Overclocking can kill your CPU. It can corrupt your OS, melt your motherboard, and cause you to lose a month’s work or more. Despite those dire orange-alert warnings, however, overclocking has moved on from the Nerd’s Only Club to become practically a mainstream hobby in the last few years.
So why overclock if the risks are so great? For some folks, it’s about bragging rights. Like drag-strip racers who burn up an engine just to set a quarter-mile record, there’s a small community who will overclock a CPU to the brink of destruction just to run a benchmark and take a screen shot of the result.
The bulk of overclockers, however, are more concerned with the cost dividends. If you can take a $300 CPU and make it as fast or faster than one that costs $1,000, the money you save can go toward other components in your system. For these folks, it’s like getting a free high-end videocard.
Whether you’re a cheapskate or a drag racer, you’ll find that Intel’s new Core i7 CPU is unlike any previous Intel CPU, and overclocking this beast requires more tinkering than you might expect. Follow along as we explore what it takes to push this chip hard.
Don't worry, that 6GB triple-channel DDR3 kit you just picked up for your new Core i7 build isn't going to go out of style any time soon, but Samsung did take us one step closer to DDR4 this week. The memory chip maker said it has developed and validated its first 40nm DRAM chip, and if all goes to plan, it will consume nearly a third less power than current 50nm chips.
Samsung's shrunken chip technology will first be used in a 1GB DDR2-800 SO-DIMM module and has been validated for Intel's GM45 platform. The company also said it plans to apply its 40nm technology to develop a 2Gbit DDR3 device for mas production by the end of the year.
"This definitely moves Samsung ahead very aggressively in terms of its manufacturing facilities," said Bob Merritt, a founding partner of market research firm Convergent Semiconductors LLC
But the biggest news is Samsung's claim that the move to 40nm is "a significant step" toward developing "ultra-high performance DRAM technologies" like DDR4, though the company didn't offer any other details.
It’s been almost a year since we tested Pinnacle’s original PCTV HD Pro Stick TV tuner. In that time, Pinnacle has fixed many of the original product’s shortcomings. The new PCTV HD Mini Stick is even smaller than the original HD Pro Stick, which was itself the size of a fat USB memory key. You could easily chuck the 1”x0.5” PCTV HD Mini Stick in your bag and never notice it. The remote is also slimmed down considerably and could slip into your back pocket comfortably.
Easily the coolest part of today’s TED event was Dr. Pattie Maes’s “Reframe” presentation on new technology interfaces. Maes, a researcher at MIT’s Media Lab, energized the crowd with a demonstration of a $350 piece of technology that her team dubs “the sixth sense.” Maes’s Fluid Interfaces research group collaborates on projects and inventions that augment the interaction between human and machine, including both visual and haptic interfaces that are far more immersive than our traditional keyboard and monitor.
Maes started by discussing the five natural senses that humans have developed over the past million years of evolution. These senses help us make important decisions in everyday life, including how we interact with other individuals and our physical environment. But arguably, the most useful stimulus we come across is information that we don’t have easy access to via these senses, such as large amounts of aggregated data and factual knowledge. Increasingly, all of this knowledge is being stored and made available online.
The question, then is whether we could develop (either naturally or artificially) a sixth sense to detect this meta-information that may exist and is relevant to our decision-making.
Read on to see what Dr. Maes and her team developed!
For more than a year, LG has been sitting pretty with the only 6x Blu-ray burner available for retail, but now that Sony’s BWU 300S offers 8x BD-R write speeds, LG’s supremacy has come to an end. Sort of.
The 300S is uncommonly fast—given the right circumstances. The drive managed to fill a 25GB BD-R disc with data in a blistering 13:56 (min:sec), compared with the LG GBW-H20L’s time of 22:16, but only when the drive was fed manufacturer-recommended Panasonic 6x media. And good luck finding that—our online search for the media was fruitless. When using more common 4x media, the 300S stuck closely to that speed rating, taking 22:56 to complete the same task.
