To borrow from Jerry Maguire's 'You had me at hello' scene, Maingear's newest product announcement had us 'Core i7,' but lost us when the talk turned to the GPU. The new Prelude 2, as it's being called, combines Intel's Core i7 platform with a Samsung 22-inch LCD monitor and tops it off with Nvidia's 3D Vision Technology, and at under two grand, it sounds like an intriguing proposition. But sticking out like a sore thumb is the inclusion of Nvidia's mid-range 9800GT videocard.
"The fact that Maingear customers will have the ability to play games in 3D stereo is just awesome," said Ujesh Desai, general manager of GPU business at NVIDIA. "NVIDIA GeForce 3D Vision is taking the world by storm, and Maingear’s Prelude 2 is going to deliver a mind-blowing experience."
That "mind-blowing experience" will be delivered by Intel's Core i7 920 (2.66GHz) processor nestled into an Asus P6T X58 motherboard, 3GB of triple channel DDR3-1066 memory, a 250GB Western Digital hard drive with 16MB of cache, onboard audio, a 650W power supply, and Windows Vista Home Premium 32-bit all stuffed inside a Lian-Li enclosure.
To be fair, this is only a baseline configuration. The Prelude 2 offers plenty of customization options, including up to a 1200W power supply, up to two of the hard to find dual-GPU GeForce GTX 295 videocards, Intel's full lineup of Core i7 processors, liquid cooling, up to 12GB of Corsair XMS DDR3-1333MHz memory, up to four hard drives (including Intel's X25-M 80GB SSD, Western Digital's Velociraptor, and RAID 0), and a host of other goodies.
The Prelude 2 is available now from Maingear.com starting at just shy of $2000 (baseline configuration).
Shuttle has always been good about their barebone systems, and that trend doesn’t stop with the SX58H7. This beefy little scrapper comes ready for tons of power, by the means of Intel’s Core i7 and two video cards.
The SX58H7 comes with an X58 Express chipset, and 500 watt PSU, two PCI-Express 2.0 x16 slots, space for up to 16GB of DDR3 DRAM, and room for two SATA II drives. Should you be looking to hook yourself into the lifeline of data, there’s also two gigabit Ethernet jacks on the back.
It’ll run you about $611, which isn’t a pleasant price tag. But, if you’ve got some money burning a hole in your pocket, and want to put a lot of power in a small place, be sure to check this out.
Sony has reached an agreement with Corel to use the latter’s InstantON technology in future Vaio P-series netbooks. Vaio Ps with Corel’s instant-on OS will begin appearing on American store shelves later this month. A lot of PC manufacturers are incorporating instant-on solutions in their netbooks.
The technology allows users to perform tasks like web browsing without having to wait for the main OS to boot. Though both the companies waxed eloquent about the inclusion of Corel’s Instant On technology in the world’s lightest 8 inch notebook, it still doesn’t seem enough to justify the netbook’s $900 price tag.
This is starting to get ugly. It's bad enough watching Intel and Nvidia go at each other over licensing disputes (remember how long we waited for SLI on Intel chipsets?), but the two aren't showing any signs of letting up. In response to Intel's recent lawsuit, which alleges Nvidia has no right to produce chipsets that are compatible with any Intel processor that has an integrated memory controller, the GPU/chipset maker had some choice words for Intel.
"We are confident that our license, as negotiated, applies," said Jen-Hsun Huang, president and CEO of Nvidia. "At the heart of this issue is that the CPU has run its course and the soul of the PC is shifting quickly to the GPU. This is clearly an attempt to stifle innovation to protect a decaying CPU business."
Huang has never been one to mince words, at one time declaring his company would "open a can of whoop-ass." Now less than a year later, the quote-worthy CEO has declared the CPU just another run-of-the-mill component taking a backseat to the GPU.
Nvidia's press release went on to talk up the company's Ion platform, and was quick to point out that it "offers 10x the performance of Intel's current three chip design." Huang also said that given the broad and growing adoption of Nvidia's platforms, including the Ion, he's not the least bit surprised Intel is disputing a four-year-old contract.
You know that couple that is always at odds with each other, turning parties and other get-togethers into awkward affairs? The worst part is when they both turn to you to pick a side, and all you're trying to do is have a good time. For power users, that couple is Intel and Nvidia. We don't know what it is with these two, but just when their relationship appears to be on an upswing, another squabble breaks out.
After years of butting heads, Intel and Nvidia just recently came to agreement over licensing the GPU maker's SLI technology for use on Intel chipsets, and all appeared to be right in the world. But now the two are at it again, this time with Intel taking the offensive. Intel has filed suit against Nvidia this week claiming that the four-year old chipset license agreement between the two does not cover both its current and any future CPUs with integrated memory controllers.
"Intel has filed suit against Nvidia seeking a declaratory judgment over rights associated with two agreements between the companies," Intel said in a statement. "The suit seeks to have the court declare that Nvidia is not licensed to produce chipsets that are compatible with any Intel processor that has integrated memory controller functionality, such as Intel’s Nehalem microprocessors and that Nvidia has breached the agreement with Intel by falsely claiming that it is licensed. Intel has been in discussions with Nvidia for more than a year attempting to resolve the matter but unfortunately we were unsuccessful. As a result Intel is asking the court to resolve this dispute."
Nvida contends that the license agreement is still valid, however admits that it has been "working with Intel to come to some kind of agreement" for the past year. And despite the lawsuit, Nvidia says it has no plans of changing its roadmap, including those chipsets which extend to future processors.
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.