Yesterday AMD announced the introduction of the ATI Radeon HD 4550 and ATI Radeon HD 4350 graphics cards. These are the latest additions to the award-winning ATI Radeon™ HD 4000 series graphics line up. These feature-rich graphics cards deliver exceptional gaming and HD multimedia performance at value prices. Both cards are based on the same technology found in the celebrated ATI Radeon™ HD 4800 series, including support for the latest DirectX® 10.1 games and superior HD multimedia capabilities.
Tom’s Hardware share part four of their Avivo HD vs. PureVideo HD analysis. In this article, we will dig deep into the performance of the first integrated high-def video accelerators—the Radeon HD 3200 (used in AMD’s 780G chipset) and the GeForce 8200 (used in Nvidia’s MCP78S chipset). Both chipsets are for AMD’s socket AM2+ CPUs, so we can perform a real apples-to-apples comparison here.
TechARP get busy with Foxconn’s BlackOps X48 Motherboard. Based on the Intel X48 Express chipset, the BlackOps is Foxconn's ultimate motherboard for the Intel LGA775 platform. They threw everything but the kitchen sink into this motherboard, making it their ultimate X48 motherboard and possibly one of the best in the market.
Legion Hardware review the latest reincarnation of Thermaltake's Big Typhoon Cooler. Recently we were able to check out the latest revision of Thermaltake’s notorious Big Typhoon cooler, known as the “BigTyp VP”. This new revision brought a few new and interesting features, while the fundamentals remained the same as the original which was released a few years prior.
BusinessWeek have compiled a list of the twenty five most influential people on the web for 2008. Each year, we turn to readers and BusinessWeek staff for the Best of the Web list, asking them to contribute names for a list of the Intern¬et's movers and shakers. Take a look at the slide show to see which people have the most impact on the Web these days.
AnandTech has published their Photokina 2008 product coverage. Developments in optics may still follow the slow and steady evolution of the past, but digital imaging is clearly a fast moving electronics market that is evolving just as fast as computer technology. Photokina is still every two years, but every two years no longer even covers new model DSLR introductions.
Trusted Reviews preview Epic’s upcoming Gears of War 2 for the Xbox 360. Even two years later, there’s little that can stand up to GoW when it comes to all out action and playability, with Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune being the only title that bears comparison. So, what can Epic possibly do to make Gears of War 2 a better game than its illustrious predecessor? We find out!
Ars Technica help you in understanding Moore's Law as well as its origins. In April of 1965, Electronics magazine published an article by Intel co-founder Gordon Moore. The article and the predictions that it made have since become the stuff of legend, and like most legends it has gone through a number of changes in the telling and retelling.
Interesting Forum Threads
(link) Tuesday, 30-September-2008 06:57:59 (GMT +10) - by Agg
Tuesday night is usually our busiest night in the forums. Come join the fun. :)
Voting for the September OCAU Iron Musician is also under way now, so go check out the choons. Hello and welcome to this months Iron Musician Voting. As it is every month, we had a mixture of pumping D&B , some huge alternative progressive tracks, acoustic entries and even some modern Jazz.
Sabretooth noticed that, if you're like me and one of the elite 2% of humanity with red hair, you can visit Adelaide zoo for free for the next week or so, to highlight the plight of orangutans. Hopefully they won't make you part of the breeding program.
I had no idea this was going on, but Chris sent word of a successful private space flight by a company called SpaceX. Their Falcon 1 launch vehicle has achieved orbit on September 28, becoming the first privately developed liquid fuel rocket to orbit the Earth. There's a YouTube video of the launch here.
Your name could be orbiting the Earth soon too, on NASA's Glory satellite. Participants will receive a printable certificate from NASA and have their name recorded on a microchip that will become part of the spacecraft. The deadline for submitting names is Nov. 1, 2008.
HWZone compared two AMD 790GX boards from Foxconn and MSI. AMD's new 790GX chipset comes paired with a new Southbridge and a feature that's touted to improve the overclocking on Phenom processors. For enthusiasts looking for a quick and dirty CrossFireX setup, this seems like great news. We check out the facts with two motherboards from Foxconn and MSI. PCPerspective have their thoughts on the new chipset too.
ArsTechnica reckon Windows 7 will go public in late October. Attendees at Microsoft's Professional Developer Conference next month are in for a treat: everyone going will get a 160GB hard disk with a copy of all the software on show, including Windows 7.
A Judge has ordered a new trial for an American woman convicted of pirating music on the internet, overturning the previous awarding of US$222,000 in damages to record companies. "Her status as a consumer who was not seeking to harm her competitors or make a profit does not excuse her behaviour. But it does make the award of hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages unprecedented and oppressive."
Google turned 10 years old on the weekend, with more info here. So, that makes them only a few months older than OCAU. Which is a little depressing when you think about it. :)
Voting for August's OCAU Iron Photographer is now open. The theme was "Floating" and there's some great entries this month.
GoN went to Experimenta Playground. Our resident artist, holo` (Steven Perdikis) recently went along to the Experimenta Playground art exhibition currently visiting Adelaide, where every exhibit focusses on the concept of 'play'. They also have info about why the game Silent Hill: Homecoming has been refused classification and is therefore effectively banned from Australia.
TweakGuides have a Crysis Warhead guide posted. For the most part, tweaking Crysis Warhead and Crysis Wars is almost identical to Crysis. However there are a range of differences that I felt needed to be spelled out, so I've put together this brief Crysis Warhead Tweak Guide - to be used in conjunction with the original Crysis Tweak Guide. It should give you everything you need to know to get Crysis Warhead up to speed on your machine.
Kev sent in a YouTube video where that Hitler video we've seen remixed a million times is commenting on broadband in Hobart. In your area in Hobart.. Telstra Bigpond is the only broadband available to you.. Beware, strong language! And Nazis. :)
Bjorn3D wonder if SAS RAID setups, popular in enterprise systems, are cost-effective for enthusiasts. Although SAS HDD's are primarly aimed for the enterprise market whose main goal is to achieve the highest performance, the fact that you can find these drives in speeds of up to 15,000 RPM makes them a good candidate for enthusiasts as well.
HardCoreWare checked out budget overclocked CPUs, namely the AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+ (2.2 GHz) taking on the Intel Celeron Dual Core E1200 (1.6 GHz). The result of the overclocking brings each CPU well past 3 GHz (with the Celeron running at more than double its rated clock speed), so the battle becomes much more intriguing.
