Monthly Archives: November 2008

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Cables Unlimited Wireless USB Adapter DonglesFor those tired of not having enough USB ports or needing more positioning options, the Cables Unlimited Wireless USB Adapter Set provides an exceptional solution.  It is equipped with the Wisair’s single chip, which allows customers to enable wired USB devices to work with wireless USB.  It is true that transmission speeds may not be as fast or reliable as with a traditional wired USB connection, but if you want less cables, additional connections, or the freedom to have a device further away from the PC, this is certainly an interesting option.

The brand new adapter consists of two wireless USB "dongles".  One, of course, you connect to your computer, the other you attach to the USB device.  One of the most beneficial aspects of the setup is that you can move all of your USB dependent devices, such as external hard drives, printers, CD/DVD writers, and more up to thirty feet away (onto a shelf for example) to help keep your workspace less cluttered. The downside to this is that most USB devices still require a power source, which means you’ll still have to worry about a power outlet connection. One important aspect to mention with the wireless USB dongle kit is that you don’t need to buy a dongle for each device, which would render the solution unsuitable for recommendation.  You can connect the dongle to your current USB hub and plug all your other USB devices into the hub to make it almost like a wireless router, for USB ports.

Costing anywhere from $79 to $99 the wireless USB dongle is a positive look towards the future of wireless hardware.  It’s a handy item to pick up if you’re finding yourself with a cluttered workspace. At an affordable price, the adapter may become a must-have in the future for tech enthusiasts using the latest gadgets.

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CyberPower Gamer Xtreme M1 NotebookRecently, Alienware released their portable monster, the M17, easily topping the charts as the best laptop around.  However, a few days ago, custom gaming PC builder CyberPower introduced a rival to the M1. The name of the PC is the Gamer Xtreme M1, and this gaming system can stand up to most Alienware machines that have been released.  The downside is that CyberPower decided to install a standard DVD burner rather than a Blu-ray optical drive, which seems odd considering everything is moving HD now.

Aside from that, the CyberPower Gamer Xtreme M1 comes fully loaded with an ultra clear 17" WUXGA TFT LCD display which runs at 1920×1200 pixels. Powered by an Intel Core 2 Duo Extreme processor, you won’t have to worry about slow operation, or opening too many applications with the 4GB of DDR3 that is also featured. The notebook comes with built-in dual ATI Mobile Radeon 512MB DDR2 graphics cards in a CrossfireX configuration. It also offers built-in bluetooth, a 2MP camera (webcam), and fingerprint sensor.  The laptop is presented to buyers with a pre-installed copy of Window Vista.

With Christmas around the corner, this is a great present for gaming enthusiasts. Pricing starts at  $2199, and the system is customizable.

Recently memory giant SanDisk unveiled a method that can be used to achieve a drastic improvement in reliability and performance for SSDs by using an advanced flash file system created solely for solid state drives, called ExtremeFFS.  ExtremeFFS is a next generation, patented flash management system. With the capability of accelerating random write speeds up to 100x in existing systems, Extreme FFS will feature in SanDisk’s products in 2009. ExtremeFFS incorporates a non-blocking architecture in which all the NAND channels behave independently, enabling some to write, while others read and collect garbage. ExtremeFFS also offers intelligent learning for user patterns, and localizes data to maximize the products endurance and performance.

SanDisk ExtremeFFSSolid state drives do not have any moving components, and since their predecessors (hard drives) speed is measured in revolutions per minute, they needed a way to gauge the speed of an SSD. This fueled the creation of vRPM, virtual RPM. vRPM accurately and easily allows customers/consumers to compare SSDs to HDDs when used in PCs. It has been predicted that SSD net performance next year will be more than four times faster than current solid state drives and almost six times faster than the latest 2.5" HDDs.

