Say what you will about Best Buy's Geek Squad and Circuit City's Firedog computer repair centers, but no matter what amount of ridicule each one might receive in tech circles, those without access to a next-of-kin techspert find themselves using the oft overpriced (and sometimes overzealous) services offered by each. Now Wal-Mart wants a piece of the fix-my-PC pie too.
According to the mega-chain, Dell is testing a repair and installation service for electronics in up to 15 of its stores in the Dallas area. The "Solution Stations" will not only offer PC repair, but HDTV and home theater installation, wireless support, and other electronic services.
"For Wal-Mart, the program provides an opportunity for us to understand more about what our customers need and expect in home installation and technology services, within a specific market," the company said in a statement on its website. Wal-Mart also indicated that the program is a small pilot and that there are currently no plans to expand outside of Dallas beyond the 15 select stores.
And what about pricing? According to the Dallas Morning News, memory installation will run $29 in-store, or $99 if making a house-call. To install a wall-mounted TV, connect cables, and integrate three video components, it is charging $289.
So it's official; you can now get everything and the kitchen sink at Wal-Mart, and that includes PC repair. But would you want to?
Just call us licky. We mean, lucky. You've seen the official super-hot photos of the Voodoo PC's Envy laptop, but we got our hands on one and were able to take tons of close-up photos of the as well as try out the highly touted instant-on feature. Our initial impressions: the laptop is really light. HP claims the laptop (it was the SSD version) weighs three and a half pounds, and even though we didn’t have a scale in our messenger bags, it sure felt about the same weight as the Macbook air, power supply notwithstanding. Stacking the Envy against a Macbook Pro and Thinkpad X300, Voodoo’s pricey portable was both smaller and slimmer, though it sports a 13” screen.
Click the jump for more impressions and all the photos, including the instant-on Linux interface, laptop size comparisons, and gross licking details.
What sort of crafty tricks can AMD be working on to get them out of their slump? A little poking around finds some juicy details in a report from DailyTech.com on a new socket architecture to support AMD’s planned 8 and 12 core CPUs in 2010. Socket G34 has supplanted the planned G3 socket that was to replace Socket F (1207). As far as AMDs documentation goes, G3 ceased to exist in March 2008.
Socket G34 will support AMDs two new 2nd generation 45nm processors, the 8 core San Paolo, and a monster 12 core now named Magny-Cours. Both of these processors will feature four HyperTransport 3 interconnects, 12MB of L3 cache and 512KB L2 cache per core. AMDs current roadmap claims standard support will include speeds from 800 to 1600 MHz.
DailyTech.com also counted 1974 pin connects on a leaked G34 diagram, which is 767 more pins than AMD's current LGA1207 socket.
2010 is a long time away in computer terms, and anything can happen with company roadmaps. As things stand AMD will launch Shanghai and Intel will launch Nehalem by the end of this year. It doesn’t appear that Shanghai will be a serious contender with Nehalem according to leaked documents from Sun (but you never know until you have the CPUs in hand), so I am expecting status quo in 2009, but hoping for better. However, things look to get interesting in the processor wars in 2010, so we definitely have something to look forward to.
What do you think, is 2010 the year for an AMD comeback?
In Win can’t resist building gimmicks into its chassis. We first encountered the company’s design oddities with its F430 case (reviewed July 2008), which emits the superloud sound of a car engine when you hit the power button. The company’s B2 chassis isn’t quite as ostentatious—unless you think the motorized front panel that conceals the drive bays is over the top.
So what's to like (or hate) about the B2? Find out after the jump.
We were excited when LG’s W2452T arrived in the Lab—we had high hopes this monitor would break the streak of middle-of-the-road 24-inch displays we’ve tested lately. And it nearly did. Although the 1920x1200-res screen was able to hit the grayscale extremes on our DisplayMate tests, this functionality came at a horrible price: noticeable compression when given an increased range of grayscales to work with.
