Giving USB a voice

Subject: General Tech | March 12, 2008 - 05:50 PM |

The Audiotrak Maya EX5 CE External 5.1 USB Surround Audio Solution seems odd at first, an external USB device built of see through plastic that can provide up to 7.1 channels of sound.  It is all software controlled, which does mean there are less things to break on the device, but also makes it seem very plain.  Digit Life has all the specs on this device, see if it sounds like something you could use.

Source: Digit Life

Round up of Tera!!!

Subject: Storage | March 12, 2008 - 04:18 PM |

Terabyte harddrives are becoming more common, or else ExtremeTech would never be able to do a seven drive round up.  Five of the drives have been reviewed previously, but they are adding two new drives.  Read on to learn who the king of high capacity storage is!  The review covers more than just speed, in today's world noise and power consumption are also very important.

Source: Extremetech

Yoo hoo ... Hula for you

Subject: General Tech | March 12, 2008 - 02:28 PM |

Hulu, which has been in beta for a while, is now available to the public.  Currently it only works for the USA, but even with that limit, the ability to watch streaming movies and TV over the net is rather nice; they've even got some HD content.  They've made it very similar to watching TV, as you can expect commercial interruptions during your viewing.  Give it a try, you may find that the service they offer is free enough for you to enjoy using it.

Intel to ship 160GB solid-state drive in Q2

Subject: Storage | March 12, 2008 - 02:24 PM |

It turns out that Intel is indeed going to be manufacturing and selling solid-state hard drives.  The notebook drives (the article says "notebook and laptop drives" but I don't know the difference) will start at 80GB and go up to 160GB and should be available in Q2 of this year.  No prices or anything on them yet.

AMD ships TLB-fixed B3 Opterons

Subject: Processors | March 12, 2008 - 01:52 PM |

The first B3 steppings of AMD's Opteron processors have finally made their way out into the hand of customers according to this report at Dailytech.  There still isn't any word on when these will start shipping in volume or when the consumers will begin seeing B3 stepping Phenom processors or when we'll get clock speeds to ramp up competitiveness to Intel's parts. 

Source: Daily Tech

NVIDIA answering AMD with their own 55nm GPUs

Subject: Graphics Cards | March 12, 2008 - 01:46 PM |

According to this report on VR-Zone their is a good chance that NVIDIA's next generation chip will be a die-shrunk version of the G92 architecture.  The current G92 runs on a 65nm process as the 8800 GT and 8800 GTS 512MB cards and a 55nm revision would likely bring higher clocks and lower power - always a plus. 

Source: VR-Zone

Haven't we seen this before?

Subject: Graphics Cards | March 12, 2008 - 01:46 PM |

It's deja vu all over again, nVIDIA is releasing a 'two cards in one' graphics card, and the initial results aren't encouraging.  The performance isn't that much better, and the price is much higher.  As The Inquirer points out, the price is actually in the same ball park as a 3870X2 AND a 3870.  Three-way CrossfireX for the same price as single card SLI ... which would you go with?

Source: The Inquirer

Could a dual-GPU Radeon HD 3850 X2 be around the corner?

Subject: Graphics Cards | March 12, 2008 - 01:15 PM |

Could a new graphics card from AMD that uses two HD 3850 GPUs instead of two HD 3870 GPUs be ready for Computex?  That is one rumor that is circulating though the prospect is not as odd as it might first sound.  Remember, the HD 3870 and HD 3850 are essentially the same GPU with different clock speeds and different memory configurations in most cases.  It would be very easy for AMD to simply use two lower clocked GPUs and cut the memory in half to offer a po

NVIDA preparing a benchmark to counter CPU performance claims

Subject: Graphics Cards | March 12, 2008 - 01:11 PM |

An odd post over at Fudzilla is talking about the possibility that NVIDIA is going to be showing off some kind of benchmark that raises the question of which is more important: the CPU or the GPU.  One can of course guess that the answer would be the GPU if NVIDIA is doing the promoting and apparently the discussion centers on comparing a low-end CPU with a high-end GPU versus a low-end GPU with a high-end CPU. 

Source: fastlanehw

Should have given the programmers more time in the suit

Subject: General Tech | March 12, 2008 - 12:25 PM |

Perhaps if the developers of TimeShift had access to the suit that appears in their game, they could have had enough time to make improvements, or even go back to the beginning of the programming and redesign it completely.  Gamepyre played the game, and found it to be mediocre, although certainly not bad.  The problem for them lay in the time suit and how it was included, as well as some other niggling issues.  It is only $30 to pick up, so perhaps the bar shouldn't be too high.

