It seems like every company is jumping onto the recent Netbook craze, but will it turn out to be a passing fad? No one knows for sure, and it's because of this uncertainty that AMD will sit this round out.
"We are not saying it's not an important segment and we're not saying it's not a growing segment. What we are asying is that we are a smaller company and we have to focus on what we do well at this point. We are watching that segment rather than playing in it, but as it matures we'll see where it goes," said Nigel Dessau, AMD's chief marketing officer.
Dessau's comments fall in line with AMD's recent commitment to refocusing its business strategies, but could the company be preparing to strike? Hit the jump to learn more.
Earlier this month, we ran a feature showing you which parts to buy if you wanted to build an affordable-yet-kick-ass $1300 lean machine. This week, we’re moving up from budget PC recommendations to our power user picks. But with great power, comes great cost. Monetary costs, that is. Our Power User’s PC costs $2500 without a monitor of peripherals – the high end of what we’d expect a PC enthusiast to spend when pieceing together a new rig. We also want to clarify what we mean by Power User’s PC. We see the Power User as someone who maximizes his PC’s processing potential. This person encodes media files, burns high-definition discs, and manipulates image, audio and video files. Gaming is important to the Power User, but this isn’t someone who demands 120 frames per second in multiplayer shooters – he’d rather shave precious seconds off of his video encoding times while multitasking in Photoshop.
Click through to see if our $2500 Power User's PC is right for you!
AMD's struggles have been well documented ever since forfeiting the performance crown to Intel, but perhaps all the company needed was a swift kick in the rump. That appears to be what the company's getting with newly inaugurated Dirk Meyer at the helm serving as AMD's CEO, who had no qualms announcing that his company has initiated a pilot production of microprocessors using a 45nm fabrication processor. That puts the Santa Clara chip maker on track to deliver shipping products in volume in early fourth quarter.
"We are well on track with the 45nm plan as we have been telling this group about in the past. We have actually started production late last quarter and are on track to start buying shipments early in Q4," said Dirk Meyer during the conference call.
That has to be good news to nervous investors, who earlier this month saw their stock fall by as much as 7 percent following news that AMD would take a near billion dollar charge in the second quarter. And while Hector Ruiz's subsequent departure just days later might have signaled to some that the end was near, Meyer's confidence in AMD's ability to stay on schedule with its 45nm plans has to be appreciated by anyone pulling for the Intel competitor (which should be everyone). Before the announcement, analysts were expecting 45nm shipments to start in late Q4, and nobody seems to know what exactly AMD has planned as part of its refocusing strategy. A compelling alternative to Nehalem, perhaps? Let's hope so.
When it comes to graphics, killing two birds with one stone means squeezing out better performance from a newly released GPU while also reducing the power draw, and that's exactly what Nvidia has done. The 9800M and 9700M graphics cores are Nvidia's newest additions to its Geforce Mobile line, bringing desktop-like performance to the laptop.
The 9800M comes in three models, with the 9800M GTX taking residence at the top of the heap. Boasting the same G92 core that was so popular on the desktop, the 9800M GTX comes clocked at 500MHz and uses 112 shaders running at 1,250MHz each. Combined with a 256-bit memory interface, that translates into 420 gigaflops of processing power, putting it nearly on par with its desktop counterpart, the 8800 GT. And for the hardcore mobile gamers, the flagship model is SLI capable. As for the rest of the cards:
Not everyone is sold on SSDs, but that isn't stopping almost everyone from trying to sell you one. Competition has started to heat up, and it looks as though OCZ and Super Talent are lining up for a race to see which company can offer the fastest SSDs at the lowest price point. Super Talent kicked things off with its MasterDrive MX line, offering 120MB/sec read and 40MB/sec write speeds in 30GB, 60GB, and 120GB sizes for as low as $299, but OCZ joined the race just a few months later with a low cost line of its own. OCZ's Core series drives upped the ante with a hat trick that includes slightly more storage space, better read and write speeds at up to 143MB/sec and 93MB/sec respectively, and lower price points. Game, set, match?
Not quite. Super Talent doesn't appear ready to concede the mainstream market, and to prove it, the company has revised its MX series SSDs to offer faster speeds. Both the 15GB and 30GB models now sport read speeds of 120MB/sec and write speeds of 60MB/sec, while the 60GB and 120GB boast the same read speed but increases the write speeds to 80MB/sec. "Our expert engineering team is constantly discovering new ways to improve our proudcts, and this is one improvement that will be well received by power laptop users," said Super Talent director or marketing, Joe James.
The tweaked SATA-II SSDs still trail behind OCZ's Core series, but to make them more competitive, Super Talent has begun offering a $40 rebate (PDF) when purchased through Newegg. Is it enough to make you consider a SSD?