The floodgates have opened and you can expect to see plenty of manufacturers rolling out new notebooks built around Intel's Centrino 2 platform in the coming weeks. Leading the charge, MSI jumps on board with its GX620, a Centrino-2-based notebook equipped with the company's exclusive Turbo Drive Engine Technology; when in AC mode, pushing the turbo button ramps up the CPU clockspeed.
Further power management duties come courtesy of MSI's new ECO Engine. An ECO quick launch touch sensor gives users the ability to switch between five different modes - Gaming mode, Movie mode, Presentation mode, Office mode, and Turbo Battery mode - with each one automatically adjusting the brightness and distributing power where it's needed most to prolong battery life, the company claims.
Find out what MSI's packing under the hood after the jump.
It is safe to assume that PC manufacturers like Lenovo and Dell, who are not currently surfing the netbook wave, are busy hatching plans to make a dent in the nascent segment. Lenovo happens to be one of the most noticeable absentees but it will make its presence felt soon with its new G-series of IdeaPad products.
According to DigiTimes, the G-series will target entry-level and netbook markets. The website further claims that the first notebook in the G-series will be the 14.1 inch G340 that will be powered by Intel’s brand new Centrino 2.
Lenovo can be rest assured that its low-cost offerings will have to contend with netbooks from manufactures like Asus, MSI, Acer and HP who will surely give it a very hostile welcome.
More than a few early GTX 280 and GTX 260 adopters are catching a break thanks to vendors stepping up to the plate with cash back offers. XFX announced it would give its qualified customers up to $120 back in the wake of Nvidia's aggressive price cuts, and Evga has opened up a similar program. Evga customers must have purchased their GTX 280 or 260 videocard between June 16, 2008 and July 7, 2008 to be eligible for the kickback, and those eligible can choose between $75 in Evga bucks or $60 cash back (GTX 260), or $150 in Evga Bucks or $125 cash back (GTX 280). Other terms and conditions include:
Must be a new purchase from an authorized Evga reseller. Step-ups do not qualify
You have 14 days to register and upload a qualified invoice to claim your Evga Bucks
Only customers who purchased the Evga GTX 280 or GTX 260 at the full Manufactured Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) will qualify for the Reimbursement Program
So far this marks two Nvidia partners (that we know of) offering relief to early adopters affected by the quick price cuts, and it's anyone's guess if more will follow. Who thinks BFG will be next?
While a handful of DDR3-2000 kits can be found in the marketplace, the industry standard remains at DDR3-1600. That might soon change, as Elpida Memory today said it has developed power-efficient DDR3 memory in 1GB densities capable of cruising at 2Gbps.
Elpida's new memory uses a 65nm manufacturing process, and the company claims its 2Gbps modules use 35 percent less operating current compared with its existing products. And for those looking to save a bit of juice while running at the industry standard 1600Mbps, Elpida's memory will oblige at just 1.35V. Timings look to be a tad on the high side, most likely the result of running lower voltages:
DDR3-2000 (11, 11, 11)
DDR3-1867 (11, 11, 11)
DDR3-1600 (9, 9, 9)
Intel, AMD, and memory manufacturers are all pushing the market towards DDR3. Are you buying?
Flip someone the bird and they'll know just what you're telling them. But wave your hand in front of your monitor all you want, and no matter how many times you've watched Obi-Wan use the Force, you're just not going to manipulate your PC. At least not yet.
Toshiba's Qosmio G55-Q802 looks to the change the way you interact with your PC by reading hand signals. Make a fist and move it around to control the mouse pointer, or flip your thumb up like Fonzie to select an object. Force-push won't work, but raising an open palm will tell the system to stop or resume video playback, giving you hands-free media control.
Built around the Centrino 2 platform, an Intel processor performs most of the tasks on the G55, but to read hand signals the laptop will use a quad-core HD processor powered by the same Cell processor found in Playstation 3 consoles. The Cell also lets the PC scan videos and index every new face it finds.