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News Archives for March 2008

Hardware Roundup: Saturday Edition

Posted: March 1, 2008 @ time: 09:39AM
Author: Nemo

It's a good thing there's no football on today. That way everyone gets a chance to read through all the goodies we turned up today. Intel's latest Penryn family of chips based on the 45nm process have been out for a bit. We get to take a look the fastest member of the new dual core lineup in a HotHardware review of the Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 Wolfdale CPU. You can also check out the updated Intel Core 2 Performance Comparison Guide from Tech ARP. Legit Reviews found themselves with a single HD 3870 X2 and a HD 3870. So while waiting for a second dual GPU card to be delivered, they're treating us to a ATI CrossFireX Preview - Triple CrossFire Benchmarking. Gamers looking for an edge might want to check out the Logitech G9 Gaming Mouse at motherboards.org. Here's a pretty interesting product that offers the portability of a flash drive and the capacity of a hard drive. Check out the Honeywell SecuraDrive 1.8" Pocket HDD at 3dGameMan. The Cooler Master Sphere CPU Cooler might look good to some folks but TweakTown finds the performance numbers a bit disappointing. Next up in the cooling world is the Ultra Aluminum Hard Drive Cooler reviewed by Overclockers Online. Legit Reviews was able to get their hands on one of the first Alienware High Definition Media Server units - a sweet looking system that will set you back a cool $5-7K. TweakTown also offers us the SE W380i Mobile Phone - Exclusive Look. Ending up today's roundup, we find the Half-Life 2: Episode 2 Walkthrough and Vista Tip: Speed Up Internet Explorer, both at OCModShop.


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The benefits of Bluray on PS3

Posted: March 1, 2008 @ time: 11:04AM
Author: Andrewr05

Bluray guide - A lot of people might ask what Bluray is doing for their PS3 game content wise. The current PS2/PS3 DVD based games already look incredible and have some pretty big playable game areas. A single layer DVD can hold ~4.7GB and a dual-layer DVD can hold 9GB. Now taking into account what the current games look like imagine how much detail the developers could fit on 25GB, that's how much a SINGLE LAYER of a Bluray disc holds. The Bluray technology has been deemed "future proof" because it supports multiple layers for up to 200GB of storage. That is incredible, not only for the playable area size you could fit on that disc but the amount of detail and resolution of a game that could fit on it. Even maxing out a single layer of a BR disc would be an increase in every aspect of a game of more than 2.5 times the current levels that DVD allows.


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Liteon releases external Bluray player

Posted: March 1, 2008 @ time: 12:37PM
Author: Andrewr05

Dailytech - With all the hype over Bluray don't you want a portable Bluray drive that you can connect to all your computers? Well if that's your dream than you're in luck because a joint venture between Philips & Lite-On has released an external version of their DH-4O1S Bluray/DVD/CDRW drive. The unit itself is not much larger than an optical drive set on its side, which I'm sure is the point of most external drives. The unit is silver and black and has an acrylic stand, it looks quite classy. The unit reads Blu-ray Discs at 4X, DVD (single-layer) at 12X, DVD (dual-layer) at 8X, and regular CDs at 32x. The unit can connect to any computer with a USB 2.0 port.


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Sony fears Asus Eee PC

Posted: March 1, 2008 @ time: 01:05PM
Author: Andrewr05

Cnet News -

Sony fears the Asus Eee PC, They're scared of what the low price, low spec portable can do to the bottom end laptop market. As well as they should be scared, the Asus Eee PC is cheap, low powered and extremely versatile. It started off slow with only the geekiest geeks wanting one but now it seems that quite a few less tech savvy people are getting into the hype. Asus is planning on releasing more models later this year with larger screens but keeping the same overall ultra-portable size. Sony fears that if people realize the growing list of things that can be done with cheap ultra-portable laptops in general that it will interfere with the lower models of some of the major laptop/notebook makers. If they realize that their day-to-day tasks can be done on such a machine than they would be less likely to buy the newest greatest laptop with and be reluctant to buy the top of the line model.


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Hardware Roundup: Monday Edition

Posted: March 3, 2008 @ time: 06:39AM
Author: Nemo

It's the beginning of a brand new week and our affiliates have been busy. Several sites are treating us to double features today so let's get started. PCApex leads off with a look at the Noctua NC-U6 Chipset Cooler (reviewed by OCC HERE). Stick around for the second installment by jumping over to their Solytech 600w Power Supply review. Fudzilla is next up with a two-fer begining with a look at a motherboard powered by AMD's RS780 Hybrid Crossfire chipset - the J&W RS780UVD-AM2+ IGP. Next up is the factory-overclocked Asus EAH3870 TOP. Our third double feature comes from RBMods and the Vizo Sleet RAM Cooler that's eerily similar to the coolers found on OCZ's Reaper series of DDR3 modules. Next in line is a detailed review of the Spire Pinifarina Case.  TweakTown gives us our final double offering starting with the GIGABYTE GeForce 8800GT TurboForce (see the OCC review HERE) and finishing with The Bundle Do we really care?  Take a short breather while we talk about notebooks. The notebook/laptop market is growing faster than it desktop counterpart and as processors become more powerful there is also a niche market developing for even smaller and lighter devices.  ASUS has made a big splash with their Eee PC and today PC Perspective reviews the ASUS U6S 12.1" Ultra-mobile Notebook. Back to the cooling department where we find the Tuniq TX-2 Thermal Compound from Virtual-Hideout (you can find the OCC review HERE). Thermalright has been at the top of the cooling heap with their series of coolers for quite some time.  So how do you improve on that?  Try adding a couple of heatpipes to the Ultra-120 and Madshrimps reveals the results in their review of the Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme CPU Cooler. Overclocker Cafe examines the Apevia X-Supra 'G' Type Case (recently reviewed by OCC HERE). NVIDIA is back in the integrated graphics game and today motherboards.org has a look at the XFX nForce 630i / GeForce 7150 motherboard.  At a price point of around $80, integrated graphics with HDMI, DVI and VGA ports, this might be the HTPC solution you've been searching for. ThinkComputers is giving us an opportunity to check out the Princeton VL2018W 20.1-inch Widescreen LCD Monitor. For your modding pleasure, head on over to TechSpot and watch the video where they Turn a small home UPS into a giant UPS.  You could be listening to that video on some AblePlanet Clear Harmony Headphones reviewed at Techgage.  We'll close out today's uber roundup with the Überclok Ion: Custom built fragging goodness from Bjorn3D.


