Following an influx of solid state drives aimed at both the high-end and mainstream market, for awhile there it looked like SSDs might actually give traditional hard drives a run for its money. But as it turns out, money remains the issue, and higher per gigabyte costs will keep SSDs from being a threat to HDDs in 2009, and the same will probably hold true in 2010, memory makers say.
In the mobile sector, SSDs will close out the year with only a 1-1.5 percent penetration rate, and less than 10 percent in the low-cost PC segment, according to data by DRAMeXchange.
But it's not all gloom and doom for SSDs. Memory makers say the upcoming transition to 30nm and lower nodes will push NAND flash prices down, while some remain hopeful that Windows 7 will change the storage landscape.
Microsoft must surely be hoping to raise the bar higher with its Windows 7 OS. However, a hacker is more interested in figuring out the lowest depths Windows 7 can plunge to. Whatever you believe you know about the bare minimum specs required to run Windows 7 may actually be exaggerated, greatly exaggerated. A hacker on the Windows Club’s forum, who is only known by his cyber pseudonym hackerman1, has done the unthinkable by successfully installing and running Windows 7 on a Pentium II system. The rig boasts a primeval 266 MHz Pentium II processor, 96 MB of SDRAM memory and a 4 MB graphics card. Hackerman1 now wants to repeat the feat using a 166 MHz Pentium I processor and 1 MB video card.
First shown at CES earlier this year and more recently at CeBIT, OCZ this week officially announced the Sabre OLED gaming keyboard, a plank the company promises will be "affordable."
"The OCZ Sabre Keyboard offers the best of both worlds when it comes to OLED technology and a truly functional yet affordable gaming keyboard," commented Eugene Change, VP of Product Management at OCZ.
Nine OLED keys sit on the left side of the Sabre, each one user-programmable and capable of converting digital images or text into icons. Furthermore, the Sabre's proprietary software makes it possible for the OLED keys to change their icons and command tiers on the fly based on whatever application is running. Fire up your favorite FPS, for example, and the icons and macros change to whatever was programmed.
Other features include "glowing amber LEDs", blue side lighting, 128MB of onboard flash memory, "super tactile, low-noise key feedback," and a 5-10 degree tilt design.
In an effort to help save R&D costs for its own-brand motherboards, Intel will release ODM (Original Design Manufacturer) orders to Taiwan-based motherboard makers, with the first orders belonging exclusively to Foxconn, DigiTimes reports.
As it currently stands, Intel ships between 4-5 million units annually, but although the chip maker is reportedly looking to cut back, the company did say it will continue to design and develop motherboards, as well as closely cooperate with industry players in the motherboard market.
If it turns out to be true, the big loser in the new deal is Pegatron Technology, an Intel OEM partner which will stand on the sidelines for these new orders. Adding salt to the wound, Asus, Pegatron's biggest client, is looking to increase its outsourcing to other companies as well.
According to Rick Bergman, AMD’s Senior Vice President for Platforms, he and his crew are looking to beat Nvidia to the world of DX11.
According to Bergman, “We want to supply hardware to Microsoft and software developers so they can make DX11 games on our hardware first.” This would put AMD ahead of Nvidia, something that hasn’t happened for several years, thanks to Nvidia’s dominance in the DX10 market. “We were kind of fighting from behind, but with DX11 it feels like we’re ahead this round.”
Despite reports that very few game titles would take advantage of DX11, Bergman is keeping up his enthusiasm. Reportedly, he knows of a handful of independent software vendors that are working “eagerly” to release games.
SSD technology continues to mature, both in price per gigabyte and performance. On the latter front, Super Talent's new MasterDrive SX SSDs come equipped with 128MB DRAM of cache, which the company claims delivers "exceptional" write speeds.
"We developed the MasterDrive SX series to offer extreme reliability at an aggressive price point that makes sense for mobile professionals and enthusiasts. Moreover, these drives boast power efficiency and write speeds that few SSDs can match," said Super Talent Director of Marketing Joe James.
