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News Archives for December 2008

Hardware Roundup: Monday Edition

Posted: December 1, 2008 @ time: 04:58AM
Author: Nemo

It's back to the grind as we kick off another week. Let's get it started with a couple of CPU-related items covering the latest from AMD and Intel. First up is a look at the AMD 45nm 'Shanghai' Opteron CPU to see how well it stacks up to the latest Xeon processors from Intel. Then we get a chance to examine the Intel Core i7 desktop processor to see what happens to gaming performance when you disable a core or two. The Antec Skeleton case (also reviewed by OCC here) is one of those cases that definitely makes a statement. Whether you agree with the concept is a matter of taste, but it's certainly different from the run of the mill cases. Make sure to follow the rest of the links below to get the latest reviews from our affiliates.

Cases
NZXT Rogue Small Form Factor Computer Case @ RBMods
Antec Skeleton Open Air Case @ Virtual-Hideout

CPUs
AMD's 'Shanghai' 45nm Opterons @ Tech Report
Core i7 920 Core Disabling Performance Analysis @ TweakTown

Gadgets
Foldable Multi Notebook Stand @ ThinkComputers

Motherboards
ASUS Rampage II Extreme - The Definitive Overclocking Board? @ Techgage

Storage/Hard Drives
G.Skill 64GB SSD (FM-25S2S-64GB) @ Bjorn3D
Patriot 128GB Warp SSD @ Bjorn3D

Video
Sapphire HD 4830 @ Bjorn3D
ASUS EN9800GT HybridPower Video Card @ Motherboards.org
ZOTAC NITRO – Graphics Card Overclocking Made Easy @ TweakTown


Complete Story


I-O Data Shows Off New 1.5TB HDD

Posted: December 1, 2008 @ time: 09:03AM
Author: gebraset

I-O Data is unveiling a new hard drive that is meant to compete with the recent Seagate 1.5TB HDD, which has had numerous reported issues of freeze ups. Though Seagate is providing a firmware fix, I-O Data is hoping to steal some of the high capacity hard drive market that is now available because of the problem. The new drive runs at 7,200RPM and is connected through SATA. Many consumers will be turned off by the price though, since the drive is approximately $315, while Seagate’s drive currently sells for $120. Though the initial freeze up problem with the drive from Seagate has turned away some consumers, sales will probably be higher for it than the new I-O Data drive, purely due to price.


Complete Story


Vista SP2 RTM Coming In April?

Posted: December 1, 2008 @ time: 10:16AM
Author: jammin

If sources are correct, we can expect Windows Vista SP2 to be released to manufacturers come next April. When it will launch to the general public isn't known, but you would expect it to follow a similar schedule to the SP1 launch (about a month later). As with previous Microsoft operating systems, Vista SP1 made for a more viable platform, so it will be intersting to see what fixes and improvements are offered with the release of SP2. Once we know the details, we'll be sure to pass them on.


Complete Story


Nikon D3X Shoots 24.5 Megapixels

Posted: December 1, 2008 @ time: 12:56PM
Author: jammin

Unless you happen to be a professional studio photographer, it's unlikely that Nikon's new D3X is aimed at you. That never stopped anyone from looking at such equipment and wondering what it might be like to own (without stumping up the $8000 asking price of course). The D3X comes with a 24.5 megapixel sensor (that means shots at 6048 x 4032), and can shoot bursts of five frames a second at full resolution. You get a regular ISO range of 100-1600 (expandable to ISO 50 and ISO 6400), with supposedly no grain at ISO 1600, as well as dual CF card slots and a 51 point autofocus system (which can also track and lock on to moving subjects). All that and a battery that claims 4400 shots from a single charge (naturally, it aint small). You can see some impressive shots taken with the D3X here.


Complete Story


MS Windows Market Share Falls Below 90%

Posted: December 1, 2008 @ time: 01:47PM
Author: Nemo

Users running Microsoft's Windows operating system fell below 90 percent market share for the first time in November. Research firm Net Applications Inc. monitors a series of web sites and noted that Microsoft's market share dropped almost a percentage point from the previous month putting its market share at 89.6 percent. Not surprising, Apple Inc's Mac OS X recorded its biggest gain in the past two years to end up with 8.9 percent of the market. Part of the drop can be attributed to the large number of weekends and holidays in November, as Microsoft's market share tends to drop after hours and on weekend due to users logging in from home where there are more users using Macs than at work. One bright spot for Microsoft happened as Vista passed the 20% market share for the first time ending up at 20.45 percent.


Complete Story


FCC to Vote on Free Wireless Broadband

Posted: December 1, 2008 @ time: 05:45PM
Author: ClayMeow

Back in August, we reported that Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin was pushing for free wireless broadband across the United States. It seemed to be getting closer to seeing the light of day when a small wireless start-up M2Z announced its plan to bid on the wireless airwaves, called AWS-3, that would be auctioned off, but the plan was not without opposition. On December 18, the FCC is finally going to vote on whether the plan to auction the wireless airwaves will commence. If the vote passes, the AWS-3 auction will take place early next year.


Complete Story


YouTube Goes High-Def

Posted: December 1, 2008 @ time: 06:03PM
Author: ClayMeow

YouTube may be the most well-known video site on the web, but as more and more sites emerge, YouTube is quickly finding it's losing the battle on image quality. Sites like Hulu, Sling.com and Vimeo all feature larger videos with higher resolutions. YouTube is trying to remedy this with its newly-unveiled widescreen video player. Initial tests still show that YouTube's image quality isn't as good as the other sites, but it's nice to see YouTube improving.


