Electronista says that Intel is planning a super fast 160GB Solid State Drive. They report that Intel's flash memory marketing head Troy Winslow says the Z-P140 was just a prelude to a series of bigger announcements to come before the end of the year. Winslow goes on to say that there will be a series of 1.8- and 2.5-inch drives for ultraportables that will hold between 80GB and 160GB. They should also outperform the 100 megabytes per second reading speed of the Samsung Flash SSD.
Solid State is really making inroads this year and as may predicted, they have invaded laptops first. Perhaps by 2010 they will be the default choice for enthusiast builds in desktops. Their read speeds are faster than traditional hard drives and their capacities have reached a useful level. Winslow points out that Intel’s experience with building quick interconnects between processors and chipsets helps them make improved memory controllers for the SSD drives.
When they hit the same price point and capacity as Western Digital’s Velociraptor drives and they do something about the pokey write speeds, count me in. They aren’t quite ready for mainstream, but they certainly do look like the future.
Since Blu-ray won out on the high-definition format war over Toshiba’s HD DVD, high definition on disc has just languished. Blu-ray’s victory has been a hollow one with few people rushing out to replace their trusty old DVD players and DVD collections. The initial assumption that it was the format war that kept adoption of the new standard slow. It turned out to be customers being perfectly happy with standard DVD quality.
Toshiba has been considering it’s next move and has decided DVD is good enough and is jumping on the "upconverting" DVD player bandwagon. They are releasing the XD-E500 DVD player that they says does more than previous models to improve the look of DVDs on high-definition TVs. At a MSRP of $149.99 it is twice as much as regular "upconverting" players, but it is less than half the price of a Blu-ray player.
An Associated Press report said that the XDE player produced a noticeable sharpening of the image over a standard, $70 up-scaling model on side-by-side LCD HDTVs. Toshiba didn't demonstrate the XDE against a Blu-ray or HD DVD player, however. Toshiba did stress that it's not meant to compete with Blu-ray.
Toshiba is playing up to Blu-ray’s marketing weakness, they can’t seem to convince users that there is enough of a difference in between regular Blu-ray and Standard DVD to warrant the expense of upgrading. The appearance of “upconverting” DVD players is only going to further hinder Blu-ray adoption. It might be an inevitability that someday we will have to upgrade. The big question is who will hold out the longest, Blu-ray’s high prices or consumers not wanting to pay those high prices and holding on to standard DVD? Who do you think will win out? My money is on the consumers.
Another Maximum PC exclusive! We got first hands-on with HP's new Elitebook 2730p notebook, which features a swiveling 12.1-inch screen (1280x800 native resolution) that turns it into a tablet PC. Additional features on this rugged business notebook: 2MP webcam, 95% full-size QWERTY keyboard with HP dura key coating (spill and smudge-resistant, expresscard slot, and HP's business card OCR reader software. In addition to a newly improved slot for the tablet pen (it won't accidentally fall out anymore), the notebook also brings back the highly requested jog dial.
Vista almost seems to be an anathema, for about 3/4th of the enterprises are so unequivocal in their dislike for Vista that they don’t even intend to adopt the OS three years down the line. Around 28% envisage a move to the OS anywhere between late 2008 and 2010. Half of those surveyed are not fazed by the end of XP’s retail sales and OEM distribution.
Lesson for Microsoft: The Mojave Experiment hasn’t been able to fool incredulous enterprises and it's time that MS devoted more time to addressing Vista’s glaring performance issues. Address their grievances, the tide will surely turn.
Maximum PC readers know not to expect much from a notebook equipped with Intel Integrated graphics, but where do we draw the line? This is the answer Intel attempted to provide on its blog in response to concerns over poor performance of the Centrino 2, G45 based graphics chipset. Intel spokesmen Aaron Brezenski attempted to down play the results of the AMD demonstration pitting a Turion X2 vs. a Centrino 2 in a head to head blue ray and gaming playback competition.The AMD Pavilion dv5z features a RadeonHD 3200 and clearly outperformed the Intel Pavillion dv5t. The Intel based system locked the processor utilization at a steady 100% during video playback while the AMD based system hummed along normally with Windows Defender actively running background scans.
Sony Pictures Image Works organized an event at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles to pay homage to the recently deceased visual effects virtuoso Stan Winston. Several big names from the film fraternity including film director James Cameroon, Shane Mahan, John Nelson, and actor Matt Winston (Stan Winston’s son) were in attendance and took a stroll down memory lane to remember the legend.
Winston was ahead of his time and etched his indelible footprints on visual effects. The event witnessed an outpouring of amusing anecdotes and veneration from the speakers who had known him. His protégé Shane Mahan, who worked with him during Terminator 2, announced that he and partners from Winston Studios are forming a new studio, Legacy Studio, as a mark of respect for Winston.
Winston worked on movies like Terminator and Jurassic Park that are remembered for their groundbreaking special effects as they set the bar higher for future movies. Cutting-edge is an adjective generally used to describe special effects but perhaps it was this avant-garde vfx legend who best justified its use.
