As you may or may not have heard, CES is coming up, and there will be plenty of big name vendors there. That includes MSI, who has recently announced their full 2009 lineup, which is chock-full of new goodies!
First up, their netbook announcements! Thanks to the success of the Wind U100, MSI is planning to release a U115 and U120 to compliment the previous model. The U115 sports the option of being the first netbook capable of simultaneously running an SSD and an HDD. The U120 will be the power user’s option, designed for being portable without sacrificing performance.
They’ll also be offering 16”, 19” and 22” versions of their new All-In-One Wind at CES. It’ll feature an Intel Atom processor, which will allow it to consume a fraction of the power that a 250W PC does. The All-In-One will also feature a nice 16:9 display.
Finally, the gaming notebooks will be expanded to include the (deep breath) GT725, GT727, GT627 and the GX420. Reportedly, the GT725 and GT727 are capable of breaking 10,000 3D Marks.
While unfortunately most of this information is pretty broad (thank you, press releases!) CES will provide us a great opportunity to check out these new toys and find out more about them. Who knows, with any luck we’ll be able to figure out exactly what’s under the hood and how much they’ll cost!
As digital music stores become more common and convenient, the age of the compact disc as the preferred medium is coming to a close. In fact, according to year-end sales figures released by The Nielsen Co., sales of CDs are down a whopping 20 percent.
The sales of physical discs have dropped from 450.5 million in 2007 to only 362.6 million in 2008. And during this time, digital album sales made a gigantic jump of 32 percent over their previous year’s sales.
Apple’s iTunes music store has been particularly successful, having broken the 1 billion song mark with 1.07 billion sold. Along with this, their sales went up 27 percent over the previous year.
Chinese news and review site ExPreview.com claims to have the skinny on Nvidia's upcoming GT212 GPU, which is being positioned to replace the company's GT200 series (GTX260/280). The site says Nvidia's 40nm GT212 will ship with 384 stream processors, up from 240 on the GT200. Texture mapping units (TMUs) will also be bumped up from 80 to 96 on the new part.
Interestingly, ExPreview says Nvidia will slash the memory bus interface from 512-bit to 256-bit, which the GPU maker plans to offset by using GDDR5 memory running at a higher frequency. The GT212 will also come with 1.8 billion transistors, compared to the 1.4 billion found on the GT200, ExPreview says. And with a die area measuring 300mm^2, the site expects power consumption will be "reduced greatly."
Stay tuned, as more information on Nvidia's upcoming flagship GPU will likely be forthcoming during this year's CES.
Let's face it, web developers. Even if you're the most devoted fan of Firefox, Opera, or Safari, the 800-pound gorilla in the room is still Internet Explorer. Like IE or hate it, your pages had better work properly with it. Unfortunately, you can only have one version of IE running on a test PC at a time...or can you?
Add Virtual PC 2007 SP1 to your Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows Server 2003 or 2008 box, and install your choice of Windows XP SP3+IE6, Windows XP SP3+IE7, Windows XP+IE8 Beta 2, or Windows Vista+IE7 in VHD format. Now, it's easy to find out which pages make a particular flavor of IE gag, and you can switch between IE versions running in different VMs with the click of a mouse. For more Virtual PC downloads, including release notes, click here.
These disk images work until April 2009, so you have plenty of time to work out page glitches. Not developing websites? No problem! Try them anyway.
With CES kicking off later this week, expect a deluge of nifty product and technology announcements, not all of which will ever see the light of day. One that likely will, however, is a joint collaboration between Intel and Adobe to extend the Flash platform over to your living TV using Intel's Media Processor CE 3100.
"The Intel® Media Processor CE 3100 is a highly integrated solution that provides a powerful, yet flexible technology foundation that will bring to life the high-definition capabilities of Adobe Flash," said William O. Leszinske Jr., general manager of Intel's Digital Home Group. "Our effort with Adobe is poised to accelerate a rich, yet relevant Internet experience on the TV that will provide consumers with access to a growing number of Flash based applications that will ultimately be enjoyed across a number of screens seamlessly, from the laptop to a MID and now the TV."
Intel said it plans to ship the first CE3100 devices with support for an optimized implementation of Adobe Flash Lite by the middle of 2009 at the very latest. Should that happen, it would be a boon to streaming content providers like Hulu and could help bring online streaming videos on living room TVs into the mainstream.
There aren't too many companies with the infrastructure or financial backing in place to take on Intel in the desktop processor market, nor can there be much gumption after witnessing the struggles AMD continues to go through as the sole competitor. But in the fast growing netbook sector, all bets are off. VIA's Nano chip has emerged as a viable contender with a promising multi-core future, AMD is expected to unveil a chip for ultraportables at CES, and now yet another company looks to jump in the ring with a low cost processor of its own.
Freescale Semiconductor announced on Monday a new ARM-based chip from its i.MX line the company claims will finally make sub-$200 netbooks a reality.
"We see a huge opportunity in the netbook market as consumers demand more cost-effective and higher performing solutions,” said Lisa Su, senior vice president and general manager of Freescale’s Networking and Multimedia Group. “Our solution for netbooks will enable OEMs to develop compelling products that feature cell phone-like battery life at extremely aggressive price points."