Complete Story


New Worm Exploits Unpatched Windows Machines to Build Huge Botnet

Posted: December 1, 2008 @ time: 07:51PM
Author: Nemo

In October Microsoft departed from the norm and issued an out of cycle patch after it discovered a small number of infected machines in Asia. Apparently, that was not enough as many users have not applied the patch. As a result, a worm that showed up within the last two weeks has managed to infect somewhere in the neighborhood of 500,000 PCs. While not the largest botnet to date, the numbers are still growing and it appears to be the work of a different set of criminals than those running more well-known networks such as Srizbi and Rustock. You can read more about the vulnerability and download the patch at Microsoft Security Bulletin MS08-067.


Complete Story


Hardware Roundup: Tuesday Edition

Posted: December 2, 2008 @ time: 04:58AM
Author: Nemo

You know that feeling you get after Thanksgiving dinner is over and you realize you've eaten too much? Well, after today's roundup you may push away from OCC's table feeling the same way. Antec makes an appearance with a pair of HTPC enclosures from its Veris series. We also get a look at the NZXT Guardian 921 mid-tower chassis (reviewed by OCC here). Then there is the Tiny Wireless multimedia keyboard from Brando for home theater owners. In CPUs we have a look at overclocking results for the Core i7 920 processor. Speaking of Core i7, check out the article on memory speed and its effect on performance with Intel's latest CPUs. Also for Core i7, our roundup includes a pair of X58-based motherboards from ASUS and Intel. We also turned up a pair of motherboards from MSI including  one based on AMD's 790GX chipset along with a mATX board for Intel LGA-775 socket CPUs. As with any large meal, you need to leave room for dessert and we have several gaming and video-related reviews to make sure you don't go away hungry.

Cases
Antec Veris Fusion Black HTPC Case @ Legit Reviews
NZXT Guardian 921 @ XSReviews
Antec Veris Fusion Remote Max Premium Home Theater PC Case @ Tweak News

CPUs
Desktop CPU Comparison Guide Rev. 6.4 and Mobile CPU Comparison Guide Rev. 4.2 @ Tech ARP
Stock to Clocked Core i7 920 at 3.8GHz @ TweakTown

Gaming
The New Xbox 360 Experience @ HotHardware
Left 4 Dead (PC) @ [OC]ModShop

Input Devices
Brando Wireless Tiny Multimedia Keyboard @ ExtremeMHz

Memory
Exploring the impact of memory speed on Core i7 performance @ Tech Report

Motherboards
MSI P6NGM mATX @ Viper Lair
Asus P6T Deluxe OC Palm Edition @ Neoseeker
MSI DKA790GX Platinum @ Viper Lair
Intel X58 Smackover - DX58SO @ Bjorn3D

Trade Shows/Conventions
Dreamhack Winter 2008 @ RBMods

Video
Holiday Gaming Performance Guide - How to waste your time @ PC Perspective
FarCry 2 DX9 vs. DX10 Performance @ [H]ardOCP
Asus 9800 GTX+ Dark Knight @ Bjorn3D
Palit Revolution 700 Deluxe Radeon HD 4870 X2 2GB Video Card @ ThinkComputers

Miscellany
Terminator 2 HD Movie @ TweakTown


Complete Story


Netbooks Proving Popular This Holiday Season

Posted: December 2, 2008 @ time: 08:26AM
Author: Nemo

If trends displayed yesterday hold up, netbooks may prove to be the hot computer-related item this holiday. The first week after the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday kicks off with Cyber Monday as many shoppers head back to work and hop online to do a little shopping and catch some deals. Netbooks topped Amazon's bestsellers list Monday in the computer hardware category, ending up with seven of the top 10 slots. After all the dust settled, ASUS' black Eee 900HA finished at the top of the list, but not before a running battle with the Acer Aspire One saw them change places throughout the day. The Aspire One ended up claiming the next two spots (the black version finished second over the sapphire blue one, which came in third). Also in the top ten were One Laptop Per Child's XO netbook, the Samsung NC-10 and the MSI Wind. While some netbooks come with 3-cell batteries, all of the netbooks in the top ten were models with 6-cell batteries which offer much longer run times while on battery power.


Complete Story


Core i7 Record Set At 5510MHz

Posted: December 2, 2008 @ time: 12:43PM
Author: jammin

Motherboard manufacturers are always proud to announce when a record has been broken using hardware it has produced, and there is no exception in the case of ASUS, with its Rampage II Extreme being used to take an Intel Core i7 Extreme 965 to the giddy heights of 5510.09MHz. This was achieved in the capable hands of 'duck', a Japanese overclocker who also happens to hold the world record P4 frequency (8180.4MHz, set last year). Naturally, ASUS is playing up the overclocking features of the Rampage II Extreme, which allow on the fly adjustments to key voltages and frequencies without resorting to software tweaking. That means if you feel like fiddling with settings halfway through a benchmark run, you can. Now lets see how long that record holds up for.


