Monthly Archives: October 2008


Media Port UP300x Multimedia HeadsetNikon Corporation has announced the Media Port UP300x multimedia playback headset that features display, headphones, audio/video player, Wi-Fi Internet connectivity, built-in memory, and the power source all-in-one.  The Media Port UP will be available initially in Japan, but it can be exported to other regions.

Major Functions Include:

  • The compact, all-in-one unit provides video and music enjoyment anywhere, hands-free
  • Media Port UP offers the same experience as viewing a 50-inch screen from a three meter distance
  • The system boasts a compact, lightweight display that provides a high-quality image from the use of a new adhesion double-layer diffractive optical element (DOE) lens
  • The UP300x includes an integrated motion sensor that enables hands-free operation, such as volume control, file selection, playback, pause, etc. via head movement
  • 8GB of internal memory is provided (a lower-end model is also available with 4GB)
  • The system is designed with a high eyepoint and diopter adjustment that allows easy use for anyone, even those who wear glasses
  • Wi-Fi connectivity allows for web browsing as well as media content downloading through the unit
  • A content distribution service for the system will also be available soon for convenient download and enjoyment of desired movies and music
  • Windows Media content is fully supported


Samsung Enterprise Solid State DriveSamsung has started mass-production of 2.5" 25GB and 50GB SSDs for the enterprise segment.  The drives are built using single-level-cell NAND flash technology (consumer-based SSDs are generally constructed using multi-level-cell NAND because it is cheaper, but also less durable).  The new drives offer 100MB/s sequential read and 80MB/s sequential write speeds, consuming only 1.5W while operating and 0.3W idle.  While the Samsung solid state drives offer improved capacity for SLC and maintain a 100 times greater input/output operations per second (IOPS) lead over typical 2.5" 15,000-RPM hard drives, the performance does not come close to that provided by the Intel X25-E Extreme SSDs.


When traveling, whether for business or leisure, it’s always important to gather the gadgets you’ll need for your trip. Some are essential, some are fun, but forgetting any of them can make for an unpleasant trip. For the sake of being obvious, we’ll assume that you don’t forget your laptop or cell phone.

Here are some of the less-obvious gadgets that you may want to consider when traveling:

1) IOGEAR Portable Media Player

IOGEAR Portable Media Player

With the ability to store 50 DVD movies on its 120 GB hard drive, the IOGEAR Portable Media Player is quite possibly your best friend on travels. It is tiny compared to other PMPs and offers the unique ability to convert standard definition content up to 720p HD resolution. Even better, you won’t be stuck paying $9.99 per movie in hotels. This little gadget will hook into just about anything that can play movies.

2) Mobile Printers

Mobile Printers

When doing business abroad, don’t assume that you won’t need a printer when you reach your destination (or when you’re on the way). It’s always good to be prepared in the event printing is required. Trying to hook up to someone else’s printer requires drivers. Transferring files to computers that already have printer hookups results in inconvenience from the transfer as well as any security concerns. Then, there is always the potential for a printer to not be available at all. When considering mobile printers, size matters. It’s probably better to take a more compact solution and sacrifice a little speed.

3) Video Eyeware

Video Eyewear

You’re probably wondering why you will need video eyeware. When traveling, there is one thing to always keep in mind — there is always someone looking over your shoulder. Therefore this gadget should definitely be in the list of your top gadgets for travelers. This nifty little piece of technology, the EnVision Video Eyeware, gives you privacy and the ability to be completely unobtrusive to travelers around you. Before you say “but you have to connect to your laptop to play”, check out. the product information.  You’ll likely be surprised at its capabilities.

4) Portable GPS Navigation

Portable GPS Navigation System

Trying to rely on maps and directions when driving in unfamiliar territory can be an unnecessary burden. Many car rental companies charge a super-premium price to have a vehicle with navigation. For those who travel and rent often, a portable GPS navigation system is perfect for keeping on the right path.  We have mentioned the Garmin GPSMAP 640 GPS navigation system previously.  Another option, the portable GPS by Delphi, has many features and an attractive price tag.  The unit allows you to input places on your itinerary to receive directions, saving time and energy during the trip that can be spent on more important things.

