Our initial impression of NEC’s widescreen 26-inch EA261WM LCD monitor was overwhelmingly positive, primarily due to the thought put into its ergonomics. What puzzles us most about monitor design is why—even with obscenely expensive panels—user comfort is so often overlooked. If you’re planning on shelling out a load of cash for a monitor, something as simple as height adjustment (rather than the default homebrew solution of piles of books) seems like an obvious feature. The EA261WM includes not only height adjustment but pivot, tilt, and swivel adjustments as well, making it easy to share information on your screen with coworkers or even switch to a portrait configuration, should the need arise.
The EA261WM is also one of only 26 monitors to achieve EPEAT’s gold rating, the highest standard for environmental friendliness. To further emphasize its green attributes, the monitor includes an ECO mode, which lowers power consumption, and a carbon-footprint reader tells you just how much you’re doing to save the planet by lowering the brightness on your monitor.
The latest graphics rumor making the rounds for the past month was that Nvidia would be releasing a single-PCB version of its dual-GPU GeForce GTX 295 videocard, however it was unclear what other changes the design alteration would result in. At least until now.
According to news and rumor site Fudzilla, the slimmer, single-PCB GTX 295 looks to be more about cutting costs than adding performance. Following in ATI's footsteps, Nvidia will place both GPUs on a single circuit board, which should help the company save a bit on manufacturing.
However, only the memory is said to getting a small boost, with Nvidia increasing the reference design's frequency from 1000MHz on the dual-PCB version to 1100MHz on the single-PCB. Both the core and shaders clockspeeds will remain the same at 576MHz and 1242MHz, respectively, and despite shelving the second PCB, it will still be a dual-slot card. It will also be half an inch longer, Fudzilla says, measuring a full eleven inches.
If the rumor holds true, look for the revised card to show up by the middle of May with no change to its price point.
Two new nettops based on Nvidia's Ion platform have been unveiled in Taipei this week, one by ASRock and the other by Pegatron Technology. ASRock's Ion 330 trades in the oft-used single-core Atom processor for a dual-core variant, the Atom 330 CPU (1.6GHz, 1MB L2 cache, 533MHz frontside bus). Not much else is known about the PC, other than it comes with an integrated DVD optical drive.
Taking up a slimmer form factor, Pegatron's Cape 7 comes encased in white plastic and has four USB 2.0 ports, an Ethernet port, HDMI port, 3.5mm audio jack, and a power connector for an external power brick. It doesn't come with an optical drive, nor are there any details regarding the processor.
While these are some of the first dual-core Atom 330 based nettops to be spotted in the wild, they won't be the last. According to web rumblings, Nvidia expects around 40 Ion platforms to show up on the markt by the end of the year, some of which are bound to come with dual-core Atoms.
No other manufacturer's power supplies have been used more times in Maximum PC's annual Dream Machine configurations than PC Power & Cooling, and with good reason. We've yet to be let down or otherwise underwhelmed with a PCP&C unit, which is not something we can say about all PSU makers.
Adding to its Silencer line, PCP&P this week announced the Silencer 910 PSU, an 80+ Silver Certified power supply the company says completes the Silencer family line. The new PSU offers 910W continuous at 40C with a 1000W peak and boasts an 88 percent efficiency rating. As with all PCP&P units, the Silencer 910 comes with a single +12V rail, this one supplying 74A. The Nvidia SLI Certified unit comes with quad PCI-E power connectors (2 x 6-pin and 2 x 6/8-in), 12 SATA connectors, 7 peripheral connectors, and a floppy connector for those who still roll old school. It also comes with automatic fan speed control and a 5 year warranty.
The Silencer 910 is available now direct through PCP&P for $199.
There was some confusion regarding the future of PC Power & Cooling's Silencer series. Ryan Edwards, Director of Product Management for OCZ (which owns PCP&P), has assured us that not only is the Silencer line alive and well, but they are working on new models for Q1 2010.
Most parts of the country aren't expected to see any more snowfall until next winter, but the relationship between Nvidia and Intel couldn't be any more chilly. At odds with each other over Nehalem licensing, netbook platforms, and other tech related spats, the two sides seem all to happy to take digs at one another when the opportunity arises. For Nvidia, that means calling to question Intel's claim that its Core i7 processor can improve game performance by up to 80 percent.
"I have a copy of Intel’s latest deck that they share with press and customers, and on there they have a slide that is called The Intel Core i7 920 Processor, where they claim that gaming performance goes up by 80 percent when you use a Core i7, said Tom Peterson, Nvidia's technical marketing director. "Now, I was impressed by that claim, and I was trying to figure out how they could possibly say such a thing, and it turns out that Intel is basing that claim on only 3DMark Vantage’s CPU test."
