While Shuttle’s new XPC SG45H7 might not have many discernable differences from the usual Shuttle system, it’s got a hidden treasure trove of new features hidden underneath that compact chassis.
The XPC SG45H7 only comes in black, but it sports plenty of powerful pieces underneath the hood. For starters, they’re shipping Intel’s G45 Express chipset topped off with your choice of an Intel Core 2 Quad or Core 2 Duo processor. This is mostly thanks to the improved cooling and space provided by the new H7 case, which is slightly bigger than previous Shuttle PCs. It allows for a larger, quieter power supply fan, room for dual-slot graphics and up to four sticks of memory.
This slick little box is available from specialist retailers with prices listed as low as $349. And with this economy, prices that low coupled with hardware that hot is a combination that’s tough to beat.
During the press briefing for Windows 7 at Microsoft's Professional Developers Conference (PDC), corporate vice president for Windows product management Mike Nash insisted Microsoft had learned from the Vista experience.
Judging by early Windows 7 code released at PDC, the signs are that it really has....Windows 7 feels more polished than Vista, even in the preview, and performance is good.
Anderson noted the new Device Stage, BitLocker to Go, and improvements in Windows Media Player. To find out what other features Anderson likes in the next Windows, join us after the jump.
As it turns out, the number of male computer scientists far outnumber their female counterparts, putting a wrench into the plans of anyone who signed up for a Computer Science class in order to meet women - go figure! But as unsurprising as that truth may be, Ellen Spertus, an M.I.T. graduate student, was determined to find out why she sats in the minority. Spertus published her results in a 124-page page titled "Why Are There So Few Female Computer Scientists?," which was written back in 1991.
Since that time, the number of women entering the Computer Science field has decreased, despite "women having achieved broad parity with men in almost every other technical pursuit," according to The New York Times. Not only is the number declining, but The New York Times points out that many computer science departments report that less than 10 percent of the undergraduates are women. Contrast that to 25 years ago when the number was much higher, such as the 40 percent female representation at the University of Wisconsin. According to Jonathan Kane, a professor of mathematics and computer science at that same University, women were more prevalent in the computer science field over two decades ago because the male subculture of action gaming didn't yet exist.
Another theory floating around professional circles is that females are less interested in being perceived as a "nerd" or "geek," but no one knows for sure why there as been such a dramatic decline.
Have a theory of your own? Hit the jump and enlighten us.
One Laptop Per Child's "Give 1 Get 1" program is making a comeback, only this time the OLPC association has teamed with Amazon.com in hopes of ironing out any kinks in the ordering and distribution process. Amazon will start taking order for XO laptops on Monday, November 24 and promises to ship the devices within 30-days, at least in the U.S. Those ordering from the U.K. and elsewhere will be taken from Amazon's U.K. site and will start shipping in the first quarter of next year, or possibly later.
The Give 1 Get 1 program ran for six weeks last year, and in that time managed to sell 160,000 XO laptops. And since more people decided to donate the machine rather than keep one, over 100,000 XO laptops ended up going to school kids in countries like Haiti and Rwanda.
"The phenomenal success of last year's Give 1 Get 1 program created tremendous demand from both the public who wanted to give more and from countries that saw an opportunity to attack poverty through education," said Nicholas Negroponte, founder and chairman of OLPC, in a statement."
The Give 1 Get 1 promotion runs $400, in which one machine goes to a child in a developing country and the other to the donor who placed the order. Alternately, donors can opt to give away as many individual laptops as they want for $200 per XO.
Dell, Intel's BFF in the OEM systems sector, has outfitted a couple of its desktops with the chip maker's new Core i7 processor, one of which represents a brand new product line in the Studio XPS.
A baseline configured Studio XPS desktop starts out at $950 and comes equipped with Intel's Core i7 920 clocked at 2.66GHz. The sub-$1000 configuration also includes a 3GB triple-channel DDR3-1066 memory kit and a 500GB hard drive. A 256MB ATI Radeon HD 3450 provides casual gaming chores, with the option to upgrade to a 512MB HD 4850 for $200 more.A 16X DVD burner and the standard assortment of ports complete the feature-set. For those with a little more jingle in their pocket, up to 1.28TB of storage can be configured in a RAID 0 array, along with a speedier CPU in the Core i7 940 clocked at 2.93GHz.
