News articles search results by Kevin Spiess
Intel's current top processor, the Core i7 980X, will be replaced by a badder, quicker six core CPU in the last quarter of this year, according to rumor. The i7-990X will have six cores at a blazing 3.46GHz stock speed. Talk about quick.
Even with all that mass of processing power, the TDP will not break 130W. The chip's cache will remain the same as the 980X: which is a 12MB L3 and a 6x 256Kb L2.
The 990X should lay waste to the top-end Thubans, unless AMD comes out with a big surprise. But, as price-for-performance goes, AMD's Thuban six core CPUs are currently in good shape on the market. This new top-end Intel chip will push the price of the few other consumer desktop six core CPUs that Intel offers, the Core i7 980X, 980, and 970 (which could fall into a price point just over $300 USD).
Being a flagship extreme processor, don't expect this to sell for less than a $1000 USD at first.
Web-based printer will use your ink to print ads
In a move that seems misguided and likely to backfire, HP is testing out new methods of delivering spam to its upcoming printer line.
The ePrint printers -- the first of which is due next month -- are a new breed of cloud-based printers. They are connected to the web through a router, and have their own IP, in which it is easy for home and business users to send documents to from multiple computers using a web-based interface. The ePrint printers also benefit from not having much trouble finding drivers or anything like that, they update themselves.
The arguable benefits of the web-based interface ePrint line however may seem not worth it to some people, if HP decides to go ahead with a new advertisement program they are working on. HP, working with Yahoo's web advertisement business, is currently doing trial tests of a new system that sends targeted ads to its ePrint printers. This way, lucky ePrint owners will see there printers print up advertisements at somewhat random intervals. Similiar to fax spam, these printed advertisments will sell local products and services.
In a highly questionable statement on the matter, HP's Stephen Nigro, VP of the printer group, said that people are "used to seeing things with ads" so "were not bothered" by the printer spam.
The ePrint line is a big new step into new territory for printers. It will be interesting to see how the prospect of ad spam -- which would use up valuable ink -- will affect the sales of the new brand.
Favored by Protoss everywhere
As the world nears a new global economic castraphoe as the release of StarCraft II approaches South Korea, Razer is jumping on board with some StarCraft theme products.
The StarCraft II Razer Spectre gaming mouse looks pretty darn slick, we'd say. It has that sharp-angle look of the StarCraft universe, and all the high-end mouse features you'd expect from the likes of Razer:
• Gaming-Optimized Design inspired by the StarCraft universe
• Lightweight, Fingertip-Grip 5 Button Mouse
• 5600DPI Razer Precision 3.5G laser sensor
• Backlit Mouse with APM (Actions-Per-Minute) Lighting System
• Mouse Click Button Force Adjustment
• 1000Hz Ultrapolling /1ms response
• Hardware Configuration Utility
The mouse will be about $80 USD, and will come out before StarCraft II.
"We are all huge StarCraft players here at Razer, so we are really excited to give gamers a first glimpse at the StarCraft II gaming peripherals," said Robert "Razerguy" Krakoff, president of Razer USA
The StarCraft II Razer Marauder gaming keyboard is shown below. It has particularly raised keys.
And here is the StarCraft II Razer Banshee headset. Its microphone is detachable, which is nice.
Click here to see more images
According to some hints, Google is ready to serve up its own competitor to Apple's iTunes this fall. The new brand will be "Google Music."
The hints are very convincing: last month, at a conference, Google showed off a live demonstration of an unnamed web based music service. Then another website, found two weeks ago, a logo for Google Music on a Google server.
Besides a music service to further reinforce the feature-set of Android phones, Google is also looking at a strong web presence for the music label. Apparently they plan to allow for bringing streaming music searches into Google, and allowing easy digital downloads from the searches as well.
Many folks believe that the next big thing in music coming up is going to a cloud-libraries for your tunes. So, any music you can buy, you'll be able to listen to from anywhere; you won't own a copy, instead, you'll be able to play the songs from any cloud-capable device (any device with Internets).
iTunes owns a huge piece of the music pie so it will probably be good for consumers to see some serious competition in this space.
On Friday, a new 257.15 Beta Forceware driver came out for NVIDIA video cards. Before not too long after the driver hit the net, it was discovered that 257.15 allowed for NVIDIA card to be used in conjunction with ATI cards, for PhysX support. In other words, if you have an ATI video card, you can use the driver to make a second NVIDIA card installed in your system into a dedicated PhysX card.
