At $2,300, CyberPower’s Extreme M1 17-inch gaming notebook is the antithesis of the budget Gateway P-7811 FX we’ve been raving about for months. The most obvious extravagance you get for the higher price is dual-GPU graphics in the form of two ATI Radeon HD 3870 cards in CrossFireX. The Extreme M1’s 2.53GHz T9400 Core 2 Duo CPU is also 270MHz faster and features twice the cache as the Gateway’s proc, its 320GB hard drive is more than 50 percent bigger, and its optical drive supports Blu-ray playback.
The question is, how do these extras translate in performance? Compared with our zero-point notebook, the Extreme M1 excelled in all the benchmarks to varying degrees—not surprising, given the zero-point’s age. Against the Gateway P-7811 FX, there was a little more give and take. For example, in the ProShow Producer and MainConcept benchmarks, CyberPower’s rig had gains hovering around 10 percent, which is proportionate to the M1’s clock-speed advantage over the Gateway’s 2.26GHz CPU. But in our Photoshop benchmark, the Extreme M1 was actually around 7 percent slower than Gateway’s P-7811 FX.
Home users aren't the only ones reluctant to shell out big bucks for low capacity SSDs; companies are too. But while the former might be justified in waiting until the bang-for-buck ratio becomes a bit more favorable, a new report by J. Gold Association says that companies can save money by investing in SSDs right now.
"Our intent was to identify the true costs associated with equipping notebook computers deployed in the enterprise," said Jack Gold, principal analyst at the firm. "We discovered that the savings were very significant for a standard three year cycle."
According to the report, despite the comparatively high cost of SSDs, a company stands to save about $214 over three years and up to $492 if the notebook remains in service for five years. Part of the savings comes from in-warranty repair costs, which J. Gold Association claims averages out to $970 for a notebook with a conventional hard drive, compared to $715 for one equipped with an SSD.
Other reasons for the disparity include lower failure rates and less power consumption.
Several SSD owners have reported intermittent stuttering, a problem that usually creeps up on drives built around a JMicron controller. But according to Patriot, insufficient cache can also be the culprit, and the company's new Torqx M28 series seeks to solve the problem by doubling the amount of DRAM cache from 64MB to 128MB.
"The Torqx series SSDs takes the technology of SSD to the next level," says Meng J. Choo, Patriot's Flash Product Manager. "Competitor non-cache drives suffered from what consumers described as 'stuttering effect' which inhibited the drive performance. Torqx series addresses this issue with a DRAM cache that acts as a buffer for data transfer bottlenecks and increases the random and sequential read and write transfer speeds."
So far available in both 128GB and 256GB capacities, the Torqx M28 come rated at up to 220MB/s sequential read and up to 200MB/s sequential write speeds - respectable, but not earth moving. Somewhat more impressive, the drives come backed by a 10 year warranty, or at least double that of most hard drives.
Pretty soon, even your toaster will come with Netflix streaming built in. In the meantime, Netflix's newest target is Sony's line of online-enabled Bravia LCD televisions.
Enabled via a software update expected to launch this fall, those with compatible Bravia sets will gain access to the same growing catalog of movies and television shows that are available on an also growing list of Netflix-streaming devices, including the Xbox 360 console, Roku player, some TiVo sets, and a few Samsung and LG Blu-ray players.
Supported Sony TV sets so far include the XBR9 series, Z5100 series, and the W5100 series, while other Sony sets can add support via a $200 Bravia Internet Video Link. In addition to Netflix streaming, Bravia Internet Video-enabled devices also support content from Amazon's Video-On-Demand, YouTube, CBS, and others.
You know when a little person shows up in a Ben Stiller movie he’s gonna whoop some ass. Sometimes that’s not just a comedy film cliché. Take, for example, Falcon Northwest’s size-challenged Fragbox II.
You’d think this Halfling PC would have a hard time competing with full-tilt, big-ass gaming rigs, but Falcon brings its A-game to the table by managing to stuff an overclocked Core i7 into the wee chassis.
