Case manufacturer HD Plex looks to make noisy HTPC enclosures a thing of the past, as the company just announced a new HTPC case devoid of any fans. Instead, the all-aluminum chassis relies on heatpipes to get the cooling job done.
"We set out to create a family of products that look good when combined with high-end A/V equipment, and are silent and affordable," said Larry Liu, CEO of HD Plex. "We ended up accomplishing our goals. Our new line of H-series HTPC enclosures combine skillful engineering with an eye for minimalism design, heatpipe cooling for silent operation, and all at a price piont competitive with the current market."
HD Plex says its fanless case comes in three different sizes and variations, including mATX (H10), mini-ITX (H5), and the H3, which the company claims is the "smallest ever heatpipe cooled enclosure." All three models include an LGA775 heatsink and heatpipe kit and an anti-vibration mounting kit for 3.5-inch and 2.5-inch drives, along with an optional chipset cooling kit sold separately.
In most cases, it's still cheaper to purchase DDR2 DIMMs than it is to invest in DDR3 memory, albeit not by very much in some cases. Citing un-named market sources, news and rumor site DigiTimes says the price gap between the two types of RAM is expected to disappear completely very soon.
As it currently stands, spot pricing for 1Gb DDR2 chips has climbed above $1.60, still lower than 1Gb DDR3 pricing, which has settled in at $1.90 and isn't moving very much. But market sources say the two segments will crossover, and do so at a price point below $2 per 1Gb chip.
If the price difference does go by the wayside, memory makers are likely to shift their focus to DDR3, where demand will be higher. This would also trickle down to PC vendors, some of which have been using DDR2 parts to cut back on costs.
Common sense dictates that most displays don't fare well under water, and that includes OLED technology. Or at least it used to. According to Kodak, OLEDs "are notoriously moisture-sensitive," so kudos to Kodak for demonstrating its flexible display under water.
The quirky demonstration consisted of a small flexible OLED screen submerged in a cup of water surrounded by Playmobil people. A fish (what else?) swam across the display just under the water line. Aside from the gee-whiz factor, a flexible underwater display opens the door to some innovative designs.
"Fleixble OLEDs have the potential to be a game-changer for the display world, realizing a unique form factor at lower cost," Kodak said. "They also have broad applications in the lighting industry."
Western Digital today starting shipping its new desktop 7200 RPM 2TB hard drive to OEMs and becomes the second manufacturer to offer the high spindle speed and capacity combination (Hitachi being the first).
As part of the WD Caviar Black series, the 2TB model is based on the company's 500GB-per-platter technology. Other features include a heaping 64MB of cache, dual stage actuator technology, SATA 3Gb/s, an integrated dual processor, and NoTouch ramp load technology, which ensures the recording head never touches the disk media and, according to WD, results in significantly less wear and tear on the drive.
Western Digital's speedy 2TB drive is available now with an MSRP of $299.
Citing un-named sources in the motherboard industry, news and rumor site DigiTimes says Intel will officially announce its new socket 1156-based desktop platform on September 8, 2009. This includes the Core i5 750, Core i7 860, and Core i7 870 processors, as well as the P55 motherboard chipset.
With anticipation for the new platform running high, motherboard makers expect sales to jump by 15 to 20 percent sequentially in the fourth quarter. P55-based boards are expected to account for 20 percent of all mobo shipments by the end of the year.
Still no word yet on pricing, although much to the chagrin of Intel, its upcoming platform has already been spotted in retail channels in Taiwan and China. The Core i5 750 was seen selling for $206, while the Core i7 860 and 870 were listed at $303 and $575, respectively.
The fact that Gefen’s wireless HDMI extender works at all is remarkable enough; the fact that it works better than the manufacturer claims borders on the miraculous. So why aren’t we giving it a higher score? First, it would be cheaper to hire an electrician to install a hardwired HDMI connection; second, the extender is limited to HDMI 1.2a.
You can use HDMI 1.3 sources and cables, but the Ultra Wideband technology Gefen relies on just doesn’t have the bandwidth to accommodate losslessly compressed multitrack audio (Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD Master Audio); it falls back instead to either Dolby Digital or DTS surround sound or simple stereo, depending on the source. The system can’t accommodate Deep Color (video with 30-, 36-, or 48-bit color depth) either, but it does support HDMI 1.3’s lip-sync feature.
If your home has masonry walls and ceilings, on the other hand, it might not be possible to create a new cable run. And if your A/V receiver and home-theater PC or Blu-ray player are on the same side of the room, and what you need is a means of getting video to your projector on the opposite side of the room, the audio issue won’t matter (neither will Deep Color, for that matter, if your projector or display doesn’t support it). In short, Gefen’s product is amazing, but its appeal is limited to a small circle of consumers, which is why the company has to charge so much for each unit.
It's not very big, but come November, LG plans to start selling a gorgeous-looking 15-inch OLED television set. It will first be commercialized in South Korea and then offered overseas sometime next year, LG said. Larger OLED displays are also expected to follow.
"We are planning to unveil a 40-inch grade (OLED) product in a not too distant future," an LG executive said.
It's anyone's guess what the 15-inch display will cost. High prices have kept OLED technology from being mass produced to compete with LCD technology, which has fallen in cost dramatically in the past several years. To put it into perspective, Sony's two-year old 11-inch XEL-1 still sells for a hefty $2,500 in the U.S.
However, the word from the horse’s mouth is that Pine Trail will be shipped to customers before the sun sets on 2009. The U150 will feature a 10-inch touchscreen and run Windows 7. Pine Trail is the codename for the next generation of the Intel Atom.
Microsoft’s latest Sidewinder mouse, the X8, combines a wireless design with the latest in optical sensor technology. Sporting a proprietary BlueTrack sensor, the X8 will work on most any surface, including granite and marble, which are problems for mice with more traditional optical and laser sensors. This is also Microsoft’s first wireless Sidewinder mouse—it utilizes the traditional 2.4GHz band, but updates more times per second than most wireless Microsoft mice.
We love the button placement and scroll wheel on this mouse. All of the buttons are easy to find and quick to press and the scroll wheel is quick and responsive. The top and bottom thumb buttons are especially praiseworthy. Unlike other mice equipped with a pair of thumb buttons aligned in a fore and aft configuration, the Sidewinder’s thumb buttons are aligned vertically, with Mouse5 placed above Mouse4.
Like the Razer Mamba, which we reviewed last month, the X8 features a play and charge cable. Using a magnetic power adapter that quickly and easily snaps into place, you can convert the X8 from battery power in mere seconds, should your battery die. The X8’s connection system is a marked improvement over the Mamba.
According to some recent news, one of the first companies creating silicon for USB 3.0 is claiming that one of their USB 3.0 systems on a chip can be used in concert with external storage devices to provide transfer rates of up to 500Mbit/second.
USB 3.0 has been designed to handle transfer speeds of to 5Gbit/second, a sizeable increase when compared to the 480Mbit/second that USB 2.0 offers. “You’re pretty much communicating through a straw,” stated Gideon Intrater, vice president of solutions architecture with Symwave. “USB 2 was good as long as you had 100GB on your hard drive, but now it’s just way too slow.”
The new system on a chip, which was developed with external storage in mind, can supposedly offer performance faster than SATA. According to reports, said chip will allow speeds as high as 500Mbit/second thanks to its RAID 0 support. System builders will be able to take advantage of this feature by installing two external drives that can be addressed at the same time, offering faster data reads.
Still, we’re going to have to wait for USB 3.0 to make its debut.