After discovering the error, NVIDIA pulled the driver. But apparently after many folks complaining, the driver was put back up. Some tech journalists supposed that the incident might have been a testing of the waters, for this feature to possibly be implemented in future driver releases. NVIDIA claims it doesn't want this driver feature released because it would cause them more technical support problems than it would be worth.
If you are unfamiliar with the technology, PhysX is a proprietary game physics system featured in some PC games. The biggest title for PhysX last year in gaming was probably Batman: Arkham Asylum, which had some extra smoke, a better-flowing cape, and things of the such, for example.
Having this feature would be useful to many folks who upgraded an older NVIDIA card to an ATI card, and would prefer using their card over selling it. Having, for example, a HD 5870 and a 8800 GT (9800 GT) for dedicated PhysX would be a good use of an older video card.
With built-in WiFi and a 250GB HDD
It looks like a Xbox 360 Slim is coming up, from Microsoft. Images prematurely released in an Italian advertisment show the new console, and were posted up on the website ConsoleTribe.
No price has been disclosed for the new model, but it will have built in WiFi and a 250GB HDD apparently.
It is somewhat surprising to hear that they are going to call it the Slim -- after all, the PS3 Slim has been out for some time now. I would have called it the Xbox 360 Skinny myself. Hopefully, with this small of a case, over-heating will not be a problem. We all hope that Microsoft learnt the lesson about the importance of proper cooling over the whole red ring of death thing.
Neo's Akira tells me that the slim will be $300, and it launches today. Apparently everyone in the audience of the Microsoft announcement also recieved a free Slim, which is quite generous of Microsoft.
Natal just doesn't have a good ring to it
The official name for Project Natal has been decided upon, and leaked before its official unveiling this week at E3. It is going to be called Kinect. Or, Xbox Kinect if you prefer.
The first batch of games will also be named this week at E3 -- Neoseeker's Sean and Lydia are down at the Expo this year, so hopefully we'll get a good look at them. According to website Fudzilla, the games will include a Star Wars title from LucasArts, and a dancing game, which seems a good fit for the motion-detecting system. There will also be a racing game, and an Xbox equilavent to Wii Sports.
It'll be interesting to see if Kinect ends up panning out in a big way, or if it'll just be a flash in the pan of Microsoft's game book.
According to a leaked GameStop image, a stand-alone Kinect will be $150 USD.
You have to check this thing out
Images from: AmadeusPhotography.com
If all goes smoothly, a bike called the "MotoCzysz E1pc" just might make history this week in an old and famous motorcycle race called the Isle of Man TT.
The custom built bike, built by a very small team of talented engineers and motorcycle fans, is set to have a big debut today. This electric-engine motorcycle isn't just in the race to show that gas isn't a requirement for a fast bike -- the MotoCzsyz (pronunciation unknown) E1pc bike has the mechanical potential to win the race. According to what has been told to the press, the bike has two and half the torque of a Ducati 1198, and hit speeds of averaging about 140MPH in a test run last week -- at only about half-throttle most of the way.
Michael Czysz, the father of the bike, pretty much designed all the key elements of the impressive machine from square one, from the custom batteries that are wireless, and contain ten times the charge found in an entire Prius, to the "D1g1tal Dr1ve" motor, which is oil cooled, and is small enough to fit beneath the rear shock of the bike. According to Michael, electric motors greatly benefit in acceleration due to the near direct connection between the throttle and the rear wheel, instead of relying in the more complicated through the port, through the piston, through the combustion chamber, through the rod, through the clutch, through the gearbox, through the chain to the rear wheel" of a traditional combustion engine.
Reportedly, much of the instrumentation is also handled by an iPhone mounted into the dash. Though perhaps that is just some sneaky Apple advertising.
While some might not be so keen on Michael's insistence on us1ng 1's instead of i's for his nam1ng schemes, there is no denying the bike is a sexy as it fast. It looks more like a movie prop then it does a real fast machine that will be racing within a few days.
Wires? Where we're going, we don't need wires
If you are looking for the fastest wireless router around, as for now, there is just one place to look: the TEW-691GR. Made by a company called TRENDnet, the three-antenna router just shipped to stores this week.
Each of the three antennas send out three data streams on the 2.4 GHz spectrum, and using something called Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO), this $200 router is able to hit (at least theoretically) unrivalled throughput and signal strength.
