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News Archives for July 2008

Hardware Roundup: Tuesday Edition

Posted: July 1, 2008 @ time: 04:02AM
Author: Nemo

Zalman are known for its cooling solutions and recently we've begun to see a few cases from them as well. Today we get a chance to look at the GS1000 full tower case. AMD is back with the launch of three new desktop processors including their flagship Phenom X4 9950 Black Edition. Check out the review to see how well AMD's latest stacks up against Intel's offerings. Rounding out things today we have a pair of motherboard reviews including an Intel X48 chipset board from Foxconn and an AMD 790FX board from Gigabyte.

Cases
Zalman GS1000 @ XSReviews

Cooling
SilenX iXtrema IXC-12HA2 CPU Cooler @ ThinkComputers

CPUs
AMD Phenom X4 9350e and 9950 Black Edition Debut @ HotHardware

Motherboards
Foxconn BlackOps Tech Report @ Tech ARP
Gigabyte GA-MA790FX-DS5 @ Neoseeker

Peripherals
Samsung CLP-610ND Color Laser Printer @ Tweaknews

Storage/Hard Drives
Samsung MCBQE32G5MPP 2.5" 32GB SSD @ TweakTown

Miscellany
Summer 2008 system guide @ Tech Report


Complete Story


Nikon Unveils D700 DSLR

Posted: July 1, 2008 @ time: 06:35AM
Author: jammin

Nikon's new D700 will slip in nicely between the D300 and D3 in its camera line up, adopting the same 12.1 megapixel sensor used in the latter. Features include a weather sealed magnesium alloy body, standard ISO range up to 6400, 51 point autofocus and HDMI video out. Of course that is only just scratching the surface in terms of what makes up the camera, so if you want some more detail then Rob Galbraith has a well put together low down on all the bits and pieces. The conclusion seems to be that the D700 offers much of what you get with the D3, but for two grand less. You should see the D700 popping up in the US some time soon for $3,000 (body only).


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Huge Number of Laptops Go Missing at Airports

Posted: July 1, 2008 @ time: 07:03AM
Author: Nemo

According to a recent study covering 36 of the largest airports in the U.S., over 10,000 laptops are reported missing every week. Of those, 65% are never found. The most likely place for a laptop to disappear is at security checpoints. Over three quarters of travelers surveyed said they had no faith in ever getting a lost notebook back. So jaded are some travelers that 16% said they wouldn't even bother reporting a lost machine. This study just may be the wake up call needed to prompt companies to begin protecting sensitive data on laptops a little better.


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Microsoft Reportedly Plans $50 Xbox 360 Price Cut

Posted: July 1, 2008 @ time: 08:25AM
Author: Nemo

According to reports and the usual anonymous sources, Microsoft is planning to cut the price of its Xbox 360 Pro console by $50 bringing the price down to $299. The price drop is in advance of the upcoming E3 trade show opening July 15. Rumors of the cut began circulating last week with several game sites displaying snapshots of retailers advertising circulars sowing the lower price. At $299, the Xbox would be positioned $100 less than the 40GB PlayStation 3 gaming console.


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NZXT Introduce Sentry LX High Performance Fan Controller

Posted: July 1, 2008 @ time: 03:51PM
Author: jammin

Fan controllers are useful bits of kit to have around, and while a lot of motherboards have some kind of fan control options built in, they often don't compare to a stand alone unit. NZXT is aiming its new Sentry LX fan controller at the budding PC enthusiast (that'd be most of us then) and gives you 5 controllers to hook fans up to (how many amps they can handle isn't noted), as well as 5 temperature probes to give you readings for various areas of your system. The unit slides in to take up two 5.25" drive bays and features an LCD display which looks as though it should give plenty of visibility to your readouts. NZXT is also claiming ergonomic design, the proof of which will be in how easy it is to use once you actually get you hands on it. The Sentry LX will be available in July for $59.99.


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Chaintech Release Apogee GT Memory Modules

Posted: July 1, 2008 @ time: 04:07PM
Author: jammin

Chaintech are probably a name more synonmous with graphics cards for most of you (I know they are for me), though they also produce memory modules (a market that is hardly lacking in competition). The company's new Apogee GT modules feture both NVIDIA EPP and Intel XMP profiles, which should take some of the pain out of overclocking if you pair them up with a board with a recent chipset from either. The modules come in both DDR2 and DDR3 flavours, with the prior managing timings of 5-5-5-15 @ DDR2-1150 with 2.1v (on the 680i chipset) and the DDR3-2000 modules running timings of 9-9-9-27 with 2.1v. Chaintech put the Apogee GT modules through a high temperature burn in test to ensure they meet specifications. Priding and availability aren't mentioned.


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AMD Adds Three New Quad-core Processors

Posted: July 1, 2008 @ time: 08:05PM
Author: Nemo

AMD today released three new processors to its Phenom X4 quad-core family of CPUs. The Phenom X4 9950 Black Edition becomes AMD's new flagship processor at 2.6GHz. With the Black Edition moniker, it is targeted to gamers/enthusiasts and is its faster Phenom processor to date. The other two processors, the 2.0GHz AMD Phenom X4 9350e and 1.8GHz AMD Phenom X4 9150e, are interesting in that they are low-wattage (relatively speaking) drawing at most 65 watts under heavy loads. In contrast, the 9950 will peak at about 140 watts. These three CPUs all make use of a 65nm manufacturing process and come with 2MB of shared L3 cache and 512Kb of L2 cache per core. While the 9850 may be the king of AMD's lineup, you won't have to pay a king's ransom to own one as the suggested retail price is expected to be around $235US. The 9350e and 9150e are expected to come in at $195US and $175US respectively.


