Gateway’s trademark cow is long dead, but that doesn’t mean the company can’t be its quirky old self—something the FX6800 gaming rig illustrates perfectly. With its itsy-bitsy, microATX board, “I don’t care about appearances” wiring, and moderate price, you’d think the box would be easily outclassed by the custom, hand-built PCs we see every month. Well, think again.
The FX6800’s secret is under the hood. While the majority of the machines we’ve tested lately are still running overclocked Core 2 Extreme CPUs, Gateway reached for the midrange Core i7-940. The top-end CPU may be the speed king, but we seriously wondered if a stock-clocked, 2.93GHz Core i7-940 could even hang with those 4GHz Core 2 Extreme rigs.
It has benefited greatly from being on the vanguard of the netbook revolution – Aspire One is the best selling netbook. Its streetwise, efficient sales model can also be credited for its success.
"We collect the order from the customer, place the order with the manufacturer and they ship it," Acer CEO Gianfranco Lanci told the New York Times. He added that Acer doesn’t lay its hands on the goods. Dell on the other hand has a plethora of troubles to contend with.
Want to make a lasting impression at the next Junior Republican Convention? Just tell everyone you have the President in your pocket, and you don't even have to fib about it thanks to Active Media, makers of the WWF Penguin and Panda USB drives. The USB manufacturer today adds the 8GB Obama USB drive to its growing lineup of unique flash media.
"The drive is loaded with content to explore. We've more than doubled the bonus content compared to our original Obama drive," noted Jerry Thomson, vice president of marketing at Active Media Products. "This historically important product is offered at a time when the country celebrates its 233 year birthday."
More specifically, the 8GB USB drives comes pre-loaded with 80MB of material ranging from high resolution phots of President Obama and the First Lady, to over two hours of speeches in MP3 format. Also included are several speeches in PDF form.
Both the original 2GB and newer 8GB capacities are available now for $10 and $30, respectively.
Patriot Memory has buddied up with AMD to release its first co-branded Gamer Series memory kit, the AMD Black Edition Ready DDR3 G Series.
"Platforms featuring the latest socket AM3 for AMD processors, including the AMD Phenom II processor family, takes full advantage of the new Patriot Gamer Series memory," said Leslie Sobon, VP of Product Marketing, AMD. "Combined with AMD OverDrive software version 3.0.2, users can experience a state-of-the-art, real time over-clocking utility that allows unprecedented control over their AMD processor / chipset and memory to help push the performance threshold to it peak limits."
Marketing jargon aside, the kits come in both DDR3-1600 and DDR3-1333 frequencies in Low Latency (9-9-9-24) and Enhanced Latency (7-7-7-20) form. Voltage requirements vary by kit, ranging from 1.5V (DDR3-1333 Low Latency) to 1.9V (DDR3-1600 Enhanced Low Latency).
Intel appears to have hit a groove with its 32nm Clarkdale processors. Earlier this month, motherboard makers with the inside scoop reported that Intel had decided to axe its 45nm Havendale chips in favor of pushing 32nm Clarkdale chips in the first quarter of 2010. Those same sources are now saying Intel will begin mass-producing its 32nm chips in the fourth quarter of 2009.
Getting off to a big start, the company's 32nm Clarkdale processors are expected to account for 10 percent of Intel's total OEM desktop CPU shipments in Q4. By 2010, Intel expects that number to double to 20 percent.
Meanwhile, AMD is still looking to ramp up production in the middle of 2010 with mass production not expected until Q4 of next year, potentially putting Intel a year ahead of the No.2 chip maker.
Brrzap! Not all hardware failures start that way, but there's a good chance they'll end up sounding like that as a result of you chucking an unruly piece of hardware through the nearest exit of your dwelling. Before you hulk up next time, know that there are ways to get a little bit more information about the status of your components. Applications that assess the health of your system's various parts serve a twofold purpose. You can deduce that equipment on your system might be going kaput or is otherwise screwed up in some fashion. Armed with that knowledge, you can then attempt to make an effective repair. If there is no way to repair your parts, you'll at least get an advanced notice that disaster is about to strike and that a trip to the electronics store might be in your soon-to-immediate future.
In this week's freeware roundup, I'm going to give you a list of applications that will help you assess your system's CPU, hard drives, optical drives, network connections, and memory. Don't delay in installing these applications--every second wasted puts you but one step closer to a catastrophic meltdown--or, at the very least, an unexpected failure in a critical piece of your PC. And nobody wants to be left hanging on the one day you really, really, really need to access the Internet, for example.
Click the jump, put on your medic's coat, and let's run some diagnostics!
Just in case you missed our review of the new GTX 295 reference board last month, we’ll revisit the high points. To make a GeForce GTX 295, Nvidia sandwiched a fairly large heatsink between a pair of boards—that’s one kick-ass sandwich!
The GTX 295’s GPUs are basically modified GTX 280 GPUs. They’ve got the same shader core configuration as the GTX 280, but Nvidia shrunk the chip’s die from 65nm to 55nm, and lowered the core clock speed to 576MHz (the same as the GTX 260). These two adjustments help keep power requirements and heat generation under control, while the full complement of 240 shader cores keeps the frame rate up in shader-limited benchmarks, such as Crysis and Far Cry 2.
"All PCs, and most PC peripherals have transitioned from full-speed to high-speed. Most of these devices will eventually transition to SuperSpeed, the only issue is the speed of the transition," said Brian O’Rouke, an analyst with In-Stat. As per In-Stat’s prognosis, Superspeed USB 3.0 devices will capture 25% of the USB market by 2013, with USB-enabled computer mice persisting as the most populous USB-enabled device category.
If you read our disc-ripping challenge on page 62, then you already know that LG’s GH22LS30 22x SATA drive is a slowpoke at copying video discs. But if that’s not an activity that interests you, this drive offsets the shortcoming with other talents. For example, the GH22LS30 turned in the fastest time we’ve ever clocked at writing data to a single-layer DVD+R disc. Like Samsung’s SH-S223 (reviewed February), LG’s 22x burner isn’t daunted by 16x media; the drive peaked at a 20.1x speed when filling the disc and achieved an impressive write-speed average of 16.31x. Thus the GH22LS30 was able to write 4.38GB of data in 4:29 (min:sec) compared with the SH-S223’s time of 4:46. The GH22LS30 read the single-layer data disc in 4:58 to the SH-S223’s 4:55.
At long last, Nvidia may finally adding DirectX 10.1 support to its videocards, assuming Fudzilla is right on the money. According to the news and rumor site, Nvidia's GT200 will be refreshed to a 40nm manufacturing process and the new chips will sport DX10.1.
To date, ATI has been the only one to offer DX10.1 support on some of its videocards (yes, we're completely ignoring S3's Chrome series), a minor extension to DX10 that thus far hasn't meant much for gamers. To to fuel the conspiracy flames, that could change with Nvidia jumping on board. Remember that DX10.1 instructions did at one point show a performance boost on ATI cards in Assassin's Creed, but after a patch removed support for the instruction set, some accused Ubisoft of bowing to pressure from Nvidia after the GPU maker sponsored the title with its The Way It's Meant To Be Played program.
In any event, it looks like refresh will come on the tail end of summer or early fall.