Western Digital's making a plea to those who are concerned about the environment yet still need oodles of hard drive space. The company's new 1TB Caviar Green drive delivers on both fronts. WD stuffs three 333GB platters in its new drive along with a beefy 32MB of cache, the most currently available on any consumer desktop drive. The company says the platter density and large cache help reduce the power draw by up to 20 percent while increasing performance by 10 percent.
But it's the performance that will have power users feeling the wrong kind of green. The new Caviar checks in with a poky 5400RPM spindle speed, trading off raw performance for noise management and power savings. Price becomes another trade off with WD setting the MSRP to $219, a good chunk higher than what many other 1TB drives are commanding on Newegg. Whether or not the new Green Caviar falls more in line with the competition on the street remains to be seen.
Western Digital, the second largest hard drive maker in the universe, is reportedly in discussions with Fujitsu to purchase its hard drive business. If it goes through, the acquisition would likely propel WD ahead of Seagate, who holds the top spot.
According to reports in Japan, Fujitsu would be willing to sell off its plants for somewhere between 70 billion and 100 billion yen, which equates to roughly $660 million to $944 million in US dollars. Such a move would be unprecedented and would qualify as one of the largest business unit sell-offs for a Japanese electronics company ever.
Fujitsu, who ranks No. 6 in hard drive manufacturing, has been struggling and it could get even worse if SSDs continue their march into the mainstream market. Reportedly the company is already looking to focus solely on its commercial customer business (Lenovo is mulling whether or not to pounce on Fujitsu's consumer section), so it might not be a matter of if, but when and to whom.
Perhaps AMD's assembly line has kicked it up a notch, but whatever the reason, the chip maker is informing its server partners that it plans to bump up the launch of its 45nm server CPUs (Shanghai) from January 2009 to the middle of this month. According to sources at these server makers, nine processors will initially be released, ranging in core frequency from 2.3GHz up to 2.7GHz.
Five of the Shanghai chips will ship as a 2-way model, with the remaining four being 8-way models. All of them will take residence in AMD's socket F (1207) and boast an on-die DDR2 memory controller. Each will also come outfitted with 6MB of L2 cache.
AMD will follow up these initial CPUs in February 2009 with five 55W models (three 2-way and the two 8-way), and two 105W models (one 2-way and one 8-way).
Since our last Budget Badass update back in July, the hardware industry has made some dramatic turns as far as new technology goes. With the release of the energy-efficient Penryn core from Intel, we took a side step away from the Kentsfield core and took a swing at the Q9300. While the Q9300 sports a slightly smaller cache than the Q6600, we found the Penryn to perform better in our tests. With the extra leeway we had in the budget from the previous configuration, we also swapped out the Radeon 4870 for a beefier GTX 280 while keeping the final price tag under $1500. Now this, my friends, is what we would like to call a Budget Badass!
Whatever you do, don't blame the bad economy on Intel. Engineers working for the chip maker claim today's processors have netted a savings of 20 Terawatt hours over that of earlier generations if used in the same time period. In monetary terms, that equates to saving the world economy $2 billion in energy costs since the Core architecture's launch two years ago. Of course, the inefficient and hot-running Prescotts of yesteryear didn't exactly set the bar very high for green improvements, but $2 billion (if correct) is impressive no matter how you slice it.
"This is no small figure - it’s a significant amount of energy savings, and an example of what technology innovation by the ICT industry can do to improve energy efficiency on a large scale," writes Lorie Wiggle, GM of Intel's Eco-Technology Program.
Meanwhile, while Intel's Atom series doesn't have nearly the global energy impact as its desktop and business CPUs do, it's interesting to note that the recently released dual-core Atom 330 processor doubles up its power consumption over the Atom 230 processor.
Super Talent continues to push its presence in the SSD market whether you're ready to invest in the technology or not. Earlier this month the company put the focus on the higher end by launching the MLC-based MasterDrive OX series with read and write speeds of 150MB/sec and 100MB/sec respectively. Price points ranging from $149 for the 32GB model to $419 for a 128GB drive means the drives aren't likely to attract many budget minded consumers, but Super Talent's new MasterDrive LX line might.
These new drives will set its sights squarely on those tempted by SSD technology but without the big bucks for higher end models. Lower prices comes at the expense of performance, however, and the MasterDrive LX 64GB and 128GB drop the read and write speeds to 100MB/sec and 40MB/sec.
