Major notebook vendors like Dell and Apple are going to have a much easier time delivering those beautiful LED backlit screens in the near future, as the price of LEDs are projected to go down by 50%.
While the amount of notebooks that actually had LED backlighting in them was only 5-6% in the first three quarters of this year, that’s expected to shoot all the way up to 25% during this fourth quarter. Even still, it’s projected that up to 40% of notebooks will have LED backlighting in 2009.
At the current rate, it looks like LED backlighting will be standard sometime real soon. That’s a bright future that we look forward to.
The economy is in pretty rough shape, and it would appear that Alienware has taken notice. Their latest machine is a clear attempt to tap into the market of people that don’t have several grand to drop on frivolous pursuits, or simply put, everyone but Eliot Spitzer.
The Area-51 750i will be built off of an Nvidia nForce 750i SLI motherboard, a Core 2 Duo E8400 and an Nvidia GeForce 9800GT. To compliment the mothership, there’s also 2GB of DDR2 RAM to keep the random accesses as random as possible, and it’ll all come to you on Windows Vista 64-bit.
While the tech specs might not seem incredibly impressive, the price isn’t too bad. And plus, who wouldn’t want that wicked Alienware case?
A report by Jon Peddie Research (JPR) earlier this week confirmed that AMD's recent success with its Radeon 4000 series has helped the company take back some market share from rival GPU maker Nvidia, while also forcing Nvidia and its partners to lower prices on the recently released GTX 200 series. It appears even more cuts are on the way.
DigiTimes, citing un-named sources at graphics cards makers, says that Nvidia "is planning to cut its graphics card prices in an attempt to curb further loss of market share" to AMD. For its part, AMD isn't finished taking it to Nvidia and anticipates grabbing 50 percent of the market following lowered prices on its ATI Radeon HD 4000 series.
In short, it continues to be a great time to be a PC gamer, and it only looks to get better as AMD and Nvidia battle on the pricing front.
Power users have long dreamed of the day when hitting their PC's power button would result in an instantaneous boot. Technologies like SplashTop's Instant-On Linux-based OS have brought this concept closer to reality, but unlike the Instant-On OS, which works on a flash chip embedded on select motherboards giving users quick access to basic online tasks, Asrock's new Instant Boot feature promises super speedy boot times into Windows to the tune of just 3-4 seconds and has posted a video to prove it.
Impossible? Well, yes, but Asrock's creative approach puts a unique spin on shutting down and turning on your system. After installing the Instant Boot application on a compatible Asrock motherboard, shutting down your PC triggers a shutdown and reboot process that ultimately puts your system in a Hibernate or Standby state. The next time you hit the power button, you'll be up and running in as little as 3 seconds.
The obvious question is why not just put your system in Standby or Hibernate in the first place, and according to Asrock, Instant Boot's advantages include a less cluttered OS from a clean boot with no "accumulated garbage data," nor will you lose any data during a power outage. Whether or not Instant Boot becomes an instant hit is yet to be determined, but kudos to Asrock for thinking outside of the box.
Hit the jump and tell us what you think of this new technology.
YouTube might not ever be the cash cow Google hoped it would be when it purchased the video sharing site for $1.65 billion, but it won't be from lack of trying. The latest money making scheme being rolled out is a new ad platform YouTube is calling Sponsored Videos.
Sponsored Videos will let users promote their videos by bidding on keywords, whether those users be individuals or corporations. To help with the process, Google has created automated tools for users to place their bids for the keywords they want. As surfers type in those keywords, YouTube will display the tagged videos next to the search results. The new feature seems like an obvious one, so what took YouTube so long to implement it?
"In hindsight, it is a natural transition for YouTube to make," said Matthew Liu, a YouTube product manager. "We've been working on this for months. The key was, we wanted to make sure we got it right. There are a lot of intricacies involved. YouTube is a video discovery platform. We've been integrating with Google AdWords for some time, and now we're at a place where it can be win and win."
The Sponsored Videos will be clearly labeled when they appear following a keyword search and come priced on a cost-per click formula.
While Intel's Atom chip has been finding its way into nearly every netbook release, AMD has been playing it conservative by taking a wait-and-see approach. At this point, it's not hard to see that netbooks are here to stay, and AMD finally looks ready to capatilize on one of the hottest tech fads of the year.
According to AMD's updated processor roadmap, the chip maker is primed to target mini-notebooks and netbooks with a pair of new processors called Caspian and Conesus. Both are 45nm parts and built using the same architecture as the company's just-released Shanghai chip and both will be dual-core parts with an integrated DDR2 memory controller.
Caspian, which will find its way into ultraportables, will come with 2MB of cache compared to 1MB on Conesus. The latter will also utilize a BGA package so that it can fit into the limited space netbooks afford. Even still, AMD chief executive Dirk Meyer contends that netbooks aren't going to be the company's focus.
"First order, we're ignoring the netbook phenomenon," Meyer said, "concentrating on PC notebooks above that form factor.