Complete Story


NZXT Announces Zero 2 Full-Tower Chassis

Posted: December 2, 2008 @ time: 12:44PM
Author: Nemo

NZXT today announced the new Zero 2 full-tower steel chassis that's built to take it. Constructed from 1.0mm steel and weighing in at close to 22.5 pounds (10.2kg), the Zero 2 boasts a fully customizable cooling setup with the ability to load the case with up to seven 120mm fans. With four of those fans mounted on the side of the case, the Zero 2 should be able to keep even the largest multi-GPU setups cool. The case also features tool-free HDD mounting, Intel HD Audio and AC’97 Audio capability along with top mounted ports for USB, audio and e-SATA connections. The case is available immediately at a suggested retail price of $99.99US.


Complete Story


Cooler Master Launches Silent Pro Modular PSUs

Posted: December 2, 2008 @ time: 12:57PM
Author: jammin

Cooler Master has been selling its Silent Pro Modular power supplies outside of the U.S. already, but due to patents held by Ultra with regards to modular PSUs it has taken some negotiation to allow the new PSUs to be sold stateside. Models sold elsewhere range from 500W - 700W (you can view them here), though it seems the top end 700W model (with a single 50A rated 12v rail) will be the first to appear through Cooler Master USA. As you may have guessed from the name, Cooler Master are claiming near silence from the 135mm fan cooled unit, along with quality Japanese sourced capacitors and a couple of PCIe connectors that should handle SLI setups comfortably. As is usual with these things, pricing and availability isn't specified.


Complete Story


Hitachi and Intel Team Up For SSDs

Posted: December 2, 2008 @ time: 07:18PM
Author: gebraset

Hitachi, known for its production of hard disks for both consumers and businesses, will team up with Intel, who is known mainly for its processors, for solid-state drive development and manufacturing. The two companies plan to distribute Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) drives, as well as Fibre Channel (FC) drives. Both Intel and Hitachi are stating that the solid-state drives are only meant to compliment traditional magnetic hard disk drives, not replace them all together. Hitachi will still sell regular hard drives along with the new SSDs that it releases. The Serial Attached SCSI drives, along with the Fibre Channel drives, should be available sometime in the early part of 2010.


Complete Story


Firefox to Receive New Update

Posted: December 2, 2008 @ time: 07:42PM
Author: gebraset

Mozilla plans to update its popular web browser, Firefox, to version 3.0.5 this upcoming Thursday. This new version will mainly target users of the old version of Firefox, 2.0.0.18, who have not yet upgraded to version 3.0 after it was released more than five months ago. Even though Mozilla would like users to upgrade, those who want to use the old version may still download it from various websites, as it will be supported until 2.0.0.19. After this final update of version 2.0, which is supposed to occur this month, Firefox users will be notified that their version is no longer supported, and will be advised to upgrade to version 3.0. Mozilla also is planning a major update to Firefox, slated for early 2009, though it does not yet have a version number associated with it.


Complete Story


ASUS Eee Box to Incorporate Celeron Processor

Posted: December 2, 2008 @ time: 08:30PM
Author: gebraset

Around three months ago, ASUS launched a product known the Eee Box, to consumers who wanted a compact and low priced nettop. After recent reports of the nettop not running up to standards, ASUS is now planning to equip the Eee Box with a Celeron processor. The new model will also include improved storage, from an 80GB hard drive to a 120GB hard drive. The Eee Box is planned to retail for less than its Atom-powered counterpart, and should sell more units overall due to the drop in price. ASUS plans on its Eee Box product to reach approximately 150,000 customers this year, and expects that number to increase to roughly one million by the end of 2009.


Complete Story


Hardware Roundup: Wednesday Edition

Posted: December 3, 2008 @ time: 05:35AM
Author: Nemo

Intel's Core i7 CPUs offer an integrated memory controller and triple-channel memory support - two features new to Intel processors and a potential point of confusion for some. Our roundup today has a guide to picking out the right memory kit for Intel's latest. We also have a pair of reviews on AMD 4870 series cards including the Sapphire HD4870 Toxic (reviewed by OCC here). In storage news, our roundup includes a couple of reviews for those needing lots of space whether it's in the form of Patriot's 64GB flash drive or a 4-bay NAS appliance from Thecus.

Cases
Lian-Li PC-60FW Case @ Virtual-Hideout

Cooling
Xilence RAM Cooler HP Duo Dual Heatpipe Passive Memory Cooler @ ThinkComputers

Gaming
Mirror's Edge @ [OC]ModShop

Memory
Picking The Right Memory Kit For Intel Core i7 Platforms @ Legit Reviews

Modding
Silent Computer Article @ RBMods

Storage/Hard Drives
Patriot Xporter Magnum 64GB Pen Drive – When Size Matters @ TweakTown
Thecus N4100PRO Networked Area Storage (NAS) Server @ Bjorn3D

Video
Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 Toxic @ [OC]ModShop
Palit Revolution 700 Deluxe HD 4870 X2 2GB Graphics Card @ TweakTown


Complete Story


EFF Asks Copyright Office for DMCA Exemption for Cell Phone Jailbreaking

Posted: December 3, 2008 @ time: 10:47AM
Author: Nemo

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has petitioned the U.S. Copyright Office for an exemption from the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DCMA) for cell phone owners who 'jailbreak' or hack their cell phones in order to run third-party applications not approved by the cell-phone manufacturer. Even though there is no copyright violation involved in unlocking the cell phone, users face the threat of a lawsuit by carriers for unlocking their phones.  The best example that comes to mind are the many iPhone users who have jailbroken their units in order to run application not purchased through Apple's App Store. The EFF is claiming companies are unfairly hiding behind the DMCA in an effort to protect their business models. The EFF maintains the Act was intended to block infringement and not stifle competition.


