We’ll admit we’ve been perfectly content with Samsung’s SH-S203 DVD burner for more than a year. Once we were writing 4.38GB of data to a disc in five minutes flat, we were feeling pretty satisfied with the state of DVD technology. Nevertheless, we’re not about to turn our nose up at a performance increase. And that’s what Samsung’s latest DVD burner, the SH-S223, offers.
As you might have guessed from the name, the SH-S223 represents a jump from 20x to 22x DVD+/-R burn speeds. In our tests, this effectively shaved 12 seconds off the time it took to fill a single-layer DVD+R disc. The SH-S223 took 4:46 (min:sec) compared with the SH-S203’s flat 5:00. In both cases, we used 16x media, the fastest-rated media that’s readily available. And in both cases, the drives’ “over-speed” feature enabled them to burn data at higher than rated speeds. In the course of its write, the SH-S223 steadily climbed from a starting speed of 8.38x to 20.7x.
You’ve got USB devices, and you’ve got a network. Sure, you can plug those printers, scanners and hard drives into a computer and let that machine share them, or you can use IOGEAR’s new ShareStation and allow anyone using your network access to them!
IOGEAR’s ShareStation comes in two flavors – first up is the four port Net ShareStation that allows anyone with a local connection to the hub access to anything that’s plugged into its ports.
The smaller version of the ShareStation is a two port USB Printer Auto Sharing Switch that’s being described as the “only automatic printer switch compatible with Macs and PCs.”
The four port version will run you $99.95, while the smaller cousin will cost $39.95. Both will be available later this month.
Apple earlier this month began taking orders for its new Mac Pro workstations with Intel's Xeon 3500 and 5500 quad-core processors, so technically, Lenovo isn't the first major PC maker to announce Nehalem-based workstations. Unless, like us, you demand a real PC (oh burn!).
Due for release next week, Lenovo's ThinkStation D20 and S20 workstation will also come configured with Intel's Xeon 3500 and 5500 dual- and quad-core processors. Intel is expected to launch the new CPUs next week as well.
The lower-end S20, which will start out at $1,070, is a single-socket system with support for up to 12GB of memory. The higher-end D20, which will start out at $1,550, comes with two sockets and ups and ante with support for up to 96GB of memory. Both systems will offer up to 1TB of storage.
End-users will be able to choose between Windows Vista Business and Red Hat Enterprise Linux for the OS, and an Nvidia Quadro or ATI FirePro workstation videocard for graphics chores.
Both models are expected to be available before April.
The end may be nigh for the Zune. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer came up with a measured reply – equal parts of realism and escapism – when queried about the Zune’s future by BusinessWeek editor Stephen Adler at the McGraw-Hill media conference in New York. Though Ballmer reiterated Microsoft’s commitment to the platform, he admitted that the company will not be pouring a lot of money into it.
He said that Zune is both a device and a service. “And the future may be the software/ecosystem on other devices,” Ballmer went on to add. This is being read as a veiled hint at Zune’s impending demise as a hardware platform; Zune may be reduced to an iTunes-like service for other hardware platforms.
Hoping to upend Apple’s Mac Pro cart, Dell said its new Precision 7500 dual Nehalem Xeon workstations will pack up to six times the amount of RAM and at higher speeds than are available with today’s hottest Apple machines.
Users can get to the 192GB mark by stuffing 12 16GB DIMMs into the Precision T7500’s chassis. Dell said the RAM speeds are also increased thanks to support for DDR3/1333. The Precision will use registered ECC RAM for high density configurations. The new chips will also mark the end of FB-DIMM in the dual processor Xeon lineup.
FB-DIMM’s, which use a small and wickedly hot memory controller on each DIMM to buffer the signals, have long been dinged for massive thermal issues and latency penalties. Dell officials said people’s feelings on FB-DIMM aside, it did get the previous generation of CPUs to the RAM densities people needed. One of the primary justifications for FB-DIMM was the density issue on DDR2 but Dell officials said the 192GB mark for DDR3 was not a major technical hurdle in itself. Keeping it cool and keeping acoustics acceptable was a problem, but Dell said it has it under control.
Bandwidth and compute performance of the dual Nehalems leave the previous design in the dust, Dell said. Like the Core i7, the top-end Nehalem Xeons will feature 8MB of L3 cache, 6.4GT/s QPIs, and support Turbo Mode and Hyper-Threading. The Xeon’s will also support something called Direct Cache Access which lets single-threaded applications subsume all of the available shared L3 cache when it’s not being used by other threads.
