On the desktop front, quad-core processors continue to drop in price and it might not be long before dual-core chips get cast aside in the same manner single-core CPUs have been. But in the mobile world, it's another story. Dual-core computing is still where it's at and that doesn't appear to be changing in the next few months.
Citing un-named sources among mother makers, DigiTimes says Intel plans to launch five low wattage processors intended for notebooks on December 28, and only one of them is a quad-core chip. Intel's Core 2 Duo T9800 (2.93GHz, 6MB, 35W) , P9600 (2.66GHz, 6MB, 25W), T9550 (2.66GHz, 6MB, 35W), and T8700 (2.53GHz, 3MB, 25W) are set to debut to at $530, $348, $316, and $241 respectively in thousand-unit trays. Intel will also release a Core 2 Quad Q9000 (2GHz, 6MB, 45W) for $348 (also in thousand-unit trays).
At least one other processor will see a price reduction as a result of the new chips. The P8600 - Intel's current flagship Core 2 Duo CPU - will drop from $241 to $209 in January of 2009.
Nvidia's latest videocard release takes aim at the graphics professional rather than the hardcore gamer with its new Quadro CX GPU. The new card comes just in time for those planning on jumping onto Adobe's Creative Suite 4, as the Quadro CX has been designed with the suite in mind, which Nvidia claims will give uses the "ability to create rich, stunning content in a faster, smoother, and more interactive way."
The Quadro CX comes with 1.5GB of GDDR3 memory on a 384-bit memory interface capable of 76.8GB/sec of memory bandwidth. Dual Link DVI comes standard, as well as support for OpenGL 2.1, Shader Model 4.0, and DirectX 10.
The customized GPU allows Photoshop CS4 to offload real-time image rotation, zooming, and panning, as well as instantaneous view changes. But such goodies won't come cheap. MSRP has been set to $2000. Ouch!
Dell has infused fresh life into its swanky Studio 15 notebooks. It has begun shipping Studio 15 notebooks with Intel Centrino 2 technology. The Studio 15 notebooks will be slightly more power-efficient with the introduction of the Centrino 2 platform. The basic Studio 15 model features a 2.20 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4GB of DDR2 memory, a 320 GB 5400 RPM HDD, a ATI Mobility Radeon 3450 graphics card, a DVD burner, 802.11a/n, finger print reader and Windows Vista Home Premium. The refreshed Studio 15 range begins at $999, which is reasonable considering the fact it occupies the middle ground between ultra-portables and high-end notebooks.
10 billion, that’s a pretty sizeable number. For the sake of this story, let’s see that number in its natural state: 10,000,000,000.
That’s the number of images that Facebook is now hosting, according to a post by engineer Doug Beaver on Facebook’s official blog. While this number might sound like it’s lost in the crowd of other photo-sharing sites, bear in mind that Flickr only hit 2 billion photos a little less than a year ago and Photobucket’s active ticker puts them at 6.2 billion at time of press.
Beaver’s post also listed some impressive stats on the amount of photos that Facebook is now handling. “To celebrate, we got a bunch of cupcakes and handed them out to our engineering and operations groups,” he said, “One of our engineers calculated that if we had gotten one cupcake for each of our photos, and lined them up side by side, the line could reach halfway to the moon.” They’re also receiving a staggering two to three terabytes of photos per day, and their photo traffic peaks at over 300,000 images served per second.
As monumental as this is, the hardware isn’t free. Facebook reportedly borrowed $100 million in May to help cover the colossal costs of hosting all those photos, and it’s not evident that revenues will be level with server demands anytime soon.
Thermoelectric materials are common, but they’re not used as often as one would expect. This is because these materials have either been inefficient, expensive, or both. Several groups of researchers have been looking to correct this, and solve the mysteries that have been surrounding these compounds with a goal of bringing them to the world.
Mildred S. Dresselhaus is one of those looking to change the face of thermoelectric compounds. Working with her team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology she’s looking to create more efficient materials by manufacturing tiny particles or wires into them to disrupt the flow of head. These particles and wires would make the materials that are already great conductors much more competent at dispersing heat.