5) True Global Travel Plug Adapter

True Global Travel Plug Adaptor

If you will be traveling internationally, remember that the power outlets overseas are different from one another. Gadgets also have different plugs. Having the means to power up may sound simple, but without a tool like the Travel Plug Adapter, you may end up being out of juice, out of luck, and out of time.


Regardless of where you travel or how often, having the important gadgets with you can make or break a trip.  The best thing about all the gadgets mentioned is that they can all fit in one nice, neat travel bag for placement inside a suitcase or work as one of your carryon bags.

Business is all about being prepared. This information should make preparation easier and your trips a more enjoyable experience.


AeroCool AeroRacer Pro PC CaseThe AeroCool AeroRacer Pro is an amazing-looking race car inspired PC case that offers serious built-in cooling.  The AeroRacer Pro steel, mid-tower PC case features a huge 400-mm fan on the left side of the case, the largest commercial case fan in the world.  It also offers four 5 ¼” drive bays, five 3 ½” drive bays, and screwless access. The AeroRacer Pro is available in a black or red design.  The 400mm side fan rotates at only 400 rpm to accomplish a very quiet environment, while still pushing an airflow of 250 CFM.  The fan connects directly to the power supply via a standard 4-pin peripheral power plug.  Therefore, no speed controls or monitoriong capabilities are available.  USB ports and audio jacks are positioned on the left panel.  The rear panel uses a traditional ATX layout, with the added benefit of a space for installing a 120mm fan (available separately). AeroCool’s AeroRacer offers seven expansion slots.  The case weighs 14.2 Lbs and measures 16 9/64” x 7 31/64” x 17.  The unit has a suggested price of USD $109.99.


HP Mini 1000 NetbookThe netbook market is growing at an incredible pace.  It seems that every manufacturer is releasing a netbook option.  The HP Mini 1000 stands out as one of the best netbook options due its 92% of full size keyboard, screen options, and storage configurations.

The piano black, 2.23lbs netbook features two USB ports, Wi-Fi, bluetooth, 3G broadband, a choice of 10.2-inch or 8.9-inch LED backlit, flush glass screen (both offer a 1024×600 resolution), and SSD and HDD storage options.

HP’s Mini 1000 can be configured with Windows XP or Linux.  All configurations use the Intel Atom N270 CPU, and the system can be customized with 512MB or 1GB of RAM.  Graphics support is handled through the Intel GMA 950 onboard video.

8GB and 16GB SSD storage capacities are available or a 60GB (4200 RPM) PATA hard drive can be selected. The default battery is a 3-cell lithium polymer. The base configuration for the Mini 1000 is $399.99.


Kingston HyperX PC3-16000 (2GHz) Triple Channel DDR3 Memory KitKingston has now launched their HyperX triple channel kits for the Core i7/X58 platform. 3GB kits will be available first, with their 6GB counterparts following shortly after.  Speeds range from 1375MHz to 2000MHz with the new memory.  The RAM provides full Intel XMP (Extreme Memory Profile) support, and conforms to Intel’s 1.65 volt recommendation for the Core i7 platform.

The memory will be available in the below models:

Model # Specification Price
KHX16000D3K3/3GX 3GB 2000MHz (CL9-9-9-27 @ 1.65v) Kit of 3 Optimized for XMP $334.00
KHX14900D3K3/3GX 3GB 1866MHz (CL9-9-9-27 @ 1.65v) Kit of 3 Optimized for XMP $317.00
KHX14400D3K3/3GX 3GB 1800MHz (CL9-9-9-27 @ 1.65v) Kit of 3 Optimized for XMP $312.00
KHX12800D3LLK3/3GX 3GB 1600MHz (CL8-8-8-24 @ 1.65v) Kit of 3 Optimized for XMP $285.00
KHX11000D3LLK3/3GX 3GB 1375MHz (CL7-7-7-20 @ 1.65v) Kit of 3 Optimized for XMP $192.00
KVR1333D3N9K3/6G 6GB 1333MHz (CL9-9-9 @ 1.5v) ValueRAM Kit $240.00
KVR1333D3N9K3/3G 3GB 1333MHz (CL9-9-9 @ 1.5v) ValueRAM Kit $132.00
KVR1066D3N7K3/6G 6GB 1066MHz (CL7-7-7 @ 1.5v) ValueRAM Kit $240.00
KVR1066D3N7K3/3G 3GB 1066MHz (CL7-7-7 @ 1.5v) ValueRAM Kit $132.00


ASUS Triton 81 CPU Cooler for X58 SystemsASUS has released its first CPU cooler for the soon to be released Intel Core i7 platform. The ASUS Triton 81 offers a 90mm fan that functions between 800 RPM and 2,500 RPM, with a noise level of 18 dBA during normal operation.  The cooler is controlled by the motherboard’s PWM, and presents a blue glows when running.  ASUS’s Triton 81 is constructed of copper, and includes copper heatpipes that link its base with the fins.  The unit weighs 24.16oz, and supports Intel (sockets 1366 and 775) and AMD (sockets 939/940/1207/AM2/AM2+) motherboards.  Pricing and availability information has not yet been announced.

Below we have included a list of applications that we have tested extensively and found to be of the highest quality. This collection is certainly not meant to serve as a comprehensive listing of the best software, but it focuses on a few of the applications we believe to be very high quality in their corresponding categories. Much like the list of recommended Firefox extensions, this collection is a live list, that will be adjusted over time.



IrfanViewIrfanView is a free, small, and fast image viewer that can handle virtually any image file format (some require additional plugins). It offers an arsenal of image manipulation features (crop, resize, color adjustment, etc.), as well as a multitude of special features usually found only in expensive packages. There are too many to list here, but some of the best features include complete effects (sharpen, blur, etc.), paint capabilities (draw on images), desktop/window capturing, thumbnail viewer/creator, multimedia player, batch conversion (optional image processing), support for Adobe Photoshop filters, and many plugins available to add even more features.



AI RoboForm Pro

RoboFormAI RoboForm is a powerful, yet easy to use password manager and web form filler that automates password management and form filling. It can save passwords, log in to sites automatically, fill long registration and purchase forms with a single click, encrypt passwords for security, generate random passwords, and much more.

  • Website: Visit Official Site
  • Price: USD $29.95 (Free Version Also Available)
  • Developer: Siber Systems, Inc.



CuteFTPCuteFTP is an intuitive application for transferring files between a PC and remote server via the FTP protocol. Features include an easy-to-use interface, connection wizard, automatic-transfer-resume functionality, Turbo Transfer, transfer queue, built-in HTML editor, advanced search capabilities, backup for a local machine to a remote server, directory comparison, custom commands, firewall and proxy support, path bookmarks, and filtered listings.



FeedDemonFeedDemon is a free, easy-to-use RSS feed reader that makes it quick and convenient to stay up-to-date with the latest news and information. The software is highly customizable, including the way feeds are organized and displayed. Custom news watches based on keywords can be setup, and podcasts can be easily transferred to portable audio devices.


Group Mail Business Edition

Group Mail Business EditionGroup Mail Business Edition is a feature-rich, powerful, and flexible email marketing application that allows users to send bulk email with ease. Options are provided to ensure rapid mailing as well as address validation, group merging and purging, backup, Habeas support, and more.


Mozilla Firefox

FireFoxFirefox has now become established as an exceptional web browser. Due primarily to its extension capabilities, we highly recommend use of Firefox. In addition to the comprehensive extension support, Firefox also offers fast browsing, browser tabs, pop-up blocking, advanced privacy and security, smart searching, and more.