In addition to virtual RPM, SanDisk also announced LDE, or Long-Term Data Endurance. LDE simplifies endurance as a useful number, which would be the first actual metric data of long term endurance. You can compare it to measuring tread wear on a tire. LDE represents the total amount of data writes allowed in the lifespan of a SSD. SanDisk believes other companies should take note and follow suit.

When it comes to LDE’s impact on SSD adoption, Greg Wong of Forward Insights said: "LDE provides OEMs a simple way to compare SSDs and determine, based on application usage patterns, which drives are suitable for a particular application. The beauty of LDE," he added, "is that it captures endurance in one single, understandable figure. A common metric is necessary to facilitate SSD adoption moving forward."

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Fujitsu U820 UMPCFujitsu has released the diary sized 5.6" U820 touch screen laptop refresh to their tablet line.  Offering massive improvements over its predecessor, the U820 provides longer battery life, an included Global Positioning System (GPS), an ultra clear WSXGA touch screen, and a 1.6GHz Atom processor. The device is completely ultra-portable, only weighing about 1.3 pounds.  The Fujitsu U820 UMPC can be purchased starting at a reasonable $1049.

The U820 features a built-in GPS receiver with integrated Garmin Mobile PC software.  It also comes pre-loaded with maps of the U.S. and Canada. With millions of destinations, points of interest, route planning, and turn by turn directions, this UMPC may even be able to replace your dedicated GPS navigation device. It’s a lot lighter than the previous U810. It’s also powered by Intel’s Centrino Atom Z series processor, which provides lower power consumption for a longer battery life, fewer chips, and integrated support for 1080p HD video decoding.

Fujitsu’s U820 comes with an additional row of keys and a new keyboard layout that provides a more QWERTY experience.  High-tech security features are included as well, such as a BIOS lock, fingerprint sensor, and a Kensington lock slot to repel physical theft. The HDD is up to 120GB or a 64GB SSD. The screen resolution has been greatly improved with a WXGA display, and you have the choice whether you want to use touch or pen on the screen.  Bluetooth wireless and a 1.3 mega-pixel webcam are also provided.  The UMPC comes pre-installed with Windows Vista Business or Home Premium.

The Quadro Plex 2200 is not an average consumer platform in any sense, and you’re not likely to find it in or around many hardcore gaming enthusiasts’ vicinity. However, it’s such a powerful and unique setup that it deserves the attention of the masses. While we’re familiar with the Quadro branch of NVIDIA, which designs machines like this for high-end imaging businesses (3D design, CAD, etc.), what makes the Quadro Plex 2200 special is the use of two or four state of the art NVIDIA Quadro FX 5800 GPUs for an 8GB or 16GB memory capacity (frame buffer) as a ready-made solution.

NVIDIA Quadro Plex 2200 D2

The Quadro Plex 2200 is housed in an aesthetic tower, also referred to as a dedicated desk-side visual computing system (VCS).  The breakthrough machine offers professional visual computing power that enhances image quality, facilitates dynamic product scaling, and adds to the arsenal of NVIDIA cores for SLI multi-GPU technology, which in turn enables Mosaic Mode. A Mosaic Mode configuration can use multiple Quadro GPUs on many displays, but with all working in unison as one ultra-powerful processing unit.

Specifications

Form Factor Deskside or 3U Rackmount Kit
NVIDIA Quadro GPU Quadro FX 5800
# NVIDIA Quadro GPUs 2 or 4
Total Frame Buffer 8 GB or 16 GB (4GB/GPU)
Display Channels 4 dual-link DVI
SLI Mosaic Mode yes
Shader Model 4.0 
NVIDIA® CUDA™ Parallel Computing Processor yes
Genlock/Framelock yes
Frame Synchronization yes
FSAA (maximum) 64x
G-Sync Version II

It has the best resolution, image quality, and display size with solutions up to 128 SLI FSAA. The system also features the Quadro G-Sync solution, which enables frame synchronization, frame lock, and gen lock to help with performance, quality, and resolution.