"The MasterDrive LX is our most cost-effective SSD yet. However, we've made no compromises in quality and reliability," said Super Talent director of marketing Joe James.
Good thing too, because the new drives will only carry a 1-year warranty. Then again, if Samsung's latest PR stunt is any indication (check it out here), you have nothing to worry about anyway.
MSRP has been set to $179 for the 64GB and $299 for the 128GB.
Yet another leaked slide has made its way to the web, this time showcasing a triumvirate of motherboards slated for a late 2008 release by top tier vendor MSI. The company has labeled its enthusiast offering as the Eclipse, and its performance board will carry the familiar Platinum nomenclature as the X58 Platinum. The third board, which doesn't yet have a name (X58 Diamond?), will target the "Über Overclocker" according to the slide.
The mystery board carries the most intrigue, and not because of its lack of name. While all three motherboards bring support for Nvidia's SLI and ATI's CrossFireX, the board without an identity shows support for quad-SLI or tri-SLI with PhysX support in full speed x16 PCI-E v2 slots (insert your own Crysis reference).
One of the first questions new system builders ask centers around the amount of RAM to invest in, and it wasn't very long ago when the decision came down to 1GB or 2GB. With the emergence of Vista, and particularly the 64-bit version, the big question now is whether or not to go with 4GB. How long will it be before we see 16GB rigs in quantity?
It could be sooner than you think, and at least one company has already begun preparations. Samsung said it has started sampling 50nm DDR3 devices that ultimately will enable memory modules up to 16GB in capacity. The samples consist of 2Gb (that's lowercase 'b') chips with double the density of current 1Gb parts, while also cutting back on power by over 40 percent.
According to Samsung, the new small form factor paves the way for 8GB RIMMs and 4GB SODIMMs, equating to 16GB and 8GB respectively in dual-die packages. Next up - finding mainstream applications capable of feasting on hordes of memory.
Samsung said it will begin mass producing the 2Gb chips by the end of the year and make 2Gb DDR3 its primary DRAM process technology in 2009. As for pricing? We'll have to wait and see.
The mighty Fudzilla has dropped a rumor that we can expect the first Core i7 to arrive in the US in week 46, between the 10th and 14th of November. They also said that Japanese customers might even be able to buy them as early as the first days of November. They cite unnamed sources.
Intel of course, remains mum only saying to expect it sometime in Q4 of 2008. Intel is more of a tease than my first girlfriend.
As Fudzilla notes there are plenty of X58 based motherboard prototypes that have floated on the internet in the pasted few months from names like MSI, Gigabyte, and Asus. If there is a mid November launch of Core i7, there should be a selection of motherboards available for it, some with overclocking features.
I have only had my Newegg wish list system configured since last March. It has gone through several revisions waiting on Core i7, and the power supply is up in the air depending on the stated needs of the motherboard I pick. I figured on $300 on the CPU and another $300 on the Motherboard. Yeah, I know it is no Dream Machine. However, I have to operate like the government and tell the wife that my stated budget is $1800, when in reality its $2,200 and I am going to run a little over that. Better to beg forgiveness and have a nice new game machine to console myself with, than to ask permission and be denied. I know my limits however and racking up a $5,000 bill on a game system would result in my summary execution. Another $500 bucks I can fix with flowers, chocolate and extra attention (I hope).
Anyone else have a wish list for their new Core i7 system? Tell me about it below!
Has there ever been a better time than right now to be a PC enthusiast? Due to oversupply, RAM remains dirt cheap, and pricing wars between Nvidia and ATI in the graphics sector, and Intel and AMD on the processor front have made it so you can build a killer rig on a manageable budget. Could motherboards be next?
If there is to be a price war among motherboard vendors, you can count Gigabyte out of the battle. Richard Ma, VP of Gigabyte, says his company has no plans to cut motherboard pricing in response Asus' recent adjustments, fearing that such a move would force Asus' hand to lower prices even more. Instead, Ma says his company's strategy will be to focus on improving quality, an area he claims is of primary concern to those who purchase mid-range and high-end motherboards.
Motherboard shipments, while still meeting Gigabyte's goal of 20 million units, haven't met the company's expectations the past two months, in part because of the new price competition. However, September sales have been kinder to Gigabyte, and Ma expects October and November to be even better with Core i7 CPUs and the X58 chipset on the horizon.
Is Gigabyte making a mistake by not dropping prices? Hit the jump and let us know.