Acer's refreshed Aspire G, otherwise known as the Predator, sports the same funky orange chassis as the original version, but once you peel back the orange, the hardware gets a bit juicier this time around.
The new Aspire G now sports an Intel Core i7 950 processor (3.06GHz), a ton of RAM (12GB of DDR3 to be exact), 1TB of hard drive storage, two Nvidia GeForce GTS 250 videocards in SLI with 4 DVI-D ports, a Blu-ray reader, Gigabit Ethernet, and other goodies.
There's no mention of the system cooling in the refreshed version, but hopefully Acer has learned its lesson from the first Predator. In March of this year, Acer issued a voluntary recall of the Predator after two owners reported that their systems got so hot, the external casing melted. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the recall affected about 215 Predator desktops sold between May and December 2008.
No word yet on price or availability on the refreshed units.
Like The Little Engine That Could, the worldwide PC market kept chugging onward against all economic odds, pushed in large part by an emerging netbook market that seemingly popped up overnight. But the ultraportable PCs could only do so much to stave off the inevitable, and according to market research firm iSuppli, the global PC market will suffer its first decline in 2009 since the Dot-Com bust of 2001.
"An annual decline in unit shipments is highly unusual in the PC market," observed Matthew Wilkins, principal analyst, compute platforms for iSuppli. "Even in weak years, PC unit shipments typically rise by single-digit percentages. The last decline -- in 2001 -- was a 5.1 decrease in unit shipments due to the extraordinary impact of the Dot-Com bust, which caused inflated IT spending levels from the previous years to collapse."
The market research firm predicts global PC shipments to dip to 287.3 million units in 2009, marking a 4 percent drop from the 299.2 million shipments in 2008. Ironically enough, a growing notebook market -- which we assume also includes netbooks -- might be part of the reason for the overall drop in PC shipments. While notebook PC shipments will rise by 11.7 percent, desktop PC shipments, including entry-level servers, is expected to plummet 18.1 percent and is being cited as the "primary factor driving the decline of the PC market in 2009," according to iSupply.
Just this week Hulu launched their new service, Goog—err, Hulu Labs in the interest of letting their users get a more hands on approach to the development of the site.
“To help us learn from user feedback […], we’re excited to open up a new Hulu Labs section on the site today. At Hulu Labs, we’ll provide sneak peeks at some of the upcoming releases from our product roadmap, some of which are personal projects and hobbies our devs have been cooking up,” wrote Eric Feng, Hulu’s CTO on their official blog. “From new recommendation algorithms to tools for building custom widgets to a time-based view for browsing your favorite shows, we’ll be sharing a variety of these new creations with you at Hulu Labs and looking forward to your thoughts on how to make these products better.”
They also released the beta for Hulu Desktop, an application that has been optimized to let you watch all of your favorite shows (so long as they’re hosted on Hulu) on your desktop or media center PC. The UI has been designed with a small Microsoft or Apple remote in mind, making it a very reasonable contender for all the media center PCs out there.
The Windows desktop can do a lot of things. You can drag and drop your programs all across your display, then resize the windows--or have the operating system tile them for you--to maximize your multi-application productivity. If you're using Vista, you can call forth a cascading, three-dimensional display of your Windows and cycle through live displays of each until you're ready to select an active panel. You can create new toolbars and assign them to new edges of the screen. You can minimize everything at once to show you a clean desktop image.
The Windows desktop can do a lot of things. But you can't do everything. And that's why I've hunted down five freeware applications that give you just-that-much-more control over the programs, windows, and taskbars that clog up your PC's display. Split your desktop into individual regions for maximum display control, or take matters into your own hands and assign the customized height, width, and positining of every application you use.
That's just a slice of the Windows pie I'm ready to dish up. Fire up some programs, put on a bib, and let's chow down on some freeware.
Once Windows 7 ships, Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate edition users will be able to download a free Windows XP Mode upgrade from Microsoft, WinSuperSite's Paul Thurrott reports. What Thurrott calls XP Mode will enable these versions of Windows 7 to be almost perfectly compatible with Windows XP applications. Essentially, Windows 7 will have "Windows XP inside" when XP Mode is installed.
What is XP Mode? Officially known as Virtual Windows XP, it combines a hardware-accelerated host virtualizer based on Virtual PC with a fully licensed copy of Windows XP Professional SP3 which the user must supply [updated 4-29-09]. While, at first glance, this might sound like little more than a more convenient replacement for downloading a copy of Virtual PC 2007 and scrounging up a Windows XP Pro disc and license from a dead PC, there's a lot more to Virtual Windows XP.
