It may only be a side note here in North America, but over in the U.K HP is shaking up its netbook lineup. Normally this isn’t something that would make headline news, but it underscores an interesting new trend. HP is dropping the Mini 2133, the only Linux netbook still in its fleet. Customers will still be able to purchase Microsoft versions of the Mini 1000’s and install Linux on their own, but will now be forced to pay the Microsoft tax.
Tech journalists and enthusiasts alike have been fascinated by Linux’s rise in popularity thanks to low cost PCs, but clearly the mainstream consumer still favors the familiar blue and green of Windows XP. Another unknown is what impact Windows 7 will have on Linux netbooks sales in the future. If the price of the starter edition is the same, or less than XP, we can’t help but wonder if the free OS will have what it takes to compete. Clearly Microsoft is taking the netbook threat seriously, but only time will tell who will win the war.
Will Linux survive in the netbook and low cost PC market? Hit the jump and let us know what you think.
Nvidia’s promise last September to revamp and rebrand its product line by the end of 2008 sounded like a great idea, but has anyone else noticed any meaningful changes? The 200 series has helped somewhat. The larger number indicates the faster card, but that's the only pattern I have been able to figure out. Well if esoteric GeForce branding trivia is a hobby of yours, then you’re in luck.
Leaked documents from Santa Clara based Nvidia suggest that GeForce 9800 GTX+ will be officially renamed to the GeForce GTS 250 during cEBIT in March. The 250 will still be made using the new 55 nm process and will clock in at the same frequencies as before. A similar fate awaits the 8800 GT which will be renamed to the GeForce 240. OEM partners were reassured in the memo by revealing that both cards can easily be converted simply by changing the VBIOS and packaging materials. It is still unclear what will happen to existing parts already in the supply chain, or if any other products are being considered for future rebranding.
Nvidia is clearly focusing its marketing resources towards the mainstream and entry-level markets. This is clearly the area they expect to be the most active during the economic crunch. As for their rebranding efforts, has Nvidia made this any easier for you to understand?
Intel has recently slashed the prices on their SLC (Single Level Cell) and MLC (Multi Level Cell) SSDs. This move comes in the wake of the failing economy, but also in the interest of helping to keep their competitors, such as OCZ, at bay.
OCZ claims that their series of SSDs have continued to see delays due to firmware reliability and performance. Reportedly many customers are anxious to buy them, but it is notable that OCZ is doing their best to avoid Seagate’s firmware issues.
Intel is planning for a 128GB SLC drive and a 320GB drive using new 34nm MLC chips in late 2009. For the time being though, their price cuts are mighty significant. Their 80GB model is down fro $585 to $390, 160GB down from $945 to $765 and their 32GB is down from $575 to $415.
Originally expected to show up in the second half of 2009, Intel has begun shipping its Atom N280 processor to PC makers several months ahead of schedule, says InfoWorld. Like its predecessor, the N270, the newest Atom also utilizes a single-core design and is intended for netbooks, but there's more than meets the eye than a simple clockspeed boost.
Unlike the N270, which was paired with the 945GSE chipset, the N280 + GN40 chipset combo brings high-definition content to netbooks. The hardware-based high definition video decoder makes it possible to view 720p HD videos, making the platform a bit more competitive with Nvidia's upcoming Ion, which brings 1080p content to the table.
Spec-wise, the N280 jogs along at 1.66GHz, a slightly faster pace than the N270's 1.6GHz clockspeed. The frontside bus also receives a bump to 667MHz (compared to 533MHz), and power consumption comes rated at 2.5W.
Intel did not say how much the new chip will cost, but it will be used in Asus $399 Eee PC 1000HE netbook.
Western Digital just upped the capacity ante with a mind-blowing two-terabye internal hard drive. It doesn’t break any land speed records, but the 2TB Caviar Green is unmatched for capacity—at least for now.
The Caviar Green 2TB packs a full 500GB more onto its four platters than our previous capacity champion, Seagate’s 1.5TB 7200.11 Barracuda, which has suffered from firmware-related hitches and freezing. The Barracuda (when it works) marries speedy performance with high capacity, while the Caviar Green, like the rest of Western Digital’s Green line, focuses on quiet performance and lower power consumption. The 2TB Caviar Green has four 500GB platters spinning at a rate somewhere between 5,400 and 7,200rpm, with a 32MB cache, and an areal density per platter of 400Gb/square inch.
If the way you swept your girlfriend off her feet was by showing her your crazy high 3DMark06 score and boasting about your badass overclock with exotic cooling, then perhaps Metadot's latest promotion is right up your alley.
