If you've been waiting for Dell to officially release its Mini 9 notebook line, your wait is now over. On the high end, a starting price of $449 buys a Mini Inspiron 910 with an Intel Atom N270 processor (1.6GHz, 533MHz frontside-bus, 512K cache), 1GB of DDR2 RAM clocked at 533MHz, a 16GB SSD, and other odds and ends tied together with Windows XP. Cut the hard drive and RAM in half and you can knock $50 off the price, or drop down to the Inspiron 910u for $349. It comes with the same goodies as the higher end models, except with a 4GB SSD, 512MB DDR2, and Ubuntu 8.04 instead of Windows XP.
For those willing to wait one more day, Dell's blog claims that as of 6 a.m. Central tomorrow, "you'll be able to get a Mini for only $99with the purchase of a Studio 15, XPS M1530, or XPS M1330 laptop through 6 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 9 (U.S. only)."
On September 15th, Intel is expected to unveil its Xeon 7400 series Dunnington processor. What makes the server chip so special is it will be the first six-core processor, and likely the last Penryn to make a debut before the Nehalem microarchitecture takes over starting with the Core i7.
In another first, Dunnington will be the first Intel chip to sport a monolithic design, meaning all six cores will come on one slice of silicon. By contrast, the Core 2 Quad and four-core Xeon processors to date integrate two dual-core chips in a single package.
In addition to having six cores, the server market hopes to get big performance gains from the large 16MB of shared L3 cache. According to Intel senior vice president Pat Gelsinger, Sun Microsystems, Hewlett-Packard, and Dell will have product announcements related to the Xeon 7400 series in September.
At times it is easy to forget that Intel Atom is not the only power-efficient processor aimed at the netbook segment. Incase you had forgotten, Via is also vying for the same market segment. Only a couple of weeks after Via received a big order for Nano processors from HP, it has announced that leading Chinese PC OEM Tsinghua Tongfang is going to deploy the VIA C7-M processor in its S1 mini-notebook.
The S1 features a 1.6 GHz VIA C7-M processor, 1GB memory and an 80GB hard disk drive. With its weight of 1.2kg, the S1 is certainly a little bulky for its stripe. It has a rather convenient 10.2” screen and runs Windows Vista Home Basic – quite audacious to even attempt Vista on a netbook. Its Chinese price translates to $583. With Intel struggling to meet the staggering demand for Atom, the door is ajar for Via.
The external drive does have some limitations when used over a USB 2.0 connection – understandably so, and can only manage write speeds up to 6.5x. You should set aside anywhere between $350 to $400, if you want this drive. However, very few people might have a craving for a Blu-ray burner at this point in time. The prices are still uninviting, though gradually waning, and Blu-ray is far from inheriting the ubiquity enjoyed by its predecessors.
We've all been there: you're softly striding through a craggy cavern, imperceptibly thin rays of light squeezing their way through cracks in the ceiling. Your eyes pierce through the black just in time for you to notice a vaguely cylindrical enemy galloping your way. Steel clangs against claws and fangs, and your foe slumps to the ground. A thick liquid oozes from the beast's mangled form, but the scent of blood is curiously absent. You decide to take a closer look, and dab your fingers in the liquid. One tentative lick later, you realize what the cave-dweller was dispensing -- the smooth taste of Coca-Cola! Visibly excited, you bottle up a sample. And with that, it's quest complete. Time to head back to Doct R. Peppyre's place for your brand new, Sunkist-orange tabard. Awesome!
But then, while emerging from the cave, you spot a poster on a nearby tree. Turns out, it's a blatant ad for McDonald's. "What the hell?" You wonder aloud. Then, sense of immersion annihilated, you rage-quit the game.
Obviously, the above situation is completely ludicrous. In-game advertising is never so out-of-place or in-your-face. And, in a fairly roundabout way, that's the point I'm trying to make: in-game advertising isn't as bad as gamers seem to think. Given a decent context, true-to-life ads can even make a game more immersive, while also putting extra cash into publishers' pockets.
But what's your take? Are in-game ads a detriment to your experience, or is Human Billboard your favorite race/class combination?
