Micron this week announced it has been working with Sun Microsystems to develop a new single-level cell (SLC) NAND technology the company claims "dramatically extends the lifespan of flash-based storage." Just how dramatic? According to Micron, production devices are capable of one million write cycles, offering the highest available write and erase cycling of any NAND technology currently available.
"Micron is pleased to work with Sun on this landmark achievement, enabling the use of flash in new applications that were previously not possible because of the inherent write/erase cycle limitations of standard SLC and MLC NAND," said Brian Shirley, vice president of Micron’s memory group. "We expect this technology to revolutionize the enterprise storage hierarchy and be adopted by a wide range of transaction-intensive applications, including solid state drives and storage systems, disk caching, as well as networking and industrial applications."
Micron said it is sampling its Enterprise NAND in densities up to 32Gb (that's gigabits, not gigabytes), with volume production on slate for the first quarter of 2009. The company also plans to unveil SLC and multi-level cell (MLC) enterprise versions of its 34nm NAND process early next year.
If ever there was a reason to consider switching IM clients to Pidgin or Trillian, it would be the concept of in-chat IM ads. That's exactly what Yahoo has been experimenting with in its Yahoo Messenger instant messaging software since last August.
"Ads in Yahoo Messenger will allow us to put even more resources behind developing and delivering valuable free features and services," Yahoo said. "Yahoo Messenger is a free service to our users, and our goal is to provide a useful and relevant experience while ensuring this is a profitable business for Yahoo. Yahoo is inherently an advertising-driven business."
The test ends this month, but Yahoo isn't offering so much as a hint as to what it will decide to do once the test is finished. However, it might not take much to convince the search company to implement in-chat IM ads. The company has been struggling financially and recently laid off over 1,500 employees. On the bright side, the ads don't appear to be terribly intrusive. Yahoo claim users will see ads at most once per day.
Earlier this year, Microsoft said it would add native support for the Open Document Format (ODF) due in part to increasing pressure from customers "and because we want to get involved in the maintenance of ODF." The decision might seem a curious one given the effort Microsoft spent on pushing its OOXML through the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), but the company said the changes OOXML had gone through in the ratification process ended up making it more difficult to support than ODF.
Holding true to its word, Microsoft has published documentation detailing its implementation of ODF version 1.1 In Microsoft Office 2007 Service Pack 2 scheduled for release in 2009. Microsoft also said similar notes about its implementation of Open XML are forthcoming.
“By publishing notes on how we are implementing file format standards in Microsoft Office, we are providing detail that others can use as a reference point for their own applications,” said Doug Mahugh, senior project manager for Office interoperability. “We encourage other companies to take similar steps to help achieve greater interoperability across the industry.”
But before Microsoft and the Open Standards community gathers around the virtual campfire and sings Kumbaya, TGDaily warns that a small number of caveats leaves the door open for Microsoft to introduce Microsoft-specific variations to the ODF standard.
Most of the talk surrounding solid state storage tends to revolve around the performance numbers, or lack thereof. Sluggish write speeds have hampered the hype on all but a select few models, and while more attention is being paid to the performance numbers, speed isn't the only thing increasing; SSDs are getting bigger.
Toshiba said it will have on display a 512GB solid state drive next month at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), with shipments expected in the second quarter of 2009. At 512GB, Toshiba's SSD would rival mobile hard disk drives and qualify as one of the largest capacity SSDs for use in notebooks.
Alongside the 2.5-inch 512GB SSD, Toshiba also plans to release 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB models in both 1.8 an 2.5.-inch drive enclosures or as SSD flash modules. The new drives will be part of Toshiba's upcoming lineup of "fast read/write SSDs" built on a 43nm manufacturing process using multi-level cell (MLC) technology.
"The solid state drive market is evolving rapidly, with higher performance drives to meet market requirements, and differentiated product families targeted for appropriate applications,” said Mr. Kiyoshi Kobayashi, Vice President of Toshiba Corporation's Semiconductor Company. "This new 43nm SSD family balances value/performance characteristics for its targeted consumer applications, through use of MLC NAND and an advanced controller architecture."
Performance for the new drives look promising, with rated read and write speeds up to 250MB/s and 200MB/s respectively.
It looks as though Nvidia will finally find its way into netbooks, and without using any strong arm tactics. The graphics chip maker announced plans to pair its GeForce 9400M chipset with Intel's Atom processor in a new netbook dubbed Ion.
Nvidia's 9400M GPU is the same one Apple chose to use in its refreshed MacBook line. From a performance standpoint, Nvidia says its 9400M offers 5x faster graphics and 10x faster video transcoding than a typical Atom-powered netbook, and is capable of playing full-spec 1080p high definition video. Nvidia also claims you'll be able to play popular games on the Ion platform, such as Call of Duty 4.
"NVIDIA's Ion Platform transforms Atom-based PCs into capable mainstream gaming platforms," said Mark Rein, vice president of Epic Games. "Epic is excited about the growth potential offered by these new affordable premium PCs."
