Some students pursue a post secondary education for the love of learning, some to improve their employability, and others simply because their parents are paying the bill. This isn’t to say that only students with skin in the game take college seriously, but everybody knows at least one guy from school who was only there to party. Partner this dude up with a Dell, and you might be asking for trouble.
Recent studies into the value of notebooks in the classroom have yet to prove anything conclusive, but clearly their worth in a traditional lecture style setting is in dispute. When used properly, notebooks can help students stay organized, connected, and even improve marks, but what about those who are easily distracted? Ars Technica offered an interesting perspective into this topic, and it’s undoubtedly something that warrants further discussion. Do laptops really help, or do they only distract students?
As a part time student myself, I can honestly say the ratio of students taking notes to those surfing the web, watching video, and fragging in Quakelive is pretty ridiculous. It’s fairly clear, at least in my limited sample group that the vast majority of notebook users in the classroom are only distracting themselves, and those around them.
Is this something we need to take action on? Or should we do as Ars Technica suggests and banish them all to the back of the classroom? Let us know what you think.
iBuyPower! Tiger Direct! With their powers combined, they are budget computing!
Well, in all seriousness, iBuyPower and Tiger Direct have teamed up to bring you the Gamer Power 906. The 906, which packs an Intel Core 2 Quad Q8300 Processor, 4GB DDR2 RAM, an Nvidia 9600GT 1GB graphics card, 500GB HDD and a 600-watt PSU will play games well, and sell for just $710.
You can pick one of your very own up at CompUSA or Tiger Direct, and it’ll even come with pretty neon lights. Honest!
According to news and rumor site DigiTimes, Intel doesn't have much in the way of upcoming Core i7 processor price cuts, but if you're looking to piece together a Core 2 machine, look for some pretty significant reductions in the near future.
Citing un-named motherboard makers, the site claims Intel will drop pricing on several quad-core processors on April 12. These include:
Core 2 Quad Q9300 - $266 down to $213 (19.92%)
Core 2 Quad Q9550S - $369 down to $320 (13.28%)
Core 2 Quad Q9400S - $320 down to $277 (13.44%)
Core 2 Quad Q8200S - $245 down to $213 (13.06%)
On May 31, DigiTimes says Intel will introduce a handful of new processors, among them the Core i7 975 (3.33GHz) for $999 and Core i7 950 (3.06GHz) for $562.
Hit the jump to see what other new processors Intel has in store for May, along with what other price cuts to expect this summer.
If you're brand new to the DIY PC building scene, you may think Intel chipset-based motherboard owners have always been able to run multiple Nvidia videocards in SLI. You'd also be wrong. It was less than six months ago that Nvidia officially announced it was licensing its SLI technology to several top-tier motherboard makers for Intel's X58 chipset, in exchange for a fee. So we can't imagine anyone over at Nvidia doing cartwheels when end-users find a way to enable SLI on non-SLI certified boards with a relatively simple BIOS hack.
Citing an article in Taiwanese magazine PC Home Advance, TweakTown reports that not only is it possible, but it's been demonstrated on Gigabyte's EX58-UD4 motherboard. The magazine downloaded the latest F6 BIOS for a slightly different model, the EX58-UD4P, which comes with official SLI support, and slapped it on the less expensive non-SLI board.
Because the model numbers are different, the magazine noted the unsupported BIOS can't be installed using the built-in QFlash utility, and instead requires using the DOS-based SPIFLASH utility. Still a relatively easy hack considering no physical modifications to the board itself needs to be done.
It's unclear whether there were any undesirable side effects from using another board model's BIOS in place of the correct one. It's also unclear whether Nvidia will take measures to prevent this and future BIOS hacks from working with future driver releases.
With IBM having moved away from hardware in the past few years in lieu of focusing more on services business, it might seem odd that Big Blue would be interested in acquiring Sun Microsystems. But analysts say it's Sun's software that IBM really has its eye on.
"The technologies of greatest interest to IBM are Java and Solaris, and those are notably not hardware technologies," said David M. Smith, an analyst at Gartner.
According to The New York Times, the dollar amount being discussed comes close to $7 billion. That breaks down to about $10 per share, or twice Sun's closing price a day before news of the negotiations broke out. Immediately following, shares of Sun shot up just shy of 79 percent on Wednesday to close at $8.89.
Should the merger take place, IBM and Sun would account for about 65 percent of the market for server computers running Unix and 42 percent of the total server market. Citing "a person involved in the discussions," NYT reports an antitrust review would be forthcoming, with the issue being how regulators define the server market. When viewed by numbers of server computers sold, the playing field looks a lot more even, as IBM and Sun would only account for 18 percent of the market.
Giving Amazon's Kindle and Kindle 2 some competition in the eBook market, Fujitsu has at long last released its full-color eBook reader called FLEPia. Fujitsu had first shown off the FLEPia in concept form back in 2006 and has been drumming up interest with periodic glimpses ever since.
