It’s hard to believe in the iTunes era of blink-and-you-miss-them CD rips, but in the mid-90s, ripping a CD was a time-consuming process, fraught with peril. Ripping a single disc to 128kbps MP3 could take 8 hours on a 200MHz Pentium! Fast forward a decade, with faster hardware and better software and CD ripping is so mainstream your mom does it.
Ripping DVDs and transcoding the video stored within into more efficient formats involves an order of magnitude more scary math than ripping audio CDs. A machine that will rip the latest Miley Cyrus CD in moments could take hours to extract and convert your copy of AVP to an iPod-friendly format. However, with the right software, a quad-core equipped PC, and a little know-how, you can cut your disc rip time from hours to 20 or 30 minutes. There are still plenty of tricks and traps for first-time rippers, but we’ll show you the basics, then walk you through the secrets of ripping power users everywhere.
However, the first thing you need to decide is simple: what player are you ripping your discs for? Are you ripping for a portable player, like the PSP or iPhone? Would you rather stream to device in your living room, like the Xbox 360, PS3, or Popcorn Hour? Are you simply interested in making an archival-quality DVD rips, in case you lose your collection? More likely, you’re probably looking for a combination of all three of these things. We’ll show you how to rip your DVD to a file suitable for streaming that consumes a fraction of the disk space of a DVD but maintains full video and audio quality. Then you can take that file, and convert it for whatever other devices you might have, like a PSP or an iPod. For the purposes of this story, we're going to focus on DVD rips. Getting ahold of unencrypted high-defintion video legally is still pretty tricky. We'll update with Blu-ray ripping info as ripping Blu-ray gets easier.
“Personal” and “supercomputer” aren’t words that would usually appear side by side, unless you’re a mastermind at Nvidia. With the announcement of their latest machine, the Tesla Personal Supercomputer, they’re looking to bring what was normally thought of as gigantic, to the small time.
The Tesla only costs 1/100th of what a normal supercomputer cluster would cost, and only takes up a small fraction of the space. Thanks to heterogeneous computing, the process of CPUs acting in tandem with GPUs, it all fits right into a desktop form factor.
It’s reported that the Tesla is based off of Nvidia’s CUDA architecture, making it possible for the system to be programmed in the C language. 960 cores can be working side by side inside the system, and it’s claimed that these systems are already in use at MIT, Cambridge and other environments.
How much will your own personal supercomputer run you? An admittedly reasonable 10 large. Hey, 960 cores is a bargain at that rate.
Just this week Asus announced their brand new Eee Top desktop computer, which is meant to directly complete with Apple’s juggernaut, the iMac.
The Eee Top is a fancy take on desktop computing, that features a 15.6-inch touch screen, 1.6GHz Intel Atom CPU, 1GB DDR RAM, a 160GB 5,400RPM hard drive (boo!), a 1.3-megapixel webcam, and built-in WiFi. The price point is set at about $580 USD, but sadly the machine is only available in Taiwan. The rest of us will have to wait!
Though, the wait will be worthwhile, because if 15.6 inches sounds like it’ll be to small for you, Asus has a 20 and 22-inch version slated for release in June.
Zombies. The best weapons to use against them. Where to hide from them. Is zombie middle management a good career path? We tackle these important isues--and all the latest tech news!--in this week's podcast. Join the podcast gang as we answer your tech questions, take a trip to the Lab, and get another dose of Gordon Mah Ung's Rant of the Week!
Do you have a tech question? A comment? A tale of technological triumph? Just need to get something off your chest? A secret to share? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call our 24-hour No BS Podcast hotline at 877.404.1337 x1337--operators are standing by.
VIA, a one-time major player in the enthusiast motherboard chipset market and a current producer of low power processors (VIA Nano), has largely been overshadowed by bigger players in nearly every sector it competes in. So while VIA might be having trouble finding some love in the PC market, the company hopes it can fare better in less traditional areas with its new VIPRO VP7710 fanless touch-screen panel PC.
"Amid growing public acceptance of intuitive touch screen technologies, the VIA VIPRO addresses an increasing demand for cost effective, intelligent displays in commercial applications such as ticketing, ATM, vending and information kiosks as well as sophisticated fleet deployment infrastructures in transport, delivery and logistics enterprise," VIA states in a press release.
VIA opted for heavy steel and aluminum to construct the VIPRO's chassis, which serves to protect the 10.4-inch TFT display from shock, vibration, and other potential calamities. The touch screen also resists both water and dust, making it ideally suited for outside use.
From a hardware standpoint, the VIPRO comes with either a 1.6GHz VIA Eden or 1.0GHz C7 processor, up to 1GB of DDR2 memory, support for both IDE and SATA 2.5-inch hard drives, and integrated VIA UniChrome Pro II graphics. Additionally, a second display can be added via a VGA port.
Hit the jump to see a YouTube video of the VP7710 in action.
The SSD market was moving at a peaceful albeit underwhelming pace until Intel joined the party, promptly putting the smackdown on the competition. Intel's X-25M SSD proved to be twice as fast as other drives to have gone through Maximum PC's lab, helping it to earn a Kickass! award.
Now Samsung looks to follow suit, which comes as somewhat of a surprise given that the company hasn't been at that forefront of performance with SSDs topping out at less than 100MB/s. But that was before, and Samsung's new 256GB SSD not only offers up to twice as much storage space as its 64GB and 128GB models, but is more than twice as fast as well. Samsung says its 256GB comes rated at 220MB/s read and 200MB/s, or fast enough to store 25 high definition movies in just 21 minutes and able to launch applications 10 times faster than the speediest 7200RPM notebook drive.
