They just keep getting bigger and bigger. Now that CPU air-cooling manufacturers have seemingly settled on the skyscraper school of heatsink design, there seems to be a competition over who can cram the most cooling fins into the largest area. Scythe’s Mugen 2 air cooler, the follow-up to its popular Mugen series, is one of the largest coolers of this type that we’ve ever tested. But can it match the cooling power of its slightly smaller cousins, such as Thermalright’s U-120 eXtreme?
The Mugen 2 is a hefty hunk of a cooler, at 5.1 inches wide, 5 inches deep (with the included 12cm fan), and 6.2 inches high; it weighs nearly two pounds. It’s not the heaviest cooler we’ve ever tested, nor the most unwieldy, but its girth could certainly prevent you from installing it in all orientations on all motherboards. We had trouble fitting it in some orientations on our EVGA 680i SLI board—our usual preference being to install the cooler fan parallel with the rear exhaust fan. On our board, though, there wasn’t room; we resorted to attaching the cooler fan perpendicular to the rear exhaust fan. Thankfully, this didn’t seem to impact performance, as the Mugen 2 performed slightly better in our tests than the Thermalright U120-eXtreme—about 2.25 C cooler at both idle and full CPU burn.
AMD's newest HD 5970 is the fastest videocard on the planet, and as it turns out, it's also the hardest to find. And not just in the U.S. either, the card has been equally elusive in the EU.
According to news and rumor site Fudzilla, several AMD launch partners confirmed there would be limited availability of the card, and that's been the case so far. Newegg showed some stock in the wee morning hours on November 18th, but by the time noon (PST) rolled around, stock was gone. The $625 price tag doesn't appear to be slowing demand.
Fudzilla says it's been told to expect to see stock of the XFX Radeon HD 5970 and 5970 Black Edition sometime today, but it's unclear if that will include the U.S. market, or be limited to Europe.
Seen the HD 5970 in stock somewhere? Hit the jump and post a link.
Whoever is the first to market with a next-gen handheld tablet will have accomplished what's becoming a tremendous feat: shipping the freaking thing. Michael Arrington insists that his CrunchPad hasn't entered the realm of vaporware, and Apple still continues to deny the existence of its own tablet, which the most recent rumor says will ship sometime in the second half of 2010.
And then there's the Archos 9 PC Tablet, which went up for order on October 22nd, but is still a few weeks away from shipping, SlashGear reports. If you plan on picking one up at retail, expect to wait even longer. According to Archos, the 8.9-inch Windows 7 UMPC won't arrive in stores until sometime in the first quarter of 2010.
Archos didn't say what's causing the delay, and it will be interesting to see how the pushed-back launch affects sales. By the time the tablet ships, Intel will be churning out next-gen Atom chips, making the Archos' 1.1GHz Atom Z515 even more unappealing.
In what's turning out to be a game of cat and mouse, Apple last week disabled support for Intel's Atom processor through a Snow Leopard update, a tactic the Hackintosh community insisted would present only a temporary setback. They were right, thanks to a Russian hacker known as "teateam," who says he has restored support for Atom-based Hackintoshes running Snow Leopard 10.6.2.
"The problem originates in a revision to the kernel in 10.6.2. The changes Apple made to the latest mach_kernel removes support for [Atom] processors, leaving updated netbooks in a useless state," InsanelyMac member "blkhockypro19" explained in a forum post.
TeaTeam's hack appears to address the issue, though Jeff Porten of MacWorld warned that performing the crack is not something to be taken lightly.
"You'll need to roll up your Terminal sleeves for a few simple steps here," said Porten. "And, of course, replace the kernel of your operating system -- the fundamental code that underlies everything else in Mac OS X -- with a file you've downloaded from the Internet."
Not only that, but it's only a matter of time until Apple releases another update that, in all likelihood, breaks support again. Apple hasn't been sympathetic to the Hackinstosh community, and even went so far as to serve Wired.com a cease and desist order after the tech site posted a video with instructions on how to hack a netbook to run Mac OS X.
Asus said it was switching to Nvidia's Ion platform for future netbooks, and making good on that promise, the Eee PC maker on Thursday announced the Eee PC 1201N Multimedia Netbook.
Up until now, a multimedia netbook could be considered an oxymoron, if not a cruel joke, but that certainly isn't the case here. Pushing the boundaries between a netbook and notebook, the 1201N sports a 12.1-inch LED display and comes built around Nvidia's pixel-pushing Ion platform. That's great for graphics, but it doesn't stop there. Instead of the ubiquitous Atom N270 processor found in most netbooks, Asus equipped the 1201N with Intel's Atom 330 dual-core processor.
On the storage front, the new netbook comes with a 250GB hard drive and 500GB of online Asus WebStorage. The online storage space is provided for free for the first year, and after that, you'll have to pony up for a subscription plan.
