To kick off it's tenth anniversary, boutique system build iBuyPower has launched its second-gen Chimera 2 gaming system. Like the original, the follow-up act sizzles on stage with a fiery exterior, but with a "completely redesigned signature Chimera Inferno II Chassis."
The color scheme now wraps around the entire chassis, with the chimera flame design covering 4 exterior surfaces (front, right, left, and top panels). Underneath it all sits either a Phenom II X3/X4 or Core i5/i7 foundation, depending on which base configuration you start out with. The Core i5 base comes standard with a Core i5 750 processor, Asus P7P55D LE motherboard, 4GB of DDR3-1333 memory, an ATI HD 5750 videocard, 750GB hard drive, 700W PSU, 22X DVD burner, and Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit. Surprising affordable, pricing starts at $1,100 (or $999 if building around AMD).
Don't feel like buying one? To celebrate its 10th birthday, iBuyPower said it's giving away a Chimera 2 system with a Killer Xeno Pro Gaming card.
"We are excited to be celebrating our tenth anniversary and wanted to thank all our customers that helped make it happen with a giveaway and hot new system," said Darren Su, VP of iBuyPower. "The Chimera 2 gaming systems are fully loaded and feature a new aggressive design sure to impress."
To enter, follow iBuyPower on Twitter and/or Facebook became a Fan of iBuyPower on Facebook or follow them on Twitter, and then fill out the contest entry form here. Good luck!
Move over Alienware, Voodoo PC, Hypersonic, Maingear, BFG, Widow PC, Falcon Northwest, Velocity Micro, Vigor Gaming, Apple (sike!), Overdrive PC, Digital Storm, and any other vendor of high-end gaming PCs we may have left out, and make way for Origin, the newest custom gaming PC maker on the block.
Origin makes its debut with a pair of flashy looking systems, the Genesis desktop and EON18 notebook. To set the systems part, Origin has teamed with Killer Paint to offer custom paint jobs and airbrushed designs, including custom requests. Cost of entry for the desktop starts at about $1,600 for an AMD Phenom II-based system, $1,700 for Core i5, or about $2,000 to jump up to Core i7. That buys you a 750W Corsair power supply, EVGA GTX 260 videocard, 4GB of DDR3-1333 memory, a 320GB hard drive, and a few other odds and ends.
Hit the jump to see what else Origin has in store and what prominent figure gives the vendor his thumbs up.
A little prerequisite reading is in order. If you haven't done so already, be sure to check out Lloyd Case and Gordon Mah Ung's article covering ATI's Radeon HD 5970, a videocard we've dubbed "The Undisputed Performance Champ." Once you read through that feature, you'll be in a better position to appreciate the awesome power that comes from cramming two HD 5970 videocards into a CrossFire X configuration, and that's exactly what Maingear has done.
The boutique system vendor today announced the immediately availability of said cards into its Shift PC. By doing so, Maingear says gamers are afforded 10 teraflops of pixel pushing power when enhanced with the company's Redline technology.
"The Maingear Shift was designed specifically to harness the incredible amount of GPU power that is on the horizon," said Wallace Santos, CEO and founder of Maingear. "The ATI Radeon HD 5970 truly ushers in a new era of everyday supercomputing for the consumer. Besides having a total of 3200 stream processors each for an incredible gaming experience, with Windows 7 and DriectCompute, these cards can be used to accelerate everything from video editing and transcoding to advanced photo manipulation."
As we previously reported, the Shift can be configured with either an Intel P55 or X58 foundation, and you can outfit either one of them with a pair of HD 5970 videocards. All that power doesn't come cheap, however, and you'll be looking at about an additional $1,500 over the base configuration, which includes an Nvidia GeForce GTS 250.
Whenever we recommend a build list for new systems, we inevitably turn to Windows OEM editions for the OS. They are bit for bit just as powerful as their retail cousins, but may require a bit of telephone tag with Microsoft when upgrading and you were stuck with nobody to call if you need support. Overall the experience wasn't so bad given the discount, but an important, albeit subtle change in the Windows 7 EULA could permanently alter this recommendation. The specific clause found in prior OEM editions of Windows is as follows:
"OEM system builder software packs are intended for PC and server manufacturers or assemblers ONLY. They are not intended for distribution to end users. Unless the end user is actually assembling his/her own PC, in which case, that end user is considered a system builder as well."
As you can see from the above passage, prior versions clearly made allowance for those that assembled their own system, sadly, this is no longer the case in Windows 7. Assuming this isn't a mistake (and when do lawyers ever make mistakes), then Windows 7 OEM editions can legally only be installed on machines you intend to sell. I suppose you could always pawn off your new machine to a family member for a song, then politely ask them to return it, but Microsoft clearly wants to push more home users over to the retail edition.
You can still buy OEM editions as easily as before from online retailers such as Newegg, but if your moral compass points true north, you'll need to buy retail editions on new systems you aren't selling from now on. Will this stop you from using OEM editions?
It has long been said that software activation merely inconveniences and punishes honest customers, while pirates rarely have to deal with the same restrictions. It was true in the past, and it has been proven true again today with new reports from the pirate community claiming that the Windows 7 online activation has been successfully bypassed (yet again). Not only do those using the new crack not have to activate, but they don't even need a CD key at all. The crack apparently nullifies sppcompai.dll, and even takes care of those pesky popup reminders that would normally keep nagging you to activate.