Huh? Randy Allen, the senior VP of AMD's Computation Solutions Group, clarified Meyer's curious statement by saying AMD will cede part of the netbook market to Intel, particularly Mobile Internet Devices. "We won't be going to the bottom where Atom is going," Allen said. Allen further stated that customers of the Yukon netbook market don't want a "compromised PC exeprience."
Mail-in-rebates are a gamble no matter how you approach the situation. You can push the odds of getting a check in your favor by both following directions exactly as they're laid out and keeping a record of the entire process with photocopies of everything you send in, but no matter how careful you are, the promised check might never be in the mail. Depending on the amount, it could be worthwhile to stay persistent.
Now it appears that standard precautions may not be enough. According to HardOCP, Continental Promotions Group (CPG), one of the largest and oldest rebate entities in the business, is finding itself in dire straits and potentially unable to pay its obligations. When a manufacturer puts a rebate on a product, it anticipates a set of amount will be turned in. To cover the costs, said manufacturer will cut a check to CPG to cover the payouts, but according to HardOCP, those funds have gone inexplicably missing.
"We have it from good sources currently that CPG owes consumers somewhere in the neighborhood of $9M to $12M worth of rebates," HardOCP writes. "The problem here is that CPG currently only has about $3M in cash to cover that $9M-$12M in rebates owed to the consumer. Where that money has gone to is anyone’s guess and we will leave speculation up the law enforcement authorities and the courts."
HardOCP says CPG has been contacting its customers asking them to deposit more money into CPG accounts to cover the rebates or else it might not be able to honor consumer rebate checks. That can't sit well with manufacturers who already funded the rebates, nor will it sit well with consumers if they end up being the ones to get screwed.
What's your experience with mail-in-rebates been like? Hit the jump and let us know, good or bad.
AMD has released its new Shanghai platform, signaling a move to 45nm. The first chips out the door are quad-core Opteron parts, which AMD claims will deliver up to 35 percent more performance and up to a 35 percent decrease in power consumption when idle.
"This enhanced AMD Opteron processor represents the most dramatic performance and performance-per-watt increases for AMD products since the introduction of the world's first x86 dual-core processors nearly four years ago," Randy Allen, AMD senior VP for Computing Solutions Group, said in a statement. "Simply put, the quad-core AMD Opteron is the right technology at the right time."
Shanghai, which is essentially a refresh of Barcelona and not an entirely new architecture, supports DDR2-800 memory and comes with a tweaked Direct Connect Architecture. The current batch of 75-watt Shanghai chips will be followed up by a launch of 55-watt Opteron and an SE 105-watt part in Q1 2009. And according to CNet, a desktop platform (codenamed Dragon) consisting of 45nm Shanghai desktop CPUs along with AMD 700 series chipsets and ATI Radeon HD 4000 graphics will also see the light of day in the same time frame and attempt to compete with Intel's Core i7 platform.
Will Shanghai get AMD back on track? Hit the jump and give us your take.
Hate Games For Windows Live because it's unintuitive and similar to Xbox Live in form, function, and ham-fisted unsuitability to the PC platform? Well, you'll be happy to hear that Microsoft had its top code-jockeys give the old girl a tune-up, and according to Shacknews, the prognosis should have Valve chomping its fingernails to the bone.
"The new in-game Games for Windows Live interface is a significant leap forward for Microsoft. It does everything you'd expect--displays your Gamerscore, provides a friends list, and allows for private messages and chat--but is now far more effective. It's a minimalist, PC-centric approach compared to the bloated, console-derived first iteration of the software," said the website in its impressions of the service.
In addition, Games For Windows Live general manager Chris Early confirmed that, on top of delivering DLC, the gussied up GFW will also become a distribution platform for full PC games -- just like soon-to-be competitor Steam.
"Clearly it's on our road map," he said -- describing full games as a "next step."
Anyone have a chance to fondle GFW's menus yet? What do you think? Does it have the potential to blow Steam out of the water? Or is GFW DOA?
It's an all-too-familiar marketing ploy: download a utility you really want, and get a toolbar for your browser free. This week, Microsoft joined the "download one, get one free" bandwagon, but with a twist: Redmond announced a deal with Sun Microsystems to offer the MSN Toolbar to US users of Internet Explorer whenever they download the Java Runtime Environment. MSN Toolbar offers one-click access to Live Search, direct access to Windows Live Hotmail and Windows Live Messenger, and stories from the MSN network. If you hate toolbars, or your browser's already running your favorite toolbar, you can opt out of the MSN toolbar.
This Microsoft plus Sun pairing represents a big "win" for Microsoft, as Google's toolbar was previously being offered as the freebie with Java. As El Reg points out, this sort of thing is nothing new for Sun and Java. Java's also been used to deliver offers of OpenOffice and the Yahoo! toobar (the latter to Mozilla Firefox browser users only).
So, how do you feel about these combo deals? Would you rather get a coupon for free french fries, or are you comfortable with getting "two for one" downloads"? Join us after the jump and sound off.