On an even smaller scale, XbitLabs consider the Intel Atom 230, Intel Atom 330 and VIA Nano L2100 CPUs for "nettops" and similar inexpensive power-efficient systems. These solutions and similar thin and light notebooks with little computational power but long battery life turned out very demanded and quickly became very popular.
China have had their first spacewalk. Astronaut Zhai Zhigang has become the first Chinese man to walk in space, clambering out of China's Shenzhou VII space craft in a technological feat that Beijing wants the world to marvel about.
Spore has been hit with a lawsuit related to the DRM included with the game. Spore publisher Electronic Arts told buyers that there are anti-piracy safeguards but didn't advise people the SecuROM program it used "is essentially a virus that installs itself without warning," the lawsuit alleges.
Apparently there's some football thing on this weekend, but if you've been keeping an eye on our 2008 Motorsport Calendar you'll know there's two interesting motorsport things happening as well.
Firstly, Formula One is racing in Singapore for the first time ever. More interesting is that it's the first ever night race, held under lights, in F1's history. Keep on track of things with this thread in the Motoring forum.
Secondly, in the world of MotoGP, the championship will probably be decided at Motegi this weekend. Unfortunately it seems the current World Champion, Casey Stoner from Australia, will not be able to retain the title this year unless Valentino Rossi has some kind of disaster (which we'd certainly hope he doesn't!).
Check your local guides..
Interesting Forum Threads
(link) Friday, 26-September-2008 11:03:04 (GMT +10) - by Rezin
Here's a few interesting threads for a quiet Friday night (or a lazy Saturday morning):
If you find yourself drowsy at work, perhaps you need a quick spell in a snooze pod. After no more than 30 minutes, the worker is woken as the chair moves back to an upright position and a combination of gentle vibration and pale lighting rouses them from their sleep. Awesome.
But if you're like me and wish you could just skip the whole sleep thing entirely, NewScientist say it might not be far off. Modafinil is just the first of a wave of new lifestyle drugs that promise to do for sleep what the contraceptive pill did for sex - unshackle it from nature. Imagine a prolific author in the future sometime. If people compare him to, say, Isaac Asimov, they'll have to bear in mind that Asimov spent (presumably) about a third of his life asleep. How barbaric!
Meanwhile, Jack Thompson has been disbarred, according to an article on Kotaku. Is it finally game over for Florida lawyer and violent video game opponent Jack Thompson? Judgment has been entered in the case that started last year and came to a head when Judge Dava Tunis recommended permanent disbarment for the bombastic, showboating law man.
Apparently Australia is in the grip of an illegal downloading epidemic. And they can just as easily download music and movies, although Mark and Kim generally restrict themselves to television shows. A cheap DivX-enabled DVD player lets them watch downloads on their television as easily as watching a movie, and at practically the same picture quality.
A grounded space tourist wants $21M in compensation. Daisuke Enomoto, 37, had completed training in Russia and planned to fly to the station aboard a Russian Soyuz capsule in September 2006. But he was pulled from the three-member crew a month before liftoff, opening a seat for Dallas businesswoman Anousheh Ansari to fly instead.
Digit-Life looked at the MATLAB performance of AMD's Phenom processor. We'd like to draw your attention to the fact that we use results of the built-in MATLAB benchmark in their original raw form here, so don't be surprised to see most numbers below 1. The lower the result, the better.
GamesOnNet have some info on the AToM awards. The first of a series of four interviews looks behind the scenes to find out what exactly the Australian Teachers of Media awards are all about, who's eligible, what can be entered, and how they're starting to branch out into different formats.
InsideHW have a roundup of integrated sound cards. In the beginning of era of integrated sound cards, they weren’t for any recommendation because of many troubles. Even though the sound quality on certain models was satisfactory, by purchasing quality speakers, you could notice difference in sound quality compared to quality nonintegrated sound cards.
TechReport meanwhile compared budget video cards. So just how much money should you spend on a graphics card? The latest models for under 100 bucks might surprise you with their potency, both in games and HD video playback. We've lined up eight cards, ranging from $60 to $170, to see where the values are. Cheapskates everywhere, take note!
Dirtyd checked out AMD's Spider platform for us, in the shape of their Phenom 9850 processor, ATI Radeon HD 4870X2 video card and 790GX chipset with SB750 South Bridge. Lots of info and benchmarks in this 3 page review:
With the recent announcement of Adobe’s Creative Suite 4 Product Family, TGDaily take a first hand look at Photoshop CS4’s GPU acceleration capabilities. Recently, we had the opportunity to play with the beta version of CS4, code-named Stonehenge, for several days and we have to admit that we are deeply impressed. It is the first commercial software we are aware of that leverages GPU acceleration, which dramatically improves the performance of certain components of the application. Discussion on the forum.
AnandTech take a moment to debunk common power supply myths. Anyone building a computer system should eventually pose the question: How much power does the system actually require? This is an important consideration, since it's impossible to choose an appropriate power supply without actually knowing the demands of your system.
Chinese website Expreview review AMD’s upcoming Phenom 6500+ Black Edition. Kuma is the first (or last) dual core 65nm CPU in “Stars” family. Early in 2007 Kuma showed up in AMD roadmap. But after September AMD had made their decision that they would launch Phenom 8000 series Triple core, Because of marketing, Kuma delayed to 2008 Q2. Discussion on the forum.
HardOCP have published their Radeon 4800 & GeForce 200 Series buyers guide. How do figure out what will suit our needs? Also, is there such a thing as “GPU overkill” right now? We are here to answer these questions and find out what kind of gameplay experience and performance is delivered between $150 and $1100 using the newest generation GPUs from AMD and NVIDIA in single and multi-card configurations.
HardwareZone preview HTC’s upcoming Touch HD and Touch 3G. A week ago, HTC has officially revealed three new devices under its Touch family, namely the HTC Touch HD, Touch 3G and finally the Touch Viva. We've made a few calls and managed to secure a first hand preview of both the Touch HD and Touch 3G, so hit the jump to learn more about these new Windows Mobile 6.1 devices! Discussion on the forum.
A new version of TechPowerUp’s GPU-Z has been released. Some fixes included in this release: Added logging of sensor data to file, Added support for AMD RV730, clock reading support for Catalyst 8.9 on RV770 and RV730, support for NVIDIA 9400 GT, 9500 GT, 9600 GS, 9800M GS, 9600M GS, 9300M GS, 9200M GE, the option to disable polling for individual sensors and more.
