The divide between desktop computer and home theater PCs continues to shrink, fueling the demand for both larger and quieter hard drives. With this in mind, Hitachi announces two new hard drives the company claims will "deliver low power and quiet acoustics for digital video applications."
The CinemaStar 7K1000.B comes in capacities ranging from 160GB on up to 1TB and utilizes Hitachi's CoolSpin technology. Drives equipped with CoolSpin use a motor speed Hitachi says makes it the "industry's quietest, most energy-efficient 3.5 inch hard drives" on the market.
Hit the jump to learn more about the new CinemaStar hard drives and see one of the trippiest videos ever!
Records are meant to be broken, but it's Corsair who keeps doing all the breaking. Once again, the company's auspiciously named Dominator series has taken memory frequencies to new heights, surpassing its own world record for the highest achieved DDR3 frequency set just over two months ago.
On May 20, Corsair's Dominator danced at 2462MHz, a record that went untouched until now. This time around, Corsair managed to push ahead to 2580MHz and did so with respectable latencies set at 9-9-9-24. It took an Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 overclocked to a 645MHz frontside bus to get there, as well as cooling the motherboard, CPU, chipset, and memory to a very chilly -20 degrees Celsius. Brrr!
Because of the extreme cooling involved and obvious risk of component failures, kids probably shouldn't try this at home, but if you're a memory manufacturer not named Corsair, feel free to give it a shot.
3D graphics technology has grown by leaps and bounds since 3DFX first laid its Voodoo on the computing world, and today's videocards boast everything from multiple GPUs in a single package to the promise of physics processing. And not just for gaming, fanatical Folders can crunch through more proteins by utilizing their GPU, or decode a high definition movie on their new big screen TV.
Leading the charge into this new era of 3D computing are Nvidia and ATI, two companies who have recently started going at each others' throats with aggressive price cuts and a deluge of new videocards while simultaneously chasing the performance crown. But for all their battles, both old and new, it's Intel, CPU maker extraordinaire, who continues to lead the market.
Find out how much catching up Nvidia and ATI have to do after the jump.
Intel can not only lay claim as the current king of chip technology, but its upcoming Nehalem microarchitecture looks poised to keep the silicon studs on top of the competition well into 2009. AMD has yet to threaten Intel's position ever since Conroe, and while the company remains confident under Dirk Meyer as the new head honcho, it's still playing catch up to Intel's 45nm technology.
The situation gets a little more competitive when switching from CPUs to GPUs, and according to Tomshardware, sources at both ATI and Nvidia are saying they will each have a 40nm GPU manufacturing process by the first half of 2009, possibly to be unveiled at next year's CeBit.
Assuming either company meets their target, the accomplishment will unseat Intel as the technological leader in terms of the smallest chip structures, even if only for a short time. The road won't stop at Nehalem and Intel is already busy developing 32nm CPUs, which many expect to be shown off in prototype form at the company's spring development forum in H1 2009. Volume shipments could come as early as Q3 next year.
Even so, if 40nm GPUs materialize as reported, it will mark the first time GPUs will overtake CPUS in terms of production nodes. That won't necessarily make it a better chip, but you can expect plenty of fanfare should Nvidia and/or ATI dethrone the silicon king.
We’ve been calling Intel’s next-generation CPU family code-named Nehalem a Penryn-killer because, sadly, AMD’s best and brightest have hardly been that. For those who haven’t sifted the sands of the Internet, and picked the brains of OEM’s and hardware vendors for every detail of Intel’s next-gen microarchitecture, here’s your quick primer on Nehalem that’ll make you big man on campus at the next geekfest.
How Many Cores?
Most Nehalem’s will be native quad-core with all four compute cores on the same physical die. Intel says that the design of Nehalem will also let the company build an eight-core version, codenamed Beckton, for servers. Intel also hasn’t ruled out the possibility of a multi-chip version so could perhaps see a double-die Beckton with 16 cores as well.