The Quadro Plex 2200 is built on the proven Quadro GPU architecture and has the flexibility to be combined with any certified PCI Express platform with Gen 2 support. The system can be positioned desk-side, or fit into any standard 19" rack environment.

Full pricing information is not currently available, but the unit is said to be priced in the $10,750 range.

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Nanovision MIMO 7-inch USB MonitorWe’ve covered USB monitors here before with the ASUS UFOTO UF735 and Century Japan’s 4.3” monitor.  What makes the Nanovision MIMO series LCD monitors different is the display’s feature-set.  The 7” Nanovisions MIMO display is available in models that include touch-screen support, a 1.3MP webcam, and microphone and headphone jacks.

USB monitors are usually purchased for a specific secondary monitor purpose, such as being able to check your screen content from a location other than directly in front of your main display.  The MIMO monitors are also a great way to dedicate space to applications that normally can clutter your desktop. Think of some applications that you mostly use at a glance, like an instant messenger, weather monitoring, movies or music playing, a video conference, and much more.

The monitor uses the USB connection as the power source, which therefore requires one less cable.  Starting with UM-710 model, the 700 series is around $129 dollars, which is quite affordable. Supporting an 800×480 resolution, the MIMO can be viewed in many different display modes such as mirror, extended display, and landscape or portrait mode.
 

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OCZ Solid Series SSDOCZ has released the new Solid Series SATA II SSDs.  These solid state drives are very similar to OCZ’s Core V2 Series drives, offering good performance, affordable pricing, and the benefits that are inherent to SSDs.  Solid state drives effortlessly enhance productivity in everyday computer use as well as heavy-load situations. The Solid Series also features a micro-USB port which permits clients to update the firmware with new versions as they become available.  Firmware updates help to enhance performance and compatibility with future operating systems.

Available in three capacities (30GB, 60GB, and 120GB), the Solid State SSDs provide sustained transfer speeds of 155MB/s read and 90 MB/s write and virtually undetectable seek times of  <0.35ms.  These characteristics combined give the Solid Series (and most other SSDs) the title of being up to 10x faster (in terms of seek time) than some of the best performing 2.5" hard drives.  Another significant benefit of the Solid Series SSDs is that they consume 50% less energy.  It is important to note that these new SSDs perform best in notebooks produced after 2006 since they are optimized for the latest mobile platforms.

Like all other solid state drives, the OCZ SSDs have absolutely no moving parts, which helps protect them from damage and improve reliability.  They feature an aesthetic and strong, yet lightweight alloy housing.  The drives provide a 1.5 million hour mean time before failure, which means you’ll almost certainly have a new hard drive before one of these fails on you.  All Solid Series SSDs come with a two-year warranty.  The OCZ Solid Series drives are priced at $89.95 (30GB), $175.95 (60GB), and $299.95 (120GB).
 

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Asus N20A Ultraportable NotebookASUS is new to the notebook and desktop PC market.  They have long been known for making quality motherboards, video cards, and other PC components, but the company has just recently entered the field of custom desktop and notebook computers.  The ASUS N20A notebook is ultra-portable, sleek, and stylish, yet it also offers top of the line security and high-end specifications to meet the needs of business users. The system’s display is a 12.1" WXGA, glare resistant color shine screen.  It features the ASUS Express Gate, which provides an 8-second boot time to a Linux-based environment with web browsing and basic tools.  Other features of the ASUS N20A include facial recognition technology, a fingerprint reader, and eSATA connectivity.

ASUS used state-of-the-art technology in the production of the N20A notebook. ASUS’s Unique Infusion Technology provides a scratch resistant exterior and helps maintain the system’s "brand new" sheen, even after prolonged use. Its additional operating system known as Express Gate enables a rapid boot up for quick access to everyday features, such as your web browser, instant messenger, music player, and more. The facial recognition system, otherwise known as SmartLogon, recognizes the users face and can logon without having to press a key. It also looks for changes in the users facial features and no matter the lighting, it can normally detect the user. Using the AuthenTec fingerprint sensor with Trueprint Technology, the ASUS N20A can accurately read anyone’s fingerprint as well.

