We’re unabashed fans of HP’s Touch-Smart desktop machines, so we were really looking forward to getting our digits on the new technology in a convertible touch-screen notebook PC. But our eager anticipation only made the reality of the TouchSmart tx2 all that more disappointing.
This is the first convertible touch-screen PC designed for the consumer market, and its underlying hardware—which in our review unit included AMD’s best mobile CPU—delivered enough horsepower for this machine’s touch-screen elements. Benchmark performance, on the other hand, was dismal (more on that later).
You can use the TouchSmart tx2 as a conventional notebook PC or rotate its 12.1-inch screen 180 degrees, lay it flat, and use the machine’s tablet functionality. The 1280x800 touch screen uses active digitizing technology and supports the use of either a fingertip or a digital pen (as opposed to the simple stylus that HP shipped with its first-generation TouchSmart desktops). The digital pen delivers hover feedback (it doesn’t have to touch the screen to activate user-interface elements, such as tooltips) and considerably more precision than a fingertip.
Good news for storage buffs - Micron today said it has begun mass producing 34nm flash memory products, resulting in 16Gb (gigabit) and 32Gb NAND chips that will push high end storage capacities to new levels.
"Our industry-leading NAND products are opening new possibilities for some of the world's most popular consumer electronic devices," said Brian Shirley, vice president of Micron's memory group. "With our new 16- and 32Gb NAND chips in mass production, we are enabling customers to design cost-effective, high-capacity storage in their small-form factor products, using less space and fewer die."
Micron says its 32Gb MLC NAND chip is 17 percent smaller than its first -generation 32Gb chip, and that both new chips offer transfer speeds of up to 200MB/s.
As a result of the new product, mainstream SDHC cards may double in capacity from 4-8GB to 8-16GB, with 64GB or more leading the high-end market.
We'll admit that a soundcard isn't the first thing that came to mind when we heard you could order the "Tube Delight" online. But that's exactly what it is, and it's the funkiest USB audio solution we've ever seen.
The portable PC soundcard comes encased in a transparent vacuum tube with a fade-in-out blue LED for power-on and idle status indication. It supports 16-bit 16KHz/32KHz/48KHz recording and playback with both rated at THD+N -73dB and SNR 85dB, and comes with the obligatory 3.5mm headphone and microphone ports.
Hong Kong vendor Brando has the USB soundcard on sale now for $32, which is as cheap as you'll ever find anyone selling anything having to do with a Tube Delight.
The going rate on a 16GB USB flash drive is anywhere from $30 on the lower end up to around $80 on higher end models, and we've even spotted a pair of Kingston drives selling for just shy of $300 on Newegg. But a $10,000 USB drive? That's a first for us.
Not yet available for purchase, the exorbitantly priced USB drive comes from SolidAlliance Mnemosyne, and not only will it tax your wallet, but your mind as well. That's because the drive comes housed in an aluminum puzzle cube that must first be solved before you can get to those digital files stored inside.
"Our USB Flash Drive is similar to a puzzle where the memory is housed in the inner part of the body," Mnemosyne explains. "Without disassembling the puzzle, you will never be able to access the memory that is stored inside. And once you store your unforgettable memory there, you mush assemble the cube."
Motherboards can’t just sit quietly in your case and service your parts anymore. Today, motherboards also must advertise to the entire world that you have one badass system. Hoping to outdo all others, DFI’s LAN Party UT X58 Core i7 motherboard features a massive heat pipe appendage, called the “Flame Chiller,” that juts out the back of your case.
The idea is to transport heat from the heatsinks attached to the board’s power regulators and chipset to outside the case, where it can be cooled by the exhaust from the case. Does it work? The concept makes sense, but we’re a bit skeptical of the small contact patch the heat pipe makes with the board. The external heatsink never got hot in our tests, but we typically don’t overclock test boards far enough to overheat voltage regulators. The Flame Chiller looks cool, though!