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New Family of ultra-small Intel chips called 'Atom'

Posted: March 3, 2008 @ time: 10:26AM
Author: kingdingeling

c|net - The family name for the Diamondville chips (News Post)has been announced, the 'Atom' series of chips. Two chips will carry this name. One was formerly known as Silverthorne and will be a mobile processor designed for the next generation of low-power mobile internet devices. This processor features a new power state, which allows the processor to essentially shut off in between tasks, to achieve a maximum power savings potential. The Menlow chips will also be rebranded to Centrino Atom, but these chips will feature integrated graphics, integrated wireless radio and a new, thinner and lighter design.


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OCZ Neural Impulse Actuator Enters Production

Posted: March 3, 2008 @ time: 01:39PM
Author: oldfett

OCZ Technology -

Whats better than a cold winters night by the fire with a bottle of wine and an elegant member of the opposite sex... while teaching those noobs who's boss on your favorite First Person Shooter game? Teaching them whose boss by just using your mouse and your mind. Thats right OCZ is on track to release their highly anticipated Neural Impulse Actuator that uses brain and facial expressions to control certain aspects of the game. It is not meant as a replacement of the mouse, rather an additional peripheral to aid you in your midnight run for glory in your favorite games. The device turns electroencephalograph signals into keystrokes making the Neural Impulse Actuator compatible with almost all software. Another neat feature of this new technology is that it uses its own software to fine tune the device to your physiology and preferences in game play. After tuning the device and some experimental runs you will be able to play your game without the aid of a keyboard and minimal mouse movements. OCZ will be showing off the final version of this product at CeBIT 2008 in Hannover, Germany.


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ASUS to unveil new Eee PC at CeBIT

Posted: March 3, 2008 @ time: 01:45PM
Author: Andrewr05

Techreport - The current ASUS Eee PC 700 ultraportable has an incredibly small 7 inch LCD screen, this screen has a max resolution of only 800X480. According to an unreleased ASUS press release during this years CeBIT ASUStek will be revealing their Eee PC 900. The new variant will allegedly have a larger 8.9 inch LCD, 1 Gigabyte of DDR2 memory and it is rumored to have a 12GB SSD (solid state hard drive). The unit will use the same design as the Eee PC 700 going as far as using the same case as the 700 but fitting the 8.9" screen in place of the 7". The price is also going to change, the 7" models will retain the same price but the new 8.9" models will jump to around 499$. A 8.9" LCD is small for an LCD on a device that people use for word documents, web browsing and media purposes but it is quite a leap up from the old 7" screen. the larger screen offering while keeping the same overall dimensions will entice more people to buy an ASUS Eee PC.


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DIY Disk Drive Recovery Machine

Posted: March 3, 2008 @ time: 07:15PM
Author: Nemo

ComputerWorld -

UK data recovery firm Retrodata is set to begin marketing a machine for performing hard drive recovery in house.  No photos are available, at least until the  device has received its patents, but the company claims it can be operated by a relative novice.  The machine is designed to extract the innards from any 3.5 inch hard drive with up to five platters using laser-guided positioning.  Details are a little sketchy, but the 165-pound device is expected to cost around $6,950 US and go on sale next month. With  data recovery services costing $3,000 and up in many cases, this device could quickly pay for itself after just a few successful recoveries.


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Razer Introduce Entry Level 'Salmosa' Mouse

Posted: March 4, 2008 @ time: 06:03AM
Author: jammin

Razer -

Razer, a company known for producing gaming mice of the high-end persuasion have chosen the CeBit trade show in Hannover to launch its first effort at an entry level mouse. Now Razer's idea of entry level probably differs a little to what a regular user might have in mind and as such the Salmosa still gets a 1800dpi Razer Precision 3G infrared sensor, 1000Hz Ultrapolling, On-The-Fly sensitivity adjustment and other features you'd associate with some of Razer's previous offerings. The style of the mouse is certainly in keeping with others in the company's line up, with a sleek and compact design. The Salmosa also happens to be particularly light, which is something that will suit gamers who like to play with a deft touch. Of course, the main motivation for Razer to introduce an entry level model is to appeal to those who may not considered a Razer mouse before. The $39.99 (29.99 euro) is certainly more reasonable (could it be called entry-level?), but I'm not sure about that name. Razer also happen to be running a contest to win a Salmosa over at the read link.


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Hardware Roundup: Tuesday Edition

Posted: March 4, 2008 @ time: 06:08AM
Author: Nemo

It's roundup time folks and we found some treats for you this morning. We'll start off with the daily collection of video card reviews.  Fudzilla gets us started with a factory-overclocked offering and finds the MSI's red 9600 GT faster than reference design. Not only that, but the card features a new quiet cooling design using a Seaweed-Blade fan.  Hit the link for more information.  Going from red to green, we find the Gigabyte GV-NX88T512HP GeForce 8800 GT at HotHardware that utilizes a Zalman cooler (you can also find OCC's review HERE). PCSTATS reviews the Palit Geforce 8800GT Super+ 1GB Videocard and finds the extra memory does give this card an edge in some of the tests. The next item is not really a review, but Overclocker Cafe did post some pictures of the NVidia GeForce 9800 GX2. Look Ma - no fans! MetkuMods has a new project involving a 100% passively cooled enclosure with Project: Passive. PCApex has some interesting results as they take the Feser One & Feser Aqua Non-Conductive Coolants and pit them against two other products as well as a home brew solution. The high-end Coolermaster Cosmos S ATX Case gets a thorough shakedown from Madshrimps today. With 99A on the 12V rail, the GIGABYTE ODIN Pro GE-MK20A-D1 1200w PSU from TweakTown is one monster power supply that should be able to power anything you throw at it.  Stick around for the Patriot Memory PC2-6400 4GB LL DDR2 Kit also from TweakTown. Overclockers Online has the Samsung YP-P2 digital audio player up for review. Could this be a worthy alternative to the iPod Touch? Tech ARP has updated their Desktop CPU Comparison Guide. ThinkComputers returns with another bag review as they examine the Targus Grove Convertible Messenger/Backpack. We'll end the roundup with TweakNews and their look at the Microsoft Reclusa Gaming Keyboard.


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ATI Catalyst 8.3 Officially Announced

Posted: March 4, 2008 @ time: 09:47PM
Author: Nemo

AMD -

AMD used CeBIT 2008 as an opportunity to formally announce the release of its ATI Catalyst 8.3 set of drivers for its line of Radeon graphics cards.  While this release has long been expected and is no surprise, AMD said the drivers will be available for download beginning March 5.  What is significant about this release beyond the usual bug fixes and enhancements is support for CrossfireX and ATI Hybrid Graphics.  CrossfireX is ATI's new technology allowing the use of three or four GPUs in a single system.  That can translate up to 3.2 times the performance over a single graphics processor under certain scenarios. CrossfireX allows the mixing and matching of ATI's 3850, 3870 or 3870 X2 cards in any combination. ATI Hybrid Graphics allows the use of a single discrete videocard in combination with an onboard graphics processor to achieve up to 70% performance boost without having to purchase a second card. In addition ATI Catalyst 8.3 will offer DirectX 10.1 support for the ATI Radeon HD 3000 series, various anti-aliasing enhancements, HydraVision support for Windows Vista and GPU scaling for widescreen monitors.


