Power users who want to take advantage of RAID are typically stuck between a rock and a hard place: their motherboard’s integrated RAID (the quality of which can vary wildly between chipsets) and expensive discrete controllers. HighPoint’s RocketRAID 2640x4 attempts to bridge the gap by offering better-than-onboard performance at a price much lower than fancier discrete cards.
As expected, the RocketRAID 2640x4, which has four SAS/SATA 3Gb/s ports but no onboard processor or memory, performed better than our test bed motherboard’s onboard RAID controller but couldn’t match the performance of the $450 Adaptec 5405, which boasts an onboard 1.2GHz processor and 256MB DDR2 cache.
Setting up the RocketRAID 2640x4 is simple: Drop in the card, hook up the drives, power up your computer, and hit Ctrl+H during boot. HighPoint’s BIOS makes creating and maintaining RAID a snap, and its Windows drivers are easy to install from the included disc.
Last week, Corsair announced its new 128GB Voyager flash drive, a super-capacious thumb drive with a super-high price tag ($400). At the exact opposite end of the spectrum, OCZ today announced a new line of USB flash drives, dubbed Zee, aimed at users on a tight budget.
"Designed for the consumer on the go, the compact Zee is an economical USB drive that makes it easy to transfer images, multimedia, and essential data between multiple computers," commented Alex Mei, CMO of OCZ. "The Zee is designed to be affordable to the complete range of consumers, and is available in large capacities up to 16GB yet is both lightweight and compact so that it is highly portable."
In addition to 16GB, the Zee is also offered in 2GB, 4GB, and 8GB capacities. Other details remain sparse, including rated transfer speeds, price, or availability.
With the announcement of the brand new Performance Mouse MX and Anywhere Mouse MX, Logitech has released their brand new Darkfield Laser Tracking, which will allow their mice to track on glass (or any other surface).
The new mice, which will work with the new USB Unifying receiver, will come in two sizes – the smaller Anywhere Mouse MX which will be aimed at laptop users and the Performance Mouse MX, which will be meant for the desktop consumer. The Performance Mouse MX will also come with force-sensitive side-to-side scrolling (with the assistance of some software), while the Anywhere Mouse MX will have dedicated forward and back buttons.
They’ll both be released later in the month for $99.99 (Performance Mouse MX) and $79.99 (Anywhere Mouse MX).
Earlier this week, Intel's upcoming socket 1156-based Core i5 and Core i7 processors were spotted in retail channels in Taiwan and China, a few weeks before the chip maker's planned September launch date. That didn't sit well with Intel, who has asked vendors to stop selling the new parts, as well as accompanying P55-based motherboards.
That request is likely to go ignored, industry sources claim, who point out that demand for the new hardware is too hard to ignore. And it's not just overseas, either. The not-yet-launched products are also being sold in North America, with at least one well known review site claiming to have picked up a Core i5 processor from Fry's online store.
The parts in question include the Core i5 760, Core i7 860, and Core i7 870, plus a handful of P55-based mobos. With regards to the motherboards, some analysts predict that shipments in the fourth quarter will grow 10-20 percent sequentially, of which P55-based boards will account for 15 percent.
Best known for its case and cooling products, Cooler Master this week announced its first mouse, the Sentinel Advance. Not an entry-level product, Cooler Master claims the professional-grade Sentinel is two years in the making.
The biggest standout on the feature list is the super sensitive 5600 DPI sensor, which CM says is the result of using twin lasers, Doppler Effect processing, and real-time tracking technology (as opposed to software prediction).
Other goodies include customizable macros and scripts, LED colors and light effects, a modular weight system, 64k internal firmware ROM for saving your settings, and even an OLED screen for displaying customized clan logos or whatever else you want your rodent to show off.
If you've waited this long to upgrade your graphics card, you might as well finish off the summer with whatever GPU you've been getting by with. That's because both AMD and Nvidia plan to release new videocards this fall..