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Microsoft working on new OS

Posted: July 1, 2008 @ time: 09:46PM
Author: Andrewr05

With all the ongoing hype of Windows Vista and everyone yearning for the completely new Windows 7 wouldn't you think that Microsoft would try to improve on what they have? According to Mary-Jo of All About Microsoft there is a completely new operating system in the works, so revolutionary that it doesn't even have the Windows moniker. (yet) There really isn't much information about about the operating system they call 'Midori' due to it being in a very early incubation stage. However we do know that it is it being based on their Singularity platform which is a a microkernel-based operating system. Expect this to be far into the future, post Windows 7. (whenever that happens)


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Hardware Roundup: Wednesday Edition

Posted: July 2, 2008 @ time: 03:41AM
Author: Nemo

AMD added to its processor lineup yesterday with the release of a new Black Edition processor, the Phenom X4 9950, clocked at 2.6GHz. Along with the new flagship CPU AMD also released two energy efficient models with a TDP of 65W. Ever wonder what happens when the CMOS battery goes dead? Check out the review to find out. Our roundup also includes a look at factory overclocked 9800 GTX card from BFGTech with a pre-installed waterblock. As long as we're talking water cooling, check out the Thermaltake Prowater water cooling kit. There's lots more today so read on.

Cases
Thermaltake XaserVI Mx Case @ RBMods

Cooling
ThermalTake ProWater 850i Liquid Cooling System @ Virtual-Hideout

CPUs
AMD intros two 65W Phenoms for under $200 @ Tech Report
AMD Phenom X4 9950 and 9350e Quad-Core Processor @ Legit Reviews

Modding
How To Replace Memory Heat Spreaders @ TweakTown

Motherboards
Nvidia's GeForce 8300 chipset @ Tech Report
What Happens When The CMOS Battery Fails? @ Tech ARP
ASRock K10N780SLIX3-WiFi nForce 780a SLI Motherboard @ ThinkComputers

Power Supplies
Corsair HX1000W Modular Power Supply @ PC Perspective

Storage/Hard Drives
Corsair Voyager GT 16Gb and Voyager 4Gb USB Stick @ Madshrimps

Video
BFGTech GeForce 9800 GTX H2OC WC Edition @ [H]ardOCP


Complete Story


Firefox Market Share Hits 19%

Posted: July 2, 2008 @ time: 12:41PM
Author: Nemo

Mozilla Corp. released its updated browser, Firefox 3.0, last month with a push to set a new world record for most number of downloads of a new release in a 24 hour period. Now results show that Firefox posted a 0.6% market share increase in June to 19% of the overall browser market. Safari and Opera also eked out small gains in June as well. These increases come at the expense of Microsoft's Internet Explorer which fell to 73%. The bulk of Firefox's increase came following the June 17 release of Firefox 3.0. All three alternative browsers hit all time highs with IE hitting a corresponding record low. If these trends continue, Firefox is expected to break 20% market share this month.


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MS Office to Become Available as a Subscription Service

Posted: July 2, 2008 @ time: 12:55PM
Author: Nemo

Microsoft and Circuit City are partnering together to offer consumers a subscription-based service that includes MS Office, Windows Live One Care, Photo Gallery and Messenger. Marketed under the name Equipt, the $69.99 annual subscription will be available only through Circuit City and will include free upgrades. Microsoft already offers subscription services to its commercial clients. MS Office includes the Word, Excel and PowerPoint applications. By using a subscription service, consumers would be able to get the latest versions of te software as they become available. For those users that rarely use all of the latest and greatest features though, the $70 annual fee could prove unattractive as MS Office Home can be had for around $112.


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Intel Still Top Dog In Global Processor Market

Posted: July 2, 2008 @ time: 01:01PM
Author: jammin

That's not going to come as a surprise to any of you, as Intel has been the dominant force in the industry for a long time and has always held a considerably bigger share of the market than competitor, AMD. Accoring to research firm iSupply, Intel holds an impressive 79.7% market share, while AMD has a 10.9% share. Compared to the first quarter of 2007, Intel's share has actually dipped by 0.7% while AMD's share has grown by 2.2% (with some being at the expense of Intel and some at the expense of smaller companies). Intel and AMD combined account for 92.7% of the market, which is estimated to be worth $286.5 billion in 2008.


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Intel Doesn't Embrace Vista

Posted: July 2, 2008 @ time: 03:46PM
Author: ClayMeow

Many users here at OCC have upgraded to Vista, but the corporate world is another story. Chip maker Intel has always had a strong relationship with Microsoft, but when it comes to upgrading its systems to Vista, the relationship ends there. Though the company has been testing and deploying Vista in certain departments, Intel has no plans on upgrading all its computers to Microsoft's newest operating system. According to an anonymous source, the company simply found "no compelling case for adopting Vista." Even as someone who uses and loves Vista, I can't exacly blame Intel for holding back.