We were pumped when we heard that Seagate had broken through the terabyte barrier with its 1.5TB Barracuda drive—it’s not only the biggest consumer drive available, but also represents the largest jump in capacity we’ve seen. We typically expect capacity increases to be accompanied by performance decreases, but this drive is quick on its feet despite its gargantuan size.
Thanks to perpendicular recording, the Barracuda manages to pack 1.5TB of capacity onto four 375GB platters on a 7,200rpm spindle with a 32MB cache, which allows it to keep pace with four-platter 1TB drives like the terabyte Barracuda and the WD Caviar Black.
Asus is typically good about tossing out press releases when they drop a new product, but this time around they’ve just put up their latest netbook up for pre-order, hoping that we’d catch on. Well, as you might have guessed by now we did, and without further adieu, let me introduce to you the Asus Eee PC 1000HE (E is for extended!).
The new little beastie will feature a 10-inch LED screen, a 160GB HDD, a 1.66GHz Atom N280 processor, and built in 802.11b/g/n wireless and Bluetooth 2.0. It’ll all come wrapped in a very modest $399 (and an additional $25 off if you’re in the Facebook group), and will run for up to 9.5 hours using Asus’ Super Hybrid Engine battery technology.
If you’re looking to pre-order, be sure to check this out.
We have to give Antec points for bucking the mainstream: The Skeleton is a seriously cool-looking case. The motherboard rests horizontally, so the case’s footprint is much wider than that of a standard tower chassis, but it’s also shorter. The open design and sliding component tray make it easy to swap parts in and out, and installation is quick and relatively painless. The Super Big Boy LED fan, which truly is both super and big, dominates the top of the case, keeping air moving over all your components, and the open design ensures that there’s plenty of airflow. A smaller fan mounts in front of the hard drive bay for additional cooling.
Removing two spring-loaded thumbscrews lets you slide out the component tray about three quarters of the way, providing easy access to the motherboard as well as the optical and hard drives. The side panels remove easily, and there’s a sliding bay for the power supply. But screwless this case ain’t. Your Phillips head screwdriver will be a constant companion.
The Eurocom Clevo laptops have been the focus of a fair amount of attention since they were leaked last month. When the idea of a laptop sporting Intel’s Core i7 chip comes across one’s mind, they can’t help but be a little enticed.
Well, we’ve finally gotten some details on just what the 17-inch model of the Clevo laptop will have under the hood, and this certainly isn’t a casual user’s notebook. At the base, it’ll have the options of a 2.66GHz, 2.93GHz or 3.2GHz Intel Core i7. Storage wise, there will be three 500GB hard drives, adding up to a staggering 1.5TB of space, and 8GB of DDR3 for memory. And finally, the graphical capabilities will come in the form of an Nvidia G280.
There’s some speculation on just when it’ll be released, but Q4 of this year would be the safest bet. There’s still no word on pricing, but if start working out if you are looking to snag one of these bad boys – it all weighs in at a whopping 11.9 pounds.
The latest in Asus’s ever-expanding line of Eee netbooks is a welcome addition to the fold, and much more to our liking than the 901 model we reviewed in December.
Eschewing the previous model’s unremarkable white plastic exterior for a brushed aluminum shell is a smart move on Asus’s part. This changed aesthetic adds legitimacy to the product: The 901’s finish made the device feel disposable, while the 1002HA feels like a real computer.
More importantly, the 1002HA Asus sent us forgoes the pair of low-performance, ultra-low-capacity solid-state drives that bumped up the Eee 901’s price while wreaking havoc with its Photoshop performance (owing to the poor write speeds of cheap MLC SSDs). Instead of SSDs, the 1002HA sports a much more generous 5400rpm 160GB standard hard drive. And it really pays off: The 1002HA breezed through out Photoshop benchmark in just 690 seconds—40 seconds faster than the Acer Aspire One, our prev-ious champion, and less than half the 1,530 seconds the Eee 901 took to accomplish the same task.