While most Silverstone cases tend toward polished metal and (if you’re lucky) a side window, the Raven’s hard plastic exterior takes its stylistic cues from a stealth bomber. Appropriately, everything on this 24.3x26x11-inch beaut is hidden behind panels: the front connectors (two USB, audio, FireWire) behind a flip-up, and the five 5.25-inch drives behind a garage door–like sliding panel.
The most striking thing about the Raven, besides its appearance, is that its motherboard mount is rotated 90 degrees clockwise—the I/O ports and PCI expansion slots, normally situated on the back of a case, are on the top and covered by a shroud that allows cables to be routed neatly to the back. This improves airflow (allowing air drawn in by two 18cm fans to rise from the bottom of the case to the top) and takes the stress of weighty PCI-E cards (like, say, dual-GPU offerings from Nvidia and ATI) off of the motherboard.
At 26x17x9 inches, the ABS Canyon 695 is a tall and svelte aluminum “supertower,” and its design is certainly striking. Remove the smooth front-panel cover and you’ll find the entire front of the case taken up by three 14cm intake fans, with a sliding lint-trap-like dust filter in front of them. This means the optical drive bays are rotated 90 degrees to accommodate the fans; they actually open into holes in the case’s side panels, giving the exterior an unusual look.
Inside, the case is separated into three “thermal zones”—the PSU, two 5.25-inch bays, and one external 3.5-inch bay reside at the top; the middle section holds the motherboard, PCI cards, etc.; the bottom can accommodate six SATA drives and even includes a hot-swappable backplate. Airflow is great, thanks to a generous array of fans—six in all.
We loved the features of Cooler Master’s HAF case but weren’t thrilled with its looks. Now comes the ATCS 840, billed as a “classic” model by Cooler Master. It combines the useful amenities we’ve come to expect from Cooler Master with a sexy brushed-metal, no-window, no-nonsense exterior, and nary an LED to be seen.
The roomy (22.8x24.8x9.8 inches) ATCS 840 is packed: removable dust filters on its intake ports, the sturdy slide-out motherboard tray with CPU-backplate cutout (so you don’t have to remove the motherboard to switch CPU coolers, even those that require a backplate). The tray even includes the full rear I/O area, so your PCI cards can come too! There’s even space for a second PSU or water-cooling reservoir up top. Three 23cm, 700rpm fans—one in front, two on the top—provide big airflow with little noise. There’s a 12cm output fan in the back, too.
Samsung today announces three new LCD displays as part of its 70 Series family, the P2070, P3270, and P2370HD. The first two rock a 30mm (1.18-inch) slim form factor, while the HD model checks in a little thicker at 65.5mm (2.58 inches.).
"The 70 Series offers our customers a sophisticated-looking LCD monitor with the performance capability of our televisions," said J.H. Kim, President of Samsung Electronics America's Information Technology Division. "The 70 Series is the new standard as more people upgrade their monitors for additional uses, like watching television programs and playing video games."
Power users will be most interested in the P2370HD, which boasts full 1080p HD (1920x1080) and comes with a built-in HDTV tuner, integrated speakers with SRS TruSurround, and a remote control. Other specs include a 5ms GTG response time, 50,000:1 contrast ration, and HDMI and component inputs.
Probably the only one blindsided by the NPD Group's latest numbers is Sony, which according to a new report shows first-quarter Blu-ray player sales increasing by 72 percent to over 400,000 units. It's no coincidence that the average selling price for a stand-alone Blu-ray player has gone down 34 percent from this same time last year, with the average player now selling for $261 instead of $393.
"The rising penetration of high-definition televisions and lower Blu-ray player prices are broadening the format's market opportunity," said Ross Rubin, director of industry analysis at NPD. "Even as options expand for accessing movies digitally, Blu-ray is carrying forward the widespread appeal of DVD into the high-definition marketplace."
Along with more players finding their way into the mainstream market, sales of Blu-ray movies are up significantly, too. U.S. residents bought about 9 million Blu-ray flicks in the first quarter, compared to 4.8 million during the same quarter last year.
It makes us sick to our stomach to think we used to pay $300 and up for premium 2GB memory kits just a few short years ago, when now you can get twice the capacity for roughly the cost of a Happy Meal, sans toy. If you're new to computing, trust us when we say that most of today's memory kits are a steal at their current price points.
