Punching a hole through your TV isn't generally regarded as a wise move, but as it turns out, punching holes -- 48 of them, to be exact -- through standard 90nm silicon CMOS chips is a decent first step towards superfast supercomputing. Sound crazy? Apparently, it isn't. Today, IBM announced it did just that with the awesomely named "Holey Optochip," a prototype optical chip that can transfer data at a blistering fast 1 terabit (1 trillion bits) per second rates.
While it’s a fact that some lame-o ideas flat-out just won’t die, no matter how long in the tooth they are – VHS tapes, dial-up Internet and DRM, anyone? – the inverse is also true. Sometimes, truly groundbreaking ideas pop onto the scene long before the mainstream is ready to embrace it. Rather than praising the success stories, this article takes a look at the lesser known forefathers that made best sellers like the iPad and Hulu Plus possible. Grab a seat and raise a toast to these technologies born before their time; without them, modern life wouldn’t be as comfy and convenient as we know it.
Plextor shared all the right connections with its sleek and sexy PX-LB950UE Blu-ray burner to be a player in the optical game. This external BD writer boasts 12x recording (BD-R), a low vibration system to prevent screwing up pricey BD media, an 8MB buffer, LightScribe support, and both SuperSpeed USB 3.0 and eSATA hookups.
Sony this week unveiled its next-gen half-height internal Blu-ray rewritable drive available in both retail and OEM configurations. The new drive includes Blu-ray 3D playback and offers up to 12X writes to single BD-R media and up to 8X speeds on dual-layer BD-R discs.
Sony says the 12X recording speed works on 6X compatible BD-R media, allowing you to record a full 25GB disc in about 10 minutes. Other specs include:
4.7GB DVD+/-R = 16X
8.5GB DVD+/-R Double Layer = 8X
DVD+RW = 8X
DVD-RW = 6X
CD-R = 48X
CD-RW = 24X
DVD-RAM = 12X
No word yet on price of availability, though Sony did say if you pony up for the retail model you'll also receive CyberLink's Media Suite 8 software.
HLDS (Hitachi-LG Data Storage) might be onto something here. The company just introduced its second generation SSD/ODD hybrid drive with SATA 6Gpbs support, giving laptop and all-in-one (AIO) owners an easy upgrade path to SSD.
"We are very excited about the potential of this ground-breaking product. Once the Hybrid Drive is loaded in all PC products, including AIO, mini PC, and notebook, a new solution will be provided for user classes who were previously unsure of purchasing an SSD. And our Hybrid Drive also enable a smaller PC footprint (under 12-inch tablet PCs such as the Ultra Mobile PC, for example) by removing the HDD or SSD from the motherboard and just having the Hybrid Drive with SSD as its primary storage," stated HLDS Chief Marketing Officer YK Park.
The beauty of a hybrid ODD/SSD is that many notebooks and nearly all netbooks ship with a single drive bay, while larger notebooks typically ship with two bays at best. That can make upgrading to an SSD a tough proposition -- do you really want to swap out your 500GB HDD for a 64GB SSD?
HLDS's second-gen Hybrid Drive sidesteps the issue by incorporating a speedy SSD into the optical drive, which can then be used independently or in tandem with the existing HDD as a hybrid SSD/HDD solution somewhat similar to Silverstone's HDD Boost.
Optical drives aren't potatoes. You can't boil them, mash them, or stick 'em in a stew. And by that, I mean there's simply not that much you can do with your average digital coffee holder. Optical drives read CDs. Optical drives write CDs. And... well, unless you have your drive hooked up to some kind of crazy Rube Goldberg device that feeds your guinea pig whenever you eject the tray, there's simply not much else you're going to be able to do with this essential part of your PC. CD goes in; CD goes out--end of story.
Of course, I'm being a little tongue-in-cheek with this description. There's a great deal you can do with your optical drive on the software side of things. Here's the problem: There are a ton of different programs out there for ripping, burning, and mounting images, amongst other behaviors. Finding the best-in-class application for your device can be like trying to find a tiny scratch on the bottom of the disc itself--a mind-numbing task that's sure to frustrate you as you sift through the 30 different utilities you've pulled down onto your desktop.
Allow me ease the pain a bit. In this week's freeware files, I'll be taking a look at some of the must-have software to supplement your CD drive. With these five apps, you'll be covered for a wide range of uses--ripping all different kinds of media to your (presumably) terabytes of storage space, burning your own custom discs and presentations based on preexisting files, and converting physical media to digital images that you can pull up off of your hard drive instead of ever having to fiddle with a disc again.
Grab a CD-R coaster for your drink and join me after the jump for all the software goodies!
We suppose when your bread and butter is $35 optical drives, a faltering economy doesn't hit you as hard. Or so it would seem, based on Lite-On's performance in 2009.
The optical drive maker reported consolidated revenues up 2 percent sequentially and 32 percent on year to $303.1 million in December 2009. Ending the year on a high note, that was a best month for Lite-On in '09.
But it wasn't just low-priced optical drives that drove revenue up. The company also attributed the growth to increasing shipments of power supply and LED products, noting that the two segments grew 20 percent and 67 percent on year, respectively, in December.
The 12X external Blu-ray burner comes capable of writing data on both single and dual-layer disks. And while traditional external burners have usually been far less appealing than internal drives in terms of performance, that shouldn't be the case with a USB 3.0 interface.
To take advantage of the SuperSpeed spec, end-users will either need a compatible motherboard or one of the PCI-E cards that are starting to fill store shelves. For those who don't plan on upgrading in the immediate future but are in need of an external drive, Buffalo says its "fastest blu-ray burner ever" will still work just fine on a USB 2.0 port, it just won't be as fast. and chug along at 7X instead of 12X.
The new drive is expected to land in Japan by the end of December for around $450. No word yet on when it will make its way to the States or for how much.
Network specialist Nortel announced on Monday that it has been selected as the high bidder in the auction of nearly all of the optical networking and carrier Ethernet assets of Nortel's Metro Ethernet Networks (MEN) business. Under terms of the deal, Ciena will pay $530 million in cash and issue $239 million in aggregate principal amount of 6 percent Senior Convertible notes due in 2017. All tallied, the deal is worth $769 million.
"These optical and carrier Ethernet assets bring exceptional technologies, talent and scale that will accelerate Ciena’s current strategy to deliver innovative network solutions to customers worldwide," said Gary Smith, Ciena’s CEO and president. "With this combination, we are bringing together complementary technologies in switching and transport to create an innovative powerhouse with the scale to challenge the industry status quo and offer customers a practical path for transitioning to automated, optical Ethernet-based networking."
Ciena has high hopes for its latest acquisition, and not without merit. In 2008, Nortel generated about $1.36 billion in revenue, and $556 million (unaudited) in the first half of 2009.
At least 2,000 Nortel employees will be offered employment to become part of Ciena's global team of network specialists, the company said.
Blu-ray has had the high-definition market all to itself for quite some time now, yet here we are still talking about the format's adoption rate. That's because pricing, for the most part, has kept BD players out of the living room, but according to Taiwan-based BD player makers, that's about to change. Kind of.
Sources say the average retail price for Blu-ray players will drop from $193 to just $77. Such a significant price drop would surely boost consumer demand, but there's a catch. While prices are coming down, such a dramatic decrease won't occur until 2012, still more than a year away.
On the desktop front, blank media is expected to come down in price as well. By 2012, the average retail price is expected to drop from $5 to $1.50, the same sources say.