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AMD 780G Chipset Launched

Posted: March 4, 2008 @ time: 10:06PM
Author: Nemo

AMD -

In further news from CeBit 2008, AMD today announced its 780 series of integrated graphics processors designed for casual gamers and multimedia processing.  Expected to be available on motherboards from AMD's partners beginning in the second quarter of this year, the chip is an integral component of AMD's Cartwheel desktop and Puma notebook platforms.  This will enable users to attain high-def and 3D graphics capabilities at mainstream prices.  When paired with an ATI Radeon videocard, users can also make use of the new ATI Hybrid Graphics technology that pairs the onboard and discrete GPU in a Crossfire-like configuration, resulting in a boost in 3D processing performance. This setup will be supported beginning with ATI Catalyst 8.3 available on March 5.  Based on a 55nm manufacturing process, the 780G will offer greater performance while drawing less energy at idle. More information including tech specs and a launch video is available by clicking on the link above.


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New series of SSDs with up to 256GB from Patriot on the way

Posted: March 5, 2008 @ time: 03:04AM
Author: kingdingeling

Patriot -

Flash memory is getting bigger and bigger these days. Patriot annouced a series of Solid State Drives (SSD) yesterday, with capacities ranging all the way up to 256GBs. SSDs offer extremely fast access times and higher reliability when compared to a normal hard drive, as there are no moving parts included in them. The drives are also silent. Patriot already showed a 128GB version on the CeBit (See OCCs coverage). The drives will be available in 2.5" notebook format, as well as the standard 3.5" desktop hard drive size.


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Hardware Roundup: Wednesday Edition

Posted: March 5, 2008 @ time: 06:40AM
Author: Nemo

As most of you know, CeBit 2008 is currently underway (see OCC's coverage of the show) and that means lots of new product announcements from various manufacturers. With yesterday's announcement of the 780G chipset from AMD comes several initial looks at what that holds for those looking for an integrated graphics solution or perhaps for anyone wanting to implement an ATI Hybrid Graphics setup. PC Perspective has the AMD 780G Chipset Preview - Gigabyte MA78GM-S2H, HotHardware weighs in with AMD 780G Chipset and Athlon X2 4850e Preview and Legit Reviews offers the AMD 780G Chipset Motherboard Preview. Keeping things cool is a tough job and enthusiasts are faced with the decision of water vs. air. Today we have an entry in each category starting with the AlphaCool NexXxos XP2 Bold Waterblock from PC Apex. TweakTown evaluates the Cooler Master Hyper TX2 CPU Cooler - does lower cost mean lower performance? DDR3 memory has yet to totally replace DDR2 modules with price being one of the biggest drawbacks. However, you can't argue with the higher speeds some of these kits offer and the Patriot Memory PC3-15000 2GB Dual Channel Kit from Viper Lair is one of those products. Virtual-Hideout tests the OnAir USB HDTV-GT Receiver & DVR for PC (reviewed by OCC HERE). Intel has been touting its low-power Silverthorne processor and this week they officially launched the lineup under the Atom brand name. The Intel Atom & Centrino Atom Technology Report from Tech ARP gives us a further look into what's in store. We have two 9600GT videocards in today's roundup. The first comes from PCSTATS as they review the Foxconn 9600GT-512NOC Geforce 9600GT Videocard. Bjorn3D tests the XFX 9600GT 512MB. Companies protect their corporate networks with a variety of hardward appliances that filter out viruses, spam and other nasties.  Home users are left with a variety of software solutions that can be resource hogs and often require multiple different products for full protection. The Yoggie Gatekeeper Pico Security Mini-Computer is a palm-sized hardware alternative for Windows machines and ThinkComputers gives us a rundown on this little device. Ending up today's round are two gaming peripherals. PC Apex has the Razer Lachesis Gaming Mouse and TweakTown has the Logitech G15 Gaming Keyboard.


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Mushkin Show Off XP3 DDR3 At CeBit

Posted: March 5, 2008 @ time: 08:56AM
Author: jammin

Mushkin -

We have seen plenty of DDR3 modules out in the wild now, but the new standard hasn't found wide spread adoption yet. This is mainly due to the high price of DDR3 compared to the continuing low prices on DDR2 modules. Mushkin has been showing its latest DDR3 memory at the CeBit trade fair in Hannover, in rated speeds up to DDR3-1800. Known as XP3-14400, at those super fast speeds you will get timings of 8-8-7-20 at 1.9 - 1.95v and they will be available as 1GB modules or in 2GB matched pairs. There is also XP3-12800 which runs at a still respectable DDR3-1600 at timings of 7-7-6-18. As well as single 1GB modules and 2GB kits, XP3-12800 will also be available as 2GB modules and 4GB kits (all running at those same timings). As the year goes on, I expect we will see more DDR3 releases as companies push for the transition from DDR2. Hopefully we will also start to see prices coming down. The Mushkin XP3 modules mentioned all come with the company's FrostByte heatspreaders and will be available in retail channel from the beginning of April.


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AMD Demos 45nm Quad-Core; Details Puma Mobile Platform

Posted: March 5, 2008 @ time: 09:38AM
Author: jammin

DailyTech -

AMD seems to be using CeBit to attract as much attention as it can (and it probably needs to). With Intel releasing its full line-up of quad-core 45nm processors soon, AMD is showing its own 45nm parts at CeBit running multiple operating systems and running intensive applications. The processors were produced at AMD's Fab 36 in Dresden using a 45nm process developed with IBM. AMD plans to deliver 45nm products later this year, though how much later is yet to be specified. Anything that gives Intel a bit of competition is good for us consumers though, so let's hope for the best.

AMD also released details of its 'Puma' mobile platform, which will make use of 780G chipset reported on earlier. This is AMD's first go at a full mobile platform (think Centino on the Intel side), with Puma platform notebooks specified as having a Turion Ultra (Griffin) CPU, RS780M Chipset and Wi-Fi adapter. The Turion Ultra is only dual-core for the time being, though future quad-core versions can't be ruled out. Several measures are implemented in an attempt to save on power, such as the CPU cores being able to run at independent frequencies, which can shift dynamically. PowerXpress technology should also allow you to switch between integrated and external graphics without a reboot. AMD is expecting Puma based notebooks to start shipping at the end of Q2.