Complete Story


Security Firm Reports 98 Percent of Windows PCs Have Unpatched Software

Posted: December 3, 2008 @ time: 01:17PM
Author: Nemo

Security firm Secunia APS reports that 98.1 percent of the PCs scanned during the past wee with its Personal Software Inspector (PSI) tool revealed at least one software application that had not been updated with the latest patches. PSI scans users' computers for applications installed and then compares those applications to the latest versions. Secunia released version 1.0 of PSI on November 25 and over 120,000 people downloaded the free utility. Fewer than 2% of users had completely up to date machines with 45 percent of the machines scanned having 11 or more unpatched programs.


Complete Story


Vista SP2 Beta Available To Technet And MSDN Subscribers

Posted: December 3, 2008 @ time: 02:31PM
Author: jammin

At the beginning of the week it was reported that SP2 for Windows Vista would likely see an April launch to manufacturers. If you happen to be an MSDN or Technet subscriber then you will be able to download the first beta of SP2 from today. With that comes a few more details of what we can expect to find from the service pack. As is standard, any updates since SP1 will be bundled, but more interesting is what new features will be added. These include the improved Windows Search 4.0, the Bluetooth 2.1 feature pack and native recording to Blu-ray discs. The addition of Windows Connect Now should also allow you to set up wireless networks more easily. If you don't have a subscription, you can head over to Technet tomorrow and download the beta as part of the Customer Preview Program.


Complete Story


Xbox 360 Arcade Now Includes Internal Storage

Posted: December 3, 2008 @ time: 03:02PM
Author: gebraset

Over the past year, or even the last few months, the Xbox experience has been one that has gone through multiple changes. These changes have come in the form of the new Xbox interface, as well as an updated market place and brand-new avatars. Many users however, have been complaining about the internal storage that they have on their Xbox systems, and did not want the free memory cards that Microsoft was trying to supply them with. A company spokesman has now confirmed though, that the Arcade version of the Xbox will receive a total of 256MB of internal storage. Even though this is the same size as the previous external memory units, the storage will now be held internally inside of the game console.


Complete Story


EA Purchases Korean Game Developer

Posted: December 3, 2008 @ time: 03:34PM
Author: gebraset

Electronic Arts has been trying to move into Asia’s online gaming market for quite a while now. It has recently released a few popular sports titles, such as NBA Street Online, as well as EA Sports FIFA Online into the Asian gaming community. Electronic Arts has now also bought out a South Korean game developer known as J2MSoft Incorporated to expand upon its involvement with the geographic area. EA plans to build online games upon their own franchise, but also wants to continue work on games such as RayCity, as well as Taan and Debut, that J2MSoft Incorporated have created. Even though the deal is complete, the value of the acquisition was not released by either of the two companies involved.


Complete Story


Naughty or Nice - OCC's Christmas Contest is Coming to Town - Winners Announced!!

Posted: December 3, 2008 @ time: 08:33PM
Author: Nemo

OCC's elves finally got a peak into Santa's bag and let's just say it's jam packed to overflowing with prizes. Thanks to the generosity and support of our sponsors there are 60 prizes in all. The grand prize, courtesy of CyberpowerPC, is a full liquid-cooled Core i7 system complete with an ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2 graphics card. Other prizes have been donated by Sapphire, Thermaltake, Mushkin, Palit, OCZ, Sigma, In Win, NZXT, Crucial, Corsair, Super Talent, ECS and OCC. A complete list of prizes can be found here.

Grand Prize full system donated from CyberpowerPC specs are as follows:

Gamer Xtreme XT (bundle FarCry 2)
ThermalTake Spedo full tower
Intel® Core™2 i7-920 2.66 GHz over clocked to 3GHz
Asus P6T Deluxe Intel X58 Chipset
3GB (3x1GB) DDR3
Lite-On DH-401S 4X Blu-Ray Player
Asetek Liquid CPU Cooling System
1TB SATA-II 3.0Gb/s 16MB Cache 7200RPM HDD
STANDARD KEYBOARD AND MOUSE
Microsoft® Windows Vista™ Home Premium 64-bit Service Pack 1
Thermaltake Toughpower 650 Watt Power Supply
ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2 2GB DDR5 PCI-Express Dual DVI-I & TVO

In order to qualify for the contest you must be a member of the forums. To enter the contest send an email to [email protected] In the subject line you MUST have OCC Christmas Contest there. In the message box you will put your forum username as well as your personal info. This will include your name, shipping address, phone number and an e-mail address where you can be contacted if the need arises. Failure to do any of the above will leave you out of the contest.

The contest will be over on Dec 24th at 9pm Pacific Time.

There is one catch and one catch only. In order to win the Grand Prize of the Core i7 system you must have a minimum of 50 posts in the forums.

Good luck to everyone and from all of us here at OCC, thank you to all of our members and here's wishing all the Season's Best to you and your family!

You can check out the complete list of winners here.


Complete Story


Sun Patches Java

Posted: December 3, 2008 @ time: 08:57PM
Author: gebraset

Sun Microsystems Incorporated yesterday patched Java, bringing it to the latest release, known as Java 1.6.0_11. This recent update fixed around fourteen or more vulnerabilities, as well as thirty-four nonsecurity problems associated with the program. It is not yet known however exactly how many vulnerabilities all together were fixed in the latest patch. Those who are on Windows and want to update their Java to the latest version, can update it through the Java application in the Control Panel, or download it directly through the Java website. Mac users will have to wait for Apple to release their version of Java, as they regulate how often it gets released for the Mac operating system.


