iBuyPower does their very best to sing the hymn of the bargain computer shopper, and this time they’ve managed to come out in tune. Their most recent verses are the Dragon Based Gamer HAF 91B and the Gamer Fire.
The HAF 91B will feature Phenom II X4 CPU 920 processor, 4GB DDR2, 500GB HDD, an ATI 512MB Radeon HD 3850, and will run you about $999. The Fire runs along the same lines, featuring a Phenom II X4 940 CPU, 750GB HDD, and the rest of the hardware essentially the same for $1,439.
If you’re looking for a new gaming rig on the cheap, don’t hesitate to check these two out. On paper, they look to be mighty steady choices.
In what's sure to appeal to pandas, ninjas, and environmentalists who just can't go green enough, DBL Distributing LLC has partnered with Micro Innovations to release a full lineup of bamboo computer accessories. Why bamboo, you ask?
DBL points out that bamboo is a natural resource that's easily harvested and replenished with almost no impact to the earth. Switching to bamboo cuts back on carbon dioxide gasses, and DBL says it can be harvested in 3-5 years instead of the 10-50 years it takes to harvest most soft and hard woods.
"There is a high demand for environmentally friendly products," states Tim Coakley, Senior VP of Merchandising for DBL. "Research suggests that customers will pay a higher price for 'green' products and technology. Micro Innovations has developed a great new eco-friendly product line-up that is stylish and speaks to an under saturated market of people who seek eco-friendly innovative technology."
Starting in April, DBL will begin selling Micro Innovations' EcoSmart Bamboo computer keyboard and mouse for an unspecified price. Shortly after, DBL will add Bamboo speakers, webcam, 4-port USB hub, media card reader, and USB keyboard, also at unspecified price points.
According to Nvidia’s General Manager of MCP business, Drew Henry, the first Ion-based PC will be a nettop that will sell for around $299.
The Ion platform, which has passed Microsoft Windows Vista WHQL certification, will be able to support high-definition multimedia graphics processing.
Mr. Henry did mention that Nvidia was considering a possible partnership with VIA Technologies to create a low-cost PC platform, but other than that there’s no word yet availability. It’s expected that the nettop will be shipping June of this year.
Earlier this week Lite-On announced a new line of internal DVD writers it says will be the fastest on the market with a 24X rated write speed. The new drives will come in three different versions, with all three sporting Lite-On's SmartErase data erasing feature. Lite-On's fastest model, the iHAS624, will be the only one to come with the company's LabelTag feature, which allows users to create label tags on the data side of the disc.
"PLDS is proud to manufacture the fastest 24X writers in the market, especially with included technologies such as LabelTag," said Christine Hsing, Marketing Manager at PLDS. "LabelTag provides a cost-effective and flexible method for professional disc labeling, a great solution for today’s busy professional, and people on-the-go."
Lite-On says that users can still add data after using its LabelTag technology, which works on any standard recordable media. Two of the drives -- the iHAP424 and iHAS624 -- will also support LightScribe.
The iHAS324 with SmartErase will be available in March, the iHAP424 with SmarErase and Lightscribe by the end of March, and the iHAS624 with SmartEarase, LightScribe, and LabelTag by mid-May. No word yet on pricing.
After a lengthy standoff that ultimately punished the consumer rather than each other, Intel and Nvidia recently came to an agreement over using Nvidia's SLI technology on Intel chipset-based motherboards, specifically the Core i7 friendly X58. And now for the first time, Intel has licensed SLI for use on its own DX58SO "Smackover" motherboard.
"The addition of Nvidia SLI technology to the Intel DX58SO motherboard has been a welcome addition," said Clem Russo, VP and GM of Channel Desktop Platform Group at Intel. "The pairing of our new Core i7 processors on our Extreme Series motherboard and Nvidia GeForce graphics has resulted in some of the world's fastest consumer gaming PC platforms. For playing any of today's hottest PC titles, this is one awesome combination that our customers have been asking for."
Nvidia says the DX58SO supports any combination of GeForce GPUs, including support for quad-SLI, which will come as a boon to Smackover owners who have been lusing over Nvidia's new dual-GPU GeForce GTX 295 videocard.
Toshiba, always one to bolster their numbers, has added the A10-S3511 and M10-S3411 notebooks to their Tecera line of laptops!
