Easily the coolest part of today’s TED event was Dr. Pattie Maes’s “Reframe” presentation on new technology interfaces. Maes, a researcher at MIT’s Media Lab, energized the crowd with a demonstration of a $350 piece of technology that her team dubs “the sixth sense.” Maes’s Fluid Interfaces research group collaborates on projects and inventions that augment the interaction between human and machine, including both visual and haptic interfaces that are far more immersive than our traditional keyboard and monitor.
Maes started by discussing the five natural senses that humans have developed over the past million years of evolution. These senses help us make important decisions in everyday life, including how we interact with other individuals and our physical environment. But arguably, the most useful stimulus we come across is information that we don’t have easy access to via these senses, such as large amounts of aggregated data and factual knowledge. Increasingly, all of this knowledge is being stored and made available online.
The question, then is whether we could develop (either naturally or artificially) a sixth sense to detect this meta-information that may exist and is relevant to our decision-making.
Read on to see what Dr. Maes and her team developed!
For more than a year, LG has been sitting pretty with the only 6x Blu-ray burner available for retail, but now that Sony’s BWU 300S offers 8x BD-R write speeds, LG’s supremacy has come to an end. Sort of.
The 300S is uncommonly fast—given the right circumstances. The drive managed to fill a 25GB BD-R disc with data in a blistering 13:56 (min:sec), compared with the LG GBW-H20L’s time of 22:16, but only when the drive was fed manufacturer-recommended Panasonic 6x media. And good luck finding that—our online search for the media was fruitless. When using more common 4x media, the 300S stuck closely to that speed rating, taking 22:56 to complete the same task.
We were pumped when we heard that Seagate had broken through the terabyte barrier with its 1.5TB Barracuda drive—it’s not only the biggest consumer drive available, but also represents the largest jump in capacity we’ve seen. We typically expect capacity increases to be accompanied by performance decreases, but this drive is quick on its feet despite its gargantuan size.
Thanks to perpendicular recording, the Barracuda manages to pack 1.5TB of capacity onto four 375GB platters on a 7,200rpm spindle with a 32MB cache, which allows it to keep pace with four-platter 1TB drives like the terabyte Barracuda and the WD Caviar Black.
Asus is typically good about tossing out press releases when they drop a new product, but this time around they’ve just put up their latest netbook up for pre-order, hoping that we’d catch on. Well, as you might have guessed by now we did, and without further adieu, let me introduce to you the Asus Eee PC 1000HE (E is for extended!).
The new little beastie will feature a 10-inch LED screen, a 160GB HDD, a 1.66GHz Atom N280 processor, and built in 802.11b/g/n wireless and Bluetooth 2.0. It’ll all come wrapped in a very modest $399 (and an additional $25 off if you’re in the Facebook group), and will run for up to 9.5 hours using Asus’ Super Hybrid Engine battery technology.
If you’re looking to pre-order, be sure to check this out.
We have to give Antec points for bucking the mainstream: The Skeleton is a seriously cool-looking case. The motherboard rests horizontally, so the case’s footprint is much wider than that of a standard tower chassis, but it’s also shorter. The open design and sliding component tray make it easy to swap parts in and out, and installation is quick and relatively painless. The Super Big Boy LED fan, which truly is both super and big, dominates the top of the case, keeping air moving over all your components, and the open design ensures that there’s plenty of airflow. A smaller fan mounts in front of the hard drive bay for additional cooling.
Removing two spring-loaded thumbscrews lets you slide out the component tray about three quarters of the way, providing easy access to the motherboard as well as the optical and hard drives. The side panels remove easily, and there’s a sliding bay for the power supply. But screwless this case ain’t. Your Phillips head screwdriver will be a constant companion.
The Eurocom Clevo laptops have been the focus of a fair amount of attention since they were leaked last month. When the idea of a laptop sporting Intel’s Core i7 chip comes across one’s mind, they can’t help but be a little enticed.
Well, we’ve finally gotten some details on just what the 17-inch model of the Clevo laptop will have under the hood, and this certainly isn’t a casual user’s notebook. At the base, it’ll have the options of a 2.66GHz, 2.93GHz or 3.2GHz Intel Core i7. Storage wise, there will be three 500GB hard drives, adding up to a staggering 1.5TB of space, and 8GB of DDR3 for memory. And finally, the graphical capabilities will come in the form of an Nvidia G280.