The FLEPia comes in both black and white unit colors and features an 8-inch XGA (1024 x 768) touchscreen capable of displaying 260,000 colors. Other specs include 802.11b/g WiFi connectivity, Bluetooth capability, embedded stereo speakers and a headphone connector, and an SD card memory card slot with support for up to 4GB, enough to hold 5,000 paper-based books 300-pages each.
Measuring less than a half an inch thick, Fujitsu says its FLEPia will last up to 40 continuous hours before having to be recharged. According to Fujitsu, the device doesn't require power to maintain a screen display because the color ePaper employed displays text and images by reflecting external light. The only time the FLEPia consumes power, says Fujitsu, is during re-draw, in which power consumption would be about 1/50 that of a standard notebook.
The Japanese version ships with Windows CE 5.0, giving end-users an internet browser, email, and other software.
The FLEPia starts shipping in Japan on April 20th for 99,750 Yen, which converts to a little over $1,000 USD.
Intel's crazy-popular Atom processor already dominates the netbook and nettop segments, but that might turn out to be only a glimpse of things to come. By the end of the year, look for Atom CPUs to have found a home in more than half of all entry-level desktops. What the Caesar?
Citing un-named industry sources in Taiwan, DigiTimes says Intel has had to adjust its target shipment ratio of single-core Atom 230 and dual-core Atom 330 processors as a percentage of total CPU shipments with nettops and entry-level desktops. And what an increase Intel puportely projects. According to the report, Intel expects Atom growth to increase from 4 percent (nettops) and 6 percent (desktops) in the first quarter to 10 percent and 52 percent, respectively, by the fourth quarter of 2009.
As a result, DigiTimes says Intel's 65nm dual-core Celeron E1000-series and 45nm single-core Celeron 200-series CPUs will account for less than a fifth of th shipment makeup by the end of the year.
If the projections hold true, both entry-level and mid-range desktop pricing is likely to go down.
According to Nvidia's Form 10-K filing for the fiscal year ended January 25, 2009, the graphics chip maker has spent $43.6 million to cover warranty and product replacement claims for GPUs suffering from a "weak die/packaging material set."
Nvidia had original set aside a one-time charge of $196 million when it was discovered some of its notebook graphics were failing at an "abnormal rate."
"The previous generation MCP and GPU products that are impacted were included in a number of notebook products that were shipped and sold in significant quantities," Nvidia said in the filing. "Certain notebook configurations of these MCP and GPU products are failing in the field at higher than normal rates. While we have not been able to determine a root cause for these failures, testing suggests a weak material set of die/package combination, system thermal management designs, and customer use patterns are contributing factors."
Given that only $43.6 million -- or 22 percent of the original amount -- has been spent so far, you can take this in one of two ways. Either the problem isn't as widespread as originally thought and the remaining $152.4 million will be more than enough to cover future claims, or there are a lot of mobile GPUs in the wild still to fail from the packaging defect.
In the past year and a half, solid state drives have come from nowhere to take their place as the Next Big Thing in storage, especially in notebooks. The MacBook Air and the Asus Eee PC and OLPC XO-1 (One Laptop Per Child) netbooks were among the first consumer notebooks to utilize solid state drives. While SSDs are still most popular in netbooks, they have begun appearing in more mainstream notebooks and even high-end desktops.
SSDs have much higher read speeds than traditional drives, and with no moving parts, they’re more durable. They’re not susceptible to magnetic interference or vibration, and they use less power and run much more quietly than standard magnetic hard drives. Best of all, they come in standard 3.5-inch and 2.5-inch formfactors with SATA connectors and emulate traditional drives, so they’re compatible with existing architecture. Unfortunately, they’re also orders of magnitude more expensive per megabyte, thus limiting widespread adoption, at least for now.
Although the fastest solid state drives use DRAM for storage (with a battery backup to preserve data), this White Paper will focus on flash-based SSDs—the variety most commonly found in consumer gear.
Just this past week MSI announced that they would begin shipping their CS120 Wind Nettop to the US, and introduced another new laptop, the VR430.
The CS120 Nettop will come complete with a 1.6GHz Atom 230 processor, GMA950 graphics, up to 2GB of RAM, a 160GB HDD, WiFi, a slot-loading DVD burner and enough ports to plug in all your goodies. Best of all, it’s all available for $319.99.
MSI’s latest introduction comes in the form of their 14.1-inch VR430 laptop. Underneath the hood of this bad boy you’ll find an AMD Turion X2 dual-core CPU, ATI Mobility Radeon HD3200 graphics processing, up to 4GB of RAM and it’ll all come to you on a 1,280 x 800 resolution screen. No word yet on pricing for this one, but we don’t suspect it’ll break the bank.