We haven’t seen a new two-terabyte drive on the market in a while—not since we reviewed the Western Digital Caviar Green in May, in fact—but Seagate has finally added a 2TB drive to its Barracuda LP line of desktop drives. The LP (or low-power) line is Seagate’s “green” offering, equivalent to Western Digital’s GreenPower and Samsung’s EcoDrives. With an unusual 5,900rpm rotational speed—down from the 7,200rpm offered by the rest of the Barracuda line—the LP series trades performance for power savings and reduced heat output. Thankfully, it doesn’t sacrifice much speed in the process.
Unlike the performance-oriented Barracuda 7200.11 and 7200.12 series, the LP focuses on low power consumption, at both idle and full-spin states. We praised the low power consumption of Western Digital’s 2TB drive compared to the 1.5TB Barracuda 7200.11, but the LP series evens the playing field. On our test rig, the 2TB Barracuda drew around 4W at idle, slightly lower than the 2TB Caviar Green’s 5W, and 8W while operating, while the Caviar operated at around 9W. Both drives draw less power than the Barracudas of yore.
Not everyone considers themselves an early adopter of new technology, and one of the advantages in timing your next upgrade to coincide with new releases is that current parts tend to plummet in price. But if you're looking to score a deal on a GT200 series GPU once Nvidia launches its next-gen parts, you may find the opposite to be true.
According to sources in the retail channel, a shortage of 55nm-made graphics cards is expected to last through the holidays and into the first quarter of 2010. This will affect both AMD and Nvidia, as the two companies divert their attention toward DirectX 11-based 40nm GPUs, DigiTimes reports.
The sources went on to specifically point out Nvidia's GT200 series GPU, saying the graphics chip maker does not plan to increase supply following the launch of Windows 7.
We're all about a hardcore naming scheme that eschews the now overused 'Extreme' nomenclature, so we applaud Asus for its new TUF (The Ultimate Force) series, at least in title.
Kicking off the TUF series is the Sabertooth 55i. Based on Intel's P55 chipset and built around Asus' own 'Marine Cool' concept unveiled at CeBIT earlier this year, the Sabertooh comes equipped with the new CeraMIX heatsink. Through the use of ceramics and a microfin surface texture, the CeraMIX heatsink purports to dissipate heat more rapidly than traditional anti-oxidant compounds, Asus says.
Other TUF attributes include direct memory cooling by way of a CoolMem fan frame that encloses most standard 40mm or 50mm computer fans and fits directly below the memory slots, military-certified capacitors and MOSFETs, E.S.P. (Effcient Switching Power. Drat! We were hoping for a board with a sixth sense), a 12+2 power phase design, and other goodies.
Pardon us if we’re so oversaturated with so-called “extreme” potato chips and soda that we’re skeptical about anything bearing that moniker.
It doesn’t help that Nexto’s eXtreme ND2700 hardly looks the part. When we actually fired up the ND2700 and started copying files to it, however, we almost had to let out a whoop. Using a 16GB SanDisk, umm, Extreme III CF card, the ugly little ND2700 copied roughly 8.3GB of image files in 11:27 (min:sec). That’s about how fast it would take you to dump the files to your desktop via USB and that’s good news for people who think the microwave is too slow.
The ND2700 comes with a standard USB cable, as well as an eSATA cable and a short USB pig tail that lets you hook up a USB flash drive or hard drive so you can also back up all your files with the push of a button.
Just in case laying claim as the fastest single-GPU videocard on the planet wasn't enough of a selling point for AMD's recently released HD 5870 videocard, Asus has added a twist that it claims will boost performance by up to 38 percent: Voltage Tweak Technology.
According to Asus, owners of its newly launched EAH5870/2DIS/1GD5 and EAH5850/2DIS/1GD5 videocards will be able to crank up GPU voltages through its SmartDoctor application. On the HD 5870, end users can raise the volts from 1.15V to 1.35V, boosting GPU and memory clockspeeds from 850MHz and 4800MHz (effective) to 1035Mhz and 5200MHz. On the HD 5850, gamers can up the volts from 1.088V to 1.4V, which is enough to overclock the GPU and memory from 725MHz and 4000MHz to 1050MHz and 5200MHz.
By doing so, Asus' own benchmarking noted a 17 percent performance gain in 3DMark Vantage Extreme on the 5870, and an impressive 38 percent jump on the 5850.
