The job of a whistleblower is a dangerous one, and Robert Delaware has paid the price for speaking out against Microsoft. The contracted game tester had worked closely with the Xbox line, and particularly Bungie Studios since early 2005. For those who haven’t been following the story, Delaware’s testimonial was the basis for an article that made headlines last week regarding Xbox 360 hardware failures at launch. In the VentureBeat article, Delaware detailed the known quality issues with the 360 and that management ignored multiple warnings in order to gain an advantage over the not yet released Playstation 3. Legally Microsoft was within its rights to fire Delaware for his unauthorized interview, but he remains defiant. Delaware claims to have been aware of the possible ramifications but was willing to take the risk. Upon termination Delaware was also warned by an HR representative that he faces possible lawsuits from both Microsoft and the company who contracted him out. The Interview conducted by VentureBeat’s Dean Takahashi remains unconfirmed by Microsoft and in response had only this to say: "This topic has already been covered extensively in the media. This new story repeats old information, and contains rumors and innuendo from anonymous sources, attempting to create a new sensational angle, and is highly irresponsible.”
Did Robert Delaware do the right thing? Or was he just looking for publicity?
NEC said yesterday it would join IBM and six other semiconductor companies who are focused on developing new methods of manufacturing 32nm processors. The other six include Charted Semiconductor, Freescale, Infineon Technologies, Samsung, STMicroelectronics, and Toshiba, with the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering at the University of Albany in New York also contributing.
The IBM-assembled alliance is attempting to create chips that use standard, bulk CMOS (complimentary metal oxide semiconductor) technology in the manufacturing process. Benefits of going this route include a 35 percent increase in performance over 45nm parts, while also cutting power consumption in half. The double-whammy would prove particularly attractive for mobile computing.
For its part, Intel is also working on a 32nm design. Chips built on the shrunken process are expected to debut in mid-2009. No date has been set for when IBM and its collaboration of companies will bring 32nm processors to market.
We'd all love to run a pair of 4870 X2 videocards, but for certain workstation tasks, these gaming-centric videocards would prove inappropriate. For those who put work before play, AMD today introduced two new workstation cards, one at each end of the performance spectrum.
Taking its place on the high rung, AMD's new flagship FirePro V8700 is based on the 4800 series with 800 stream processors. The company claims the V8700 is about 40 percent faster than its previous flagship offering. The card comes with 1GB of GDDR5 memory and sports a total bandwidth of 108.8 GB/s. Two DisplayPorts and a single dual-link DVI interface round out the feature-set.
On the lower end, the FirePro V3750 drops the stream processors down to 320 and comes with a more conservative (that's a nice way of saying 'much lower') 256MB of GDDR3, resulting in a bandwidth of 22.4 GB/s.
Both the V8700 and V3750 will be available sometime this quarter with an MSRP of $1,499 and $199 respectively.
It can be argued that AMD didn't start to build an enthusiast following until the Barton days. Back then, the company's efficient processors not only held their own in performance, but destroyed Intel when it came to the bang/buck factor, both in regards to processor pricing and the overall platform (you could pick up a high end AMD motherboard for under $200). Ever since Intel finally responded with its Core 2 architecture, AMD has had a tougher time competing on the performance front, forcing AMD to slash prices, and that's what happening again. In addition to price cuts, AMD is also expanding its tri-core line.
The newly announced Phenom X3 8450e comes clocked at 2.1GHz and the Phenom X2 8250e putters at 1.9GHz. Both processors sport 512KB of L2 cache and 2MB of L3 cache, and both also come rated with a 65W TDP, compared to 95W for AMD's standard Phenom tri-core line. No pricing information has yet been announced for either model.
On the higher end, AMD's Phenom X3 8750 Black Edition will bring an unlocked multiplier to the table and cruise along at 2.4GHz. It will come with the same amount of L2 and L3 cache as the 8450e and 8250e processors, but rated at the aforementioned 95W TDP. Pricing has been set to $134 for bulk orders.
So what about the price cuts? AMD will drop it's X3 8450 (without the 'e' designation) down to $104 and X3 8650 down to $119, both in bulk.
We knew Microsoft wouldn’t forget about us gamers. Yesterday, they debuted a new mouse-tracking technology in the Explorer mouse, which is targeted toward “productivity” users. We were a little skeptical of Bluetrack’s application for gaming, since the Explorer only has a 1000Dpi sensor. Well, Microsoft has assuaged all fears with the announcement of the Sidewinder X8, a BlueTrack mouse which has a sweet 4000 dpi sensor. This high-end gaming mouse is a step up from the original Sidewinder (which will remain in production), and retains features we like from the series: a Dpi adjustor with LCD indicator, vertical thumb buttons, and customizable weights (features which were omitted from the lower-end X5 model). We got some hands-on time with the X8, and was able to put it side-by-side with its non-BlueTrack siblings.
