Intel's Larrabee project might rank as one of the most anticipated technology releases in a long while, and it looks like we'll have to wait just a bit longer than originally thought. It was expected that Intel would launch its many-cored cGPU sometime in late 2009, however the chip maker is now saying it plans to launch Larrabee in 2010.
Not a whole lot of details are known about Larrabee, only that it's a x86-based discrete graphics solution built around the second generation Pentium processor technology with the P54C core. When Larrabee launches, it will come in several iterations, the lowest of which will comprise no less than 8 cores. On the higher end, look for at least 32 cores and a 2GHz or faster clockspeed.
While it all sounds impressive, Intel's Jospeh Schultz did say that it would be a "big challenge" to compete with products from Nvidia and AMD.
RAM, like water, is a commodity. And just as there’s a clear difference between putrid L.A. County tap water and water choppered in from the peaks of Mt. Everest, the quality of RAM can vary wildly. But quality is not the sole factor to consider when you’re trying to achieve optimum memory performance from your system.
These days, a user is faced with a plethora of options spanning different technologies, speeds, and capacities. We’re here to help you make heads and tails of all that so you’re prepared when you configure your next rig. Armed with a slew of RAM-based benchmarks, we set out to answer three of the hottest questions in memory today: Is DDR3 for AMD’s new AM3 Phenom II CPUs worth the expense? Should you pay for high-speed RAM or stick with the standard stuff? Finally, just how much memory is enough? We test three common amounts of RAM for Intel’s Core i7 to identify the sweet spot.
Forget about all-in-one PCs, how about an all-in-one keyboard? That's exactly what Asus was showing off during CES earlier this year, and it looks like the 2-pound Eee Keyboard PC will start shipping before July, says Engadget Chinese.
FInal specs might still change between now and when it releases, but as it stands, the Eee Keyboard will come with an Intel Atom N270 processor (1.6GHz, 533MHz frontside bus, 512KB L2 cache), a 32GB SSD, 1GB of RAM, 802.11n WiFi, Bluetooth, HDMI, stereo speakers, and a diminutive 5-inch 800x480 touchscreen display/trackpad combo.
Earlier in the week Corsair announced the latest addition to their Storage Solutions line with a monster 256GB SSD.
The drive, which will go by the name P256, will be one of the first to use Samsung’s new multi-level cell flash chips, and Controller IC technologies. Along with this, it’ll have a 128MB cache, and Native Command Queuing support. The drive also sports a read and write speeds of up to 200MB/sec.
“The Corsair Storage Solutions P256 delivers the best computing experience of any single storage drive available today,” stated John Beekley, Corsair’s VP of Applications Engineering. “Using the P256 results in immediate and dramatic improvements in system startup and shutdown, game level loading, application startup, and many other everyday tasks. Additionally, the P256 is more durable and reliable than hard disk drives, and has been shown in the Corsair Labs to provide up to 25% longer battery life in portable computers.”
If you’re looking to pick up one of these drives today, it won’t be cheap, but you can do it for $699 over at Newegg.
The general consensus is that Logitech's latest gaming keyboard, the G19, is better in nearly every way than the G15 it's poised to replace. And if you want to get your hands on one, you finally can, but you'll have to order it from Dell. According to tech news site Engadget, Dell somehow managed to snag a 30-day sales exclusive on the keyboard.
We've already posted a hands-on impression of the G19 way back in January of this year, which you can read here. The most notable improvement of the G19 is the inclusion of a bright 320x240 tilting LCD screen. Users can view the time, resource load, VoIP communication data, and even watch YouTube videos on the nifty display, in addition to a host of other uses.
More macro keys are found on the G19, along with the ability to adjust the color of the backlight. All in all, it's a worthy successor to one of the most popular gaming keyboards on the market.
The G19 is available now through Dell for $180 (plus tax and shipping).
Much was made over the race to 1GHz on the CPU front, a race AMD won with its Athlon processor. Markedly less exciting (but still an impressive feat) has been the sprint to churn out the first factory-clocked 1GHz GPU, with AMD again claiming victory, this time over Nvidia instead of Intel.
"Throughout the 40-year history of AMD, we have continually focused on technology firsts that deliver superior value to the customer," said Rick Bergman, senior VP, Products Group, AMD. "The 1GHz ATI Radeon HD 4890 continues that tradition by increasing the performance and compute power of our flagship singleGPU solution, ensuring a great experience whether our customers are playing the latest DirectX 10.1 game or running GPU accelerated applications built with OpenCL."