The folks over at the University of Utah are working on using wireless networking equipment to see through walls. Yep, they are trying to turn your wifi network into an investigative x-ray machine.
Well, it is slightly more complicated than that. They set up a 34-node wireless network and used principals similar to sonar to aggregate the movement of objects behind physical objects. You can practically hear the excitement from all the spy-happy teenagers. Joey Wilson and Neal Patwari’s intentions were much more altruistic.
Obviously, privacy is a concern. But let’s face it, you’ve got nothing to hide so long as you aren’t a terrorist, hostage wrangler, or scantily clad getting out of the shower.
More details about why they did it after the jump.
Streaming boxes are a mixed bag these days. With super-polished commercial offerings like the AppleTV, as well as streaming functionality integrated in every other consumer electronics device—from the Xbox 360 to the TiVo—we thought the age of the dedicated streaming box had passed. However, the SageTV HD Theater offers something a little different than the typical UPNP or DLNA streaming box—but it’ll cost you.
Starting with the additional $80 for SageTV’s Media Center app, which should be a requirement for using the HD Theater. If you install the SageTV software on a PC equipped with an HDTV card, it turns that PC into a fully functional PVR, complete with an onscreen guide and basic scheduling functionality. SageTV’s Media Center is an acceptable PVR, offering more customizability than Windows Media Center and none of its annoying DRM, albeit in a less-polished product. The software’s 10-foot interface is incredibly customizable, but can be a little unwieldy and slow to browse, even when run on a fast PC.
Like that cold you can't seem to shake, DDR2 has been hanging onto the market place, even as new platforms make a push for DDR3. That all changes six months from now, as DDR3 finally becomes the mainstream memory, says Morgan Stanley analyst Frank Wang.
Samsung, Hynix, Elpida, and Micron have all started to reshuffle manufacturing to allocate more capacity to DDR3 output, and of course that means scaling down DDR2 parts. And for those who are unable to produce DDR3 chips, they will be forced to pack their bags and exit the market when DDR3 supplants DDR2, Wang said.
In the meantime, DDR2 pricing is poised to fall once again. However, Wang warned that chip suppliers shouldn't take this as a sign that DDR2 is here to stay and they need to be aware of DDR3's impending march into the mainstream.
Once upon a time, I dismissed the iPhone as a wannabe smartphone, lacking the key features that truly warranted that label. Since I wrote that column about two years ago, Apple has gone on a feature-adding rampage—adding push email, support for Exchange servers, third-party applications, and a veritable alphabet soup of new acronyms (GPS, MMS, and 3G, for starters). Two years into the iPhone era, the device is so much more than a phone with an iPod attached— it’s an instant-on, always-connected, pocket-sized computer.
On paper, the 3GS doesn’t seem like a major upgrade from the previous-generation iPhone, especially when you consider that many of the bullet points on the 3GS’s feature list came to older iPhones in the form of the 3.0 firmware release. And at first glance, even the new 3GS-exclusive features—a faster CPU, more memory, a more capable GPU, faster network connectivity, a higher-resolution camera that can finally shoot video, voice control for key features, and a compass—seem like a mixture of unsexy, incremental, shoulda-been-there-already features, and just plain meh. Worse, some of the features require carrier support, so things like MMS messages, higher-speed HSPDA support, and tethering won’t be available in the United States until AT&T deigns to support them.
MSI’s latest venture into the netbook market offers slightly faster performance than the rest of the netbooks we’ve tested with much longer battery life to boot, but the nine-cell battery that makes that possible sends the MSI Wind U123 into the heavyweight range. It makes us wonder: How heavy can a netbook become before it stops really being a netbook? Do we buy them for their formfactor or their performance? Or is it just the price?
The battery is the first thing we noticed about our Wind review unit. The dang thing juts from the back of the netbook, raising the back end more than an inch from horizontal and adding more than a pound to the total weight—making the lap weight three pounds, four ounces. But it’s worth it if battery performance is king. In our full-screen DVD-video battery rundown test, the U123 far outlasted the competition, achieving just over seven hours of playback. The previous netbook record was shared by two Eee PCs, the 901 and 1000HE, both of which clocked in at five and a half hours. This means a nine-cell-powered Wind U123 will likely get eight to nine hours of light usage on a single charge.