Complete Story


More DDR3 From OCZ - Intel Extreme Edition

Posted: July 2, 2008 @ time: 04:04PM
Author: jammin

I think OCZ must have just about the largest DDR3 line up of any of the major memory brands, and it recently announced a few more for good measure. The new DDR3 modules carry the Intel Extreme Edition branding and have therefore been optimized for use with the X38 and X48 chipsets, featuring Intel XMP profiles. XMP profiles, much like advanced profiles associated with NVIDIA chipsets, should allow users to extract performance without having to get down and dirty with all those fiddly memory parameters. The new modules will be available in 2GB and 4GB dual channel kits at 1600MHz and 1333MHz, with pre-defined XMP profiles to take them further than that. They come decked out in (Intel branded) XTC heatspreaders. Pricing information not given.


Complete Story


U.S. Game Sales Surpassed DVD Sales in 2007

Posted: July 2, 2008 @ time: 04:16PM
Author: ClayMeow

The Entertainment Merchants Association recently released its annual report, and the results were great for the gaming industry. According to the report, the U.S. retail gaming industry took in $18.85 billion in 2007, nearly twice as much as the record-setting U.S. box office total of $9.6 billion. Gaming sales surpassing box office sales is nothing new, but what is surprising is that it also surpassed DVD sales, reportedly around $16 billion. Though the $18.85 billion pales in comparison to the total movie industry revenues of over $33 billion, one must remember the game sales does not include any digital purchases, like via Valve's Steam platform, or from Blizzard's millions of World of Warcraft subscribers.


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Firefox Download Day Sets Official World Record

Posted: July 2, 2008 @ time: 08:50PM
Author: jammin

You've probably received the email already if you were one of the people who took part in the Firefox 3 download day, which confirmed the Guinness World Record of over eight million downloads in the 24hr period (8,002,530 was the exact number). Those who took part in download day can now also download and print a personalised certificate to celebrate their contribution. The Firefox download map continues to notch up FF3 download numbers, which now exceeds 28 million.


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Hardware Roundup: Thursday Edition

Posted: July 3, 2008 @ time: 03:43AM
Author: Nemo

We have an interesting collection of reviews today boys and girls. This may be the first time we've seen an Intel stock cooler as the primary subject of a review and not merely as a reference point for an aftermarket cooling solution. Check out the the review to see how well the cooler performs. With recent laws enacted by states such as California and Washington, hands free headsets are going to be in greater demand and the Motorola H680 is a low-cost solution to being legal. We have lots more including an iPod speaker docking station from XtremeMac, headphone comparisons, routers, monitors and more.

Cooling
Intel Core 2 Extreme CPU Cooler @ Madshrimps

Mobile
Motorola H680 Bluetooth Headset @ Legit Reviews

Monitors
SOYO 24 @ Bjorn3D

Networking
Dynapower USA TP-LINK (TL-WR543G) 54Mbps and (TL-WR642G) 108Mbps Routers @ Virtual-Hideout

Notebooks
Gateway P-6831FX Gaming Notebook @ HotHardware

Power Supplies
Sigma SP-700 700W Power Supply @ ThinkComputers

Speakers/Headphones
XtremeMac Tango X2 @ Techgage
Razer vs. SteelSeries Headset Comparison @ TweakTown

Storage/Hard Drives
n-Trance n-Tegrity Pro - Not Your Average Biometric Flash Drive @ ExtremeMHz

Video
HIS HD 4870 512MB GDDR5 Video Card @ 3dGameMan


Complete Story


Nvidia Cuts Earnings Estimate

Posted: July 3, 2008 @ time: 10:12AM
Author: Nemo

In the videocard world Nvidia has reigned supreme, at least in the mind of many enthusiasts and gamers. But it seems the company has stumbled a bit of late and has cut its latest earnings estimates. Citing multiple causes, Nvidia announced yesterday that its second quarter earnings figures will be below its own estimates. Instead of expected revenue of $1.1 billion, analysts are now saying those numbers will be closer to $875 - $900 million. Contributing to the decline were delays in getting new product out the door, increased competition from AMD resulting in price cuts and the general economic downturn. Adding to the problems is an issue with some Nvidia chips used in notebooks which will result in a one-time charge of $150-$200 million to cover replacements and repair costs. Apparently there is an issue with the packaging material used in some of their chips that, combined with thermal issues common to notebooks, is causing the chips to fail at a higher than normal rate. Nvidia did not disclose which of its products were affected b this problem.


Complete Story


Overclocking software for Mac Pros available

Posted: July 3, 2008 @ time: 06:21PM
Author: Andrewr05

Everyone knows that Mac Pros get the job one but what happens when you want to upgrade? Well, everyone also knows that you have to sell off your kidney to upgrade anything. Apple computers are some of the most expensive (if not the most) to upgrade, often costing over 100% more to upgrade than a similar non Apple system. Computer enthusiasts often overclock their systems to gain more performance, however most Apple computers are unable to be overclocked straight from the factory. Apple users have to rely on third party software to "unlock" the overclocking ability of their computers. Apple knows they charge an arm and a leg for upgrades which is why they don't allow you to overclock from the factory, that would be like them giving away upgrades and they certainly wont let that happen.
However just such a thing has occurred, some people over at ZDNET Germany have created a tool for overclocking Mac Pros. It is quite a basic program, only allowing for an increase in the FSB (linked to RAM speed).
You could expect to save up to $2,250 USD if your 2.8GHZ Mac Pro was stably overclocked to 3.2GHz.
Take that Apple!


