You may know what the inside of a PC looks like, but what about the parts which make up your PC components? Over the past few years, we've dissected hard drives, keyboards, soundcards, and a plethora of other PC hardware, just to see what makes them tick. Here, we've picked out 22 of these autopsies to showcase. If you've ever wanted to see the guts of a netbook or the silicon that makes a network router work, read on!
Intel has appeared reluctant to talk about its Core i5 processors ever since the new series was discovered last March by a motherboard spec sheet, and the chip maker still isn't saying much. No matter, as the new parts have started showing up on at least two computer hardware e-tailer sites, offering up some insight on what to expect.
According to FadFusion, the Core i5 570 processor will run at 2.66GHz and include 8MB of cache. The vendor lists a retail price of $250, but plans to sell it for $233.
Computer Connection, a campus computer store at the University of Maine, is also carrying the Core i5 570 CPU with the same listed specs and at a similar price point ($244).
Intel isn't commenting on the existence of the chip, but if the two above vendors are any indication, Core i5 will likely appear soon, with the 570 part priced in the $250 range.
We’ve seen systems with Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) before, but no vendor has been sassy enough to break from the de rigueur SATA VelociRaptor or SSD drives in favor of the tech—until now.
Of course, this is Polywell’s M.O.—not content to do things like any other system vendor, Polywell usually tucks in a curve ball to brush you off home plate when you don’t expect it. Sometimes Polywell’s pitch doesn’t work (think really nice $5,000 gaming rig with an $8 keyboard and mouse), but time we were intrigued with its 300 gigabytes of RAID 0, 15,000rpm, connected using SAS. The onboard SAS support in the Asus P6T Deluxe mobo achieved sequential read speeds of about 192MB/s with 6.8ms access times—that’s purty durn good considering that our VelociRaptor-equipped systems see roughly 166MB/s reads with about 7+ms access times.
Elsewhere, Polywell plays it safe and sane: an Intel Core i7 clocked up to 3.66GHz on air and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 295 card along with 6GB of DDR3 at 1,450MHz and an LG Blu-ray drive stuffed into an Antec 900 case make it a well-rounded rig—albeit a bit bland.
Just a few months after we awarded Logitech with a perfect score for their superb G9x mouse, they've announced the new contender for best mouse ever. The G500 is the long-awaited update to the G5 gaming mouse, taking its familiar ergonomic chassis and cramming the G9x's laser sensor into the body. The wired peripheral has a minimum resolution of 200dpi, which can be adjusted on the fly up to a whopping 5700dpi (the G9x only had a max of 5000dpi). Logitech claims that the G500 can process sensor data at a rate of 12 megapixels per second, and can detect movement as fast as 165 inches per second (as if your twitch skills are that good).
The usual gaming mice features are also present, including removable weights (range of 165 grams to 192 grams) and 10 programmable buttons. But the standout improvements are in the inclusion of a hyper-fast scroll wheel mode (for web browsing), and the relocation of the dpi adjustment buttons to the front of the mouse so you don't accidentally hit it in the middle of a game.
Hit the jump for more of our hands-on photos, but you'll be able to try the G500 yourself when it goes on sale in September for $70.
Open-source beer. Were it only as easy as walking to the store and picking up a free case of alcoholic something that's been built and licensed by a team of geeks. At the very least, we can all can build our own booze-making machines following a handy set of open-source software and hardware instructions. But the fun doesn't stop there.
What is open-source hardware? I've chatted about this before. In short, open-source hardware is be a combination of software code and hardware instructions (or, really, just the latter) that's given to you for a set price (not necessarily "free as in beer") and license for use. You're free to use the instructions to develop carbon copies of that which you wish to build, or create derivative works of said hardware, provided you offer up your diagrams/code/instructions under the same licensing as you received it.
Now that's out of the way, let's check out the open-source home brewery kit along with a few other crazy projects from the OSH world!
Scientists at the University of Cambridge's Cavendish Laboratory are on the verge of launching the "world's first flexible electronic screen", The Times Online reports. The new display represents a decade of development and would compete with the various electronic readers currently on the market, such as Sony's e-book readers and Amazon's Kindle.
Plastic Logic, the company responsible for the device, says it doesn't plan to release a roll-up screen just yet, saying consumers aren't interested in that level of flexibility.
