Internet News

AMD's Maui HTPC Platform

Internet News
Maui is a fusion of AMD Live! Media Center software and AMD hardware that combine into a complete home theater PC platform. Maui features an Athlon X2 or Phenom series processor, an energy-efficient AMD M780G chipset (used normally for notebooks) motherboard, a special audio preamp aand a high quality PCIe multi-channel amplifier that eliminates the need for an external amplifier. Various HTPC combo packages with MSI and AMD products for DIY builders are offered at Newegg. A complete Maui HTPC system sample is in the SPCR lab right now. This PC contains a 65W energy-efficient Phenom 9350e quad-core, the ATI TV Wonder 650 Combo tuner/video card, and the MSI Live DIVA (MS-7411) motherboard that has D2's programmable audio chip onboard for up to 7.1 pre-amp or 5.1 amplified home-theater quality audio right out of the back of your HTPC, and the audio quality said to be is on par with $1,000+ A/V receivers. Look for our review in the near future. *Discuss this news in the SPCR forums.*

Core i7 News

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Intel chose the day before the voting day of the 2008 US presidential elections to lift the news embargo about its latest processor. Naturally, the tech web sites are overflowing with articles today about Intel's Core i7; they've had upwards of a month to prepare. Intel could have lifted the news embargo after the elections, but perhaps Intel bigwigs felt even obsessed computer geeks might be distracted by tomorrow's outcome at the polls. Here are some of the reports on Core i7 released today, in no particular order: The Tech Report * Hardware Secrets * Lost Circuits * Tweaktown * Benchmark Reviews * Hexus * Hot Hardware * Driver Heaven * Tom's Hardware * Ars Technica * Mad Shrimps * Legit Reviews * bit-tech.net * HardOCP * AnandTech -- Discuss Core i7 in the SPCR forums.

Netbooks Saving PC Sales in Economic Downturn

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Daily Tech says new reports from a competitive market research firm indicates netbooks and bargain notebooks are driving global PC sales in a market where concerns over the global economic crisis have pushed budget PCs to the fore. According to Gartner, netbooks are leading the increase in sales, although it is not that clear whether sales are being driven by new models or by cannibalized older models that have seen their prices slashed. One fact not mentioned is that the popular budget models are less speedy, and much more energy efficient than their bigger, pricier conventional counterparts. For computer users, it's one way to go on an energy diet; we all need to get used to the idea. Discuss this news in the SPCR forums.

First Intel SSD Reviews & 4-way SSD RoundUp

Internet News

The Tech Report has a review of Intel's soon-to-come high end X25-M SSD today. Ditto Ars Technica, Legit Reviews, PC Perspective, and Hot Hardware also has a comparison of four SSDs and a WD Velociraptor.

But by far the most comprehensive and authoritative review comes from Anandtech, one of the oldest PC tech sites: Anand's investigative 17-page review of Intel's MLC-based SSD is a must read for geeks. These make for an interesting snapshot of the current state of solid state drives, a subject of great interest for anyone interested in silent computing. Discuss this news in the SPCR forums.

2008 Mobility Race & Refining Performance

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Two articles in RAM (Reseller Advocate Magazine) this month struck deep. RAM's perspective is that of the reseller rather than the consumer, and its insights are often considerably more reality based than typical tech web sites. The 2008 Race for Mobility is a well-balanced, in-depth look at both Intel Centrino 2 and AMD Puma notebook platforms. AMD Redefines Performance examines the way that AMD is carefully targeting the performance sector of mainstream buyers.

Discuss this news in the SPCR forums.

Ode Magazine's Silence Issue

Internet News

The July issue of Ode— which describes itself as a magazine "about positive news, about the people and ideas that are changing our world for the better" — was devoted entirely to noise or conversely, peace and quiet. They called it the Silence Issue, and featured many interesting articles on acoustics from health, business, science and other points of view. Included is an article about a vsit to Orfield Labs in Minnesota, an anechoic chamber reputed to be the quietest place on earth.

Discuss this news in the SPCR forums.

AMD's Crossroads by RAM

Internet News

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.

WD VelociRaptor looks killer

Internet News

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.

Web News Mar. 5/08: CPUs & Coolers

Internet News

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.

Turn 1 PC into 2 with free vm-ware

Internet News

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

Internet News

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.

Give One, Get One: Extended to Dec 31

Internet News

"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)

Internet News

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.

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