Ah, the fashion mouse. You know the one: It’s designed by the industrial design team of the moment, and it not only lets you move your PC’s cursor but also tells everyone that you care about Design (you know, with a capital D). Unfortunately, what this mouse tells anyone who knows about mice is that you’d rather use an incredibly uncomfortable device that looks cool than one that properly fits your paw and gives you good control over your cursor. Despite a more than competent laser-powered sensor, the Arc Mouse falls squarely in fashion-mouse territory.
The Arc is, ostensibly, designed to be a travel mouse, and its size and shape are indeed suited to that purpose. When you fold the back of the mouse up and snap the USB transmitter dongle into the magnetic receptacle, you get a mouse that’s small enough to fit in a pocket. That’s great and all, but it’s just not comfortable to use.
Maker’s Mark is of course the name of a fine Kentucky bourbon whiskey, but the phrase also applies to the stamp that skilled artisans apply to their creations. When you’ve finished building your custom PC, we’d encourage you to stamp it with your own maker’s mark; after all, the one-of-a-kind creation you’ll have wrought will have nothing in common with the mass-produced rigs that mainstream manufacturers churn out by the millions.
That’s one of the most exciting aspects of our hobby. Automobile buffs can tune and customize their factory-built cars and trucks, but computer geeks like us get to build something new and unique almost entirely from whole cloth. And it’s so easy that you have to wonder why anyone would buy a preassembled PC in the first place.
Thanks to the relatively open architecture that IBM stumbled into oh so many years ago (and has likely regretted ever since), we can rebuild and retune our creations again and again, boosting their performance and postponing their obsolescence. We do hit a wall every now and again. Intel’s new Core i7 CPU is a good example. Because the new processor features an onboard memory controller—a first for Intel, although AMD’s procs have had the technology for years—the company had to design a new socket architecture to accommodate the additional pins. That blocks the upgrade path for anyone using an LGA775 motherboard.
Intel has AMD on the run in the CPU front, but AMD is poking Nvidia in the behind in the graphics processor market. The result: ever more powerful, ever less expensive videocards. The two companies have shipped so many new parts that we expect things will stabilize over the next quarter or so, so now’s the time to find a great deal whether you’re building a new rig or retrofitting an old one. And if you’ve never experienced the joy and pride of building your own PC, click through to read our in-depth, hands-on guide.
Either news and rumor site The Inquirer is seriously stirring the pot between Intel and Nvidia, or the two companies are looking to move in on each other's territory. It first started last week when The Inqposted a report claiming Intel will design the PlayStation 4 GPU, not Nvidia, and further stating there's a good chance Microsoft's Xbox3 console will sport ATI hardware.
Now the rumor site says Nvidia is trying to make an x86 chip and has put the word out to engineers.
"Word reached us a bit ago that Nvidia is definitely working on a x86 chip and the firm is heavily recruiting x86 engineers all over Silicon Valley," The Inquirer wrote.
But there's a problem with the rumor, other than it being unconfirmed speculation at this point. If Nvidia seriously is considering putting out a x86 CPU, it would have to climb a legal mountain before doing so. Given how long it took Nvidia and Intel to come to licensing terms to combine SLI technology with Intel-based chipsets, it seems unlikely the two would come to another licensing agreement, this time involving x86 technology.
The other route Nvidia could take is to form an alliance with a company already possessing a x86 license, but assuming Nvidia could pull it off, and assuming Nvidia is interested in x86 chip design in the first place, the move would still likely end up in a lengthy court battle.
Thoughts on Nvidia developing a x86 CPU? Hit the jump and tell us what you think.
Intel's three-chip Core i7 lineup is about to get a little more robust, and it starts at the top end. The chip maker has introduced a pair of new CPUs, with the Core i7 975 Extreme supplanting the 965 Extreme as the company's flagship processor. Intel's newly minted 975 model blazes a trail at 3.33GHz, up from 3.2GHz on the 965.
But it's not just the flagship model that's getting faster; Intel is also planning to release the Core i7 950. The new chip runs at 3.06GHz, nestling in between the 2.93GHz Core i7 940 and the aforementioned Core i7 965 Extreme.
