In a change of pace, DDR2 pricing has finally surpassed DDR3, at least on the contract side. According to DRAMeXchange, contract quotes for 2GB DDR2 modules jumped up to an average of $31.50 in the first half of October, a little above DDR3's $31 quote. In addition, 1Gb (gigabit, not gigabyte) DDR2 chips have settled at $1.78, slightly above DDR3 at $1.75.
In the spot market, DRAMeXchange notes that prices for 1Gb DDR2 surged by 5 percent in a single day on October 8, and average quotes for 1Gb DDR2 800MHz chips managed to top the $2 mark at $2.24.
What this all means going forward is anyone's guess in the unpredictable memory market. But it at least appears that DDR3 will become a better bang/buck investment on the consumer side than DDR2. Elpida has already announced plans to increase output of DDR3 chips from 20,000-30,000 up to around 75,000 wafers per month, and Samsung also said it would ramp up production.
Iomega today announced the next generation of its double-drive desktop NAS box, the StorCenter ix2-200. The box comes available in 1TB, 2TB, and 4TB capacities, each with a four-step setup process, and sports a few noteworthy tricks, such as built-in torrent support.
It also touts multiple IP security camera support, RAID 1 configurations, device-to-device replication, VMWare certification, Time Machine support for Apple computer backups, Bluetooth, remote access, and a bunch more marketing bullets.
"The new StorCenter ix2-200 is definitely the easiest to use small office and consumer network storage appliance in the marketplace today," said Jonathan Huberman, president of Iomega and the Consumer and Small Business Products Division of EMC.
Both the 1TB and 2TB models are available now for $270 and $370, respectively. The 4TB NAS box will debut later this month for $700.
It's hard to argue with the success of Amazon's Kindle e-book reader, which has prompted competition running the gamut from Asus and MSI, to startups looking to cash in on the rapidly growing market. But one company Amazon apparently needn't worry about is Microsoft.
"We have a device for reading. It's the most popular device in the world. It's the PC," Microsoft's Chief Executive Steve Ballmer said on Thursday.
Er, what? But Ballmer wasn't joking and went on to say that Microsoft would be willing to work with Amazon to port more books over to the PC.
"I would love to see companies like Amazon and others bring their books to the PC," Ballmer said. "Hopefully, we can get that to happen with Barnes & Noble or Amazon or somebody. But no, we are not interested in e-readers ourselves."
Microsoft might not be interested in e-readers, but consumers are. Portable readers are expected to do particularly well this holiday shopping season, and Industry research firm Forrester this week raised its forecast for e-reader sales by 50 percent to 3 million units.
The future looks bright for touchscreen computing, which will get a boost from Windows 7's built-in support for multitouch technology. And in case you haven't noticed, touchscreen PCs are beginning to gain steam. But is the world ready for touch computing in its current form?
"The question is, can we rethink the touch interface as a first-class citizen and provide a fresh approach to the desktop?," says Anand Agarawala, founder and CEO of Toronto's Bumptop. "Not only is touch a more natural way to interact with your desktop, but it also adds to your productivity."
Up to now, there hasn't been much motivation to focus on touch. According to Display Search, only about 3 percent of desktops and notebooks currently come with a touchscreen. Touch technology is much more prominent in the smartphone market, so the first step is getting the hardware out there. Then there's the task of making touchscreens easier to use and functionally relevant.
"PCs with touchscreens look cool, but what do you do with them?," says Jennifer Colegrove, a director at Display Search. "When it comes to the iPhone there are 50,000 applications that use touch -- but what do you do on a PC with touch?"
That question might be answered sooner than you think.
Sony is accepting pre-orders for its newest laptop, the Sony Vaio X Series. Though most would consider this a “netbook” solution due to its hardware, it might be one of the snazziest, albeit most expensive, looking netbooks on the market.
Sony managed to cram an 11.1” widescreen, up to 2GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD and a 2GHz Intel Atom processor into a half-inch body weighing 1.6 pounds. They piled up some extras too: internal Verizon Mobile Broadband, GPS, webcam, and memory card readers. Oh, did I forget to mention, you could get up to 14 hours of use out of the included, extended battery (up to 3.5 hours with the standard).