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Hardware Roundup: Thursday Edition

Posted: March 6, 2008 @ time: 05:53AM
Author: Nemo

Leading off our roundup today is continuing coverage of AMD's recently announced 780G chipset with an item from Tech Report titled, appropriately enough, AMD's 780G chipset. Also in the lineup is AMD 780G Chipset / AMD Athlon X2 4850e Platform from motherboards.org. Continuing on with more news regarding AMD, we have a chance to look at three pieces about the HD 3870 X2 videocards. AMD just released ATI Catalyst 8.3 that includes official support for their CrossfireX technology and [H]ardocp presents their ATI Radeon HD 3870 X2 CrossFireX Evaluation to see just what kind of gaming experience you can expect from a quad-GPU setup. 3dGameMan has a comparison of the HIS HD 3870 X2 vs. BFG 8800 GTX and specifically looks at each card's performance in the game Crysis. The third article comes from RBMods as they look at the Asus EAH3870X2 Videocard. Next we move on to power supplies. PC Power & Cooling is certainly regarded by most as being at the top of the food chain when it comes to power supplies.  [H]ardocp has a critical look at the PC Power & Cooling Turbo-Cool 860 Power Supply to see if this unit can measure up to the standards one expects from a PSU from this company. There are other players in the market though and many provide quality units as well.  3dGameMan checks out the Tagan BZ 1100watt Power Supply to determine if its feature set and performance are worthy of the price. Quad core processors may get a lot of folks excited, but until software and games are able to fully make use of all four cores, dual-core CPUs still hold a lot of interest for some, especially in terms of higher clock speeds and greater potential overclocking ability. Intel's Wolfdale family of 45nm processors are coming out and Neoseeker presents the Intel E8500 Review & Overclocking Analysis (OCC has a recent review HERE). The Honeywell SecuraDrive 1.8-inch 80GB USB Hard Drive from ThinkComputers is worth a look as it combines both high capacity and portability in a compact form. Green is the new black and TweakTown has the latest news from the MSI ECOlution press event from Taipei. Those interested in upgrading to Microsoft's latest OS, especially with SP1 coming out should take a look at Beginners Guides: Installing Windows Vista from PCSTATS.


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Vuzix Increases Game Support for its VR920

Posted: March 6, 2008 @ time: 08:00AM
Author: Nemo

Vuzix Corporation -

Vuzix Corporation manufactures and sells a line of personal display devices.  Designed to provide user with a immersive gaming experience, these 3D eyeware units provide users the experience of viewing a 62" screen from nine feet away. Vuzix has just announced its latest VR920 software version 2.0 that provides support for some of the most popular games and essentially any model graphics card regardless of make. Previously, support was limited to games supporting Nvidia 3D Stereo and a few of Nvidia's video cards.  With this new release, gaming support has been expanded to 40 titles including Microsoft Flight Simulator X, Quake 4, Half-Life 2, Crysis and Call of Duty 4 to name just a few. With additional developers adding native support look for this device to move into the mainstream as a must have for gamers.


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iPhone Updates To Increase Workplace Usability

Posted: March 6, 2008 @ time: 05:01PM
Author: oldfett

PC World -

iPhone users rejoice! Developers will soon have access to the iPhone SDK, the same tools Apple uses to develop new applications for the iPhone. Apple also introduced the iPhone Simulator, a kind of virtual iPhone that runs on a Mac to aid in developting new applications. The iPhone is also getting a face lift that should aid in its usability in the workplace. New features will include Microsoft Exchange support, "push-based" email, contact and calendar synchronization, additional support for VPN's, etc. These new features and the release of the iPhone SDK will undoubtedly make the iPhone a worthy competitor to the Blackberry in the workplace.


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Microsoft Introduce Internet Explorer 8 Beta

Posted: March 6, 2008 @ time: 05:31PM
Author: jammin

Microsoft -

That's right, not to be outdone by the release of Firefox Beta 3 last month Microsoft has let loose Beta 1 of Internet Explorer 8. It will be vary familiar if you currently use IE7, though it adds some new features into the mix as well. 'Activities' aim to give you quick access to web services which you may have to copy and paste data to use normally. By using the activity menu you can for example, easily bring up a map of a location written on a web page, or blog about a portion of an article. 'Webslices' are another new feature, which work in a similar way to web feeds, but display content you may have subscribed to in a small window attached to your favourites bar so you don't have to navigate to the site. The favourites bar, which was called the links bar in IE7 gets a general makeover and other features include automatic crash recovery and an improved phishing filter. Nothing revolutionary then really, but it is good to know competition is keeping IE developers on their toes. You can find dowloads of IE8 Beta 1 for various operating systems, as well as more information by clicking the read link.


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XP With Eee PC Now Official

Posted: March 6, 2008 @ time: 05:48PM
Author: jammin

DailyTech -

The Eee PC has been a big hit, possibly bigger than even ASUS themselves had predicted. Since its launch, dedicated users have been installing versions of Windows XP onto the diminutive device. Well now you will be able to pick up a version of the Eee PC with a copy of XP pre-installed, along with some Windows Live programs such as Messenger, Mail and Photo Gallery as well as MS Works (though not in all regions). One would also assume that ASUS have done a little bit to cut down on the regular XP install so that it runs a little more smoothly on the Eee, though how much they may have tweaked can only be guessed at the moment. You can also expect a bit of a price premium for picking up an Eee-XP, probably something in the region of $30-$60 if previous predictions are anything to go by. Either way, it is good news for those who don't feel up to the task of getting Windows installed on an Eee themselves.


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Hardware Roundup: Friday Edition

Posted: March 7, 2008 @ time: 06:14AM
Author: Nemo

As another week draws to a close our roundup includes some worthy pieces. We don't have the usual deluge of video cards reviews today, but there is an interesting article from PC Perspective as NVIDIA Comments on Ray Tracing and Rasterization Debate. For our lone videocard review you can check out Radeon HD 3870 X2 in Crossfire X at TweakTown. As we wait for the updated Phenom B3 stepping processors to arrive, Tech Report examines Phenom compatibility, TLB workaround options exposed. While Intel's updated X48 chipset has not been officially released, we've seen several boards based on that platform show up in our roundup (OCC reviewed the Gigabyte X48-DQ6 Gigabyte X48-DQ6 ). Today we get a look at another offering, this time from TechSpot in their Testing Intel's X48 chipset: ASUS P5E3 Premium WiFi review. Next up are two reviews dealing with Patriot memory, both of them DDR2 versions. TweakTown looks at some 1150MHz modules in Patriot Memory PC2-9200 2GB EP DDR2 Kit. Virtual-Hideout has a set from their extreme performance series with the Patriot Viper PC2-6400XLK 2GB Memory Kit. We're all familiar with Seagate at its series of hard drives and many have been impressed with its 1TB drives. Seagate also makes a line of enterprise-class SATA drives dubbed the ES.2. So what sets it apart from the consumer-level models? Higher mean-time-to failure ratings, 24/7 duty cycle ratings and greater rotation vibration tolerance for use in multi-drive arrays are just some of the characteristics. Today HotHardware has a shot at the Seagate Barracuda ES.2 1TB Hard Drive to see hot it stacks up to other drives. Phase change is synonymous with exotic cooling. Maybe not quite up there with LN2, but it's one form of cooling few attempt on their own. Many of those that do end up building their own setups from scratch or from scavenged parts. There are a few commercial units available though, and TweakTown gives us a look at the OCZ Cryo-Z Phase Change Cooler. ThinkComputers reviews the Saitek Cyborg 5.1 Gaming Headset. Those looking for more bandwidth out of their wireless LAN setup should check out the TRENDnet TEW-637AP Wireless N Access Point from Techgage. Cooler Master has updated its successful Cosmos case line withan all-aluminum version which you can read about in the Cooler Master Cosmos S from Bjorn3D. Wrapping up, Tech ARP has updated its Mobile GPU Comparison Guide.


