Microsoft’s latest Sidewinder mouse, the X8, combines a wireless design with the latest in optical sensor technology. Sporting a proprietary BlueTrack sensor, the X8 will work on most any surface, including granite and marble, which are problems for mice with more traditional optical and laser sensors. This is also Microsoft’s first wireless Sidewinder mouse—it utilizes the traditional 2.4GHz band, but updates more times per second than most wireless Microsoft mice.
We love the button placement and scroll wheel on this mouse. All of the buttons are easy to find and quick to press and the scroll wheel is quick and responsive. The top and bottom thumb buttons are especially praiseworthy. Unlike other mice equipped with a pair of thumb buttons aligned in a fore and aft configuration, the Sidewinder’s thumb buttons are aligned vertically, with Mouse5 placed above Mouse4.
Like the Razer Mamba, which we reviewed last month, the X8 features a play and charge cable. Using a magnetic power adapter that quickly and easily snaps into place, you can convert the X8 from battery power in mere seconds, should your battery die. The X8’s connection system is a marked improvement over the Mamba.
According to some recent news, one of the first companies creating silicon for USB 3.0 is claiming that one of their USB 3.0 systems on a chip can be used in concert with external storage devices to provide transfer rates of up to 500Mbit/second.
USB 3.0 has been designed to handle transfer speeds of to 5Gbit/second, a sizeable increase when compared to the 480Mbit/second that USB 2.0 offers. “You’re pretty much communicating through a straw,” stated Gideon Intrater, vice president of solutions architecture with Symwave. “USB 2 was good as long as you had 100GB on your hard drive, but now it’s just way too slow.”
The new system on a chip, which was developed with external storage in mind, can supposedly offer performance faster than SATA. According to reports, said chip will allow speeds as high as 500Mbit/second thanks to its RAID 0 support. System builders will be able to take advantage of this feature by installing two external drives that can be addressed at the same time, offering faster data reads.
Still, we’re going to have to wait for USB 3.0 to make its debut.
It’s become a cliché in hardware reviews to call a PC “the fastest machine we’ve ever seen,” but there are no better words to describe Maingear’s ePhex.
It truly is the fastest machine we’ve ever seen. And you would expect that from a parts list that looks like someone just checked the “bestest” box before clicking the buy button.
Peep these specs: Intel’s new Core i7-975 Extreme Edition CPU. This new CPU may seem like it’s just 133MHz faster than the Core i7-965 Extreme Edition CPU, but it’s actually a new stepping of the core that enhances overclocking. Maingear overclocks the chip from 3.33GHz to a very stable 4GHz. To the new i7, Maingear adds 12GB of Kingston DDR3/1600 on the Asus Rampage II Extreme board, a 2TB Western Digital drive, two Intel 80GB X25-M SSDs in RAID 0, and not two, but three GeForce GTX 285 cards in tri-SLI. To keep it all running, Maingear water cools all three GPUs and the CPU, and then tosses in a 1,200 watt PC Power and Cooling Turbo-Cool PSU.
Technology moves forward at a rapid pace and any parts you buy today could very well turn obsolete in six months, let alone six years. But if Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang's predictions turn true, the order of magnitude in which graphics technology is set to explode is like nothing we've seen in recent history.
According to Huang, GPU compute is likely to skyrocket by 570x over its current capabilities in the next six years. And never one to pass up a chance to take a dig at Intel and its CPU business, Huang also pointed out that 'pure' CPU performance will be limited to just 3x in same time frame.
If Huang's crystal ball proves flawless, there won't be any question whether or not upcoming GPUs can run Crysis. But gamers won't be the only ones to benefit from the additional horsepower. Huang pointed out a number of "real-world" GPU applications, such as interactive ray tracing, CGI, and others.
Rather than let Amazon, Sony, and a handful of others have all the fun, Asus plans to dive into the e-book market with an e-book reader of its own. According to company president Jerry Shen, Asus will market the device under its Eee brand
According to un-named industry sources, MSI is also mulling whether or not to release an electronic book reader, reports news and rumor site DigiTimes.
This could be just the beginning of an influx of new e-book readers, suggest said sources, who pointed out that the requirements for entering the e-book market are lower than they are for netbooks. The real challenge, the sources say, is in establishing a content delivery platform.
