With the all the brouhaha surrounding solid state drives (SSDs), there remains a question of exactly how big of a performance advantage flash memory really holds over today's hard drives. On paper, most SSDs scream ahead in both read and write speeds, but real-world benchmarking paints a different picture. So why the discrepancy? At SandDisk, they're blaming Vista. The company's CEO, Eli Harari, says SSD "performance in the Vista environment falls short of what the market really needs. Vista is not optimized for flash memory solid-state disks."
It's not hard to find fault with Vista, but blaming the OS for underperforming SSDs qualifies as a new one that even Apple hasn't yet exploited in its many mocking commercials. To be fair, Harari made the statement as part of a pitch to improve SSDs' next generation controllers, which he says "need to compensate for Vista's shortfalls." Because of this need, the company claims it is behind schedule bringing competitive SSDs to market.
Is SanDisk justified in pointing the finger at Vista?
Love him or hate him, Johnathan "Fatal1ty" Wendel has managed to get his branding slapped onto nearly every PC component it takes to build a computer, leaving only hard drives and processors left to conquer. Don't believe it? Have a look for yourself. Motherboard? Check. Videocard? Check. Case, soundcard, mouse, keyboard, and headset? Check, check, and check ad nauseum. And thanks to a recent partnership with OCZ now coming to fruition, Fatal1ty can notch both DDR2 and DDR3 memory into his belt too.
"OCZ worked closely with Fatal1ty and his team to desin new memory kits that pair perfectly with the top selling motherboards for a superior gaming experience," commented Alex Mei, cheif marketing officer of OCZ.
Hit the jump to find out why OCZ's excited about the partnership, and whether or not you should be too.
Earlier this month, we ran a feature showing you which parts to buy if you wanted to build an affordable-yet-kick-ass $1300 lean machine. This week, we’re moving up from budget PC recommendations to our power user picks. But with great power, comes great cost. Monetary costs, that is. Our Power User’s PC costs $2500 without a monitor of peripherals – the high end of what we’d expect a PC enthusiast to spend when pieceing together a new rig. We also want to clarify what we mean by Power User’s PC. We see the Power User as someone who maximizes his PC’s processing potential. This person encodes media files, burns high-definition discs, and manipulates image, audio and video files. Gaming is important to the Power User, but this isn’t someone who demands 120 frames per second in multiplayer shooters – he’d rather shave precious seconds off of his video encoding times while multitasking in Photoshop.
Click through to see if our $2500 Power User's PC is right for you!
AMD's struggles have been well documented ever since forfeiting the performance crown to Intel, but perhaps all the company needed was a swift kick in the rump. That appears to be what the company's getting with newly inaugurated Dirk Meyer at the helm serving as AMD's CEO, who had no qualms announcing that his company has initiated a pilot production of microprocessors using a 45nm fabrication processor. That puts the Santa Clara chip maker on track to deliver shipping products in volume in early fourth quarter.
"We are well on track with the 45nm plan as we have been telling this group about in the past. We have actually started production late last quarter and are on track to start buying shipments early in Q4," said Dirk Meyer during the conference call.
That has to be good news to nervous investors, who earlier this month saw their stock fall by as much as 7 percent following news that AMD would take a near billion dollar charge in the second quarter. And while Hector Ruiz's subsequent departure just days later might have signaled to some that the end was near, Meyer's confidence in AMD's ability to stay on schedule with its 45nm plans has to be appreciated by anyone pulling for the Intel competitor (which should be everyone). Before the announcement, analysts were expecting 45nm shipments to start in late Q4, and nobody seems to know what exactly AMD has planned as part of its refocusing strategy. A compelling alternative to Nehalem, perhaps? Let's hope so.
Ever get that eerie feeling you're being watched? Forget what your therapist told you, you have every right to be paranoid. NEC Corp. has just developed a new 50-inch plasma display that not only likes being watched, but watches back. On top of the display sits a tiny camera capable of identifying a person's age and sex, and it can perform the same trick with a group of viewers. Armed with that information, the display can then target advertisements based on the predominate demographic. For example, if most of the viewers are determined to be senior citizens, it might show an ad for the Jitterbug instead of Apple's iPhone.
"Changing advertising products in accordance with the viewer would bring advertising closer to the purchaser," said Hiroshi Takahashi at NEC's solution business promotion division.
And he's right, but is that a good thing? Imagine stopping near a billboard with your longtime girlfriend and as you bend down on one knee to propose, the display starts belting out a "Viva Viagra!" jingle. Or Herpex. Interested parties need only hold their cell phone over a special device and the display will feed them a URL, coupons, and any other pertinent information, but depending on what's being advertised, you may want to wait until your girlfriend's not looking.
