As Intel's socket 1156-based Core i5 and Core i7 processors inch closer to an official release, look for motherboard vendors to start rolling out new mobos built around Intel's P55 chipset. That's exactly what Foxconn has done, who over the weekend unveiled its Inferno Katana motherboard as part of the company's Quantum Force series.
There's a lot to like about the Inferno Katana, at least on paper. Power user features are aplenty, including a 12 phase hybrid PWM and DirectFET MOSFET technology, 2 phase for VTT and memory, and a "Fuzzy Equalizer," which is an LED indicator light for displaying the PWM loading status.
Other specs include support for up to 16GB of dual-channel DDR3-1800, 8 SATA ports, 7.1 channel onboard audio with Dolby DTS, 3 PCI-E 2.0 x16 slots, 8 USB 2.0 ports, and "performance comparable to if not better than the C/P ratio of the Core i7."
Western Digital wants you to have a NAS box. Yes, you, Joe Consumer. A NAS box so easy your grandmother can set it up, but powerful enough that you can use it from anywhere. WD’s solution: a one-drive, non-user-serviceable slab of white plastic called the MyBook World Edition. Similar in form to the MyBook external hard drive, but with Gigabit Ethernet replacing the USB port, the MyBook World aims to be your family’s go-to repository for backup, sharing, and streaming.
Western Digital packages its single-drive MyBook World with either 1TB or 2TB Caviar Green low-power-consumption drives, wrapped in a sleek white “book” shape, with ventilation holes through the “pages.” The spine of the MyBook World features a white LED strip that displays status and capacity indicators; on its opposite side are a power jack, Gigabit Ethernet port, power button, reset hole, and USB host port for attaching additional storage.
The MyBook World ships with a handy WD Discovery utility that will auto-detect your MyBook on the network, let users map network drives, and configure the drive via a web interface. The included 30-day trial of the WD Anywhere backup software is not particularly noteworthy except for its ease of use—better backup options exist, especially once your trial runs out.
Move over quad-core and make room for six-core chips. Intel is ready to start promoting its six-core Westmere processors, which the chip maker plans to talk at length about at this year's Intel Developer's Forum (IDF) in September.
Aimed at both desktops and notebooks, the 32nm Westmere processor will be built around Intel's Nehalem architecture. Production will begin before the end of the year with a formal launch expected in early 2010.
"Where Nehalem was new chip architecture design, Westmere is the next design being used to build processors that feature two 32nm cores with 4MB of cache that sit next to a memory controller and integrated graphics built on a separate, neighboring 45nm chip, all in one package. Westmeres will be the basis of upcoming all new Core chips (Core i3, i5, and 7) over the next few months," Intel wrote in a blog post.
Intel also has an eight-core Nehalem EX processor planned for later this year, but those will be aimed at two-socket servers, not home desktops.
According to news and rumor site DigiTimes, Asus plans to keep busy this fall launching a number of new products. Among them are an Nvidia Ion-based Eee Box, Eee Top all-in-one PC, and two ultra-thin notebooks under its U/UX series.
The 20-inch Eee Top will come with an Intel dual-core Atom 330 processor and cost around $670. Details on the Ion-based rig remain sparse, though it will reportedly sell for a little over $300. Both of these -- along with the ultra-thin notebooks -- will launch in September.
A month later, Asus plans to launch the Eee Keyboard for somewhere between $400 and $500. The Eee Keyboard will work as a fully-functional PC and sport a wireless connection hub.
Power users who want to take advantage of RAID are typically stuck between a rock and a hard place: their motherboard’s integrated RAID (the quality of which can vary wildly between chipsets) and expensive discrete controllers. HighPoint’s RocketRAID 2640x4 attempts to bridge the gap by offering better-than-onboard performance at a price much lower than fancier discrete cards.
As expected, the RocketRAID 2640x4, which has four SAS/SATA 3Gb/s ports but no onboard processor or memory, performed better than our test bed motherboard’s onboard RAID controller but couldn’t match the performance of the $450 Adaptec 5405, which boasts an onboard 1.2GHz processor and 256MB DDR2 cache.