There’s some speculation on just when it’ll be released, but Q4 of this year would be the safest bet. There’s still no word on pricing, but if start working out if you are looking to snag one of these bad boys – it all weighs in at a whopping 11.9 pounds.
The latest in Asus’s ever-expanding line of Eee netbooks is a welcome addition to the fold, and much more to our liking than the 901 model we reviewed in December.
Eschewing the previous model’s unremarkable white plastic exterior for a brushed aluminum shell is a smart move on Asus’s part. This changed aesthetic adds legitimacy to the product: The 901’s finish made the device feel disposable, while the 1002HA feels like a real computer.
More importantly, the 1002HA Asus sent us forgoes the pair of low-performance, ultra-low-capacity solid-state drives that bumped up the Eee 901’s price while wreaking havoc with its Photoshop performance (owing to the poor write speeds of cheap MLC SSDs). Instead of SSDs, the 1002HA sports a much more generous 5400rpm 160GB standard hard drive. And it really pays off: The 1002HA breezed through out Photoshop benchmark in just 690 seconds—40 seconds faster than the Acer Aspire One, our prev-ious champion, and less than half the 1,530 seconds the Eee 901 took to accomplish the same task.
AMD can use any help it can get, and for awhile, the chip maker looked like it was going to get it from a 3.6GHz Phenom II X4 quad-core processor. Not only would that represent the fastest-clocked quad-core by either AMD or Intel, but it would also be the fastest-clocked processor regardless of cores.
German website News-AMD recently said AMD would release the speedy 45nm chip in Q2 2009, but it appears the site was mistaken. According to TomsHardware, the site went offline due to "incorrect interpretation," and is now back online with an updated release schedule. Rather than Q2 2009, the site says a 3.6GHz Phenom II X4 is likely by the end of the decade, which means potentially waiting until 2010.
In the meantime, AMD's Phenom II X4 950 (3.1GHz) is still expected to debut in Q2 2009 with support for socket AM3. The new chip will support DDR3-1333 memory, come with a 4GHz HyperTransport interface speed, boast 8MB of cache, and have a 125W thermal envelope.
Asus’s P6T Deluxe isn’t the most over-the-top Core i7 board we’ve tested, but it certainly has a leg up on Intel’s bare-bones DX58SO. For one thing, it finally brings us graphics reunification by supporting both two-card SLI and CrossFire X configurations.
And instead of the gimpy four-slot DIMM setup of Intel’s DX58SO, the P6T Deluxe features six DDR3 DIMM slots. The board, of course, supports all Core i7 CPUs. Since Intel is the sole chipset provider for X58 and the memory controller is in the CPU itself, most performance differences will be the result of BIOS tweaks each manufacturer implements. We found Asus’s BIOS to be far friendlier than the Intel board’s, which at first glance seems designed for engineers. Truth be told, though, the Asus BIOS can be just as daunting if you tread into the Advanced section.
It’s no secret that we here at Maximum PC are fans of Intel’s new Core i7. In fact, Intel has held a place of distinction in our best of the best round up pretty consistently now ever since Athelon’s day came and went several years ago. Despite this fact, we are pretty fickle with our affections, and are all secretly still rooting for the underdog. We are also the first to admit that we are glad AMD is still around to keep Intel on its toes. Though both Phenom & Phenom II failed to set the world on fire, we were all pretty impressed when we discovered how much overclocking headroom we received as a result of the die shrink. We were even more excited when we saw the videos of AMD pushing the new CPU past 6.5Ghz, setting a new record in terms of clock speed.
Intel however, never wanting to concede its speed crown, was quick to go on the attack. In an email exchange with TGDaily, an Intel employee pointed out that the AMD 3DMark score of 45,474 submitted on January 12th 2009 was actually 1,170 points lower than a Core i7 score turned in by Intel just 8 days earlier. He also stated that the AMD results were achieved with unapproved drivers, and curiously were only run when the clock speed was at 4.481 Ghz. So as for who holds the 3DMark speed crown, I guess it all depends on who you ask.
It’s good to know that even if Phenom II didn’t quite bring them up to where they need to be, at least they have Intel taking notice of them again. And I for one can’t wait until I see the portable liquid helium cooling system that lets me duplicate these AMD scores at home! They are working on that right?