Looking for a dual-band router so you can run two independent Wi-Fi networks, using one frequency band for data and the second for streaming media? Scratch the DGL-4500 off your list, because D-Link’s definition of “dual-band” means operating on either the 2.4GHz band or the 5.0GHz band—not both at the same time.
When we think of a dual-band router, we envision something like the Linksys WRT600N we’ve been using as a reference point. That device has separate 802.11n Draft 2.0 radios that enable us to run two independent wireless networks. That’s not to say the DGL-4500 is a lousy router; in fact, it delivered far superior performance at long distances than the WRT600N. Where the Linksys box is nearly useless when our Wi-Fi client is outside our test home—delivering throughput of just 0.7Mb/s at one exterior location and 1.2Mb/s at the other—the D-Link delivered exceptional throughput of 18.0Mb/s and 6.44Mb/s, respectively.
My current PC, which has Windows XP professional 32-bit installed, is dying. I have begun ordering hardware for my new rig from Newegg. I am a college student and recently found out that I can get a student discount from Microsoft on a Windows Vista upgrade. Can a 32-bit version of XP be upgraded to a 64-bit version of Vista? If so, what’s the best way to do so? I know I will have to call Microsoft for a new XP keycode, as my hardware will be entirely different, but I’ve gone through that process before.
Read on to find out the answer to Kevin's question!
I have a Soyo A7V Dragon Plus motherboard, AMD Athlon XP 1800+, VisionTek ATI Radeon 1600 X1600XT Extreme Gamer Edition, Creative Extreme Gamer Fatality Pro, Adaptec Duo Connect, and Linksys Standard Ethernet Card.
A week ago, my 425W RaidMax power supply started shooting sparks and fried a capacitor. I swapped it out with a 300W Skyhawk PSU. Now my computer keeps locking up with a high-pitched squeal, and the only thing I can do is push the reset button or unplug my computer. Often it will lock up within five or 10 minutes after rebooting. It happens when I’m listening to music, playing games, or watching movies, both online and off. Sometimes it locks up after Windows starts. It doesn’t lock up with that squeal all the time, only most of the time. I believe it probably has something to do with my audio card, but then it just might be as simple as my power supply lacking sufficient power.
I’ve looked online and could only come up with answers for the audio card and nVidia-related hardware; my problem is conveniently named the “Squeal of Death.” Is there any way
I can fix this with my current hardware configuration? Or will I have to get new hardware? —Kavan Scott
Last month we reviewed our first 22x DVD burner, Samsung’s SH-S223; this month, Plextor presents us with a challenger in the form of the PX-850SA—a similarly spec’d drive that rises to the occasion in some respects, but falls short in others.
Like Samsung’s new burner, the PX-850SA boasts an industry-leading 22x speed rating for DVD+/-R media. It lacks, however, the Samsung’s over-speed feature, which helped that drive eke out a 4:46 (min:sec) Lab record when writing 4.38GB of data to a single-layer DVD+R disc. By comparison, the Plextor took 5:36, never breaching the 16x speed limit imposed by our Verbatim media.
The difference between the two drives’ performance with double-layer media was more expected. After all, Plextor’s PX-850SA is rated at just 8x when writing to DVD+/- DL, compared to the Samsung drive’s rating of 16x. In practical terms, this means Plextor’s drive took 16:33 to fill an 8GB disc versus the Samsung drive’s time of 13:13.
But the Plextor PX-850SA did have its triumphs. Read on for the rest of the review.
The latest in Asus’s ever-expanding line of Eee netbooks is a welcome addition to the fold, and much more to our liking than the 901 model we reviewed in December.
Eschewing the previous model’s unremarkable white plastic exterior for a brushed aluminum shell is a smart move on Asus’s part. This changed aesthetic adds legitimacy to the product: The 901’s finish made the device feel disposable, while the 1002HA feels like a real computer.
More importantly, the 1002HA Asus sent us forgoes the pair of low-performance, ultra-low-capacity solid-state drives that bumped up the Eee 901’s price while wreaking havoc with its Photoshop performance (owing to the poor write speeds of cheap MLC SSDs). Instead of SSDs, the 1002HA sports a much more generous 5400rpm 160GB standard hard drive. And it really pays off: The 1002HA breezed through out Photoshop benchmark in just 690 seconds—40 seconds faster than the Acer Aspire One, our prev-ious champion, and less than half the 1,530 seconds the Eee 901 took to accomplish the same task.