For those using Windows Vista Ultimate, three new Windows Vista extras are now available through Windows Update. Microsoft Tinker is a puzzle based game where players get a set amount of moves to move a robot around a puzzle and solve the level. The DreamScene content pack adds some new high definition videos for use on the desktop and the sound pack allows you to set your sound scheme to that of Microsoft Tinker.
Remember to keep an eye on our Sponsor Specials Forum if you're shopping around. In there our many sponsors have discounts and specials on cases, TV tuners, laptops, pre-built PCs, office chairs, input devices, headphone amplifiers and a range of other goodies. Worth checking out!
(link) Tuesday, 23-September-2008 11:08:47 (GMT +10) - by Agg
Australia's first Qantas A380 touched down recently, and Sciby found a picture slideshow of the interior etc. Qantas expects to take delivery of three A380 by the end of this year, another eight by the end of 2009 and all 20 it has on order by the end of 2013.
OCClub have a video card roundup with more than 20 cards compared. It's comes as no surprise that the latest dual GPU cards, the Palit 9800GX2, and Sapphire 4870X2 score the highest. At the same time, it's interesting to see how close the single GTX260 and GTX280 cards compare in terms of performance, despite them being priced lower than the performance leader, the Sapphire 4870X2.
From BFM: Windows live are being nice and releasing more free stuff! With an article found here. From that article: In the new suite, unified via a common installer, are updated versions of Windows Live Messenger instant-messaging; Windows Live Mail (with a new and improved Live Calendar); Windows Live Writer blog-posting tool; Windows Live Movie Maker; Windows Live Photo Gallery, the Family Safety parental control tools and the Outlook Connector.
The Australian Telecommunications Users Group have blasted Nokia for a recent warranty policy change, thanks mpot. Nokia Australia spokeswoman Louise Ingram defended the manufacturer's decision to offer consumers the choice of an extended warranty and said it complemented Nokia's commitment to customer care. "Nokia has always offered a 12-month warranty for its handsets, as is required by law," Ms Ingram said.
Tweaktown checked out DFI's Auto Boost System. DFI haven’t just created a process to make overclocking easier, but also a community to bring overclockers together and try and increase the awareness. Today what we’ll do is have a look at how you go about setting up the whole ABS thing and see what kind of performance difference the stock and overclocked results give us.
LegionHW looked at CPU scaling with GeForce GTX 280. Today we are testing a range of CPU’s with the GeForce GTX 280, to try and determine what kind of processing power is required to power Nvidia’s flagship graphics card.
The FBI have swooped on an ex-Intel employee who apparently took some secrets to AMD with him, thanks Shane. Pani told his bosses that he was going to work for a hedge fund but in fact started work at rival AMD on 2 June and used his Intel laptop to access the company's servers and download commercially sensitive data.
Techspot examined Crysis Warhead performance. Our take on this article will be all about hardware performance considering it is based on an enhanced version of the CryEngine 2. Crytek claims this optimized version allows for enhanced performance. And so today we plan to find out exactly how Crysis Warhead performs using a range of previous and current generation graphics cards.
Under The Blue Moon
(link) Monday, 22-September-2008 06:40:57 (GMT +10) - by Agg
Sydney's Under the Blue Moon festival begins this coming Saturday. Fetch your eyeliner and oversized black boots, it’s that time again. The streets of Sydney’s inner west will be taken over by the now week-long dark-alternative festival, Under the Blue Moon, this September. Events guide here, more info here.
In fact, they're giving away a double pass to the launch party for OCAU people. So reply to this thread with your best "gothic haiku" and the one I like the most will win. :)
For the first time since July 2001, two shuttles are on the launch pads at the same time at NASA's Kennedy Space Center. There's a cool (large) photo here. Endeavour will stand by at pad B in the unlikely event that a rescue mission is necessary during space shuttle Atlantis' upcoming mission to repair NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, targeted to launch Oct. 10. More info here.
Wired looked at a history of robotic hands as well as some current technology. But copying the human hand hasn't been easy. Its complex muscular and skeletal structure offers a unique, tricky balance: It is dexterous, stable and precise, but also fast moving, strong and flexible. They also wonder if first-person shooters make you smarter.
HotHardware pulled apart one of those dell studio hybrid PCs on the weekend. So we were kicking around the lab for the weekend with nothing much to do (ok, ok, we have plenty to do but we decided to goof off). And what do any self-respecting Tech Geeks do with a little time on their hands? We take stuff apart of course.
A mobile phone with nude photos of Dick Smith employees on it will be on eBay soon, thanks Paul. The mobile phone at the centre of the Dick Smith Electronics preloaded porn scandal will on Monday hit eBay complete with the snaps that reduced a sickened Cairns woman to a state of shock.
Err, I might post this now, given the huge thunderstorm heading my way.. back in a bit.
OCAU member mazzanet wrote a simple but fun timewaster a few years ago and it's suddenly become popular - popular enough to overwhelm his webhosting! So we've mirrored it on OCAU - you can play it here. Spin the ball! Click the ball! Whee! Yes, that's all there is to it. :)
Loop Goose spotted an Australian competition from WD. In 25 words or less, we want you to tell us what colour WD Hard Drive you are and why? Each month we’ll determine the most creative and insightful entry and the author of that entry will receive a fantastic prize! On top of that, the 1st 200 entries submitted will receive a Rubik’s cube for simply letting us know what colour WD Hard Drive they are and why!
Bit-tech reckon widescreen LCDs will be 90% of the market by 2011. Not too surprising really. Birgit Sommerer, European product marketing manager for NEC’s LCD display division, also said that approximately 50 percent of NEC’s display shipments today are already wide-format LCDs.
Katilyst sent word about Portal Prelude, an unofficial prelude to Valve's Portal. Demo video here. This game is totally free and set to be released somewhere around the end of september 2008. It offers a bit more gameplay hours than the original Portal, with 8 chapters, 48 challenges, 6 advanced maps, a brand new storyline and more than 400 lines of speech with english and french subtitles.
ASUS have apparently shipped a software cracker on a utility CD.. whoops. The startling discovery was made by a PC Pro reader whose antivirus software was triggered by a key cracker for the WinRAR compression software, which was located on the recovery DVD for his Asus laptop.
Bjorn3D checked out the AMD Fusion utility. So what is this little utility for? The aim for the utility is not really the enthusiast users who have their computers fine-tuned and optimized, even though as we will see it still has something to offer for them to. Instead the utility is aimed to the rest of us who use our computers for all sort of stuff and thus tend to have quite bloated installations of Windows.
The Large Hadron Collider has hit a snag which might delay its operation. While the failure was "not good news", he said glitches of this kind were not unexpected during testing.
