As some of you may recall, we featured a Budget Badass Buyer’s Guide at the beginning of the month to provide some guidance to those looking for solid performance at what we, Maximum PC, would consider to be a reasonable price. We read your responses to the build and many felt that $1500 was a bit over what the typical user would consider “budget.” So, we took it a step further and created a Budget PC below the $1500 mark. In fact, we even dropped it under $1000. At $800, we couldn’t quite figure out if it would even be possible to construct a PC that could play the latest games or even do some basic photo-manipulation in Photoshop. We stepped up to the challenge and built this Budget PC and put it to the test against our hardcore, $5000 machines to see how they match up.
Since we are still in the process of assembling the rig, benchmarks have yet to be run. For now, we give you our parts list. Check back soon for the results from our tests!
Toshiba this week announced what it claims is the "industry's largest density SLC NAND chip at 16Gb." The claim comes from the company's new lineup of 43nm Single-Level Cell (SLC) NAND flash memory products available in densities ranging from 512Mbits on up to 64Gbits.
"The new ranges includes three products, 16Gb, 32Gb, and 64Gb, which integrate monolithic 16Gb chips, the highest density SLC NAND chips available," Toshiba said in a press release.
Up until this point, Toshiba's production of SLC chips has been confined to 56nm and 70nm process technologies. Taking the density down to 43nm, Toshiba is touting both the read and write performance of the new parts, as well as the reliability in terms of write and erase cycles.
Devices using the new chips, including mobile phones, office automation equipment, and servers will start showing up in the market in 2009.
The masterminds at Puget Systems have decided to make the most of their extremely popular YouTube video, and offer a DIY kit so that the public can create their own mineral oil-cooled PC. Puget is claiming hat they’ve been using the system featured in their video for over a year now with no hardware issues.
Each kit will come fully loaded with an aquarium tank and cover, motherboard tray and IO panel, power/HDD LED’s, a power switch, SSD hard drive mounting bracket and a power cord with an extension to reach the bottom of the tank. That’s the base model, and it’ll run you $312.50. There’s also a higher end version with a radiator aimed at systems that are packing heavier hardware, such as quad-core CPUs, and any video card higher than an 8800GT. That version will run you $375.
So if you’re not worried about voiding the warranty on every component that you submerge in the liquid, head on over to Puget Systems’ site and pick up a aquarium to sink your hardware into. But keep in mind that once you submerge your hardware there will be no going back. According to Puget, “Mineral oil is very difficult, if not impossible to clean from your components once they are submerged.”
Apogee Digital has begun shipping it's Symphony 64 soundcard worldwide. The PCI Express-based card supports up to 64 channels of 24-bit 192kHz digital input and output, or double the amount of I/O in Apogee's previous Symphony soundcard. Apogee has designed the card to interface the company's X-Series and Rosetta Series converters directly to the Mac Pro, the culmination of which would create The Symphony System, a complete pro audio solution.
Other goodies include Apogee's VBus technology, which gives users the ability to route stand-alone software instruments directly between Core Audio based applications rather than as plug-ins, and the company's SBus technology, which Apogee claims "doubles the DSP power of The Symphony System."
Gamers and PC users (as in, non-Mac owners) need not apply, and that's probably a good thing given the soundcard's $1000 price tag. Ouch!
With Intel's Core i7 launch now less than a month away, several memory vendors are readying three-packs of RAM in anticipation of the new platform's triple-channel memory support. Companies like Corsair, OCZ, and G.Skill have all jumped on board, but Kingston looks to leapfrog to the front of the pack as the first, and so far only company to release triple-channel memory clocked at 2GHz.
"Kingston is excited to bring the fastest DDR3 triple-channel memory products to market as we are the first to deliver 2000MHz gaming kits of three with Intel's reduced voltage," said Mark Tekunoff, senior technology manager at Kingston. "All of our triple-channel kits can be overclocked manually or by using XMP-ready profiles."
Kingston's triple channel memory kits will run the gamut from the aforementioned 2GHz enthusiast HyperX range all the way down to the company's budget ValueRAM lineup:
Mvix just released its MvixBOX WDN-2000, the newest NAS in the company's lineup. The two-bay device supports SATA drives up to 1.5TB (not included), or host up to 2TB in combined storage. The dual-drive setup can be configured in a mirrored RAID array, and both front and rear USB 2.0 ports ups the potential storage ante even further. But that's just the beginning.
A gigabit Ethernet port makes easy work out of streaming oodles of files, including high definition video, through your home network, and the device also serves as an RSS client, BitTorrent client, iTunes music server, or uPnP media server, along with file encryption for local ore remote access via FTP or HTTP. Still yet, the MvixBOX comes pre-configured with Apache, MySQL, SQlife, and PHP modules.