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Low Latency Performance Memory and Intel X48 at CeBit

Posted: March 7, 2008 @ time: 08:32AM
Author: Nemo

Patriot Memory -

CeBit 2008 is currently underway in Hannover, Germany (you can find OCC coverage HERE) and Patriot Memory is there with its recently announced DDR3 1800MHz memory modules. Designed for low-latency performance in the latest enthusiast class boards, many manufacturers such as ECS, Abit and Gigabyte are featuring this new kit in their latest Intel X4 motherboards on display at the show. Each set of the Viper series 2x1GB sticks feature support for the Intel XMP specification which is a set of SPD settings onboard each module engineered to optimize the overclocking of the memory. Be sure to check out the latest on display at CeBit and OCC's continuing coverage using the link above.


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XFX Lowers Prices on Certain Models

Posted: March 7, 2008 @ time: 08:24PM
Author: oldfett

Deep down inside we all want to upgrade our PC's at least a little bit (if not, you should, so start thinking about it). XFX, a leading manufacturer of Nvidia based graphics cards has lowered prices on a few of there mid-range graphics cards today by way of very tempting rebates. That new upgrade isn't so far off now is it? Price reductions for the 8800GT series will include the 8800GT 512MB Standard down to $189.99, the 8800GT 512MB XT down to $199.99 and the 8800GT 512MB XXX down to $209.99. Price reductions for the 9600GT series will include the 9600GT 512MB Standard for $149.99, the 9600GT 512MB XT for $164.99 and the 9600GT 512MB XXX for $179.99. The budget lineup reductions will include the 8800GS series with the 8800GS 384MB Standard down to $119.99 and the 8800GS 384MB XXX down to $139.99. Now if your not thinking about picking up one of these fine cards at either Newegg, Tiger Direct or ZipZoomFly where these prices are being offered, you should be!


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Hardware Roundup: Saturday Edition

Posted: March 8, 2008 @ time: 06:46AM
Author: Nemo

It's the weekend, so kick back, grab your morning coffee and join us on our roundup of affiliate reviews from around the web. Nvidia 9600GT cards based on the G94 architecture continue to show up. Today's entry is the factory-overclocked ECS GeForce 9600GT Accelero 512MB at TweakTown. You may have already deduced from the name that this card features a the Arctic Cooling Accelero S2 passive cooler which manages to render the SLI connector unusable due to its massive size. With flash memory prices continuing to fall, putting a multi-gigabyte USB drive in your pocket is no longer out of reach for just about anyone. Legit Reviews checks out the Kingston DataTraveler 400 2GB USB Flash Drive with it's included privacy and data syncing software. 3dGameMan has posted a video review of the Cooler Master Cosmos S Case and this case looks even classier in the video than some of the previous pictures I've seen. Tech ARP takes a tour of Team Fortress 2 and also posted an update to its Mobile CPU Comparison Guide. Also in the gaming realm we get treated to a Advance Wars: Days of Ruin Walkthrough from OCModShop. You may not be familiar with Auras Technologies as a company as they've previously focused their efforts mostly as an OEM supplier to the likes of Dell, IBM, Gateway and Acer to name a few. TweakTown look at one of their first forays into the consumer market, the Auras TwinW (SMF-660) CPU Cooler. This cooler sandwiches a 92mm cooling fan between two sets of aluminum fins, a design we've seen used be other manufacturers such as Scythe.


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Former ESRB employee backlashes

Posted: March 8, 2008 @ time: 05:40PM
Author: Andrewr05

Shacknews - Jerry Bonner a former employee of ESRB (Entertainment Software Ratings Board)has come out with a harsh review of what goes on behind the scenes. He thinks that the ESRB should reevaluate the current system on which it rates it games. Bonner believes that the current "T for Teen" rating should be split up into T13 and T16. Bonner also believes that the AO (Adults Only) rating should be eliminated and that the current M (Mature) rating should be changed from 17 to 18 plus which would negate the necessity for the AO rating. Bonner goes on to critique the way the games themselves are tested stating that quite often videos of the games were shown and that it was quite uncommon for them to actually play the games they would be rating. He has also said that on multiple occasions ESRB has without knowledge to the raters increased or decreased their ratings on titles and has modified descriptions of some content on titles to skew their views.


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Microsoft to consider Blu-ray on XBOX 360

Posted: March 8, 2008 @ time: 06:20PM
Author: Andrewr05

Shacknews - Sony has stated that is has talked with Microsoft about the availability of Blu-ray playback on its XBOX 360 system. It is not known whether the Blu-ray support would be a later revision of the XBOX 360 with a built in Blu-ray player or whether it would be an external add-on device such as Microsoft's own HD-DVD player. Steve Ballmer the CEO of Microsoft stated at the Mix08 internet conference that Blu-ray support was in the works. Sony's recent victory over Toshiba in the format wars has brought a lot of focus to Blu-ray (being that is the only high definition format currently in production), Microsoft agreeing to utilize the format on their XBOX 360 console could yield higher profits as it did for Sony when they designed their Playstation 3 console around the Blu-ray format. If this plan is followed through then this will release another sub$600 Blu-ray device into the market which could prove beneficial for consumers as well as Microsoft having increased sales of the XBOX 360.