Complete Story


Hardware Roundup: Friday Edition

Posted: July 4, 2008 @ time: 11:38AM
Author: jammin

A few more hardware reviews for you on this Independence Day. There are video card reviews from both the green and the red team with a look at a couple more reference HD 4870 boards, as well as a look at a PSU from Sigma and memory from OCZ. The gamers among you may be interested in the Crysis custom configuration that claims to increase image quality as well as performance. To round things out, TechARP somehow manages to keep adding to its Computex booth babe gallery a month after the event. As always, follow the links for whatever takes your interest.

Video

XFX 8800GS + 8800GS XXX
@ Bjorn3D
Visiontek Radeon HD 4870 @ Motherboards.org
Diamond HD 4870 @ Neoseeker

Power
Sigma Shark SP-635 PSU @ [H]ard|OCP

Memory / Storage
OCZ Flex-II PC2-9200 2GB Memory Kit @ Tweaktown
Super Talent Pico-C 8GB Micro USB Stick @ Madshrimps

Gaming
Crysis Custom Config Boosts Image Quality and Performance @ Madshrimps

Misc
Computex 2008 Booth Babes @ TechARP
Dynapower USA TP-Link 54Mbps + 108Mbps Routers @ Virtual-Hideout


Complete Story


Hardware Roundup: Weekend Edition

Posted: July 6, 2008 @ time: 05:34AM
Author: jammin

More hardware reviews to read over before heading back to work tomorrow. We see another reference board HD 4850 tested, as well as how heat becomes a considerably smaller problem once you apply some aftermarket cooling to the same GPU. There are also reviews of motherboards with chipsets from AMD and Intel and a fanless PSU from Silverstone. Check out the links below for details.

Video
Force3D Radeon HD 4850
@ Overclocker Cafe
ASUS EN9600GT TOP/HTDI/512M @ PCStats

Motherboards
ASRock A780FullDisplayPort Motherboard @ TweakTown
Intel DX48BT2 Motherboard @ Motherboards.org

Power
Silverstone Nightjar 450W Fanless PSU @ 3DGameMan

Cooling
Coolink GFXChilla On HD 4850 @ Legit Reviews

Cases
NZXT Tempest Case @ Virtual-Hideout

Misc
LapLogic AeroGel Extreme Lapdesks @ Virtual-Hideout
Desktop CPU Comparison Guide @ TechARP



Complete Story


Hardware Roundup: Monday Edition

Posted: July 7, 2008 @ time: 03:59AM
Author: Nemo

Welcome back to another week of reviews. Our roundup starts off today with a trio of cases. First up is a combo review of the Tagan Black Pearl case that also includes a look at the Tagan BZ Series ESA 1100W power supply. Next in line are a pair of mid-tower cases - the Thermaltake Armor+ and Antec's Three Hundred. For enthusiast-class motherboards, the Intel X48 chipset is the the one to beat and today we get a chance to compare three of those boards with offering from Asus, ECS and Intel (the Asus Rampage Formula was also reviewed by OCC here). So get your week started by checking out the latest from around the web.

Cases
Tagan Black Pearl Case @ motherboards.org
Thermaltake Armor+ MX PC Case @ ThinkComputers
Antec Three Hundred @ Bjorn3D

Motherboards
X48 Roundup: ASUS, ECS & Intel @ Techgage

Mousepads
Qpad CT Mousepad @ RBMods

Miscellany
National Treasure HD Movie @ TweakTown


Complete Story


Microsoft / Yahoo Deal Could Still Happen

Posted: July 7, 2008 @ time: 02:08PM
Author: jammin

It's a story that has been going on for months now and still refuses to die. The latest hopes of some kind of deal emerging seem to be pinned on getting a new board of directors elected at Yahoo's August shareholder meeting, which Microsoft could then start fresh talks with. Billionaire shareholder Carl Icahn is one of the driving forces trying to oust the Yahoo board, allowing them to potentially salvage a deal with the Remond giant. Yahoo has said that the move is not in the best interest of shareholders and as part of an issued statement said "If Microsoft and Mr Ballmer really want to purchase Yahoo, we again invite them to make a proposal immediately." If you don't have some kind of involvment with either company and can still muster up the energy to care, then you are a better person than I am.


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Pioneer Claims 400GB Optical Disc

Posted: July 7, 2008 @ time: 03:08PM
Author: Nemo

Pioneer is set to to present details on  new 16-layer disc it claims will hold 25GB per layer at a trade symposium in Hawaii on July 13. That would give the read-only discs a total capacity of 400GB. The 25GB capacity per layer is consistent to what current Blu-ray devices achieve, Pioneer has not revealed what technology it is using. Sony has maintained that BD could reach to eight to ten layers, but as the number of layers scale up it becomes increasingly difficult to discern the signals as they weaken the signals from each layer. Pioneer claims to have overcome that obstacle with technology that reduces cross-talk between layers and reliably read the weaker signals.