Mozilla Thunderbird

ThunderBirdMozilla Thunderbird is a free, open source, cross-platform e-mail, newsgroup, and RSS feed client that offers a simple solution for online communication and information retrieval. The software is also highly customizable and expandable via a massive collection of available extensions.



MozyProMozyPro is a software/service combination that provides secure, enterprise-level online backup via a highly customizable, powerful, yet easy to use software application.


NewsBin Pro

NewsBin ProNewsBin is a multi-threaded news robot that automatically downloads and decodes binary posts from Usenet newsgroups. The software takes full advantage of high-bandwidth Internet connections with multiple, simultaneous connections to news server(s). NewsBin offers resume functionality to recover from lost connections. It can also reassemble multi-part posts across multiple servers and provides a thumbnail display when downloading images. Additional features available include Internet and local search, built-in RAR file handling, SSL support, NZB message ID file support, and advanced connection management. The settings are a bit daunting, but once configured, it provides the very best solution for binary newsgroup access.



PocoMailPocoMail is a powerful email client that offers many useful features, such as strong spam filtering, flexible message editing, and ultra-fast search capabilities. PocoMail’s greatest strengths are PocoScript, the advanced filtering capabilities, events, and Message Templates. PocoScript allows for pre- and post-processing incoming and outgoing mail in virtually any way imaginable. It also store a message in a temporary file for processing by an external application, and notify upon completion. Filtering allows messages to be processing in many different ways based on any defined criteria, such as directed into different folders based on the recipient email address. Message Templates are pre-defined blocks of text that can be quickly and easily inserted into messages via a context menu or hotkey, which is very useful when you have to reply to the same questions a lot of send repetitive bits of information. The text inserted can be customized before sending, of course, to more closely fit any particular case.


Trillian Pro

TrillianTrillian is a full-featured, skinnable IM client that supports AIM, ICQ, MSN, Yahoo Messenger, IRC, and Jabber/GTalk (via a plugin). It offers features that are not possible with original network clients, while supporting standard capabilities, such as file transfers, audio chat, group chat, chat rooms, buddy icons, server-side contact importing, typing notification, direct connection (AIM), proxy support, encrypted messaging (AIM/ICQ), SMS support, tabbed chatting, system-tray notifications and alerts, and privacy settings.

  • Website: Visit Official Site
  • Price: USD $25.00 (Free Version Also Available)
  • Developer: Cerulean Studios




AnyDVDAnyDVD is a Microsoft Windows driver that provides decryption of DVDs on-the-fly, as well as targeted removal of copy prevention and UOP. AnyDVD runs in the background, making discs unrestricted and region-free. In addition to removing digital restrictions, AnyDVD also handles Macrovision analog copy prevention.


Blaze Media Pro

Blaze Media ProBlaze Media Pro is a powerful all-in-one audio and video converter for CD, MP3, WAV, WMA, OGG, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, AVI, WMV, MOV, Flash (SWF and FLV), iPod, PSP, 3GP, etc.; editor; recorder; CD/DVD ripper; audio, video, data CD/DVD burner for DVD, VCD, and SVCD; and more.


ChrisTV PVR Professional

ChrisTV PVR ProfessionalChrisTV PVR Professional is a highly configurable TV/video capture and PVR application that provides high quality image and sound output. The software supports all TV cards based on the BT8x8, Philips SAA713x, and Conexant CX2388x chipsets as well as TV cards with MPEG hardware encoder functionality. A few of the supported devices include the Hauppauge PVR series, Leadtek PVR2000, and ATI TV Wonder cards, and it also works with Web cams and graphic cards. Features include multi-tuner support, time-shifting, advanced recording settings, advanced scheduler, recording profiles, FM radio support, channel autoscan and fine tuning, support for the DScaler deinterlace DirectShow filter, and zoom functionality. ChrisTV can also broadcast your favorite TV shows, movies, and radio stations to friends through local networks and the Internet. ChrisTV supports MPEG-1/2 and AVI recording (using any audio/video codecs).


