Some thing old, something blue

Subject: Memory | May 25, 2009 - 06:31 PM |

At over $200 the Crucial Ballistix Tracer Blue DDR3-1600 DDR3 kit isn't the cheapest on the market, but speeds above 1066MHz are still a small enough niche to demand a high price.  The voltage is right on Intel's spec of 1.65V and the timings are fairly impressive for the overall frequency at 8-8-8-24.  The biggest change from previous Tracer DIMMs is the colour, these guys have blue LEDs for those who like that

It's cheaper than a PVR!

Subject: Systems | May 25, 2009 - 05:48 PM |

OCMODSHOP decided it was about time to take a shot at building an inexpensive HTPC system.  In order to keep the costs down they opted to go with a system designed to either stream video from the web or from a DVD, BluRay need not apply.  In some cases, old tech from that system you were totally planning on using in the future sometime can be harvested, and there is always online trading and buying to pick up anything you don't have for less than new prices.  The build isn't finished, but the amount of


This new AM3 board has a few tricks up its heatpipes

Subject: Motherboards | May 25, 2009 - 04:21 PM |

In case you missed it while preparing for the weekend Steve's review of the solid ECS A790GXM-AD3
went up on Friday.  For a hair over $100 you can pick up a board with support for AM3 chips and DDR3 up to 1333MHz, HD audio, a pair of PCIe2.0 16x slots and quite a few SATA channels.  Perhaps one of the most interesting features is the new AMD OverDrive utility, which allowed him to soar past his old record on

40nm out the door; 28nm on the floor

Subject: Cases and Cooling | May 25, 2009 - 04:00 PM |

Global Foundries has been a star manufacturer recently, with sites focused on this new/old player and the changes Asset Lite means for AMD both product wise and legally.  We know their 28nm process is in the works and how they plan on going about overcoming the lead that the grand old manufacturers have, but we haven't heard a lot from those older players.  This morning there is news about TSMC from DigiTimes, who plan on large volume production of 28nm chips at the beginning of 2010.  This is good news for graphics enthusiasts as nVIDIA uses TSMC and will be buying their 28nm to build next years cards.

"Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) is set to unveil Reference Flow 10.0 for the 28nm process at the upcoming Design Automation Conference (DAC) in July 2009, according to industry sources. The world's top contract chipmaker is expected to deliver its 28nm process as a full node technology on schedule.

TSMC in September 2008 said its 28nm node, which will offer the option of high-k metal gate (HKMG) and silicon oxynitride (SiON) materials, will enter volume production in the first quarter of 2010. The pure-play foundry has successfully ramped in 40nm, supported by its latest production-proven design infrastructure Reference Flow 9.0."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: Digitimes

Antec planning a mini-ITX Skeleton chassis

Subject: Cases and Cooling | May 23, 2009 - 04:12 PM |

It would seem that nearing the one year anniversary of the Antec Skeleton case's 'unearthing' (wow, it must be a good weekend with puns like that) the power supply and case vendor is finally preparing for release another addition to the family for Computex 2009.  According to techpowerUp!

Source: techPowerUp!

Max specs on Windows 7 Starter Edition decide industry direction

Subject: General Tech | May 23, 2009 - 03:22 AM |

Windows licensing has always been a complicated topic, but never more so than with the new "netbook" market of PCs.  Once Microsoft finally got the hint and offered a version of Windows XP for netbooks (cleverly known as Windows XP for Ultra Low Cost PCs - ULCPC) they decided they needed to put some hardware restrictions on this license so OEMs wouldn't take the low-cost software to higher cost PCs.  My guess is that most of you didn't even know that such an arrangement existed at all; not something they really advertise.

Source: engadget

17 years since Johnny was here

Subject: General Tech | May 22, 2009 - 10:49 PM |

Buying a pre-built system can be wonderful for someone who wants something to work out of the box, and that comes with a magic 'make it work again' disk.  The parts are all tested and confirmed to work together, the BIOS and driver setup are done for you and it means you can get to use your new PC within minutes, not hours of purchase.  On the flop side, when you outgrow the system and want a better one, you have to either buy an entire new PC or jump through quite a bit of hoops to figure out how to upgrade a box that was designed to prevent upgrades.

XFX to enter power supply market with bright green 850w model

Subject: Cases and Cooling | May 22, 2009 - 10:20 PM |

It's not that often that news of a new power supply really makes us perk up our ears, but a whole new entrant into the market will do that.  It would seem that XFX, once known as simply an NVIDIA card partner, is looking to expand its product line outside of even AMD Radeon graphics

We happened to find a presentation in our inbox a few minutes ago that clearly shows XFX is serious about getting into the enthusiast, high-end power supply business. 

