Internet News

Web News: Hard Drive Edition

Internet News

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

Internet News 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

Internet News

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.

Antec Fusion hits the streets

Internet News

According to DailyTech, Antec has begun shipping the Fusion HTPC enclosure to North American retailers. The Fusion is a high end version of the NSK2400 (reviewed by SPCR) featuring an integrated VFD, a brushed aluminum bezel, and a 430W power supply.

AeroCase makes a splash

Internet News

The SPCR forums have been buzzing over the last few days over the initial product offering from AeroCase. This new startup is offering customised, passive video card coolers, handmade to fit your system.

Computex Taipei 2006 is Officially Over

Internet News

After an exhaustive, rain-drenched, traffic-clogged, five days, the world's second biggest IT show is over, much to the relief of the staff of 1300+ exhibiting companies, 130,000+ attendees and hundreds of journalists who covered the Taipei event. This is not to introduce my own picto-pseudo report to the dozens posted online throughout the week, but to say a more in-depth piece will come in a week, after a chance to recover at home and and mull over all that I've seen and heard. Meanwhile, here are my votes for the most SPCR-appropos coverage of Computex 2006 by other sites: writer Christoph, better known as TheEagleCD, came to Computex for the first time and provided brief reports on — what else? — mini-ITX, still the lowest power consuming X86 platform on the planet.

Charlie Demerjian of The Inquirer noticed and wrote about Greenpeace's rally against toxic IT waste with pod-people outside of Computex.

AMD's new AM2 platform launched

Internet News

Fifteen processors were launched on the new AM2 platform by AMD today, ranging from the new flagship FX-62 at $1031 all the way down to a $77 Sempron 3000+. The official announcement is in AMD's web press room, but news, reports and reviews of the AM2 processors and platform are all over the web; a few of the sites are linked below. AMD's PR department made sure that all the popular hardware review sites obtained samples of FX-62 or X2 5000+ processors along with a new Asus M2N32-SLI Deluxe motherboard with the new nForce 590 chipset, and Corsair 1066MHz DDR2 RAM.

AMD News: T64X2, Efficient Processor Roadmap, K8L Preview

Internet News

AMD just released information about Energy Efficient Desktop Processors in the upcoming new AM2 socket, the long awaited 64-bit Turion 64 X2 dual-core mobile processors, and a sneak preview of their next-gen K8L processor technology. Click on read more for more info.

Thermal Load Calculator by Innovatek

Internet News sent us word of a Thermal Load Calculator by Innovatek which works out how much heat is produced by a standard or an overclocked PC. The page is in German but the calculator is intuitive. It looks much more accurate than 99% of all such power calculators on the web, and should be fine for "sizing" PSUs if all the pertinent data is correctly entered. Only the Northbridge vs Northbridge und Mosfets choice under Motherboard give pause; surely you cannot separate the motherboard VRM from the NB in any calculation of motherboard power draw? This is the only feature that seems suspect.

Run Windows XP on iMac with Boot Camp

Internet News

PC World reported, "It works. Impressively well. With games, even. That's our first impression of Windows XP running under Apple's [beta version of] Boot Camp on our 20-inch iMac. And that's more than you could say a couple of days ago about the promising-but-hacked-together WinXPonMac effort." Apple'official download page for their official dual-boot support of Windows XP on Macs.

Desktop Core Duo Products Coming Soon

Internet News

Apple's new iMac may have been the first to use Intel's new power-efficient Pentium-M derived Core Duo on a desktop PC, but they certainly won't be the last. Joining AOpen with new Core Duo/Solo (and Pentium M) products are Asus, Shuttle, ECS, MSI and Gigabyte. It seems clear that Intel is successfully marketing the new low-power processors to the mainstream desktop/small server market. Thus far, however, Intel's major system integrator partners (Dell, HP, etc) are only featuring Core Duo processors in notebook PCs.

AOpen: i975Xa-YDG and i945GTm-VHL Core Duo motherboards; mini-PC MP945
Asus: N4L-VM DH Core Duo Viiv motherboard
XPC X100 Complete SFF Core Duo PC
: PF23 Crossfire-compatible and 945G-M3 Viiv motherboards
MSI: P1-104A2M P-M server and 945GT Speedster-A4R P-M motherboard
Gigabyte: A963 Core Duo/Solo MiniPC

Then there are all the mini-ITX boards for Core Solo / Duo:

Commell LV-677 (m-ITX)
AOpen i945GTt-VFA
DFI G5C100-N
Freetech P8F189
Kontron 986LCD-M/mITX
MSI MS7265 (not confirmed)

From IDF: Acoustic Optimization for Desktop Platforms

Internet News

Attendance at the Spring Intel Developers Forum last week resulted in many new contacts for SPCR. Among the most interesting were Intel engineers in a thermal / acoustic division who provided information about new R&D efforts in this area. One result is a White Paper, which was provided to SPCR for direct distribution to our readers: Acoustic Optimization for Desktop Platforms (2mb PDF).

This is probably not the first document from Intel to deal with PC acoustics, but it is the first we've seen in a long time. Much of it focuses on BTX platform advantages, but it touches on many aspects of acoustics measurement and analysis that is of relevance to anyone interested in low noise computing. Most fascinating to us is the research done on Acceptable Acoustic Levels, which involved both group psychoacoustic polling as well as ambient noise measurements in four countries. We are planning an in-depth look at this paper in the near future.

As IDF Spring 2006 Begins

Internet News

As the Spring 2006 Intel Developers Forum in San Francisco sets to get underway, tech and business media wags sum up challenges and promises for Intel. The tone and themes are remarkably consistent.

EE Times: Intel outlines processor plans at IDF
Red Herring: Intel’s Chance to Impress
Business Week: AMD Chips Away at Intel
TG Daily: Can IDF relight Intel's fire?

PSU Load Balance Critical in Dual-Vidcard Systems

Internet News

Dedicated SPCR readers know from our PSU Fundamentals and Power Distribution within Six PCs articles that modern PCs draw the vast majority of power from the 12V line of the power supply. What's less well known is that internal interactions in most power supplies impairs the capacity to deliver high power into 12V when the 5V and 3.3V lines are too lightly loaded. ExtremeTech has an interesting article illuminating this issue in both technical and practical aspects.

Mobile SATA HDD Roundup

Internet News

The Tech Report also ran a 2.5" Serial ATA hard drive round-up comparing a quartet of mobile drives -- that we've already reviewed individually over the last few months. Their acoustics analysis falls short of our standards, but the performance tests make for interesting reading. (There's not even a hint that you might consider one of these for desktop PC use.)

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