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Hardware Roundup: Monday Edition

Posted: March 10, 2008 @ time: 05:25AM
Author: Nemo

Another new week and our roundup is full of items from around the web. Once again we have a bevy of videocard items to cover so we'll begin with the Asus 8800GS TOP Videocard, a relatively inexpensive factory-overclocked card reviewed at RBMods. Madshrimps has another look at the ATI 3870 series of cards with AMD HD3870 512MB roundup, Club3D and HIS compared. Madshrimps had the opportunity to test out the GIGABYTE GV-RX387512H HD3870 512MB Crossfire using a dual-card setup. With all the news about ATI release the latest drivers supporting up to four cards in CrossfireX and the upcoming 9800GX2 cards from NVIDIA, TweakTown takes the stance that Quad GPUs Clearly not the future. The DDR2/DDR3 memory decision continues to challenge builders when making the choice around which configuration to choose when upgrading. Fudzilla looks at the Gigabyte GA-EP35C-DS3R which offers support for either format. RBMods tests the GlacialTech Igloo 5750 PWM CPU Cooler. Apple fans looking for decent headphones for their iPhone should check out the Maximo iMetal iP-HS1 & iP-HS2 Headsets for iPhone Users over at Legit Reviews. Cable tangle is an issue all users of portable media players have to deal with.  The BlueLounge CableYoYo POP at Overclockers Online is a handy little device designed to help solve that problem. The name Lian Li is synonymous with quality all-aluminum cases. Today ThinkComputers checks out the latest in its review of the Lian Li PC-A77 Full Tower Case. Techgage has an honest look at the ASUS VW222 22-inch Wide-Screen and finds it comes up short. TweakNews presents the Ultra Dual-Computer 7-Port USB2.0 Hub (you can see the OCC review HERE). There is no shortage of power supplies to choose from out there and it seems as if everyone is getting in to that market. Bjorn3D looks at an offering from another player as they look at the Rosewill Xtreme RX950-S-B. Tech ARP has updated its Hard Drive Performance Comparison Guide. Closing out we have the Nyko Charger Grip Lite from OCModshop.


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Atom-ic Notebooks Coming to a Store Near You

Posted: March 10, 2008 @ time: 07:25PM
Author: Nemo

A flurry of notebooks based on Intel's Atom low-power processor are destined for retail shelves by the end of the second quarter according to the chief of Intel's Asia-Pacific business unit. The newly re-badged Atom is based on Intel's Silverthorne architecture and is designed to be used low-power, low cost devices Intel has chosen to refer to as 'netbooks'. According to Intel, you should these units coming in at around the $250 - $300US range, with some beefier units approaching $350. The new notebooks are going to compete directly against Asus Eee PC and will offer performance on par with the original Intel Pentium M mobile processors, plenty of power to access e-mail and browse the web. Other features will include screens ranging in size from 7" to 10", with some units offering tablet-like capabilities. Others will come equipped with solid state drives. The notebooks based on the Atom processor will ship with either Windows XP or some flavor of Linux.


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Hardware Roundup: Tuesday Edition

Posted: March 11, 2008 @ time: 05:04AM
Author: Nemo

Our affiliates have been busy and we kick things off with a trio of case reviews. Most of us cringe at the words 'budget case', but the Moneual Lab M775 Computer Case at PCApex offers great cooling options and a removable motherboard tray for under $40US. The Cooler Master Cosmos S Full-Tower Case is definitely on the other end of the food chain but is it deserving of the price - check out what PC Perspective has to say. Virtual-Hideout has a review of the Sigma Luna Type W Case that fits somewhere in the middle between budget and premium. Quiet CPU cooling results in certain trade offs that often translates into less than stellar performance. The Noctua NH-U12P at PCApex manages to strike a good balance (see the OCC review HERE). On to the videocards for today. TweakTown looks at the reference model Sapphire Radeon HD 3870 X2 Graphics Card. [H]ardocp takes a look at BFGTech 9600 GT OC in SLI vs. GeForce 8800 GTX to see if an SLI setup based on the new 9600 GT cards can outperform a top-end 8800 GTX in both game play experience and cost. TweakTown has a look at the latest ATI drivers in its ATI Catalyst 8.3 Analysis - XP & Vista review. Next in the lineup we have a pair of flash drives starting with the Corsair 32GB Flash Voyager from 3dGameMan. Overclocker Cafe then reviews the OCZ Rally2 Turbo 4GB Flash Drive. Gaming notebooks cater to a niche of buyers looking for top performance in a mobile package.  While offerings from the likes of Alienware have been around for a while, HotHardware evaluates the Toshiba Satellite X205-SLI4 to see how it performs as well as what it offers in terms of features and overall value. Yesterday Techgage reviewed a monitor from Asus and found it lacking, so how do they like the Gateway XHD3000 30-inch Wide-Screen?  Click on the link to found out. Mobile devices are an everyday part of our lives and Windows mobile powered units are becoming more prevalent so the Spb Mobile Shell 2.0 - Finger-friendly Navigation for Windows Mobile from ExtremeMHz may be a solution worth looking into.


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Vendetta 2 CPU Cooler from OCZ Announced

Posted: March 11, 2008 @ time: 08:27PM
Author: Nemo

OCZ Technology -

A few months ago OCC reviewed the OCZ Vendetta CPU Cooler and were impressed with the price/performance ratio. Our reviewer must have had unusual foresight as he commented "It would be nice to see if there would be any performance increase with a 120mm version of the Vendetta." Now we get a chance to find out as today OCZ announced the release of the Vendetta 2 cooler with a larger fan. Designed along the same lines as the original, the Vendetta 2 incorporates 3 solid copper heatpipes in a direct-touch design and stacked aluminum fins for superior heat dissipation. The Vendetta 2 is built slightly larger to accommodate the low-noise 120mm fan. This upgrade allows the new cooler to push more air at lower RPMs that the original while keeping the noise signature almost identical at 20-32dBA. Pricing wasn't disclosed but you can click on the link above to check out the product page.


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Hardware Roundup: Wednesday Edition

Posted: March 12, 2008 @ time: 05:08AM
Author: Nemo

Our research turned up an interesting mix of items from around the web for today's roundup. Let's begin by visiting the audio department where we find the Pleomax portable speakers at Fudzilla. This small unit produces better sound that native notebook speakers and offers four additional USB ports as well. TweakNews takes a look at the Zalman ZM-RS6F USB 5.1 Surround Headphones/Headset and rates them as a decent set for notebook gaming use. On the desktop side of things, Techgage analyzes the Logitech Z Cinema Speaker System, a 2.1-channel system and finds a lot to like. PC Power & Cooling has been cranking out high-end power supplies for quite some time and PC Perspective finds the Turbo-Cool 860W PSU continues to deliver the high-quality we've come to expect from them. Modders will appreciate the Alpahcool LC-Display 240x128 Pixel blue neg. black evaluated by RBMods. Check out what all they discovered you can use this LCD display for. Another modding trick made its way into the roundup as Overclockers Online shows us How to Rotate your Samsung 245BW. PCStats has another installment in their guide series with its Beginners Guides: Stopping Vista From Thrashing Hard Disks to Death. There's big and then there's the Scythe Orochi SCORC-1000 Low Noise Heatsink. FrostyTech evaluates the largest heatsink ever to pass through its labs and shows us what kind of performance you can expect from a ten-heatpipe cooler sporting a 140mm fan. HotHardware has posted ASUS M3N78-EMH HDMI Sneak Peek, with a couple of pics of the AM2+ motherboard based on NVIDIA’s GeForce 8200 chipset - think hybrid SLI and HDMI support. While we're on the subject of AMD boards with integrated graphics support, Legit Reviews has the AMD 780G Chipset - Gigabyte MA-78GM-S2H Motherboard and they like what they saw, especially at a price point under $100US. In a galaxy far, far away, or at least on the high-end of the Intel universe anyway, Madshrimps reviews the Intel SkullTrail Super High End PC Platform. No matter how you look at it, all that performance comes at a very steep price. On over to the video arena where we find a guide from Tech ARP showing us Getting NVIDIA ForceWare 174 To Work With GeForce 8 Cards is a possibility. TweakTown reviews the MSI GeForce N9600GT OC Graphics Card, a factory-overclocked unit with enhanced after-market cooling. If you're looking to build a HTPC or just want to watch TV on your computer, Bjorn3D has the WinFast Leadtek PxDTV2300H TV tuner card for you to read about. Closing out the roundup today is the Kingston HyperX DDR3-1625 2GB Memory Kit reviewed by ThinkComputers.


