So you’re looking for a new gaming rig, but all those Mid-ATX beasties just aren’t what you’re looking for, huh? Direct your eyes to Shuttle’s new SDXi Carbon, a beautiful, power packed box with a price tag to match!
The SDXi Carbon measures in at only 7.3 x 7.9 x 12.2-inches and packs a 3GHz Core 2 Duo E8400. It has the option of 2, 4, or 8GB of RAM, anywhere from 250GB to 2TB of HDD capacity, an Nvidia powered GPU, gigabit Ethernet and optional WiFi.
And it’ll all cost you a beefy $2,599, at its very base. What’s all this about a recession now?
Less than a month after Fujitsu announced it would end production of read/write heads for hard drives, the company has sold off its HDD business to Toshiba. The two companies are aiming to have the transfer completed in the first quarter of 2009. Previously, Fujitsu was engaged in takeover talks with Western Digital, but the two couldn't agree on terms.
"Fujitsu will facilitate the transfer by bringing its HDD-related businesses and functions together in a new company," Fujitsu wrote in a press release. "Toshiba will acquire about an 80 percent stake in this company and make it a Toshiba Group subsidiary. In order to promote a smooth transfer, Fujitsu will continue to hold a stake of under 20 percent in the new company for a certain period of time, after which it will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Toshiba."
Toshiba, who is already a player in the 2.5-inch HDD market, looks to reinforce its position, while also moving in on the enterprise HDD market, an area Fujitsu has been very active. Toshiba is also looking at the solid-state drive (SSD) market, "fusing Toshiba's NAND flash memory technology with Fujitsu's enterprise HDD technology." Despite the heavy focus in the past several months, SSDs have been intentionally overlooked by Fujitsu, who has been turned off random write performance.
Toshiba said it will aim to raise its share in the overall HDD market to over 20 percent by 2015.
Safe surfing remains the best defense against internet-borne attacks, but it won't provide you that warm fuzzy feeling that an additional layer of protection offers should you slip up. And if you share your PC, your safe computing regime goes straight out the window if your roommate wanders haphazardly across the web.
In an attempt to beef up security, Linksys announced it is teaming up with Trend Micro to integrate the latter's Home Network Defender internet security software into its routers to help block malicious sites from doing harm. Previously offered as a software application, Home Network Defender will be integrated with the Linksys WRT310N and WRT610N routers, offering protection to any computers connected to the network.
The software integration is meant to deny access to sites it deems unsafe with user-adjustable sensitivity controls, as well as embed parental controls and user-activity reporting into the above mentioned routers. What it won't do is offer anti-virus protection, however Linksys says that four licenses of Trend Micro Antivirus plus AntiSpyware will come included as part of the deal.
Existing WRT310N and WRT610N have the option of upgrading their router's firmware for the new software integration, which will carry a 30-day complimentary trial. After that, the service runs $60/year.
The SSD era is fast approaching and Intel would like nothing more than to flood the retail channel with its own branded solid-state drives. To help do that, and to clear out stockpiled inventory, Intel has started offering significant discounts to its channel partners who opt to buy Core i7 processors and SSDs bundled together, says Digitimes.
According to the report, discounts range from 10 to 15 percent and primarily target markets in China, Europe, and North America. For reference, pricing for the company's latest SSDs looks like this:
X25-E 32GB: $410
X18-M 80GB: $385
X25-M 80GB: $385
X18-M 160GB: $760
Intel also plans to launch the X25-E 64GB later this year for $790, before discount. However, it's not a given that the bundled price points will result in less expensive parts for the end-user. There's no stipulation in place that the discount has to be passed on to consumers, and vendors could opt to keep the savings for themselves.
OCZ has been pretty clear that the delays on their Vertex drives was due to the state of their firmware, and now that they appear to have that part out of the way, they’re boasting some mighty impressive numbers.
The latest version of their firmware speeds up sequential read and write performance, so much that it can keep up with Intel’s X-25E Extreme series. But, the Vertex will feature lower prices and higher capacities.
The Indilinx Barefoot SSD controller that the Vertex uses was initially specified to work at 200MB/s sequential read and 160MB/s sequential write, whereas the latest version was able to blow those old numbers out of the water, now moving at 250MB/s sequential read and 240MB/s sequential write.
Upgrading is an obligation of any self-respecting PC geek. It’s an affirmation of your thirst for power, a healthy rejection of the status quo. Upgrading is an acknowledgement of the fact that there’s always a way to improve your rig. You may have the funds for premium parts—lucky you. We’ll tell you exactly what those parts are. But even if your means are more modest, there are affordable parts in every major component category that can breathe new life into an aged PC.
