It’s pretty clear MSI is serious about Netbooks and updates to the platform have been coming in pretty steadily since its introduction back in July, but they aren’t done yet. According to Liliputing MSI is adding two new models to its fleet, the U110 and U115. While the U110 is more of a traditional design, the U115 promises to change things up a bit. Instead of asking customers to choose between the speed & reliability of an SSD, and the large storage capacities offered by traditional hard drives, the U115 will feature a new “hybrid storage” system. This feature will allow MSI to store the operating system on an SSD, and will augment the storage a built in hard drive.
With this approach they are hoping to appeal to a broader audience who are looking for a dependable and responsive experience on the OS side, while still satisfying the digital packrats who need a bit of extra mobile storage. The SSD’s will come in 8,16, and 32 GB capacities. And the hard drives will range from 80 to a maximum of 160 GB, currently the maximum for Windows XP on netbooks. Both new models will feature the familiar 10 inch, 1024x600 pixel display, 802.11b/g/draft-n WiFi, Bluetooth, and a 4 in 1 card reader.
Analysts have been speculating for almost a year now on the future of netbooks, and if this new category of ultra mobile PCs would ever threaten sales of their larger form factor brethren. Intel’s Vice President of sales and marketing Stu Pann has weighed in on the issue, and he states in no uncertain terms, netbooks will never replace laptops. According to Pann "If you've ever used a Netbook and used a 10-inch screen size--it's fine for an hour. It's not something you're going to use day in and day out."
Maximum PC readers have spoken out in the comments, and the forums with similar concerns, but somehow it seems a bit more shocking to hear it from Intel itself. Many have questioned the reason for Intel’s statement given that they seem to be denouncing a market for which they are almost single handed responsible for creating. Then again, Intel is pretty much free to say anything it wants given that competition from VIA is slowly fading away and AMD isn’t even interested in competing. AMD has openly criticized the form factor and has made it clear that they don’t see a future in netbooks. According to AMD netbook return rates are disproportionately high as disappointed consumers come to grips with the hype not living up to reality. So what do you think of ultra portables? Will the dual core models make a difference?
One of the concerns in the transition to Core i7-based platforms was how Intel's new chips would fare with DDR3 memory exceeding 1.65V. Early reports warned that the higher voltage kits might potentially pose a risk to the processor, prompting memory makers to focus on triple-channel kits with lower voltage than their dual-channel counterparts. But voltage restrictions could become even less of a concern now that Elpida has completed its development of a 50nm process DDR3 SDRAM.
Elpida claims its new DRAM features the lowest power consumption in the industry, requiring as little as 1.2V, making them good candidates for eco-conscious server environments and data centers. The 2.5Gbps-capable chips can also operate at 1.5V and Elpida says initial applications will include high-end desktops.
Mass production of the 50nm chips is scheduled to being in Q1 2009.
Staving off the upgrade bug while waiting for the inevitable next best thing that's always just around the corner can cause you to be in a perpetual state of limbo. But if you've been suffering from this phenomenon since the AGP days, now might be the perfect time to pull the trigger. Not only has Intel released it's Core i7 platform, but if your aging AGP videocard is a qualified BFG-branded unit, you might be able to score a free or low-cost ($50) PCI-E upgrade.
"Now, for a limited time, if you send us your BFG AGP card in good, working condition, we'll send you the PCI Express equivalent at no cost to you," BFG wrote on its AGP-to-PCI-E promotional page. "If you want to upgrade to an even better performing card, there is a nominal fee to do so. Offer good for U.S. customers only."
Furthermore, BFG's claim that the free PCI-E upgrade is equivalent to its AGP counterpart might be a bit modest in certain circumstances. For example, BFG will upgrade owners of GeForce 6800OC AGP videocards with just a 128MB frame buffer to a 9600GT OC PCI-E card with 512MB of memory. The same 9600GT OC is used for all but one of the free upgrades and the performance levels out as you move up the AGP food chain, but for $50, users can instead opt for a 9800GT OC.
The offer is available for a limited time, though BFG has not specified a more specific time frame. Current AGP owners will need to register their cards with BFG if they haven't already done so. But don't fret if you've lost the receipt - BFG says no proof of purchase will be required.
Earlier this year, a jury ruled that Rambus, a designer and licensor of memory chips, did not obtain patents for memory technology through fraud or anti-competitive means. The ruling essentially gave Rambus the right to continue its practice of suing anyone and everyone involved in memory production that isn't already paying the company royalties.
Among those companies are Samsung, the world's largest memory-chip maker, Hynix, the second largest memory chip producer, Micron, and Nanya. And each of them will have to defend against claims of wrongdoing as Rambus has won a pretrial ruling alleging chipmakers infringed on one claim of a patent in a case scheduled to go to trial on January 19, 2009.