Other specs include 2GB of DDR2 memory, Wi-Fi, three USB2.0 ports, a 6-cell battery good for up to 5 hours of run time, and Windows 7.
Blu-ray has had the high-definition market all to itself for quite some time now, yet here we are still talking about the format's adoption rate. That's because pricing, for the most part, has kept BD players out of the living room, but according to Taiwan-based BD player makers, that's about to change. Kind of.
Sources say the average retail price for Blu-ray players will drop from $193 to just $77. Such a significant price drop would surely boost consumer demand, but there's a catch. While prices are coming down, such a dramatic decrease won't occur until 2012, still more than a year away.
On the desktop front, blank media is expected to come down in price as well. By 2012, the average retail price is expected to drop from $5 to $1.50, the same sources say.
A rising number of data flubs has caused some to question whether the benefits of cloud computing truly outweigh the risks, but is that really a fair assessment? The eggheads at Kroll Ontrack don't think so, who point out that the recent spike in data losses with corporate enterprises is simply the result of human error.
"While advanced storage options such as virtualization and cloud computing offer corporations storage optimization, human processes are still at the root of these solutions, instructing the technology as to how to perform," said Phil Bridge, managing director at Kroll Ontrack UK. "The complextity of these systems often requires a steep learning curve. With reported IT spending at a low, human error is increasingly common."
According to Kroll Ontrack, some of the biggest mistakes attributed to the human element include pulling the wrong drive while trying to pull a failed disk in a RAID array, accidentally deleting a business-critical database and restoring it with a corrupt or incomplete backup, attempting to force failed drives back online when rebuilding a bad array, accidentally deleting files, volumes, virtual machines, or a SAN LUN with no backup in place, and reformatting the wrong SAN LUN during a server migration.
Now is not the time to abandon the PC as a gaming platform, not with all the money at stake. According to Jon Peddie Research, gamers will spend over $32 billion next year upgrading their PCs, and that's the kind of number that draws the attention of hardware vendors. Enter Nvidia, who suddenly felt the urge to reiterate its commitment to the gaming industry.
"Gaming remains our bread and butter focus area. However, there are other opportunities for us to explore as the company grows, such as the HPC sector," explained Bryan Del Rizzo, a spokesman for Nvidia.
Del Rizzo was responding to rumors that Nvidia was no longer interested in gaming for the HPC (high performance computing) market, calling the notion "completely unfounded" and "ludicrous," TGDaily reports.
"Look, I understand that some people might be feeling anxious because we haven't published detailed information about Fermi-based GeForce cards," said Del Rizzo. "But, I can assure you that data is forthcoming. The wait will be worth it, especially when people understand what products based on Fermi are capable of."
So there you have it: PC gaming is alive and well, and so is Nvidia's interest in catering to computer gamers.
It's been a little while since anyone has pronounced the PC a dead platform for gaming, and the next time someone does, you can help that person remove their cranium from their hind quarters with some hard figures. Not only is the PC doing well, it's doing exceptionally well, suggests data put together by Jon Peddie Research (JPR).
JPR's latest report predicts that PC gaming hardware sales will reach $21.26 billion by the end of the year, which is an increase of nearly $1.2 billion over 2008. But that's nothing compared to how much hardware the research firm predicts will fly off the shelves in 2010. According to JPR, PC gamers will spend $27.62 billion next year investing in gaming systems, accessories, and upgrades.
"The largest influence on the high forecasted growth rate is due to purchasing delays for systems and upgrades in 2008/2009 as consumers circled the wagons and took a conservative position on discretionary spending. A recovering economy, processing advancements, and higher quality gaming offerings will all contribute to a healthy year for PC gaming hardware in 2010."
What's even more remarkable about the increased spending is that PC hardware has never been cheaper. For the most part, gone are the days where a high-end videocard commanded $600, and it's now possible to piece together a respectable gaming rig for well under a grand.
Going forward, JPR says hardware sales will continue to climb, reaching $32.75 billion in 2010, and $34.76 billion in 2012.
NZXT has been on a roll churning out affordable cases that, at least on paper, appear to belie their low price tag with features typically reserved for more expensive enclosures. The same can be said for NZXT's newest chassis, the Tempest EVO.
Constructed of all black steel, the EVO edition expands on the original Tempest's design with better cooling potential and more attention to cable management schemes. Cooling duties are provided by four 120mm fans (dual intake, one side, and one rear). NZXT said it even redesigned the fan blades to push more air at lower noise levels.
The mid tower Tempest EVO targets enthusiasts looking for server-level performance. The E-ATX form factor is now supported, and there are slots for up to 8 hard drives.
"The original Tempest is one of our most successful designs due to its optimal airflow capabilities," said Johnny Hou, Chief Designer at NZXT. "With the additional improvements the Tempest EVO brings to the equation, it's destined to be a top performer in its class."
The Tempest EVO is available now for with an MSRP set to $100.