The other series getting a Core i7 infusion is Dell's XPS 730x Gaming Desktop. Starting out at $2000, the 730x comes standard with Intel's Core i7 940 and, like the Studio XPS, 3GB of tri-channel RAM. Pixel pushing power is provided by Nvidia's 512MB GeForce 9800GT. For $4850, Dell upgrades the processor to an Intel Core i7 965 Extreme factory overclocked to 3.73GHz, doubles up on the RAM to 6GB, tosses in an Nvidia GeForce GTX 280 videocard, and beefs up storage duties with a 750GB hard drive. If spending the entire holiday bonus, the XPS 730x offers options for Western Digital's Velociraptor drive and/or up to 2TB in a RAID 1+0 array, along with an option for dual GTX 280 videocards in an SLI configuration.
Studio XPS systems are available now, with most XPS 730x systems expected to start shipping by early or mid-December, according to Electronista.
Holy high core count, Batman, Microsoft's upcoming Windows Server 2008 R2, the second revision to the server OS released last year, will support up to 256 logical cores. Logical processors equate to the number of physical processors times the number of cores and threads per core, so 256 logical cores translates into 64 dual-core processors with two threads per core, or 32 quad-core chips with two threads per core.
The new release, which will be based on Windows 7 code-base and contain a good bit of Vista DNA, manages to scale as high as it does by breaking the dispatcher lock in Windows. The dispatcher lock isn't a big issue for systems with up to 8 cores, but as the core-count goes up, Windows threads end up waiting for the dispatcher lock to green-light the cores. To get around this, two more wait states have been added to replace the global dispatcher lock of old so that those threads are no longer stuck waiting. Mark Russinovich, Technical Fellow in Microsoft's Core OS division, details the process in a 45-minute video interview on Microsoft's Chanel 9 website.
Intel's Core i7 release hasn't just changed the processor game, it's also ushered in a new era of memory choices. Up until Core i7, power users found themselves pondering whether to slap a 2GB or 4GB kit of RAM into their system, but that was before triple-channel memory. Now the choice (for upgraders and new builders) comes down to 3GB or 6GB, and Corsair looks to shed some light on the decision by performing some in-house benchmarking.
The tests, which were performed using an Asus P6T Deluxe motherboard, Core i7-965 Extreme Edition CPU, two Nvidia 280 GTX videocards in SLI, and two Seagate 320GB 7200.10 hard drives in a RAID 0 array, heavily favored the 6GB kit. Corsair's results were sometimes significant, with the minimum frame rate in World of Conflict jumping by 50 percent when upgrading from 3GB to 6GB, and netting over a 3-fold increase in Crysis Warhead. Even game loading times saw a boost.
"The analysis shows that 3GB of system memory is insufficient to run modern games, such as Warhammer Online and Crysis Warhead, resulting in poor performance," Corsair wrote (PDF). "The lack of memory when using 3GB of RAM results in increased hard disk drive access, sometimes called thrashing. This causes in-game stuttering, which reduces the minimum frame rate."
This isn't the first time Corsair has released internal benchmarks. Previously, the memory maker found that upgrading from 2GB to 4GB provided "significant performance benefits." This time around, Corsair says "the message to enthusiasts who are looking to build a Core i7 system for gaming is clear - installing 6GB of memory will provide significantly higher frame rates and a considerably smoother gaming experience."
Thoughts on Corsair's testing methodology or results? Hit the jump and let us know.
This week marks a double whammy for PC I/O standards. With the USB Promotor Group announcing the final 1.0 version of the USB 3.0 standard, it has paved the way for the PCMCIA trade association to finalize its ExpressCard 2.0 standard, which it has done today.