Blisterin' barnacles, it be Talk like a Pirate Day again! Why, it seems but a few months that Cap'n Agg Spatchcock was here deliverin' news from the salty deep, but no, tis that time again.
Conceal your next haul of booty in this fine chest! LaCie's Neil Poulton-designed 4big Quadra storage solution is taking advantage of the latest 3.5-inch hard drives from Seagate and this enables it to be available in a 6TB configuration.
Blow me down, Windows now has multiple desktops, just like Linux! Microsoft’s Sysinternals team has released a virtual desktop manager for Windows XP and Vista that allows a user to create up to four separate desktops on the one OS.
I don't trust these land-lubbers, but there's a 3D browser lurkin' about the shallows. Melbourne-based software developer ExitReality has created software that can be quickly downloaded to computers and that converts standard two-dimensional web pages into virtual rooms, The Australian reported. Yaar, motion sickness while surfin' the web, tis a maritime experience indeed. Discussion here.
Those yellow-bellies at Optus have run down the Wireless Fusion flag, stopping the service due to excess demand. It will not be accepting any new Wireless Fusion customers but existing customers would still be able to use the popular service without disruption, Optus said.
Sniper spotted a PC tiny enough to hide in your eyepatch! Or at the very least your codpiece. CompuLab introduced a tiny fanless PC using 4-6 Watts of power. The Linux-ready "Fit-PC Slim" measures 4.3 x 3.9 x 1.2 inches (110 x 100 x 30mm), but includes a 500MHz AMD Geode LX800, Ethernet, VGA output, WiFi, and a 2.5-inch hard drive option, says CompuLab.
Those wily sea-dogs at Games On Net have put together a fine collection of piratey games. As in games for pirates, not games for piratin', not that I can stop you, and nor can the King! Yarr!
NVIDIA has hacked up its own crew, making 6.5% of them walk the plank! The job cuts come following dramatic changes to the company's business outlook during the second quarter and will be company-wide cuts.
Looks like it's mostly reviews in the news box today, so I'll bid ye well for now, and return soon with fistfuls of glinting goodies! Till then, may your shirts stay puffy and your stump stay free of splinters!
Interesting Forum Threads
(link) Thursday, 18-September-2008 11:47:30 (GMT +10) - by Agg
Keeping with its monthly release schedule, AMD/ATI have released their Catalyst 8.9 software suite for Windows and Linux. It comes with the usual list of bug fixes and performance enhancements, including new features like OverDrive support for QUAD CrossFireX configurations, OpenGL 3.0 extension support. Discussion on Forum.
TweakTown analyse AMD's new Catalyst version 8.9 drivers and see how they perform under XP and Vista. This month, looking through the release notes for the latest incarnation of Catalyst drivers we see that a few performance increases have been promised. We'll see if these performance increases translate to any of the games we use.
X-Bit Labs compare ATI’s Radeon HD 4870 X2 against two Radeon HD 4870’s in CrossFire. Today we decided to discuss the performance of two ATI Radeon HD 4870 solutions - from VisionTek and Club 3D - in order to determine if a CrossFire tandem like that could become an alternative to the top-of-the-line ATI Radeon solution.
Bit-tech share their thoughts on Microsoft's DirectX 11 after attending the recent Nvision conference. Microsoft said from the outset that DirectX 11 will be an expansion of DirectX 10.1, adding new functionality and features, while also focusing on improving scalability and also efficiency for both for the developer and the hardware.
TechwareLabs have published a review of Intel's new Q9650 3.00GHz Quad Core Processor. Crysis, Call of Duty 4, and Half Life 2: Episode 2 are some of the most demanding games out on todays' market. Why have two cores when you can have four? With this in mind, Intel creates one of their newest, most successful chips, the quad-core Q9650. With a blazing 3.00GHz CPU speed, and a whopping 12MB of L2 cache, this chip is a real monster!
Researchers at the University of Rochester say they have developed the first true 3D processor called the “Rochester Cube.” The next major advance in computer processors will likely be the move from today's two-dimensional chips to three-dimensional circuits, and the first three-dimensional synchronization circuitry is now running at 1.4 gigahertz at the University of Rochester.
Hardware Canucks preview the Gigabyte M912V Touch Screen Netbook. Gigabyte has entered the market with a zinger – developing one of the most affordable tablet PCs and pairing it with the netbook outline. Our article gives a report of our hands on look at the Gigabyte M912V, the latest evolution of the netbook.
Nvidia released a new WHQL version of its PhysX System Software. Version 8.09.04 supports both Windows XP and Windows Vista (32-bit and 64-bit) and allows PhysX acceleration on all GeForce 8-series, 9-series and 200-series GPUs with a minimum of 256MB dedicated graphics memory.
Rivatuner has been updated to version 2.11. RivaTuner is a complete powerful tweaking environment, providing you everything you may need to tune NVIDIA GPU based display adapters.
(link) Wednesday, 17-September-2008 11:48:14 (GMT +10) - by Agg
Canon have officially unveiled their EOS 5D Mark II digital SLR camera. Building upon the qualities that made the EOS 5D camera so successful, Canon has coupled the creative power of a full-frame CMOS sensor in a relatively compact and affordable camera body, together with groundbreaking HD video capture that opens the door to a much wider range of imaging possibilities for photographers. More info on DPReview and discussion here.
IBM has some new high-performance servers featuring 6-core Intel Xeon CPUs. The first single x86 server to burst through the 1 million transactions per minute barrier on a TPC-C benchmark. This was achieved with an 8-socket System x server running 64-bit IBM DB2 9.5 on Red Hat Linux® 5.2. More info here.
Presumably those servers are based on these new Xeons from Intel. With up to six processing cores per chip and 16MB of shared cache memory, applications built for virtualized environments and data demanding workloads, such as databases, business intelligence, enterprise resource planning and server consolidation, experience dramatic performance increases of almost 50 percent in some cases. More info here.
Super Talent have some speedy new Solid-State Drives. These new SSDs are based on a sophisticated new multi-channel SATA-II (3.0 Gbits per sec) controller. The MasterDrive OX uses MLC NAND Flash to transfer data at speeds up to 150 MB/sec (sequential read) and 100 MB/sec (sequential write). The MasterDrive OX is offered in capacities up to 128GB, and is backed with a 1-year warranty. More info here.
The University of Rochester have a new 3-D processor. The next major advance in computer processors will likely be the move from today's two-dimensional chips to three-dimensional circuits, and the first three-dimensional synchronization circuitry is now running at 1.4 gigahertz at the University of Rochester. More info here.
