2008 SPCR facility/equipment upgrades: hemi-anechoic chamber

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This is a blog in the forum about facility and equipment upgrades currently being implemented at SPCR. The big project is the building of a hemi-anechoic chamber on the ground floor of my house. The blog was started at the end of May. Latest report, July 20: With double doors and nearly 600 lbs of blue fill for acoustic damping, daytime SPL in the room is now 12 dBA. External traffic causes only 1-2 dBA rises in SPL.

AMD's Crossroads by RAM

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We all know that AMD has been in trouble for a while, and Intel is riding surging waves of success. But AMD has been in lots of trouble in the past, and they've managed to survive and even thrive for some years despite the big shadow cast by its main competitor. Reseller Advocate magazine (RAM) "pursued some of the key channel people at AMD to ask the hard questions and get real answers." The resulting interview article, one of the best I've come across recently, provides interesting insights about where the #2 CPU company is going. They're not going away. Discuss this news in the forums.

Massive Fan Update

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SPCR is always working to improve its testing procedures, and every once in a while we make a breakthrough that massively changes the way we go about testing hardware. Recently, we had such a breakthrough in our airflow testing methodology.

The problem with breakthroughs is they tend to make things obsolete. Such is the case with our current database of airflow results — our new method improved things so much that we have to throw out all of our existing results and start again. After countless days refining our test procedure — and several more of retesting — we proudly present the fruit of our efforts. With the exception of some obsolete 80mm fans, every fan in our database has been retested with the new test procedure.

Fan Round-up #1: 80mm fans
Fan Round-up #2: 120mm fans
Fan Round-up #3: 92mm fans
Fan Round-up #4: 120mm fans (again)

Unusual Fans
Noctua NF-S12 Series
SilenX Ixtrema Pro
Arctic Cooling Arctic Fan 12L

WD VelociRaptor looks killer

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Reviews of the new Western Digital VelociRaptor have popped up on the web today; perhaps a news embargo was lifted today. It's a 2.5" 300GB 10k rpm update of their 3.5" 150GB Raptor 150... and it looks to be better in every way. We should have a sample to examine soon. In the meanwhile, here are some of today's reviews: Storage Review, The Tech Report, Legit Reviews, PC World, Hot Hardware. And the official WD announcement.

Lab Clearance Sale

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SPCR's lab clearance corner is open, we need to clear off the shelves again. Grab some great deals & support your favorite hardware site.

Web News Mar. 5/08: CPUs & Coolers

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A great number of CPU announcements have come down the pipe recently. First it was VIA announcing their new Isaiah CPU, picking up where the C7 left off. Then it was Intel with their Silverthorn and Diamondville (now both known as Atom).

Scythe has been busy too, releasing two new heatsinks. The Zipang (which appears to be an archaic name for Japan) and the Orochi (a legendary dragon with 8 heads and 8 tails). Both are massive- the former weighs 815g, while the latter is a frightening 1285g), and use 140cm fans.

MSI has generated a lot of press recently with their announcement of a northbridge cooler powered by a Stirling engine. While it is interesting, it doesn't appear scalable at this point.

Modu82+ PSU Giveaway Draw

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Enermax USA has decided to give away their new Modu82+ power supplies in a raffle draw to two lucky SPCR forum members. Read the giveaway details here, and our review of the Modu82+ 625W here.

Turn 1 PC into 2 with free vm-ware

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Computing appears to have come full circle in the past forty years, moving from server-client nodal networks to multiple independent desktops, and now — with the energy and environmental crises upon us — expanding a desktop PC into many PCs using virtual machine technology. Since VMware introduced the hosted Virtual Machine Manager in 1999, interest in x86 virtualization has been growing steadily. Userful, a company based in Calgary, Alberta, is now giving away virtualization software that gives consumers a second computer for free. Simply connect an extra monitor, USB keyboard, and mouse to your standard computer box and this software allows two users to work on the same PC at the same time.

Discuss this news in the SPCR forum.

Spreading it Thin TIM Roundup 2007

Internet News

We've been dubious of claims for vast differences in CPU cooling effected by TIM (thermal interface material, often referred to as thermal goop or grease, but Madshrimp's recent roundup incorporates good testing methodologies, and is both interesting and provocative.
SPCR forum thread about this news.

Zonbu releases a $279 15.4" Laptop

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Zonbu has just released a VIA 1.5GHz C7-M laptop with a 15.4" WXGA screen. It's made by Everex and equipped with the same Linux OS used in their desktop Mini. Details are sketchy, but the laptop appears to employ the same external online storage service along with a 60GB conventional 2.5" hard drive. Zonbu's 5% discount for SPCR buyers extends to the notebook as well. Use coupon code SILENTPC or just click this link to receive your discount.

Zonbu discount for SPCR readers

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Zonbu is offering a 5% discount on their products for SPCR buyers. Use coupon code SILENTPC or just click this link to receive your special discount. Zonbu is a tiny, completely silent PC which has many other attractive features and benefits including:

  • silent and reliable because there is no moving parts - no hard disk, no fan
  • affordable at $99 plus a two-year service contract
  • hassle-free experience with transparent software update, unlimited support and automatic backup for $14.95 a month
  • eco-friendly - the first consumer PC to receive EPEAT Gold, it consumes only 9W on average.

Give One, Get One: Extended to Dec 31

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"The mission of One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) is to empower the children of developing countries to learn by providing one connected laptop to every school-age child. To accomplish our goal, we need people who believe in what we’re doing and want to help make education for the world’s children a priority, not a privilege. Between Nov 12 and Nov 26, in the U.S. and Canada, you can donate the revolutionary XO laptop to a child in a developing nation, and also receive one for the child in your life in recognition of your contribution."

Program end date extended: You now have until Dec 31, 2007 to make your donation and receive your gift.

Personalized Music Stream: Pandora (and Last.FM)

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It's not about silent computing, but it's compelling... Sometimes, you're free floating on the web, and you don't even recall how you got there, but there you are... or here I am at 2AM on a Tuesday night, unable to get to bed because I can't stop listening to a personalized stream of music from an Internet radio station that's got me mesmerized... all after naming just one performer I was in the mood for: Madeleine Peyroux. Pandora describes itself as "a new kind of radio -- stations that play only music you like." So far, it's batting a higher average than any radio station I've ever listened to, and this is just after a couple hours.

Are PC enthusiasts heading for extinction?

Internet News

Scott Wasson posted this timely question last night to open a lively discussion at The Tech Report. His comments and questions reflect some of my own thinking; the responses are well worth a look, too.

P180/182/190 Intake Airflow Restriction: A simple solution

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Some users feel the front intakes on Antec's popular enthusiast PC cases don't allow quite enough air inflow. Here's a simple way to improve it.

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