Having already moved on to its 9-M series GPUs, Nvidia presumably has solved whatever problem led to an "abnormal failure rate" in the what the company still contends only affects a limited batch of previous generation GPU and MCP products. Exactly how limited that batch is might never be fully disclosed, but it appears the problem may be more widespread than consumers were led to believe.
Just over a week ago Dell made available a list of its notebooks that could possibly be affected by the GPUs believed to be suffering higher than expected failure rates and is recommending owners update their BIOS to reduce their risk of running into a problem. The updated BIOSes modify the fan profile to help regulate GPU temperature fluctuations, but as Dell notes, the new parameters won't help customers who are already suffering video-related issues.
Dell isn't alone, and now HP has also released a list of models that qualify for 'Warranty Service Enhancement' (curiously absent is the DV97xx series). And like Dell, HP is also recommending its owners update their BIOS as a preventive measure.
So are all G84 and G86 parts bad like The Inq surmised early in July? No one but Nvidia knows for sure, but looking over the list of affected models would seem to indicate the allegation could hold some merit.
Did Nvidia drop the ball harder than they're letting on?
A few weeks ago, Gigaom’s Stacey Higginbotham speculated that cloud computing would not be trusted by large corporations, but now Intel, Yahoo, and HP are looking to change that perspective. These powerhouse companies will have six data centers available for pre-selected researchers to test new applications with the possibility for more data centers to come.
There are many problems and concerns currently with cloud computing but John Manley, director of HP’s strategic research lab, wants to “create an environment that can begin to answer some of these challenges.” Aside from exploring new applications for cloud computing, the companies will allow researchers to look into how such huge scale computing can be reliable, manageable and secure. Manley believes that, "Anytime you get three companies of that stature looking to advance it, is significant. We consider cloud computing to be the next really big thing and the sky's the limit to the services it will enable over the next ten years."
Intel, Yahoo, and HP will each host one data center while the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore, the University of Illinois, and the Steinbuch Centre for Computing in Germany will host the other three.
After being acquired by HP two years ago, Voodoo PC will no long operate as a stand-alone entity and will instead sell its products alongside the Compaq Presario and Pavilion PC lines. The integration could be taken as bad news for fans of the boutique OEM who fear the Voodoo branding might now fall off the map, but founder Rahul Sood assures on his blog that the merger is a good thing.
"Ultimately it means that Voodoo and Voodoo-influenced products will be easier to buy, faster to get, they will feature local service, and they will have the full power of HP's marketing and sales channel behind them. The bottom line is we have ignited the brand and sparked big excitement; so we are not integrating our organizations to fuel our growth," Sood wrote.
Despite the convergence, Sood is also telling readers the Voodoo brand name will remain. But what about the quality? Whether or not Voodoo-branded PCs can still retain their spunk remains to be seen, but this isn't the first time enthusiasts feared the worst. After HP acquired Voodoo in 2006, many wondered if the boutique OEM would still be able to perform at a high level, and that question seemed to be answered just weeks ago when Voodoo relaunced its website to showcase its new Envy 133 notebook and Omen desktop PCs.
Do you share Rahul Sood's same excitement over the merger, or is the beginning of the end?
Anyone that has used a smart phone for browsing the internet knows that those little screens are just too small to be really comfortable to use. We also know that we don’t like to tote a notebook PC around on the chance that we need to use the internet for something.
The industry has known we needed something between a notebook PC and a smartphone sized device. It has taken several stabs at it, but nothing has quite stuck until a new breed of device has started to hit the market, called netbooks. These power sipping, devices are made primarily for checking email and surfing the internet at a low cost, some selling for $300. The PC industry is set to sell tens of millions of these devices. Good deal for the PC industry, right?
Maybe not. The NYTimes.com reports that industry analysts say that the emergence of this new class of low-cost, cloud-centric machines could threaten big market companies like Microsoft, Intel, HP, or Dell. “When I talk to PC vendors, the No. 1 question I get is, how do I compete with these netbooks when what we really want to do is sell PCs that cost a lot more money?” said J. P. Gownder, an analyst with Forrester Research.
Why are these tiny PCs a threat? Make the jump to find out!
Stamford-based IT research firm Gartner has revealed the worldwide PC industry’s sales figures for the second quarter. Overall, the global PC industry registered a growth of 16% as a total of 71.9 million units were shipped during the quarter. More and more people are turning to notebooks, as opposed to desktops, as notebook prices continue to plummet. However, the US PC industry couldn’t keep up with the highly promising growth rate seen globally and managed a much subdued rate of 4.2% - total shipments stood at 16.5 million units.
If its Q2 performance is anything to go by, HP is not moving an inch from its position as the top PC maker in the world. HP’s sales grew at a faster rate than even the global average. But Dell is not too keen on staying at No.2 either. It raised its market share to 15.6% and even outshone HP’s year-over-year growth rate. These days one can’t resist mentioning netbooks but they really didn’t leave much of a mark in the US; still early days, though.