When Zalman told us its new CNPS9900 LED was the best CPU air cooler ever, we took the news with a grain of salt. For more than a year, the company’s CNPS9700 LED had been our top air cooler, until Thermaltake’s DuOrb usurped Zalman’s place at the top of the heap in our July 2008 issue. Can the CNPS9900 retake the cooling throne for Zalman?
In a word, yes. This copper-finned monster outperforms the Thermaltake DuOrb across the board, keeping our test bed’s CPU an average of three degrees cooler than the DuOrb was able to at both idle and full burn, making it the best CPU air cooler we’ve ever tested.
To run Asus’s $400 Rampage II Extreme board you’d have to be either extreme or the world’s biggest poseur. How extreme would you have to be? You’d have to be the type of person who boils liquid helium atop his CPU to keep it cool. And because you can’t waste time overclocking from within the OS, you’d want to reach your hands into the guts of your case and use the board’s PCB-mounted controls that let you check and change voltage, fan speeds, and temps on a tiny one-line LCD external display.
In fact, you’d be so damn hardcore, you wouldn’t even fully trust those voltage readings from the board. Instead, you’d want to hook your Fluke meter directly to the available ports on the board to check the voltage of the CPU, the PCI Express lanes, and the north bridge directly. That’s how badass you’d be.
You’re twiddling your thumbs while waiting in the check-out line at your favorite retailer and you hear a great new song over the PA system. You could turn to the next person in line and ask if they know it—engaging in an impromptu but probably fruitless game of Name That Tune—or you could whip out your smartphone, record a snippet of it, and send it to a music-discovery service. It will report back with the name of the song and that of the artist who recorded it, which album it appears on, what year it was released—heck, with a couple of button presses, you can buy the song right then and there.
What technology magic makes such a thing possible? It’s called audio fingerprinting, and it’s gaining significant traction with both music lovers and rights holders looking to protect their assets. There are two basic components to an audio-fingerprinting system: A database containing the unique audio fingerprints of millions of songs, and a tool that can analyze a song and search that database for a match.
We’ve become so accustomed to the ease and convenience of iTunes and blink-and-you-miss-’em CD rips that we forget how in the mid-1990s, ripping a CD was a time-consuming process fraught with peril. Shoot, ripping a single disc to a 128Kbps MP3 could take eight hours on a 200MHz Pentium! Fast forward a decade and faster hardware and better software have made CD ripping so mainstream your mom does it.
Now, ripping DVDs is our great challenge. Copying and transcoding the disc’s video into more efficient formats involves math an order of magnitude scarier than what’s required to rip audio CDs. A machine that will rip the latest Miley Cyrus CD in mere moments could take hours to extract and convert your copy of Alien vs. Predator to an iPod-friendly format. But with the right software, a quad-core-equipped PC, and a little know-how, you can cut your disc-rip time from hours to 30 minutes. Plenty of tricks and traps still await first-time rippers, but we’ll show you the basics and then walk you through some of the most valuable power-user ripping secrets.
Your first decision is simple: What player are you ripping your discs for? Are you ripping for a portable player, like the PSP or iPhone? Would you rather stream to a device in your living room, like the Xbox 360, PS3, or Popcorn Hour? Or are you simply interested in making archival-quality DVD rips in case you lose your collection? More likely, you’re looking for a combination of all three of these things. We’ll show you how to rip your DVD to a file suitable for streaming that consumes a fraction of the disk space of a DVD but maintains full video and audio quality. Then you can take that file and convert it for whatever other devices you might have, like a PSP or an iPod.
With the preliminaries out of the way, let’s get started.
Integrated-circuit design is currently based on three fundamental elements: the resistor, the capacitor, and the inductor. A fourth element was described and named in 1971 by Leon Chua, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley’s Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences Department, but researchers at HP Labs didn’t prove its existence until April 2008. This fourth element—the memristor (short for memory resistor)—has properties that cannot be reproduced through any combination of the other three elements.
Chua first theorized the memristor’s existence based on symmetry. There are four fundamental circuit variables—current, voltage, charge, and flux (changes in voltage), but until now, relationships had been defined for only three of those variables: A resistor opposes the flow of an electric current, so it relates voltage to current; a capacitor stores energy in an electric field between two conductors, so it relates charge to voltage; and an inductor stores energy in a magnetic field created by the electrical current running through it, so it relates flux to current. Chua believed that there must be an element that relates charge to flux, and he dubbed this undiscovered element the memristor because it would “remember” changes in the current passing through it by changing its resistance.