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RAMpage: Microsoft Not Vista-Ready

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Massive Heatsink Roundup @ Madshrimps

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It's an ambitious project: 44 CPU coolers which fit on AMD/Intel latest platforms compared on two hot running systems. Which one will keep your CPU the coolest, how quiet can it get? Madshrimps' latest roundup provides pretty good answers.

Protocase's innovative enclosure design competition

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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

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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

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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.

Web News, Oct 9/06

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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

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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

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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

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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.

Web News: Aug 31/06

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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.)

Web News: Aug 11/06

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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.

Shuttle's first Core 2 SFF reviewed by SFFTech

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SFFTech looks at the SD37P2, which combines the new P2 chassis with a Core 2 compatible motherboard. The product is interesting in that it is the first SFF to support the Conroe core, but despite SFFTech's assurance that the SD37P2 "is very quiet and unnoticeable most of the time," we have very strong doubts. The P2 chassis is simply a "P" chassis with a facelift. We examined this multi-fan chassis in our review of the Shuttle XPC SB81P last year and found it very wanting in acoustics. SFFTech's article shows no changes in thermal or acoustic design; the only advantage might be if all the thermally controlled fans slowed down significantly due to the cooler running Core 2 (compared with a Prescott). Still, the "P" was far from a quiet design from the very start...

Web News: Hard Drive Edition

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First, traditional hard drives: TechARP has comprehensive coverage of Seagate's 2006 Technology Briefing. Eleven new and updated products are detailed, including Seagate's first hybrid (flash + magnetic platter) hard drive, a 2.5" drive designed for the desktop market, and an 8GB version of the Pocket Drive (SPCR Review). Samsung's version of this drive was mentioned in our WinHEC 2006 report.

If traditional HDDs aren't quiet enough for you, The Tech Report has a thorough review of the Super Talent 8GB (the one used in the Puget Sound PC SPCR reviewed in June): Super fast random access times but dead slow transfer rates.

Need something a bit faster? Freescale Semiconductor has announced the first commercially available magnetoresistive random access memory (MRAM). Promising better speed and longevity than flash memory at competitive prices, and completely silent operation, this might be an interesting alternative if and when it's offered in a PC-usable form factor.

Choose an Energy Efficient Computer

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...is the title of an article penned by yours truly for Home Power, a magazine dedicated since 1987 to home-scale renewable energy and sustainable living solutions. It's featured in the Aug/Sept 2006 issue, and also as a PDF article on their web site. Direct download link here (280KB). It's a brief overview and guide for consumers seeking to minimize the power consumption of their computer gear.

Comment on this news piece in the forums.

SevenTeam Thinks Outside the Box

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SevenTeam, a major OEM PSU maker, has come out of left field with a "semi-fanless", external, 500W power supply, recently reviewed at JonnyGURU's personal website. It appears that this unit is mainly distributed in North America by XG as the flashy Magnum 600 EX.

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