Well, today's Roundup is loyal only to you, fair reader, but could use some extra money and aims its commentary straight at the pleasure center of your brain. Inside, you'll find the latest news on a public E3, the oft-delayed Firefly MMO, EA's secret plans, and more.
With social networking websites like MySpace and Facebook featuring in the list of top online display ad publishers, Yahoo must be unhappy for having missed out. Not only has Yahoo seen both its social networking ventures – Mixd being the other one – fail miserably, but it also failed in its bid to acquire Facebook. Don’t forget to pay homage to Mash.
Microsoft might have failed in its hammy attempt to acquire Yahoo, but it hasn’t relinquished its goal of improving its standing amongst search engines. To this end, it has acquired Greenfield Online for $486 million. Greenfield Online owns popular European price-comparison portal ciao.com.
The company hopes to improve the usefulness of its search results – especially for shoppers - by integrating results from ciao.com. MS is going to do away with Greenfield’s online survey business, and is known to have reached an agreement with an anonymous financial buyer over the sale of the survey business.
Perhaps a bad economy is to blame, or maybe consumers are more concerned with getting outside this summer than going online. But whatever the reason, broadband operators are struggling to sign up new customers. Twenty of the largest cable operators and phone companies in the U.S. managed to snag just 887,000 new subscribers in Q2 '08, and according to Leichtman Research Group, the comparatively anemic numbers mark the lowest level of growth seen in the past seven years.
That's good news for consumers, as the lower than expected growth might have sparked a broadband price war. Verizon has said it offer six months of free DSL service to new customers who agree to a one year commitment and also grab a landline package. By taking advantage of the promotion, consumers can pay as little as $45 per month for high-speed DSL and phone service, compared to $65 per month.
But Verizon isn't the only one looking to entice new customers, and AT&T has kicked off a new promotion that guarantees customers its current pricing for two years. Prices range from $20 to $55.
As the broadband market continues to saturate, cable companies could feel the pinch too. Comcast added 278,000 high-speed internet subscribers in Q2, which represents 18 percent fewer customers than the company signed one year ago.
Despite what the console crowd may like to claim, PC gaming isn't going anywhere. But just because the death knell isn't ringing doesn't mean gamers should be complacent with the current state of the industry. That's the stance Stardock purports to claim with the announcement of The Gamer's Bill of Rights, what the company calls "a statement of principles that it hopes will encourage the PC game industry to adopt standards that are more supportive of PC gamers."
First on the list of the rights states "Gamers shall have the right to return games that don't work with their computers for a full refund." Taking a practice what you preach policy, Stardock has put in place a policy where consumers can return their copy of The Political Machine at retail for a full refund if their PC wasn't sufficient to run the game.
Hit the jump to see all ten of the Gamer's Bill of Rights.
Thin is in, and if Sony's new 28mm Bravia ZX1 LCD television weren't enough to convince you, maybe Logitech's super skinny keyboard will. With an ultra-thin 9.3mm frame, Logitech's Illuminated Keyboard is the thinnest plank ever. But despite the bright, laser-etched backlighted keys, the new keyboard isn't being marketed towards gamers.
"You've just gotten home," Logitech writes. "It's dark but you still have emails to write, people to chat with, blogging to do. While everyone else is in the dark, you're getting ready to shine. Don't you deserve a keyboard that shines with you?"
On the ergonomics side, the Illuminated Keyboard comes with a soft-touch palm rest and full size key layout. Logitech also touts its PerfectStroke technology, which when translated from market-speak to layman means micro-scissors distribute force evenly across key surfaces so key presses feel the same whether you hit the middle of the key or strike the edge. It also encompasses a longer key travel - 3.2mm compared to 2.2mm.
Also coming to Logitech's keyboard lineup is the diNovo for notebooks and Cordless Desktop S520. The glossy black diNovo will meausre just 22.10mm from base to key caps and sport a brushed aluminin palm rest, along with a 2.4GHz wireless connection. The Cordless Desktop S520 will come in a matte-black and gray finish and be accompanied by a cordless mouse.
Look for availability this October with an MSRP of $80 for the Illuminated Keyboard and $100 for the diNovo. The Logitech Cordless Desktop S520 is expected to ship this month with an MSRP of $60.