Peterson went on to point out that the synthetic benchmark's CPU test doesn't actually measure game performance, and to say otherwise would be disingenuous. To drive his point home, Peterson showed Nvidia's own benchmarks of a Core 2 Duo E8400 machine outfitted with a GeForce GTS 250 videocard. The PC averaged 41.6 FPS in Nvidia's testing, and only increased to 42.4 FPS after upgrading to a Core i7 965. But after upgrading to a pair of GeForce GTX 260 videocards, that number jumped to 59.4 FPS.
"In real gaming, there's no difference between a Core i7 and a Core 2 Duo," Peterson concluded.
Following a board meeting last week, VIA has come to the conclusion that it needs to cut capital to NT$5.17 billion ($153.4 million USD), a 60 percent reduction. A shareholder meeting on June 19th will decide when the reduced capital will take place. As a result of the planned reduction, VIA said it expects shares to improve to $NT11.36, or almost three times as much as the current NT$4.50 share price.
VIA didn't say what effect the reduced capital would have on its Nano processor roadmap, which could put the heat on Intel in coming months. Citing un-named market sources, news and rumor site DigiTimes notes that demand for Intel's Atom netbook CPUs has been slowing down lately in the wake of price cuts by low-end notebooks. The sources also attributed the reduced demand to consumer anticipation of the next generation of Atom processors, currently scheduled for the second half of this year.
Hold the boat, Blu-ray, a breakthrough in optical storage technology could prove to be game changing, according to General Electric. GE today announced that its researchers have successfully demonstrated a threshold microholographic storage material they say can support 500GB of storage capacity in a standard DVD-sized disc. That breaks down to about 20 times the storage capacity of a standard Blu-ray disc and is equivalent to 100 regular DVDs, the company says.
"GE’s breakthrough is a huge step toward bringing our next generation holographic storage technology to the everyday consumer," said Brian Lawrence, who leads GE’s Holographic Storage program. "Because GE’s micro-holographic discs could essentially be read and played using similar optics to those found in standard Blu-ray players, our technology will pave the way for cost-effective, robust and reliable holographic drives that could be in every home."
GE's holographic storage technology makes use of the entire volume of the disc material rather than just the surface. Three-dimensional patterns represent bits of information, a process GE has been working on for over six years but has only just now turned a corner with the latest breakthrough.
SSD prices have been improving steadily over the past year, but they are still priced out of reach for the average user in any type of practical capacity. That being said, our readers are Maximum right? So for those of you who have been considering SSD’s, you might want to hold out just a bit longer.
The newest entrant into the category comes from OCZ who is preparing to launch their new solid state drive, and the specs are pretty impressive. The new “Z-Drive” will bypass SATA bottlenecks by hooking directly onto a spare PCIe slot. The architecture of the drive has also clearly been tuned for performance with the four Vertex controllers being configured in a four-way RAID 0.
On paper this drive is capable of read speeds up to 510MB/sec, and write speeds to match idling out around 480MB/sec. Of course we won’t be able to verify these speeds until we get one in the lab, but if true, it could be one of the fastest consumer drives to date. The initial launch will see three different capacities made available, 250GB, 500GB, and 1TB. Pricing hasn’t been released just yet, but as with any new cutting edge SSD, expect it to cost more than most PCs.
Pixel Qi has been talking up a new display technology as of late, one which promises to change the landscape in a big way. And soon. Next month is when Pixel Qi founder Mary Lou Jepsen says the company's 10-inch 3Qi display will start showing up, which will combine a low-power black and white mode, e-paper mode, and high-resolution color LCD mode into a single, affordable, sunlight-readable screen.
"The future of portables is all about the screen, Jepsen said. "Think of screen like a chip on the motherboard: it can massively lower power consumption and (increase) battery life and create a much better visual experience."
The focus on affordable isn't too surprising, considering Jepsen co-founded the One Laptop Per Child project, and is now focusing on making low-cost displays. It will be quite the feat if she and and her company can pull off an affordable miracle display, and she's already looking ahead to adding touch gestures as well.
We've known for some time that Nikon planned on releasing the D5000, a new entry-level DSLR, but it was only ten days ago that the company formerly introduced the newest model. Skip ahead and we now have a concrete release date, as Amazon lists the camera as shipping on Monday, April 27th.
Nikon's new DSLR comes with a 12.3-megapixel DX-format CMOS image sensor and articulating 2.7-inch vari-angle LCD display. Photographers can still view photos with the little LCD in its normal position, or it can be swung out to be rotated or tilted, opening the door to all kinds of contorted body positions when shooting images.
The D5000 also comes capable of recording HD movie clips in 720p. Recording video is somewhat new to DSLRs, starting with the D90 Nikon released back in August 2008. Other features include:
19 auto-exposure scene modes
One-button Live View
Continuous shooting up to 4fps
ISO sensitive from 200 to 3200
Built-in image sensor cleaning
In-camera Retouch image editing
Optional GPS geo-tagging
You can pre-order the D5000 with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR kit lens now for $850 through Amazon.com.