Look what the mail truck dragged in! After first announcing the X8 in early September (where we got our first look and photos of the mouse), Microsoft has finally shipped the latest addition to the Sidewinder gaming mouse family. The X8 adopts Microsoft’s proprietary Bluetrack technology, which empowers it with 4000 DPI tracking resolution (scalable from 500) and the ability to work on almost any surface. We tested this claim on five different surfaces, from a rough wood desk to Styrofoam board and even coarse carpet. The mouse worked fine (though understandable not perfectly smooth) on all of our test surfaces, and only failed when we tried moving it over glass.
The shipping version doesn’t differ much from the pre-production model we fondled back in September, and retained the nice grip and smart button placement that we liked from our first hands-on. The included rechargable battery was a cinch to install, and tethering the mouse to the thin magnetic cord didn’t hinder our sweeping mouse movements. The wireless receiver is built into a clunky puck-like disc that sits on your desk, which ensures that you get better reception than if the receiver was hidden on a USB key behind your PC. The X8 still feels big for some hands, but our initial impression is that this is a winner. We’ll post our full review soon, but for now, enjoy these sexy unboxing and handling photos.
This past Friday Lian Li announced their PC-V351 Desktop HTPC case, a pure aluminum chassis that’s meant for the HTPC minded builder out there.
The PC-V351 features dual, front mounted 120mm fans that spin at 1000RPM, as well as a single, rear mounted 80mm exhaust fan that moves air at 1200RPM. This boxy beast measures in at 262mm tall, 279mm wide, and 373mm deep. Plus, you’ll have plenty of room for whatever components you decide to put in. There’s room for two 5.25-inch optical drives, plenty of hard drives, and a micro-ATX motherboard.
Plus, if you’re looking to build a media machine that’ll sit in a room where it has to look pretty, you can get this in black, silver or red.
Tuning and tweaking cars and PCs are two hobbies that are often likened to each other because of the many parallels, and thanks to JC Hyun Systems, the two even share some of the same DNA. That's because the South Korean car audio supplier has just developed the first automobile infotaiment system using Creative's X-Fi technology.
"I believe all motorists seek to enjoy music and videos of the highest quality when traveling in their cars," JC Hyun Systems said. "They expect the same high standards of entertainment experience they enjoy at home, something which most car audio or car infotainment systems in the market have been unable to match so far. By integrating the state-of-the-art Creative X-Fi audio technology to the RUNZ CI-7100, I am confident that we can propel car infotainment enjoyment to the next level and set the standard for next generation systems to come in the near future."
The svelte looking RUNZ CI-7100 Dash-Car Navigation Device comes with a 7-inch display with an 800 x 480 resolution, an Intel dual-core 360/300MHz processor, MMSP2 MPEG video hardware engine, SiRF III GPS chipset, and Creative's X-Fi audio processor with support for CMSS-3D and 24-bit Crystalizer. Other features include an SDHC card slot, Bluetooth, iPod 30-pin socket, USB host, and support for a variety of media formats, including MP3, WMA, OGG, WMV, MPEG4, DIVX, and XVID.
AMD Socket F (1207) Opteron owners have reason to rejoice, as it looks like the chip maker's upcoming Istanbul chip is on target for a 2H 2009 release and won't require any new hardware. A 6-core chip built on a 45nm manufacturing process with 6MB of L3 cache, Istanbul will go head-to-head with Intel's 6-core Dunnington-based Xeon released in September 2008. AMD had some heavy criticism for Dunnington following its release, saying it's just a glued together triple-dual core processor with 50 percent more cores than the quad-core and costing 50 percent more, among other complaints.
We'll have to wait for Istanbul's release to see how it stacks up against Intel's 6-core solution, but in the meantime, AMD did demonstrate a 24-core Istanbul configuration pitted against a 16-core Shanghai rig using the same parts, both with HyperTransport 3 enabled. With 50 percent more cores, the Istanbul machine produced almost double the bandwidth at 42,000 MB/s versus 25,000 MB/s for the Shanghai setup.
No pricing information or release date has yet been given, although AMD is planning on offering both lower-power HE and high performance SE models.
If Marvell has its way, plug computers will soon become commonplace. The company today announced its Plug Computing initiative, which seeks to make always-on computing not only more flexible and easy-to-use than it is today, but also more environmentally friendly compared to a typical desktop or laptop PC.
A plug computer is essentially a small embedded computer that plugs into a wall socket and hooks into your home network via an Ethernet cable. It can then run network-based services that would typically be handled by a desktop or laptop. Marvell's SheevaPlug platform, for example, comes equipped with a Kirkwood embedded processor based on an embedded 1.2GHz Sheeva CPU, 512MB of flash memory, and 512MB of DDR2 memory.
