For most enthusiasts, choosing a hard drive usually comes down to performance specs. This includes spindle speed, areal density, what size buffer it comes equipped with, and any special features like NCQ. But as solid-state drives (SSDs) start to trickle into the mainstream, expect to see a greater importance placed on the mean time before failure (MTBF) rating.
It'd be nice if hard drives could last forever, but like every other component that makes up your PC, hard drives eventually die. And it's never a pretty sight, either. Sometimes a HDD will give up the ghost without warning, leaving you frantically looking for ways to revive the drive long enough to extract your data (remember the freezer trick?). Other times you're given ample warning of an impending failure, typically in the form of unpleasant grinding noises, disk errors, an unusual clicking noise that wasn't present before, S.M.A.R.T. warnings, and other telltale signs that it's time to backup your data.
Learn more about MTBF ratings and how that translates into real-world life expectancy after the jump.
Insert your own 'size matters' joke, but jesting aside, UC San Diego's new scientific display system is one big mother. The Highly Interactive Parallelized Display Space (HIPerSpace) boasts a screen resolution of almost 287 million pixels, or more than 10 percent bigger than the second largest display, which checks in at 256 million pixels.
To make the display possible, it took 70 high-resolution Dell 30" monitors arranged in fourteen columns of five displays each. Each 'tile' in the multi-tile paradigm sports 2,560 x 1,600 pixels, bringing the combined visible resolution to 35,640 x 8,000 pixels. But before contemplating such a setup for the baddest TF2 gaming environment on the block, it would take an area capable of housing a 31.8 feet wide by 7.5 feet tall display, and one can only imagine the GPU horsepower needed to try and run a modern videogame. Instead, the HIPerSpace is being put to better use displaying large data sets, giving scientists the ability to explore space in real time, model the impact of seismic activity on structures, predict climate changes, analyze the structure of the human brain, and a bunch of other tasks that have nothing to do with WSAD.
Find out how many quad-core processors and Nvidia GPUs it takes to run the mammoth display after the jump.
You can change CPU sockets, dump PCI, and jettison legacy ports all day long, but nothing, absolutely nothing, pisses people off like moving to a new type of RAM. Luckily, there’s a fallback: dual-format RAM motherboards such as MSI’s P35 Combo Platinum board.
Hit the jump to read our review of this dual-format monster.
Cost cutting must top Nvidia’s priority list after it lowered its financial outlook for Q2, 2009 and announced $150-200 million product replacement and repair expenses. It plans to cut production costs by making the shift from 65nm to 55nm manufacturing process by the end of the current quarter, according to a Commercial Times report. All of its upcoming GPUs that are expected to be out after August including G94b, G96b and G98b will utilize 55 nm processes. Although the transition will lower production costs by 20%, Nvidia will need to do more than that if it has to wrest some momentum from its resurgent rival AMD.
When it rains, it pours, and Nvidia could use a good downpour to put out the flames. Perhaps literally. Just last week Dave Murphy reported Nvidia was setting aside $150 to $200 million to cover warranty and repair costs associated with an "abnormal failure rate" in its mobile graphics cards, news of which sent Nvidia stock spiraling downward. Now there's speculation that the failures might not be limited to just a specific batch of notebook GPUs.
Rumor, news, and review site The Inquirer is saying that "all the G84 and G86 parts are bad. Period. No exceptions." That includes both mobile and desktop parts. According to The Inq, both use the same application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC), and both ASICs are plagued by a heat related problem originating from an un-named substrate or bumping material. Because of this, The Inq surmises more failures are iminent. But are they?
Find out what Nvidia has to say about the failures after the jump.
Put a feather in Seagate's cap. The storage titan has sprinted to the finish line and scored an exclusive: the world's first 1.5-terabyte hard drive. The 7,200rpm drive uses a mere four platters to achieve its huge capacity point -- that's 375GB per platter of areal density. Beefy.
Seagate is claming a sustained data rate of 120MB/s for its drive, which might very well be enough to place this little guy above Samsung's 333GB-per-platter HD103UJ drive. Other than that, the bulging Barracuda seems similar to every other high-capacity drive on the market: expect a 3Gb/s SATA interface and a typical 32MB of cache. Check out the full release below!