Replay Media Catcher

Replay Media CatcherReplay Media Catcher is a streaming video and audio/music downloader that allows users to easily download virtually any type of online video, including YouTube video. It can also capture streaming MP3 files, automatically name and tag songs and video files, edit and change MP3 tags, extract MP3 tracks from FLV video files, and more. Recording can be performed with a single click.


Replay Video Capture

Replay Video CaptureReplay Video Capture is an easy-to-use screen capture application that creates high-quality videos from anything you can see on your PC screen, including website content, any streaming video protocol, DVDs, Webcam sites, PowerPoint presentations, Skype video conversations, video chat sessions, and more.


TMPGEnc Xpress

TMPGEnc XpressTMPGEnc XPress offers video conversion for many formats, including MPEG-1, MPEG-2, DivX, AVI, QuickTime, MPEG 4-ISO, H.264, DVD-Video, DVD-VR, HDV camcorder, and Blu-ray discs. The powerful software provides features for cutting and extracting video selections as well as video filtering and effects. TMPGEnc XPress will also be among the first video encoders to utilize GPU acceleration.


Productivity is an open source productivity suite that serves as a replacement for Microsoft Office. It contains the same basic feature-set, but saves you hundreds of dollars since it is free. With that being said, does not include the grammar checking, macros, and a replacement for Microsoft Outlook. However, it does offer PDF output, Writer macros (Writer’s own macro and scripting feature), smaller file size documents than Microsoft Office, and simplicity. The suite includes Writer (replacement for Word), Calc (replacement for Excel), Impress (replacement for PowerPoint), Base (replacement for Access), Draw (replacement for Visio), and Math (replacement for Equation Editor).




AutorunsAutoRuns displays the programs that are configured to run during system bootup or login. These programs include those in the startup folder, Services, Run, RunOnce, and other registry keys. Users can highlight a startup item and click the "jump to" button to launch Regedit at the location the selected entry is specified. In addition to startup programs, Autoruns also displays a list of Services, scheduled tasks, Winsock providers, Internet Explorer BHOs, and more that can all be enabled/disabled with ease. 32-bit and 64-bit versions are both available.



CCleanerCCleaner is a freeware system optimization, privacy, and cleaning tool that removes unused files from your system, which allowing Windows to run faster and frees up valuable hard disk space. It also cleans traces of your online activities, such as Internet history. Additionally, it contains a full-featured registry cleaner. The tool is fast and easy to use.



CPU-ZCPU-Z is a handy tool that provides quick, convenient access to a load of information about your system. Information available includes CPU details (name and model, core stepping and process, package, core voltage, internal and external clocks and clock multiplier, supported instruction sets, cache information), motherboard details (vendor, model, and revision, BIOS model and date, northbridge and southbridge chipset and sensor, graphic interface), memory (frequency and timings, module(s) specification using SPD (Serial Presence Detect): vendor, serial number, timings table), system (Windows and DirectX versions), and more.


Dependency Walker

Dependency WalkerDependency Walker is a free utility that scans any 32-bit or 64-bit Windows module (exe, dll, ocx, scr, sys, etc.) and displays all of its dependent modules. For each dependency located, the application lists all the functions that are exported by that module, and which of those functions are actually being called by other modules. Another view displays the minimum set of required files, along with detailed information about each file including a full path to the file, base address, version numbers, machine type, debug information, and more. Dependency Walker is very useful for troubleshooting applications that will not start or system errors related to loading and executing modules. Dependency Walker detects many common application problems such as missing DLLs, invalid modules, import/export mismatches, etc.


Directory Opus

Directory OpusDirectory Opus (DOpus) is an extremely powerful and highly customizable file manager application that features single or dual-panel display, folder tree (either shared or two separate for dual-display), tabbed explorer panels, built-in ZIP and RAR processing (browse files as if they were folders), built-in FTP support (can be browsed in the same fashion as local folders), built-in image viewer, comprehensive file selection and renaming tools (with advanced regex support), configurable toolbars, menus, file types, and file type groups, preview panel and thumbnail previews (including video), and file collections (virtual folders that contain links to the original files, but allow direct access to the source files. Directory Opus can replace Windows Explorer, including Windows shell connections.