The router also has four Gigabit Local Area Network ports, and one Gigabit Wide Area Network port.
Further features include a encryption, a firewall, and an easy-to-setup feature called "Wi-Fi Protected Setup" which the company claims gets other WPS compatible wireless adapters working together with just one button push.
One important catch though: currently the only network controllers capable of utilizing the extra-super-duper high speeds of this router are integrated Intel 5300 wireless chips, which are for now, only found in some laptops.
Mini-ITX motherboard with USB 3, core unlock feature, HD 4290 and more
A motherboard maker that most North Americans probably haven't heard of -- J&W, based in Taiwan -- has just released a mini-ITX motherboard that is impressive for the amount of features they managed to cram aboard.
Built on an AMD 890GX chipset, the MINIX 890GX-USB3 has a lot of functionality for just a little device. As you might have guessed from the name, their is a USB 3.0 controller on board -- a feature that has only recently been appearing on ATX motherboards. In addition, the SB8590 south bridge has a 6Gpbs SATA (with RAID 0, 1, 5, 10) controller, and there is dual Broadcom Gigabit Ethernet controllers. Even my home P55 system currently doesn't have dual Ethernet controllers, so I am a bit jealous.
The feature list includes the chipset's Radeon HD 4290 IGP, with 128MB of DDR3 side-port memory. If that isn't enough graphics punch for you, you can expand using the single PCIE x16 slot. Nice for an Mini-ITX board, you also get the choice of HDMI, DVI, or VGA outputs for thew integrated graphics. In addition, there is mini-PCIE slot which you could use for further expansion potential. And on-board audio, of course.
Sweetening the pot even further, the 890GX-USB3 is capable of core unlocking, so you can potentially get an extra core out your AM3 socket CPU. This is done not through the BIOS as is normally the case, but instead, through a Windows utility.
If you haven't had a chance to play with a Mini-ITX motherboard, they are about the size of a personal size pizza, so this is a great deal to fit on such a small board. If J&W keeps this kind of thing up, the future looks bright for them.
The bad news is that it does not appear that J&W has much of a presence in North America. This should only appear in European and Asian stores.
Not many companies out there have as much simulatenous new projects going at the same time as Google seems to. The latest of their programs to be completed is called Caffeine. It promises to vastly increase the speed at which web indexing is done. (For those of you not in the know, web indexing is the process by which new websites are identified and cataloged for use by search engines.)
This whole Internet thing has really taken off, so with the greater expansion of information on it, the more new methods of classifying data have been needed. Google is fairly mum about the technology used behind the Caffeine process, but it seems like they are using a magnitude greater of parallel processors looking at smaller portions of the web, instead of larger and faster supercomputers progressing through entire fields of data in a more linear fashion. With Caffeine, Google's search index is updated "on a continuous basis", so that new sites will pop up much quicker now.
"Caffeine lets us index web pages on an enormous scale. In fact, every second Caffeine processes hundreds of thousands of pages in parallel. If this were a pile of paper it would grow three miles taller every second. Caffeine takes up nearly 100 million gigabytes of storage in one database and adds new information at a rate of hundreds of thousands of gigabytes per day. You would need 625,000 of the largest iPods to store that much information; if these were stacked end-to-end they would go for more than 40 miles," says the company.
As for the name -- well perhaps Caffiene can index Java-heavy websites? That's just a guess on our part.
If you'd like further information on how searching works, the video below discusses the basics of how Google indexes:
Two screens, one on the outside, one of the inside
Seems like smartphones have been big news recently -- or maybe that is just because the very promising looking iPhone 4 has recently launched. But besides the iPhone and the latest Android news and phones, not much has been heard about the lowly Blackberry recently.
But Research in Motion has been keeping busy: the new Blackberry 9670 is a significant departure for the company, featuring a clamshell design. While clamshell phones aren't exactly all the rage these days, there is something to be said for them, and some folks are fans of that style.
A video has popped up online, from website driphter.com, showing off this new smartphone. Well two videos actually: first one looks at the phone, the second, at the software.
The new 9670 also has a 5MP camera, 512MB of memory, and a MicroSD slot.
No big new neat additions though
By the end of July, a public beta of the first Service Pack for Windows 7 will be released. Selected candidates for the pre-beta testers will receive the update even sooner -- should be any time within the next few weeks.
Many companies wait until a first Service Pack is released before adopting a new OS, so they can avoid as many pitfalls as possible when going through the difficult task of changing their primary operating systems. So, when SP1 does come, it should lead to another boost in sales for Microsoft.
