Ruh-roh, Shaggy, it looks as though SSDs might not be all that and a bag of chips after all. Or more specifically, Intel's mighty X25-M SSD may prove a better sprinter than a marathon runner.
One of the major concerns with SSD technology is that the cells are good only for a finite number of writes, at which point they become read-only. Intel address this potential problem using sector remapping and wear-leveling algorithms, but a new report shows it might carry a nasty performance-reducing side effect.
Most wear-leveling algorithms dynamically move frequently-rewritten logical sectors to different physical sectors of the drive, ensuring that no cells are written to more frequently than others. Intel takes it a step further by extending its remap table into individual sectors, which reduces the number of small block writes needed for small files. The problem, according to PCPerspective, is that Intel's method seriously degrades long-term performance. After two of the site's writers noticed that their X25-M SSDs were performing signicantly slower after a length of time, the review site reran the drives through its gamut of benchmarks and found the drives had indeed degraded in performance, and in some cases, reads were reduced to a paltry 22MB/s. Zoinks!
If you own an X25-M and find that your drive has also slowed down considerably, there are fixes in place. According to Intel, one way to restore performance is to use IOMeter to sequentially write content to the entire drive. PCPerspective said it met with limited success using this method, but had much better results using Intel's second suggestion, which is to use a tool to perform a SECURE ERASE command on the drive. Using an older version of HDDErase (v3.3), the site says it was able to restore its X25-M back to its original performance levels.
Check out the article here, then hit the jump and sound off.
Time will tell if this proves to be a somber moment or cause for celebration, but AMD on Wednesday announced that it had secured stockholder approval for the creation of 'The Foundry Company.' That means AMD can now officially focus its efforts on the design of new chips and technologies, leaving the burden of manufacturing and associated costs to its Abu Dhabi-based spinoff.
While the split into separate design and manufacturing firms represents a major shift for the No. 2 CPU maker, the original vote had to be postponed after a low turnout by shareholders last week. At the time, 97 percent of the shares voted were cast in favor of the spinoff, but the shares voted represented only 42 percent of its total stock. This time around, AMD managed to scrounge up the majority vote it needed.
Under terms of the deal, AMD stockholders approved a proposal to issue 58 million shares of the company's common stock with warrants to purchase 35 million shares of its common stock and 35 million shares of the common stock upon exercise of those warrants to an affiliate of the Mubadala Development Company PJSC.
The transaction is expected to close by March 2, 2009.
Little known Psion Teklogix, who used to sell a pair of laptops called the netBook and netBook Pro, emerged from the shadows last December to demand that websites stop using the term 'netbook.' According to the company's trademark attorney, now is the time to cash in on what has become an exploding new market sector all this netbook talk could damage Psion's trademark registrations.
Ready for the irony? Dell has filed a petition with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office asking that it cancel Psion's netbook trademark. This coming from the same company who tried (unsuccessfully) to trademark the term Cloud computing. Nevertheless, the situation isn't the same, and Dell's first basis for cancellation is that "Psion has abandoned the 'netbook' mark" by no longer offering laptops under the trademark.
The three-basis petition also included an argument for fraud, saying Psion had not been using the netbook trademark as of November 17, 2006, despite signing a sworn declaration that it was, and genericness, pointing out that the widespread use of the term netbook has made it generic.
Read the full petition here (PDF), then hit the jump and tell us what you think.
So you thought the facial recognition technology built into your laptop would keep your business and personal information safe? Bwa-ha-ha! Today, the Black Hat DC 2009 security conference found out that, as Vietnam-based security researcher Nguyen Minh Duc puts it, Your Face is NOT Your Password.
Nguyen's paper reveals (PDF link) that it's relatively simple to hack facial recognition systems included in webcam-equipped laptops from Lenovo (Veriface III), ASUS (SmartLogon v1.0.0.0005), and Toshiba (Face Recognition 22.214.171.124). Methods used included using photographs in place of live faces (Facebook, anyone?) and performing brute-force attacks by changing lighting and photo angles in a digitized face until the system permits access.
Are you counting on facial-recogntion technology to keep your stuff safe? Is your company? Join us after the jump for your chance to sound off on this latest "unbreakable," but now broken, access-control technology.
Stanford Professor Byron Reeves is a Planeteer, and you can be one too -- if you’re an MMORPG player. Reeves’ plan hedges its bets on the idea that you’re willing to install a Smart Meter, a device that monitors electricity usage in your house and sends a report of your wasteful excesses to power companies.
However, instead of giving power companies the skinny on your war against the Energizer Bunny, Reeves hopes to send pertinent information to games like World of Warcraft. He outlined his energy-saving plan during radio show Living on Earth’s Green Gaming segment:
"So imagine that you're in your home, you're signed into [the] game… and you make a decision in the game to turn off the lights in an unused bedroom [in real life]. As soon as you do that, the Smart Meter recognizes that, sends the information through the network to your computer and your house [in the game] turns a shade of green that it wasn't before,” he explained.
