The four horsemen may be saddling up and Gozer the Gozerian might soon appear, but that doesn’t mean it’s all bad news. With people digging in the couch crevices for dropped coins to build a new system, AMD’s back on the menu again. Don’t believe us?
We recently added up the cost differential of building a Core i7 machine versus a Phenom II rig and the AMD system saved us at least $200. Sure, the Core i7 will whup any Phenom II up and down the block, but $200 gets you a hell of a lot more videocard, hard drive, or power supply. If you’re thinking, “Why not Core 2?” our reasons are simple: legs. We don’t have faith Intel will push out faster and better Core 2 procs, but AMD will support AM2+ for at least 12 months through newer and faster AM3 CPUs.
As the economy struggles to regain its footing, so too does the PC industry. The latest casualty to the bottom line hits the graphics market, which recorded anemic sales of graphics chips in 2009, the worst year ever, according to Jon Peddie Research.
Even scarier, Peddie says that graphics chip shipments are a leading market indicator since a big portion of chip sales goes to original design manufacturers (ODMs) and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).
But it's not all gloom and doom. Peddie also said the worst is probably over, noting signs of a recovery in the third quarter are likely to appear. Moreover, Q3 will mark the beginning of major architectural changes and products from Intel, Nvidia, and AMD/ATI as each one continues to develop GPGPU products.
Averatec today announced the D1005, a 22-inch all-in-one PC the company plans to sell for just shy of $800, which Averatec says is best suited for college students.
"Our latest offering was designed with the college student and business professional in mind," said Henry Hewitt, vice president of sales at TriGem USA. "Its sleek design and small footprint make it an attractive system to sit on top of your desk without taking up a lot of space.
The D1005 sports an Intel Pentium dual-core E5200 processor (2.5GHz), 3GB of DDR2 memory (upgradeable to 4GB), a 320GB hard drive, integrated Intel X4500HD graphics, DVD drive, WiFi, 2.0MP webcam, full-size USB keyboard and mouse, and Windows Vista Home Premium.
Averatec says the D1005 is available now through Bestbuy.com, Onsale, TigerDirect, and Newegg for $799.
For every Core i7, GTX 295, and other technological marvels, there's a piece of hardware sitting on the other end of the technological spectrum that, for one reason or another, just didn't make it. Maybe the design was flawed, or in the case of HD-DVD, it simply lost the marketing battle to a competing format.
Whatever the reasons might be, CNet has composed a list of what it believes are the 25 biggest tech flops of the past decade. Ranking No. 1 on the list is the Sega Dreamcast console simply because after staying on the market for just three years after it was originally released in 1998, "it didn't make it."
Other items on the list include DVD Audio, Sirius satellite radio, the two-wheeled, self-balancing electric vehicle known as the Segway, UMDs, and more than a few handheld devices.
Spy the full list here, then hit the jump and tell us what you think are the biggest tech flops of the past decade.
It seems as though SSD manufacturers are increasingly taking aim at the performance market, and that's certainly the case with Corsair's new Extreme Series SSDs.
Available in 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB capacities, the Extreme Series X32, X64, and X128 boast read speeds of up to 240MB/s and write speeds of up to 170MB/s. All three drives also incorporate the Indilinx Barefoot controller and Samsung MLC NAND flash memory.
"The combination of the Indilinx Barefoot controller, Samsung flash memory, and 64MB of on-board cache delivers blistering, stutter-free performance, eliminating the bottleneck imposed by traditional mechanical hard disks," said Jim Carlton, VP of Marketing at Corsair.
In addition, Corsair says its Extreme Series also come with user-upgradeable firmware, which will later add features such as the upcoming TRIM command for Windows 7.
Corsair says the drives are available now, though we didn't spot any being sold at the usual online outlets. Suffice to say, no word on price.
The videocard industry typically works on an 18-month cycle for each GPU design. Last year, Nvidia released the GT200 and ATI launched the RV770. Both are speedy, DirectX 10-capable parts, packed with shader processing power and capable of running the most demanding games at top speed. We tested Nvidia’s first refresh of the GT200 last month (the GeForce GTX 285); now it’s time to put ATI’s first re-spin of RV770 under the microscope, with Asus’s Radeon EAH4890 TOP.
