AMD faithful and bargain hunters alike have a pair of new toys to play with starting today, as AMD launches two new processors for its socket AM3 platform, the Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition and 945. Both parts boast compatibility with AM2+ (DDR2) and AM3 (DDR3) motherboards, while the Phenom II X4 955 BE supplants the AM2-based 940 as AMD's new flagship entry in its Phenom line.
Coinciding with the launch, AMD has also overhauled its Dragon Platform Technology, saying "every aspect of the platform has been improved and the overall value is impressive." And we'd have to agree, considering both new chips are being priced below $250.
Hit the jump to get all the nitty-gritty details on AMD's new AM3 processors and Dragon Platform refresh.
Intel this week slashed prices on several Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Quad processors by up to 20 percent. The chip maker also introduced a pair of new processors, the Core 2 Quad Q8400S and Q8400 for $245 and $183, respectively. This month's price cuts break down as follows:
Core 2 Quad Q9300: $213 down from $266
Core 2 Quad Q9550S: $320 down from $369
Core 2 Quad Q9400S: $277 down from $320
Core 2 Quad Q8200S: $213 down from $245
Core 2 Duo SP9400: $284 down from $316
Core 2 Duo SU9400: $262 down from $289
Intel's latest round of price cuts come well timed, as AMD today launched its AM3-based Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition processor. While the 955BE serves as AMD's new flagship part, the company is aggressively pushing the chip as the best quad-core in the market within its $245ish price range.
Toshiba had last year chosen its Qosmio range of notebooks to lift the curtain on its SpursEngine chip, which is a co-processor based on the Cell Broadband Engine found in the PS3. SpursEngine-powered Qosmios are capable of some impressive graphical feats like real-time graphics processing and video upscaling (SD to HD).
Toshiba’s new Qosmio laptops, which bear the might of its quad-core SpursEngine chip, will arrive in Japanese stores on Friday with the promise of enhancing internet video. Two previous iterations of the Qosmio used the immense power of the SpursEngine at their disposal to upscale DVD video, but left streaming video untouched.
Earlier this month, a pair of bigwigs over at Acer said during a press event that the company plans on using Google's open-source Android OS in its upcoming smartphones, but doesn't feel the OS is ready for netbooks. Just don't tell that latter part to Chinese company SkyTone, the first company (we're aware of) to release an Android netbook.
SkyTone, who's best known for its Skype headsets and kiddie PCs, lists on their website the Alpha-680 Google Android netbook. Available in pink, red, yellow, white, or black, the low cost netbook comes equipped with a 7-inch LCD screen, ARM11 533MHz processor, 128MB of DDR2 (upgradeable to 256MB), a 1GB SSD (upgradeable to 4GB), WiFi, memory card slot, two USB 2.0 ports, and of course Google's Android OS.
ComputerWorld describes the rig as a "glorified cellphone...without the glory," and we'd have to agree. It's unclear when it will be available for purchase and for how much, but even if it checks in somewhere between $100 and $200, Dell's $199 Vostro A90 would make the Alpha-680 a tough buy.
Back in December, we gave you the low-down on how to build a kick-ass $800 gaming PC. Well, lately the economy has been in a bit of a shamble, so we’ve lowered our price ceiling to spec out a tightly budgeted $500 rig that will deliver admirable gaming framerates and still leave you some cash to actually buy some games and pay off that credit-card debt.
The last time we conducted a $500 PC build-off (October, 2007), we matched a Allendale-based Core 2 E4300 CPU with a Nvidia 8500GT, which gave us pathetic FEAR and Quake 4 benchmark results. That build cut so many corners that we even opted out of a case and used a cardboard box instead (in retrospect, a really bad idea). Almost two years later, the tech is better and prices for some component categories have dramatically dropped. A bit wiser and gutsier, we were determined to build a PC that could actually play modern games.
