Back in our April 2008 issue, we showed you how to configure and build a $1,500 no-compromises PC. Our budget badass wasn’t just an affordable “lean machine,” it performed admirably in our system benchmarks, earning respectable scores in comparison to our desktop testbed. Now that it’s several months later, and we wanted to give you an update to our component recommendations. Not only have hardware prices dropped since we wrote the story, but new technologies and products have also emerged that give you more for your money. In fact, our no-compromises $1,500 PC now only costs $1,320, that’s including upgraded parts. By Grabthar’s Hammer, what a savings!
Read on to find out how we configured our new Budget Badass.
It looks like stock prices aren't the only thing falling over at Nvidia. Competition continues to heat up in the latest round of GPU leapfrog, and reports flanking from across the web over the weekend were claiming Nvidia would issue price cuts to its add-in board partners (AIBs). The GTX 260 was to be the beneficiary of a $30 chop, while the high-end GTX 280 was to get slashed by $90. Even the 9800 GTX was to receive a $17 snip. Scouring Newegg's selection, it appears the reports were right on the money.
Thanks to Nvidia's annoying Manufacturer Advertised Pricing (MAP) policy, you'll need to do a bit of extra clicking to see the new pricing structure. But assuming your index finger is up to the task, you'll spot several GTX 280 cards selling for $499, and even lower after rebate. GTX 260 videocards have dropped down to $329, and a small handful of 9800 GTX cards have dipped below the $200 mark.
Following Hitachi's annoucement of plans to hit 5TB in a single hard drive by 2010, Pioneer follows suit by proclaiming a major advancement in the optical storage arena with an unprecedented 16-layer optical disc capable of storing 400GB. Presumably intended for distribution as Blu-ray media, Pioneer points out the new disc's 25GB per-layer capacity is the same as that of a Blu-ray disc (BD).
Cross-talk among multiple layers has been a stickling point in the optical industry, but Pioneer claims to have tackled the problem with a specialized disc structure designed to reduce interference from adjacent layers. And what about compatibility with existing Blu-ray players? Pioneer says that because the optical specifications of the lens are the same as those for existing BD discs, there shouldn't be any compatibility concerns between the new 16-layer discs and existing BD media.
Dampening the announcement, the 16-layer discs are read-only. That may change in time, but for the here and now, you'll still need to resort to standard discs or HDDs to store your epic music collection, downloaded videos, and other legally acquired data. Of course, finding someone who owns a Blu-ray drive capable of burning BD discs is more rare than spoting a MacBook victory at Maximum PC.
If Asus was feeling lonely in the subnotebook sector with its Eee PC, they needn't feel that way anymore. MSI, Acer, ECS, and Everex are just a handful of manufacturers to jump on to ultraportable bandwagon looking to cash in on the Netbook craze, and now Gigabyte joins an increasingly crowded list, but with a twist. Literally.
Like so many other ultraportables, Gigabyte's M912V features an Intel Atom processor, but unlike the competition, Gigabyte stuffs the chip into a Tablet PC. This gives users the ability to swivel the 8.9-inch touch screen display a full 180 degrees to lie flat on the keyboard. Other goodies include:
1GB DDR2 memory
160GB SATA hard drive
802.11b/g wireless, Bluetooth
3 x USB ports
Windows XP, Vista Home Basic, or Linux
If PCLaunche's prediction holds true, look for the M912V to debut later this month for $699, not much less than a standard low-end to mid-range notebook. Do ultraportables hold enough appeal to compete in same price sector as their more powerful (and physically bigger) brethren?
Here we go again! It's time for our second look at what's going into the Maximum PC Dream Machine 2008! If you're just joining us, here's the skinny: once a year, the Maximum PC staff descends to its underground lair. After a number of bizarre and dark technological rituals (we sacrifice an iMac), the team emerges with a gift blessed by the Gods of Technology themselves: the Dream Machine. It is, hands-down, the single-greatest computer you could ever hope to assemble based on the year's best (and sometimes unreleased) products!
This is an epic three-part series, and you're on step number two. If you want to start from the beginning, check out our unveiling of the rig's keyboard, mouse, display and hard drive(s). If you're ready for more Dream Machine action, we're taking a look at the system's CPU(s), motherboard, optical drive, and memory this time around.
Grab a cold beverage and prepare to feast your eyes on splendor by clicking that little "Read More" link.
While SSDs continue to come down in price and up in performance, hard disk drives keep ballooning in size. And just when we thought we were becoming spoiled with storage space, Hitachi hits us with a humdinger by announcing plans to release a 5TB hard drive by 2010. That's FIVE freaking terabytes in a single 3.5" drive, or half the storage capacity of the human brain, claims Dr. Yoshihiro Shiroishi from Hitachi. In more concrete terms, 5TB equates to about 5,000 hours of video, or more than a million songs. Throw two drives together and you could store a human brain's worth of porn!
Hitachi's pledge trumps an earlier prediction the company made back in October 2007 when it said 4TB of storage would be likely by 2011. Instead, Hitachi will employ Current-Perpendicular-to-Plant Giant Magnetoresistance (CPP-GMR) magnetic read heads to pack an additional terabyte than initially anticipated, and a year sooner than predicted. CPP-GMR will make it possible to achieve data densities of 1TB or more per square inch, paving the way for even larger hard drives.
Home theater buffs will undoubtedly herald Hitachi's announcement, but what about everyone else? Are we reaching the point of diminishing returns in terms of hard drive space? Post your thoughts in the comments section.
Recently in both the print and online versions of Maximum PC we looked at Nvidia’s CUDA API and what a GP-GPU future might look like. The one wild card in this equitation is the other big player in the graphics card market, ATI. Will ATI play nice by supporting CUDA and licensing PhysX? Or will it go its own way, a result which may end up killing both companies initiatives.
Data Robotics, the creators of Drobo, "The World's First Storage Robot" and DroboShare, which adds network capabilities to Drobo, have taken Drobo to the next level. Endgadget reports that Data Robotics has opened Drobo+DroboShare up to developers through its new Drobo Developer Community (DDC) and SDK program.
To understand why the network media server category has just gotten even bigger, catch me after the break.
You are not the only one confronting difficulties retaining uninterrupted possession of your USB Flash drive, but large organizations – or their mortal employees – are also prone to misplacing their USB Flash drives brimming with sensitive data.
But there was a twist in the tale as the captain was eventually nabbed and the drive recovered. But a lieutenant borrowed the flash drive and in turn gave it to a clumsy sergeant who lost it. The sergeant did a pretty good job as the drive has gone missing without a trace. The Japanese military kept the one-year old incident under wraps as it didn’t want the troop deployment maps to be scoured by internet users.
Selecting the perfect computer case is like scouting the grocery store for a bottle of wine. And as oenophiles of all knowledge levels and palates know, you can’t judge a bottle by its price. In that sense, we’re scooping from the bargain bin in this month’s mega-roundup of computer cases: Only chassis priced at $100 or less are eligible.
Just because a case is cheap doesn’t mean it’s poor. So before you plunk down a pile of cash on your next case, see how these sub-$100 boxes stack up against their pricier brethren.