There's a Mythbusters video demonstration on the nVIDIA site. TV celebrities and scientists, Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage, world renowned for their work as hosts of the Mythbusters television show, have built a one-of-a-kind, never-before-seen, awe-inspiring machine that demonstrated the difference between a GPU and CPU. What transpired included two robots, thousands of paint balls and the Mona Lisa herself. You've got to see it to believe it!
Speaking of nVIDIA, they seem to have updated the GeForce GTX 260 with 24 extra shaders, totalling 216. TechPowerUp, HotHardware and Guru3D checked out cards with the new core.
From scon: The first of the regular round of IRON CHEF OCAU tournament has come to a close and now it is time for you, the OCAU public to choose whose cuisine will reign supreme! There was some great creativity shown with Pizza Towers, Dessert Pizzas and even a Nacho Pizza! Exercise your OCAU responsibility and cast your vote here! The prize is a custom member title of OCAU IRON CHEF so choose wisely!
From RnR: Google has submitted a patent application for floating data centres powered in part by wave power. The patent application envisages huge floating data centres situated off the coast of major population centres using renewable wave power to generate electricity. The cold sea water could also be used to cool the hardware.
Phoronix compared Linux distros on an EeePC 901. Following our Linux desktop encryption benchmarks of the ASUS Eee PC 901 and Intel Atom N270 CPU we have a performance comparison of Xandros, Fedora, Ubuntu, and Mandriva on this low-cost netbook PC.
Apparently social networking has de-throned porn in terms of web popularity. Bill Tancer, a self-described "data geek", has analyzed information for over 10 million web users to conclude that we are, in fact, what we click, with Internet searches giving an up-to-date view of how society and people are changing.
Tweakguides have a new guide for STALKER: Clear Sky. However because there are two entirely new rendering modes, a whole range of additional settings and new tweaks, as well as tweaks which no longer work in Clear Sky, I've written this STALKER: Clear Sky Tweak Guide to allow users to fully understand and customize Clear Sky thoroughly to better meet their needs.
TechReport have some thoughts on the perfect netbook. Perfection wouldn't be too hard to achieve, either, since all the elements of my ideal netbook are already available from one manufacturer or another, just not all in a single system. Read on for this editor's perfect netbook formula.
HWSecrets want to tell you everything you need to know about motherboard voltage regulation. In this tutorial we will present an in-depth trip inside the motherboard voltage regulator circuit, showing you how to identify this circuit, how it works, what the most common projects are and how to identify good-quality components.
Pipe Networks have a new pipe on the way. Pipe Networks has cleared one of the last major hurdles in its plan to build an optic fibre network between Sydney, Guam and Papua New Guinea with the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) granting it landing rights in Guam.
OCAU members Deanzo and Dinos22 are representing Australia in the Gigabyte Open Overclocking Competition finals in Taiwan later this month. To show your support (and possibly win a motherboard for yourself) you can vote for them on the Gigabyte page. Some people are reporting that website not working, so see how you go. You can apparently vote once per day!
Discussion and more info including website problem workarounds and how to enter the motherboard draw here.
Ars Technica interview Tim Sweeney, co-founder of Epic Games and the brains behind every iteration of the widely licensed Unreal series of 3D game engines. At NVIDIA's recent NVISION conference, Sweeney sat down with me for a wide-ranging conversation about the rise and impending fall of the fixed-function GPU, a fall that he maintains will also sound the death knell for graphics APIs like Microsoft's DirectX and the venerable, SGI-authored OpenGL.
Tom's Hardware have updated their VGA Charts for 2008. Our largest and most up-to-date 3D comparison covers 101 different graphics cards configurations spanning five technology generations. The test includes the Radeon X800 , X1000, HD 2000, HD 3000, GeForce 6, 7, 8, 9 families, as well as the new HD 4000 series from AMD and both of the GTX 200 models from Nvidia.
Blizzard have finally announced the release date for Wrath of the Lich King. Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. announced today that World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King, the second expansion for its award-winning subscription-based massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG), will arrive in stores on November 14 in Australia. Thanks Shannon.
Hardware Secrets take a look Inside Intel's Atom Architecture. Atom is a low-power CPU from Intel with very low power dissipation (less than 3 W), targeted to laptops or handheld devices with internet access – dubbed MIDs, Mobile Internet Devices. In this tutorial we will explore the architecture used on this CPU.
Driver Heaven review EA's latest PC game, Crysis Warhead. Anyone who has played Crysis has strong opinions about the game. You either loved the ground breaking graphics and open landscapes, or you loathed the fact you needed the pc equivalent of a small nuclear power plant to run it. The followup Warhead is more action oriented which manages to keep all the strong points of the first game and adds new gameplay elements while lowering the computer requirements. A sure success? ... let's find out. Discussion on the forum.
Hexus compare four Intel coolers head-to-head from manufacturers Xigmatek, Cooler Master and Akasa. Today we're looking at just four CPU coolers for Intel LGA 775 CPUs. All of them use the standard push-pin mounting mechanism for nice-and-easy installation, eschewing the need to remove the motherboard from the case to mount backplates.
NeoSeeker review the Asus M3A78-T, 790GX and AMD's Phenom 9950. Ever since the AMD 790GX chipset launched, I wanted to get my hands on a nice 790GX board. The new feature set greatly interested me; especially the inclusion of side port memory for the IGP and Hybrid CrossFireX, and the potential for improved overclocking.
HardwareZone examine Intel's X25-M Solid State Drive. Intel's offerings, the X18-M and the X25-M claim to stand out from the other offerings in the market, as Intel has its own proprietary controller that gives its own SSDs a higher data throughput and lifespan. While we didn't manage to gather other SSDs at the point of testing in such short notice, nevertheless we went ahead to take a stab at the X-25M that Intel has so kindly loaned us.
Apple have released Mac OS X Update Version 10.5.5. It includes the latest batch of security updates, Address Book, Spotlight, and iPhone sync enhancements. Recommended for Mac OS X Leopard versions 10.5, 10.5.1, 10.5.2, 10.5.3 and 10.5.4.
Early Tuesday Morning Reviews
(link) Monday, 15-September-2008 16:03:44 (GMT +10) - by Rezin
Outages and Upgrades
(link) Monday, 15-September-2008 15:39:29 (GMT +10) - by Agg
There's been a couple of outages over the last few days, both related to our database server locking up. I swear, as soon as I buy new hardware the existing servers start sulking and misbehaving. It happens every time!