Professor Peidong Yang’s team at the University of California at Berkely is searching for entirely new materials. While silicon isn’t a great thermoelectric material, once you look at it in nanoscale, things change. Silicon nanowires have been shown to be one hundred times more efficient at conserving energy than bulk silicon.
Where things really start to get interesting are at the University of Århus, Risø-DTU (say that three times fast) and the University of Copenhagen where they’ve unlocked a secret of certain thermoelectric compounds which might potentially help in developing more efficient materials.
There are several other teams working on pushing the technology of thermoelectric based compounds, and they’re looking to implement them in a multitude of places, including your PC.
There are always some companies that invest their faith in new technologies as soon as they appear, while others adopt a more circumspect approach and wait for results. HP has adopted a very watchful approach as far as the question of embracing WiMax is concerned. As you might have previously read, dearest MPC readers, the world’s leading PC manufacturer hasn’t introduced any notebooks that support WiMax.
The company has once again reiterated that it currently has no plans to integrate WiMax into its notebooks. It is unwilling to commit to WiMax due to the “limited scope of commercially available networks and uncertainties around interoperability, roaming, and quality of service.” It expressed full faith in 3G and WWAN services, which it believes are more mature than WiMax.
After it was revealed that some of the Asus Eee Box PCs sold in Japan came with a preloaded virus, the Taiwanese company ordered a recall of all such infected PCs. Now, Asus has placed the entire blame on a second-tier Chinese OEM that had been tasked with the responsibility of manufacturing Eee PCs for the Japanese market.
The unnamed OEM had been chosen in order to cut costs, but eventually became the source of embarrassment for Asus. The company now plans to transfer Japanese Eee Box PC orders to other second-tier OEMs.
So you just got a snazzy new printer, huh? Funny thing, so did GE! While they think your photo quality printer is nice, they’re much happier with theirs that prints OLED lights.
GE’s printer, which is about the size of a semi-trailer, coats an 8-inch plastic sheet with chemicals and seals it up with a layer of metal foil. Once an electric current is applied to this sheet, it lights up with a blue-white glow.
GE has been heralding the countless possibilities of these sheets. Given that they’re flexible, one could wrap them around a pillar, tack them to a wall or even make a translucent version and attach it to a window (though, nobody’s really sure why). And given that these panels provide diffused light, they’ll be much easier on the eye than current lighting technology.
Lawrence Gasman of Nanomarkets LLC, a research firm in Glen Allen, Virginia is suggesting that these OLEDs could become very common sources of lights, with sales reaching $5.9 billion by 2015.
Bob Sagebiel, the technical marketing manager for lighting at Arrow Electronics Inc. isn’t as confident in these figures though. He points out that these fixtures won’t fit into the 20 billion light-bulb sockets worldwide, and that since they’re so different from current lighting technology they may have issues being accepted. Not to mention commercial buildings would need to be rewired in order to take advantage if potentially bigger OLED panels that wouldn’t fit into existing fixtures for fluorescent tubes.
Only time will tell, but the future for this technology looks pretty bright (see what I did there?).
LaCie has always been good about their design, and that trend looks like it’s going to continue with designer Neil Poulton’s HAL 9000 inspired 5big Network Drive.
The 5big is aimed at small and medium sized workgroups with nerves of steel, and a need for a ton of storage. It will feature five hot-swappable Serial ATA drive bays that can hold up to 7.5 terabytes of storage total (more than HAL 9000 had, I bet). Should 7.5 terabytes not be enough, you can always add additional drives through the included USB ports.
The drives that you decide to put in the 5big can be put in several different raid arrays, including RAID 5, RAID 5+Spare, RAID 6, RAID 10 and RAID 0. And thanks to an included Gigabit Ethernet port, anyone connected to your local network can access it.
And don’t worry, should you decide to get a new network drive somewhere along the line you won’t be having the same issues that a certain Dave Bowman did.
The chips will not only prevent WiFi signals from loosing their strength while traversing walls but also reign in on any interference from other devices operating in the 2.4 or 5GHz bands. The chipsets are expected to cost between $20 and $40 each. These chips are expected to make their maiden commercial appearance sometime in 2009.