Despite winning the high-definition format war, Blu-ray adoption appears to be at a standoff with most consumers. Not everyone is willing to pay the relatively high prices associated with Blu-ray players, and that decision has been aided by the prominence of streaming media (a la Netflix) and upconverting standard DVD players. And it looks like consumers were right to wait.
Panasonic, Philips, and Sony have jointly announced plans to create a single licensing firm for Blu-ray patents, which should help drive prices down across the board. The new license is expected to cover all the essential Blu-ray patents to be overseen by an un-named licensing company in the U.S and run by Gerald Rosenthal, former head of intellectual property at IBM.
"By establishing a new licensing entity that offers a single license for Blu-ray Disc products at attractive rates, I am confident that it will foster the growth of the Blu-ray Disc marekt and serve the interest of all companies participating in this market, be it as licensee or licensor," Rosenthal said.
As it stands today, licensing Blu-ray requires talking to each of the three partner companies, but under the new plan, the group estimates the cost of a license to be "at least 40 percent lower than the current cumulative royalty rate." How much of that ends up being passed on to consumers remains to be seen, though we won't have to wait long to find out. The new plan is expected to be introduced by the middle of the year.
There has been some renewed excitement over AMD's triple-core Phenom X3 processors after at least one user claims to have been able to unlock the fourth core. The post appeared on Korean website Playwares.com backed by what appear to be legitimately looking screenshots. Using a Bisotar TA790GX motherboard, all it supposedly took was changing the "Advanced Clock Calibration" in the BIOS to 'Auto,' which reportedly unlocks the disabled core.
Citing un-named motherboard makers, DigiTimes says the report has caused an upsurge in demand for AMD's Phenom X3 chips. Those same sources also described the credibility of unlocking reports as very high, but cautioned that it might only apply to specific batches of CPUs and not the whole tri-core lineup.
Not surprisingly, AMD isn't commenting on whether or not the disabled cores can be re-enabled. And until we see it for ourselves or from a reputable source, we remain skeptical that it can be done.
Joseph Kohl, a 75-year-old Floridian, proved to be more than a match for a much younger thief. With his life’s very first laptop at stake, Kohl decided to give chase to the 29-year-old thief. Kohl was joined by an off-duty cop - who fortuitously happened to be at the scene - in the pursuit.
Kohl was waiting for his wife outside a Best Buy store after having bought a laptop and a printer, but Samuel Dallas Jarvis showed up instead. Jarvis then proceeded to grab Kohl’s laptop and set out on a run. But, apparently, his pickup was not anything to write home about as he could not really bolt out of the blocks as he would have liked; his elderly victim had to merely run about 8 feet to nab the crook.
When the off-duty cop showed up, it was game, set, match, and laptop to Jarvis. “I have no idea what computers are about, but I didn’t want him taking my first one,” Kohl said after the incident.
It looks like Dell, keeping with their latest trend of sneaking machines onto their website, has added a graceful new addition to their line of Studio XPS desktops; the Studio XPS 435.
Under the hood of the 435 you’ll find a 3.2GHz Core i7 running on an X58 chipset, room for up to 24GB of DDR3 RAM, and 4.5TB of storage across three hard drive bays. To make it all show up on your monitor, they’ll include a Radeon HD4870. And, of course, to help sweeten the deal they’re tossing in a Blu-ray drive, a 15-in-1 card reader, and a whopping eight USB ports.
Currently there’s no word on pricing or availability, but we’re guessing that a machine packing stats like those will give one’s checking account plenty to worry about.
In what the company claims is a first (and as far as we can tell, they're right), Palit Microsystems has released a GeForce GTX 285 videocard outfitted with 2GB of memory. Every other GTX 285 currently ships with 1GB.
Whether or not the additional memory buffer proves a worthwhile investment remains to be seen, but it's worth noting the GTX 285 is Nvidia's fastest single-GPU solution available, second in speed only to the dual-GPU GTX 295. We've often seen graphics partners outfit lower end cards with additional memory, which is almost always of dubious value, but that isn't the case here.
Palit also lays claim to offering the first custom designed GTX 285. Deviating from the reference heatsink/fan assembly, Palit has outfitted its GTX 285 series with two PWM fans and four heat pipes.
"Conceived for two GPUs, the two PWM fans are able to provide sufficient air flow to cool GPU on the graphics quietly," Palit wrote in a press release. "The PWM fan created for both fans can adjust the fan speed depending on the GPU's temperature."
Palit also offers the GTX 285 in a more standard 1GB configuration. No word yet on pricing or availability for either model.