Lian Li today launched its PC-B25F mid tower chassis. Constructed of brushed aluminum, the new case is based on an old model (PC-B25 "Blue Ring" Classic) with "a few more refinements," including a tool-less design.
The new mid-tower chassis makes room for three 5.25-inch optical drives and up to six side-facing 3.5-inch drives, each one supporting tool-less installation. Gaining access looks to be made simpler with a removable top panel, a surprisingly uncommon feature in modern case design.
Cooling duties are provided by dual top 140mm fans (1,000RPM), two front 120mm fans (1,200RPM), and a single rear 120mm fan (1,500RPM).
Lian Li says the PC-B25F will be available starting in September for around $200.
According to Jon Peddi research, growth in shipments of discrete videocards might mean the recession is winding down. It's also good news for AMD, whose graphics market share has been on the rise thanks to a combination of stabilizing pricing and a hot-selling Radeon product line.
This allowed AMD to snag a larger share of the overall market, which increased to 34 percent for the quarter. But it's not all bad news for Nvidia, who despite slipping four points still owns the lion's share at 64 percent.
All told, Jon Peddie Research said that 16.81 million discrete videocards where shipped in the second quarter of 2009, which is a 3 percent increase from the first quarter, but still down 15 percent over the same quarter one year ago. But JPR believes the worst is over, noting the numbers "demonstrated some much-needed firmness in Q2'09, adding more evidence that demand has bottomed and a recovery is in the offing."
Last month we reviewed Western Digital’s MyBook World Edition, a small, white, single-drive, one-terabyte NAS box aimed solidly at Joe User. This month, we have the Seagate BlackArmor NAS 440, the MyBook’s polar opposite in many ways. It’s big, it’s black, it’s user-serviceable, comes with four Barracuda 7200.11 1.5TB drives, and is marketed toward small businesses without a dedicated IT staff.
The BlackArmor 440 is a brick, the front of which has a two-line green LCD status screen, a front door that opens to reveal the four hot-swappable screwless drive bays, one of the box’s four USB 2.0 host ports, and a power button. The back holds the 12cm exhaust fan, the power jack (for the external power brick), two Gigabit Ethernet ports, and the other three USB 2.0 ports.
The LCD display offers system status information and a few buttons to navigate with, but the real power comes from the BlackArmor’s web interface, which is easily accessible from the BlackArmor Discovery software included with the NAS. The Discovery software also provides easy mapping of shared folders—the defaults are Public and Downloads.
The CPU wars in the desktop market have grown pretty stale with Intel's Core i7 architecture kicking AMD's tail, but when it comes to the server sector, the battle is starting to heat up.
Enter IBM, who at this week's Hot Chips conference officially unveiled its muscular 8-core Power7 processor. The mighty chip is expected to pack 1.2 billion transistors onto a 45nm die. Each core will boast 12 execution units, as well as 32 threads per chip and advanced pre-fetching data and instruction sets.
"I am sure Power7 will be the fastest processor around, probably faster than Intel's Nehalem in some benchmarks," said Nathan Brookwood, principal of market watcher Insight64.
Other specs include scalability up to 32 sockets, 256KB L2 cache per core, 32MB of on chip eDRAM shared L3 cache, dual DDR3 memory controllers, 100GB/s memory bandwidth per chip, and 360GB/s SMP bandwidth per chip.
In the two years since we reviewed the first version of ID Vault, phishing attacks have increased by more than 180 percent, identity theft is up 25 percent, and organized crime has figured out ways to hijack financial sites and DNS servers.
For the most part, putting financial information into a browser is about as safe as walking through Central Park in one of those Chuck Bronson Death Wish movies.
So, you’d think ID Vault would be one of those tools you’d put on a chain and wear around your neck everywhere you go, but it isn’t. For those not up on ID Vault, it’s an encrypted USB key that stores your user names and passwords. If you want to go to your bank, eBay, or Amazon, you plug in the ID Vault and use a virtual keyboard to punch in a code (to thwart key loggers). The ID Vault client on your PC then goes to the site, makes sure you’re actually on a legitimate IP address for that particular website, and logs in for you.