Last week we reported that Continental Promotions Group (CPG), one of the largest and oldest rebate entities in the business, managed to put itself in a rather sticky situation by not having enough funds to pay off its obligations. To quickly recap, manufacturers have a pretty good idea of how many rebates on any given product will be processed and cut a check to CPG based on that amount. CPG then doles out the funds as rebate forms come trickling in, but a large chunk of money has gone inexplicably missing. According to HardOCP, CPG owes anywhere between $9 million to $12 million, but only has $3 million in cash. Oops!
No laughing matter, it's the consumers who ultimately get the raw end of the deal, but at least one company has stepped up where CPG has fallen down. In a letter to its customers, John Malley, BFG's senior director of marketing said that it has "corrected the situation" so that U.S.-based customers are clear to cash their rebate checks.
"One of our third-party rebate processing companies recently informed us that they are experiencing financial difficulties, and that the funds provided to them by BFG Technologies to pay rebate checks for certain BFG products were no longer available," Malley writes. We are happy to inform our rebate customers in the U.S. that BFG has corrected the situation, and you CAN cash your check to receive your rebate payment. This applies to all rebate checks for BFG Technologies. For Canadian customers, please hold on to your check and do not attempt to cash it. We are actively working on a solution for you and will update this message or contact you directly before the end of this week."
Malley asks that anyone who has already tried to cash a rebate check only to have it bounce or be refused by the bank to contact email@example.com so that BFG can issue a new check, one which should clear the bank.
Nvidia has released new WHQL-certified videocard drivers for GeForce 200-series, 9-series, and 8800-series GPUs only (owners of older videocards need not apply). The approximately 73MB download enables finally brings to fruition a license agreement between Nvidia and Intel by enabling SLI on SLI-certified Intel X58-based motherboards. The new driver also supports multi-monitor support in an SLI-configuration, which previously had only been available with beta drivers. PhysX acceleration is also enabled when installing the new driver.
On the gaming front, Nvidia claims double-digit percentage performance gains in a number of titles, including a giant 80 percent boost in Lost Planet: Colonies. Far Cry 2 is the other big beneficiary with a purported 38 percent performance gain. Devil May Cry 4, Assassin's Creed, BioShock, Comapny of Heroes: Opposing Fronts, Crysis Warhead, Race Driver: GRID, and World of Conflict all receive performance gains ranging from 10 percent to 25 percent, according to Nvidia. And for you benchmarking gurus, 3DMark Vantage's performance preset should perform 10 percent better as well.
Dual-channel memory might not be dead, but Intel's Core i7 platform has kicked off the era of triple-channel memory kits and most manufacturers have already jumped on board. Enter Mushkin, who not only is making tri-channel DDR3 kits available, but has launched 16 different models ranging in speed from 1066MHz to 1600MHz.
998674 – 3GB (3x1GB) XP3-10666 6-6-6-18 1.65V
998675 – 6GB (3x2GB) XP3-10666 6-6-6-18 1.65V
998676 – 3GB (3x1GB) HP3-10666 7-7-7-20 1.5-1.6V
998677 – 6GB (3x2GB) HP3-10666 7-7-7-20 1.5-1.6V
998583 – 3GB (3x1GB) EM3-10666 9-9-9-24 1.5V
998585 – 6GB (3x2GB) EM3-10666 9-9-9-24 1.5V
998678 – 3GB (3x1GB) XP3-12800 7-8-7-20 1.65V
998679 – 6GB (3x2GB) XP3-12800 7-8-7-20 1.65V
998680 – 3GB (3x1GB) XP3-12800 8-8-8-24 1.6-1.65V
998681 – 6GB (3x2GB) XP3-12800 8-8-8-24 1.6-1.65V
998658 – 3GB (3x1GB) HP3-12800 9-9-9-27 1.5-1.6V
998659 – 6GB (3x2GB) HP3-12800 9-9-9-27 1.5-1.6V
998682 – 3GB (3x1GB) HP3-8500 6-6-6-18 1.5-1.6V
998683 – 6GB (3x2GB) HP3-8500 6-6-6-18 1.5-1.6V
998570 – 3GB (3x1GB) EM3-8500 7-7-7-20 1.5V
998571 – 6GB (3x2GB) EM3-8500 7-7-7-20 1.5V
"We’ve worked diligently to create parts for the Core i7 platform that push specifications to unprecedented levels while maintaining the high quality and reliability standards of our existing products," said Brian Flood, director of product development for Mushkin. "Our triple-pack customers will be rewarded with the utmost reliability from our standard rated products, and greatly increased performance from our high performance line."
Mushkin claims that each kit is hand-tested beyond its rated specification, suggesting at least a modicum of overclocking headroom. Each of the 16 kits also come bearing Mushkin's FrostByte heatspreader.
The DRAM industry knows well that the global economy is struggling, and so too would the processor market if not for the popularity of netbooks and Atom chip sales. But one company who apparently didn't get the memo that the economy is in shambles is Hewlett-Packard.
According to the company's fourth quarter results that were leaked on Monday, the OEM took in $33.6 billion in revenue in Q4 2008, representing a 19 percent jump from the same quarter one year ago, or 16 percent when adjusted for currency affects, Cnet says.
"HP delivered another solid quarter, as it continues to benefit from its global reach, diverse customer base, broad portfolio, and numerous cost initiatives," CEO Mark Hurd said in a statement. "Our ability to execute in a challenging marketplace differentiates HP, enabling it to increase share, expand earnings, and emerge from the current economic environment as a stronger force."