Complete Story


Nevada's Working Girls Feeling the Pinch of Higher Gas Prices

Posted: July 7, 2008 @ time: 03:43PM
Author: Nemo

Nevada's licensed brothels are feeling the effects of higher gas prices along with the rest of the economy. That is especially true for those businesses that are located near interstates that cater mostly to long-haul truck drivers. With U.S. diesel prices averaging around $4.70 per gallon, truckers are finding less in their wallets for discretionary spending on items such as entertainment, according to the Nevada Brothel Owners' Association. Some personal services institutions are reporting business is down as much as 25 percent from the same time last year. More enterprising businesses are offering incentives such as gas cards, monthly discounts and special incentives for customers showing up with government stimulus checks. In another sign of how the economic downturn is affecting the business, even as demand has fallen off, supply has increased as more women are becoming interested in joining Nevada's personal services industry.


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EA Launches Free Online Scrabble

Posted: July 7, 2008 @ time: 04:45PM
Author: ClayMeow

Hasbro has teamed up with EA to bring its classic boardgame to the online landscape through EA's casual portal, Pogo.com. Best of all, it's free. Facebook users will also be happy that a Facebook application will be coming later this month, though the fate of Facebook's current Scrabble-clone, Scrabulous, is unknown. Futhermore, EA says it's not done yet; expect to see more Hasbro-licensed games available through Facebook and other social-networking sites. It's nice to see a boardgame publisher embrace the internet, especially since it doesn't cost users a thing.


Complete Story


Video Games Live Releases Its First Album

Posted: July 7, 2008 @ time: 05:09PM
Author: ClayMeow

With the popularity of video games increasing, and no dearth of gamers here at OCC, you may have heard of a little thing called Video Games Live. According to its official site, VGL "is an immersive concert event featuring music from the greatest video games of all time." If VGL hasn't come to a venue near you, or you're just too ashamed of your geekiness to attend, no need to fret; EMI Classics just released Video Games Live: Volume One, containing eleven tracks (check out the link for the track listing). The album is currently available on iTunes, and will be available on CD in the U.S. by the end of the month, and worldwide by the end of August.


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100 New Words Added By Merriam-Webster

Posted: July 7, 2008 @ time: 05:41PM
Author: ClayMeow

One hundred new words have been added to Merriam-Webster's 2008 update of its Collegiate Dictionary, and many tech-related words have made the cut. Merriam-Webster monitors words over time before it even considers adding them, so you may not have even realized that some words we have been using for years weren't officially recognized until now. Merriam-Webster shocked many people by delcaring "w00t" its 2007 "Word of the Year"; once a word used soley by gamers.  With new additions to its popular dictionary like webinar, malware and fanboy, it's pretty apparent geeks have a lot of influence in the vocabulary of today's society.


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Hardware Roundup: Tuesday Edition

Posted: July 8, 2008 @ time: 03:49AM
Author: Nemo

The Asus Eee 701 generated a lot of buzz in the marketplace when it was first released and met the needs of those wanting a capable ultra-portable device. Whether there was pent up demand or possibly the new sub-compact created new demand is open for debate. However, the fact is many were not comfortable with switching to a Linux machine. Along comes the Atom processor from Intel and Asus combined that processor with Windows XP Home and upped the screen size from 7" to 8.9" and the Eee 901 was born. As computing devices get smaller, storage needs are moving in the opposite direction as some users' needs are increasing as digital media collection grow bigger. That's where the Thecus NAS appliance comes in. With five SATA II drive bays coupled with multiple RAID options this unit goes beyond the single/dual-drive external storage devices. Check out the rest of the reviews by clicking on the links below.

Cases
Antec Three Hundred Case @ Virtual-Hideout

Memory
Aeneon XTune DDR2-1142 2GB Memory Kit @ TweakTown

Notebooks
Asus Eee PC 901 @ Neoseeker

Storage/Hard Drives
Thecus N5200BR NAS Server @ HotHardware


Complete Story


Failure To Update Leaves Browser Users At Risk

Posted: July 8, 2008 @ time: 01:37PM
Author: jammin

That headline should read as common sense to most, but a study conducted by the Swiss Institute of Technology, IBM and Google found that 600 million surfers had not updated their browsers. That means that almost half the online population could potentially be at risk from issues that have already been addressed by the release of patches. It seems that Internet Explorer users are the least likely to update their browser promptly, while the 'single-click' update feature of Firefox means that users of that browser are most likely to be up to date. The study also warns that even an up to date browser can be at risk if the plug-ins it makes use of can be exploited. So when did you last update your browser and plug-ins? It would be wise to take some time to do it now if you haven't recently.


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Sony Releases 2.41 PS3 Firmware

Posted: July 8, 2008 @ time: 01:51PM
Author: jammin

Bad news spreads fast in today's world, so when Sony released the 2.40 PS3 firmware update last week it wasn't long before reports of problems started to emerge, with some being unlucky enough to brick their console with the update. Sony therefore made the decision to take down the 2.40 update while they ironed out the problems, with the result being today's 2.41 firmware. Sony are now confident that the issues with 2.40 have been resolved, and have extended their apologies to the Playstation community for any inconvenience caused. 2.41 doesn't add any additional features over 2.40, and Sony hasn't said what it will do about the consoles that were bricked by the 2.40 firmware yet.


