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.
Understandably, AT&T might not be the name that one thinks of when they consider a comprehensive online video search. But, remaining open minded (as one tends to do in San Francisco), you can’t help but notice how well the telecommunications giant has pulled off their very first video search site, VideoCrawler.
In conjunction with start-up company Divvo, AT&T has managed to launch VideoCrawler, a search that has more than 1,600 online video outlets latched directly into its brain. Sites such as YouTube and MySpace are among the long list of video channels available.
While they don’t offer any services for uploading your own videos, they do have a pretty impressive collection. So go ahead, search for that clip of the dog that never learned how to bark. Chances are might good that you’ll be able to track it down.
Like Samsung and OCZ, Imation has partnered with Mtron to use the latter’s controller technology in its SSDs. As you might expect, the companies’ 64GB drives perform similarly. Still, a few subtle differences exist between the Mtron and Imation SSDs.
Imation’s Pro 7000 squeaks out 2MB/s extra in its sustained read transfer rates yet is 0.4MB/s slower than the Mtron Pro 7500 SSD in write speeds. The two drives offer identical performance in their random access read measurements and differ by a scant 0.2 milliseconds in their random access write timings.
Citing un-named sources at server makers, DigiTimes says Intel plans to launch several quad-core Xeon 5500 and Xeon 3500 Nehalem-based server CPUs and one dual-core Xeon chip in the first quarter of 2009. These include:
The Xeon 5500 series will come with 8MB of L2 cache instead of 12MB, but is expected to be negated by Core i7's QuickPath architecture. The Xeon 3500 series will come with 8MB of L2 cache but will only run in single-socket systems. Prices for the new chips will range from $188 (E5502) on up to $1600 (W5580) for thousand-unit tray quantities.
On the chopping block are seven notebook CPUs, including the Core 2 Extreme X7900 an X7800, and Core 2 Duo T7800 and L7700. These are expected to be phased out in January 2009.
It’s official: People who buy motherboards with mainstream chipsets such as the P45 don’t want to pay for DDR3. At least, that’s what it seems like to us. Asus’s impressive Maximus II Formula is the third P45-based board we’ve tested, and not one of them sports DDR3 slots. But that doesn’t take anything away from the MIIF, the coolest P45 board we’ve encountered.
No, it won’t teach you Kung Fu. But what it will do is actually provide a pretty suitable 3D printer for the masses.
Mcor’s Matrix has already been released to the UK, and works with some pretty basic technology. Using some time-honored A4 paper and PVA glue to create complex 3D objects, it provides a nice, cheap alternative to current polymer-based options.
While it won’t be able to make your World of Warcraft character into a FigurePrints quality statuette, it will consume far fewer resources. According to Mcor, up to 40 times less. If something like this is down your alley keep your eyes open in Q1 of 2009, when the Matrix is slated to make its US debut.
While researching an antivirus article here at Maximum PC, we noticed something very curious: a Google AdWords link for “Antivirus xp 2008,” which led to the url “antivirus-world-2009.com.” (Don't go there)
Anyone who’s been paying attention during the last year or so know that "Antivirus xp 2008" is the name of one of the most widespread and obnoxious bits of malware floating around the internet. It hides itself in your system and launches a bogus antivirus program at intervals to warn you that you’ve got spyware and trojans and the sky is falling. Then, it recommends that you buy the pro version of the program, which presumably also does nothing except rip you off. The virus is frequently updated to evade malware removal tools, and is just generally a pain.