In addition to gaming and high definition content, Ion will be capable of handling Vista's full user interface, as well as Microsoft's upcoming Windows 7.
Look for the new graphically supercharged netbooks to appear midway through 2009 "within $50" of standard netbook pricing, Gizmodo reports.
Prince of Persia may have missed its left turn at Albuquerque en route to the PC, but that doesn’t lessen its value as a game. Inability to die and ample backtracking, though? Those might give you second thoughts about leaving your wallet unguarded around the game’s princely thief. Luckily, Maximum PC has you covered. Prince of Persia, lose the jewel case; we’re getting all up in your space.
1. DRM-free is the way to be – Once bitten, twice shy. PC gamers can’t stop ragging on EA for its use of “draconian” DRM (Will Wright’s next game won’t be out for a few years, guys! You’re getting a little excessive), but Ubisoft is attempting to nip that mistake in the bud with its announcement that Prince of Persia: Mandatory DRM Edition won’t ever see the light of day. Kudos, guys! Now please don’t use this one gift as a measuring stick for the overall effectiveness of DRM. After all, we’re talking a single drop in a bucket big enough to build a wicked-awesome sand castle. Plus, no one likes an Indian-giver.
2. Death and taxes – In Prince of Persia, you can’t die. Ever. See, as it turns out, one only needs a magical princess in order to attain immortality. (Yeah, suddenly Mario’s never-ending quest doesn’t seem so selfless.) Miss a jump? Princess Elika’s dainty, yet freakishly durable hand lashes out and saves the prince from actually discovering what’s at the bottom of one of those bottomless pits (Hint: Grues). Same goes for your totally bitchin’ triple back-flip sword-cannon ball that looked way more like you getting stabbed in the face. Really though, the prince’s person-shaped bottle of death-repellent doesn’t turn the game into an overly easy snoozefest. Since the princess’ bulging forearm tosses you back to your last checkpoint, “death” still happens. However, you’re not forced to sit through a loading screen or anything like that. Quick and simple. But…
For as long as there have been magazines, there have been ads to put inside them. All of them mostly text and graphics, and always confined to the page – until now.
The folks at Mini have been printing a brand new advertisement that looks like a black and white page with simple instructions in German automotive magazines. But the ad, as it turns out, will provide anyone with a webcam the ability to check out their own 3D model of a new Mini Cabrio right on their computer screen.
While the advertisement might not be available here in the U.S. (easily), it will provide most readers with an opportunity to check out something unique and interactive. Want to see the ad in action? Be sure to check out the video.
Now that Google has had a few months to work out any potential kinks in the system, Google Maps is now officially offering YouTube integration. Once you choose to add the video layer from the “more” menu (the same one that’ll get you to Wikipedia), you can check out any videos that have been geotagged!
For those that used the previous add-on version, you’ll find little different. Aesthetically, you’ll notice that the actual video will be cut down (removing the play count and video information) so to make presentation easier, and the videos will appear on the map as a thumbnail instead of a small red dot.
I, for one, can’t wait to see what people start filming because of this. Sure, there might be boring videos here and there of people checking out barren stretches of highway that no one will ever see (which I actually think is kind of neat), but this does provide an opportunity to make the world seem a little bit smaller.
Earlier this month, rumors surfaced suggesting that Intel and Nvidia have been working together to enable Nvidia chipset support for the Atom platform. Asus, Gigabyte, and MSI were each said to be ready to take advantage of the possible collaboration. But the melding of an Nvidia foundation with Intel's Atom processor hasn't yet taken place, and now it appears Nvidia, who previously said it was taking a wait and see approach to the netbook market, is getting antsy to make something happen.
According to DigiTimes, Drew Henry, GM of Nvidia's MCP business, recently took a trip to Taiwan in an attempt to convince Taiwan PC makers to support forcing Intel to allow Nvidia's MCP7A and MCP79 chipsets into Atom platforms. Henry acknowledged the high price-to-performance ratio inherent with Atom processors, but said that limiting the chips to 945GSE and 945GC chipsets will stagnate future development.
With Intel seemingly in no hurry to bring Nvidia on board, Nvidia is pressuring PC makers into demanding that Intel sell them only CPUs instead of bundling CPUs and chipsets together.
Bare (aka "OEM") hard disk drives have always been good deals for tech-savvy shoppers (aka the typical Maximum PC reader) - buy a drive in an anti-static bag, provide your own mounting screws, download a disk management utility from the vendor's website, and you can save a lot of greenbacks, without a sacrifice in warranty coverage.
That's about to change. Channel Register reports that Seagate's bare drives for desktop and laptop computers are about to take a 2-year cut in warranty coverage. Starting January 3, 2009, bare drives will have 3-year limited warranties, compared to the current 5-year limited warranty. Seagate says that they'll use the ship-to-dealers date of January 3, 2009 and beyond to calculate warranty terms, but I'd recommend holding on to your sales receipt, especially if you're buying a last-minute Christmas gift or grabbing an after-Christmas sale.
To find out why Seagate is reducing its bare drive warranty period, and to see how it stacks up to its competitors, join us after the jump.