Setting up the RocketRAID 2640x4 is simple: Drop in the card, hook up the drives, power up your computer, and hit Ctrl+H during boot. HighPoint’s BIOS makes creating and maintaining RAID a snap, and its Windows drivers are easy to install from the included disc.
Last week, Corsair announced its new 128GB Voyager flash drive, a super-capacious thumb drive with a super-high price tag ($400). At the exact opposite end of the spectrum, OCZ today announced a new line of USB flash drives, dubbed Zee, aimed at users on a tight budget.
"Designed for the consumer on the go, the compact Zee is an economical USB drive that makes it easy to transfer images, multimedia, and essential data between multiple computers," commented Alex Mei, CMO of OCZ. "The Zee is designed to be affordable to the complete range of consumers, and is available in large capacities up to 16GB yet is both lightweight and compact so that it is highly portable."
In addition to 16GB, the Zee is also offered in 2GB, 4GB, and 8GB capacities. Other details remain sparse, including rated transfer speeds, price, or availability.
With the announcement of the brand new Performance Mouse MX and Anywhere Mouse MX, Logitech has released their brand new Darkfield Laser Tracking, which will allow their mice to track on glass (or any other surface).
The new mice, which will work with the new USB Unifying receiver, will come in two sizes – the smaller Anywhere Mouse MX which will be aimed at laptop users and the Performance Mouse MX, which will be meant for the desktop consumer. The Performance Mouse MX will also come with force-sensitive side-to-side scrolling (with the assistance of some software), while the Anywhere Mouse MX will have dedicated forward and back buttons.
They’ll both be released later in the month for $99.99 (Performance Mouse MX) and $79.99 (Anywhere Mouse MX).
Earlier this week, Intel's upcoming socket 1156-based Core i5 and Core i7 processors were spotted in retail channels in Taiwan and China, a few weeks before the chip maker's planned September launch date. That didn't sit well with Intel, who has asked vendors to stop selling the new parts, as well as accompanying P55-based motherboards.
That request is likely to go ignored, industry sources claim, who point out that demand for the new hardware is too hard to ignore. And it's not just overseas, either. The not-yet-launched products are also being sold in North America, with at least one well known review site claiming to have picked up a Core i5 processor from Fry's online store.
The parts in question include the Core i5 760, Core i7 860, and Core i7 870, plus a handful of P55-based mobos. With regards to the motherboards, some analysts predict that shipments in the fourth quarter will grow 10-20 percent sequentially, of which P55-based boards will account for 15 percent.
Best known for its case and cooling products, Cooler Master this week announced its first mouse, the Sentinel Advance. Not an entry-level product, Cooler Master claims the professional-grade Sentinel is two years in the making.
The biggest standout on the feature list is the super sensitive 5600 DPI sensor, which CM says is the result of using twin lasers, Doppler Effect processing, and real-time tracking technology (as opposed to software prediction).
Other goodies include customizable macros and scripts, LED colors and light effects, a modular weight system, 64k internal firmware ROM for saving your settings, and even an OLED screen for displaying customized clan logos or whatever else you want your rodent to show off.
If you've waited this long to upgrade your graphics card, you might as well finish off the summer with whatever GPU you've been getting by with. That's because both AMD and Nvidia plan to release new videocards this fall..
According to news and rumor site DigiTimes, Nvidia's upcoming 40nm GeForce 210 (GT218) GPU-based cards will start shipping in October thanks to improved yields at foundry partner Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing company (TSMC).
Detailed specs remain light, but the GeForce 210 will come with either DDR2 or DDR3 memory and offer up support for DirectX 10.1 and Shader Model 4.1, sources say. Nvidia will follow up the GT218 launch with GT230 and GT300 parts in the fourth quarter of this year.
As for AMD, the CPU/GPU maker will finally launch its RV870 GPU this fall, possibly as early as September.