Last month we reviewed Western Digital’s MyBook World Edition, a small, white, single-drive, one-terabyte NAS box aimed solidly at Joe User. This month, we have the Seagate BlackArmor NAS 440, the MyBook’s polar opposite in many ways. It’s big, it’s black, it’s user-serviceable, comes with four Barracuda 7200.11 1.5TB drives, and is marketed toward small businesses without a dedicated IT staff.
The BlackArmor 440 is a brick, the front of which has a two-line green LCD status screen, a front door that opens to reveal the four hot-swappable screwless drive bays, one of the box’s four USB 2.0 host ports, and a power button. The back holds the 12cm exhaust fan, the power jack (for the external power brick), two Gigabit Ethernet ports, and the other three USB 2.0 ports.
The LCD display offers system status information and a few buttons to navigate with, but the real power comes from the BlackArmor’s web interface, which is easily accessible from the BlackArmor Discovery software included with the NAS. The Discovery software also provides easy mapping of shared folders—the defaults are Public and Downloads.
The CPU wars in the desktop market have grown pretty stale with Intel's Core i7 architecture kicking AMD's tail, but when it comes to the server sector, the battle is starting to heat up.
Enter IBM, who at this week's Hot Chips conference officially unveiled its muscular 8-core Power7 processor. The mighty chip is expected to pack 1.2 billion transistors onto a 45nm die. Each core will boast 12 execution units, as well as 32 threads per chip and advanced pre-fetching data and instruction sets.
"I am sure Power7 will be the fastest processor around, probably faster than Intel's Nehalem in some benchmarks," said Nathan Brookwood, principal of market watcher Insight64.
Other specs include scalability up to 32 sockets, 256KB L2 cache per core, 32MB of on chip eDRAM shared L3 cache, dual DDR3 memory controllers, 100GB/s memory bandwidth per chip, and 360GB/s SMP bandwidth per chip.
In the two years since we reviewed the first version of ID Vault, phishing attacks have increased by more than 180 percent, identity theft is up 25 percent, and organized crime has figured out ways to hijack financial sites and DNS servers.
For the most part, putting financial information into a browser is about as safe as walking through Central Park in one of those Chuck Bronson Death Wish movies.
So, you’d think ID Vault would be one of those tools you’d put on a chain and wear around your neck everywhere you go, but it isn’t. For those not up on ID Vault, it’s an encrypted USB key that stores your user names and passwords. If you want to go to your bank, eBay, or Amazon, you plug in the ID Vault and use a virtual keyboard to punch in a code (to thwart key loggers). The ID Vault client on your PC then goes to the site, makes sure you’re actually on a legitimate IP address for that particular website, and logs in for you.
We've seen a plethora of new SSDs come to market this past year, some of which have been geared towards upping the performance ante while others have attempted to make the price-per-GB ratio a bit more appealing. Corsair's new Extreme Series X256 focuses solely on the former and turns a blind eye towards the latter.
"The new 256GB Extreme Series X256 is a response to the growing popularity of high-capacity SSDs, and it joins our Performance Series P256 at the top of its range, for enthusiasts who want the fastest speeds and plenty of space available for their pictures, music, and videos."
The new drive combines the Indilinx Barefoot controller with Samsung MLC NAND flash memory and is aimed at "enthusiasts who don't want to compromise on speed or capacity." To that end, the 256GB drive boasts read speeds of up to 240MB/s and write speeds of up to 170MBs, 64MB of cache to help prevent stuttering, and user-upgradeable firmware.
OCZ on Monday announced several new low-voltage DDR3 kits the company claims has been designed specifically for the upcoming Intel P55 chipset. All six dual-channel kits come rated at 1.65V, partially a result of "using sophisticated IC screening methods."
“OCZ is excited to introduce a complete range of new DDR3 dual channel memory kits that are engineered specifically for Intel’s cutting edge P55 platform,” commented Alex Mei, CMO for the OCZ Technology Group. “These gaming kits make use of high quality hand screened chips to deliver exceptional performance and stability at surprisingly low voltages when paired with the latest Intel processors and chipset.”