Whether the same will be said about Patriot's newest SODIMM memory kits remains to be seen, but hey, we're stoked to see the higher capacity parts being offered in mobile form. The memory maker just announced two new additions to its Signature series, 4GB and 8GB DDR2-800 dual-channel SODIMMs.
"The performance gap between mobile and desktop computing has reduced significantly over the recent introduction of more powerful mobile platforms," commented Les Henry, Director of Engineering at Patriot. "By adding Patriot's DDR2 4GB module or 8GB in dual-channel mode, mobile systems can eliminate that gap and perform like a true desktop replacement."
No official word yet on pricing or availability (Newegg lists the not-yet-stocked 8GB kit for $299), but 8GB? Suck it, netbooks.
To those looking for another venue to get their very own supercomputer, you’re in luck! Nvidia has recently announced that their CUDA-based Tesla C1060 GPU is available in Dell’s Precision R5400, T5500 and T7500 workstations effective immediately.
If you’re worried that just one of these GPUs isn’t enough to handle your hardcore needs, worry not – just one C1060 has enough power to control the main system of the European Extremely Large Telescope project (reportedly the world’s largest). According to Jeff Meisel with National Instruments, a workstation “equipped with a single Tesla C1060 can achieve near real-time control of the mirror simulation and controller, which before wouldn't be possible in a single machine without the computational density offered by GPUs."
Three years ago AMD acquired graphics chip maker ATI for $5.4 billion, which has been producing and selling videocards as a separate division ever since. Under a new reorganization plan, that will no longer be the case, as AMD will merge its CPU and graphics units into a single group.
"The next generation of innovation in the computing industry will be grounded in the fusion of microprocessor and graphics technologies," AMD CEO Dirk Meyer said in a statement. "With these changes, we are putting the right organization in place to help enable the future of computing."
The new products group will be one of the four new groups, with the others focusing on technology, marketing, and customers. Senior VP Rick Bergman will lead the new products group, which AMD says will be responsible for deliver all of AMD's platforms and products.
AMD also announced that Randy Allen, senior VP, Computing Solutions Group, has decided to step down. Allen had stepped into his role a year ago as part of another major reorganization.
Let Microsoft and Apple fight over who has the better platform and OS. Meanwhile, Intel has unleashed a new ad campaign that should appeal to viewers of either camp, assuming those viewers have a funny bone. The new ads showcase Intel as a different kind of rock star -- a geek uprising, if you will -- and if you're not amused, well, you just might not have a sense of humor.
The first of a series of ads stars Ajay Bhatt (portrayed by an actor), co-inventor of the USB, walking down an office aisle filled with giddy fans and signing autographs. A graphic appears at end proclaiming, "Our rock stars aren't like your rocks stars." While tongue-in-cheek, there's a bigger message Intel is trying to send, one which focuses on the brand and not the product.
"The fact that we're an ingredient, it's easy to get lost," said Deborah Conrad, VP and GM of Intel's corporate marketing group. "We really needed to put some meaning into Intel, so 'Intel inside' means something again."
If nothing else, it means a few chuckles, but Intel hopes it leads to better sales as well. No laughing matter, Intel's first quarter revenue slid 26 percent to $7.1 billion, while profit is down 55 percent. True to Intel form, the company will look to spend its way out of a recession, and that includes the new ad campaign.
Check it out here, then hit the jump and tell us what you think.
As expected, Amazon today officially unveiled its large-screen Kindle eBook reader, the Kindle DX, making the announcement in a lecture hall at the downtown Pace University. Speculation and rumors preceded the announcement, none of which matters anymore now that Amazon has put up a product page. Some pertinent specs for the new DX revision:
9.7-inch display with 16 shades of gray
Hold up to 3,500 books, periodicals, and documents
Slim form factor measuring just over 1/3 of an inch
Auto rotating screen
Much anticipated built-in PDF reader
The new kindle measures 10.4 x 7.2 x 0.38 inches, whereas the original measured 8 x 3.5 x 0.36 inches. It also costs a little over a $100 more than the original, part of which goes toward the added storage capacity.
You can pre-order the Kindle DX now for $489 with free shipping through Amazon.com.