As the WinSuperSite screenshow reveals, Virtual Windows XP will be able to share your system's USB drives, and when you install apps to Virtual Windows XP, your Windows 7 menu will automatically be updated with shortcuts, enabling you to run Windows XP programs in separate virtualized windows on your desktop. Although the virtualizer used by Virtual Windows XP is a host-based virtualizer, these features put it miles ahead in usability compared to Virtual PC 2007 plus Windows XP. And, because Virtual Windows XP's virtualizer requires hardware virtualization support, it won't bog down your system the way an unaccelerated virtualization host will do.
Are there any downsides? For a couple of potential gotchas, and for your chance to sound off, join us after the jump.
Only after a few months of being on the market, HP has decided to cut the price of the Firebird 802 gaming desktop by $500. The price cut includes a $150 cut to the base price, as well as a $350 instant rebate, bringing the $1,799 price down to $1,299.
For those that haven’t been paying attention to the Firebird since release, that $1,299 will get you an Intel Core 2 Quad 9400 processor, 4GB of RAM, a 500GB HDD and two Nvidia GeForce 9800S GPUs, each packing 512MB of DDR3. Not to shabby considering the new price point.
If you’re interested in checking out the Firebird 802 for yourself, be sure direct your browser here, to HP’s site.
Last week, it was rumored that Acer would unveil the very first Ion-based nettop this week. That rumor has been vindicated by Acer. The AspireRevo, as the diminutive nettop is called, was unveiled on Tuesday by Acer and Nvidia.
The nettop features up to 4GB of RAM, a maximum of 250GB hard drive, HDMI/VGA outputs and six USB 2.0 ports. To put the stats into perspective, the nettop measures 7.1 x 7.1 x 1.2 inches (about the same size as a hardcover book). Its pricing and release date are still awaited.
We first learned of Acer's plans to release an Ion-based nettop back in February of this year when leaked slides hit the web, and now another leak reveals what the specs might look like.
As it stands, Acer's Hornet nettop will come in three SKUs, each one outfitted with Intel's Atom N230 processor. Other specs, depending on the model, include up to 2GB of RAM, up 160GB of storage, optional WiFi, optional wireless keyboard and mouse, and other odds and ends.
The upcoming Hornet also looks to take a page from Nintendo with a Wii-style remote that can be used for both gaming and media controls.
No word yet on availability, although news and rumor site DigiTimes says it will debut in Beijing on April 8. Pricing is expected to be in the $150 to $300 range.
In what Dell describes as "fashion meets function," the OEM has introduced an octuplet of color configurations for its refreshed Inspiron desktop line. That's more than what's found in some crayon boxes and includes Piano Black, Pure White, True Blue, Formula Red, Tangerine Orange, Spring Green, Plum Purple, and Promise Pink. The Promise Pink is a collaboration with Susan G. Komen for the Cure program to fight breast cancer - for every Promise Pink laptop or Mini Dell sells, it donates $5 to the cause.
The colorful Inspiron desktop line also includes a wide range of processor selections, such as Intel's Celeron, Core 2 Duo, and Core 2 Quad, and AMD's Sempron, Athlon, and Phenom X4 CPUs. Other configuration options include integrated Intel graphics or discrete ATI Radeon graphics, up to 8GB of memory, up to 750GB of storage on the slim tower and up to 1TB on the mini-tower, optional 19-in-1 media card reader, optional HDMI port, 6 USB 2.0 ports, and dual optical drive options.
Dell says its new slim and mini-tower Inspiron desktops debut today in China, with U.S. availability expected this spring starting at $299.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and while we described Acer's Predator PCs as looking "hot," we meant it figuratively, not literally. As it turns out, it didn't matter how me meant it, because according to Acer, who has issued a recall, the high-end gaming rigs are prone to overheating posing a potential burn hazard.
"Acer has received two reports of computers short circuiting, resulting in melted internal components and external casing. Neither incident occurred in the U.S. No injuries have been reported," Acer wrote in its recall notice.
Acer said the problem occurs when insulation on the affected machines' internal wiring becomes bent or stripped, causing the wires to overheat. The recall includes model numbers ASG7200 and ASG7700, which Acer says were sold by computer and electronic stores nationwide from May 2008 through December 2008.
If you have one of these models, Acer says you should stop using it immediately and contact them at 866-695-2237 or visit Acer's website.