Complete Story


Hardware Roundup: Thursday Edition

Posted: December 4, 2008 @ time: 04:44AM
Author: Nemo

KVM switches are used to connect multiple computers using a single keyboard/video/mouse combination. The problem with traditional KVM switches is the lack of support for the latest video setups such as dual-link DVI. That's where the Belkin F1DD104L comes in with support for four different systems. Our roundup managed to turn up a trio of motherboards for those looking to build smaller form factor systems. The MSI IM-945GSE-A is a passively cooled mini-ITX board based on Intel's Atom processor. Albatron's KI780G is another mini-ITX board, but is based on AMD's 780G chipset and an AM2+ socket.  Also in the lineup is the micro-ATX Gigabyte EG45M-DS2H board. In the videocard department it's Nvidia's turn to shine with  9800 GTX+ and GTX 280 cards on review. We also get an opportunity to check out a pair of Nvidia's professional grade Quadro FX cards.

Gadgets
Belkin F1DD104L SOHO KVM Switch with Audio and DL DVI @ PC Perspective

Input Devices
Ace KUC500 Slick Touch Keyboard @ RBMods

Mobile
SouthWing SF605 Bluetooth Car Kit @ Legit Reviews

Motherboards
MSI IM-945GSE-A Mini-ITX Fanless Atom Motherboard and Albatron Mini-ITX Evolves – KI780G On Display @ TweakTown
Gigabyte EG45M-DS2H @ Techgage

Power Supplies
AXP Supernova 1000w and 800w @ XSReviews

Video
The NVIDIA Quadro FX 5800 & 4800 Professional Graphics Cards @ Tech ARP
Sparkle 9800 GTX+ With Custom PCB and Cooling @ Madshrimps    
EVGA GTX-280 SLI @ Bjorn3D
HIS HD 4650 iSilence 4 512MB @ Bjorn3D


Complete Story


Patriot Releases DDR3 1600MHz Kits

Posted: December 4, 2008 @ time: 09:39AM
Author: jammin

Most memory manufacturers are onboard the Tri-Channel train now, and Patriot just launched some of its own Viper Series parts designed for Core i7 processors running on Intel's X58 Express chipset. The new kits are available in 3x1GB and 3x2GB configurations and boast timings of 8-8-8-24 at 1.65v. All that should add up to some impressive memory bandwidth, now all you have to do is find some spare change for that new setup (or convince someone who cares a lot to get you an awesome christmas present). Pricing and availability aren't mentioned, so you'll have to look out for the memory turning up at you favourite retailers soon.


Complete Story


Unusual Malware Targeting Firefox Users

Posted: December 4, 2008 @ time: 11:29AM
Author: Nemo

Researchers at security firm BitDefender have identified a unique piece of malware that collects online banking information but only targets users of Mozilla's Firefox browser. The malware makes use of JavaScript to identify over 100 banking and money-related websites worldwide. When a user visits one of those sites it grabs login and password information and sends the information back to a Russian server. With Firefox having just hit 20 percent market share, it is becoming a more attractive target as cyber-criminals search for new venues of attack. Users can become infected either by a drive-by download or by being tricked into downloading the software. Once on a user's PC, it sits in Firefox's add-ons folder and runs when Firefox is launched.


Complete Story


Charge Your Cell Phone Using Your Voice

Posted: December 4, 2008 @ time: 01:17PM
Author: Nemo

Researchers at Texas A&M University are conducting research they hope one day will lead to being able to charge your cell phone using just your voice. Their research centers around piezoelectric materials that generate electricity when a mechanical stress is applied. Piezoelectric technology is currently used in devices such as fireplace lighters and watches. The Texas A&M team is aiming to take the concept down to the nano level and has discovered that barium titanate crystal achieve greater power efficiency when manufactured at 21 nanometers. At this size, the materials become much more sensitive to pressure waves that even the sound of your voice could be used to generate electricity to power devices such as MP3 players, cell phones and even laptops. Researchers caution that it could be decades before the technology advances to the point where it can be used in consumer devices.


Complete Story


ECS X58B-A Black Series Motherboard Sets World Record Overclock

Posted: December 4, 2008 @ time: 01:45PM
Author: Nemo

Elite Computer Systems announced the release of its X58B-A Black Series motherboard for Intel Core i7 processors. Targeted directly at the enthusiast market, ECS is touting the board's overclocking capabilities. Using air-cooling alone, they were able to push a Core i7 940 past 4.0GHZ achieving a B-clock speed of 215MHz, claiming a world record in the process. The Quick Path Interconnect bandwidth jumped from 4.8GT/s to 7.7GT/s. Almost lost in the announcement are some of the other features of the board including all solid capacitors, Qooltech II cooling technology and ECS' M.I.B overclocking utility. More information can be found on the ECS website. Pricing and availability were not announced.


Complete Story


AT&T to Cut Workers

Posted: December 4, 2008 @ time: 04:50PM
Author: gebraset

After a hard year in terms of business, countless companies have cut workers due to the demanding economic times in the United State. Throughout the last year, AT&T has shown signs that it has been growing as a mature company. Most commercials shown on television broadcast its bundle services, such as internet, phone, and television combined into one package. Today however, the company has announced that it will cut roughly 12,000 employees throughout 2009. The workers that are going to go through the lay off process represent about four percent of the entire company's workforce. Besides the drop in workers, AT&T also plans to cut back on its capital spending that it will do in 2009 compared to 2008.