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NVIDIA Lends A Hand To PhysX On ATI Project

Posted: July 8, 2008 @ time: 02:06PM
Author: jammin

At the end of last month, you may remember the revelation that PhysX physics acceleration was able to work on ATI cards as well as those from NVIDIA. It seems that this hasn't gone un-noticed by the green side (who own PhysX), though their reaction may be slightly surprising to some. That reaction was to give the project their blessing and even go as far as inviting Erin Bandit to join its developer program, which gives access to documentation and NVIDIA hardware and engineers. AMD hasn't offered any such hardware support, though as AMD officially supports Intel's Havok physics engine this is hardly surprising.


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Purdue researchers develop tiny refrigeration unit

Posted: July 8, 2008 @ time: 06:45PM
Author: Andrewr05

Some researchers from Purdue University (Some very ingenious things have come from Purdue) have made a small refrigeration unit that may be cooling laptops or desktop in the future. The device is the size of a CPU, that allows very easy integration into current architecture and ease of integration into future designs. As we all know most computers are air cooled which never allows you to go below ambient (The temperature of the surrounding air) temperatures. With this tiny cooling system you can go below ambient, refrigeration style cooling systems are available for desktop systems however they are usually too expensive, too complicated and most of all too big for the average consumer or laptop applications.

The device created at Purdue has very tiny compressors and tubes to pump its refrigerants throughout the unit. CPU technologies have changed quite a bit in the last few years with 45nm (and smaller) fabrication technologies being employed on today's computer chips. With these die shrinkages comes a lot of heat centralized into a very small area. Soon we will come to a point where our processors are outputting too much heat per cm for a normal heatsink and fan to efficiently cool.

The cooler isn't expected to go mainstream for a little over two years, however expect some high end devices around the two year mark to begin showing up with these units.


Complete Story


Critical DNS Flaw Patched in Coordinated Release

Posted: July 8, 2008 @ time: 09:10PM
Author: Nemo

A critical flaw in the domain name system (DNS) was uncovered earlier this year that would have allowed Internet traffic to be redirected to servers controlled by attackers. Known as DNS cache poisoning, the flaw was a basic design issue with the DNS and affected many products and was not isolated to a single vendor. So pervasive was the issue that it affects virtually all domain name servers on the Internet. In a break from recent problems where researchers have sold the discoveries to security companies prior to releasing news to vendors, researcher Dan Kaminsky of IOActive Inc. first notified the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team along with multiple vendors. In a coordinated effort, researchers from 16 different companies agreed to keep the discovery under wraps until a fix could be made available. That happened today as Microsoft, CISCO and others made patches available to correct the problem.


Complete Story


iPhone 3G Worth $1 Billion to Apple

Posted: July 8, 2008 @ time: 10:24PM
Author: Nemo

Apple's new iPhone 3G is slated for launch this Friday worldwide. Apple along with partner AT&T are scheduled to open their stores two hours early in an attempt to handle the expected rush. More like a gold rush as far as Apple is concerned. According to industry estimates, Apple will need up to two million phones on hand to meet demand. At an estimated $499 profit per phone sold that adds up to a potential $1 billion for Apple.


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Hardware Roundup: Wednesday Edition

Posted: July 9, 2008 @ time: 03:54AM
Author: Nemo

Solid state drives have been in the news a lot over the last year or so. Lots of hype has surrounded these devices with proponents having a lot to say regarding the benefits of faster speeds, greater resistance to shock and vibration and lower power requirements. But the killer has always been cost. With prices on some chips used in their manufacture dropping, SSDs are approaching prices attainable by some enthusiasts and today we get a chance to check out the Super Talent MasterDrive MX 60GB. Our roundup also includes another look at the Thermaltake Armor+ MX mid-tower case along with Thermaltake's 1000W modular power supply and a review of one of Alienware's gaming notebooks.

Cases
Thermaltake Armor+ MX Midtower ATX Computer Case @ Legit Reviews

CPUs
Intel Core 2 Processors Performance Comparison Guide @ Tech ARP

Gaming
Assassin’s Creed Review for Playstation 3 @ RBMods

Notebooks
Alienware m15x 15.4-inch Gaming Laptop @ ThinkComputers

Power Supplies
Thermaltake Toughpower 1000 Watt Modular @ Bjorn3D

Storage/Hard Drives
Super Talent MasterDrive MX 60GB SSD @ TweakTown

Miscellany
SumoSac Sultan Beanbag Chair @ ThinkComputers


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Early iPhone 3G Reviews Generally Positive

Posted: July 9, 2008 @ time: 05:59AM
Author: jammin

As the iPhone 3G launch looms ever closer, we are bound to be inundated with stories concerning the updated Apple device. The first reviews for the iPhone 3G are already out, with Walt Mossberg, David Pogue and Edward Baig all getting an early look for the major publications. We know that the success of the new iPhone has the potential to make Apple a lot of money, and despite niggles about battery life and higher service costs these early reviews have given it the thumbs up. Notably, those with original iPhones won't be completely left behind, as software updgrades and access to the App Store will be open to them too, though they may find the new features the 3G offers entirely worthy of an upgrade anyway.