The news gives HP shareholders reason to cheer, who received $1.03 per share, excluding after-tax adjustments. Adjustments related to restructuring, in-process research development, amortization of purchased intangibles, and other acquisition-related charges knocked the figure down slightly by 19 cents per share, netting shareholders 84 cents per share.
The future looks bright as well. HP expects to pull in between $32 billion and $32.5 billion in the first fiscal quarter of 2009, and expects revenue for all of 2009 to be between $127.5 billion and $130 billion, with earnings per share between $3.38 and $3.53, or an adjusted $3.88 to $4.03.
With all the attention netbooks and nettops have been getting lately, it would appear that small form factor (SFF) and all-in-one PCs are getting lost in the shuffle. That won't be the case for long, as according to DigiTimes' un-named sources at PC vendors, Intel is gearing up to launch three new 65W low-power quad-core CPUs specifically for these two market segments.
From a specification standpoint, the new chips will be identical to existing CPUs with the same model number, but the TDP drops from 95W down to 65W. Vendors said to already be on board include Apple, Acer, Hewlett-Packard, and Dell, with Asus still mulling it over. But because the chips won't come gimped, the lower power draw could also make them popular choices for users with standard desktop setups concerned about heat management.
Pricing for the Q8200s, Q9400s, and Q9550s will sit at $245, $320, and $369 respectively for thousand-unit tray quantities.
While Blu-ray continues to inch into living rooms amid lower prices, it won't be long until the high definition format becomes a mainstream feature in PCs, says Lite-On. The optical drive maker predicts 2009 as the year BD combo drives are a standard option in new PCs, with BD burners becoming commonplace by 2011.
By Lite-On's count, BD-ROM drives, BD combo drives, and BD burners are already showing signs of significant growth as the total number of global shipments has increased from 700,000 units in 2007 to 1.7 million in the first of 2008 alone.
But it all comes down to price, and OEMs will continue to charge between $100-$200 for BD combo drives in 2009, according to DigiTimes. Lite-On says the price of BD burners is expected to drop to between $50-$100 in 2011.
Mirror's Edge may not be wall-running onto PCs until January, but at least it's sticking the landing. Today, DICE announced that -- if your machine has the cojones to run it -- Mirror's Edge will support PhysX's Newtonian prowess, giving Faith's PC adventure console-eclipXing effects.
"With the NVIDIA PhysX physics engine, the world of Mirror's Edge comes to life with real affects of wind, weapons impact, and in-game movements. Every-day objects within the game become part of the overall experience. Cloth, flags, and banners can now impact weapons and players; ground fog interacts with the player's footsteps; explosions fill the air with smoke and debris; and weapon impacts are enhanced with interactive particles," read the press release.
But how's it look? Well, GameTrailers has a new trailer if you'd like a tantalizing taste of the eye-candy.
So then, MPC readers, now that DICE is sliding a few pieces of realistically billowing cloth under the table, are you cool with the seemingly arbitrary delay? Or is your rage simply too fiery -- fueled by your 143rd run through Mirror's Edge 2D and the completion of our your stark white Mirror's Edge skyscraper case mod, complete with custom Faith action figure?
LIFE Magazine, which published classic photojournalism from Maragaret Bourke-White, Alfred Eisenstaedt, David Douglas Duncan and many others during its various incarnations as a weekly (1936-72), special issue (1972-78), monthly (1978-2000), and Sunday supplement (2004-2007), lives again, thanks to the new LIFE photo archive hosted by Google.
Ultimately, about 10 million photos (only about 3 percent of them ever published) will be available at Google. There's no need to wait to explore this rich photo heritage, though: about three million are already online.
So, what can you do with photos ranging from Marilyn Monroe to Winston Churchill, World War II to Vietnam, Muhammed Ali to the King of Siam? You can view photos in three different sizes, including high-resolution (5MP-6MP) sizes and use them for personal or research purposes.
To learn more about the collection, and for your chance to tell us about your favorite LIFE Magazine images, join us after the jump.
So you’re looking to get your hands on a tiny projector, but that Pico just isn’t small enough? Well, it looks like the folks at Konica Minolta have heeded your call, and are currently in the process of making a projector that’s no bigger than the average thumb dive.
The new projector is reportedly going to be a mere 1.6 inches long, .79 inch wide and a paltry .3 inch thick. What’s more, is the projector will be able to put up a 20-inch XGA color image from a distance of about two feet.
What makes it all possible is the use of laser beams and vibrating mirrors, as opposed to the traditional light bulb and lenses. Sadly though, you’ll have to wait until at least 2010 to pick up one of these bad boys. Konica Minolta is stating that they’ll be on the market in two or three years.
Just last week the RIAA commemorated the signing of an absurd new law in Tennessee that states:
"Each public and private institution of higher education in the state that has student residential computer networks shall:
[R]easonably attempt to prevent the infringement of copyrighted works over the institution's computer and network resources, if such institution receives fifty (50) or more legally valid notices of infringement as prescribed by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 within the preceding year."
In short, if you’re going to school in Tennessee you’re boned. Since the entertainment industry was unable to get a solid framework for universities in the Higher Education Act passed by Congress just earlier this year, the RIAA has decided to attack universities by using infringement notices.
What’s worse is that the law will cost the fine folks of Tennessee a whopping $9.5 million in new software, hardware and personnel, with an annual cost of $1.5 million for the personnel and maintenance. None of this money will go towards artists or record labels represented by the RIAA.