An improved version of HyperThreading will find its way into the core of Nehalem. This improved simultaneous multi-threading, or SMT, will let the OS see a quad-core chip as eight cores. Although some still debate its merit, the implementation of HT in the Pentium 4 generally added 15 percent more performance in multi-threaded applications.
We were beginning to wonder if Creative would ever update its X-Fi soundcard drives to work properly in Vista, and after the whole Daniel_K fiasco, we were about ready to throw in the towel. For those that stuck it out, Creative has finally released a new driver package that fixes the hardware Dolby Digital and DTS decoding in its X-Fi cards running under Vista. The company also added DVD Audio playback, a feature that previously went by the wayside when upgrading from XP to Vista.
The new driver also addresses a niggling bug that causes system crashes when switching to an unsupported sampling rate in the Audio Creation Mode while Dolby Digital Live is enabled.
All X-Fi soundcards except the Xtreme Audio version are supported with the driver update.
While Dell stays busy jazzing up its Studio line of laptops and desktops with various color schemes, the OEM let loose another product but without all the fanfare. Available now is Dell's S2409 24-inch widescreen LCD panel, representing the company's first 16:9 aspect ratio display. That puts the screen resolution at 1920x1080 (as opposed to 1920x1200 for 16:10), matching the 1080p output of most high definition content including Blu-ray movies. Other notables include:
HDMI with HDCP
1000:1 contrast ratio
0.276 mm pixel pitch
5 ms response time (gray-to-gray)
16.7 million colors
The new display doesn't come with bells and whistles such as a USB hub or integrated speakers, but it does carry a relatively friendly price tag at $379 with 3-year warranty.
We thought maybe Jointech's $99 mini laptop would be the first sub $100 notebook to make it big in the market, but Gartner analysts say that the prices of mini-notebooks are unlikely to drop to that magical price range for at least another three years. Analysts warn, though, that the focus of breaking the $100 barrier should be shifted to other issues related to mini-notebooks such as determining relevant hardware specifications and power requirements.
Annette Jump, research director at Gartner, believes that the declining prices of hardware along with the increased demand for the devices could potentially reduce prices by 10 to 15 percent in the next two to three years. Will this decline in prices be enough to break the $100 barrier? Jump believes that in order for mini-notebooks to be successful in the consumer and business realm, they should not be considered a computing device but rather a device to explore the Internet and a way for people to work, play, and communicate.
“We expect to see increased product innovation in the PC market during the next few years,” said Ms. Jump. “Mini-notebooks will create opportunities to reach many buyers across all regions, both in mature markets as additional devices, and in emerging markets as PCs.”
Forget about sliced bread; USB might be the single greatest invention ever. Just don't tell the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (now just called IEEE), who recently approved a new 1394-2008 specification that supports bumping the bandwidth up to 3.2 Gb/s.
"The new standard includes all of the amendments, enhancements, and more than 100 errata which have been added to the base standard over the last 12 years," said Les Baxter, chair of the working group which developed the standard. "This update provides developers with a single document they can rely upon for al of their application needs."
Firewire has fallen in recent years from the high speed interface of choice, particularly for DV transfers, to one that is now used mainly in professional environments. But that could change with the new spec, which introduces support for S1600 (1.6 Gb/s) and S3200 (3.2 Gb/s) while also being backwards compatible with current S400 and S800 ports. And the IEEE isn't finished, as looking ahead it's expected that Firewire will scale to 6.4 Gb/s.
For its part, USB isn't remaining idle and will receive an upgrade to 4.8 Gb/s in version 3.0, though exactly when still remains unknown.
Last week, we showed you which parts you would want to buy to construct a killer $2500 PC. The purpose of that machine was power computing – serious audio/video editing and high-bitrate media transcoding. We got a lot of flak about a few of our choices (most noticeably the CPU), but we stand by our picks. That PC configuration was meant for Power Users, and not hardcore gamers (though we recognize that those aren’t mutually-exclusive groups). For someone who primarily uses their PC for gaming, and won’t accept framerate dips in 120Hz games, we have different recommendations. The following components make up our ideal $2500 hardcore gaming rig (prices as listed on Newegg). If it’s not what you’d buy, we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section!