It's been a strange and wonderful ride watching solid state drive technology finally start to come into its own and threaten traditional hard disk drives. Frustrating too, as the handful of SSDs that manage to blaze a performance trail cost an exorbitant amount per gigabyte, while some of the lower cost drives based on the JMicron controller suffer from stuttering problems. That's why we're thrilled to see JMicron take a mulligan.
According to news site DailyTech, JMicron plans to unveil a new NAND flash controller at Computex. Designed to fix the aforementioned stuttering problem, the JMF612 chip will use an ARM9 core in a 289-ball TFBGA package and support the use of up to 256MB of DDR or DDR2 RAM for external cache duties.
The other part of the equation involves a new generation of NAND flash chips that are smaller, faster, and cheaper to manufacturer. At least one company -- IM Flash Technologies, a joint venture between Intel and Micron -- is said to already be building 34nm NAND, and SSDs based on the new chip(s) will support NCQ. Moreover, JMicron's refreshed controller has been specifically designed to take advantage of these new NAND chips.
We don't know if this will become a trend, but accident-prone gamers have little to fear with iBuyPower's new Battalion 101 CZ-10 gaming laptop. The release kicks off the company's new accidental damage protection plan, which comes standard on the Battalion and has gamers' backs in the event of spills or drops.
"We felt it was time to refresh our mainstream gaming notebook line," said Darren Su, VP of iBuyPower. "We are excited by the features and exceptional coverage we are able to offer with the CZ-10 Premium at a very competitive price."
Less exciting is the 15.6-inch Battalion's mishmash of both high and lower end components. Starting from the top and working our way down, the 101 CZ-10 comes equipped with Intel's Core 2 Duo Mobile T9550 processor (2.266GHz, 6MB L2 cache, 1066MHz frontside bus), 4GB of DDR3-1066 RAM, AMD's ATI Radeon HD 4650 graphics, 8X DVD burner, and a 500GB hard drive spinning at 5400RPM.
Other features include four USB 2.0 slots, HDMI, 3-in-1 media card reader, finger print scanner, and 6-cell battery.
The Battalion is available now starting at $1,235.
Intel this week said its Nehalem-EX processor, an 8-core beast of a chip, will go into production sometime later this year and start shipping in server systems by early 2010. Even better, each chip supports 16 threads, says Boy Davis, Intel's GM of the Server Platforms Marketing Group.
Already on-board is IBM, who is already developing a server based around Nehalem-EX. The server will hold eight processors, making use of 64 Nehalem-EX cores capable of handling 128 threads.
"We're very excited today to be the first to demonstrate Nehalem-EX," said Alex Yost, VP IBM BladeCenter.
In addition to more cores and threads, Nehalem-EX also ups the memory ante, doubling the capacity with up to 16 memory slots per processor socket.
Toshiba's facial recognition technology isn't new, but up until now, it hasn't been used in motor vehicles. During a recent demo, Toshiba showed how its system would allow drivers to control the A/C or change radio stations just by a glance, as well as alert distracted drivers who take their eyes off the road for an extended time.
Making all this possible is a camera that sits above the steering wheel. The camera can identify and map the driver's facial expressions, including head movement, eye direction, and blinks. Eventually this could even be used to alert drowsy drivers, Toshiba says.
It might be awhile before you get to actually play with this stuff, however, Toshiba says it doesn't currently have any immediate plans to commercialize its system or work with any auto makers, and instead is focusing on further developing the technology.
Going toe to toe with Apple's crazy popular iPod Touch is no easy task, but that's exactly what Microsoft will do with its new Zune player, and it isn't shy about saying so. The software giant this week confirmed plans to release the Zune HD this fall, which will be made available only in the U.S. at launch.
"This device is created to go head to head with the iPod Touch," Chris Stephenson, general manger of global marketing for Microsoft Zune, said in a telephone interview with CNet.
Helping it do that will be an OLED touchscreen and HD Radio tuner. The Zune HD will be based on Windows CE with a version of Internet Explorer customized for its touchscreen, Microsoft said. The company also indicated that Zune owners will be able to play HD content on their televisions with a dock.
Expect to see the Zune HD become the definitive Zune product going forward," Stephenson said. "You will continue to see the hard drive product in the market. (The Zune HD) will take over from existing flash devices."