The 50-inch display will make an appearance later this summer at an annual festival in Tokyo run by Fuji Television network and be presented as an entertainment device. Visitors will know they're being watched, but will they like it?
We still have a ways to go before being able to print out an entire PC's worth of components ordered through Newegg, but imagine taking that killer motherboard layout you've been brewing in your head and printing out a 3D mockup. Then the only question is do you send your design to your favorite motherboard maker, or start up your own company and show the competition what a real enthusiast's layout is supposed to look like? Forget about Fatal1ty, and slap your own forum nick on your custom mobo!
Sound farfetched? It is, but only because of the high costs associated with 3D printing. Looking to break that barrier is Netherlands-based Shapeways, an ambitious startup who hopes to help you transform your 3D modeling designs from software creations into hard printouts, all without breaking the bank. After submitting your object, Shapeways decides whether or not it can be produced and provides a real-time cost estimate, which the company claims usually runs between $50-$150.
It's all part of Shapeways' private beta for a new online consumer co-creation community and do-it-yourself 3D printing service. The site beta has just gone live, but the only way you'll get to try it out is with an invite. That's no problem for Maximum PC readers, as we've secured 250 exclusive invitations!
Hit the jump to learn more about Shapeways' 3D printing service and to snatch your invite. But hurry, they're first come, first served!
Just how green can we make a PC? Pretty damn green, although the Cherrypal isn’t very pretty or particularly cheap, although $250 isn’t really bad as far as computers go.
On the technical side it can best be described as the 90 pound weakling. The CPU is a 400 MHz Freescale MPC5121e mobile GT triple-core processor, originally developed to run devices like navigation systems in cars. It has 256 MB DDR2 memory, 4 GB of NAND flash memory which contains a Debian Linux-based operating system and the Firefox web browser. It also sports 802.11 b/g Wi-Fi, two USB ports, an Ethernet port, VGA out, and Audio out. It’s just enough to fulfill its purpose -cloud computing.
Basically it allows you to surf, email, watch YouTube, watch Flash animations, and create documents/spreadsheets. Something that does bother me is the claims that the device is secure, because it accesses the Internet through the Cherrypal Cloud. I don’t like that all my data goes through one company like that. There are also many “what ifs” to be answered on that point.
We’ll have to see how this compares to the netbooks when they are actually shipping, Netbooks after all at least look cool. From the picture the Cherrypal looks like a bar of black soap.
Either Charlie Demerjian is drinking some seriously spiked Kool-Aid, or The Inquirer reporter really is privy to what could turn out to be the hottest story this summer. According to the latest rumor (and this one's unconfirmed), two high profile Nvidia add-in board (AIB) partners are jumping ship. And by high profile, Demerjian's talking about XFX and Evga, two of only three Nvidia partners (BFG being the other) to offer a generous lifetime warranty on their videocards.
As if the rumor wasn't already unfathomable, it gets even more shocking. According to the story, which, again, hasn't been confirmed by any other source, not only have XFX and Evga already defected (The Inq claims "paperwork has been signed"), but they're not heading for the hills of ATI. Huh? That's right; the rumor says XFX and Evga aren't following Gainward's lead (yet another defection rumor), so if it turns out to be true, then where could they going?
Find out where XFX and Evga are rumored to be headed after the jump.
For the all the benefits organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs) have to offer, high costs have kept the technology from becoming commonplace. And when OLED devices do emerge, they tend to command a premium, putting them out of reach for mainstream consumption. But while the world waits for a breakthrough to bring low-cost OLEDs into the marketplace, Toshiba and Matsushita (Panasonic) might already be there.
According to a report from Japan's Nikkei BP, the two tech giants say they are poised to become the first Japanese companies to mass-produce OLED screens. Toshiba Matsushita Display Technology Co. (60 percent owned by Toshiba and 40 percent by Matsushita) appears ready to churn out 1 million 2.5-inch organic screens per month by fall of 2009, and will target mostly handheld devices like mobile phones and GPS navigators.
The 2.5-inch screen size remains the sweet spot for many portable devices, and if the two companies' claims turn out to be true, we could see a deluge of OLED devices rolled out in a very short time period starting in late '09
PC enthusiasts have reason to grin these days, because never has the market been as price friendly as it is right now. Just a shade over $100 suddenly gets you an overclockable Core 2 Duo, and it's not just Intel slashing prices either. Videocards have dropped in price so fast that at least two suppliers (XFX and Evga) are giving early adopters cash back. Prefer an ultraportable over a desktop? No problem, Asus has your back.
There was no announcement, but Engadget reports the Eee PC 1000H can now be had for $100 less than just one week ago. And they're right. A quick jaunt to Newegg verifies the price drop, though it's currently out of stock until Friday. Could this be a sign that the ultraportable market is heating up for a price war?