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Activision-Vivendi Merger On the Verge Of Closing

Posted: July 9, 2008 @ time: 06:41AM
Author: jammin

Activision shareholders are expected to approve the merger with Vivendi to allow the deal to go through, creating Acitivision Blizzard, which will be valued at over $18 billion. That will make for the largest third party games developer, beating out EA's $14.1 billion market capitalization. The deal will also bring massive game franchises such as Activision's Guitar Hero and Vivendi's World of Warcraft under one roof, as well as allow Activision to tap into Vivendi's estabilshed Asian market presence. How the merger will affect gamers may be tricky to predict, though as has been seen with EA's run of aquiring small developers, it could potentially lead to less original creative content, with the focus shifting to the financial bottom line (which would suggest more of the endless line of sequels we are becoming used to seeing).


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Best Buy to Sell Ubuntu with 60 Days of Support

Posted: July 9, 2008 @ time: 09:50AM
Author: Nemo

Ubuntu is a popular Linux distro that has been available as a free download since in initial release back in 2004. However, there are some obstacles that stand in the way of adoption but the non-technical out there not the least of which is the need for a high-speed connection for the download and the tools needed to burn an ISO image (right -What's an ISO image?). In an effort to expand its reach beyond enthusiasts and the more technical savvy, Canonical Ltd. is partnering with Best Buy stores to offer a boxed set of the software for $19.99US. What the retail version gets you, besides the install discs, is a quick install guide along with 60 days of free support. The boxed sets are produced by ValuSoft which will also provide the support with backup help from Canonical for any issues its support staff can't handle.


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Samsung 128GB SSDs Hit Mass Production

Posted: July 9, 2008 @ time: 11:25AM
Author: jammin

Samsung announced its 128GB solid state drive back in January, and has now announced that the drives have now gone into volume production. They use multi-level cell technology, which is cheaper than the alternative single-level cell, but Samsung are claiming read speeds of 90MB/s and write speeds of 70MB/s, which competes in performance terms. Samsung are also touting the long life and low power consumption (0.5 watts active and 0.2 watts standby) of the drives. A quote from the Samsung Semiconductor VP of marketing also notes "more attractive pricing", but actual pricing figures for the drives aren't mentioned. I would suspect they still won't be low enough for the wide spread adoption that many people are hoping for.


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Xbox 360 Pro Hitting $299 On Sunday

Posted: July 9, 2008 @ time: 11:36AM
Author: jammin

It hasn't been officially confirmed by Microsoft yet, but it looks all but the reality considering all of the leaked promotional material doing the rounds. The price cut comes after a recent improvement in PS3 sales, largely due to the release of MGS4. There is no word on whether other Xbox 360 models will get a similar cut, which has led to some speculation that this is simply MS clearing out the current pro version in readiness for a new model (possibly with a 60GB HDD) to hit the line up. Hopefully we'll hear some official word from MS on that sometime early next week.


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Google's Reputation, Number One

Posted: July 9, 2008 @ time: 02:40PM
Author: ClayMeow

In the Reputation Institute's third annual public opinion survey, it ranks Google's corporate reputation number one among the 150 largest U.S. companies. The survey includes the top 150 U.S. coporations based on annual revenue, and this was the first year Google was included in that list. The survey is broken up into seven key "reputation dimensions"; Innovation, Workplace, Governance, Citizenship, Performance, Leadership, and Products/Services. Google placed number one in Innovation, Workplace, Governance, Citizenship, and Performance, while Johnson & Johnson took the stop spot in Leadership and Products/Services. In the worldwide survey, containing 600 companies across 27 countries, Google ranked second only to Toyota Motor Corp. It's no wonder "google" has become a verb and is as synonymous with searching as Band-Aids is with adhesive bandages.


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Second Life Provides Unique Educational Experience

Posted: July 9, 2008 @ time: 04:38PM
Author: ClayMeow

The virtual world of Second Life has gained another use; foreign education. Several universities, as well as the U.S. Department of State, have set up virtual campuses in Second Life, open to any and all who care to visit, and the response throughout the world has been favorable. Students at Dubai Women's College in the United Arab Emirates "used Second Life to virtually meet and practice English with Korean students, visit Darfur, and make a pilgrimage to Mecca." All these things would normally cost a lot of money and time, but Second Life allows students across the globe to learn about other cultures without the usual costs of such ventures. I have never tried Second Life myself, but the more I keep hearing about it, the more I'm tempted to give it a try.


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Jack Thompson, Pwned

Posted: July 9, 2008 @ time: 05:02PM
Author: ClayMeow

If you're a gamer, you've probably heard of Attorney Jack Thompson. If you're a gamer, you've probably been disgusted by his rhetoric and actions against the video game industry. If you're a gamer...you may now rejoice. Judge Dava Tunis issued a 169-page ruling today recommending "permanent disbarment" as well as a nearly $44k fine. The ruling now goes to the Florida Supreme Court for final judgment.  I for one hope they stick to the recommendation (at the least)...Thompson is one of those guys that give lawyers a bad rep.


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Windows XP SP3 to be added to auto update

Posted: July 9, 2008 @ time: 07:30PM
Author: Andrewr05

For those of you who are still using Microsoft Windows XP (I don't blame you) and have automatic updates enabled you should expect Service Pack 3 to be downloaded and installed on July 10th. Service Pack 3 for XP is a cumulative update pack containing all the updates released since Service Pack 2, it also contains some features that have been backported from Microsoft's newest operating system Windows Vista. If you are an advanced Windows user and do not care to update to Windows XP SP3 you can follow the above link and obtain information on how to keep your current Service Pack and block all further SP3 annoyances.


