Nvidia isn't saying much about its next Ion platform, but if recent rumors turn out to be true, the followup platform looks to be a doozie. According to news and rumor site Fudzilla, Nvidia will double up the number of shaders on the second generation of Ion.
That means Ion 2, as it will likely be called, would ship with at least 32 shaders, providing a big boost to gaming performance on netbooks and nettops built around the platform. And best of all, thermals aren't expected to rise very much, if at all, on the upcoming shrunken version of Ion.
Nvidia's first Ion has yet to really penetrate the market and cut into Intel's Atom platform marketshare, but that could change as more major manufacturers jump on board. Samsung recently announced plans to launch an Ion netbook this month, and Lenovo's Ion-based IdeaPad S12 is due out in August.
Nevertheless, Fudzilla says Ion 2 should launch by the end of this year.
A-DATA today unveiled a new line of colorful USB flash drives with a swivel design case the company claims will keep the USB connector free from harm.
"Unlike conventional swivel-designed USB flash drives, the unique asymmetric outer casing of C903 protects the USB connector and serves as a lock mechanism to prevent the connector from sticking out due to constant turning and wearing," A-DATA stated in a press release. "The same design enables users to turn and store the USB connector properly in place with much of an ease."
The case comes constructed with a glossy metallic finish wrapped around either a bright red or blue USB stick, with initial capacities available up to 32GB.
Japanese company NEC Electronics Corp shipped samples of the first USB 3.0 host controller in early June and expects to churn out a million every month beginning this September. The first devices based on the interface will most certainly be external hard disk drives, with more exciting applications like hd video streaming expected to follow later.
Already announced in Europe last month, Archos is bringing its new Archos 9 PC Tablet to the U.S. market. The ultraportable tablet weighs less than 22.29 ounces and measures just 0.63-inches thick.
On the hardware front, the Archos 9 boasts a full touch-sensitive 9-inch screen, an Intel Atom Z515 processor (1.2GHz, 512KB cache, 400MHz frontside bus), 1GB of RAM, up to 120GB of storage, 1.3MP webcam, and an optical track-point mouse.
On the software side of things, the new tablet will come pre-loaded with Microsoft's upcoming Windows 7 OS. It will also include Microsoft Office and a host of other apps, such as "Web TV & Radio, video conference, antivirus, parental control, photos and movies edition applications, and more."
The Archos 9 PC Tablet will go on sale sometime this fall for an as yet undetermined price.
Seagate, who originally planned to serve up enterprise SSD products in 2008 and later changed its target date to sometime in 2009, has suffered a setback in SSD development that may end up delaying the release until at least 2010, according to an investment bank briefing note.
"Notably in the last two weeks, we heard that Seagate (the company we think is closest in terms of market penetration) had another setback in its efforts to design an enterprise storage drive to compete with ZeusIOPS," wrote Kevin D. Vassily, an analyst at investment bank Pacific Crest Securities.
It remains unclear exactly what kind of setback Seagate is running into, but Vassily did bring up LSI in his note, the company Seagate picked to design and supply controller silicon for its SSDs. If Seagate is forced to find a new supplier, it might be mid-2011 or later before Seagate is able to ship SSDs in any volume, Vassily says.
Freedman believes manufacturers will have to ultimately “go with a metal case” to achieve that ultra-thin form factor they are after. However, the use of metal cases will make ultra-thin notebooks costlier.
A reference to Intel’s CULV (Consumer Ultra Low Voltage) technology – meant for ultra-thin notebooks - in Freedman’s report elucidating the design issues prompted Intel to clarify that the “case design issues reported to be found by an ODM, not consumers, in early production units for ultra-thin laptops have nothing to do with Intel processors whatsoever.”
Freedman had said that some manufacturers are more interested in manufacturing 11-inch and 12-inch netbooks with the Atom processor rather than ultra-thin notebooks with Intel’s CULV technology.
AMD has its head in the cloud, and that may not be such a bad thing. The chip maker this week released another Opteron 1000 Series processor, codenamed Suzuka, with performance per watt and compatibility taking center stage.
"The flexibility of four cores and a low-cost infrastructure gives customers an edge when designing for a cost-effective or power-efficient platform," John Freuhe, director of business development for server and workstation products at AMD, wrote in a blog post.
Suzuka, which was designed for cloud computing, Web servers, small business servers, and other applications where lower power consumption is the primary focus, runs at 2.9GHz with 6MB of cache. And because Suzuka is based on the same core as Shanghai, existing AM2 platforms should only need a BIOS update to run the chip.
Optoma picked an appropriate moniker for its Lilliputian-size video projector. The Pico PK101 isn’t just small, it’s almost inconceivably tiny. It measures just 1.97 inches wide by 4.06 inches long by 0.59 inches thick, and it weighs only four ounces.
Texas Instruments’ DLP (Digital Light Processor) technology deserves much of the credit for making such a product possible. DLP projectors create an image by bouncing light off microscopic mirrors arranged in a matrix on a semiconductor. Each mirror represents a pixel in the image and swivels to either reflect light through the lens or to an internal heatsink. Toggling these two states on and off creates a grayscale. Color pixels are created by using either a color wheel or a colored light source. Optoma uses a non-replaceable LED for its light source, which it claims should last for 20,000 hours. There’s a tiny speaker and a 0.5-watt amp onboard, too.
There's been a major push this past year in being more energy conscious when it comes to computing, and one way Philips plans to do that is by making sure your LCD monitor doesn't consume more power than it needs to.
Called the Brilliance LCD, the upcoming display will feature a built-in sensor capable of detecting whether or not you're sitting in front of your monitor. Get up to grab a cup of coffee or go powder your nose and the monitor will dim its display, a move Philips says will cut power consumption by half. Once you return, the display lights back up and all is as you left it.
Because not everyone sits the same distance from their monitor, the sensor comes configurable for anywhere between 30cm and 120cm, and is completely independent of the host system's software or operating system.
SpeedFan is still our favorite software program for adjusting fan speeds and maintaining an optimal balance between cooling and noise, but software solutions don't have anywhere near the sex appeal as some dedicated hardware fan controllers, the newest being NZXT's Sentry 2.
The Sentry 2 installs in a 5.25-inch drive bay and works with any fan that uses voltage control. But it's the sleek looking touch screen that might be the biggest draw. NZXT claims an "ultra fast selection and response time," with the display including temperature readout in both Celsius and Fahrenheit.
Up to 5 fans can be either manually controlled or automatically adjusted based on temperature. Settings are stored after the power is off too, so you needn't worry about finding the best balance of noise to performance only to have it go by the wayside during a power outage.
NZXT tells us the Sentry 2 will be available later this month with an MSRP of $30.