GeForce 9600 GT OC at [H]ardocp, Zotac 9600 GT G94 at Fudzilla and BFG GeForce 9600 GT 512MB at PC Perspective.  Enjoy!


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Hardware Roundup: Friday Edition

Posted: February 22, 2008 @ time: 06:07AM
Author: Nemo

The end of the work week is upon us and we have some affiliate reviews to get your day started.  Portable or external storage is always a good way to handle ever-growing storage needs as well as offering a good destination for backing up important data files.  USB 2.0 has a theoretical speed of 480 Mb/s but in reality is much slower.  Another option is to use an eSATA connection.  Virtual-Hideout reviews the Rosewill RX81-MP 3.5" e-SATA Enclosure and reveals how big a difference eSATA makes.  3dGameMan has a video review of the Gigabyte Poseidon 310 Case for your viewing pleasure.  TweakTown has a look at AMD's recently released updated video drivers in its ATI Catalyst 8.2 Analysis - XP & Vista.  If you are a first person shooter gaming fan and it seems as if you've been fighting WWII for longer than the actual conflict took there's hope for you out there.   Bona Fide Reviews answers the call and leads us on a tour of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare.  Switching back to the hardware side, there are a couple of reviews on DDR3 memory to look at today.  With prices still significantly above DDR2 kits, just what do these modules have to offer?  ThinkComputers starts us off with the Kingston HyperX DDR3-1375 2GB Memory Kit.  Next you can check out the slightly less expensive Super Talent Project X DDR3-1800.  While the Wireless N specifications are officially still in the draft stage, manufacturers haven't hesitated to release products based on that standard.  The TRENDnet TEW-633GR Wireless N Gigabit Router at Techgage is one such offering that combines faster wireless speeds with four wired gigabit LAN ports.  So what are you waiting for?  Start reading already!


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