While high end gaming cards like ATI's 4870 and Nvidia's GTX 280 hog all the spotlight, not everyone can afford (or needs) a top of the line card. Picking up the slack at the other end of the spectrum, Nvidia this week silently launched its entry-level 9400 GT graphics card.
The 9400 GT comes with 16 processor cores clocked at 1400MHz, a 550MHz graphics clock, and 512MB of memory chugging along at 400MHz. And thanks in part to the 128-bit bus, Nvidia claims the 9400 GT will run twice as fast as the comparable 8-series graphics card.
Nvidia has set the MSRP to $59, which buys support for DirectX 10, OpenGL 2.1, CUDA general-purpose parallel computing, and hardware HD video acceleration. A cursory glance around the web shows the 9400 GT as being a respectable overclocker, but even after pushing the clocks, it looks to be best suited for HTPC and light gaming duties.
Come September 9, 2008, Microsoft says it will be time to "Say Goobye to Laser." The ad on Microsoft's Hardware website hints that this un-named successor will work better on a variety of surfaces, but the company is saying little about it and showing even less.
That's okay, because it looks like one attentive surfer may have uncovered what Microsoft has in store after stumbling upon the MS Explorer Mini Mouse with "Blue Track" technology. The discovery was made over on Amazon.de, but has since been taken down after Engadget snagged a couple of pics and posted a link to the product. The site says Blue Track is to be based on a blue LED combined with a wide-angle lens, giving the new mouse the ability to work on more surfaces than both laser and optical. With Microsoft remaining tight-lipped, we'll have to wait and see, but the good news is September 8th is less than two weeks away.
Western Digital today announced the addition of 750GB and 1TB RE3 SATA hard drives to its enterprise lineup. The new drives boast a beefy 32MB cache buffer, enhanced vibration and shock tolerance, and what the company claims are "new electronics to increase performance approximately 20 percent and by as much as 60 percent in high-vibration environments."
Rounding out the feature-set are a several marketing buzzwords, including StableTrac (reduces system-induced vibration and stabilizes platters), dual processor (better processing power), RAFF technology (corrects linear and rotational vibrations), IntelliSeek technology (calculates optimum seek speeds to lower power consumption, noise, and vibration), and several more.
Western Digital has the MSRP on the 750GB and 1TB models at $199 and $249 respectively. The drives are available now and carry a five-year limited warranty.
Nvidia's woes in the mobile graphics arena have been well documented, but here's a quick refresher for anyone who hasn't been following along. After several users complained of graphics glitches and outright failures in their 8M-based notebooks, Nvidia announced it would set aside a one-time hit of $200 million to cover warranty and repair costs associated with the "abnormal failure rate." According to the graphics chip maker, the failures only affect a limited number of notebook GPUs produced from a bad batch, but just how limited the problem remains a point of contention. Charlie Demerjian from news and rumor site The Inquirer has been particularly outspoken on the issue, claiming the failures resonate into the G92 and G94 lineup, and according to rumblings, he might not be too far off.
Hit the jump to find out the latest speculation and just how many GPUs might be affected.
Some Linux users are getting a feel for what it's like to be one of the Windows faithful, as the open source community looks to be under siege. The U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (CERT) has issued a warning for "active attacks" against Linux-based infrastructures using compromised SSH keys.
Specifics remain scarce, but the attacks appear to use stolen SSH keys to gain access to a system, after which time the attacker uses local kernel exploits to gain root access and install a rootkit called phalanx2.
"Phalanx2 appears to be a derivative of an older rootkit named "phalanx". Phalanx2 and the support scripts within the rootkit, are configured to systematically steal SSH keys from the compromised system. These SSH keys are sent to the attackers, who then use them to try to compromise other sites and other systems of interest at the attacked site."
The US-CERT has outlined ways Linux users can reduce the risk of attack, as well as what steps should be taken if a compromise is already confirmed.
It seems that in the rapidly approaching future I may have to pay extra to my ISP to download my collection of Steam based games when I upgrade my PC or wipe a hard drive. Forget about streaming movies over the net. In fact, best keep your quality internet time to surfing text pages, email without pictures, and IMing. Okay, not quite that bad, but close, if some ISPs have their say about it. The Associated Press covered a story in which a man in New York changed from his cable company to his phone company based on the offer of a year of free service on a two-year contract, an attractive deal. Soon afterr Frontier Communications quietly updated its policies saying it would limit internet activity each month to 5GB. That’s the same figure that several other companies are trying out.
This story is particularly interesting because it’s a phone company trying the cap, not a cable company. Since in this man’s particular area the cable company is Time Warner, which is trying a pilot program in Beaumont Texas with a 5GB cap on its cable service for new users, it might not help to switch even if he can get out of his phone company contract. That is a scenario that we could see repeated in many areas if this catches on.