Psystar, the company responsible for the 'Open Computer' and a continual thorn in Apple's side, has filed for bankruptcy protection. According to court papers, Psystar owes more than $250,000 to shipping companies, the IRS, and its attorneys.
"Debtor sales have been greatly affected by the decrease in consumer spending," Psystar said in a statement. "The financial crisis has also caused creditors to tighten up their terms and become more demanding for immediate payment."
Psystar gained notoriety for taking on Apple by selling computer systems equipped with Mac OS X. In July of last year, Apple sued the company for copyright infringement, however that lawsuit has now been temporarily suspended until the bankruptcy protection goes through proceedings.
There's a reason Intel's Celeron line has consistently proven popular among overclockers. Out of CPU-Z's top 20 list of highest clocked CPUs, Celeron chips -- most of them of the Celeron 347 variety -- occupy 12 spots, or 60 percent of the list. And recently setting a new record for the No. 2 spot, Belgian overclocker 'Blind' from Madshrimps pushed his Celeron 352 chip (Cedarmill core) to 8.116GHz.
In order to ramp up that high, Blind used the Dragon F1 Extreme Edition LN2 cooler with gum filling the gaps around the socket to prevent condensation. It took nearly 1.9V to coax the Celeron past 8GHz, well above its stock 1.3V rating.
Such high voltages and extreme cooling methods limit the usefulness to chasing overclocking records as opposed to any kind of day-to-day operations, but we'll admit to being impressed at seeing a 3.2GHz Celeron achieve almost a 5GHz OC. And hey, reaching 5.7GHz on air isn't too shabby either.
As netbooks continue to grow in size, you might be left wondering where netbooks end and traditional notebooks begin. The answer is 10.2 inches, assuming news and rumor site DigiTimes has been fed accurate information. Citing un-named sources at Taiwan-based ODM notebook makers, DigiTimes says Microsoft and Intel agreed to decrease the screen-size ceiling for netbooks running Windows 7 from 12.1 inches to 10.2 inches.
Should the restriction be put in place, it would spell the end for 11.6-inch Atom Zxx-based netbooks once Windows 7 launches, the sources said. It could also hamper VIA, who doesn't put any restrictions on how vendors use its CPUs and chipsets. VIA-based netbooks larger than 10.2 inches wouldn't qualify for the lower Windows 7 licensing rates, thereby potentially taking away any advantage VIA might have had in the 11-inch and above market.
Originally scheduled to debut in July, DigiTimes says Intel has gone ahead and postponed the launch of its Core i5 platform until the first half of September, or so that's what "sources at motherboard makers" have been telling them.
Bummer, right? Maybe not. The news and rumor site went on to say that Core i5 processors will show up in the retail sector by late August, with P55-based motherboards surfacing in mid-August. So to sum it up, Core i5 has been delayed until September, but Core i7 will be available in August. Color us confused.
As it currently stands, Core i5 will launch in three speed grades: 2.93GHz, 2.8GHz,and 2.66GHz for $562, $284, and $196, respectively (thousand-unit trays).
XFX has been full of surprises this past year. Five months ago, the one time Nvidia partner announced it would start selling ATI-brand videocards, and now the GPU maker wants to start dabbling in power supplies. An increasingly popular segment, OCZ, Corsair, and BFG are all semi-recent entrants into the PSU landscape.
For XFX's part, the GPU maker looks to kick off its PSU line with the XFX 850 Black Edition (XPS-850W-BES). According to a PowerPoint being shown at Computex, the modular unit boasts "high quality Japansese brand capacitors (105C)," 850W of continuous power at 50C, up to 88 percent efficiency (enough to qualify for the 80 Plus Silver badge), and a single +12V rail providing up to 70A, or 840W.
Though modular, the Black Edition PSU will sport a handful of fixed connections, namely a single 20/24-pin ATX connector, both a 4/8-pin and 8-pin EPS12V connector, and two 6/8-pin PCI-E connectors. Modular cables include two more PCI-E 6/8-pin, a whopping 11 SATA connectors, eight 4-pin Molex connectors, and two 4-pin FDD connectors.
Looks pretty impressive on paper, but what do you think about the aesthetics? Hit the jump and post your thoughts!