Hit the jump to learn more about Freescales new chip.
If AMD continues to falter in 2009, it won't be from a lack of processors. Less than two weeks ago, DigiTimes reported that the Santa Clara chip maker would churn out no less than half a dozen 45nm Athlon CPUs by June of 2009 in addition to the upcoming Phenom II release, all of which are aimed at the consumer desktop sector. But that's just the beginning; AMD also plans to flesh out its business CPU lineup with several 45nm silicon as well, DigiTimes says.
Six new business classes processors divided evenly between dual-, triple-, and quad-core parts are slated for Q3 2009. These include:
Athlon X2 B21 (2.7GHz, 2MB cache)
Athlon X2 B23 (2.9GHz, 2MB cache)
Phenom II X3 B71 (2.6GHz, 7.5MB cache)
Phenom II X3 B73 (2.8GHz, 7.5MB cache)
Phenom II X4 B91 (2.6GHz, 8MB cache)
Phenom II X4 B93 (2.8GHz, 8MB cache)
Several new Phenom II, Athlon X2, and Athlon processors will also receive last order notices in Q4 2009.
A little over two decades ago, Kelly LeBrock would have been a shoe-in as the year's sexiest geek for her role as the computer-generated hottie in Weird Science (check out this NSFW trailer). Today, probably not so much. Taking her place are 2008's sexiest geeks as voted by Wired.com readers, the results of which might surprise you.
Taking the top spot is Philip DeFranco, a 23-year-old video blogger (we refuse to say 'vlogger') whose 'The Philip DeFranco Show' boasts over 100 million views on YouTube. At number 7, kooky faux newsman Stephen Colbert checks in as the only other male to make the list.
Marina Orlova, whose HotForWords videos earned her the number 1 spot in 2007 dropped to number 2 this time around. The rest of the pack includes Kari Byron (3) of MythBusters, Electric Playground host Jade Raymond (4), World of Warcraft fan Mila Kunis (5), Tina Fey (6) of 30 Rock, actress Zooey Deschanel (8), math advocate and actress Danica McKellar (9), and actress Alyson Hannigan (10).
Who do you think should be considered 2008's sexiest geeks? Hit the jump and let us know!
Copy protection and DRM in general is a difficult subject to write about objectively. If you take a step back and look at the desire to protect ones intellectual property, DRM sounds like a good idea. But as a legitimate consumer of many types of media, it can be somewhat frustrating to know that pirates get to enjoy their plunder on any device, while my DVD remains locked to its plastic prison. Ways around this exist, but they are often somewhat involved, and if you’re trying to keep things legitimate, it’s difficult to know exactly when you’ve broken the law. CD and DVD copy protection has been cracked for some time now, and many easy to use utilities exist to do so. For legitimate consumers, this represents a grey area of the law many seem willing to cross.
The rise of HD media gave birth to even more insidious DRM solutions for protecting video. HDCP compliant displays and BD+ are just two of the terms that haunt HD enthusiasts, particularly those with home theatre PC’s. Blu-Ray’s copy protection has been heavily criticized, and both software and hardware players often require constant updates to play the newest releases. Those in search of a better solution have almost universally embraced AnyDVD HD from Slysoft. Using a specialized Windows driver it allows decryption of most forms of media (even HD) on the fly, circumventing copy protection and region restrictions. A few days ago Slysoft issued us a press release proudly proclaiming once again that Blu-Ray’s BD+ has been fully cracked in version 188.8.131.52. Currently Slysoft offers free lifetime updates to customers, but will make the transition to a subscription model on January 11th 2009. A trial version is available from their website, and just might put an end to your media related DRM woes.
Has Blu-Ray’s extensive DRM requirements slowed your adoption of HD?
2008 will defiantly go down in technology history as the year of the netbook. Ultra portable PC’s defied the economy and helped push sales of notebooks beyond that of desktop’s for the first time in history. Netbooks have been thoroughly reviewed here at Maximum PC (see December 2008’s issue) and it’s clear from the both the comments, and the activity in the forums that those who are holding out are doing so primarily for one of two reasons.
1.) The form factor is too small. 2.) The machines are underpowered.
Though not much can be done to address the first complaint, the second will likely become a moot point in 2009. This is the year we will start to see dual core and graphics accelerated netbooks go main stream. With the Intel Atom 330 already launched, the stakes will be raised considerably with new offerings from both VIA and AMD. As disappointing as this must be for AMD, it appears as though the VIA offering will be the strongest Intel competitor, but this may change closer to launch. The VIA 3000 family will be an X86-compatible processor based on its existing Nano 1000, and 2000 series platform. What promises to give VIA the edge over AMD however, is compatibility with the SSE4 instruction set. This will give them a substantial performance boost in many processor intensive tasks.
To be fair, little is yet known about AMD’s offering and more details are likely to be released at CES next week. What we do know is that two new processors under the code names Caspain and Consesus have been added to the company’s roadmap. We also know that despite the fact that AMD claims it has little interest in netbooks, these chips are the closest competitor to the Atom we can find from the AMD camp. One thing is certain, by late 2009 or early 2010, netbook shoppers are going to have a lot more choices. And as we all know competition will go a long way towards helping to drive down prices.
What would it take to make you consider a netbook?