Intel has kicked off a PC Mod contest to help generate some publicity and enthusiasm over the new Core i7 and Core i5 processors. Not that Intel needs to drum up any excitement about the processors; most enthusiasts have been anticipating them for quite some time.
The contest involves building, or modding, a computer with the new technology and submitting photos of your build to Intel. There will be a preliminary judging by Intel and sponsors and the top mods will be sent to the People’s Choice finals where the public can vote on the mod they like the best.
You can get more details at the Intel Core i7 Custom Challenge site. The deadline for submissions is November 16th and voting begins November 23rd.
The folks over at 3M’s Optical Systems Division are excited to announce a new field sequential 3D optical film for handheld devices. They are crazy about their films over there at 3M and are hoping to change the mobile market with this latest development.
The new film should help motivate manufacturers to create new 3D mobile devices, applications and gaming products around the technology. “Our 3D optical film solution is designed to enhance communication and interaction by providing an immersive, compelling visual 3D experience for mobile devices” said Jim Bauman, VP of 3M’s Optical Systems.
3M Optical also managed to make the new film easy to integrate into the assembly process. It only requires the modification or upgrade of a couple layers in the optical film stack to produce the extra sensory experience they hope to achieve.
If you happen to be in Korea next week, they’ll be demoing the product at the Korea International Exhibition Center.
The stereotypical Mac user is apparently not so stereotypical. While often portrayed as smug, self-righteous, and clueless about Windows-based PCs, it turns out they may well be smug, self-righteous, but not so clueless about PCs.
According to a recent study by the NDP Group of 2,300 households, nearly 85% of Mac owners also own at least one Windows-based PC. Mac users also tend to be more acquisitive of electronic gear than their PC counterparts, being more likely to own an iPod, digital SLR camera, a laptop, and three or more computers. Not surprisingly, Mac households also have pretty deep pockets, with 36% of them reporting incomes greater than $100,000 (compared to 21% of all consumers).
The study also reports that Mac penetration is on the rise. Between 2008 and 2009, the NDP Group reports, Mac households jumped from 9% to 12%, a possible sign of the effectiveness of Apple’s “I’m a Mac” ads. But this increase doesn’t necessarily appear to be at the expense of PCs, with Mac owners being likely to have a PC as well.
We haven’t seen a new two-terabyte drive on the market in a while—not since we reviewed the Western Digital Caviar Green in May, in fact—but Seagate has finally added a 2TB drive to its Barracuda LP line of desktop drives. The LP (or low-power) line is Seagate’s “green” offering, equivalent to Western Digital’s GreenPower and Samsung’s EcoDrives. With an unusual 5,900rpm rotational speed—down from the 7,200rpm offered by the rest of the Barracuda line—the LP series trades performance for power savings and reduced heat output. Thankfully, it doesn’t sacrifice much speed in the process.
Unlike the performance-oriented Barracuda 7200.11 and 7200.12 series, the LP focuses on low power consumption, at both idle and full-spin states. We praised the low power consumption of Western Digital’s 2TB drive compared to the 1.5TB Barracuda 7200.11, but the LP series evens the playing field. On our test rig, the 2TB Barracuda drew around 4W at idle, slightly lower than the 2TB Caviar Green’s 5W, and 8W while operating, while the Caviar operated at around 9W. Both drives draw less power than the Barracudas of yore.
Not everyone considers themselves an early adopter of new technology, and one of the advantages in timing your next upgrade to coincide with new releases is that current parts tend to plummet in price. But if you're looking to score a deal on a GT200 series GPU once Nvidia launches its next-gen parts, you may find the opposite to be true.
According to sources in the retail channel, a shortage of 55nm-made graphics cards is expected to last through the holidays and into the first quarter of 2010. This will affect both AMD and Nvidia, as the two companies divert their attention toward DirectX 11-based 40nm GPUs, DigiTimes reports.
The sources went on to specifically point out Nvidia's GT200 series GPU, saying the graphics chip maker does not plan to increase supply following the launch of Windows 7.