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New 2.5" SATII Solid State Drives from OCZ

Posted: March 12, 2008 @ time: 08:11PM
Author: Nemo

OCZ Technology -

We're all familiar with the benefits of solid state disk drives in certain applications with lower power requirements, faster speeds and greater shock resistance than regular hard drives being some of those. Up until just recently, capacity has been a real limiting factor in certain applications such as laptops. Today OCZ Technology announced additions to its lineup with two fast SATA II drives in a 2.5" format.  Available in either 32GB or 64GB capacities, these drives offer read/write speeds of 120MB/100MB per second. The svelte size offered by the 2.5" format makes them ideal for some of today's ultra-slim notebooks as well as other high-end mobile devices needing rugged storage. Other salient features are RAID support, 1500G shock resistance and 2,000,000 hour MTBF. And dang if that brushed alloy housing doesn't look pretty cool as well.


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Hardware Roundup: Thursday Edition

Posted: March 13, 2008 @ time: 06:31AM
Author: Nemo

Let's see what our affiliates have been up to in the past 24 hours. First up let's jump to yesterday when FrostyTech had a look at the monster Scythe Orochi cooler. Now fast forward back to today where they decide to have a little fun with the Mil-Spec Aerospace Fan on Scythe Orochi Heatsink - Big just got bigger!. If you thought the Vantec Tornado fans were loud, cranking up that fan results in a killer 87.5dBA. Check it out. TechReport has assembled a report on CrossFire X explored that may answer a lot of your question on just what CrossFire X is all about. NVIDIA fans will want to have a look at the Asus Striker II Formula nForce 780i SLI (also reviewed by OCC HERE). Madshrimps is up with a NVIDIA Geforce 8400GS Overclocking Guide. There's more on green cards as TweakTown treats us to the Foxconn GeForce 8800GT OC Graphics Card. After the fun FrostyTech had with the Scythe heatsink, it's back to business with the Auras CTC-868 Heatsink. For a little more exotic form of cooling you can have a look at the CoolIT PURE Liquid CPU Cooler at 3dGameMan. DDR2 is still cranking long and we're seeing more 2x2GB kits like the OCZ Platinum 2x2048MB PC2-8000 over at Overclockers Online. Apple iPhone owners will want to check out the Griffin Elan Form Cork iPhone Case as one way to protect their precious little gem.


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AOL Buys Bebo for $850m

Posted: March 13, 2008 @ time: 08:45AM
Author: jammin

In the US, Bebo only trails the big two players when it comes to social networking sites (those of course, being Myspace and Facebook). Bebo clocks in at a respectable 40 million members worldwide, which may make the $850m pricetag seem on the small side. I don't know when $850m can ever be said to be small, but when you consider Microsoft paid $240m for 1.6% of Facebook last year and that News Corp. now think Myspace may be worth $15bn then it does sound like it may be a good deal. AOL will be putting down the $850m (£417m) in cash, though presumably not by driving a truck full of bills to Bebo's front door. Now AOL already has a social networking site of sorts in AIM Pages (profiles tied to its instant messaging app), but I guess it wanted a more established slice of the pie.


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AMD Begins Shipping Tri-Core Phenom

Posted: March 13, 2008 @ time: 09:15AM
Author: jammin

Yes, apparently as of yesterday AMD started to ship its Tri-Core Phenom processors to PC manufacturers, meaning desktops featuring the chips will start to appear soon from vendors including Dell and HP. AMD said last year when it added the Tri-Core to its line-up that it would be available in the first quarter of 2008 and it looks as though it will live up to that claim. There is no word on when you'll be able to grab one of these chips for yourself in the retail channel however. If you are particularly keen and happen to live in the UK, then PC vendor Mesh Computers has already began to offer systems based on the AMD parts. The Mesh Matrix XXX Plus features the Phenom 8400, with its three cores running at 2.1GHz, while the Matrix XXX Pro (pictured) comes with the 8600 model which runs at 2.3GHz. Triple Core processors exist in a limbo zone between dual-core and quad-core parts. I'm sure someone at AMD would tell you that it would provide a good comprimise between the two.


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ATARI now on STEAM

Posted: March 13, 2008 @ time: 11:20AM
Author: Andrewr05

Bjorn3d -

Almost everyone who games knows the name ATARI (or at least you should), they have made and published great games over the years and now you can download a select group of those titles right into your STEAM account. Atari plans to add more games in the future stating that they plan to add a large list of games throught the genres.


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Microsoft will not use Bluray on the XBOX 360

Posted: March 13, 2008 @ time: 11:28AM
Author: Andrewr05

Kombo -

Microsoft was previously thinking about using Bluray on there XBOX 360 console. They have announced that they were in fact NOT talking with Sony about it and that they in fact are NOT planning on using Bluray hardware on their console. It was just a misunderstanding, in fact on its current hardware Microsoft has sold 2 XBOX 360s to every PS3 while the unit is in stock.


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Mad Max video game in the works

Posted: March 13, 2008 @ time: 11:48AM
Author: Andrewr05

LevelUp -

I love the Mad Max movies and I have always dreamed of playing a Mad max video game. George Miller (Mad Max trilogy director) and Cory Barlog (God of War II Director) have teamed up to create the video game. The game will be inspired by the movie "Mad Max: Fury Road" which production was canceled on soon after the war in Iraq had started. The game is still in an early design phase but one thing can be certain, there will be melee weapons, projectile weapon and of course vehicles for you to scream around in.