Steven Peng, SSD technical marketing manager at Samsung, said the speed increase was made possible through multichannel interleaving, noting that "the basic architecture remains unchanged. However, there are design improvements such as optimized firmware, and improvements to the controller."
Samsung said it has begun mass producing the new 256GB SSD, but has not released information on pricing or availability.
This holiday season, Microsoft is taking aim at arch-rival Apple's iPod - and its companion iTunes software. This week, Microsoft cut the retail prices on 4GB, 8GB, and 16GB Zunes as well as on the Car Pack, Home/AV Pack, and Dock Pack. With the 8GB Zune now selling for $139 (was $149) and the 16GB model now selling for $179 (was $199), Microsoft is undercutting the price of comparable Nanos by $10 (8GB) and by $20 (16GB). The 4GB Zune anchors the lineup at $99, down $30 from its old price.
The Car Pack now sells for $69 (was $79), but the Home/AV Pack, also formerly $79, is now just $59. The Dock Pack is also cheaper at $39 (was $49).
To find out how Microsoft plans to use Zune software to drive hardware sales, join us after the jump.
As it stands, the PC gaming industry is estimated to be worth a massive $20 billion today, and it is predicted to enlarge to $34 billion by 2012.
While many have claimed that PC gaming is dying, they don’t take into account the sales of gaming-oriented PCs. According to Ted Pollak, one of the two men behind this robust estimation, “Retail software figures are not an accurate barometer for the health of the PC gaming industry. The retail numbers don’t capture the casual and digitally distributed games, either.”
Pollak goes on to state that PC gamers don’t really buy that many games to begin with. “Enthusiast PC gamers often latch onto one or two games that offer multiplayer options and stick to these titles for years. Hardware is where they spend the big bucks.”
And yes, it is noticeable that a good amount of the sales went to complete PCs, but there’s also a large market of you that buy your own parts. Many of the sales come from upgrade pieces such as improved graphics cards and memory. And for this, we at Maximum PC salute you.
Last week we reported that Continental Promotions Group (CPG), one of the largest and oldest rebate entities in the business, managed to put itself in a rather sticky situation by not having enough funds to pay off its obligations. To quickly recap, manufacturers have a pretty good idea of how many rebates on any given product will be processed and cut a check to CPG based on that amount. CPG then doles out the funds as rebate forms come trickling in, but a large chunk of money has gone inexplicably missing. According to HardOCP, CPG owes anywhere between $9 million to $12 million, but only has $3 million in cash. Oops!
No laughing matter, it's the consumers who ultimately get the raw end of the deal, but at least one company has stepped up where CPG has fallen down. In a letter to its customers, John Malley, BFG's senior director of marketing said that it has "corrected the situation" so that U.S.-based customers are clear to cash their rebate checks.
"One of our third-party rebate processing companies recently informed us that they are experiencing financial difficulties, and that the funds provided to them by BFG Technologies to pay rebate checks for certain BFG products were no longer available," Malley writes. We are happy to inform our rebate customers in the U.S. that BFG has corrected the situation, and you CAN cash your check to receive your rebate payment. This applies to all rebate checks for BFG Technologies. For Canadian customers, please hold on to your check and do not attempt to cash it. We are actively working on a solution for you and will update this message or contact you directly before the end of this week."
Malley asks that anyone who has already tried to cash a rebate check only to have it bounce or be refused by the bank to contact email@example.com so that BFG can issue a new check, one which should clear the bank.
Dual-channel memory might not be dead, but Intel's Core i7 platform has kicked off the era of triple-channel memory kits and most manufacturers have already jumped on board. Enter Mushkin, who not only is making tri-channel DDR3 kits available, but has launched 16 different models ranging in speed from 1066MHz to 1600MHz.
998674 – 3GB (3x1GB) XP3-10666 6-6-6-18 1.65V
998675 – 6GB (3x2GB) XP3-10666 6-6-6-18 1.65V
998676 – 3GB (3x1GB) HP3-10666 7-7-7-20 1.5-1.6V
998677 – 6GB (3x2GB) HP3-10666 7-7-7-20 1.5-1.6V
998583 – 3GB (3x1GB) EM3-10666 9-9-9-24 1.5V
998585 – 6GB (3x2GB) EM3-10666 9-9-9-24 1.5V
998678 – 3GB (3x1GB) XP3-12800 7-8-7-20 1.65V
998679 – 6GB (3x2GB) XP3-12800 7-8-7-20 1.65V
998680 – 3GB (3x1GB) XP3-12800 8-8-8-24 1.6-1.65V
998681 – 6GB (3x2GB) XP3-12800 8-8-8-24 1.6-1.65V
998658 – 3GB (3x1GB) HP3-12800 9-9-9-27 1.5-1.6V
998659 – 6GB (3x2GB) HP3-12800 9-9-9-27 1.5-1.6V
998682 – 3GB (3x1GB) HP3-8500 6-6-6-18 1.5-1.6V
998683 – 6GB (3x2GB) HP3-8500 6-6-6-18 1.5-1.6V
998570 – 3GB (3x1GB) EM3-8500 7-7-7-20 1.5V
998571 – 6GB (3x2GB) EM3-8500 7-7-7-20 1.5V
"We’ve worked diligently to create parts for the Core i7 platform that push specifications to unprecedented levels while maintaining the high quality and reliability standards of our existing products," said Brian Flood, director of product development for Mushkin. "Our triple-pack customers will be rewarded with the utmost reliability from our standard rated products, and greatly increased performance from our high performance line."
Mushkin claims that each kit is hand-tested beyond its rated specification, suggesting at least a modicum of overclocking headroom. Each of the 16 kits also come bearing Mushkin's FrostByte heatspreader.