However, don't expect all that much from the Service Pack 1. It seems that it is does not contain anything fresh or exciting. For the most part, it is only a collection of yet-released patches and updates. If you regularly update your Windows (as you should), then you will not be gaining much downloading SP1 early.
For you readers out there with Windows XP, Vista, or some other older operating systems, who have been waiting (or procrastinating) switching to Windows 7, you might as well now wait for SP1 to be released, as it make your installation a much smoother process. Without SP1, you are looking at a lot of restarts.
Driven to a large extent by Asia
Through most of last year, PC sales had dropped like a rock -- to a large extent due to the financial meltdown experienced in most of the world. Although many countries continue to experience rough economic times, this does not seem to be the case any longer in the PC market.
According to market research company iSuppli (if you are wondering byy the way, they are not an Apple company) the global market for personal computers has seen it biggest ever jump in growth since the company started tracking sales in 2003. Compared to this time last year, Q1 sales were up 22.7% -- which translates into about 81.5 million computers.
"This record growth resulted from strong sales in the first quarter of 2010 combined with weak conditions during the first three months of 2009. Early 2009 represented one of the weakest periods in the history of the PC market, as consumer and corporate demand plunged due to the economic downturn. With economic conditions improving, PC sales rebounded in early 2010," said iSuppli's Mathew Wilkins.
The biggest winners, in terms of sales increases over this time last year, where ASUS, Lenovo and Acer. Also doing quite well was Apple, who recently overtook Microsoft to be the most valuable technology related company, when judged by valuation of the company's stock.
The biggest sales gains are coming from Asian. And it seems, as China and India continue to rapidly development economically, they are becoming the big engines of growth for the PC market. “The rise of Asian OEMs at the expense of longtime U.S. leaders like Hewlett-Packard and Dell Inc. represents a historic shift in the PC market,” Wilkins observed. “The rise of the Chinese consumer economy along with Asia’s increasing dominance in electronics manufacturing is spurring a fundamental shift in regional balance of power in the PC market.”
And furthermore, while desktop sales have increased, more of the PC market action these days is in the portable computer market.
Serious CUDA power to tackle some of the world's problems
A new Folding@Home client that utilizes the potential of the GTX 400 series has been released. You can get it over here. If you don't know what Folding@Home is, basically it is a progam you run that makes your computer part of a wide distrubuted computational network. When not in use, or when you choose, you can use your home computing resources to process complex calculations of many projects that benefit science -- in particular, medicine.
Taking advantage of the numerous CUDA processing cores found in NVIDIA's latest Fermi GPU architecture, found currently in the GTX 470 and GTX 480, this new Folding@Home client should be able to do some very serious folding. If you can handle the boost in your monthly power bill, you can make a strong contribution to the many Folding@Home projects available, such as the research in protein interactions that could benefit combating the big diseases of our time, such as Parkinson's, Hunington's, and many cancers.
Neoseeker has our own folding team -- you can see what our good forum members are up to over here.
Fermi was rumored to be designed for a CUDA / Quadro powered video cards first, instead of a video gaming GPU, and only was switched over to the gaming GeForce brand after a prior design had shortcomings. Whether this is true or not, either way the GTX 400 series certainly has impressive number-crunching abilities and should make for an excellent method of ramping up your Folding@Home score for a good cause.
Foxconn, the world's largest electronics manufacturer, continues to have more problem with workplace suicides. Just hours after a press conference held by company chairman Terry Gou on the matter of the bad publicity, a 12th worker, a 23-year-old, jumped to his death.
It is generally believed that Foxconn does not treat workers much harsher than any other manufacturing company based in Shenzen, in southern China. However that is not saying much, with very long hours at very low wages, a workers' dormitory the leaves the employees in near isolation from the outside world, abusive managers, and six day work-weeks.
While 12 suicides since January is a lot, this number is somewhat offset by the fact that Foxconn has over 400,000 workers. If China's national statistics are accurate, the suicide rate at Foxconn is actually much less than the national average (source).
At the press conference, Terry Gou said that the company was looking at how to improve the situation. In addition to planning to hire 70 staff psychologists, the company, incredibly, is planning to install 1.5 million square meters of netting around the workplace and dorms, to make it more difficult for employees to kill themselves on company property. "Although this seems like a 'dumb' measure, at least it could save lives," Terry Guo was quoted as saying.