Nvidia showcased its bantam Ion platform during CES 2009. The Ion platform basically combines Intel’s Atom CPU with the GeForce 9400M GPU. Ion-toting netbooks are expected to be head and shoulders above today’s netbooks - that make a meal of even the simplest graphical tasks - in terms of graphics.
Silicon Power announced this morning that they have plans to release a 2.5-inch SATA II SSD that will weigh in at a sizeable 256GB.
Doubling the size of their already notable 128GB SSD released previously, the new 256GB version will feature faster read speeds of 165MB/second and write speeds of 98MB/second. Sadly, the drive has a Jmicrion JMF602 controller, which doesn’t play well with SSDs unless it ships with revision B of the very same chip. No word yet on whether or not this is the case.
According to Silicon Power “Customers can easily install the SSD in laptops, PCs or other devices that support SATA II SSD. Silicon Power 2.5” SSD with SATA II or IDE interface is fully compatible with RoHS requirement, with capacities ranging from 8GB to 256GB.”
According to a report published by review site PCPerspective, Intel's advanced sector remapping and wear-leveling algorithm used in the company's X25-M SSD is causing the drive to suffer serious performance degradation over time. In some cases, the site noted reads had been reduced to a pokey 22MB/s. The only solution PCPerspective could come up with to restore the once speedy SSD back to its original performance level was to use a dated version of HDDErase.
Not so fast, says Intel in response to PCPerspctive's claim that the X25-M had become, well, not so fast. Despite the review site having found a drop in performance in all three of its SSDs, Intel claims it has not seen the same type of degradation in its own labs.
"Our labs currently have not been able to duplicate these results," Intel said. "In our estimation, the synthetic workloads they use to stress the drive are not reflective of real world use. Similarly, the benchmarks they used to evaluate performance do not represent what a PC user experiences."
Intel went on to say that it's completely normal for a PC's drive, whether it be an HDD or SSD, to exhibit reduced performance when filled up, but that PCPerspective's results are higher than what Intel would generally expect. Hence the reason why Intel questions the methodology that was used.
Any SSD owners, Intel-brand or otherwise, notice any performance slowdowns over time? Hit the jump and let us know what your experience has been.
Most of us take for granted the inner workings of a Google search and all we're concerned about is receiving near instantaneous results to our query. And just as well, because Google hasn't been one to pony up much specifics on the hardware it uses to sift through oodles of web pages. That is, until Google Fellow Jeff Dean gave a keynote talk at ESDM 2009.
According to Dean, a typical Google search might consume the processing power of 1000 machines. Talking about Google's growth in the past decade, Dean said search queries have gone up by x1000, and so too has the company's processing power (# machines * speed of the machines). In addition, Dean claims query latency has dropped from under 1000ms to normally under 200ms, as well as dropping the update latency by a staggering x10000, so that crawler updates have been reduced from several months down to just a few minutes.
Dean says the improved performance is a result of switching the holding indexes to now being completely in memory. The result is that it takes thousands of machines to process a search query, but it has made near instantaneous searches possible.
Ruh-roh, Shaggy, it looks as though SSDs might not be all that and a bag of chips after all. Or more specifically, Intel's mighty X25-M SSD may prove a better sprinter than a marathon runner.
One of the major concerns with SSD technology is that the cells are good only for a finite number of writes, at which point they become read-only. Intel address this potential problem using sector remapping and wear-leveling algorithms, but a new report shows it might carry a nasty performance-reducing side effect.
Most wear-leveling algorithms dynamically move frequently-rewritten logical sectors to different physical sectors of the drive, ensuring that no cells are written to more frequently than others. Intel takes it a step further by extending its remap table into individual sectors, which reduces the number of small block writes needed for small files. The problem, according to PCPerspective, is that Intel's method seriously degrades long-term performance. After two of the site's writers noticed that their X25-M SSDs were performing signicantly slower after a length of time, the review site reran the drives through its gamut of benchmarks and found the drives had indeed degraded in performance, and in some cases, reads were reduced to a paltry 22MB/s. Zoinks!
If you own an X25-M and find that your drive has also slowed down considerably, there are fixes in place. According to Intel, one way to restore performance is to use IOMeter to sequentially write content to the entire drive. PCPerspective said it met with limited success using this method, but had much better results using Intel's second suggestion, which is to use a tool to perform a SECURE ERASE command on the drive. Using an older version of HDDErase (v3.3), the site says it was able to restore its X25-M back to its original performance levels.
Check out the article here, then hit the jump and sound off.