It doesn’t matter a lick to us that Blu-ray has prevailed in the high-def format war if the hardware remains expensive and uninspiring. We have to admit, we thought the tide was turning when we reviewed LG’s GGW-H20L Blu-ray burner back in December. That drive represented a dramatic price drop (falling to $500 from its predecessor’s $1,200 price tag in a matter of months—and now settled at $400 MSRP), and its 6x rating for BD-R media resulted in burn times we could actually live with (22.5GB in a little over 20 minutes).
Sadly, Lite On has not followed LG’s lead. Instead, they've released a drive that's made zero strides since its aged predecessor.
Pretty soon you might be able to build a complete PC with nothing but OCZ-branded components and peripherals. Adding to the list of power supplies, RAM, USB thumb drives, videocards, coolers, and mice is OCZ's new Elixir keyboard. The keyboard kicks off OCZ's Alchemy line of gaming products, whch the company says "is designed to offer gamers quality gaming solutions that deliver both exceptional performance and value." Products in the Alchemy line will evidently target budget-minded gamers, and could potentially give Razer a run its money.
Getting back to the Elixer, the new keyboard claims a combination of ergonomic and sturdy design. Features include 10 blue macro keys with 3 user-programmable profiles, mode selection (standard PC or customized gaming mode), a pop-up menu shortcut, and eight multimedia keys. Rounding out the feature-set are membrane tactile keys with all rubber-coating and a USB port. The Elixer will carry an MSRP of $29.99, putting it in a good position to compete other similarly spec'd gaming keyboards at much higher price points.
It all sounds good in theory, but can OCZ pull off releasing quality gaming peripherals at budget prices?
For most enthusiasts, choosing a hard drive usually comes down to performance specs. This includes spindle speed, areal density, what size buffer it comes equipped with, and any special features like NCQ. But as solid-state drives (SSDs) start to trickle into the mainstream, expect to see a greater importance placed on the mean time before failure (MTBF) rating.
It'd be nice if hard drives could last forever, but like every other component that makes up your PC, hard drives eventually die. And it's never a pretty sight, either. Sometimes a HDD will give up the ghost without warning, leaving you frantically looking for ways to revive the drive long enough to extract your data (remember the freezer trick?). Other times you're given ample warning of an impending failure, typically in the form of unpleasant grinding noises, disk errors, an unusual clicking noise that wasn't present before, S.M.A.R.T. warnings, and other telltale signs that it's time to backup your data.
Learn more about MTBF ratings and how that translates into real-world life expectancy after the jump.
You can change CPU sockets, dump PCI, and jettison legacy ports all day long, but nothing, absolutely nothing, pisses people off like moving to a new type of RAM. Luckily, there’s a fallback: dual-format RAM motherboards such as MSI’s P35 Combo Platinum board.
Hit the jump to read our review of this dual-format monster.
Cost cutting must top Nvidia’s priority list after it lowered its financial outlook for Q2, 2009 and announced $150-200 million product replacement and repair expenses. It plans to cut production costs by making the shift from 65nm to 55nm manufacturing process by the end of the current quarter, according to a Commercial Times report. All of its upcoming GPUs that are expected to be out after August including G94b, G96b and G98b will utilize 55 nm processes. Although the transition will lower production costs by 20%, Nvidia will need to do more than that if it has to wrest some momentum from its resurgent rival AMD.
When it rains, it pours, and Nvidia could use a good downpour to put out the flames. Perhaps literally. Just last week Dave Murphy reported Nvidia was setting aside $150 to $200 million to cover warranty and repair costs associated with an "abnormal failure rate" in its mobile graphics cards, news of which sent Nvidia stock spiraling downward. Now there's speculation that the failures might not be limited to just a specific batch of notebook GPUs.
Rumor, news, and review site The Inquirer is saying that "all the G84 and G86 parts are bad. Period. No exceptions." That includes both mobile and desktop parts. According to The Inq, both use the same application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC), and both ASICs are plagued by a heat related problem originating from an un-named substrate or bumping material. Because of this, The Inq surmises more failures are iminent. But are they?
Find out what Nvidia has to say about the failures after the jump.
Put a feather in Seagate's cap. The storage titan has sprinted to the finish line and scored an exclusive: the world's first 1.5-terabyte hard drive. The 7,200rpm drive uses a mere four platters to achieve its huge capacity point -- that's 375GB per platter of areal density. Beefy.
Seagate is claming a sustained data rate of 120MB/s for its drive, which might very well be enough to place this little guy above Samsung's 333GB-per-platter HD103UJ drive. Other than that, the bulging Barracuda seems similar to every other high-capacity drive on the market: expect a 3Gb/s SATA interface and a typical 32MB of cache. Check out the full release below!
Grungy PC users can forget about over-paying for a Mac just to appear more hip and appease that inner fanboy (which, incidentally, is now an officially recognized word). Instead, shed your PC room's fashion faux pas with AOC's new 22-inch 2218Ph LCD monitor, or so the company implies. AOC claims its new monitor "finally brings PC users the element of style Mac users have enjoyed for the last few years." In addition to 'state-of-the-art metallic workmanship,' the $429.99 2218Ph touts:
12,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio
HDCP-compliant HDMI input
2ms response time
1680 x 1050 native resolution
Illuminating touch key control
Of course, if you're trying to impersonate a Mac user, take extra caution when others are around. Removing the side panel to upgrade a crucial component or firing up a bevy of games are surefire ways of exposing yourself as an uncouth PC user, even if you're wearing jeans and sipping a Starbucks.
It carries an asking price of $479 and comes with a 3-cell battery pack. Those of you who have your sights planted on the $399 Linux version or the 6-cell version will have to wait till September. MSI is also going to roll out its Wind mini-desktop in Europe and Asia this month, however, the diminutive desktop won’t be released in North America.
According to Fujitsu, flash memory currently has no place outside of handheld gadgets, a situation it doesn't see changing within the next two years. But despite Fujitsu's short-term reservations, other manufacturers seem intent on pushing SSD storage into the mainstream posthaste. Both Super Talent and OCZ have recently announced lower cost SSDs, and now Samsung is getting into the fray by saying it has begun mass producing 1.8- and 2.5-inch 64GB and 128GB multi-level cell (MLC)-based SSDs.
"With the 64GB and 128GB MLC SSDs, we are satisfying the density requirements of most business users and many PC enthusiasts, who will appreciate not only the performance gains and added reliability, but also the more attractive pricing," said Gerd Schauss, Director of Memory Marketing EMEA, Samsung Semiconductor Europe.
Throwing a wet blanket over the announcement are somewhat comparatively underwhelming performance numbers. Samsung claims its MLC based SSD has a write speed of 70MB/sec and a read speed of 90MB/s, which not only pales in comparison to some of the faster single-cell SSDs on the market, but lags behind Western Digital's VelociRaptor HDD. That might make the new SSDs a tough sell to PC enthusiasts with money to burn, but depending on how 'attractive' Samsung plans to price the units, it could capture a portion of the bang/buck crowd, a market segment SSDs aren't used to seducing.