The 4890’s RV790 GPU is built on a 55nm process, just like its predecessors; however, ATI made fairly significant tweaks to the GPU’s structure in order to accommodate higher clock speeds. Asus’s stock overclock is a testament to that revamp. The Asus board’s stock clock is 900MHz (the default stock clock for 4890 boards is 850MHz). Likewise, the board’s quad-pumped GDDR5 memory sits on the same 256-bit bus but runs at 1,000MHz (the stock speed for 4890 boards is 950MHz). The star of the Radeon 4890’s show remains the GPU’s 800 shader units, which handle the heavy lifting in shader-heavy modern games, such as Crysis.
Normally, aesthetics are a secondary part of a notebook review, but Toshiba forces the issue with the Qosmio X305’s wild design. Seriously, the lid’s audacious three-tone, metallic-red paint job alone is enough to challenge the interest of a potential buyer, but the X305 also sports an unusual formfactor involving curves and lips that add to both the machine’s footprint and height. And like the majority of notebooks in its class, the 17-inch X305 is heavy—although, with a carry weight of approximately 11 and a half pounds, it’s still more than a pound lighter than the CyberPower Extreme M1 we reviewed last month.
Of course, there’s more to the Toshiba X305 than its physical spectacle. The machine has the distinction of housing a 2GHz Core 2 Quad Mobile Q9000 processor, making it only the second quad notebook we’ve reviewed—the first was Lenovo’s Kick Ass ThinkPad W700 (http://tinyurl.com/al9wjn). Those two extra cores gave the X305 a healthy advantage over its higher-clocked, dual-core competitors in our application benchmarks. In Premiere Pro CS3, ProShow Producer, and MainConcept Reference, which are all heavily multithreaded, the X305 surpassed all the dual-core rigs we’ve reviewed over the last several months—including the 2.8GHz HP HDX 18 we reviewed in January—by greater than 50 percent, in most cases. Interestingly, it also scored much better than those machines in Photoshop, which isn’t heavily multithreaded. We attribute it more to the X305’s hard drive configuration: a speedy Toshiba 64GB SSD is dedicated to the OS, while applications write to a virtually empty 320GB HDD.
Can a PC be scary? Hewlett-Packard’s Firebird is. Why? The Firebird could very well offer a glimpse of where enthusiast computing is headed—and it’s not a future we’re particularly looking forward to.
The Firebird looks like a lap poodle version of HP’s Blackbird 002, but the similarities are only skin deep. While the Blackbird 002 was a traditional meat-and-potatoes performance PC with industry-standard parts, tons of slots, and the power consumption to match, the Firebird is none of those things. It’s silent instead of loud, diminutive instead of imposing, and offers minimal upgrade options.
Now that Core i7 has carved out an enthusiast following and Core i5 just around the corner, it would seem that the days of LGA775-based platforms are numbered. Don't go ringing the death knell just yet.
DFI today adds another LGA775 board under its belt with the release of the LanParty BI G41-T33 motherboard. As the name suggests, the mobo is built around Intel's G41 chipset and offers up support for Intel Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Quad processors, dual-channel DDR3-800/1066 memory, and up to a 1333MHz frontside bus. The board also sports DFI's ABS II technology, which the company claims "will automatically detect the CPU installed and upgrade the efficiency of the CPU."
No word yet on price or availability, nor could we spot a product page. However, DFI says it's aiming for "a quite reasonable price." Your guess is as good as ours.
Clickfree’s Transformer may look like an overweight USB key, but it is—forgive us, Optimus Prime—more than meets the eye.
Plug any generic external USB hard drive into the Transformer, then plug the Transformer into a USB port on your PC, and a backup app auto-launches and starts a countdown to begin an automatic file backup of common file extensions. You can interrupt the countdown and add more file extensions that the app doesn’t recognize by default. The document formats it grabs are fairly extensive, but if you want it to also copy that comic book archive in .cbr format, you’ll need to add the extension first.