Daily hardware deals (Mar 13 2009)
It's time for the weekend update with Seth M... ehm, Hilbert Hagedoorn ! Today another overview of some nice hardware deals we found. In this bulletin I'd like to focus on processors. And of course we can't leave out that Phenim II X3 720 which apparantly for some batches .. simply have four cores. Enable ACC in the BIOS .. and you might get lucky.
- AMD Phenom II X4 940 Quad Core Processor - spotted for $234.99
- AMD Phenom II X4 920 2.8GHz, there's just so much value here at $199.99
- AMD Phenom II X3 720 Triple-Core, this the Black edition Processor as well (!) only $149.99
- Intel Core i7 I7-920 Quad Core Processor, my personal favorite really, $288.99
- Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 Processor, the one processor that set a milestone in history, $194.99
- Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Dual Core - still HEAPs of performance, priced at $164.90
If you want some advise, there are several extremely good deals here. For AMD, that 720BE processor really is kick ass. You can overclock it easily to 3600 MHz and with a bit of luck enable the 4th CPU core as well. Next in line would be the Phenom II 920 processor. Real value there folks.
Intel wise I'm just too big of a afan of Core i7. The Core i7 920 just offers massive performance and is really overclockable as well. Mind you that a DDR3 memory upgrade and X58 motherboard are mandatory, making it an expensive purchase in the end.
Exclusive: ASUS Xonar Essence ST Sneak preview
You read it right, ST .. not to confuse with STX.
The PC audio market has been churning out some great new high fidelity soundcards lately. A good example here is the recent release of the new Essence STX headphone card, which stirred up the audio community and caught the attention of people who usually look for external headphone amplifiers. Some of you may know there were rumors of ASUS expanding the Essence Line-up with possibly a PCI model.
Guru3D has the prototype the engineering sample of the Essence ST in our audio lab today, and will bring you a sneak preview on it to show you what ASUS is working on inside that chocolate factory of theirs.
Check out this Guru3D sneak preview right here.
Onkyo intros TX-SR607, AV Receiver with Dobly ProLogic IIz
AMD ships 50 millionth ATI Hollywood graphics processor for Wii
AMD shipped the 50 millionth ATI
X-Men Origins: Wolverine 'Uncaged' trailer
It doesn't look bad really, the game will be available for DS, PC, PS3, Wii, and Xbox 360.
CryENGINE 3 ready for PC, PS3 and Xbox 360
CryTek has announced CryEngine 3, a new engine for regular games and MMOs alike and that's easily scalable and supports both PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The developer is also touting the new engine is geared towards the next generation of consoles, i.e. beyond PS3 and Xbox 360.
Crytek GmbH is excited to announce that they will introduce their latest all-in-one game development solution CryENGINE 3, at this year's GDC Expo (March 25th - 27th) in San Francisco. CryENGINE 3 is the first development platform for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, MMO, DX9/DX10 that also is truly Next-Gen-Ready - with scalable computation and graphics for all major upcoming platforms. It provides the complete game engine to create AAA quality next generation games, and includes the CryENGINE 3 Sandbox level editor, a production-proven, 3rd generation "What you see is what you play
Best Selling PC Games For February 2009
Alright here we go. These are the best selling PC games in the USA for the entire month February according to NPD. Have a peek:
- World Of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King / Blizzard / $36.55
- The Sims 2 Double Deluxe / EA Maxis / $19
- Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War II / Relic / $38.99
- World Of Warcraft: Battle Chest / Blizzard / $37
- F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin / Monolith / $44.99
- Spore / EA Maxis / $45
- World Of Warcraft / Blizzard / $18
- The Sims 2 Apartment Life Exp. Pack / EA Maxis / $20
- Fallout 3 / Bethesda / $41.70
- World Of Warcraft: Burning Crusade Expansion Pack / Blizzard / $28
- Call Of Duty: World At War / Treyarch / $42.95
- Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 / EA LA / $27.99
- Left 4 Dead / Valve / $43.64
- The Sims 2 Deluxe / EA Maxis / $3 (Averge)
- Civilization IV / Firaxis / $21
- The Sims 2 Mansion & Garden Stuff Exp. / EA Maxis / $18
- StarCraft Battle Chest / Blizzard / $20
- Spore Creepy & Cute Parts Pack / EA Maxis / $18
- Diablo Battle Chest / Blizzard / $34
- The Sims 2 Pets Exp. / EA Maxis / $19
Lithium Batteries Charged In Seconds
Think of your laptop, cellphone, digital camera, or even hybrid car. They all have one thing in common. They use lithium-ion battery technology. Most of today's electronic devices which rely on a portable power source, use lithium-ion batteries.