Regardless of your financial situation, you must address some important questions before embarking on an upgrade. First, you need to honestly assess your rig’s merits. You shouldn’t waste money upgrading your PC if it still sports an AGP slot or a pre-AM2 Athlon 64 motherboard. The question you should ask yourself is whether it’s more cost effective to gut the machine and replace its primary components—motherboard, CPU, memory, and videocard—than it is to do a piecemeal retrofit. If you look at your rig and decide to build new, check out our full build-a-pc guide, but if you’re ready to proceed with an upgrade, click to find out how!
If you want to take full advantage of your PC’s audio potential, you should connect your rig to your A/V receiver and passive speakers—or a really good set of powered speakers. But accomplishing this task is often tricky, thanks to a combination of digital rights issues, proprietary surround-sound algorithms, and evolving connection standards.
Computers outfitted with Blu-ray drives and certain late-model videocards can deliver Blu-ray video over HDMI, but getting HD audio that way is another issue. An HDMI cable can carry both high-definition video and up to eight channels of high-definition audio (front left and right, front center, rear left and right, side left and right, and low-frequency effects). Blu-ray discs are typically encoded using Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD, or DTS-HD Master Audio; all three of these eight-channel lossless compression codecs can deliver bit-for-bit perfect copies of the original movie soundtrack. Here lies the rub: PCs currently cannot output audio encoded in any of these formats over HDMI.
A properly outfitted PC running CyberLink’s PowerDVD 8, however, can decrypt and decompress Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD and output it as uncompressed eight-channel LPCM (linear pulse code modulation) to HDMI. However, while videocards based on newer Nvidia GPUs are outfitted with HDMI, they’re all limited to two-channel LPCM (linear pulse code modulation) audio over HDMI, and that’s only if your motherboard has a S/PDIF-out header
AMD’s RV7xx-series cards can deliver uncompressed eight-channel LPCM audio over HDMI because they route the signals over the PCI Express bus. For integrated graphics, motherboards with Nvidia’s GeForce 8300 chipsets (for AMD CPUs) and GeForce 9300 or GeForce 9400 chipsets (for Intel CPUs), and those with Intel’s G35 Express, G45 Express, and G965 Express chipsets can do it, too.
We highlight the four most common PC audio scenarios. Pick the one that fits your situation and we’ll show you the best way to integrate your PC into your home-theater system.
Diamonds might be a girl's best friend, but Sparkle's Diamonds Sputtering technology looks to cozy up to videocards in an attempt to offer better heat dissipation.
The company today announced the new technology, which it says consists of outfitting the cooling fins on videocards with a Diamond-like Carbon (DLC) membrane. According to Sparkle and its R&D team, DLC offers high heat conduction capable of dissipating heat much more effectively than copper alone.
"The diamonds do heat dissipation four times faster than copper, it relies on the phonons which is produced by the crystal lattice vibration, to bring heat to lower temperature places," Sparkle wrote in its press release. "Diamond-like Carbon can achieve both functions at the same time, that is, transferring heat to lower temperature places with both graphite metal bond and diamond insulation bond (the covalent bond)."
It gets even more technical and goes on to discuss the process of Plasma Enhanced CVD (PECVD) to plate the DLC membrane on videocards, but the end result is a 5C temperature reduction on a 9500GT, according to Sparkle. But don't hold your breath for diamond-cooled videocards any time soon. Sparkle admits the technology carries a "high" cost and is still mulling over bringing DLC to market.
With the recent release of Nvidia's GTX 285 (single GPU) and 295 (dual-GPU) videocards, ATI's performance crown has been under siege. But according to chatter around the web, the GPU maker is set to respond with a new videocard in a couple of months.
Specifically, VR-Zone claims to have confirmed ATI will release its HD 4890 in April. The new card is expected to use the RV790 core and would appear to put to rest an earlier rumor stating ATI plans to name its new card the HD 4970. As currently spec'd, the HD 4890 will come clocked at 850MHz with GDDR5 running at 975MHz. The current RV770-based HD 4870 runs at 750MHz (core) and 900MHz (memory).
VR-Zone also says there will be two versions of the new card, a standard and OC edition. The standard edition is expected to launch in mid-April, with the OC card reaching retail by the end of April. if the rumor pans out, expect the OC edition to cost $299 at launch.
iBuyPower does their very best to sing the hymn of the bargain computer shopper, and this time they’ve managed to come out in tune. Their most recent verses are the Dragon Based Gamer HAF 91B and the Gamer Fire.
The HAF 91B will feature Phenom II X4 CPU 920 processor, 4GB DDR2, 500GB HDD, an ATI 512MB Radeon HD 3850, and will run you about $999. The Fire runs along the same lines, featuring a Phenom II X4 940 CPU, 750GB HDD, and the rest of the hardware essentially the same for $1,439.
If you’re looking for a new gaming rig on the cheap, don’t hesitate to check these two out. On paper, they look to be mighty steady choices.