At 1GHz, the HD 4890 is able to deliver 1.6 TeraFLOPs of computing power, or "50 percent more than that of the competition's best single-GPU solution." In terms of real-world performance, however, the HD 4890 trails slightly behind Nvidia's GTX 285 in most benchmarks, or at least it does at 900MHz (see review of Asus Radeon EAH4890 Top in the June 2009 issue of Maximum PC on page 74).
FPS jockeying aside, it's good to see AMD aggressively going after the top spot in the graphics market rather than concede the high-end sector to Nvidia like it had done with its last generation of GPUs.
The sharp and steady decline in PC chip shipments in recent times can be likened to a tailspin. Market research firm IDC has published its appraisal of PC chip shipments in the first quarter of 2009. PC chip shipments are still in a nosedive per IDC, though the pace of their descent has decreased considerably.
Intel shipped 33 percent less Atom processors during the first quarter compared to the fourth quarter of 2008. The decline in Atom shipments isn’t entirely surprising as suppliers have amassed a huge stockpile of Atom processors.
The first quarter bought some relief for AMD as its market share improved by 4.6% to reach 22.3 percent. AMD improved its standing in both the PC and mobile markets at the expense of Intel, which had its market share trimmed down to 77.3 percent from 82 percent in the previous quarter.
Sorry, we couldn’t resist the headline. For the record: We’re not predicting the early demise of AMD’s new Live Home Cinema reference platform (code-named Maui). AMD sent us a sample build several months ago, but we wanted to live with it for a while before publishing our thoughts on the design.
We’re big fans of home-theater PCs, especially the build-it-yourself variety (be sure and check out the May issue of Maximum PC for Will Smith’s terrific how-to guide to building one of your own). If AMD can resolve one major issue, we think Maui will be the best home-theater PC platform on the market.
With a home-theater PC, you can stream all manner of Hollywood content for free (from websites such as Hulu) or for a small fee (from online stores such as iTunes, Netflix, and Amazon’s Unbox). While you can accomplish the same thing with a media center extender and any PC equipped with a version of Windows that includes Windows Media Center, a dedicated HTPC leaves that other machine available for other tasks. A home-theater PC with a Blu-ray drive can play HD movies, too, but comparing home-theater PCs to Blu-ray disc players—which are becoming increasingly PC-like—is more problematic. We’ll get to that soon enough; for now, let’s take a detailed look at AMD’s Live Home Cinema platform.
Oh snap, it's on like Donkey Kong, or at least like an intense level of Galaga. More specifically, Microsoft continues its advertising offensive against Apple with yet another commercial pointing out the cost of being hip, only this one targets iTunes and not MacBooks.
In the latest ad, financial planner (certified, of course) Wes Moss points out it would take $30,000 to fill the latest iPod using iTunes at a buck a pop.
"I don't know about you, but I don't have thirty grand laying around for music," Moss says.
His solution? A subscription service like Zune Pass, of course! "One costs a lot, and one costs a little," Moss adds, referring to the iPod with $30,000 worth of music and Zune Pass's unlimited subscription plan for $14.99/month. For those of you doing the math at home, $30,000 buys almost 167 years of Zune Pass.
There are obvious flaws in Microsoft's latest pitch, but the goal here isn't necessarily to discredit Apple's iPod/iTunes combination as a viable music platform (too late for that) as much as it is to promote Zune Pass. The question is, will it work?
Ah, spring: when a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of upgrading. But, alas! Your fancy new videocard is too big for your tiny case, and you’re running out of hard drive bays for your RAID. Fear not! A classy full-tower chassis can be just the solution.
In this roundup we’ve collected five full-tower cases—big and tall enclosures with all the bells and whistles: new looks, toolless expansion slots, intake filters, drive bays aplenty, and more. Space-saving isn’t a priority here: The focus is on features, with room for as much hardware as you need to cram in. If you want a portable rig or something to nestle under your desk, these aren’t the cases for you. But if you’re looking to make the most of your computer, portability be damned, one of these beauts could be your huckleberry.
In evaluating these cases, we focused on a few key points: overall build quality, aesthetics, ease of installation, cooling options, convenience, and features like front-panel connectors. We kept price in mind, too, but only to a degree: After all, we’re Maximum PC. We don’t mind paying for excellence; we just object when gear is offensively overpriced.