Metadot, the maker of the Das Keyboard, is running a "Buy One, Get One Half-Off for your Sweetheart" Valentine's sale. The promotion runs from Saturday, February 7th until 3:00 PM EST Thursday, February 12th and includes free ground shipping. However, to guarantee delivery on or before Valentine's Day, you'll need to place your order before 4:00 PM EST on February 9th, Metadot says. If you've already purchased either model between July 14, 2008 and February 6, 2009, Metadot says existing customers should refer to an email notification detailing a "Valentine's Appreciation Offer."
Made famous for its label-less design, Metadot recently refreshed its Das Keyboard lineup with two new redesigned models, the Professional (labeled keys) and Ultimate (blank plank). Mechanical gold-plated key switches contribute to the audible key clicks and tactile feedback, and an n-key rollover function allows up to 12 keys to be pressed simultaneously.
We had the LaCie 730 delivered to the Lab as a possible contender for our upgrading feature (page 25)—at $5,000 and change it’s certainly a comfortable fit at the high end of the price spectrum. Of course, it wasn’t just the price that intrigued us. The LaCie 730 includes a number of features that set it apart from other monitors we’ve reviewed—as well as one oversight that keeps it from attaining our highest praise.
While most monitors that come to the Lab sport 6- or 8-bit panels, the 730 has a 14-bit panel, which should greatly increase the color depth of this monitor. Additionally, the 730 includes an LED backlight rather than the more typical cold-cathode fluorescent backlight. An LED backlight should produce a truer black than a CCF because unlike the CCF, LEDs can switch on and off while a CCF is always on (for this same reason, an LED backlight should also reduce the amount of light seepage at the edges of a monitor). However, the first LED backlight monitor we reviewed, ViewSonic’s VLED221wm (May 2008), was able to create the darkest black we had ever seen but couldn’t differentiate the darkest grays in our grayscale test.
Out with the old and in with the new, and for Intel, that means putting its Core 2 Extreme processors on the chopping block. The chip maker has told system builders it is phasing out both the QX9650 and QX9770 processors, leaving the QX9775 as the last remaining Core-based 45nm Extreme processor. Intel will take final orders for the discontinued CPUs on June 5 and final tray processors will ship in early February 2010. OEM versions will ship until September of 2010, so you still have plenty of time to overspend on a dated CPU.
By phasing out all but one of its 45nm Core 2 Extreme processors, Intel would appear to be on track to release more Core i7 CPUs in Q2 2009. Intel has also indicated that the first commercial processors built on a 32nm manufacturing process are expected to debut by the end of the year, putting the chip maker at least a year ahead of AMD.
At the upcoming International Solid-State Circuits Conference Intel is planning to present 15 papers, most of them stressing integration of more functions into a single chip, and less on the raw amount of GHz they can pack in. “The trend of using smaller transistors to build larger microprocessor cores with higher operating frequency is coming to an end,” said Mark Bohr, an Intel senior in the Technology and Manufacturing Group.
Intel is planning to outline research that they’ve conducted on the “new system-on-a-chip (SoC) era,” which they describe as “a fundamental shift in the way semiconductor manufacturers will innovate to keep Moore’s Law alive.” With the introduction of the SoC, Intel is planning to integrate radio silicon into their chips for handhelds, netbooks and laptops, giving many of these WiFi, WiMax, 3G and Bluetooth capabilities right out of their respective boxes.
The prospect of a system on a chip is one that seems like it could do wonders for the mobile device market. Intel’s findings will be made public early next week when the conference finally gets under way, so unfortunately we’ll have to wait until then for specifics.
XFX surprised a lot of people when the company announced it would begin selling ATI videocards, and perhaps none more surprised than Nvidia. Formerly exclusive to Nvidia, XFX made its ATI debut last month with five Radeon videocards, the HD 4870, 4850, 4830, 4650, and 4350.
Curiously missing from the lineup was ATI's flagship 4870 X2 graphics card, but that's no longer the case. XFX has just released the dual-GPU card in time for Valentine's Day.
"Love is power, if you’re a gamer, that is," XFX wrote in a press release. "Which is why if you—or the object of your affection—is into speed, power, or better yet, the most amazing combination of both, the new XFX Radeon™ HD 4870 X2 graphics card is truly cupid’s arrow."
Unless your significant other is a hardcore gamer, you're probably better off sticking with diamonds, chocolate, and flowers on the upcoming Hallmark holiday (and don't call it that in front of her). But if she's a true geek, what better way to show your love than with one of the fastest videocards on the planet with a lifetime warranty to boot?