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New solar tower in planning, much like the movie Sahara

Posted: March 13, 2008 @ time: 12:53PM
Author: kingdingeling

c|net -

Anyone seen the movie 'Sahara' with Penélope Cruz? Do you remember that waste plant they had built out in the Desert? Yep, that's right, this new solar tower looks just like it! Plans are to build it near Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, by the company Torresol Energy, a joint venture of the Spanish company Sener and the clean energy initiative Masdar. This type of power plant does not use the sun's light to produce electricity, but it uses the sun's heat focussed on the top of the tower. Because of this amount of heat, steam is created, which is supposed to turn a turbine to produce electricity. In the upcoming five years, the tower should produce 320 megwatts of power and a whole 1000 megawatts in ten years.


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Corsair Announce First High Performance Mac Memory

Posted: March 13, 2008 @ time: 02:51PM
Author: jammin

Corsair -

Corsair, one of the major players in the memory market, today announced they are producing the first high performance upgrade memory modules made specifically for the Mac. The modules are tuned for low latency and are intended as upgrades for the new Macbook and Macbook Pro laptops. Corsair are claiming as much as a 28% overall system performance improvement in benchmarks with such apps as Photoshop, VMWare and Bootcamp (versus standard Mac upgrade memory). Now as we know, since Macs have used Intel chips they have much in common with PC equivalents, so it is hard to say if Corsair's memory is any different to high performance memory aimed at Windows based laptops. It is certainly the first to be marketed towards Mac users, at least that we have seen. The Corsair memory comes in 4GB kits with timings of 4-4-4-12 @ 667MHz and is available immediately for an MSRP of $159.99.


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CoolIT Release NVIDIA VGA MTEC Coldplate

Posted: March 13, 2008 @ time: 03:08PM
Author: jammin

CoolIT -

CoolIT systems produce water cooling systems with a bit of a twist, with that twist being that the water is chilled using the company's MTEC Technology. We reviewed the CoolIT Eliminator early last year and were impressed with the performance. CoolIT has moved on since then and has broadened its product line-up considerably. The latest creation is the MTEC Coldplate for NVIDIA 8800 series graphics cards, which should boost cooling performance when compared with regular water cooling blocks. That should be handy for those looking to push their cards that little bit further, maybe in the aim of benchmark records? The NVIDIA MTEC Coldplate is available now from CoollIT for $109.99


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TechARP compiles a Workstation Graphics Card Comparison Guide

Posted: March 13, 2008 @ time: 03:19PM
Author: kingdingeling

Many people have read or at least heard of TechARP's Desktop CPU, Mobile CPU, Desktop Graphics Card and Mobile Graphics Card comparion guides. There are of course others as well, but all of these guides and the comprehensive tables have proven to be a great resource when researching new or old hardware. The newest installment in the series is the Workstation Graphics Card guide, featuring 103 cards right now.


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Windows Eec to Outsell Linux Version

Posted: March 13, 2008 @ time: 04:07PM
Author: Nemo

Asustek's Eec PC has proven quite popular with 5 million units slated to be shipped this year. The Windows XP version of the miniature laptop was announced earlier this month at CeBit and the company is expecting to sell 3 million of them versus 2 million of the Linux version.  That is in spite of the fact the Windows version carrying a hefty premium - $400US compared to $260US for the cheapest versions of each flavor.


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Blu-ray Device Prices on the Way Up

Posted: March 13, 2008 @ time: 04:22PM
Author: Nemo

Now that Toshiba and its HD-DVD format players are no longer a factor in the market, the prices for Blu-ray players are creeping up. According to PriceGrabber.com, average prices jumped from $467 in January to $604 in February when Toshiba announced it was exiting the high-def player market. Some of those price increases are attributable to more expensive players with added features. But, after accounting for that fact, prices are still $20 - $50 higher than they were before Toshiba's exit.

 


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Centrino 2 Chips Coming In June / September

Posted: March 13, 2008 @ time: 10:49PM
Author: jammin

Intel's 45nm notebook processors, recently branded as Centrino 2 (well, thats logical really) will first hit this June and the first Quad-Core in the series will find its way to consumers in September. The QX9300 will weigh in at 2.53GHz with 12MB of cache and will cost just over $1000. I'm willing to bet you won't be seeing these in super slim models, but rather in those fancy (and heavy) brick like models that are popular with gamers on the move. The processors coming along in June will be dual-core parts and range from the P8400 (2.26GHz with 3MB cache), to the T9600 (2.8GHz with 6MB cache). Those should go for $209 and $530 respectively. The Extreme dual-core Centrino should also get a bump to the X9100 (3.06GHz, 6MB cache, $851). As well as the quad-core in September you can expect a range of low power dual-cores akin to those found in the Macbook Air. All you have to do now is wait, as usual. It's worth noting that the information isn't official from Intel yet, but sources seem pretty confident.


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Hardware Roundup: Friday Edition

Posted: March 14, 2008 @ time: 04:49AM
Author: Nemo

After a busy week around the web, things have finally tapered down a bit. The HD 3650 looks to be a good budget video card that offers a lot for those looking to build a HTPC. The cooling reviews cover both air and water options today. You can also check out the latest Intel X48 motherboard from MSI, look at upgrading your laptop storage with a huge 320GB drive and more below.

Motherboards
MSI X48 Platinum @ Viper Lair

Video
Sapphire Radeon HD 3650 512MB @ HotHardware

Cooling
ASUS Silent Knight II Heatsink @ FrostyTech
Zalman Reserator XT Hybrid Liquid Cooling System @ Techgage

Storage
Western Digital Scorpio 2.5" 320GB HDD @ TweakTown

Gaming
Army of Two @ Bjorn3D


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Intel Atom Powered Desktops For Under $200?

Posted: March 14, 2008 @ time: 12:05PM
Author: jammin

According to Intel, prices of desktops sporting its Atom processors could sell in the $199 to $250 range. Obviously the Atom chips aren't powerhouses when compared with regular desktop processors, but Intel expects them to be used in fanless systems meant for basic tasks such as Internet surfing or watching plain old DVDs. So you could think of it as a secondary PC for all those mundane day to day tasks (where you are likely spending 90% of your time in a web browser anyway), at least that is the spin Intel are putting on it. It also offers a low cost option for developing countries. Intel calls its Atom desktops "Nettops" and appears to be pushing them to run Linux (a natural choice to keep costs down). Whether they will offer anything to you and me will be seen when they become available later this year.


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UVA Grad Student Hacks Smart Card Encryption Code

Posted: March 14, 2008 @ time: 05:57PM
Author: Nemo

A student at the University of Virginia has discovered a way to break the encryption scheme on the RFID chips used in about 2 billion smart cards worldwide. The cards, manufactured by NXP Semiconductors, are used for building security and public transportation fare collection. Based on his research, the student claims it would only take a few seconds, a laptop and a scanner to snag the electronic key to a door lock and produce a duplicate card. Apparently the threat is severe enough that one European government that uses the system has taken to adding armed military guards to doors using this system.


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