According to Jeff Schreiner, an analyst at San Diego-based Capstone Investments, the ruling by U.S. District Judge Ronald Whyte means that Whyte "already found one claim for Rambus that they won't have to argue." In the past, Whyte has denied Rambus' requests for similar pretrial rulings over 10 other elements of its patents. Those previous claims, which cover alleged infringement on both DDR2 and DDR3 technology, will also be argued during the January trial.
SearchWiki is intended to give you the ability to fine-tune your search results and eliminate irrelevant or obsolete results. However, some critics are worried about how SearchWiki works. To find out what they're concerned about, join us after the jump.
With proper filters in place, you may not even have noticed that spam levels have dropped off recently. It isn't that the scumbags sending out the unsolicited emails have gotten into the holiday spirit and decided to take a break from their operations, and instead the drop off was a result of the FTC shutting down McColo Corp., the web hosting service believed to be responsible for 75 percent of the world's spam.
The two-week hiatus appears to be over. According to Symantec's MessageLabs, spam emails are increasing at twice the volume after McColo went offline. Following the FTC bust, MessageLabs says that spam levels dropped precipitously by 80 percent. But now the remaining 20 percent has increased to 37 percent, indicating that the botnet owners have found new ISPs for their operations.
"The Asporx and Rustock botnets are back with a vengeance after having found new command and control," MessageLabs' Matt Sergeant said.
It looks like fruitcakes won't be the only unwanted gifts this holiday season.
On Wednesday of last week, Microsoft rolled out its long anticipated dashboard update for the Xbox 360 console. Among other things, the update incorporated support for Netflix subscribers with an Xbox Live Gold account to be able and stream the online rental service's catalog of downloadable movies and TV shows through the Xbox 360, some of which is in high definition. With consumers slow to warm to Blu-ray, the Netflix capability could potentially nudge undecided console owners in Microsoft's direction rather than opting for Sony's Playstation 3 + Blu-ray combo. But does Sony feel threatened?
Officially, the answer is 'no.' Following the dashboard update, Sony films pulled a disappearing act from Xbox's Netflix streaming service prompting all kinds of speculation and conspiracy theories. And all of it wrong, according to Sony.
"This issue is not specific to Xbox or any other individual platform," Sony said in an email statement. "Sony Pictures is currently in discussions with the relevant parties to resolve certain licensing matters related to the distribution of its motion pictures. Given the ongoing nature of these discussions, we don't think it is appropriate to comment further at this time."
Netflix spokesman Steve Swasey didn't wish to comment on any specific studio licensing deals either, saying only that titles "come in and out of licensing all the time." And that's where things currently reside in the standoff between Sony and Netflix. Some Sony films have reappeared on the streaming service, but neither Sony or Netflix are saying when the rest might return.
Thanks to NBC, there's probably not anyone left who hasn't been Rickroll'd. It started out innocently enough as the characters from Cartoon Network's Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends strolled through the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. But during one of the stops in which the creatures were in the middle of a song, 80s pop star Rick Astley emerged out of nowhere and started belting out the all too familiar "Never Gonna Give You Up." At the end of the song, one of the creatures exclaims "I like Rickrolling!" Apparently, so does NBC.
This isn't the first time event goers have unwittingly been Rickroll'd offline. In 2007, the New York Mets organization held an online contest intended to let the team's fans determine what would become the Mets' traditional eigth-inning sing-along. Instead, online pranksters sabotaged the poll and voted up Rick Astley's former hit song. Realizing what had happened, the Mets decided to play the top six selections, including "Never Gonna Give You Up," and let the crowd's reaction decide the winner. Not surprisingly, the crowd broke out in a chorus of 'boos' when Rick Astley's song started playing.
For a long while, Intel's Core 2 Quad Q6600 processor remained a popular choice in the DIY community. The 2.4GHz chip, helped in part by an aggressive round of price-cuts, brought quad-core computing to the mainstream. It became even more popular when Intel released the G0 stepping, which ushered in lower temps and higher overclocking potential.
But there's no looking in the rear-view mirror for Intel, and with the chip maker's Core i7 stepping into the limelight, it's come time to retire the aging 65nm Q6600. Citing un-named sources at PC vendors, DigiTimes reports that Intel plans to phase out the vintage quad-core chip in Q1 2009 by issuing a product discontinuance notice.
The Q6600's impending end-of-life could come as good news to those in need of a quad-core upgrade while remaining fiscally responsible. In all likelihood, vendors will again cut the Q6600's price as they look to clear out inventory before the end of the year. Stocking stuffer, perhaps?