This afternoon I'll be near the datacentre for other reasons, so I'll drop in and take a quick look at the servers as it's been a while. If I have time I should be able to upgrade the memory in one or both existing servers, and if I'm really lucky I might be able to swap bourbon in to replace beer. We'll see.
Anyway, the whole point of this post is: there may be some periods of OCAU unavailability today (Tuesday). Don't panic, it's just me fiddling with things. :) I tend to add information about outages (when I'm aware of them) to the OCAU Status Blog, so it's worth bookmarking that page.
Tech ARP have just published a guide to overclocking NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 260 graphics cards. Only the factory-overclocking of the ASUS ENGTX260 TOP allowed it to achieve a rough parity in performance with the Radeon HD 4870. Fortunately, the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260 is pretty overclockable. Best of all, NVIDIA provided all the necessary tools for easy overclocking, with complete access to core and memory clocks as well as fan speed.
The Tech Report gathered 20 netbooks to compare features, performance and portability, and share their picks for the best netbooks on the market. The number of netbook flavors available is simply staggering, and although the underlying hardware of many of these units is similar, key differences distinguish each one from its peers.
Guru3D pits 13 graphics cards against the soon to be released S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky PC game to see how they perform. Clear Sky will support three ranges of hardware, DirectX8 through 10. It will run fine if your computer coped with the original game. We however will focus at the very best image quality settings .. as this is Guru3D.com
If you're using Windows Home Server's built-in firewall and have made the mistake of using the "Restore Defaults" option, this guide will get you back in business. If you open the options for the Windows Firewall on your Windows Home Server, there is an advanced tab with an option to "Restore Defaults." I figured this would restore the Firewall to the state it ships with Windows Home Server. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case; it restores the Firewall to a BLANK state, losing all the necessary exceptions for WHS to function properly.
The World Science Fiction Convention will be held at the Melbourne Convention Centre in 2010. Aussiecon 4 will include panel discussions on a variety of science fiction subjects, such as technology of the future, writing, publishing, and the philosophical and sociological implications of the genre's works.
3M will be launching their first pocket-sized projector at the end of September. I immediately plugged it into a DVD player and watched Blackhawk Down on my desk—literally, on it, as I aimed it at my white Ikea desktop.
So many photos to choose from this week, it was hard to narrow it down to just twelve :)
Geek Stage Comedy, Sydney Wed 14th
(link) Sunday, 14-September-2008 07:53:36 (GMT +10) - by Agg
This from Ben: I'm Ben Waterhouse, producer of the Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) Revue. We're a bunch of UNSW computing students that are putting on a geeky sketch comedy show in just under a week's time.
We'd like to invite Sydney OCAUers to our show as a community get-together on Wednesday the 17th, and we've reserved a whole bunch of seats for the occasion.
We're also inviting the Atomicans and the guys from Whirlpool, and have a new Gigabyte motherboard to raffle off at the end of the night to the forum with the best turnout. So if your members bring friends, they'll increase their chances of winning.
There's a hail warning for a huge area around Sydney at the moment. Take cover!
ISP-level internet filtering creeps ever closer in Australia, with live trials coming up soon. As part of the federal budget, the Government allocated $125.8 million for a range of internet security initiatives, including the filtering program, over four years. Urrgh.
San Francisco's rogue admin has a few more tricks up his sleeve, with a terminal server hidden on the network somewhere. After a dramatic jailhouse meeting with San Francisco's mayor one week after his arrest, Childs handed over the data, but DTIS Chief Administrative Officer Ron Vinson said Wednesday that the city now expects to spend more than $1 million to clean up the mess.
Expect to see more robots helping out as the population becomes older, thanks AirQ. "Many years ago how common was it to see computerised cash registers? The day will come when robots become as common as computers are today." Not too surprising, I guess.
As long as those robots obey Asimov's three laws, like these, we should be ok. And hopefully they'll have a big red "I'm now in Evil Mode" light on their chest like in iRobot. Bicchi coordinates the EU-funded Phriends project to create a new generation of robots which is both intrinsically safe and versatile enough to interact with humans. “The most revolutionary and challenging feature of Phriends is designing and building robots capable of guaranteeing safety in physical human-robot interactions (pHRI),” the robotics specialist explains.
ZDNet report on the recent iTunes 8 upgrade, but apparently a bluescreen issue on some Windows machines has been fixed. The only issues I had with it is it keeps trying to install Safari on my PC and it seems to have naughtily associated itself with blank CD insertions, grr.
SecretSquirrel sent in a discussion about Firefox's EULA and Ubuntu. Mozilla Corp asked that this be added in order for us to continue to call the browser Firefox. Since Firefox is their trademark, which we intend to respect, we have the choice of working with Mozilla to meet their requirements, or switching to an unbranded browser.
Next Friday is Talk Like a Pirate Day, thanks Curtis. If you’re not ready yet, you can learn more about this international holiday on the About TLAPD page or practice some phrases from the PiratePhrases page.
A group calling itself the Greek Security Team gained access to a system at CERN around the same time the Large Hadron Collider was to be run for the first time. The system the hackers managed to access was CMSMON, which monitors the CMS software system as the vast detector takes data, during collisions between particles to study the energies and physics in the immediate aftermath of the Big Bang, which created the universe. Discussion in this thread.
Hardware Secrets look at the main features offered by Intel's Atom CPUs. Atom is a low-power CPU from Intel with very low power dissipation (less than 3 W), targeted to laptops or handheld devices with internet access – dubbed MIDs, Mobile Internet Devices. In this tutorial we will explore the architecture used on this CPU.
Obi-AB noticed that a university in Belfast will be offering the UK's first Jedi course. According to its publicity material, the course, Feel the Force: How to Train in the Jedi Way, teaches the real-life psychological techniques behind Jedi mind tricks.
Sharky Extreme have published their latest Extreme Gaming PC Buyer's Guide. There have been some noted hardware advancements since our previous guide update, including a few new AMD and Intel chipsets, and a plethora of ATI and NVIDIA enthusiast-level graphics cards. The overall look and feel of both system configurations will not change completely, but there will definitely be some upgrades and improvements in the key performance areas.
Think Computers has a guide to lowering your Radeon card's temperature using the Catalyst Control Center. While researching HD 4850 card prices at NewEgg for a review, a line on a user review caught my eye: "after I did the fan speed mod in CCC.". Huh? Fan speed mod? … After a quick Google, I found out that the fan speeds in Catalyst could be very low, even so low that the fan is spinning just enough to say it is on. There is a fix for this, a band-aid until ATI fixes the problem, but a fix nonetheless.