Source: Gamepyre

Time to start wearing Faraday coats

Subject: General Tech | March 12, 2008 - 12:01 PM |

Over at [H]ard|OCP, they've linked to some rather disturbing news.  Pacemakers are wirelessly hackable.

The only good news is it takes a team of experts and more than $30,000 worth of lab equipment a lot of effort to manage it, so there is little chance that a script-kiddy could download plans to modify a universal remote and do this themselves.

Source: [H]ard|OCP

OCZ Technology Group Addresses Ultra Efficient Cooling with the introduction of the Vendetta 2

Subject: Cases and Cooling | March 12, 2008 - 11:20 AM |

Sunnyvale, CA - March 11, 2008 - OCZ Technology Group, Inc. a worldwide leader in innovative, ultra-high performance and high reliability memory and computer components, today unveiled the OCZ Vendetta 2, an efficient new CPU cooler with a powerful 120mm fan design for maximum performance.

Cheap mobility

Subject: Mobile | March 11, 2008 - 05:23 PM |

$400 can get you on the road with the Everex VA1500V, a 15" barebones notebook.  What you get on the laptop won't get you anything but strange looks at a LAN party, but it is an easy way to get a hold of everything you need on the road.  engadget has scoop, so head over there and check it out.

Source: engadget

Serious power for the serious builder

Subject: Cases and Cooling | March 11, 2008 - 03:04 PM |

First, the bad news.  PC Power and Cooling's 1KW version of the Turbo-Cool is almost $500, the 860W is not likely to be a lot cheaper.  On the other hand, it won the Gold Award from Lee because of how well executed this PSU is.  From having a peak power higher than the wattage written on the side of the case to it's ability to deliver a steady 64A along it's 12V rail.  If you are looking for the best in PSUs,

It's not about building a better mouse trap ...

Subject: General Tech | March 11, 2008 - 01:38 PM |

If you are Razer it is all about building a better mouse pad.  The Destructor is their newest, and it has "Fractal textured surface".  Find out what that is, and if it works or not, over at Hardware Zone

"Victory lies beneath your mouse when you embrace the Razer Destructor, Razer's newest gaming mouse pad for 'leet'


Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Caveat Emptor

Subject: Displays | March 11, 2008 - 12:18 PM |

Techgage delivered a warning during their review of the ASUS VW222, and that warning was to avoid the monitor altogether.  They found the 22" TN panel LCD to be a poster child for every problem that can occur when using that type of LCD.  Even with it's fast response rate, poor colour replication and a very noticeable screen door effect real detract from what could have been a good LCD. 

You should keep an eye on this review though, ASUS contacted Techgage as they believe that the monitor they tested may have been defective; there will be an update soon.

"The display market is chalked-full of models that fill up the quality spectrum, from sub-par up to high-end. The VW222 falls into the sub-par category, sadly, with overall poor color representation and noticeable screen-door effects, resulting in a model that should not be considered for purchase."

Here are some more Display articles from around the web:



Vancouver Island is an odd, odd place

Subject: General Tech | March 11, 2008 - 11:59 AM |

Particularly the City of Nanaimo, which has become the world's most Google-able place.  With a little help from Google Earth you can take a virtual tour of the downtown and harbour, there are listings of the businesses and even some physical information about features in the city.   Find out more about what was done, and how to take a tour, on Slashdot.

... and here some people were upset that Google took a picture of their cat.

Stuff a gag in your loud case

Subject: Cases and Cooling | March 10, 2008 - 06:04 PM |

The Nexus Hush kit is a package with several ways to reduce the amount of noise coming from your PC.  From PCI backplates with holes, to HDD mounts to fans, the kit is designed to reduce the overall noise through a variety of methods.  Techware Labs loved the kit, especially the northbridge pipe.

Tyan serves up a new motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | March 10, 2008 - 05:22 PM |

Tyan has just released the Tempest i5400XT, a server class motherboard for the Quad-core Xeons based on the Intel 5400 MCH chipset.  Support for 64Gb of fully buffered RAM is included, as is a pair of PCI Express 16x slots, in case you want SLI on your server.  Phoronix can tell you all about Tyan's newest in their full article.

Source: Phoronix

Battle of the $400 graphics subsytem

Subject: Graphics Cards | March 10, 2008 - 01:12 PM |

[H]ard|OCP has run tests comparing the BFGTech 9600 GT OC in SLI; about $400 if you can find them for sale, against a GeForce 8800 GTX, also about $400.  Which one offers you the best performance for your dollar? 

Source: [H]ard|OCP