Either Charlie Demerjian is drinking some seriously spiked Kool-Aid, or The Inquirer reporter really is privy to what could turn out to be the hottest story this summer. According to the latest rumor (and this one's unconfirmed), two high profile Nvidia add-in board (AIB) partners are jumping ship. And by high profile, Demerjian's talking about XFX and Evga, two of only three Nvidia partners (BFG being the other) to offer a generous lifetime warranty on their videocards.
As if the rumor wasn't already unfathomable, it gets even more shocking. According to the story, which, again, hasn't been confirmed by any other source, not only have XFX and Evga already defected (The Inq claims "paperwork has been signed"), but they're not heading for the hills of ATI. Huh? That's right; the rumor says XFX and Evga aren't following Gainward's lead (yet another defection rumor), so if it turns out to be true, then where could they going?
Find out where XFX and Evga are rumored to be headed after the jump.
Good news for system builders and upgraders alike: Intel has cut processor prices (PDF) by as much as 31 percent. And these aren't price cuts on chips that nobody cares about either, but they include some overclocking favorites in both dual and quad-core trim:
Q6600, $224 to $193 (14% drop)
E8500, $266 to $183 (31% drop)
E8400, $183 to $164 (11% drop)
E7200, $188 to $113 (15% drop)
A handful of Xeon processors have also been marked down, but the real treat here is for overclockers. All four desktop processors have become extremely popular chips in the overclocking community due to their reputation for ramping up in clockspeed with minimal effort, and save for the E8500, each one could have been considered a bargain before the price cut. Now the price-to-performance ratio looks even better, enough so that those holding out for Nehalem may be tempted to pull the trigger now rather than wait. But on which one? Here's a refresher if you've been out of the loop for awhile:
Q6600 (2.4GHz, 8MB, 1066MHz, x9 multiplier)
E8500 (3.16GHz, 6MB, 1333MHz, x9.5 multiplier)
E8400 (3.0GHz, 6MB, 1333MHz, x9 multiplier)
E7200 (2.53GHz, 3MB, 1066MHz, x9.5 multiplier)
Prices represent 1,000 unit trays, so expect to pay a little bit more at your favorite vendor. Still, who can complain, and at these price points the question of the day is, build now or wait?
We've given you the gear. Now take a trip into the Maximum PC Lab with an exclusive Web-only look at how we constructed this year's Dream Machine 2008--the fastest PC you can buy, hands-down. Be there for all the heart-wrenching fluid leaks! The painstaking storage decisions! The bits and pieces we had to break just to achieve our Dream Machine...dreams!
If you have yet to check out what we packed into this rig, be sure to catch up on our first, second, and third looks at the parts of this over-customized rig. But if you're ready, then pop open the Lab door by clicking that little "Read More" link and take a look at how Maximum PC master-builders brought forth this year's PC powerhouse!
Plasma displays are all but dead, and as any Maximum PC subscriber knows by now, the quality of LCD monitors can (and do) vary wildly, even among the same manufacturer (see VX2035WM and VLED221WM). Even still, LCDs dominate the PC landscape, and because prices have fallen so far in the past year, LCD televisions are also becoming increasingly commonplace. But there's a new contender on the horizon.
Researchers from Microsoft and the University of Washington talked up a new technology called "telescopic pixels" in this week's Nature Photonics. As the name suggests, the new tech takes advantage of an old concept and finds its roots in the optical telescope. How it works is each individual pixel consists of two opposing mirrors with one changing shape based on applied voltage, and the other reflecting light through a hole on the primary mirror and onto the display screen. Arstechnica has the full technical rundown, but what's most interesting are the several potential upsides over today's pixel technology.
Find out what potential advantages telescopic pixel technology might bring to the table after the jump.
There was a time when motherboards sporting integrated graphics were best avoided like the plague, and while that's still the case for the hardcore enthusiast, many modern micro ATX motherboards have begun closing the performance gap between their full ATX brethren. The situation looks to get even better by summer's end. According to a DigiTimes report, Nvidia plans to mass produce its latest Intel platform IGP chipset by the middle of next month with shipping product expected to hit retail shelves in early September.
Touting support for Nvidia's GeForce 9-series mGPU, the 730i MPC will be offered up with either an onboard GeForce 9400 graphics core (MCP7A-U) with a core frequency of 580MHz and shader frequency of 1500MHz, or with a GeForce 9300 (MCP7A-S) with a core and shader frequency of 450MHz and 1200MHz respectively. The GPUs don't look to rival anything close to a GTX 280, but with support for PCI Express 2.0, Shader Model 4.0, and DirectX 10, along with 16 built-in stream processors, less demanding gamers are likely to be able to get their gaming groove on with more than just Peggle.
Rounding out the feature list, both MCPs will support a 1333MHz frontside bus (think 45nm Penryn) and come in both DDR2 and DDR3 flavor. And for HTPC crowd, look for a bevy of connection options, including HDMI, dual-link DVI, DsiplayPort, and D-sub.