One of the high points with the technology used in Sony's Playstation 3 console is the Cell processor technology. A similar concept could be coming to the PC, and you'll have Toshiba to thank, not Sony.
Toshiba's SpursEngine is based on the same Cell processor technology as found in the PS3 and is used to process HD video with its four Cell cores. The technology makes easy work out of encoding and decoding HD content and can upscale standard-definition video to high-definition video without bogging down the CPU. Toshiba is already using the technology in its Qosmio G50 and F40 notebooks and hopes to expand to the desktop market via add-in cards by the end of the years.
LeadTek and Thomson are already on board with plans to release a SpursEngine card within the next few weeks. LeadTek's version is expected to debut this month at about $286 and its Winfast PxVC 1100 card has already been shown at the Ceatec Exhibition in Japan. Thomson is targeting a November release in the $375 to $400 range
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.
Let me just say it: I love Netflix. Sometimes I feel like we don't even deserve to be together. Tempted by Blockbuster's in-store exchange policy, I left Netflix behind for a steamy, yet ultimately short lived affair. It all came to a screeching halt when Blockbuster changed the rules of our relationship, demanding more of my money for less of its features.
Since then, I've rekindled my relationship with Neflix, who welcomed me back with open arms, and the thrill of unlimited in-store DVD exchanges on the cheap is nothing more than a memory of broken promises. I'm fully committed to Netflix now, and by all accounts, it appears Netflix is fully committed to me.
Hit the jump to see why I think this love affair will be a long lasting one.
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).
Autostereoscopic. Ever heard that term before? Philips hopes you'll be hearing a lot more of it, and yesterday announced a line of Quad Full Autostereoscopic 3D HDTVs during a 3D event in Hollywood.
A Quad-HDTV means it's screen resolution checks in at 3840x2160 (8.29 million pixels), or four times that of the highest HDTV standard, and otherwise known as 2160P. Combined with autostereoscopic technology, the end result is that 3D images can be made to look believable without having to wear those funky glasses or other specialized headgear. Instead, images target a specific eye, but rather than require a strict viewing angle, Philips says its 56-inch HD 3D display has a generous 160-degree viewing angle.
As expected, first-run products won't come cheap with early rumblings putting this TV in the $25,000 ballpark. But Philips isn't the only one pushing 3D technology - Toshiba and Sanyo have both said they're working on competing autostereoscopic displays, which could drive down the price if this technology takes off.
Last summer Acer teased gamers by announcing the menacing looking Aspire Predator gaming PC along with a color-matching metallic copper 24-inch G24 LCD display. Now the company says it's ready for the US market and, presumably, to take on HP, Falcon Northwest, and Alienware in the high end OEM gaming segment.
It would take an orgy of high end components to live up to the machine's "Faster. Deeper. Harder. Further." tagline, though Acer's also offering a more moderately priced configuration. Starting at $1,649, The G7700-UQ9300A sports an Intel Core 2 Quad 9300 water-cooled processor, a GeForce 9600GT videocard, 8GB of DDR2 memory, two 640GB hard drives, a DVD reader and DVD burner, and Vista Home Premium 64-bit. For those with a little more loot, $2,199 nudges the processor up to a Q9550 and exchanges the 9600GT for a 9800GTX.
On the monitor front, the Acer G24 widescreen display boasts a 50,000:1 contrast ratio, a 1920x1200 resolution, and 2ms (grey to grey) response time.
Does Acer's Predator appeal to you? Hit the jump and post your thoughts.
If you just unloaded your original DS on Ebay and replaced it with a DS Lite, you'll soon be outdated again. During their Fall Press Conference in Japan, Nintendo announced its new DSi, the "third platform" in the DS handheld gaming hardware series.
The new version comes a little thinner than the model it's replacing while offering 17 percent larger screens at 3.25 inches each. Certain "audio enhancements" have been made, but arguably the biggest addition is the inclusion of a .3 megapixel camera capable of 640x480 resolution.
Old school gamers won't have any place to put their Gameboy Advance cartridges, as the GBA slot has been removed. Instead the DSi comes with an SD memory card slot. The DSi also features a built-in browser, and gamers will be able to download games and other DSiWare from Nintendo's DSi Shop. As is sadly the trend, pricing is based on a points scale, and customers will start off with 1,000 free points that must be used by March 2010.
Japan will get first crack at the DSi this November for roughly $180 USD, with other markets to follow sometime next year.
This week, Microsoft rolled out major enhancements to yet another member of its Live family: Live Search Maps.
Now, Live Search Maps places the directions in the left pane and the map in the right pane, making it easier to follow your route. Click the number next to each checkpoint to display a detailed map. And, you can switch quickly between 2D, 3D, aerial, and traffic views and, in a feature borrowed from its rivals, add stops as desired.
In a significant nod to those of us who navigate by landmarks, landmarks in six categories (gas stations, major national hotel chains, restaurants, convenience stores, grocery stores, and car dealerships) are now incorporated into the directions ("pass TACO BELL on the left in 1.1 miles"), and Live Search Maps even warns you if you've passed your last turn ("the last intersection is Main St If you reach Oak St, you've gone too far"). So, whether you're on a cross-country jaunt or just need to fill the inner geek with a quick meal, Live Search Maps has you covered.
At this year's QuakeCon, programming god John Carmack turned an entire Internet's worth of heads with his announcement that Rage would only storm your PC's walls via DVD-ROM. Well, kids, it's time to un-cry those salty tears, because id intends to digitally distribute its latest first-person beauty after all.
"We haven't quite worked through our electronic-distribution," said id Software creative director Tim Willits. "John Carmack [id co-founder] made a comment about the media size, which unfortunately wasn't exactly correct because we haven't crossed that bridge yet. He said it was going to be too large to download, and I was thinking to myself, 'You know, uhhhhh, people can do lots of things.'"
"Rage won't break the Internet. Our relationship with Valve and our stuff on Steam has been very successful for us. A lot of the older games that we had to fix to work on newer operating systems allowed us to make them current. I had a Steam account on my machine at work, and if I wanted to load up old Wolfenstein or Doom at work, I [would] load it up on Steam because of DOSBox and all that stuff. And it's actually pretty awesome. We've been very successful with that."
"We haven't figured out what we want to do yet. But I do want to fix the fact that John said [digital distribution is] not going to happen. What I'm saying is that's not true."
Apple has threatened to close its iTunes music store, if the Copyright Royalty Board approves a hike in the royalty rate on music sales. The board is to give its decision on Thursday. The National Music Publishers’ Association is pleading for a hike of 66% in royalty rates. On the other hand, digital store owners are demanding a cut in royalty rates.
"If the [iTunes store] was forced to absorb any increase in the ... royalty rate, the result would be to significantly increase the likelihood of the store operating at a financial loss -- which is no alternative at all,” Apple’s VP Eddy Cue warned the board in a filing.
Do you believe Apple can take such a drastic step?