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Hardware Roundup: Thursday Edition

Posted: July 10, 2008 @ time: 04:04AM
Author: Nemo

After a few slow days this week things get a little busier today. Our roundup features a couple of early looks starting with the prototype Skeets CPU cooler from Xigmatek. Then we turned up a sneak peek at a next-gen system built around Intel's Nehalem processor mounted on an X58 chipset motherboard and a pair of solid state drives in RAID 0. Today's roundup also includes a duo of DDR3-1600 memory kits from OCZ and Kingston. For those looking to build an HTPC setup make sure you check out the sweet-looking MonCaso enclosure from Moneual. Rounding out the lineup today we get a look at the PC power & Cooling Silencer 750 power supply along with a pair of flash drives. Yesterday's roundup included an unusual item we don't normally see - a bean bag chair. Well, don't leave today until you check out a second review of the latest from SumoSac.

Cases
Moneual MonCaso 972 HTPC Case w/ 7" LCD @ 3dGameMan

Cooling
Mounting a CPU Cooler? The Heatpipe Direction Might Matter @ Legit Reviews
Xigmatek Prototype Skeets S9686 double-decker heatpipe heatsink @ FrostyTech

Memory
OCZ DDR3 PC3-16000 Platinum Review - DDR3 @ 2000MHz @ Neoseeker
Kingston 2GB DDR3-1600 HyperX DDR3 Memory @ Virtual-Hideout

Power Supplies
PC Power & Cooling Silencer 750 Quad PSU @ Viper Lair

Storage/Hard Drives
Super Talent Pico-C 8GB Flash Drive @ TweakTown
OCZ Rally2 32Gb USB Stick @ Madshrimps

Video
BFG GeForce 8800 GT and 9600 GT OCX ThermoIntelligence @ PC Perspective

Miscellany
Swallowed by the SumoSac bean bag chair @ Tech Report
Intel Nehalem Processor and SSD Sneak Peek @ HotHardware


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Apple Gearing Up For iPhone 3G Launch

Posted: July 10, 2008 @ time: 07:00AM
Author: jammin

Yes, the wait is almost over as the 3G iPhone will launch tomorrow. Apple has been doing a little preparation for release day, and Engadget has gone a little update crazy on the whole thing. Firstly, a new version of iTunes has been released, with 7.7 including support for the 3G, as well as the inclusion of remote support, so you can use your iPhone or iPod Touch to control your music (Apple TV has also been updated to support the remote app). Apple's app store has also gone live, which should provide iPhone users with a slew of applications over the months and years to come. To top things off, we also see the introduction of the MobileMe synchronization solution. If you are planning on picking up a 3G iPhone tomorrow, I think you are allowed to get excited now (just try not to bother those who are less enthusiastic, ok?).


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Seagate Announce 1.5TB Hard Drive

Posted: July 10, 2008 @ time: 11:58AM
Author: jammin

Since the first 1TB hard drives started appearing over a year ago, the capacity ceiling for drives has remained at that height. Today Seagate lifted the bar, and considerably at that. The new Barracuda 7200.11 1.5TB adds another 500GB throught the use of four platters, which pushes aereal density up above what is currenty found on 3 platter 1TB drives. The regular features are there, 7,200rpm, 3Gbps interface and one would assume 32MB of cache. Seagate also took the opportunity to announce new 500GB 2.5" inch drives under its Momentus branding. The new 1.5TB drives will no doubt be welcome news for those with a voracious appetite for a wide variety of media (the most obvious of which being high definition video), and should be seeing initial shipments come August.


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3G iPhone Gets Dissection Treatment

Posted: July 10, 2008 @ time: 02:10PM
Author: jammin

While the US (and a large part of the rest of the world) still waits for the release of the iPhone 3G, our antipodean friends over in New Zealand have already got a hold of one and dutifully taken it apart to expose those juicy innards. How useful the pictures of the insides of the new iPhone are to regular consumers is highly debateable, but it is interesting to those of us who like to see how technology is shoehorned into shiny little boxes. Naturally it looks like any chance of an easily self replaceable battery is out of the question, which I reckon is something all iPhone users would be happy to see in future revisions. Props to iFixit for being so quick off the mark!


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3DGameMan Caught 'Reusing' Other Sites Review Imagery?

Posted: July 10, 2008 @ time: 02:23PM
Author: jammin

Hardware review sites (such as ourselves) spend a considerable amount of time and effort sourcing products and tinkering around with them so you, the buying public don't have to. This might include getting photographs of the inside of a power supply or the GPU die of a graphics card that may essentially void a warranty in the eyes of the manufacturers. It's also a widely accepted practise to identify and credit any content which may have been pulled from other sources for a review, which is why you will notice all sites will include a watermark of their logo in any product photography. The 3DGameMan site was recenty accused of breaking this code of practise, by using imagery from a Hardware Canucks HD 4870 review in its own HIS HD 4870 video review without permission or proper credit. Suspicion was originally raised in the Hardware Canucks forums and has since been discussed by other concerned parties. In the interest of fairness we have asked 3DGameMan to comment on the supposed plagiarism, but have yet to get a reply. We'll leave the verdict up to you for now.


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