This board’s not all about flash and panache, however. The board’s tri-SLI implementation is certainly better than on other X58 boards we’ve tested. While other boards’ x16 PCI-E slot arrangements force you to either buy a specific case enclosure or hack-saw off a portion of your videocard to get a tri-SLI configuration up and running, the LAN Party UT X58’s tri-SLI will work in most cases.
Alienware, a boutique OEM vendor who made a name for itself building high end gaming PCs offered in distinct looking cases, has just released its first monitor, the OptX AW2210, and it doesn't have any tentacles or other alienesque features protruding from the side.
"The ultimate gaming experience requires more than just a great PC," explained Frank Azor, Dell Gaming. "Alienware is building an ecosystem around our machines to give gamers the complete gaming experience."
It's not too surprising to see Alienware release a monitor, considering that Dell, an active player in the LCD display market, now owns the OEM.
The 21.5-inch widescreen TN panel boasts 1920x1080 full HD resolution, a 2ms response time, 16.7 million colors, an 80,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio, two HDMi ports, four USB ports, and a titl/swivel/height adjustable stand.
Let's get this out of the way right off the bat - Asus launched its P6T7 WS SuperComputer motherboard in mid-March, so technically it's not 'new.' But there's no splitting hairs about this workstation board being one of the baddest mobos around thanks to a whopping seven PCI-E x16 slots. Yes, we said SEVEN!
While there's nothing to stop a power user from building a truly brag worthy rig with the P6T7 WS as its foundation, this motherboard was really designed for parallel computing. It's been certified for Nvidia Tesla GPU computing with support for up to three Nvidia Tesla cards and one Nvidia Quadro card. Such a configuration adds up to 960 parallel processing cores pumping out 4 freakin' teraflops of processing power, enough to qualify for a basement level supercomputer.
Other specs include RAID 0/1/5/10 support, up to 12 USB 2.0 ports (6 native and 3 USB connectors supporting an additional 6 ports), 2 eSATA 3Gb/s ports, two nForce 200 chips, three-way ATI CrossFireX and Nvidia SLI support, dual LAN ports, and more.
Taiwan-based Shuttle Inc. is mulling an entry into the notebook market, if the grapevine is to be believed. The rumor gained currency after Elitegroup Computer Systems' (ECS') ex-president of notebook business moved to Shuttle as its new president. However, the company has tried to downplay the rumor by contending that it is a bit farfetched to jump to conclusions based on the professional background of its new president. Shuttle is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of motherboards. Its product portfolio also boasts an assortment of small form factor computers and barebones.
We've long heard that good things come in small packages, and that appears to have been Cooler Master's inspiration for its SNA 95, a compact 95W power adapter for laptops. In fact, it's the "smallest 95W adapter in the world," Cooler Master claims, measuring just 2.9 x 0.7 x 5.7 inches.
The late Billy Mays (may he rest in peace) would have a field day with this one, as not only is the SNA 95 the tiniest 95W adapter you can get, but it also sports a few extras, like a USB charging port, cable management base, and nine power tips so you can use it with your iPod, smartphone, PDA, GPS, and other mobile gadgets. It also comes with a smart LED indicator.
So far, we've only spotted the SNA 95 at Sundial Micro for $70 (currently out of stock), but expect to see more retailers carrying the device in the coming weeks.
Intel made a splash in the SSD market with its MLC-based X-25M SSD, which promplty put the beat down on existing SSDs at the time, as well as Western Digital's high octane VelociRaptor, the fastest performing consumer hard drive on the planet. But that was almost a year ago, and since then, other manufacturers have leveled the playing field with high performance SSDs of their own, taking some of the luster out of the X-25M.
Word on the web, however, is that Intel will be launching a new line of SSDs based on the company's 32nm NAND flash memory. Originally planned for Q4 of this year, it looks as though the launch will come much sooner, perhaps in just a few weeks, with Intel confirming it is ahead of schedule.
So far, there aren't any details regarding the new drives, though news and rumor site The Inquirer says to expect at least 80GB, 160GB, and 320GB capacities, and possibly higher, all of which will sport a better bang-for-buck than the pricey X-25M.