EVEREST Ultimate Edition

EVEREST Ultimate EditionEVEREST Ultimate Edition is an advanced benchmarking and diagnostics tool that helps users maximize security, performance, and trouble-shooting capabilities for home and home office PC environments, PC Professionals, and consulting firms. It offers comprehensive system information as well as system stability testing and more.


Foxit Reader

Foxit ReaderFoxit Reader is a free, light-weight PDF reader that is quick to load and easy to use, without sacrificing features. Foxit Reader offers annotations, text conversion, privacy and security options, bookmarking, multi-tab support, callouts and text boxes, commenting, rulers and guides, magnifier, automatic scrolling, and more.



CPUID Hardware Monitor HWMonitor is a handy tool that provides comprehensive information and monitoring for the CPU, motherboard, video card, memory modules, hard drives, and more. 32-bit and 64-bit versions are both available.


Process Explorer

Microsoft Process ExplorerProcess Explorer is a free Windows Task Manager replacement that offers features above and beyond the standard Windows utility. It can be set to show much more information about running processes, such as start time, file version, window title, the .dll’s they have loaded, highlighting (such as for distinguishing services), and much more.



Remind-MeRemind-Me is a simple, easy-to-use tool that is designed to store and present reminders of important events before they pass. Remind-Me handles holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, and any custom event (one-time or reoccurring). The software’s interface is shown in the form of a list or traditional calendar. Reminders can be shown when the computer starts or any pre-defined time. Remind-Me can play a custom sound or send email when a scheduled time is reached. The program is customizable to function the way the user wants. The program minimizes to the system tray so that it functions constantly, out of the way.



TweakUITweak UI is a free user interface customization application released by Microsoft to help with customizing the Windows operating system. Although it is not supported by Microsoft, Tweak UI offers a more convenient way to adjust settings that would otherwise require manual registry editing. Most significantly, the software enables users with older, slower systems to turn off components of the operating system, such as menu fading, drop shadows, and cursor shadows to improve performance. Tweak UI also includes many features for customizing the way various aspects of the Windows interface function, such as the taskbar, desktop, and start menu. The program also allows users to move the location of special folders in Windows, such as My Documents, Music, and Pictures, as well as other system folders. It also offers tools that help users repair components of the Windows operating system, such as icons, hotkeys, the font folder, and file extension associations. Tweak UI can be used to disable AutoPlay on one or more drives as well. Tweak UI provides the capability to set up Xmouse for those familiar with the X Window System.  Note:  This tool is for use with Windows XP.  It is not designed for Windows Vista.


Type Pilot

Type PilotType Pilot is a simple tool that helps users input frequently used text quickly and easily via a pre-defined trigger word. Once the trigger word is typed, Type Pilot automatically replaces it with the corresponding phrase or paragraph. Type Pilot is useful for writing standard phrases, such as signatures, email addresses, URLs, phone numbers, addresses, frequently used sentences, letter templates, etc. The program will work with any text editor. The software’s tree-like interface structure makes it easy to keep information organized.


VMWare Workstation

VMWare WorkstationVMware Workstation is a virtual machine software suite for x86 and x86-64 based computers that allows users to setup multiple x86 and x86-64 virtual computers for application usage, software testing, or any other operation where it is practical to have a fresh system to use or a system at a certain state. Each virtual machine can be configured with its own guest operating system, hardware components, disk space, RAM capacity, etc. In short, VMware Workstation allows one physical machine to run multiple operating systems simultaneously with any desired hardware configurations and software installed. It is also easy to revert a virtual machine back to a previously saved state.


Web Development

Adobe Dreamweaver

Adobe DreamweaverAdobe Dreamweaver is an industry-leading web development tool that provides users with an intuitive interface for web page design and maintenance, but also allows access to advanced features and the latest technologies for those that want to utilize them.