"ExpressCard technology is closely tied to the PCI Express(r) and USB specifications, and the 2.0 release of our standard takes full advantage of recent advancements in both interface technologies," said Brad Saunders, chairman, PCMCIA. "Now that the new SuperSpeed USB specification is ready, PCMCIA can move forward to finalize the ExpressCard 2.0 release and make it available to members in early 2009."
Saunders went on to say that new products capable of taking advantage of the new standard will materialize in 2010. ExpressCard 2.0 gives the spec a considerable speed boost by supporting transfer rates up to 10 times faster than ExpressCard 1.2. The new 2.0 standard is also backwards compatible with products compliant with any previous standard.
Fallout 3 -- looks about right. Next up, Spore -- no Nancy Drews here. And then we have... Nancy Drew: The Haunting of Castle Malloy? In third place? We're double face-palming (separately, and with disappointment -- not like Macaulay Culkin), especially considering who crossed the finish line huffing-and-puffing behind Ms. Killjoy.
Just take a look at the full list of NPD Group's top 20 best-selling games of October.
1. Fallout 3 / Bethesda Softworks / $49 (Average) 2. Spore / EA Maxis / $49 (Average) 3. Nancy Drew: The Haunting of Castle Malloy / Her Interactive / $18 (Average) 4. Far Cry 2 / Ubisoft Montreal / $50 (Average) 5. Warhammer Online: Age Of Reckoning / EA Mythic / $49 (Average) 6. World Of Warcraft: Battle Chest / Blizzard Entertainment / $38 (Average) 7. The Sims 2 Apartment Life Expansion Pack / EA Maxis / $26 (Average) 8. Fallout 3 Collectors Ed / Bethesda Softworks / $79 (Average) 9. The Sims 2 Double Deluxe / EA Maxis / $25 (Average) 10. Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 / EA Los Angeles / $48 (Average) 11. World Of Warcraft / Blizzard Entertainment / $20 (Average) 12. Civilization IV: Colonization / Firaxis / $29 (Average) 13. World Of Warcraft: Burning Crusade / Blizzard Entertainment / $29 (Average) 14. Crysis: Warhead / Crytek / $30 (Average) 15. Brothers In Arms: Hell's Highway / Gearbox Software / $49 (Average) 16. Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 Premier Ed / EA Los Angeles / $65 (Average) 17. Dead Space / EA Redwood Shores / $49 (Average) 18. Spore Creature Creator / Spore Creature Creator / $10 (Average) 19. Civilization IV / Firaxis / $24 (Average) 20. The Sims 2 FreeTime Expansion Pack / EA Maxis / $25 (Average)
As per usual, this data is retail only, but we're still not too happy with you, Far Cry 2. Really, Ubisoft! At least Red Alert 3 has an excuse.
Talk about a hollow victory. You and your epic-clad, raid-running buddies wait more than a year for World of Warcraft's jam-packed new expansion, only to be within /spitting distance of its final raid bosses' lifeless bodies after a mere three days of playtime. Vacation's over, team. Back to real life.
Really, it makes us wonder why Blizzard decided to go with the bowling-ball-in-front-of-a-row-of-dominoes method when structuring its latest time-twister -- a question echoed by the guild that did the deed, TwentyFifthNovember:
"We are proud to declare that all WOTLK PVE raid content has now been cleared. This is both a moment of triumph and a cause for concern. The question in all our minds right now is if we could do this, how soon until the rest of the top guilds in the world clear all the raid content that WOTLK has to offer?"
"Did Blizzard miscalculate in the tuning of these encounters? Or is this Blizzard folding under the weight of a large casual player base that demands to be on equal footing with end-game raiders?"
Of course, this guild probably perforated WoW's new batch of glorified piñatas during the WoTLK beta, so odds are, they already knew the encounters inside-and-out before they even got their mitts on a retail copy of the game. Regardless though, that only means other guilds have the tools to pull off a similar thrashing, so we foresee a fairly large 24/7 raid converging on Blizzard's inbox in the near future.
However, before such "fans" sing "wah, wah, wah" all the way to Blizzard, we'd just like to remind them that other games do exist -- as do other, non-virtual worlds. So, you know, do something wholesome. Oh, and those strange people wandering around your house? That's your family. Enjoy.