The new kits include:
DDR3-1866, Platinum, 2x2GB, 9-9-9-27
DDR3-1866, Gold, 2x2GB, 10-10-10-27
DDR3-1600, Platinum, 2x2GB, 7-7-7-24
DDR3-1600, Gold, 2x2GB, 8-8-8-24
DDR3-1333, Platinum, 2x2GB, 7-7-7-20
DDR3-1333, Gold, 2x2GB, 9-9-9-20
All six kits come with OCZ's familiar honeycomb heatspreader. OCZ also claims that each module is "100 percent hand tested."
As Intel's socket 1156-based Core i5 and Core i7 processors inch closer to an official release, look for motherboard vendors to start rolling out new mobos built around Intel's P55 chipset. That's exactly what Foxconn has done, who over the weekend unveiled its Inferno Katana motherboard as part of the company's Quantum Force series.
There's a lot to like about the Inferno Katana, at least on paper. Power user features are aplenty, including a 12 phase hybrid PWM and DirectFET MOSFET technology, 2 phase for VTT and memory, and a "Fuzzy Equalizer," which is an LED indicator light for displaying the PWM loading status.
Other specs include support for up to 16GB of dual-channel DDR3-1800, 8 SATA ports, 7.1 channel onboard audio with Dolby DTS, 3 PCI-E 2.0 x16 slots, 8 USB 2.0 ports, and "performance comparable to if not better than the C/P ratio of the Core i7."
Western Digital wants you to have a NAS box. Yes, you, Joe Consumer. A NAS box so easy your grandmother can set it up, but powerful enough that you can use it from anywhere. WD’s solution: a one-drive, non-user-serviceable slab of white plastic called the MyBook World Edition. Similar in form to the MyBook external hard drive, but with Gigabit Ethernet replacing the USB port, the MyBook World aims to be your family’s go-to repository for backup, sharing, and streaming.
Western Digital packages its single-drive MyBook World with either 1TB or 2TB Caviar Green low-power-consumption drives, wrapped in a sleek white “book” shape, with ventilation holes through the “pages.” The spine of the MyBook World features a white LED strip that displays status and capacity indicators; on its opposite side are a power jack, Gigabit Ethernet port, power button, reset hole, and USB host port for attaching additional storage.
The MyBook World ships with a handy WD Discovery utility that will auto-detect your MyBook on the network, let users map network drives, and configure the drive via a web interface. The included 30-day trial of the WD Anywhere backup software is not particularly noteworthy except for its ease of use—better backup options exist, especially once your trial runs out.
Move over quad-core and make room for six-core chips. Intel is ready to start promoting its six-core Westmere processors, which the chip maker plans to talk at length about at this year's Intel Developer's Forum (IDF) in September.
Aimed at both desktops and notebooks, the 32nm Westmere processor will be built around Intel's Nehalem architecture. Production will begin before the end of the year with a formal launch expected in early 2010.
"Where Nehalem was new chip architecture design, Westmere is the next design being used to build processors that feature two 32nm cores with 4MB of cache that sit next to a memory controller and integrated graphics built on a separate, neighboring 45nm chip, all in one package. Westmeres will be the basis of upcoming all new Core chips (Core i3, i5, and 7) over the next few months," Intel wrote in a blog post.
Intel also has an eight-core Nehalem EX processor planned for later this year, but those will be aimed at two-socket servers, not home desktops.
According to news and rumor site DigiTimes, Asus plans to keep busy this fall launching a number of new products. Among them are an Nvidia Ion-based Eee Box, Eee Top all-in-one PC, and two ultra-thin notebooks under its U/UX series.
The 20-inch Eee Top will come with an Intel dual-core Atom 330 processor and cost around $670. Details on the Ion-based rig remain sparse, though it will reportedly sell for a little over $300. Both of these -- along with the ultra-thin notebooks -- will launch in September.
A month later, Asus plans to launch the Eee Keyboard for somewhere between $400 and $500. The Eee Keyboard will work as a fully-functional PC and sport a wireless connection hub.
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.