Intel's long anticipated Centrino 2 platform (previously codenamed Montevina) makes its official debut this week, and a number of top-tier vendors will begin selling configurations to Centrino 2 specifications. Montevina chips are manufactured using high-k metal gate technology on a 45nm die, and Intel promises faster performance, improved mobility features, and support for high-definition graphics on the Centrino 2 platform.
Centrino 2 chips include Intel's second generation Core 2 Duo processors (Penryn) with speeds expected to range from 2.26GHz to 3.06GHz on a 1066MHz frontside bus. Sipping just 29W, the low power draw should result in both a cooler running chip and longer battery life.
The new platform moves away from the GM965 chipset and now uses Intel's Mobile 45 Express chipset. Other goodies include integrated GMA X4500 graphics, Intel's 5000 series wireless chip with support for WiFi and WiMax, flash memory caching (Intel Turbo Memory), and support for DDR3 memory, the first mobile platform ever to do so.
The release of Centrino 2 might also spark tantalizing price cuts as vendors look to clear out old inventory. Know of any good deals? Post them below!
Marking the first significant update to the SPARC line since 2007, Sun Microsystems and Fujitsu are updating their jointly developed line of servers with the SPARC64 VII. Sun and Fujitsu look to position the new processor to compete against IBM's Power processor and Intel's Itanium chip. To help them do that, SPARC64 VII will boast four cores clocked at 2.4GHz or 2.5GHz, with each core sporting two instructional threads for a total of eight per chip, and 6MB of L2 cache. SPARC64 VII will also see a die shrink from 90nm to 65nm.
With an estimated $4 billion to go around in the high-end Unix business, Sun has struggled against IBM and HP, and has had to cut employees in an attempt to offset some of the losses. Even so, Sun and Fujitsu will revamp several of their systems to support the quad-core SPARC VII, including two midrange, rack-mount systems -- the M4000 and the M5000 -- both of which support up to four and eight dual- or quad-core processors respectively. Starting price of the M4000 with a quad-core SPARC VII will check in at just under $35,000.
Buyers who can't wait to unbox their swank Envy 133 notebook might find themselves taking pause for the occasion. And to ensure they do, Voodoo's Raul Sood plans to give the high-end laptop the white-glove treatment. Inside the box (which Sood likens to one you'd get from shopping at a Tiffany & Co.) the Envy will come wrapped in a microfiber polish sleeve stamped with the company's logo. Underneath, an assortment of accessories includes:
Voodoo Aura power connect with an additional removable cable (should the original fray over time)
HDMI to VGA Presentation Adapter
ESata optical drive with hideaway cable
Sood also includes a few more close-up shots of the carbon fiber Envy in his package-pimping blog, which show a pre-production engineering sample. Shipping Envys will trade the red logo for one in silver and chrome. You can order one now, and if HP Live Chat operator iCrzyMonkey isn't flinging poo, expect it to ship in August, bodacious box and all.
It turns out that off-shoring tech support and customer service might not be such a great deal for companies after all. A paper titled, “Does Offshoring Impact Customer Satisfaction?” posted on ssrn.com for feedback, touches on the subject. There is plenty of evidence that off-shoring saves companies money on their bottom dollar, but what hasn’t been looked at until now is how it affects customer satisfaction and loyalty. What is surprising is not that the papers over all conclusions that in customer service off-shoring is bad but that back office functions like tech support can be a good thing for customer perception. I find that hard to believe from a tech’s aspect.
If you’re the tech Guru for your circle of friends and family you know that they all cringe at the thought of calling tech support. They will relate horror stories of speaking to someone claiming to be named “Bob”, who is reading text from a computer screen in a hard to understand, thick accent. This is why they call you with their technical woes. The paper however suggests that this alone isn’t what causes customer dissatisfaction, but rather the perceived lack of expertise.
Make the jump to hear more about off-shoring and the invasion of the computer puppets!
If Silicon Valley were to color code the tech industry's legal climate the way Homeland Security labels the threat level, then we'd all be seeing red. This week alone we've seen Steve Jobs sued for securities fraud, Google ordered to turn over YouTube viewing data, four Chinese companies fined for selling fake NEC keyboards, a convicted BitTorrent seed farmer stare at a 10 year prision sentence, a fired CEO taking his former employer to court for allegedly snooping his personal Yahoo account, and more. If that's not enough content to keep Law and Order: Silicon Valley up and running during the next writer's strike, then just wait another week or two and you might be able to fill an entire season's worth.
The latest legal drama involves high level espionage between HP and IBM, one of the few remaining scandals not yet covered in recent news. Specifically, HP's former VP is being indicted for allegedly leaking trade secrets from his former employer IBM to HP executives. According to court documents, Atul Malhotra, who was the director of IBM global printer sales between 1997 and 2006, requested and received a multi-page confidential memo from IBM, which authorites claim he emailed to an HP senior vice president two months later after being hired by HP. The subject line read "For Your Eyes Only."
To find out how he got caught, click through the jump.