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Large Blu-Ray Capacity Discs Coming From Pioneer

Posted: December 4, 2008 @ time: 07:54PM
Author: gebraset

Blu-ray has taken over the market by storm as far as digital media content goes. The new format usually holds 25GB on a single-layer disc, while dual-layer disks can provide up to 50GB of data storage. Pioneer now is announcing that they have developed a new disc manufacturing technology that allows sixteen layers to be compacted onto a Blu-Ray disc. This total of sixteen layers gives the disc a total capacity of 400GB. Pioneer claims that the new discs will be able to be read in all current Blu-Ray readers, though they may require a firmware upgrade to adjust the pickup. The company is also stating that after the new discs start to come out into the market, burners that support the 400GB capacity will also follow.


Complete Story


Final Version of Songbird Released

Posted: December 4, 2008 @ time: 08:58PM
Author: gebraset

Songbird, which has been in beta for over two years, has now just came out in a final release. This release fixes many bugs that plagued some of the older betas, as well as improves upon the user interface found in the program, though it is full customizable. Songbird 1.0 includes support for FLAC, MP3, Vorbis, WMA and WMA DRM on Windows, and AAC and Fairplay on both Windows and Mac. Even though these formats are supported, there is no Zune support, and the iPod support is very limited. Users of the program can download the music player for Windows XP and Vista, Mac OS 10.5 and higher, as well as Linux i686 and x86_64.


Complete Story


Intel Holiday Giveaway Contests

Posted: December 4, 2008 @ time: 10:44PM
Author: Nemo

OCC is not the only one revving things up for the holidays with a Christmas giveaway contest. Intel has gotten into the spirit as well with three different contests going with prizes like Centrino 2 laptops, Core i7 processors and $500 Amazon gift certificates. The first is called the "What's Inside You?" contest that asks readers to share their story about the unique and personally creative ways a person uses his or her PC or Mac. You can find more information about it here and winners can get a Centrino 2 laptop or cash prizes.

The second merely asks people to guess the number of reinvented transistors Intel has shipped since the beginning of the year. These would be Intel's 45 nanometer chips with the Hafnium-based, high-k metal gate transistor formula. It's a gigantic number and the closest guess wins a $500 Amazon gift certificate good for anything, including Intel-based laptops, netbooks, PCs, etc. People can post their guesses here.
 
The third one is jointly with Ubisoft. On the heels of the Intel Core i7 Processor launch and from now through Dec. 30th, 50 sweepstakes entrants will win a copy of Far Cry 2 for Windows, optimized for Core i7 processors from Intel and Ubisoft. Also, one daily participant will be awarded an Intel Core i7 Processor Extreme Edition. More information on that one can be found here.


Complete Story


Hardware Roundup: Friday Edition

Posted: December 5, 2008 @ time: 05:32AM
Author: Nemo

During this time of year if you have visions of a new system dancing around in your head you might want to check out what today's roundup has in store. We kick things off with a pair of cases. Aerocool's AeroRacer is a mid-tower design sporting a 400mm side fan. Then there's Thermaltake's Spedo Advance Package case (recently reviewed by OCC here) for those wanting something larger. A nice fan controller like the CoolPanel 3 Color LCD from AeroCool might make a good stocking stuffer. Our roundup has a few more goodies for you to check out at the links listed below.

Cases
Thermaltake's Spedo Advance Package enclosure @ Tech Report
AeroCool AeroRacer Pro PC Case @ Legit Reviews

Cooling
AeroCool CoolPanel 3 Color LCD Multi-Function Panel @ ThinkComputers

Gaming
Call of Duty: World at War Walkthrough @ [OC]ModShop

Input Devices
GIGABYTE GK-K8000 GHOST Gaming Keyboard @ TweakTown

Memory
A-DATA Vitesta DDR3-1333MHz 3GB Triple Channel Kit @ TweakTown

Motherboards
ASUS M3A78-T Mobo - 790GX Chipset @ [H]ardOCP

Power Supplies
OCZ ModXStream Pro 600W Power Supply @ PC Perspective
Tagan BZ 1300W PSU @ [H]ardOCP

Storage/Hard Drives
Eagle iNeo I-NA205UE 2.5”/3.5” SATA to USB/eSATA Docking Station with Enclosure @ Bjorn3D

Video
Workstation Graphics Card Comparison Guide Rev. 5.4 and Desktop Graphics Card Comparison Guide Rev. 15.3 @ Tech ARP
ATI FirePro V8700 Workstation Graphics Card @ HotHardware


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Analyst Labels Google a Bandwidth Hog - Google Cries 'Foul'

Posted: December 5, 2008 @ time: 02:25PM
Author: Nemo

In the ongoing net neutrality war an analyst report, funded by several large telecom firms including AT&T and Verizon Communications, states that Google is a bandwidth hog and uses 21 more times bandwidth than it pays for. Not surprisingly, Google is taking issues with the report and its conclusions. The report claims Google was responsible for 16.5 percent of consumer Internet traffic in 2008. Scott Cleland, president of Precursor LLC., claims in the report that "Internet connections could be more affordable for everyone, if Google paid its fair share of the Internet's cost." Google's response was quickly forthcoming as they pointed to Cleveland's source of funding as a factor in the report's lack of objectivity and claimed the report contains "significant methodological and factual errors" and labeled it "payola punditry". Google goes on to point out the obvious and that is it is the end users who are using their own bandwidth to use Google's services.


