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Lab Sample Clearance: Nov '06 Blowout

Site News

We have to clear off the lab shelves periodically to make room for the steady flow of new review samples. Our overflow is your benefit: Most samples of the gear we've reviewed in the past 6 months are all priced to sell.

Protocase's innovative enclosure design competition

Internet News

This email arrived in my my box today. It could be of interest if you don't mind sharing your unique case design ideas with the world:

We are seeking creative and innovative enclosure design/s. To make this interesting we launched our first annual enclosure design competition where we provide free custom enclosure to a selected design. Might be of any interest to your audience? For more information please check http://www.protocase.com/www/links/design-competition.asp. Thank you.

Sagar Thulung, Electronic Marketing, Protocase Incorporated

Discuss this news in the forums.

Metal Foil Disk Drives

Internet News

A post by Lilias Cupio in the SPCR forum led to this news: Robert X. Cringely wrote Shameless Self-Promotion: Bob's Disk Drive in his weekly coumn at i, cringley, a PBS web subdomain. A self-described 30-year veteran of the PC business, Bob says he finally has a financial interest in a technology he's writing about. The concept is a metal foil disk drive with platters made from stainless steel or titanium foil that is 22/25 microns thick, many times lighter and thinner than current aluminum or glass platters. The potential benefits claimed: 3x current data density and storage capacity, 3x spindle speed, lower cost and complexity, 1/3 the power demand, faster access than flash memory, higher reliability and so on. Bob says he and his partners have been talking to big business (in the PC world) for months, and metal foil drives will appear under big brand names this time next year. I have calls out to my HDD company contacts.

Web News, Oct 29/06

Internet News

Zalman's CNPS9700 LED is a slightly larger version of the SPCR-tested CNPS9500. Hopefully the larger fan will correct some of the shortcomings of its predecessor.

For the technically-minded, the Inquirer has a fairly hefty article on Intel's latest power saving efforts, lifted from their Fall Processor Forum presentation. Lots of interesting ideas, for both the CPU and the power supply.

Always wanted to pull a MikeC and design your own case, but never had the resources? BoxGods.com reports that ProtoCase's custom case design and manufacturing service is both simple and powerful, as well as highly customizable. Be sure to post your masterworks in the forums.

35W AMD X2 3800+ in HP s7600e series PC

Site News

Hewlett-Packard, which overtook Dell as the world's biggest personal computer maker by shipments in Q3 2006 for the first time in three years, has a new enegy efficient PC in its AMD CPU based s7600e series PC. One of the three CPU options in the compact Slimline s-series chassis (just 9.75"H x 4.375"W x 13.125"D) is the much talked-about low power 35W AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+ dual-core processor. Click on read more to read more.

Web News, Oct 9/06

Internet News

The item du jour appears to be heatsink announcements, with new, quiet-focused releases from both Thermalright and Scythe.

Scythe's Japanese website is advertising the "Andy Samurai Master", a conventional-looking heatsink with an unconventional fin arrangement. By using many widely separated groups of tightly packed fins, Scythe apprears to be shooting for both high- and low-airflow performance.

From Thermalright comes the HR-03, which brings the SPCR-reviewed HR-01's massive heatpipes and cross-venting holes to a video card near you.

Web News: Albatron 754 mITX reviewed, VIA's Carbon-Free Computing

Internet News

When Albatron's unique socket 754 mini-ITX motherboard (KI51PV-754) was shown at Computex Taipei a few months ago, we were sure that either SPCR, mini-ITX or epiacenter would get the first review samples. A slew of emails to Albatron went unanswered... and now, the first review has been posted by The Tech Report, an excellent tech site that doesn't normally pay much attention to low power or acoustics. It's a good review, though.

Carbon Free Computing is an environmental program initiated by VIA. They work with environmental experts to calculate the electricity used by one of their Carbon Free Computing product over its lifetime (assumed to be 3 years). VIA calculates how much CO2 emissions will be released into the environment mainly as a result of fossil fuel burning power plants. Each product is assigned a "Treemark" rating, which is the number of broad-leaf trees needed to compensate for the CO2 produced by electricity generation over the lieftime of the product. A VIA C7-D has a "Treemark" of 4; a "leading" competitive processor (presumably a Prescott) has a Treemark of 26. VIA then works with regional organizations to "offset" that amount of CO2 through projects such as.... Click on read more to read more.