Slumping demand continues to take its toll on the memory chip industry. Micron, the largest U.S. maker of memory chips, said earlier this week that it has been particularly affected by decreased demand for specialty DRAM products, and as a result it plans to phase out 200mm wafer manufacturing operations in its Boise, Idaho facility.
"This action will reduce employment at Micron's Idaho sites by approximately 500 employees in the near term and as many as 2,000 positions by the end of the company's fiscal year," Micron said in a statement. "The company has sufficient manufacturing capacity remaining and does not expect any disruption in product supply required for customer needs."
Micron went on to say that these latest job cuts were not anticipated and not part of the 15 percent global workforce reduction it announced last October.
The chip maker said it will continue to operate its 300mm research and development fabrication facility at the Boise site. Financially, Micron expects cash restructuring charges to be in the vicinity of $50 million, which Micron says will generate a gross annualized operating cash benefit of $150 million.
Forget about a woman scorned - Hell hath no fury like Intel and Nvidia going at each other, both in and out of the courtroom. After being sued by Intel last week over a Nehalem chipset license, Nvidia president and CEO Jen-Hsun Huang responded by saying the suit was "clearly an attempt to stifle innovation to protect a decaying CPU business." And in a related press release, Huang pointed out how much better Nvidia's Ion platform is compared to Intel's current three chip design.
Now a week later, the latest episode of "As the Chipset World Turns" has Intel reportedly slamming Nvidia's Ion platform. According to news and review site Bit-Tech, Intel is sending out a document titled "Nvidia Ion Competitive Positioning Guide," which includes everything Intel sees wrong with the platform.
Look what the mail truck dragged in! After first announcing the X8 in early September (where we got our first look and photos of the mouse), Microsoft has finally shipped the latest addition to the Sidewinder gaming mouse family. The X8 adopts Microsoft’s proprietary Bluetrack technology, which empowers it with 4000 DPI tracking resolution (scalable from 500) and the ability to work on almost any surface. We tested this claim on five different surfaces, from a rough wood desk to Styrofoam board and even coarse carpet. The mouse worked fine (though understandable not perfectly smooth) on all of our test surfaces, and only failed when we tried moving it over glass.
The shipping version doesn’t differ much from the pre-production model we fondled back in September, and retained the nice grip and smart button placement that we liked from our first hands-on. The included rechargable battery was a cinch to install, and tethering the mouse to the thin magnetic cord didn’t hinder our sweeping mouse movements. The wireless receiver is built into a clunky puck-like disc that sits on your desk, which ensures that you get better reception than if the receiver was hidden on a USB key behind your PC. The X8 still feels big for some hands, but our initial impression is that this is a winner. We’ll post our full review soon, but for now, enjoy these sexy unboxing and handling photos.
This past Friday Lian Li announced their PC-V351 Desktop HTPC case, a pure aluminum chassis that’s meant for the HTPC minded builder out there.
The PC-V351 features dual, front mounted 120mm fans that spin at 1000RPM, as well as a single, rear mounted 80mm exhaust fan that moves air at 1200RPM. This boxy beast measures in at 262mm tall, 279mm wide, and 373mm deep. Plus, you’ll have plenty of room for whatever components you decide to put in. There’s room for two 5.25-inch optical drives, plenty of hard drives, and a micro-ATX motherboard.
Plus, if you’re looking to build a media machine that’ll sit in a room where it has to look pretty, you can get this in black, silver or red.
Tuning and tweaking cars and PCs are two hobbies that are often likened to each other because of the many parallels, and thanks to JC Hyun Systems, the two even share some of the same DNA. That's because the South Korean car audio supplier has just developed the first automobile infotaiment system using Creative's X-Fi technology.
"I believe all motorists seek to enjoy music and videos of the highest quality when traveling in their cars," JC Hyun Systems said. "They expect the same high standards of entertainment experience they enjoy at home, something which most car audio or car infotainment systems in the market have been unable to match so far. By integrating the state-of-the-art Creative X-Fi audio technology to the RUNZ CI-7100, I am confident that we can propel car infotainment enjoyment to the next level and set the standard for next generation systems to come in the near future."
The svelte looking RUNZ CI-7100 Dash-Car Navigation Device comes with a 7-inch display with an 800 x 480 resolution, an Intel dual-core 360/300MHz processor, MMSP2 MPEG video hardware engine, SiRF III GPS chipset, and Creative's X-Fi audio processor with support for CMSS-3D and 24-bit Crystalizer. Other features include an SDHC card slot, Bluetooth, iPod 30-pin socket, USB host, and support for a variety of media formats, including MP3, WMA, OGG, WMV, MPEG4, DIVX, and XVID.