Most people’s first experience with the Japanese spice called wasabi teaches them to never approach it again. It would be a shame if folks were similarly averse to Dell’s Wasabi PZ310 printer, which offers fun, spontaneous, albeit tiny, prints.
For the most part, the Wasabi is a kissing cousin of the Polaroid PoGo printer that we reviewed in the July 2008 issue. Both printers use Zink’s zero-ink technology. A thermal head heats up crystals embedded in the paper itself. Send a photo to the Wasabi, and a minute later, a 2x3-inch print pops out. A light adhesive on the back of each print lets you then plaster the image of your family, friends, or pet to any object that deserves to be cute-ified.
The Wasabi uses a slightly smaller power brick than the PoGo and adds a button to reprint the last pic. We found image quality to be similar to that of the Polaroid PoGo. We can say that, as with the PoGo, output from the Wasabi is not particularly sharp or colorful, and is occasionally splotchy. These aren’t exactly the words you look for in association with a photo printer, but the primary draw of the Wasabi and its ilk is the fun factor.
With all the hoopla surrounding lifetime warranties by the likes of EVGA, BFG, and XFX, you probably don't own a Foxconn-branded videocard anyway. But in case you do, you may want to hold onto it as a nostalgiac keepsake, because pretty soon, there won't be any new Foxconn-branded videocards.
Foxconn said it's getting out marketing its own brand and has instead rearranged its Channel Service Division (CSD), along with most of its 9,000 employees, to its OEM division.
That doesn't mean Foxconn will suddenly disappear, however. The company still expects to ship 6-7 million of its own-brand motherboards in 2009, which is a whopping 5 million more than it shipped in 2008. As for videocards and other OEM products, the company expects shipments to reach 30 million units, those products just won't bear the Foxconn brand.
Western Digital today said it has commenced volume shipments of its 2.5-inch WD Scorpio Blue 640GB hard drives designed for notebooks.
The tiny drives pack 640GB into a single unit by way of 320GB per platter technology, making them the highest capacity 2.5-inch hard drives in the industry standard 9.5mm, 2-disk form factor yet available. On the energy efficiency front, WD claims its capacious Scropio Blue drive consumes 30 percent less power than previous generation WD Scorpio Blue models.
Other features include WD's WhisperDrive technology, which the company describes as a "state-of-the-art seeking algorithm" to reduce drive noise, ShockGuard technology for better shock tolerance should you drop or otherwise jostle your notebook, and IntelliSeek technology, which dynamically adjusts seek speeds to lower power consumption, noise, and vibration.
The Scorpio Blue 640GB is shipping now through select distributors and resellers with an MSRP set at $149.
Microsoft today unveiled what it claims is its thinnest keyboard ever, the Bluetooth Mobile Keyboard 6000. As the name suggests, the new plank is aimed exclusively at Bluetooth notebooks and desktop PCs, with Bluetooth-enabled notebooks projected to account for more than 55 percent of all laptops by the end of 2010, Microsoft says.
"The design tenets of compact, clean, and refined really set the state for the success of the keyboard," said Chris Kujawski, industrial designer for Microsoft Hardware. "There is nothing extraneous about the design. We removed everything that didn't fit with those ideas and ended up with something we're really proud of -- a compact, sophisticated keyboard that pairs perfectly with Bluetooth computers."
Measuring "just a few millimeters thicker than a AAA battery at the back," the Bluetooth 6000 sports an ergonomic design with a 6-degree curve, a design Microsoft says is preferred by 94 percent of users who have ever owned a Comfort Curve keyboard.
The Bluetooth plank will be available in October for $90. There will also be a separate Bluetooth Number Pad, which is also be available next month, and priced at $45.
We've been saying for months now that it's only a matter time before DRAM prices go back up and it will no longer be possible to pick up a high capacity kit with just the loose change in your pants pocket. That time hasn't quite come yet, but according to data by DRAMeXchange, prices for 1Gb DDR2 and 1Gb DDR3 are steadily increasing.