Available in 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB capacities, the latter two sport 220MB/s and 200MB/s read and sequential write speeds, respectively (the 64GB checks in with 200MB/s and 120MB/s read and write speeds), while all three models sip just half a watt of power in read mode and 0.15W while idle.
No MSRP information has yet been made available, but street pricing for the 64GB and 128GB have currently settled in at around $173 and $336, respectively. No word yet on availability for the 256GB model.
We're just now starting to get used to seeing 6GB and 12GB of total memory in desktop systems, but such capacities are suddenly quaint compared to the latest 32GB modules Samsung's cooked up, even if not headed for the desktop.
According to Samsung, it's the world's first 32GB DDR3 RAM stick, and it was built using a 50nm process. A total of 72Gb (gigabit) DDR3 chip dies arranged in a row of nine quad-die packaged 16Gb DDR3s are packed on each side of the module, resulting in 32GB of total memory. And in addition to boasting higher capacity, Samsung says its 32GB RDIMM also improves throughput by 20 percent and consumes less power at 1.35V compared to previous sticks running 1.5V.
No word yet on price or availability, or when Samsung plans to launch its 8GB modules designed for the desktop.
Maingear has just unveiled its Axess HD Gamer, a low-profile HTPC rig that manages to muscle a fully fledged gaming PC into a low profile design.
"The Axess HD Gamer was conceived to deliver unsurpassed gaming performance fused with advanced media center capabilities all contained within a low profile case, making the perfect cornerstone for any home theater environment," said Wallace Santos, CEO and Founder of Maingear.
The base configuration includes an Intel Core i7 920 processor, 3GB of triple channel DDR3-1333MHz memory, an Asus Rampage II Gene X58 mATX motherboard, two Nvidia GeForce 9800GT videocards with 1GB of GDDR3 per card, 500GB hard drive, 16X DVD reader, Windows Vista Home Premium 32-bit, and a Phantom Lapboard.
If that's not powerful enough, several upgrades are available, some of which include an Intel Core i7 975 processor, 12GB of memory, Blu-ray drive, a pair of Intel X-25M SSDs, and more.
PowerColor this week announced a new series of videocards it says are "environmentally friendly and cost efficient to the consumer." Kicking off the new Go! Green series is a pair of ATI cards - the HD 4650 and HD 4350.
Both cards come equipped with PowerColor's custom Silent Cooling Solution (SCS) passive heatsink, with the HD 4650 version adding heatpipes to the mix (SCS3). Partially as a result, PowerColor claims its HD 4650 consumes 38 percent less power than an Nvidia GeForce 9500GT videocard, while the HD 4350 boasts a 24 percent power savings over the Nvidia GeForce 8400GS. Likewise, the HD 4650 and HD 4350 offer up to 22 percent and 36 percent better performance than each one's respective Nvidia equivalent, PowerColor claims.
Availability is expected in July, but no word yet on price.
Worried your RAM might go up flames from the extra voltage you're pumping through? You can worry a little less with OCZ's XTC (Xtreme Thermal Convection) Memory Cooler Revision 2, the latest in a limited field of active RAM coolers.
"The first revision of the OCZ XTC Memory Cooler proved to be a very popular product with a wide range of enthusiast and power users," said Ryan Edwards, Director of Product Management for OCZ. "We are excited to offer a follow-up design with improved performance, an enhanced feature set, and a sleek new look, all at the same affordable price point as the original."
Made of brushed aluminum, OCZ's newest XTC cooler installs over the top of your RAM modules by snapping into your motherboard's DIMM socket retention levels. Two 60mm fans provide airflow for your memory, and according to OCZ, a new, taller profile means you can use the second revision XTC cooler with memory kits sporting taller heatsinks. Fan speed is adjustable (low or high), and of course tricked out with blue LEDs.