The most unfortunate part of this story however, is the fact that the crack seems to take advantage of the leniency of the activation mechanism which was tweaked in Windows 7 to try and reduce false-positives or accidental activation errors. We can only hope that Microsoft's response to this hack will be even handed, and not encourage them to tighten up the activation process so much so that it makes it harder on legitimate purchasers or upgraders.
Have you had any "unfortunate" experiences with online activation? Feel free to share them after the jump.
If the Mac Mini and a bag of Skittles were to share a night of unbridled love, we're pretty the love child of such an affair would look identical to the Zino HD, Dell's new line of colorful low-power home theater PCs.
Dell kicks off the HTPC line with several base configurations, each one built around an AMD processor. The least expensive Zino HD starts at just $230 and includes an AMD Athlon 2560e processor (1.6GHz, 512KB L2 cache), 2GB of DDR2-800 memory, 250GB hard drive spinning at 7200RPM, integrated ATI Radeon HD3200 graphics, 2.1 audio, an 8X DVD burner, and Windows Vista Home Basic. The OS is a bit of a surprise, considering each of the three other configurations come with Windows 7 Home Premium in 64-bit trim.
The highest priced model checks in at $650 and kicks the processor up to an AMD Athlon 2850e (1.8GHz, 512KB L2 cache), doubles up on memory (4GB), adds twice as much storage (500GB), tosses in an ATI Radeon HD 4330 videocard with a 512MB frame buffer, and includes a 20-inch Dell ST2010 widescreen monitor.
All of the models come with 4 USB ports (2 each on the front and back) and 2 eSATA ports.
Reports are surfacing that indicate a certain Redmond software company could be giving OEMs access to a certain mobile OS in just a few short months. After the lackluster reception of Windows Mobile 6.5, Microsoft is looking for a hit. Anything to keep Microsoft’s mobile head above water as the iPhone, Blackberry, and Android continue to move in for the kill.
The new software is reportedly code named “Maldives”, and should be in OEMs' hot little hands in the first quarter of 2010. The final release to consumers isn’t expected until later in the third quarter. This jives nicely with earlier rumors indicating a release to manufacturing in Spring 2010. It may be a while yet before you can get a WinMo 7 device, but you can certainly expect leaked ROMs to make the scene before too long.
It’s no secret that Nvidia and Intel are having a dispute over chipset licenses. Now it seems like Nvidia is getting a little fed up with the whole situation. On a new Nvidia website called “Intel’s Insides”, you’ll find a series of editorial style cartoons with some sharp criticisms of chip maker Intel.
The cartoons take aim mostly at Intel’s legal woes, which have gotten that much more severe with new US federal action this week. The US case is related to the same scandal that ended with Intel receiving massive fines in the EU. Intel is accused of bribing OEMs to keep them from using rival AMD’s chips. It all makes for some good cartoon fodder.
Editorial cartoonist Steve Lait creates the cartoons for Nvidia. The site explains that the series “is intended to be a parody of events occurring within the semiconductor sector, with particular focus on its largest and most commented-upon competitor." In all honesty, the cartoons aren’t that funny. But really, how amusing can the nuances of the semiconductor world be?
Let's be realistic for a moment. Few would classify Maingear's new Shift series as supercomputers for the homestead, but we'll give Maingear this much: these new PCs pack a punch.
"The Shift bucks the trend of plastic, bloated, commodity PCs. It's a statement of our commitment to performance, reliability, and support," said Wallace Santos, CEO and Founder of Maingear. "Featuring vertical airflow, all the cooling necessary for today's high performance, and backed by the best technical support team in the business, Maingear is committed to maintaining our lead in the market."
The configurable PCs come built around your choice of Intel's P55 or X58 platform and come with a Core i7 800 series or 900 series CPU. DDR3 memory options include up to 8GB on the P55 platform, or up to 24GB in the X58 setup. You can choose from a plethora of videocards culminating in a pair of dual-GPU GTX 295s, and for storage duties, Maingear will slap up to 6 mechanical or 12 SSD drives into your rig. Other options include Blu-ray, liquid cooling, Razer peripherals, Killer NIC Xeno Pro card, and of course Windows 7.
Maingear promises each Shift system will ship with no bloatware, and they've all been tuned to take advantage of GPGPU computing.
The new PCs are available now starting at $2,200 (P55) and $2,600 (X58). In Q4, Maingear says it will add a Xeon-based setup with Nvidia's Quadro graphics to the lineup.
We've been talking a lot about Acer lately, and that's because Acer has been doing a lot of talking of its own. The OEM's been pounding its chest like Kevin Garnett after an 'and-one' and talking smack to Dell, HP, and anyone else who stands in its way. And now the OEM is saying it's fully prepared to take on HP in a bit of a pricing war, which comes just a day after Acer said it feels confident it will ship 40 million notebooks in 2010.
According to news and rumor site DigiTimes, HP has already kicked off some pretty fierce price competition in a few designated markets, which includes sub-$300 models in the U.S. Acer's ever talkative chairman JT Wang said his company will not only follow suit, but plans to one-up HP by aggressively marketing its netbook and ultra-thin segments, both of which are areas HP is a little weaker in.
Beyond 2010, Wang said the global netbook market is on track to reach 350 million units, and we're a bit surprised Acer didn't say it plans to capture 349 million of them.