Yesterday marked fifty years since the first integrated circuit, or microchip, was demonstrated by Jack Kilby at Texas Instruments on 12 September 1958. The original chip might not be much to look at, but then Texas Instruments admits that Kilby often remarked that if he'd known he'd be showing the first working integrated circuit for the next 40-plus years, he would've 'prettied it up a little.'
Apple have released iPhone Software Version 2.1 that contains many bug fixes and improvements, including the following: Decrease in call set-up failures and call drops, significantly improved battery life for most users, improved accuracy of the 3G signal strength and much more. Discussion on the forum.
Tom's Hardware compared the latest 1TB hard drives from Hitachi and Western Digital. These new drives do not simply represent additional choice in this market. They have undergone substantial revisions to not only increase performance, but also to improve efficiency. Falling cost ensures great price per gigabyte ratios, increased energy awareness and improved performance per watt scores.
Hexus get busy with a pair of the latest Radeon HD4670 graphics cards from AMD. What we see here is that two-card HD 4670 suffers a little, which is to be expected in a multi-GPU environment. Simplifying if it some, the pleasing thing, we suppose, is that two cards offer better value than either a Radeon HD 4850 and GeForce 9800 GT, based purely on 3D performance.
Western Digital has just announced that it has started shipping new, high-capacity 2.5-inch Scorpio Blue hard drives. Utilizing industry-leading 250 GB-per-platter technology, the new WD Scorpio Blue 500 GB and 400 GB SATA hard drives are designed for notebook computers and portable storage devices.
HotHardware round-up a trio of Intel X48 based motherboards from ASUS, ECS and Intel. In this article we will be looking at the latest high-end desktop chipset from Intel, featuring support for DDR2 and DDR3 memory, support for 45nm dual- and quad-core processors, and PCI Express 2.0 connectivity with 16 lanes devoted to each PEG slot and compatibility with ATI's CrossFire technology.
AnandTech have published their hands-on preview of Sony’s A900 full-frame digital SLR. The culmination of the Sony push into the Digital SLR market was unveiled on September 8, after 18 months of hints, speculation, and closed case exhibits at photography events. It is likely that anyone out there who follows photography has at least heard of the A900 - Sony's flagship DSLR and the first to showcase the new Sony 24.6MP full-frame sensor. Discussion on the forum.
Digit-Life round-up BFG’s pre-overclocked GeForce 8800 GT, 9600 GT, GTX 280 graphics cards. BFG products are popular among users. This company is headquartered in the U.S., but all its plants are located in China. BFG is a close partner of NVIDIA, so only makes graphics cards based NVIDIA GPUs. Today we're going to examine three very interesting graphics cards from BFG.
BTW I've gotten a few scam emails today about an "Australian nuclear facility leak" or something, obvious trojan attached to the mail, don't open the attachment etc. At least the spammers are putting in an effort today instead of just belittling my wang. :)
Well, the Large Hadron Collilder works. Look ma, no headcrabs! Here's a funny webcam page for the LHC. Hint: it's not real. Meanwhile, FatMan spotted an interesting article from last month about how they stop the beams when needed. In experiments, researchers found that an 86-microsecond exposure of the beam would bore a hole 40 meters into a block of copper.
The iPod was apparently invented by a furniture salesman, or at least, he had the original idea. "I can't even bring myself to buy an iPod for myself," he told the newspaper. "Apple did give me one but it broke down after eight months." lol.
Metallica's much anticipated new album will be out at midnight tonight, it seems.. not sure if I'm looking forward to it or not. Anyway, there's a big thread about it in the Entertainment forum.
MadShrimps compare Geforce 9500 GT SLI vs Geforce 9600 GT Performance. Not too long ago NVIDIA launched their new entry level video card, the Geforce 9500 GT. Today we take a closer look at what extra performance can be had when you add a second card in your system; we compare the performance of the 9500 GT in SLI to a single 9600 GT.
GamingNexus have an interview about an upcoming SBK World Superbike Championship game. SBK has always been the benchmark for any motorcycle game developed, and SBK08 is a new beginning on next-gen platforms. This is the title that every passionate player was waiting for since 2001 and it’s pretty different to any other racing game made until now. SBK is about the real sensations you can feel as a fan of bikes – the races, the speed and the glamour. Hrm, I've never found a motorcycle racing game that I've really enjoyed.. hopefully this one will be good.
NZGamer interviewed a Kiwi game author who created a cool-looking flying game, thanks Scott. But how straightforward is it really? And what sort of chances are there for kiwis hoping to make it big on the international scene? To find out, NZGamer tracked down Lawrence Hodson, creator of the very cool Sharky's Air Legends, a game that's already been making a serious impression on the powers-that-be, featuring in several Microsoft showcases, demonstrating just what the XNA toolkit's capable of.
While we're talking interviews, there's another one on IGN about the game Dead Space. IGN: Dead Space has been banned in a handful of nations now. Did you have any issues getting the game through the stringent Australian Classification Board? Glen Schofield: Australia is getting the full, complete version. No cuts.
AMD ATI Radeon HD 4600 Series
(link) Thursday, 11-September-2008 02:52:07 (GMT +10) - by Agg
AMD have unveiled the ATI Radeon HD 4600 Series mainstream graphics cards. Comprising the ATI Radeon™ HD 4670 and the ATI Radeon™ HD 4650 graphics cards, the ATI Radeon HD 4600 series leverages the leading technology found in the award-winning ATI Radeon™ HD 4800 series, including support for the latest DirectX® 10.1 games, superior HD multimedia capabilities and industry leading performance-per-watt, all delivered at affordable prices for the mainstream graphics segment.
Less than half an hour until they fire up the Large Hadron Collider for some test runs (but not the big experiments yet). Discussion here, webcams here, webcast here.
There's a new trailer for the upcoming James Bond film, "Quantum of Solace". Quantum of Solace continues the high octane adventures of James Bond in Casino Royale. Betrayed by Vesper, the woman he loved, 007 fights the urge to make his latest mission personal. Pursuing his determination to uncover the truth, Bond and M interrogate Mr White who reveals the organisation which blackmailed Vesper is far more complex and dangerous than anyone had imagined. Looks good! Discussion here.