Both of these have a 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo P8600, 2GB DDR2 and a 160GB HDD under the hood. And, to help seal the deal they’ve included a built-in webcam, WiFi, Bluetooth, their own EasyGuard technology, a 3-hour battery, and they bring it to you all on Windows Vista Business with a possible downgrade to XP Professional.
The main differences are aesthetic, though the hard drives are different speeds. The A10 has a 15.4-inch WSXGA+ screen, Nvidia Quadro NVS and a 7200rpm drive and costs $1,249. The M10 has a slightly smaller 14.1-inch TFT LCD, integrated Intel GM45 graphics and a 5400rpm drive and costs only $1,100.
While for many the current economy is a sign of the savings, Intel has refused to change their prices. So if you’re looking to get an Intel powered notebook on the cheap, chances are pretty good that you’ll have to wait a bit!
Intel has notified its partners that it will not cut the prices of notebooks until the end of May. If this information holds up to be correct, they’ll probably begin lowering the prices of notebook CPUs by 13-40 percent in June in order to make way for their Calpella platform “based on its partners’ inventory status and demand.”
What does this mean for the average consumer like you and I? Well, until notebook manufacturers get rid of their current inventory, nothing. Absolutely nothing!
According to a study by New York computer forensics firm, Kessler International, 40 percent of the hard drives that are purchased in bulk orders on eBay contain personal, private and sensitive information. They’ve found everything from corporate financial data to surfing histories and even the downloads of a man with a foot fetish.
The study, which was conducted over six months, consisted of nearly 100 drives that ranged in size from 40GB to 300GB. “With size of the sample, I guess we were surprised with the percentage of disks that we found data on,” stated Michael Kessler, CEO of Kessler International. “We expected most of the drives to be wiped -- to find one or two disks with data. But 40 drives out of 100 is a lot.”
Of the data that they retrieved, 36 percent was personal data and confidential information (including financial information), 21 percent were photos, 13 percent were corporate documents, 11 percent browsing histories, 11 percent DNS server information, and 4 percent was miscellaneous data.
So, should you be looking to sell your machine on eBay let this be a warning to you! Be sure to format the drive completely, ensuring that you wipe out each little piece of data. Who knows where it might end up?
Ah, the fashion mouse. You know the one: It’s designed by the industrial design team of the moment, and it not only lets you move your PC’s cursor but also tells everyone that you care about Design (you know, with a capital D). Unfortunately, what this mouse tells anyone who knows about mice is that you’d rather use an incredibly uncomfortable device that looks cool than one that properly fits your paw and gives you good control over your cursor. Despite a more than competent laser-powered sensor, the Arc Mouse falls squarely in fashion-mouse territory.
The Arc is, ostensibly, designed to be a travel mouse, and its size and shape are indeed suited to that purpose. When you fold the back of the mouse up and snap the USB transmitter dongle into the magnetic receptacle, you get a mouse that’s small enough to fit in a pocket. That’s great and all, but it’s just not comfortable to use.
Maker’s Mark is of course the name of a fine Kentucky bourbon whiskey, but the phrase also applies to the stamp that skilled artisans apply to their creations. When you’ve finished building your custom PC, we’d encourage you to stamp it with your own maker’s mark; after all, the one-of-a-kind creation you’ll have wrought will have nothing in common with the mass-produced rigs that mainstream manufacturers churn out by the millions.
That’s one of the most exciting aspects of our hobby. Automobile buffs can tune and customize their factory-built cars and trucks, but computer geeks like us get to build something new and unique almost entirely from whole cloth. And it’s so easy that you have to wonder why anyone would buy a preassembled PC in the first place.
Thanks to the relatively open architecture that IBM stumbled into oh so many years ago (and has likely regretted ever since), we can rebuild and retune our creations again and again, boosting their performance and postponing their obsolescence. We do hit a wall every now and again. Intel’s new Core i7 CPU is a good example. Because the new processor features an onboard memory controller—a first for Intel, although AMD’s procs have had the technology for years—the company had to design a new socket architecture to accommodate the additional pins. That blocks the upgrade path for anyone using an LGA775 motherboard.
Intel has AMD on the run in the CPU front, but AMD is poking Nvidia in the behind in the graphics processor market. The result: ever more powerful, ever less expensive videocards. The two companies have shipped so many new parts that we expect things will stabilize over the next quarter or so, so now’s the time to find a great deal whether you’re building a new rig or retrofitting an old one. And if you’ve never experienced the joy and pride of building your own PC, click through to read our in-depth, hands-on guide.