In Yesterday's issue of Nature, two researchers, Byoungwoo Kang and Gerbrand Ceder of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, published an article regarding a revolutionary breakthrough in charging time for those kind of batteries. Their discovery might lead to a laptop battery being fully charged in about one minute.
"The speed at which a battery can charge is limited by how fast its electrons and ions can move - particularly through its electrodes. Researchers have boosted these rates by building electrodes from nanoparticle clumps, reshaping their surfaces, and using additives such as carbon. But for most lithium-ion batteries, powering up still takes hours: in part because the lithium ions, once generated, move sluggishly from the cathode material to the electrolyte.
That seemed to be the case for lithium iron phosphate, a material that is used in the cathode of a small number of commercial batteries. But when Ceder and Kang did some calculations, they saw that the compound could theoretically do much better. Its crystal structure creates "perfectly sized tunnels for lithium to move through", says Ceder. "We saw that we could reach ridiculously fast charging rates."
The authors helped the ions by coating the surface of the cathode with a thin layer of lithium phosphate glass, which is known to be an excellent lithium conductor. Testing their newly-coated cathode, they found that they could charge and discharge it in as little as 9 seconds." [via Nature]
Update 03-13-2009: As the German magazine "Spiegel" reports, this new technology was already licensed to two companies and will be available in new products, in about two to three years.
Futuremark Releases Peacekeeper - The Browser Benchmark
Now of course being a Futuremark product, the speed of the results are not only tied to the browser itself but also the hardware inside your PC. You could actually overclock your processor and ram and get a better result!
To test the beta go here:
eVGA readies EVGA X58 Classified motherboard
A while ago a preview was already shown at a colleague website. eVGA however is close to launching its EVGA X58 Classified motherboard.
The Classified edition will be the cream of the crop X58 motherboard for the uber-highend PC enthusiasts. A design feature of this motherboard the power-circuitry that fuels its various components. A 1.33 MHz 10-phase digital PWM circuitry with dual 8-pin 12V inputs, along with 4-phase circuit for the DDR3 memory, and 3-phase NB power. Four PCI-E x16 slots driven by the Intel X58 chipset in conjunction with NVIDIA's
NF200allowing four x16 PCI-E slots. As many of you already know, the NF200 is a PCI-E 2.0 x16 bridge-chip solution, which does add extra latency to the data transfer process.
That offers 3-way SLI + an additional slot for a GeForce accelerator dedicated to process PhysX.
Elaborate heatpipe based coolers over the board's northbridge and VRM areas keep temperatures under check. The launch price is expected to be around $400~$450, putting it off the radar for most. EVGA provides a plug-in remote PCB, supporting power, reset, CMOS clear, a hex POST code LED display, on-the-fly VCore adjustment, and PCI-E disable jumpers.
The remote buttons come in handy when benchmarking the board out of a PC case, especially when the lowest PCI-E slot is occupied.
You can expect a review on Guru3D in the upcoming weeks. Click here to visit the eVGA product page.
Fusion-io unveils 1.5GBps ioDrive Duo SSDs
The performance is scaled linearly, with support for up to six gigabytes per-second when reading data and up to 500,000 read Input/Output Operations per Second (IOPS) when using four ioDrive Duos. Each drive is capable of 186,000 read IOPS and 167,000 write IOPS with a latency under 50
Samsung Launches 1.5 TB EcoGreen HDD
Samsung has developed a 1.5 TB three platter hard disk drive (500 GB per platter) which consumes 40% less power at idle, and 45% less power when reading/writing than other comparable drives. Dubbed F2EG EcoGreen, the drive is comparably priced to high-power consuming drives.
