To run Asus’s $400 Rampage II Extreme board you’d have to be either extreme or the world’s biggest poseur. How extreme would you have to be? You’d have to be the type of person who boils liquid helium atop his CPU to keep it cool. And because you can’t waste time overclocking from within the OS, you’d want to reach your hands into the guts of your case and use the board’s PCB-mounted controls that let you check and change voltage, fan speeds, and temps on a tiny one-line LCD external display.
In fact, you’d be so damn hardcore, you wouldn’t even fully trust those voltage readings from the board. Instead, you’d want to hook your Fluke meter directly to the available ports on the board to check the voltage of the CPU, the PCI Express lanes, and the north bridge directly. That’s how badass you’d be.
The Acer Hornet will have an asking price of under $300. The petite PC will also have a motion-sensing controller a la Nintendo Wii. The controller is not only meant for gaming but also for generic control. According to Nvidia, the first Ion-based notebooks, netbooks and PCs are just around the corner – to hit retail in the second quarter.
BenQ promises that its E2400HD LCD monitor will provide “a brand-new standard for personal digital audiovisual entertainment….” And while we’ve grown weary of marketing hyperbole, at first glance, this 24-inch panel has the specs to back up this statement. The E2400HD sports a 1080p HDMI interface and utilizes a 16:9 aspect ratio (rather than the more common ratio of 16:10 for widescreen panels), two features that should improve the movie-watching experience. OK, perhaps “brand-new standard” is a bit overboard, but as we unboxed it, we did think that a 1080p 24-inch monitor for less than $400 was certainly intriguing—even if it sports a 6-bit panel.
A 16:9 aspect ratio should, theoretically, provide a better image when viewing high-def widescreen movies because a 16:10 monitor has to either stretch an image by 10 percent or add black bars to the top and bottom of the image to compensate for the additional space. In our tests with multiple DVD movies, however, those ubiquitous horizontal black bars appear during playback. While TV shows and many movies (typically romantic comedies) are filmed in a native 16:9 aspect ratio, many films are matted using a wide 2.35:1 aspect ratio where you’ll still see black bars. Therefore, while the BenQ is capable of displaying a movie in its original widescreen glory, many DVDs will still not be able to utilize all of the screen’s space.
An Android-based netbook now seems a near certainty. Asustek’s Samson Hu, who heads the Eee PC business, had told Bloomberg that the company has begun work on an Android-based netbook, but did not promise a commercial version. But Asus isn’t the only one allured by the distinctive price advantage offered by Google’s Android OS. HP has confirmed that it, too, is deliberating upon the use of Android netbooks as an alternative to Windows in netbooks.
Though Asus and HP are only testing waters, Android-based netbooks may become a reality in the near future – perhaps as early as next year. All said, challenging Windows’ ascendancy in the netbook segment won’t be easy for Android.
Holy moly, what a day it's been in graphics cards. Nvidia and ATI are set to do battle in the mid-range market, the former with today's announcement of the GeForce GTX 275 videocard, and ATI with the launch of its HD 4890 videocard.
While Nvidia's announcement may have been intended to steal some thunder from ATI's HD 4890 launch, it hasn't seemed to make much of a difference. According to news site DailyTech, 50,000 Radeon HD 4980 videocards have already been shipped to retailers, many of which have been sold to end-users before today's launch. A quick glance at the Egg shows several models selling for $250, with mail-in-rebates bringing the price down another $20, including XFX, who recently defected as an Nvidia-only board partner to sell both ATI and Nvidia brand videocards.
Rumored specs turned out to be largely true for ATI's new part. The RV790-based 4890 comes with a core clockspeed of 850MHz, or 100MHz faster than the HD 4870. Other goodies include 1GB of GDDR5 clocked at 975MHz on a 256-bit bus, 800 stream processors, 40 texture units, 16 ROPs, and a 190W rated maximum TDP (60W idle).
Nvidia today announced the GeForce GTX 275 GPU, which the company claims is the highest performing GPU in the $230 to $250 price tier. As the name suggests, the GTX 275 nestles in between the GTX 260 and GTX 285, fleshing out the company's mid-range graphics line.