No doubt, the extended battery increases the size and weight of the book, but all-things-considered it may be worth it to be that long without a power cable.
The price tag is steep (starts at $1299) for netbook-grade performance. You can check out more pics and pre-order your own at the Sony Style site. Is the X Series too rich for your blood?
Samsung Electronics, well known for its wide variety of computer peripherals, flat screen televisions, and digital cameras, appears poised to enter the memory card market.
DigiTimes is reporting that Samsung has struck an agreement with memory card maker Transcend to jointly market the cards for the Taiwan market. Samsung’s offerings will be targeted to the high-end market. Further details were not provided.
Neither Samsung or Transcend commented on the report. A formal announcement of the agreement is expected on October 20.
Has your PC been on th fritz lately? If so, there's a good chance it's the system memory causing all those headaches, according to Google's research. Google, which has several thousand computers in its data centers, collected real-world data on its systems and wrote a research paper (PDF) titled "DRAM Errors in the Wild: A Large-Scale Field Study."
"We found the incidence of memory errors and the range of error rates across different DIMMs (dual pin-line memory modules) to be much higher than previously reported," according to the paper written by Bianca Schroeder, a professor at the University of Toronto, and Google's Eduardo Pinheiro and Wolf-Dietrich Weber. "Memory errors are not rare events."
The results might surprise you. Google's research reveals that correctable memory errors occur in one of every three of the company's servers each year, and one in a hundred suffer an uncorrectable error, which usually leads to a crash.
It's important to note that Google's servers use ECC (error correction code) memory, yet each module, on average, suffered nearly 4,000 correctable errors per year. So what's the big deal if they're correctable? A correctable error on a Google machine is likely an uncorrectable error on your PC, says Peter Glaskowsky, an analyst at the Envisioneering Group.
However, Glaskowsky also points out that most consumer PCs aren't manipulating tons of data in memory.
Buffalo, who has offices in Japan, USA, Germany, UK, Ireland, and Taiwan, is well on its way to being the first to release a USB 3.0 hard drive. On Tuesday, the networking and storage company said its HD-HU3 series of USB 3.0 external hard drives would be the "world's first" to ship to retailers, Engadget reports.
The company also plans to offer NEC's IFC-PCIE2U3 2-port PCI-Express x1 host controller because, well, what good is a USB 3.0 drive without a controller to take advantage of it?
But before we get ahead of ourselves, it appears the drives will only be available in Japan when they ship later this month. According to Engadget, the 1TB model will run about $225 after the exchange rate, while the 1.5TB will cost $284. Later on, Buffalo plans to release a 2TB model, which will sell for around $530. Add another $60 for the controller.
Look for low-power DDR3 modules to hit retailers before the end of the year. That's because Elpida Memory today said it has finished development of its 40nm 2-gigabit (2Gb, with a lowercase 'b') DDR3 SDRAM and will ship samples next November. Mass production is slated to begin before the end of 2009.
On the manufacturing side, Elpida's smaller 40nm chips allows the company to achieve a 44 percent higher chip yield per wafer compared to 50nm, and a 100 percent yield for DDR3 products that operate at 1.6Gbps, the company said.
Elpida claims its 40nm 2Gb DDR3 chips use about two-thirds less current and support 1.2V to 1.35V operation, in addition to the DDR3 standard 1.5V. That's about a 45 percaent reduction in power consumption, which might not sound like much for a typical home user, but could add up in a server farm.
Acer’s entry-level easyStore H340 gives you everything you need to attach a robust Windows Home Server to your network, with plenty of room to expand. Its technical specs edge out HP’s comparably-priced LX195—both are budget servers equipped with a 1.6GHz Atom processor, but the H340 includes 2GB of RAM and 1TB of included disk storage. The feature that really sets Acer’s offering apart, however, is the availability of four hot-swappable drive bays, meaning you can add three additional 3.5-inch SATA drives with ease. And if those aren’t enough, the H340 also has five powered USB ports and even an eSATA port for you to go nuts with expansions.