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BlackBerry Storm Firmware Gets Updated

Posted: December 5, 2008 @ time: 08:30PM
Author: gebraset

Verizon Wireless has now released a new firmware for its BlackBerry Storm mobile device. The new upgrade can be downloaded through the phone’s Desktop Software Manager, which is available through connecting a personal computer to the phone. Verizon expects the new firmware to be able to be downloaded over-the-air by sometime Friday, most likely in the evening. Performance in the media application, as well as issues in switching between landscape and portrait mode are just some of the things to be fixed. The upgrade has been talked about for a few days now throughout the internet, but Verizon Wireless is just now releasing the new firmware to its customers.


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Hardware Roundup: Weekend Edition

Posted: December 6, 2008 @ time: 07:58AM
Author: Nemo

Looking for a little portable storage - ittle as in size, not in capacity? For pocket size storage there's the 4GB ATP EarthDrive and it's recyclable to boot. If you need more, the Seagate FreeAgent Go offers 320GB but can still fit in a pocket. There are several more interesting gift idea in the roundup this morning including a geek gift guide.

Cooling
Thermaltake Bigwater 780e ESA @ Bjorn3D

CPUs
Why You Should AVOID Intel Core 2 Engineering Samples Rev. 4.0 @ Tech ARP

Motherboards
ZOTAC nForce 630i-ITX WiFi LGA775 Powered Mini-ITX @ TweakTown

Mouse Pads
Nova Overslide @ XSReviews

Power Supplies
FSP Power Mod 700W Power Supply @ RBMods

Storage/Hard Drives
ATP EarthDrive 4GB USB Drive @ DarkVision Hardware
Seagate FreeAgent Go 320GB Portable Hard Drive @ ThinkComputers

Video
Battle of GPU Transcoders: ATI Avivo Converter and NVIDIA Badaboom @ PC Perspective

Miscellany
Gifts for Geeks: 24 gift ideas @ Neoseeker


Complete Story


OCZ Produces eSATA Pen Drive

Posted: December 6, 2008 @ time: 06:37PM
Author: gebraset

Many users that own and use thumb drives, use those which connect through a USB 2.0 port. With the introduction of eSATA on many motherboards and prebuilt computers as a standard, OCZ has now released its own pen drive, called Throttle, which connects through this type of interface. The company claims that the drive’s read speed is over the 60MB per second, by a whopping 30MB over what USB 2.0 offers, totaling 90MB per second of read speed. The write speed however, is quite slow, and tracks in at about 30MB per second. OCZ is offering Throttle in 8GB, 16GB, and 32GB sizes, and can be purchased through various retailers.


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Intel to Lower CPU Prices

Posted: December 6, 2008 @ time: 08:57PM
Author: gebraset

According to multiple sources on the internet, Intel is said to lower the prices on some of their processors in the coming month of January of next year. Chips such as the E5200 as well as the E7500, which could see anywhere from a ten to a fifteen percent drop in price, should be coming down considerably when the new scheme goes into affect starting in the beginning of next year. This news come a little while after the new Core i7 processors were released, making it even more appealing to wait for prices to drop before upgrading or building a new computer. Intel is also stated to be cutting the price of the E5300, from $86 to $74.


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RealNetworks Cuts Employees

Posted: December 7, 2008 @ time: 08:45PM
Author: gebraset

The music service company, who also manages the popular music media manager RealPlayer, will be cutting around 130 workers from its staff. The vice president of the company, Bill Hankes, said that the cuts are due to a budgeting process that is in the works of being performed. Rob Glaser, CEO and chairman, stated that some of the cuts made were not enacted because of the economy. The cuts seem to affect all divisions of the company, and workers who were laid-off will be kept on the payroll until the end of the year. Cuts made by RealNetworks account for about eight percent of its total work force.


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Hardware Roundup: Monday Edition

Posted: December 8, 2008 @ time: 05:25AM
Author: Nemo

In today's roundup we have a couple of CPU cooling solutions. One that has been around a while is the Noctua NH-U12P (reviewed by OCC here). Thermaltake offers their latest in the Max ORB EX. AMD's HD4870 cards have put the ATI line back in the videocard game and today we get a look at how the single-GPU HD 4870 lines up against the Nvidia GTX 260/216. We also have a chance to check out a top the line HD4870 X2 card from Palit (also just reviewed by OCC here). Our roundup also includes DFI Lanparty X48 chipset motherboard and more, so read on to find out all the latest.

Cooling
Noctua NH-U12P Heatsink @ [OC]ModShop
Thermaltake Max ORB EX @ Bjorn3D

Input Devices
OCZ - Alchemy Elixir Keyboard @ Viper Lair
GIGABYTE GM-M8000 GHOST Gaming Mouse @ TweakTown

Motherboards
DFI Lanparty LT X48 T3RS @ Bjorn3D

Storage/Hard Drives
Icy Dock MB664UEA-1S USB/Firewire HDD Enclosure @ Tweak News

Video
Palit Revolution 700 Deluxe Radeon HD 4870 X2 @ Motherboards.org
ATI HD 4870 1GB vs. NVIDIA GTX 260/216 896MB: Follow-Up @ Techgage

Miscellany
ThinkComputers 2008 Budget Holiday Gift Guide @ ThinkComputers


Complete Story


Netflix HD Streaming Through TiVo

Posted: December 8, 2008 @ time: 11:51AM
Author: jammin

Back in October we heard about high definition streaming of Netflix content on the Xbox 360. Starting from today, Netflix subscribers will also be able to access content (including the growing number of HD titles) through TiVo, though you will need a series 3, TiVo HD or TiVo HD XL device. The interface for accessing Netflix content means you'll get an instant queue list for your TiVo (which you add to through the Netflix website), as well as synopses and rating functions. Engadget has a hands-on with the interface and also comments on the streaming implementation, commending it for picture quality (compared to the Xbox implementation) and the ability to switch down to standard definition when network congestion hits.