We're all about a hardcore naming scheme that eschews the now overused 'Extreme' nomenclature, so we applaud Asus for its new TUF (The Ultimate Force) series, at least in title.
Kicking off the TUF series is the Sabertooth 55i. Based on Intel's P55 chipset and built around Asus' own 'Marine Cool' concept unveiled at CeBIT earlier this year, the Sabertooh comes equipped with the new CeraMIX heatsink. Through the use of ceramics and a microfin surface texture, the CeraMIX heatsink purports to dissipate heat more rapidly than traditional anti-oxidant compounds, Asus says.
Other TUF attributes include direct memory cooling by way of a CoolMem fan frame that encloses most standard 40mm or 50mm computer fans and fits directly below the memory slots, military-certified capacitors and MOSFETs, E.S.P. (Effcient Switching Power. Drat! We were hoping for a board with a sixth sense), a 12+2 power phase design, and other goodies.
Pardon us if we’re so oversaturated with so-called “extreme” potato chips and soda that we’re skeptical about anything bearing that moniker.
It doesn’t help that Nexto’s eXtreme ND2700 hardly looks the part. When we actually fired up the ND2700 and started copying files to it, however, we almost had to let out a whoop. Using a 16GB SanDisk, umm, Extreme III CF card, the ugly little ND2700 copied roughly 8.3GB of image files in 11:27 (min:sec). That’s about how fast it would take you to dump the files to your desktop via USB and that’s good news for people who think the microwave is too slow.
The ND2700 comes with a standard USB cable, as well as an eSATA cable and a short USB pig tail that lets you hook up a USB flash drive or hard drive so you can also back up all your files with the push of a button.
Just in case laying claim as the fastest single-GPU videocard on the planet wasn't enough of a selling point for AMD's recently released HD 5870 videocard, Asus has added a twist that it claims will boost performance by up to 38 percent: Voltage Tweak Technology.
According to Asus, owners of its newly launched EAH5870/2DIS/1GD5 and EAH5850/2DIS/1GD5 videocards will be able to crank up GPU voltages through its SmartDoctor application. On the HD 5870, end users can raise the volts from 1.15V to 1.35V, boosting GPU and memory clockspeeds from 850MHz and 4800MHz (effective) to 1035Mhz and 5200MHz. On the HD 5850, gamers can up the volts from 1.088V to 1.4V, which is enough to overclock the GPU and memory from 725MHz and 4000MHz to 1050MHz and 5200MHz.
By doing so, Asus' own benchmarking noted a 17 percent performance gain in 3DMark Vantage Extreme on the 5870, and an impressive 38 percent jump on the 5850.
The folks over at the University of Utah are working on using wireless networking equipment to see through walls. Yep, they are trying to turn your wifi network into an investigative x-ray machine.
Well, it is slightly more complicated than that. They set up a 34-node wireless network and used principals similar to sonar to aggregate the movement of objects behind physical objects. You can practically hear the excitement from all the spy-happy teenagers. Joey Wilson and Neal Patwari’s intentions were much more altruistic.
Obviously, privacy is a concern. But let’s face it, you’ve got nothing to hide so long as you aren’t a terrorist, hostage wrangler, or scantily clad getting out of the shower.
More details about why they did it after the jump.
Streaming boxes are a mixed bag these days. With super-polished commercial offerings like the AppleTV, as well as streaming functionality integrated in every other consumer electronics device—from the Xbox 360 to the TiVo—we thought the age of the dedicated streaming box had passed. However, the SageTV HD Theater offers something a little different than the typical UPNP or DLNA streaming box—but it’ll cost you.
Starting with the additional $80 for SageTV’s Media Center app, which should be a requirement for using the HD Theater. If you install the SageTV software on a PC equipped with an HDTV card, it turns that PC into a fully functional PVR, complete with an onscreen guide and basic scheduling functionality. SageTV’s Media Center is an acceptable PVR, offering more customizability than Windows Media Center and none of its annoying DRM, albeit in a less-polished product. The software’s 10-foot interface is incredibly customizable, but can be a little unwieldy and slow to browse, even when run on a fast PC.