According to news and rumor site DigiTimes, Nvidia's upcoming 40nm GeForce 210 (GT218) GPU-based cards will start shipping in October thanks to improved yields at foundry partner Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing company (TSMC).
Detailed specs remain light, but the GeForce 210 will come with either DDR2 or DDR3 memory and offer up support for DirectX 10.1 and Shader Model 4.1, sources say. Nvidia will follow up the GT218 launch with GT230 and GT300 parts in the fourth quarter of this year.
As for AMD, the CPU/GPU maker will finally launch its RV870 GPU this fall, possibly as early as September.
Fujitsu has been a pioneer in the notebook category, dating back to its P2000, one of the first ultraportables to feature an optical drive. In this roundup, however, the standard Fujitsu set is better implemented by its competitors.
At 10.75x8.25x1.5 inches, the P8020 has a slightly smaller footprint than the others, but, sadly, where that’s most apparent is in the keyboard. It’s surprising how less than a half-inch can change your typing experience, but we found the slightly smaller keys and key pad difficult to use. The P8020’s touchpad has the distinction of being multi-touch, meaning you can zoom in and out by pinching or separating your fingers, a moderately useful tool. We’d rather have multi-touch right-click, frankly.
At two pounds, 13.8 ounces, the P8020 is light but feels well-constructed, although there’s some flex to the body and display cover. The entire unit is matte black, save the glossy black lid. Fingerprints on this surface are of course inevitable, but the lid also picked up a scratch after minimal use.
If you think of HP’s 2530p as a strapping workhorse of an ultraportable, Toshiba’s R600 is like a stylish, sophisticated cousin—and we were quickly smitten with its charms. The R600 shares much in common with Toshiba’s R500, but with improvements to its build quality and structure. At 11.1x8.5x0.8 inches and a weight of two pounds, six ounces, the R600 is so thin and light as to seem ethereal. There’s some flex to the magnesium-alloy case when you lift the notebook by one corner and some bendiness to the display enclosure, but the notebook doesn’t feel fragile.
And svelte as it is, the R600 is packed with features. It offers a healthy array of ports, including an SD media reader, an ExpressCard/54 slot, and three USB ports—one of which doubles as eSATA and can even be used for charging devices when the notebook is off. Amid all that is a DVD burner, as well as a volume dial.
On the surface, OWC’s Mercury Pro Blu-ray external drive could seem appealing. The cabinet is attractive and sturdy; it offers FireWire 400, FireWire 800, USB 2.0, and eSATA interfaces—including all the requisite cables; and it holds a Pioneer BDR-203 drive, which is rated at 8x for BD-R writes—the highest rating available—and 16x for DVD+/-R. Yet, after using the device, we’re unimpressed.
We first tried to test the drive with the eSATA interface but it failed to work with any of our test beds, which use the nForce 680i SLI chipset. It was recognized by motherboards using Intel’s P45 and X58 chipsets as well as those boards’ auxiliary Marvell controllers. However, we benchmarked using USB 2.0 on our standard test bed for continuity.
Let's face it, most webcams leave a lot to be desired, including some of the higher end models boasting fancy lenses and advanced features not found on entry-level models. But the picture still ends up being grainy, which almost makes that live striptease performance not worth watching. Almost.
Enter the LifeCam Cinema, a high definition webcam Microsoft hopes will shake things up. The LifeCam is the first consumer webcam to support 720p video at 30fps, boasting 1,280x720 compared to most 2MP webcams topping out at 960x720.
But high resolution isn't the only thing the LifeCam has going for it. Other goodies include a glass lens, auto focus, 4x digital zoom, and a digital noise canceling microphone. It sports Windows 7 compatibility out of the box, though only those with a comparatively hefty system need apply - nothing less than a dual-core 1.6GHz, and Microsoft recommends a 3GHz dual-core chip and 2GB of RAM.