As it currently stands, 1Gb of DDR2 runs $1.53 while a Gb of DDR3 costs $1.66. That doesn't sound like much (and it isn't), but those prices represent increases of 8.5 percent for DDR2 and 5.1 percent for DDR3.
Meanwhile, contract prices for 2GB DDR2 and 2GB DDR3 sticks have shot up $27.50 and $29.50, respectively, in just the first half of September, and we still have the rest of the month to go.
Once again, if you've been eying a memory upgrade, you may want to bite the bullet rather than continue to play Russian Roulette with market prices.
Intel has released six new Xeon CPUs based on the Nehalem micro-architecture. Known as the 3400 series, all the chips will have RAID 0/1/5/10 for server operating systems, Error Correcting Code memory, and support for up to 32GB of server system memory. Intel also adds, in marketing-speak, that the 3400 series can "help small businesses grow".
Included in the new lineup is a low power version called the Intel Xeon L3426. The L3426 draws only 45W TDP, making it 188 percent more efficient than the previous generation Xeon X3380.
OEMs seem anxious to get the new chips into servers. Super Micro is already shipping a new line of 1U servers for the Xeon 3400 series. Amax also claims to have 1U server building blocks ready to go. The release coincides with the launch of a number of new MicroATX boards that could be driving adoption.
The recession may be coming to an end, but desktop PC sales may never get back to where they were, according to Ray Chen of Compal Electronics. The company expects to see a 20 percent and 10 percent rise in PC shipments, in the third and fourth quarters respectively. Notebook sales remained strong throughout the recession. This may mean that notebook sales will only continue to grow, as desktop sales remain comparatively stagnant.
Even Apple, whose sales have remained strong, saw a 20 percent decline in desktop sales volume. Some questions remain as businesses may have been holding off on new PC orders during the recession. The corporate world has traditionally chosen desktops over laptops. However, Matthew Wilkins, principal analyst for iSuppli, contends that businesses will choose mobility over performance as they place new orders.
According to the report, the consortium’s plan is to develop a highly power-efficient CPU for use in a wide array of consumer electronics. The consortium hopes to deliver the first solar-powered prototype by the end of fiscal 2012.
Contrary to most reports, the new CPU architecture is apparently not aimed at challenging the dominance of Intel’s x86 CPUs, which don’t even dominate the market segment the new CPU will be developed for; the new CPU is intended for the embedded chip market.
With the latest crop of netbooks beginning to sport Intel’s new Atom N280, which features a slightly higher clock speed (1.66GHz vs. 1.6GHz) and a faster front-side bus (667MHz vs. 533MHz), how well does a netbook built around the earlier Atom N270 hold up? To find out, we put Samsung’s NC10 to the test.
The Samsung NC10 is a pearl-white clamshell with a chrome-like strip running around the outer edge of its base. It has a 10.2-inch, LED-backlit, anti-glare monitor; a 1.3MP integrated webcam; 1GB DDR2/667 RAM; a 160GB hard drive; and a 6-cell battery—basically, nothing we haven’t seen before. But while it’s not the newest kid on the block, the NC10 is still more than capable.
MSI joins a growing list of manufacturers to take the easy route and describe a new product as 'Xtreme.' In this case, MSI is referring to its just-released Xtreme Speed motherboard series, which seeks to capitalize on Intel's also just-released P55 platform.
According to MSI, Xtreme Speed boards will integrate three high-power features, including:
OC Genie - Detects and sets performance-optimized CPU, RAM, and chipset settings with the press of a button.
SuperPipe - An 8mm full copper heatpipe that MSI claims is 60 percent thicker than traditional heatpipes. MSI says you can expect boards equipped with its SuperPipe to run up to 50C cooler than those without.
DrMOS - Technology which combines a Driver IC, a Top MOSFET, and a Bottom MOSFET into one chip. MSI says the shorter distance ultimately results in 4 times faster phase switching speed and over 90 percent better power efficiency.
In addition to the above, Xtreme Speed boards will come with MSI's True Blu-ray Audio, power eSATA, a USB safeguard to prevent damage from short-circuits and ESD, active phase change switching (APS), and a handful of other goodies.