In order to keep the machine under $500, we factored out the price of purchasing an operating system, and assume that you already have a copy of Windows XP, Vista, or the Windows 7 Beta lying around. And obviously, we were forced to restrain ourselves from choosing the high-end premium parts that we would normally recommend to readers. But despite the low cost, we actually didn't have to make any real compromises to get a solid gaming machine. Our (relatively) cheapo PC actually surprised us in our benchmark tests -- scoring close to our zero-point system -- and made us feel confident that a rock bottom price doesn’t automatically mean rock bottom performance.
Join us as we take on the $500 Gaming PC Challenge!
In today’s world of gaming hardware, ray tracing is the epitome of gaming graphics. Sadly, rendering them is difficult for current hardware due to their extremely random nature. Caustic Graphics is fixing that issue, all thanks to their graphics co-processor, the Ray Tracing Processing Unit (RTPU).
The RTPU works alongside current 3D graphics processors to bring rays at frame rates acceptable for interactive applications. While the offered 3-5 frames per second works for these applications, it’s nowhere near what gamers require. Thankfully, they claim that their second generation of hardware, out sometime next year, will be able to deliver 14 times that frame rate.
Be sure to check out a video of the tracing in action here.
When solid state drives (SSDs) first made a push into the mainstream market last earlier this year, less than stellar benchmark results and buggy controllers did little to convince users it worth paying a premium for flash-based drives over less expensive and much larger (in capacity) hard drives. But the latest round of SSDs have picked up their game, such as OCZ's refreshed Vertex line, the Vertex EX.
"The new OCZ Vertex EX is designed to deliver unparalleled performance and reliability, featuring the latest-generation architecture and SATA interface utilizing single-level cell NAND flash memory for unmatched overall system responsiveness and stability for enterprise grade server solutions," said Alex Mei, CMO of the OCZ Technology Group.
But forget about enterprise grade server solutions - the Vertex EX looks to be a killer storage option for high end desktops, at least on paper. Available in 60GB and 120GB capacities, the new drives boast an impressive 260MB/s read, 210MB/s write (200MB/s for the 60GB), and up to 100MB/s sustained write. Like the previous Vertex drives, the new EX refresh also comes with 64MB of onboard cache and support RAID configurations.
If the latest web chatter turns out to be true, then Santa won't be stuffing any 6-core Intel chips in anyone's stockings this year. Instead, news site HKEPC tells us Intel's roadmap for for its 6-core Gulftown chip has been pushed back from Q4 2009 / Q1 2010 to sometime in Q2 2010.
From what we know so far, Gulftown will be worth the wait. Built around the Core i7 architecture, Gulftown will purportedly support HyperThreading, turning those 6 cores into 12. It will also come with two QuickPatch Interconnects (QPIs), 12MB of L3 cache, and hardware encryption support. Perhaps best of all, Intel's 32nm Gulftown likely serve as a drop-in replacement for LGA 1366 socket motherboards and work with current X58 chipsets.
"The design goal is to provide an overall update of the system within the same ID and external appearance," OLPC’s VP of hardware development, John Watlington, announced on Friday. The revised version, which is due in November, will feature 1GB DDR2 SDRAM (currently 256MB) and up to 8GB flash storage (currently 1GB). OLPC will abandon the x-86 processor platform and adopt an ARM-based processor in its stead as part of its Generation 2.0 refresh.
How do blokes at the S60 on Symbian Consumer Operations (SOSCO) contend with monotony that usually plagues people at workplaces with such unimaginative names? They savagely slaughter time through such wild undertakings as the porting of Symbian to an off-the-shelf Atom-based motherboard – please do try that at home.
“ A few of the bright and capable guys in the SOSCO (S60 on Symbian Customer Operations) team have Symbian compiling via GCC and now running on an off the shelf Atom based motherboard from Intel,” Lee Williams, Executive Director of the Symbian Foundation, wrote in a blog post.
Williams wrote that the “responsiveness of the UI and upper application layers” impressed him the most. Williams’ bluster apart, the screenshots are rather vapid.