After seven years of stealth development at Rearden Labs (a startup incubator), OnLive today unveiled itself as a new game service to deliver on-demand games. Basically, instead of running your games on a PC or console at home, you connect your HDTV to a small MicroConsole which receives compressed video from a remote server that actually renders and processes your games. The immediate benefits of the service is its low entry cost, since you don't have to build a high-end gaming PC or invest $500 on a next-gen gaming console. Games purchased with OnLive are activated on remote servers and the only data that is streamed to you is gameplay video and audio. You never have to download software, patches, or handle physical media. Think of it as video-on-demand but for games.
We met with OnLive's founders at Rearden Labs last week to get a sneak preview of the service, try out some games, and grill the developers about how OnLive actually works.
Think streaming video is impractical for gaming? You might be surprised...
Ack! Your smokin' fast Core 2 Quad processor and other Intel chips may suffer from what security experts call "CPU cache poisoning." Sounds nasty, and according to Joanna Rutkowska who discovered the security flaw, it is.
"In this paper we have described practical exploitation of the CPU cache poisoning," Joanna Rutkowska and Rafal Wojtczuk wrote in an abstract paper (PDF). "This is the third attack on SMM (system management mode) memory our team has found within the last 10 months, affecting Intel-based systems. It seems that the current state of firmware security, even in case of such reputable vendors as Intel, is quite unsatisfying."
Rutkowska and Wojtczuk go one to discuss proof of concept codes for arbitrary SMM code execution, which could (theoretically) lead to abuses of the super-privileged SMM mode and embedding SMM rookits. Doing so would (again theoretically) give hackers control over the affected PC. Worse yet, according to Jamey Heary, a consulting systems engineer for Cisco Systems, the hack would be "virtually undetectable."
So what does Intel have to say? "We are working with these researchers. We take this research and all reports seriously. Currently as far as we know, there are no known exploits in the wild," Intel spokesman George Alfs said in a written statement.
Get the full scoop here, then hit the jump and tell us what you think.
Zeebo, backed by Qualcomm, announced a new device it's calling the "fourth video game console." But don't worry if you're a console collector, the Zeebo console probably won't ever see the light of day in the U.S. and is instead being targeted at middle-class buyers in emerging markets.
Referring to the middle-class consumers of the so-called BRIC nations -- Brazil, Russia, India, and China -- Zeebo Chief Executive John Rizzo said "A console for these markets has got to be affordable."
To keep costs down and cut back on rampant piracy, the Zeebo will not use a disc or other fixed media, and instead employs a Qualcomm chipset to allow gamers to connect wirelessly to purchase and download games. The onboard flash memory can store about 50 games, Rizzo said.
Other specs include an ARM 11 / QDSP-5 running at 528MHz, 128MB of DDR memory, VGA (640 x 480) output, three USB 2.0 ports, and an SD card slot.
The Zeebo console will first be available in Brazil for $199, with pricing expected to drop to $150 within the year.
There’s a lot to be excited about when you consider the features Windows Home Server offers out of the box—primarily, automated backup of all your desktop and mobile machines and media streaming to every room in your house. HP builds on this goodness with a second-generation WHS product that boasts both improved hardware and a supercharged features list.
When we reviewed HP’s first foray into the world of Windows Home Server last year, we were optimistic about the future of the platform but a bit underwhelmed by the performance of the little box. Since then, the Home Server software has gone through some teething pains, including a horrific bug that corrupted users’ files (since corrected with the first Service Pack for the Home Server software).
OCZ has been on a mission to undercut the competition in the peripheral gaming market and has released a pair of gaming mice this week towards that goal. The company says its new Behemoth and Eclipse mice are "built with the hardcore gamer in mind" looking for an inexpensive gaming solution.
"OCZ continues to break barriers in the cost for performance arena by offering high performance gaming products that deliver exceptional features, ergonomics, and performance at an aggressive price," commented Ryan Edwards, Director of Product Management for OCZ. "The new Behemoth and Eclipse gaming mice are no exception, offering world-class performance designed to provide the discerning gamer and enthusiast with a superior hands-on control experience whether playing first person shooters or getting creative with design applications."
Both the Eclipse and Behemoth come with a 2-way scrolling wheel, adjustable weight (up to 18g on the Eclipse and 24g on the Behemoth), 4-way changing LED display, black rubberized coating for a no-slip grip, 60IPS tracking speed, and 50G acceleration. The compact-style Eclipse sports an adjustable DPI up to 2400, whereas the larger Behemoth ramps up to 3200.