(Ed Note:We're currently investigating the RIAA's alleged involvement with the audio problems users are facing on Dell laptops. An official Dell representative has stated that the omission of the Stereo Mix option is most likely an issue with Windows XP, and a driver has been released to fix the problem. We've contacted the RIAA and are awaiting their response. We'll follow up with this story when we have more information.)
Gateway and Pac Bell are the other two manufacturers to have bowed to the RIAA at the expense of their customers’ satisfaction and disabled the stereo mix feature without warning.
The trade group, which comprises leading record labels, has a very controversial past. Although RIAA doesn’t favor home audio recording and file sharing in an effort to prevent piracy, this same, ostensibly prudish organization was all for depriving several musicians of their own musical works by supporting a controversial “work made for hire” clause in 1999 legislation, which unfairly transferred copyrights of musical works to record labels.
DreamWorks has decided to drop all of their existing AMD hardware for “future [Intel] chips with multiple processing cores”. According to Tom’s Hardware and Intel spokesman Nick Knupffer, these future chips are referring to the upcoming Nehalem CPU’s and Larabee GPU’s, both of which Intel is hoping to make a splash with in late 2008 to early 2009.
This news comes at the expense of AMD, with whom DreamWorks already had prior contracts. DreamWorks films such as Shrek the Third and Kung Fu Panda were all developed and rendered on multi-core AMD machines and the company was heavily promoting its partnership with AMD as recently as 2007.
“Technology plays a significant role in enabling our artists to tell great stories. By utilizing Intel’s industry-leading computing products, we will create a new and innovative way for moviegoers to experience our films in 3-D” said Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO of DreamWorks Animation.
Exactly what “innovative experience” moviegoers have to look forward to is anyone’s guess but one thing is for sure, this is yet another blow to AMD whose problems only seem to be compiling.
According to Fujitsu, flash memory currently has no place outside of handheld gadgets, a situation it doesn't see changing within the next two years. But despite Fujitsu's short-term reservations, other manufacturers seem intent on pushing SSD storage into the mainstream posthaste. Both Super Talent and OCZ have recently announced lower cost SSDs, and now Samsung is getting into the fray by saying it has begun mass producing 1.8- and 2.5-inch 64GB and 128GB multi-level cell (MLC)-based SSDs.
"With the 64GB and 128GB MLC SSDs, we are satisfying the density requirements of most business users and many PC enthusiasts, who will appreciate not only the performance gains and added reliability, but also the more attractive pricing," said Gerd Schauss, Director of Memory Marketing EMEA, Samsung Semiconductor Europe.
Throwing a wet blanket over the announcement are somewhat comparatively underwhelming performance numbers. Samsung claims its MLC based SSD has a write speed of 70MB/sec and a read speed of 90MB/s, which not only pales in comparison to some of the faster single-cell SSDs on the market, but lags behind Western Digital's VelociRaptor HDD. That might make the new SSDs a tough sell to PC enthusiasts with money to burn, but depending on how 'attractive' Samsung plans to price the units, it could capture a portion of the bang/buck crowd, a market segment SSDs aren't used to seducing.
Tomshardware.com is reporting that Eran Badit editor-in-chief of ngohq.com has had some success running Nvidia’s CUDA platform and PhysX drivers on a Radeon video card. Apparently adding Radeon support to CUDA was not a big deal, but adding Radeon support for CUDA at the driver level is more challenging.
Badit says he needs support from ATI to finish out Radeon’s support for CUDA, but ATI has been slow to answer him, taking several days to reply. Surprisingly, Nvidia has been much more helpful and opened access to their Developer Relations and is providing assistance, including access to documentation, SDKs, hardware and actual engineers.
Nvidia’s official position is now that it doesn’t mind PhysX running on the Radeon an interesting change from when Justin Kerr reported that Nvidia wanted to license PhysX support to ATI pennies a GPU. This looks like additional pressure from Nvidia to make it’s platform dominant over ATI and Intel’s planned platforms. Third party implementation of CUDA on the Radeon is sure to rattle ATI’s cage.
Tom’s Hardware pinged ATI on the issue, but hadn’t heard anything back as of yet. The longer we wait for a competing platform from ATI, will only help Nvidia’s platform capture more market share. ATI looks to have an uphill battle against the already established