Ze goggles! Zey do nothing

Subject: Displays | May 22, 2009 - 06:58 PM |

For a bit under $200 you can pick up Nvidia's GeForce 3D Vision
and enjoy a somewhat 3D experience alone, on some games.  An alternative has popped up; one that does not require you to don the glasses and that will show the 3D view to everyone.  The iZ3D H220Z1 3D Mo

Source: Extremetech

Put some effort into it

Subject: Graphics Cards | May 22, 2009 - 05:36 PM |

The XFX Radeon HD 4890 XXX
is the overclocked version of the 4890, with a whole 50MHz bump on the GPU and nothing else.  Mind you, when Elite Bastards tried to overclock the card they manage to squeak another 40MHz out of the core and bumped the memory by 35MHz.  That

See hot storage action

Subject: Storage | May 22, 2009 - 04:02 PM |

If TWiCH and the video version of the PC Perspective Podcast on TWiT haven't scared you off, Ryan has a video enhanced version of the Thecus N200B NAS device.  This little box can hold up to five 500GB drives, cooled by a loud 100mm fan that was Ryan's least favourite part.  The remainder of the construction of the NAS was top notch and the software and setup reasonably simple and represents the t

It's going to be a busy autumn

Subject: General Tech | May 22, 2009 - 03:37 PM |

Sometime in Q3 2009 we will start to see 45nm parts rolling out for AMD desktop lineup to compliment the Phenom II server series.  You don't have to wait until fall to get excited though, before the trees start to shed their leaves there will be the better part of 20 chips arriving.  A good half of those are low power Phenom IIs and and Athlon, the remainder are spread between dual, triple and quad core Phenom IIs and a similar spread of Athlons.  DigiTimes also mentions that three quad-core Lynnfield CP

Source: Digitimes

TWiCH #25 and Podcast #57 Videos online!

Subject: Editorial | May 22, 2009 - 04:22 AM |

If you missed our live recordings of either This Week in Computer Hardware (TWiCH) with myself and Leo Laporte or the 57th PC Perspective podcast, you can now get watch the recordings below.  ENJOY!

And if you want to watch the streaming of these two programs LIVE, tune in on Wednesdays at 6pm ET for TWiCH and 10pm ET for the podcast!

This Week in Computer Hardware #25

Crazy crustacean aquatic round up

Subject: Cases and Cooling | May 21, 2009 - 08:23 PM |

Cooling roundups are a fairly common type of review, allowing the reviewer to demonstrate the performance differences of heatsinks on a system that remains exactly the same.  Most of those round ups are for air cooling, but not many deal with more esoteric cooling like TECs or water cooling.  That has changed as watercooling becomes more necessary and also more popular.  Boutique built systems are now including watercooling as an option and case designers add inlet/outlets and space for reservoirs.  MADSHRIMPS have taken this opportunity to compare seven popular watercoolin

Source: Madshrimps

Return on investment

Subject: Processors | May 21, 2009 - 06:08 PM |

The easy way to upgrade a system is to throw as much money as you can manage into the system in the hopes of overcoming bottlenecks.  This is not the most efficient way, but if all you are a power at any cost type of enthusiast it can certainly work.  Others are more concerned about performance per dollar, and that is when scaling reviews like this one at [H]ard|OCP come in very handy.  They've taken a Core i7 920, a QX9650, and AMD's Phenom II X4 810 & and X3 720 BE, ov

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Everybody's doing it!

Subject: General Tech | May 21, 2009 - 04:23 PM |

RAM companies building PSUs, motherboard companies making coolers, CPU makers building graphics cards, storage companies making mice and now Gigabyte has thrown themselves into the keyboard market.  They have quite a selection to their name; the one Bjorn3D chose to focus on was the GK-K6800 Luxury

Multimedia Keyboard.  The glossy finish, stylish lines and extra media buttons are all present as you would expect on a high en

Source: Bjorn3D

It's a lot like those X-Ray glasses you ordered from the back of old comics

Subject: General Tech | May 21, 2009 - 04:07 PM |

Bigfoot Networks is back with the second incarnation of the Killer NIC, this time calling its self the Killer Xeno Pro and selling for ~$140.  It's a PCIe card sporting a 400MHz processor and has 128MB of RAM, all improvements over the original; meanwhile its main competitor, the onboard NIC, hasn't changed that much and is still essentially free.  ExtremeTech put it up against the onboard NIC on an ASUS Rampage

Source: Extremetech

Corsair Dominator GT DDR3 Memory Hits 2533MHz, Sets World Record for DDR3 Memory Frequency

Subject: Memory | May 21, 2009 - 03:14 PM |

Corsair Labs achieved an astounding speed of DDR3-2533MHz with the aggressive memory timings of 7-8-7-20 using a triple-channel 6GB memory kit. This new world record, verified and validated by CPU-Z, the industry-standard tool for verifying overclocking results, is the first time this frequency has been achieved on a Core i7 system with 6GB of memory using three modules; most world record attempts use only a single 1GB module.

VIA Offers Customized Security Solution Service to Embedded Customers

Subject: General Tech | May 21, 2009 - 03:10 PM |

Taipei, Taiwan, May 21, 2009 - VIA Technologies, Inc, a leading innovator of power efficient x86 processor platforms, today announced that it will be showing examples of its customized security solution service at Computex 2009, helping customers to employ a comprehensive and effective security infrastructure in all segments.

VIA Nano, VIA C7 and VIA Eden processor platforms are the only processors that currently offer a built-in Advanced Cryptographic Engine.

ASUS really excited about Eee PC Seashells

Subject: Mobile | May 21, 2009 - 04:26 AM |

Yeah, ASUS is really excited about the upcoming release of the ASUS Eee PC 1008HA Seashell notebooks...