IDF Fall 2006

Internet News

There were no big surprises from Intel at the Fall IDF, 2006. The overwhelming message, distilled to a single sentence: Core 2 is a powerful power-efficient platform, and Intel will keep pushing the performance boundaries with multiple cores while keeping a tight rein on energy consumption. Tech news web sites are already full of details, I am sure... There were a couple of interesting bits and pieces, however, including:

Ionic PC Cooling

Internet News

It's a tantalizing DIY project that begs better documentation, but inventgeek.com claims to "have produced the first ionic cooling system for your high end gaming system. This system produces absolutely no noise and in fact has no moving parts at all. While this is a proof of concept it proves that you can get the CFM you need to cool a system efficiently with no moving parts and no increase in power consumption." SPCR's forum members discuss their doubts.

Join the SPCR team!

Exceptional new talent always welcome: SPCR seeks Hardware Reviewers in Vancouver, and News Contributors anywhere in the world. Click on read more for details.

Good Job!

Silent Mike's Blog

Statistically, most small businesses don't make it to five years. I think it's at least partly due to drudgery. SPCR is kind of a small business, and I feel its age more and more. Tasks I used to look forward to with relish now feel like... tasks. One has a sense of soldiering on. But once in a while, a little lift comes along, like this email, with the header "good job!":

hi

i've been into computers most of my life, starting with early sinclairs and commodores (god, these were really silent!)

then PCs came along and made my world a noisy place

then i found your site

thanks to all your expertise, advice, articles, forums and so on and so forth, the noisiest component of my rig is now my... CRT screen! (a new LCD is on its way already)

anyway, i just would like to say that spcr is one mighty fine site, and i know of no other PC-related site that is managed so well, with such passion and devotion, that is so useful and rewarding to visit

your guys rule and kick bxxx and i wish you all the best in your quest to hush the world (isn't the world computers, after all?)

my best regards to you and your team!

patryk bartkiewicz

You're welcome... and thanks, Patryk.

Web News: Aug 31/06

Internet News

It's another day, another 21-card roundup at AnandTech. This time, they're looking at fanless video cards from 7 different manufacturers.

If you're a bit handier (and don't mind voiding your warranty) Tom's Hardware has a new review comparing the performance and volume of 5 aftermarket video card coolers (some of which have been covered previously by SPCR.)

Efficient PSUs that don't start

Silent Mike's Blog

The following discussion has been added as a section to the Power Supply Fundamentals & Recommendations article. It addresses the issue of modern, high efficiency power supplies that sometimes don't work with some modern motherboards.

* * *

Higher efficiency PSUs generally tend to need higher minimum power on the 12V line in order to simply run. Typically, we're talking about 1A or greater. Older, less efficient PSUs have much lower minumum current needs, under 0.5A and often ZERO. Click on Read More... to read more.

Coding Horror's Quiet PC Guide

Silent Mike's Blog

When Jeff Atwood built his first HTPC, he "had to turn the volume up to 11 just to drown out the noise." For the next few months, he "immersed [himself] in the world of silent PC enthusiasts [SPCR]."

Jeff says now every PC he builds is "optimized for performance and low noise from the very beginning. Building a high-powered rig that's so quiet your wife can't tell when it's turned on or off -- now that's an accomplishment! It's a bona-fide engineering challenge... In the process, I've learned quite a few things about building quiet PCs. I'd like to share them with you, so you can avoid making the mistakes I did." His short article is an excellent summary of SPCR-esque approaches and techniques. Discuss this article in the SPCR Forums.

Web News: Aug 11/06

Internet News

The new Scythe Infinity, weighing in at nearly a kilo, looks to be a serious competitor to Thermalright's newly-released SI-128, and their Ultra-120 (reviewed just this week). Stay tuned for the SPCR verdict.

In other cooling news, Madshrimps posted a review of the Aerocase Condor massive passive high end VGA cooler. SPCR's own review is also on the way.

VIA announced the availability of their EPIA EK Mini-ITX mainboard with new 1GHz or fanless 800MHz Luke CoreFusion processor: Just 19W total maximum power draw and a rich array of connectivity and digital media features. But those seeking a DVI output on a VIA m-ITX board will have to wait for the EPIA EX, which mini-ITX.com caught in a recent preview.

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