As for the system’s actual specifications, it boasts an Intel Core 2 Duo processor, Intel GMA X4500HD integrated graphics, up to 4GB of DDR2 RAM, up to 320GB hard drive, 1280×800 resolution display, 1.3 megapixel webcam, HDMI and VGA output ports, DVD burner, Wi-Fi connectivity, ExpressCard expansion slot, 8-in-1 memory card reader, and optional Bluetooth and 3.5G connectivity support.  The ASUS N20A ships with Windows Vista pre-installed, with prices starting from $999, and increasing depending on your configuration.

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Transcend 2.5" Solid State DrivesTranscend recently released a 128GB MLC solid state drive (SSD). The Transcend drives offer 145MB/s read and 92MB/s write performance (sustained), which guarantees faster file transfers whether you’re working with a 1GB or 100GB file size.  While these speeds are a mile ahead of current standard 2.5" hard drives and very good compared to other MLC SSDs, the Transcend SSDs do not match the performance of the leading SLC SSDs, such as Intel’s X25-E Extreme SSD.

Because of the new rapid transfer rates and insubstantial latency, games and other software applications open faster and run effortlessly, which improves overall system performance.  This SSD uses the industry-standard SATA-II interface and a 2.5" form factor, which permits easy and direct user installation into the majority of mainstream notebook computers and PCs like other regular hard drives.

Transcend’s 128GB SSDs integrate error correction code or ECC to raise system integrity and help ensure highly reliable data transfers. Like most other SSDs, the Transcend drives also feature a built-in wear leveling technology that helps to guarantee a long storage lifespan and data-retention durability for persistent use. You can purchase the Transcends 2.5" solid state drives in capacities anywhere from 8GB to 128GB in SATA-II and IDE versions. All of these SSD hard drives come with global support and a two year warranty.

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Toshiba Triple-SLI Gaming NotebookToshiba is well-known for producing quality consumer electronics, from televisions to laptops.  Their latest release is no exception.  Weighing in at 9.04 pounds, you probably won’t be carrying Toshiba’s brand new flagship gaming laptop around with you too often. However, for those who like to game on the go, the new X305 gaming notebook is a definite consideration.

This is the first Qosmio X305 notebook release.  It is also the first notebook computer to use three NVIDIA GPUs in a tri-SLI configuration. The Toshiba X305-Q708 and X305-Q706 utilize the ultra-modern NVIDIA 9400M integrated GPU and a pair of separate NVIDIA 9800M GTS cards in the SLI. The three GPU setup provides customers the performance needed to run the hottest video games on the market on the highest settings possible, rivaling even most desktop PCs.

NVIDIA’s 9400M GPU is quite new and is featured in Apple’s newly renovated MacBook notebooks. Under the hood of Toshiba’s Qosmio X305-Q706 you’ll discover an Intel Core 2 Duo P8400 processor, 4GB of PC3-8500 RAM, and a 320GB HDD. Both the X305-Q706 and Q707 utilize a 17-inch WSXGA+ TruBright display to ensure the utmost clarity at an adjustable resolution of 1680×1050. The lower-end of the two models, the X305-Q706, retails for $1,999.

The higher end X305-Q708 model carries a designer price tag of $4,199.99. For the extra money, you’ll receive an Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9300 CPU and an additional 128GB SSD alongside the standard 320GB HHD. Both systems come with a four-speaker, high quality Harman Kardon stereo system and a subwoofer.  The X305-Q708 and X305-Q706 also offer ExpressCard expansion slot.

Using Turbo cache technology, both of the 9800 GTS video cards offer 512MB of GDDR3 RAM and up to 1663MB of shared graphics memory. The system is fueled by a 3200 mAh lithium ion battery.

Both laptops are immediately available for direct purchase from Toshiba.

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