This is the third Fragbox II we’ve seen in recent years and it’s also clearly the fastest. With its overclocked 2.93GHz Core i7-940, 6GB of DDR3/1066, Lite On Blu-ray burner, Seagate 1.5TB Barracuda, and a pair of GeForce GTX 285 cards in SLI, this PC is hardly wanting.
Without any press releases that we could find, Nvidia has launched a pair of low-level graphics cards, both of which are being aimed at the OEM market.
The first is the GT220, a half-height card with 48 processor cores chugging along at 615MHz (GPU) with 1GB of GDDR3 memory running a 790MHz on a 128-bit memory interface. That adds up to 25.3GB/s of memory bandwidth. For what it's worth, the OEM card also boasts support for DirectX 10.1.
Also launched is the G210, another half-height OEM card sporting DirectX 10.1 support. As you might have surmised from the number scheme, the G210 checks in with lower specs than the GT220. Specifically, 16 processor cores with the GPU clocked at 589MHz, and 512MB of DDR2 memory clocked at 500MHz on a 64-bit bus. The lower clocks and bus chops the memory bandwidth down to 8GB/s.
No word on price or which OEMs are expected to carry the new cards.
Razer, maker of gaming peripherals, added to its audio lineup this week with a revised pair of in-ear earphones the company is again calling the Razer Moray.
"After the release of the original Razer Moray, we received feedback from gamers who needed something more," says Robert Krakoff, President of Razer. "They wanted a compact headset that provides not only great audio quality, but the ability to talk to their friends."
The noise-isolating earphones come with an inline omnidirectional microphone that Razer claims "captures sound input from any direction with exceptional voice clarity." The company also touts a "powerful" bass response.
The revised Razor Moray is available now in either black or white with an MSRP set at $60.
Patience isn't just a virtue, it's also a way to save a few bucks. And if you were in the market for a Kindle 2 eBook reader but talked yourself into waiting until the right time presented itself, that patience pays off today in the form of a $60 price break.
Just five months after launch, Amazon has slashed the price of the Kindle 2 to $299 with free shipping, just barely nudging under the $300 mark. Already a hot seller, the new price point could put Amazon in a position to fend off the competition in a market that continues to heat up. Or maybe Amazon's just looking to move as many units as possible before the rumored Kindle 3 shows up.
Anyone plan on picking one of these up? Hit the jump and tell us what you think of the sub-$300 price tag.
All-in-one PCs like Dell’s XPS One 24 aren’t the most powerful computers on the market and they know it. Like thin-and-light notebooks, they trade brute power for a thin, stylish profile and quiet operation—and we’re absolutely fine with that. We’d never give up our benchmark-crushing uber rigs for an all-in-one, but a good one can be a terrific second PC for the kitchen, living room, or bedroom.
Don’t take that to mean the XPS One 24 is wimpy, though. It’s far more powerful than the HP TouchSmart we reviewed in the Holiday 2008 issue (you’ll find our review at http://tinyurl.com/dxcxkf), thanks to a foundation based on Intel’s 2.33GHz Core 2 Quad Q8200 CPU, a respectable mobile GPU (Nvidia’s GeForce 9600M GT with a 512MB frame buffer), and a desktop 750GB hard drive. The trade-off for that power is heat and noise: The components in Dell’s machine produce more heat than the parts HP chose, and Dell compounded its thermal issues by sticking the power supply inside the chassis (HP uses an external brick). So, while the TouchSmart is all but silent, the cooling fan in the XPS One 24 emits a slightly annoying whine.
Rifling through the box that the Intel DX58SO “Smackover” board came in, we were surprised not to find “love” and “hate” brass knuckles, because the motherboard definitely conjures feelings of both extremes.
If you think we’re being disrespectful, just take one look at the board’s SATA ports. That will tell you that somebody at Intel still doesn’t know that today’s graphics cards are big, huge, honking affairs. Since Intel oriented all the SATA ports vertically, you’ll have a hell of a time accessing the ports with a dual-slot GPU parked overhead.
And if that doesn’t make you bust out the hate knuckles, the memory slots might. We’ve seen four previous boards for the Core i7—two from Asus, one from DFI, and an MSI mobo—and all have had six DIMM slots so you could run up to 12GB of RAM and maintain tri-channel mode. Not Intel’s.