Complete Story


Energizer To Show Zinc Air Prismatic Battery At CES

Posted: December 8, 2008 @ time: 12:08PM
Author: jammin

Energizer will be unveiling a new battery during CES 2009, which they claim will provide up to three times more runtime than similarly sized alkaline or lithium-ion batteries. Zinc Air Prismatic batteries apparently offer high energy density along with a thin form factor. Those qualities should allow greater flexibility in design for those companies interested in using them, as well as enabling small devices. It all sounds very promising at the moment, but we only have Energizers word to go on. Hopefully we'll get time during CES in January to get a look and see if they really are that impressive.


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Wal-Mart Reportedly to Begin Selling iPhone

Posted: December 8, 2008 @ time: 04:04PM
Author: Nemo

According to several Wal-Mart employees, the giant retail chain will begin selling Apple's iPhone in it stores with the general consensus being that it will appear on shelves after Christmas. Employees and managers who had undergone sales training leaked the information although Wal-Mart remained tight-lipped about the issue saying they would not be making an announcement at this time. Just last week, rumors began circulating that Wal-Mart would begin selling a 4G iPhone model for $99. Apple currently sells two models of the popular unit at $199 for the 8GB model and $299 for a 16GB version. Most other sources seem to be discounting the rumor as just that and don't believe the models Wal-Mart will offer will be anything but another way for Apple to reach consumers with its current models similar to its agreement with Best Buy.


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Congress Pushing to Restrict Laptop Border Searches

Posted: December 8, 2008 @ time: 06:08PM
Author: ClayMeow

For many people, traveling with a laptop is the norm. Whether for work or pleasure, your laptop most likely contains personal and/or confidential information, so you probably don't want someone going through it. As it stands now, airport security can go through your laptop, camera and other electronic devices for no reason at all. In fact, they can confiscate the devices for hours, days, or even weeks at a time. Sound unreasonable? Several politicians agree and as such, there are several bills circulating around Congress trying to address the issue. The bills aren't trying to end the searches, but they are at least trying to restrict them.


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2008 To Last One Second Longer

Posted: December 8, 2008 @ time: 06:34PM
Author: ClayMeow

An international consortium of timekeepers announced today that an extra second will be tacked on to the end of 2008 just before 00:00GMT on New Year's Eve. The Earth's rotation has been slowing slightly and, to compensate for that, leap seconds have been added every now and then since 1972. This is the first leap second since December 31, 2005 and due to the leap year, this will be the longest year since 1992.


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More Than Half of Adults Play Video Games

Posted: December 8, 2008 @ time: 06:46PM
Author: ClayMeow

Gaming is not just for kids. In fact, more than half of all American adults play video games according to a survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. The large majority is of course of the younger ilk (81 percent of 18-29 year olds are gamers), but even senior citizens enjoy video games (23 percent according to the survey). The survey also revealed that it's fairly split amongst the genders as well; 55 percent of men and 50 percent of women play video games.


Complete Story


Netflix Cuts Tech Jobs

Posted: December 8, 2008 @ time: 07:26PM
Author: gebraset

Netflix has recently laid-off fifty specialists from its technical staff, which leaves only fifteen to join the company’s 300-person Customer Service group. These technicians who are being cut usually assist users in connecting the service to their laptop or their set-up box if they have one. A Netflix spokesman stated that, just like the RealNetworks cuts, the company did not lay off people due to the economy. Recently, Netflix customers have been complaining about poor video quality as well as long buffering delays, though Netflix was said to have fixed it last week. It is unknown if these problems are directly related to the cuts made.


Complete Story


NVIDIA to Release GTX295

Posted: December 8, 2008 @ time: 08:18PM
Author: gebraset

For some time now, ATI has been leading the video card market with the release of its Radeon HD 4870 X2. While the card is quite expensive to some, others are picking them up without a doubt because of their obvious performance. The green company, NVIDIA, has been behind this card in terms of performance ever since it was released. Now however, NVIDIA plans to release a card officialy known as the GTX295, or better known online as the GTX260 GX2 by internet rumor web sources. The card is said to contain 216 stream processors for each core that it has, but details on the memory size and core frequency of the card have not yet been confirmed. Design is finished for the GTX295 and is in testing right now in order for it to be released to the public market sometime in the near future.


Complete Story


Spore Tops Most Pirated Games

Posted: December 8, 2008 @ time: 08:40PM
Author: gebraset

TorrentFreak, which supplies BitTorrent news to various online visitors, has now revealed that Spore is the most pirated game on the web. Despite its heavy use of SecuROM 7, users of the popular sharing protocol have managed to download the game around 1.7 million times since its initial release. Just in the past week alone, Spore has managed to be downloaded by approximately half a million times by users located across the world. While TorrentFreak may not be able to calculate the exact download numbers of the game, they are certain that Spore is topping the piracy chart in the video game realm.


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