Hit the jump to check out the entire Sidewinder family.
Dell’s ongoing financial travails and tribulation have driven it to a very drastic step of disposing off factories. It plans to sell most of its factories within the next year and a half in order to curb costs. The possibility of Dell selling or closing all of its plants also can not be ruled out, according to a Wall Street Journal report. Asian contract manufacturers are the most likely buyers of Dell’s factories.
The eventual buyers of its plants might also be entrusted with the task of manufacturing Dell products. However, the second largest PC manufacturer in the world might find it difficult to attract Asian buyers towards its U.S factories that have high operational costs due to the steep cost of labor.
Dell is undergoing metamorphic changes (read strategical): it has mobilized its financial resources towards building a stronger retail presence. Furthermore, it is betting big on cloud computing.
That’s the first thing we thought when we saw the new Arc Mouse, which Microsoft claims with “raise the style stakes” in peripheral design. We have to admit, it certainly looks different from any mouse we’ve handled before. The foldable design makes it extremely compact when snapped shut for travel purposes. Yet when expanded, the arch is spacious enough to fill out our manly palms. The Arc felt very comfortable in our hands as we moved it around a table, but was noticably lighter and not as solid as the gaming mice we're accustomed to. A micro transceiver snaps into the bottom of the mouse using a magnet, and only sticks out a single centimeter when plugged into a USB port (it uses the same 2.4GHz wireless tech as Microsoft’s other mice).
And if you’re worried about sturdiness, the Arc’s hinge has been tested to withstand 25lb’s of downward force, though we didn’t exert that much force in our test (we didn’t want to break it!). Surprisingly, it doesn’t use Microsoft’s new BlueTrack sensor, instead opting for a traditional laser tracker (no word on DPI). Look for the Arc to go on sale later this month (launching with black or red options) for $59.95.
The next-generation of Microsoft mice has arrived and – surprise! – this peripheral don’t feature any fancy lasers. The new Explorer mouse is the first that sports Microsoft’s new proprietary Bluetrack technology, something they’ve been hinting at on their website for the past few weeks. The big innovation is that a BlueTrack mouse will work on virtually any surface type, whether its granite, wood, or even carpet (glass and other reflective surfaces are this mouse’s kryptonite). We got some hands-on time with this handsome wireless mouse and were impressed by its tracking accuracy, stylish design, and mesmerizing blue glow. We also spoke with Mark Depue, the Platform Engineer Manager at Microsoft’s Hardware Group, to find out exactly how BlueTrack works.
Hit the jump for our in-depth technical interview and glamorous hands-on shots.
SSDs with a 64GB storage capacity fetched close to a grand last year. But their outrageous prices have become subdued with the passage of time. Now, if you act quickly, OCZ’s brand new Core V2 OCZSSD2-2C60G 2.5” 60GB SSD could be yours for $240 – approximately $4/GB. The SSD boasts read speeds of 170MB/sec and write speeds of 98MB/sec. It also features a built-in USB 2.0 port for firmware updates, and can serve as a replacement for your notebook’s HDD.
In a seemingly never ending battle with the FCC, Comcast is back on the offensive. The cable giant is looking to overturn the ruling reached on August 1st which found them in violation of the FCC’s network neutrality principles. Comcast was mandated to immediately cease any packet shaping initiatives and to publically disclose the full extent of its traffic blocking policies. Experts close to the case have chimed in on the issue and it would appear as though news of the appeal wasn’t all that surprising. Comcast has become famous in legal circles for appealing any decision it doesn’t agree with, and this case is no exception. Comcast firmly believes that packet shaping of peer-to-peer traffic is a legitimate and reasonable means of managing network traffic and intends to defend that contention to the bitter end. Despite the impending appeal, Comcast has agreed to abide by the FCC mandates until a new verdict is reached. Comcast’s packet shaping activities have been in the spotlight since late 2007 when the Associated Press revealed proof that Comcast was blocking P2P traffic during peak hours. The FCC case was seen as a test run help to determine if it could enforce its network neutrality principles. I’m sure most Maximum PC readers are rooting for the FCC, but since so little precedent in a case like this; the outcome of an appeal could still go either way.