HTML Search and Replace

HTML Search and ReplaceHTML Search and Replace is a handy, powerful tool for webmasters (or anyone that needs search and replace functionality within text files of any format) that offers advanced search capabilities and the option to replace any amount of text in multiple documents with ease. Folders can be processed, with or without subfolders included. The software includes a built-in offline browser for previewing files before and after adjustments and an internal editor with HTML syntax highlighting.


Web Site Promotion

Advanced Web Ranking

Advanced Web RankingAdvanced Web Ranking is a search engine keyword ranking, analyzing, and research tool that helps web site owners determine current rankings for any number of web sites. The software also functions as a link popularity analyzer, assists with manual submission to over 400 search engines, and helps users find relevant link partners.


G.Skill DDR3 Triple Channel RAMFollowing in the footsteps of the rest of the memory manufacturers, G.Skill Taiwan has today released its triple channel DDR3 memory kits designed for the next generation Intel Core i7 platform. G.Skill’s offerings of DDR3 performance RAM includes 3GB and 6GB triple-channel memory kits with DDR3 1333MHz and 1600MHz for enthusiasts, overclockers, gamers, and early-adopters. The company states that the G.SKILL Triple channel kits (9-9-9-24 timings) are perfectly tuned to match the new Intel Core i7 processors and X58 Express chipset to provide optimal performance, cool operation, and reliability.  The kits all feature the G.Skill NQ Series heatspreaders. Each kit is certified to be of the highest quality, compatibility, and reliability due to the comprehensive, 100% hand-tested procedure followed for all G.SKILL triple channel kits.  Pricing and availability details have not yet been announced, but they will surely be available soon since the Nehalem processor release date is quickly approaching.


MSI X58 Eclipse MotherboardThe MSI X58 Eclipse motherboard is the next up for Intel’s Core i7 (Nehalem) processors.  As with all LGA1366 X58 motherboards, it fully supports up to 24GB of triple channel, DDR3 RAM.  The motherboard also boasts APS (Active Phase Switching), Drive Booster, and D-LED 2 (which displays debug messages during boot and system status messages during operation).

As we noted in the MSI P45 Diamond motherboard review, MSI has discontinued use of the circu-pipe heatsink in favor of a more traditional cooling solution.  The layout of the MSI X58 Eclipse motherboard is quite impressive, with all slots and ports being easily accessible.

The Eclipse includes MSI’s DrMOS QPI and chipset, IC 6-phase power system for the QPI, chipset, and memory, as well as a generous array of Japanese-made, solid aluminum capped capacitors, shielded chokes, and ten Hi-C capacitors for the CPU region (six for the CPU, two for the northbridge, and two for the QuickPath memory controller).  The GreenPower Genie is also implemented to offer more efficient power usage and a reduction of acoustic noise.  Flexible temperature sensors are in place to measure heat anywhere in the system.

As with the P45 Diamond, audio is offered in the form of a PCIe x1 based Creative X-FI controller (removable card) that supports EAX 5.0, 8-channel output, and 100dB SNR with a 24-bit / 96KHz range.

The MSI PCI/PCI Express slot placement is excellent.  Three PCIe 2.0 x16 slots, two PCIe x1 slots, and two PCI slots are available.  Crossfire and SLI are both supported.

Extensive storage options are provided, including ten SATA (Intel ICH10R and JMicron JMB322) and two eSATA (JMicron JMB363) ports.

Power, reset, and DLED2 on/off switches are provided, as well as a dip-switch for adjusting base clock speeds between 133, 166, and 200 MHz during POST. The board also offers a few LED status indicators for QPI phase status, standby mode, etc.

Eight of the twelve total USB 2.0 ports are exposed through the I/O panel, and it also provides access to an IEEE 1394a port, two RJ-45 (Realtek 8111C) PCIe Gigabit ports, two eSATA ports, PS/2 keyboard/mouse ports, and a clear CMOS button.