Considering that the use of fossil fuels isn’t getting any more efficient, it’s refreshing to see that solar power has been making some very noticeable advances as of late. Currently it runs about 15-20 cents per kWh, but coal power only costing 1.5-2.5 cents per kWh and nuclear being in the similar range, it’s clear that it still has a ways to go.
Thanks to a milestone announced by UNSW’s ARC Photovoltaic Centre of Excellence this week, it looks like that’s on its way down. They revealed the world’s first 25 percent efficient unconcentrated solar silicon cells, only shortly after they were given the previous record with 24.7 percent efficient silicon cells. Unfortunately, they missed out on the other three tenths due to misunderstandings of sunlight’s effect on silicon.
The Centre’s silicon cell is well on its way to the 29 percent mark, which is the theoretical maximum efficiency for a first generation photovoltaic solar cell. The new research is a huge boost “because our cells push the boundaries of response into the extremities of the spectrum,” according to Dr. Anita Ho-Baillie, head of the Centre’s high efficiency cell research group, “Blue light is absorbed strongly, very close to the cell surface where we go to great pains to make sure it is not wasted. Just the opposite, the red light is only weakly absorbed and we have to use special design features to trap it into the cell.”
Moore’s Law (which states that the maximum number of transistors on a given chip area doubles every one and a half years) has been a driving force in the hardware industry, and that doesn’t look like it’s going to change. Some of the industry’s biggest names are dumping money, time and effort with the goal of extending this, with the goal of pumping out some über hardware.
There are concerns already ahead, with companies like IBM, AMD and Intel all looking to move ahead to 32nm, problems with controlling light at ultra low nanometer resolutions are looming ahead. But, thanks to research from the University of California Berkeley that wall could crumble, and usher in a new generation of ultra-tiny transistors, and even a brand new type of drive that could end up replacing Blu-ray.
UC Berkeley’s Xiang Zhang and David Bogy, both professors of mechanical engineering took a new approach that uses a metal arm similar to that of a record turntable or a hard drive, and utilizes a tiny lens that quite literally flies over the chip wafer. This would allow designs that are being made at 80nm wide to become much smaller. And even still, with the wafer being spun at 12 meters per second, production would be fast. "Utilizing this plasmonic nanolithography, we will be able to make current microprocessors more than 10 times smaller, but far more powerful. This technology could also lead to ultra-high density disks that can hold 10 to 100 times more data than disks today," said Professor Zhang.
What’s more, the new tech has the potential of being cheaper than what we’ve got now. 45nm technologies are expensive thanks to complex lens and mirror setups required to concentrate the light that’s required to read data. This new method, called photolithography, would only have one costly component, which would be a plasmonic lens. The rest of the components would be run of the mill, and drop costs dramatically.
It’s expected that you’ll be seeing this breakthrough in your very own drives relatively soon. Professor Zhang states, "I expect in three to five years we could see industrial implementation of this technology. This could be used in microelectronics manufacturing or for optical data storage and provide resolution that is 10 to 20 times higher than current Blu-ray technology."
Dell has added the second product to its netbook lineup. The Dell Inspiron Mini 12 is now available in Japan, but will only appear on American store-shelves by the end of next month. The Inspiron Mini 12 is essentially a high-end netbook with its starting price nearly touching $600.
Although its name suggests that it is a netbook, its 12.1” screen – rather expansive for a netbook – tells a different story altogether. The Inspiron Mini 12 features an Intel Atom processor (1.3 GHz Z520 or 1.6GHz Z530), up to 80GB hard drive, 1 GB of RAM, Bluetooth and WiFi. It weighs 2.72 lbs and is less than 1 inch thick.
Straight out of the “not as awesome as it sounds” file, Intel is looking to cool your laptop with the exact same technology that a jet engine does. The issue of burning legs (that’s right, burning legs) has been an issue on the mind of Intel for some time now, and they’re looking to soothe that with their latest breakthrough.
Intel has been focusing on the increasing issue of hot thighs with something called Laminar Flow. Laminar Flow occurs when a fluid or gas/air flows in parallel layers, allowing a non-turbulent way to misdirect hot air away from the surface of a jet engine (or laptop). As demonstrated, this technology allows efficient cooling of temperatures upwards of 1,000 °C.
A demo of this technology was given at this week’s Intel developer forum in Taiwan by Mooly Eden, Intel’s head of Mobile Platforms Group. “We are licensing it to our customers so they can keep making thinner and thinner laptops,” said Eden.