"People worry that it will break if they roll up a device and dump in in their bag," said Martin Jackson, vice president of technology at Plastic Logic.
Plastic Logic says its touch-screen reader only needs to be charged once every two weeks and that the screen uses no power when the image isn't changing. The device is expected to be especially popular for e-versions of newspapers.
Look for the device to be launched in the U.S. sometime in early 2010 at a similar price point as Amazon's Kindle.
Sony today released a pair of new e-book readers the company hopes will help put it in a better position to do battle with Amazon's popular Kindle. As such, Sony also plans to reduce all new releases and best sellers at its e-book store from $11.99 down to $9.99 each.
On the hardware front, Sony's new Reader Pocket Edition weighs 7.76 ounces and sports a 5-inch display. There's enough memory to store 350 standard e-books, but no expansion slot for memory cards. Users can expect about two weeks of use before having to recharge the battery. The pocket-sized reader is available in navy blue, rose, and silver with an MSRP of $200.
As the name implies, Sony's new Reader Touch Edition ups the ante with a touchscreen display, which supports finger or stylus enabled note taking with the virtual keyboard. It comes with five adjustable font size and expansion slots for both Memory Stick PRO Duo and SD cards. This one comes in red, black, or silver with an MSRP set at $300.
While we're big fans of the proven awesomeness of open-source software, we don't automatically download every free application that's labeled as an open-source project. What make more sense is the use of open-source as the tool that effects some kind of massive or otherwise unreachable change in a common device. Case in point is open-source firmware, named not for any philosophical belief behind its creation, but because few would want to heft the banner for these changes themselves. After all, creativity comes from a wide range of sources and inputs--as does software testers. You sure wouldn't want to be the one person working on third-party iPhone firmware, bricking device after device in a quest to add additional functionality that Apple didn't first design.
But that kind of unintended funcitonality is the sole benefit to open-source firmware. Throw those aspirations of community membership and open-source allegiance out the window: You want to increase the power of your device akin to a Sim tinkering his or her hardware to gain mechanical skill points. There's no shame in that. In fact, you can accomplish much by adopting third-party firmware in place of standard manufacturer packages. For example, building increased sound codecs into your MP3 player of choice, or adding on-screen level meters to your digital SLR. You can even turn your router into a bridge, perfect for extending the range of your neighbor's wireless signal so you can thieve his connection from additional locations in your apartment. You can also brick your device.
We jest, but only partially. For the danger of running third-party firmware--safe as many of the packages can seem to be--is that you could render your device of choice unusable. It happens to "real" firmware upgrades; it can happen to "unofficial" firmware upgrades as well, only I venture that you'll probably find more problems in the latter scenario than with a manufacturer's tried-and-tested update. But still, the benefits can often outweigh the risks, especially if you're looking to extend your legacy devices with additional features. An entire ocean of open-source firmware fixes awaits your perusal -- we take a look at some outstanding examples of open-source firmware, and teach you how to install them on your own gadgets!
Less than a month ago, NZXT released the funky looking M59, a $60 chassis aimed at attention-seeking gamers. If the aesthetics weren't your style but the price point was, NZXT's latest case, the Beta EVO, might be more your style.
Part of NZXT's Classic Series, the Beta EVO mid-tower sports a more subdued look, but there is more here than meets the eye. The major focus is on airflow, and to that end, the Beta EVO accommodates up to six 120mm fans with the option of dual 140mm at the top.
Other amenities include support for 10.5-inch graphics cards, screwless installation for hard drives and external 5.25-inch drives, front-facing HDD rack, external dual radiator support, a sleek all-black internal finish, CPU cutout for easier third-party heatsink installation, and a handful of wire management cutouts.
That's a pretty robust feature-set for NZXT's $50 asking price. Look for the Beta EVO to be made available in September.
We love point-and-shoot pocket cameras for their small size and ease of use, but we lament their relatively paltry feature sets when compared to more expensive DSLR models. The good news, for owners of the popular Canon PowerShot cameras, is that your consumer-grade gadget can be upgraded with custom software to endow it with professional features like RAW image recording and live histogram feedback. CHDK (Canon Hack Development Kit) is an easy-to-install software package created by a savvy group of programmers to supercharge the Canon PowerShot. We show you how to safely install and configure this free firmware add-on with no risk to your camera.