As hard disk capacity increases from an increased number of disks, so does power consumption. However, Samsung
AMD Radeon HD 4870 to drop even further in price ?
Yesterday another rumor surfaced on the web regarding the fact that the ATI Radeon HD 4870 would receive yet another price drop, on top of the already announced price drop.
To sum it up a little better. It looks like that the Radeon HD 4870 1GB card will drop towards US$179. By making this move the Radeon HD 4870 1GB will be US$20 cheaper compared towards GeForce GTX 260 which had its price cut only recently from US$239 to $199.
These (both) are extremely good value prices guys. The cards offer a truckload of performance and features.
As it seems now it is the GeForce GTX 260 that is expected to get the price cut, sending its price down to $179, not the Radeon HD 4870 1GB. Confusing yes, fun .. yes !
Would You Like To Have A Sixth Sense?
How about getting a sixth sense? Impossible, you say? Well, maybe not, if you're getting some help from MIT Media Lab's new Fluid Interfaces Group. SixthSense is the name of a device Pattie Maes, associate professor in MIT's Program in Media Arts and Sciences and founder of the Fluid Interfaces Group, presented at this year's TED, an annual conference that brings together the world's most fascinating thinkers and doers. Pranav Mistry, Research Assistant and PhD candidate at the MIT Media Lab, is the "brain" behind SixthSense, who actually designed and implemented the whole system.
Take a cellphone, a pocket projector, a mirror and a camera. Put everything together so that you can wear it like a pendant around your neck, and you're almost there. Now, use the cellphone to connect you to the information avaliable online. Et voila. You just created a wearable gestural interface that lets you use natural hand gestures to interact with that information - your SixthSense.
Here is how it actually works: "The projector projects visual information enabling surfaces, walls and physical objects around us to be used as interfaces; while the camera recognizes and tracks user's hand gestures and physical objects using computer-vision based techniques. The software program processes the video stream data captured by the camera and tracks the locations of the colored markers (visual tracking fiducials) at the tip of the user
A-DATA SSD 300 Plus: 250MB read, 160MB write
A-DATA announced a new solid-state drive, the A-DATA 2.5-inch SATA-II SSD 300 Plus. Equipped with the company
AMD 880G to get DVD upscaling support
The AMD 880G (RS880) motherboard chipset, which is expected in the second quarter of the year will have an enhanced integrated video feature, with support for DVD upscaling to Full HD. NVIDIA is promoting this right now for CUDA ready GPUs, as you can purchase a software package for this.
It is said that this new chipset have the features of a RV620 or HD3450 class level features. It supports DX10.1, UVD2, hardware decoding of H.264, VC-1, MPEG2. It also has a DVD Upscaling function that transforms existing DVD by upscaling them to Full HD of 1920x1080.
This North bridge can be paired with existing SB 750 or SB 710 chipset south bridge.
Intel's GN40 Atom chipset can do 1080p .. sort off
Over at fudzilla they received an answer from Intel regarding the matter if Intel's GN40 Atom chipset can do 1080p HD video playbck. The answer seems to be ... 'some HD support'.
New PC Graphics company rises
Over at gamedaily it is reported that a new PC Graphics company surfaced. They are called Caustic Graphics and announced its presence with claims that their PC graphics product will be able to out perform current solutions by up to 20 times with their ray tracing solution.
It also claims that their second-generation product, due out in early 2010, will have 200 times (and that's not a typo) the performance of current solutions. Caustic Graphics will base their graphics product on raytracing, a graphics technique that allows for highly realistic looking 3D graphics. Raytracing has also proven to have issues with performance in the past but Caustic claims their technology "enables highly parallel CPUs and GPUs to massively-accelerate raytracing, putting it on par with rasterization and resulting in cinema-quality 3D delivered interactively on low-cost PCs."
The San Fransisco-based Caustic plans to reveal more info about their first product in April 2009. At the moment they are targeting high end computing needs but we suspect that PC gaming is also in their plans.