At the press conference, Foxconn also came under fire for reportedly making factory workers sign a contract to promise that they wouldn't hurt themselves, and if they did, the contract forces them to relinquish the rights any of their family members have to sue the company for their suicides. If you like, you can read a translation of the contract over here.
(Note: Image above not from a Foxconn factory.)
Flash integration coming soon
Google is plugging away at their Chrome browser, again promising the fastest browser going with the latest release of version 5.0.375.55. The newest polished Chrome is available for Macs and Linux, in addition to the PC.
Some of the new features: option of synchronizing bookmarks and browser preferences across multiple computers; improved extension manager; latest HTML5 support, including file drag-and-drop, web sockets, App Cache, and Geolocation APIs; and a tweaked bookmark manager.
Though not included in this version, Google mentions on their blog that they will be incorporating Flash directly into their Chrome browser in the near future. It will be interesting to see how this affect's the browser's stability and speed. This move also comes on the heels of Google cozying up with Adobe, bringing in greater Flash support into their mobile Android market, after Steve Jobs efforts to counter the support of Flash, which is an enabling competitor to the controlled software ecosystem that Apple enjoys with their App Store.
You can download the latest Chrome here.
NVIDIA has released the notebook version of their latest quickest and advanced GPU architecture: the GTX 480M to select OEMs. The first notebook sporting this high-end GPU will be built by Clevo. Normally we don't make conclusions about a GPU' s performance before having a chance to test it out ourselves, but here in this case, it does seem likely indeed that NVIDIA's claims are true and the GTX 480M will be your quickest single-GPU option, out-classing AMD's Mobility Radeon parts, in terms of raw gaming performance.
In addition to Fermi-power, you get the typical bag of treats currently offered by NVIDIA, such as 3D Vision compatibility, PhysX, CUDA, and video transcoding.
Here are the specifications for this new, probably power-hungry, probably-hot, but defintely quite fast, gaming GPU:
CUDA Cores: 352
Graphics Clock: (MHz) 425
Processor Clock: (MHz) 850
Texture Fill Rate (billions/sec): 18.7
Memory Clock: (MHZ) 1200
Standard Memory Configuration: GDDR5
Memory Interface: Width 256 bit
Memory Bandwidth: (GB/sec) 76.8
CUDA potential processing ability: 897 gigaflops
When you think solid state drives, many adjectives might come to mind, but 'large' usually would not be one of them. OCZ is looking to change that bringing in some high capacity new SSD models, bringing 400GB and 480GB capacity drives to both their Vertex 2 and Agility 2 line.
Both the Vertex 2 and Agility 2 drives offer 250MB/s read and 240MB/s write speeds, and are SATA 3Gb/s. They also have TRIM support, and have a 3 year warranty.
With hard disk drives getting (as they always have) cheaper and cheaper for more and more storage, many hardware enthusiasts run critical files on an SSD, while have a larger HDD for raw storage space. With SSD drives increasing capacities to these new levels though, it'll be interesting to see how the landscape changes in the next few years. If you aren't someone who collects a lot of media (videos, musics, etcetera), than a 400GB drive should do you quite nicely.
"Solid State Drives have long delivered on exceptional performance and reliability but capacity has been a barrier to adoption for some clients," said the CEO of the OCZ in a press release. "Building on our popular Agility 2 and Vertex 2 SSD lines our new high capacity models give customers up to 480GB of storage space allowing them to enjoy all the benefits of SSDs with plenty of room for even the largest applications and files, making this the ideal solution for customers that place a premium on speed, reliability and capacity."
OCZ is leading the way into these high-capacity solid state drives, but you'll have to pay to get there: you are probably looking at over $2000 USD for the 400GB drives.
Somewhat cheaper than some other tablets...but: as good?
Maybe you think a tablet PC might be nice thing to get, but you don't want to spend $500 or more on something like an iPad. Well, VIA hopes to have something for you by the second half of this year.
VIA is going to be aiming at servicing the lower price-points with a new line of five different inexpensive tablet PCs. The price tags will be a very affordable $100 to $150. The tablets will feature the Google Android operating system, which is quickly expanding its installation base into many different smartphones and other portable computing devices.
Apple reignited the tablet PC market, and probably will continue to dominant it for the time being. But there is a flurry of competition coming up just over the horizon, with many companies in addition to VIA bringing out new tablet PCs, most of which that are less expensive than the iPad.