No word yet on price or availability, however the Core i7 975 is expected to replace the 965 at the $999 mark.
Microsoft has reached a major landmark after receiving its 10,000th U.S patent. The software bellwether has cemented its place among top patent recipients in the last five years; it is the fourth highest patent getter in the U.S. The 10,000th patent concerns a technology that allows a Microsoft Surface-like computer to discern real objects and link them with data or media. Microsoft can be expected to move up the ladder in the near future as it has a policy of incentivizing employees for patent filings.
I fought the law and the law won. Moore’s Law that is. As proof, Intel on Tuesday demonstrated both desktop and mobile CPUs running an OS using a new 32nm process some of which are due as early as this year. Intel’s updated roadmap for performance desktop, mainstream desktop and mobile features a few new twists and turns from the company’s accelerated 32nm process.
Intel updated its public roadmap of the 32nm “Westmere” family. Like the switch from Conroe to Penryn, Westmere is a smaller “tick” that offers some upgrades from the current 45nm Nehalem CPUs.
Find out how this affects power users and Intel's desktop mainstream lineup. Plus, a first look at LGA 1156 details!
It’s expected that Asus will begin selling their wildly popular netbooks in Walmart stores during the second half of this year. Given that they’re already being sold in Target and Best Buy, this doesn’t seem that outlandish.
The information (which comes courtesy of an “anonymous market source in Taiwan”) also noted that Asus is expected to market notebooks through Walmart as well. And while this doesn’t mean that they’ll be boasting the Eee line as their big seller, given the current economic perils, it’s very likely.
Asus is looking to increase their netbook shipments in the US from 650,000 in 2008 to over 1 million this year. If they add Walmart to their vendor list, this possibility becomes very likely.
Never content to leave well enough alone, we’ve spent a lot of time looking for an audio system that could topple B&W’s mighty Zeppelin off its perch as our favorite iPod sound system. And now we've finally found it -- in Focal-JMlab’s Focal XS Multimedia Sound System.
The Focal XS is the logical follow-up to Focal’s awesome iCub powered subwoofer, which had a 2.1-channel amplifier but didn’t come with satellite speakers. The new system includes not only a pair of excellent near-field satellites, but also an integrated iPod dock and a USB interface so you can sync your iPod to iTunes, and convert digital audio from your PC’s USB port.
To be entirely fair to the Zeppelin, these two devices are really designed for different applications: Where the Zeppelin system is designed to fill a room with sound, the Focal XS is more of a near-field system that’s best enjoyed when you’re sitting in close proximity to it. And that probably explains why, unlike the Zeppelin, the Focal XS does not have an analog video output that would allow you to watch movies stored on your iPod on your big-screen TV.
EVGA has to be feeling awfully confident in its videocards. Not only does EVGA allow its registered users to overclock its GPUs without invalidating the lifetime warranty, but its giving owners the tools to do so.
EVGA's Precision overclocking utility already makes it stupid simple to increase the core, memory, and shader clockspeed on its videocards, and now the company has made available its GPU Voltage Tuner utility to registered owners. With it, GTX 295, 280, or 260 graphics card owners can set custom voltage levels, potentially paving the way for greater overclocking headroom. Of course, increasing voltages also increases the risk of killing components, and so far EVGA doesn't allow sliding the tuner into the red zone, a feature which may be unlocked in a future version, EVGA states in its FAQ.
A prerequisite for using the utility is installing GeForce 181.22 drivers or later. EVGA notes that "it is possible to damage your hardware while adjusting your GPU Voltages - use at your own risk." We'd have to agree.
The Gyration Air Music Remote is absolutely awesome when it comes to controlling the cursor in a home-theater PC. But this device doesn’t deliver on its bigger promise to be a high-end universal remote control.
Like all Gyration remotes, this one uses a gyroscope to determine its own position in three-dimensional space. With its position established, the remote translates those coordinates to move a mouse cursor on the two-dimensional plane of a computer screen. Hold the remote in front of you, push the primary button, move your wrist up, and the cursor moves up. Point the remote to the left and the cursor moves the to the left -- and so on. Buttons to the right and left of the primary button perform the same functions as the left and right buttons of a conventional mouse.