These scenarios are tough sells to customer that aren’t interested in having additional fees tacked on to their bills, especially after the fact. If consumers are left without a choice because all of their area ISPs are capping their downloads, it’s customers that lose out and it becomes pretty easy for ISPs to charge more money for less service. 5GB of data isn’t much at all.
Do you think this will backfire on ISPs? Sound off below.
Nothing is worse than when the government decides to levy another tax someplace. Newegg customers of New York were irked on June 1, 2008 when they found out that Newegg was being required to collect sales tax to orders sent to New York, even though Newegg doesn’t have a store there.
However, Newegg has backed away from that stance, sending out an email from Newegg Company Spokesperson and Vice President of Merchandising, Bernard Luthi, saying that it reversed it’s decision based on feedback from it’s customers.
“This decision was driven by your direct and candid feedback and our continued commitment to you as our valued customers.” He went on to thank customers for their patience as they worked things out.
Of course, New York residents are still responsible for paying their sales tax.
Newegg should be applauded for taking a stand. Collecting taxes for different states, counties, and localities would be a terrible mess for any online retailer to wade through. It would only serve to drive up prices for consumers and stifle internet commerce.
How do you feel about taxes on items purchased over the web?
"Gordon Freeman is a menace to society. When he's not bludgeoning our men with cars and annihilating our demolition teams with their own ordinances, he's white-washing their corpses with paint and treating wild, endangered headcrabs like lowly mammalian bulls. Sure, we enslaved his species and all, but does he have to be such a jerk about it? He toys with us as though this were some sort of game, and we won't stand for it."
--An excerpt from The Combine Times, the final Combine paper to include anything other than obituaries.
--Gordon Freeman's reply
Yeah, Gordon Freeman isn't the most loquacious guy around. He speaks through his actions -- or rather, your actions. But that's what makes him great. He's a videogame character under your direct control. He fights like you, so why shouldn't he think like you?
As you've probably noticed, my particular Gordon Freeman is, well, have you ever imagined what it'd be like if one of the loud-mouthed, rap-prone kids on Xbox Live was tasked with saving all of humanity (and managing a classy goatee)? Am I like that in real life? No, but slipping into the hazard suit of a silent protagonist like Gordon Freeman allows me to project a side of myself into the game that hardly even exists in reality. I'm not constrained by any pre-set personality the man might have, so my imagination washes over the game, and it becomes a whole new experience.
Sure, I enjoy having the tightly braided engagement-lasso of a compelling, whip-smart lead wrapped around my neck as much as anyone, but I also think that such a lead doesn't lend him/herself well to gaming's main strength: interactivity.
So, how do you like your protagonist: strong and silent with a side of whatever you want, or glib -- fried up and delivered just as the developers ordered?
Today's Roundup features heroes of both varieties, along with a smattering of other stories about your favorite industry. From details about WoW's colossal (and free!) pre-WotLK update, to exclusive titles' death knells, there's no way you'll leave this Roundup without something to talk about. Jump past the break for more.
Blu-ray may have won the high-definition format war, but the spoils haven't exactly been anything to brag about. Saddled with high prices, consumers have been turning the other cheek in favor of upscaled DVDs and an increasing emphasis on movie downloads, which looks to get even more popular this fall. But that could all change if 3D movies prove popular for home setups.
Leading the charge is Philips, who will demonstrate 3D on Blu-ray later this month at IFA 2008.The demo is expected to show how Philips' 2D-plus-Depth content format can be applied to Blu-ray, which would open the door for 3D movies to be shown on a variety of displays. Whether or not that matters to home theater buffs remains to be seen, but with a growing amount of 3D movies released on the big screen, those that missed the theater debut would still be able to relieve the experience at home, minus the ginormous screen.
Does this give Blu-ray the edge it needs to gain popularity points?
It remains to be seen whether the recent Mac clone phenomenon will turn out to be a legit business or a series of scams, but either way, things aren't looking good. You may recall reading about Psystar, a recent startup who purports to sell Open Computer setups running Max OS X Leopard. Despite confusion over where the company actually resides, the company appears to be in a legal battle with Apple over multiple counts of violating copyright, trademark, and breach-of-contract and unfair competition laws.
And what of Open Tech, the other Mac cloner who recently hit the headlines? In just three weeks after its official Mac-clone product launch, Open Tech vice president Elijah Samaroo sent an email to Wired.com announcing the sale of Open Tech's web store for a cool $50,000. Unlike Psystar, who sells pre-installed Mac-clones, Open Tech was offering to sell PCs with instructions detailing how to install any OS of choice, including Apple's, but is now prepared to let go of its "trade secrets" if it can find a buyer.
But wait, there's more! Adding more comic relief to the ridiculously high asking price for a shady startup, anyone interested in purchasing Open Tech can use the site's PayPal button to transfer the $50,000 and "as soon as the payment is received the Open Tech Papwork and Documents will be faxed or mailed to you."