What would you do with a multi billion dollar war chest? Well if your Microsoft, you try and buy up the largest search engine you can afford. But ever since Microsoft failed to convince the stubborn Jerry Yang to sell Yahoo, investors have been scratching their heads wondering, what will Microsoft do with all that money? A potential answer emerged last week in the San Francisco Chronicle with the news that Microsoft may spend as much as $20 billion to buy back its own shares within the next three months. Analysts believe this to be in response to its lagging share price which went from a 52 week high of $37.50 to as low as $24.87 by shareholders who worried Microsoft was overpaying for Yahoo. Investors may also be concerned that if buying Yahoo was plan a, plan b is something they should genuinely be worried about. Buying back shares should help push Microsoft’s stock price back up, and buy a bit of good will with shareholders. Tim Allen, analyst and portfolio manager at Wentworth, Hauser and Violich expressed relief that Microsoft was “not going to do something crazy”. The hope is that by reducing the number of shares in the market, earnings per share will increase and stock value will climb as a result. This doesn’t always happen, but is a pretty safe bet with a company like Microsoft that has a steady income stream. Microsoft shares closed down on Friday at $27.81.
Nvidia’s secret war with Intel has evolved into a full scale arms race for the atomic bomb of graphics technology, ray tracing. Using its forum at SIGGRAPH, Nvidia was able to demonstrate an interactive ray tracing simulation using four of the company's next-generation Quadro GPUs. They were set in a Quadro Plex 2100 D4 Visual Computing System with an estimated street price of around $11,000. Not exactly your standard gaming rig, but it gets the point across. Either way, it appears as though Nvidia is finally taking a cue from Intel and is focusing at least some of its effort on developing hardware capable of making this technique a reality for everyday users. The demonstration featured linear scaling of an anti aliased Bugatti Veyron with over two-million polygons. It was run at a resolution of 1920x1080 (1080p) and chugged along at an impressive 30 FPS. The demonstration also featured image-based lighting paint shaders, reflections / refractions, and ray traced shadows. Industry insiders noted that the demo was an impressive undertaking since it was one of the first interactive demonstrations done using a GPU. Intel has demonstrated ray tracing using Quake 3 but was done using CPU power.Larrabee will be Intel’s counter in the consumer market, but it remains to be seen if the CPU style design will be as capable of pushing out polygons as Nvidia’s offerings.Gamers are no doubt hoping the new race to master ray tracing will accelerate its development, but I have a feeling we will be playing Duke Nukem Forever long before we see consumer based ray tracing solutions from either company. Though the important first steps are now well underway.
If not for the fact that I was able to actually make physical contact with David Hayter at this year's Capcom E3 press conference, it would've been a total letdown. The whole thing was just a giant shill for Capcom's Lost Planet film, and its reception was nearly as icy cold as the movie/game's setting. But in between cracking big, corporate grins and repeatedly uttering the Japanese equivalent of "So awesome," the Capcom big-wigs dropped a tiny bomb. See, as it turns out, Lost Planet had popped from Capcom's collective womb with a ticket to Hollywood in hand. The game was born to be a film.
As we've seen with movies like Doom and Resident Evil, and games like Guitar Hero, media convergence is inevitable. United we stand; divided, we make less money. And that just won't do. However, whereas other instances of convergence have taken two (or more) disparate media forms and none-too-subtly mashed them together -- casualties be damned -- Lost Planet, if all goes according to plan, will straddle the line between games and film. Instead of removing what makes the game special -- effectively neutering it with a rusty knife -- Lost Planet: The Movie has the potential to usher in an era of game-themed movies not unlike what we're seeing with comic books right now.
But is that what we want? Last I checked, comic book fans were a tiny niche, nearly fit for a somber, "Don't let these beautiful creatures die" commercial from the World Wildlife Fund. Yeah, I'm not sure comics are the greatest role model. Plus, do we really want cherished characters having their in-game appearances altered just so they can more aptly fit their roles as movie characters (See Nick Fury, among others)?*
So, are you ready for some top-notch game-to-movie conversions, or would you rather our hobby stick to the small screen, interactive and proud?
Today's Roundup features a big-name title that's already being preened for stardom, and wouldn't you know it, Electronic Arts is the, er, preener. Inside, you'll also find Rockstar decrying the hardcore/casual divide, a top-15 list of Olympic proportions, and massive success from a WoW competitor. Hurdle past the break for more.
Wondering what's going on inside the mystery that we call "Windows 7?" You could do worse than dropping in from time to time on the brand-new Engineering Windows 7 blog hosted at MSDN.
E7, as its co-authors, Windows 7 product senior engineering managers, Jon DeVann and Steven Sinofsky, call it, is aimed at the "...audience of enthusiasts, bloggers, and those that are the most passionate about Windows..."
We strongly believe that success for Windows 7 includes an open and honest, and two-way, discussion about how we balance all of these interests and deliver software on the scale of Windows. We promise and will deliver such a dialog with this blog.
Starting from the first days of developing Windows 7, we have committed as a team to “promise and deliver”. That’s our goal—share with you what we’re going to get done, why we’re doing it, and deliver it with high quality and on time.
Can they deliver - not just on the expectations we have for Windows 7, but on the promise to keep us in the loop during the run-up to RTM? Find out what others have to say about that, and get your chance to speak up after the jump.