Build around the GT200 architecture, the GTX 275 sports 240 processor cores racing along at 1,404MHz, 80 texture processing units, and 895MB of GDDR3 video memory clocked at 1,134MHz on a 448-bit bus. The reference design calls for the GPU to run 634MHz. The end result is a videocard that, according to Nvidia, will best ATI's HD 4890 by 10 to 20 percent.
Nvidia also announced its new GeForce Power Pack #3. Included with the new Power Pack are three new PhysX-accelerated apps and two new CUDA-accelerated programs.
The GeForce GTX 275 will be available globally on or before April 14 in both standard and overclocked versions from the usual suspects (Asus, BFG, EVGA, Gigabyte, MSI, XFX, and more).
Super Talent recently announced their latest SSD development with a new patented product called the RAIDDrive. This fancy new piece of tech promises to increase the performance and capacity that slot based storage solutions currently offer, by boosting the ceiling up to 2TB.
The RAIDDrive is currently in three different flavors: the RAIDDrive ES, the RAIDDrive WS and the RAIDDrive GS. The ES is aimed at enterprise servers that will perform intensive applications, such as database transaction processing, business intelligence and virtualization. The WS is directed at workstation use for animation, video editing, oil/gas exploration and CAD. The GS is meant for gamers looking for a (much) faster IO subsystem.
All of these drives connect through PCI-E 2.0 x8, and deliver read speeds of up to 1.2GB/s, and sequential write speeds of up to 1.3GB/s. No word yet on pricing or availability, but as with the last drive of this caliber, chances are good that it’ll cost about as much as a car. No joke.
At first glance, the Thermaltake SpinQ looks like nothing so much as a stack of bike gears with a fan mounted in the center. And that’s basically what it is—50 circular aluminum fins mounted around an 80mm fan connected to a copper exchanger. The cooler measures 4.8” wide by 3.54” deep by 5.98” high—about the same height and width as the Zalman CNPS9700LED, but a bit deeper. The SpinQ is, essentially, the high-rise counterpart to the horizontal sprawl of its stablemate, the Thermaltake DuOrb.
Unlike the DuOrb, with its two fans and jarring red-and-blue LED color scheme, the SpinQ keeps to one color, a soothing blue, and a single fan. And instead of the DuOrb’s retention system, which is sturdy but requires you to remove your motherboard, the SpinQ uses the same plastic mounting system as Intel’s stock coolers, so provided you don’t already have a retention plate from your previous cooler installed, all you have to do is snap the SpinQ onto the motherboard, tighten it, and go. Thermaltake definitely wins points for the SpinQ’s ease of installation.
Intel this week launched its new Xeon 5500 series, which were previously known as Nehalem-EP, along with a handful of new mobile Core 2 Duo chips built around the 45nm Penryn core. Following the release, Intel has posted an updated price list reflecting the new CPUs.
Pricing for the new Xeon chips range from $188 for the entry-level E5502 (1.86GHz, 4MB L2 cache, 80W) on up to $1,600 for the flagship W5580 (3.2GHz, 8MB L2 cache, 130W). A total of 12 new 45nm Xeons have been added in all, covering just about every price point.
On the mobile front, four new Core 2 mobile chips have been added, starting with the Core 2 Solo SU3500 (1.4GHz, 3MB L2 cache, 5.3W) for $262. Other chips include the Core 2 Duo SU9600 (1.6GHz, 3MB, 10W) for $289, Core 2 Duo SL9600 (2.13GHz, 6MB, 17W) for $316, and Core 2 Duo SP9600 (2.53GHz, 6MB, 25W) for $316.
We're not sure what to make of Moixa's 'Sphere' I/O interface device, for which the company was recently awarded a patent. Moixa describes the device as an "apple sized multi-touch sphere that can be used to display the world (e.g. Google Earth), browse web pages, or control interactive games." Sounds intriguing.
Moixa says the device also weighs about the same as an apple, and can be collapsed to be either used or stored in its second form. This could change, of course, as the concept remains in render form, just as Art.Lebedev's OLED keyboard did before a shipping product finally emerged.
"In the future, phones and portable computing devices reduce to input/output and power. Sphere reinvents the look and feel of the advanced portable device as we rely more on services, memory and mapping stored on the web," commented Simon Daniel, Moixa founder.
Anyone see this concept becoming an actual product? Hit the jump and post your thoughts.