“And if I'm using less electricity, my team might do well. I get gold pieces and points… whatever the game designers think is fun. You get feedback in an entertainment game about what you're doing in the real world."
Sounds good to us, though implementing it – especially in a game as colossal as World of Warcraft – might be a bit rough. Then again, Blizzard did invent a race of hippie cow-people, so you never know.
BenQ has finally made good on their promises to release an all-in-one computer, and it has come in the form of the nScreen i91.
The screen-based computer has a sizeable 18.5-inch 16:9 LCD screen, with an AMD Semperon 210U processor, 1GB of memory and a 160GB HDD under the hood. To help sweeten the deal they’ve included a 4-in-1 card reader, an integrated webcam, and an average power consumption of just 30 watts.
It’s designed to be as easy to use as possible, with a main selling point that you can simply plug it in, press the volume/power knob, and be on the Internet.
There haven’t been any announcements yet as to when this will be available here in the U.S., but it is currently available in Taiwan for roughly $517.
If your company releases a browser, you’d hope that your own website would work using said browser, wouldn’t you? Well, it looks like Microsoft has managed to somehow mess that up, with their very own site (among others) on IE8’s incompatibility list.
Among the broken sites are bigs such as Google.com, Yahoo.com, Live.com, Wikipedia.org, Flickr.com and many others. A larger list can be found here.
We’re keeping our fingers crossed that the next update for IE8 is a big one.
OCZ has added a backlit keyboard to its Alchemy line of gaming peripherals, but this one comes with a twist. Unlike traditional backlit planks, OCZ's Illuminati lets users switch between blue or red LED backlit keys, erasing the fear that the decor at the next LAN party you attend might clash with your keyboard.
In addition to the user-selectable color scheme, the Illuminati comes equipped with rubber-coated keys, which the company claims will last for more than 5 million cycles. Gamers can also make use of 14 multimedia and internet hotkeys and a curved wrist wrest. What you won't find on the keyboard are any USB ports.
OCZ launched its Alchemy line last year in an attempt to offer gaming peripherals without the high prices that typically come hand-in-hand. The Illuminati is the third keyboard in the company's Alchemy series, with the Elixir and Elixir II having come before it.
To borrow from Jerry Maguire's 'You had me at hello' scene, Maingear's newest product announcement had us 'Core i7,' but lost us when the talk turned to the GPU. The new Prelude 2, as it's being called, combines Intel's Core i7 platform with a Samsung 22-inch LCD monitor and tops it off with Nvidia's 3D Vision Technology, and at under two grand, it sounds like an intriguing proposition. But sticking out like a sore thumb is the inclusion of Nvidia's mid-range 9800GT videocard.
"The fact that Maingear customers will have the ability to play games in 3D stereo is just awesome," said Ujesh Desai, general manager of GPU business at NVIDIA. "NVIDIA GeForce 3D Vision is taking the world by storm, and Maingear’s Prelude 2 is going to deliver a mind-blowing experience."
That "mind-blowing experience" will be delivered by Intel's Core i7 920 (2.66GHz) processor nestled into an Asus P6T X58 motherboard, 3GB of triple channel DDR3-1066 memory, a 250GB Western Digital hard drive with 16MB of cache, onboard audio, a 650W power supply, and Windows Vista Home Premium 32-bit all stuffed inside a Lian-Li enclosure.
To be fair, this is only a baseline configuration. The Prelude 2 offers plenty of customization options, including up to a 1200W power supply, up to two of the hard to find dual-GPU GeForce GTX 295 videocards, Intel's full lineup of Core i7 processors, liquid cooling, up to 12GB of Corsair XMS DDR3-1333MHz memory, up to four hard drives (including Intel's X25-M 80GB SSD, Western Digital's Velociraptor, and RAID 0), and a host of other goodies.
The Prelude 2 is available now from Maingear.com starting at just shy of $2000 (baseline configuration).
With Google having opened Android Market to paid apps, users of the fledgling mobile platform are eagerly looking forward to an inevitable rise in the number of apps. Google, on its part, is trying its best to offer more reasons for Android users to exult.
And exult they will on hearing that the Android Market will let users return any application within 24 hours from the time of purchase. Google has stolen a march on Apple’s App Store by espousing an application return policy.
Also, users will be allowed unlimited reinstalls by Google. If any dispute arises - including billing issues - between a user and a developer, the two parties will have to settle it directly as Google is not interested in playing arbitrator. Another thing Google is not interested in is porn. The Android Market policies expressly prohibit “nudity, graphic sex acts, or sexually explicit material.”