Daily News Brief: AMD Launches HD 3400 and HD 3600 Series

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AMD Launches Sub-$100 Radeons

We'd all love to have quad-8800 Ultra setups, but in lieu of such gaming extravagance, AMD brings two new series to the mainstream and low budget categories - Radeon HD 3400 and HD 3600 . Specifications for the new parts:

HD 3450
HD 3470
HD 3650
RV620 LE
RV620 Pro
RV635 Pro
55nm
55nm
55nm
40 stream processors
40 stream processors 120 stream processors
800MHz Core
800MHz Core
725MHz Core
256MB DDR2 (500MHz)
256MB GDDR3 (950MHz)
Varies
64-bit 64-bit 128-bit
Both new series sport DirectX 10.1, Shader Model 4.1, and PCI-E 2.0 support, along with CrossFireX. Look for HD 3400 pricing to fall in the $49-56 range, with the HD 3600 fetching between $79-99.

Grand Theft Auto IV Release Date

Fans of the Grand Theft Auto series will be stoked to learn Take-Two Interactive plans to release the newest iteration on April 29, 2008. Originally scheduled to debut last October, Take-Two delayed the release, presumably to address the sluggish frame rates news outlets were reporting. No word yet on when PC gamers can expect a port. View updated screenshots and game play details here .

XBox 360 Insider Interview

By now everyone's aware of the Red Ring of Death issues that plagued early XBox 360 units, but was Microsoft aware of the problem and decide to ship units anyway in order to one-up Sony? The answer depends on how much stock you put into 8BitJoystick's interview with , who they claim, is " an individual who has worked on the XBox 360 project for many years ." The confidential source goes into detail regarding the failures, including why the ' towel trick ' appears to work for some users. According to the interview, the failure rate runs at 30%, with 1 million defective units expected this quarter.

FTC Hisses at Ethernet 'Patent Troll'

Negotiated Data Solutions doesn't make any products, but they did get their hands on some older patents as part of the Ethernet standard and tried increase the royalty rates. They also drew the attention of the FTC, who said such companies are " sometimes referred to as 'patent trolls' " (you go, FTC!). The FTC took a strong stance in a recently finalized consent decree , claiming that the alleged actions " if not stopped, could be enormously harmful to standard-setting, " further stating that using their statutory authority to its fullest extent was necessary to preserve a free marketplace.

Vista Less Flawed

According to a Microsoft report , Vista logged less than half the vulnerabilities that Windows XP did in its first year, while also besting Red Hat, Ubuntu, and Apple Mac OS X in their first years. Jeff Jones, who wrote the report, also admitted that security concerns extend beyond vulnerabilities, and that his analysis doesn't necessarily mean Vista is more secure than other OSes. More details here .

What's in a Picture Frame?

The answer could be a virus. Insignia posted an alert warning that some of their 10.4" digital picture frames (model number NS-DPF10A) may contain a computer virus. Insignia discontinued the potentially afflicted model, but before they were made aware of the issue, units were being sold at retail stores such as Best Buy. The virus only affects Windows OSes, and should be easily removed with up-to-date anti-virus software.

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