Anandtech are the latest to check out Intel's new solid-state drive, the X25-M. There's 4 more reviews linked in earlier newsposts also. No one really paid much attention to Intel getting into the SSD (Solid State Disk) business. We all heard the announcements, we heard the claims of amazing performance, but I didn't really believe it. After all, it was just a matter of hooking up a bunch of flash chips to a controller and putting them in a drive enclosure, right?
Tweaktown checked out fifteen USB 2.0 flash drives. By now, few can deny the convenience of having a small size, high volume storage device that is able to travel with them in the same manner as a set of keys or wallet.
"Light The Night" Fundraiser
(link) Wednesday, 10-September-2008 03:22:50 (GMT +10) - by Agg
Team.AU and OCAU member Youngpro, who was recently diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia, is raising money for the Leukaemia Foundation's first annual Light The Night fundraiser. The Leukaemia Foundation runs a lot of invaluable services including transport and counseling for patients, accomodation for families and funding for research. You can help by donating to Youngpro's team here.
Microsoft are offering their Hyper-V virtualisation software for free, thanks Sniper. The software comprises Hyper-V itself, plus a cut-down Server Core installation of Microsoft's Windows Server 2008, and as such is a stand-alone version of the virtualisation solution.
TechReport look at some revised Xeons from Intel. Although much of the focus in recent weeks has been on upcoming chips based on the next-generation Nehalem microarchitecture, Intel isn't yet finished advancing its 45nm processors, as witnessed by today's introduction of a new revision of its dual-socket Xeon server/workstation-class CPUs. This new E-stepping silicon brings a bit of a clock frequency increase and some minor reductions in power draw to the Harpertown Xeons.
Guru3D have an interview with Adrian Silasi from SiSoft. We believe the industry is seeing a shift from the model where heavy computational workload is processed on a traditional CPU to a model that uses the (GP)GPU. While in the past the GPU was only used for games and graphics, programmable shaders have changed this perception. With the release of GPGPU programming languages it is now possible to compile most algorithms to run on a (GP)GPU without the developer knowing anything about programmable shaders. You can grab the latest Sandra from our mirror of course.
TrustedReviews have an editorial about TV and the internet. The BBC's iPlayer shows just how good the Internet can be for delivering TV content, but it's only available in the UK. Unfortunately TV companies are intent on limiting their content to domestic viewers, rather than global ones.
ModMyMachine have another tutorial video posted. This time it's Mounting a water cooling block on a HD4870 X2 graphic card.
Tweaktown compared motherboard energy-saving features, namely ASUS EPU 6, MSI DrMOS and GIGABYTE DES Advanced. Over the last six months the idea of going green with each motherboard manufacturer has picked up. Ideas and thoughts of a cleaner and greener PC industry are now taking hold. GIGABYTE can be thanked for kicking this off. Not only have they been the first to introduce solid state components across the entire line of boards, but also the first to introduce a hardware based voltage switching system that allows the board to physically shut down un-used phases when the CPU is at idle and during lower states of activity; very impressive.
SiSoftware have released the latest version of their popular system information and benchmarking utility, Sandra 2009. Among other things it now has a GPGPU benchmark. For more info and to download from our local mirror, see our mirror page:
Apple's special event is currently underway, where no doubt some big announcements will be made. Engadget, ArsTechnica, MacWorld and Gizmodo have live coverage. There's a discussion thread here about it.
Thanks to everyone who pointed out that overclocking, and OCAU, have received quite a prominent mention on the Sydney Morning Herald website today - front page and specifically this article.
If you're an SMH reader visiting OCAU for the first time today, welcome! Feel free to browse or join our busy forum, browse some extreme modded and extreme cooled PCs in our PC Database, and see what you can find in our Wiki. Make yourself at home!
New "Bourbon" Server
(link) Monday, 8-September-2008 05:49:29 (GMT +10) - by Agg
I bought us some new (well, secondhand) server hardware recently, and it'll go into service in a couple of weeks. The new server is called bourbon and its first role will be to replace the current beer server. The new server is not particularly exciting in terms of hardware - it's almost identical to beer, both being Dell PowerEdge 1850 1RU machines, but bourbon has slightly faster CPUs, 3 times as much memory (12GB) and nearly 5 times as much disk space. This will let us take some of the webserver load off BBQ and let it focus on doing database work only. More disk space will allow us to consider things like forum image attachments. Beer will then give us some redundancy for Bourbon (I already have an entire spare chassis and other spares for BBQ) and also makes it easier for us to move to the latest version of PHP, MySQL and the SLES operating system without having to run the site on one server while the other is being upgraded. One possible future plan would be to have both Beer and Bourbon as "front-end" servers after BBQ is replaced by something else that takes up less rack space, but that's still some way off yet.
Anyway, here's the PCDB entry for the new server if you're interested:
OCAU member Andrew357 will be participating in the upcoming MS Sydney to the Gong Ride to raise money for MS sufferers. You can donate and support him here if you like. Unfortunately I can’t offer you a pretty lady in a Bikini or my awesome self in budgie smugglers or a mankini; but I’m asking the crew at OCAU to dig deep for what is a reasonable and worthy cause.
Mick spotted an interesting blog post about bittorrent use in Australia. For years Australia's copyright enforcers have privately admitted they have no intention of dragging local file-sharers through the courts US-style. The Australian arm of the copyright police - Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft - now publicly admits it has no interest in prosecuting file-sharers.
As mentioned earlier, Jerry Seinfeld is teaming up with Microsoft to promote Vista. The first ad is now on YouTube and has everyone pretty much scratching their heads. Still, it's part of a larger campaign so perhaps all will become clear later.
Speaking of YouTube, we have linked this before but Mindy reminded me of it. The Large Hadron Rap is a funny musical explanation of what the LHC hopes to achieve when it's turned on soon. It's become quite a YouTube hit. Apparently they're activating the LHC in only a few days, so keep on top of things in the giant thread. And keep an eye out for headcrabs.
HWZone went a Samsung party to launch some new LCD TVs, while TechWareLabs have some new Dell keyboard and mouse spy shots. A new Dell mouse seems to be a shot across the bow for Logitech. The text around the sensor reads "LaserStream Technology" which is a trademark used by Agilent Technologies, a company that sold laser technology to Logitech.
Phoronix looked at Intel Atom Disk Encryption performance. While the ASUS Eee PC 901 doesn't have its solid-state disk drives encrypted by default, if you are storing any potentially sensitive information on this netbook -- or any mobile device for that matter -- you really should encrypt the data.
Spore should be officially out any day now, but there are apparently leaked copies around. Bit-Tech, TrustedReviews and GamingHeaven have all published reviews. Maxis are responsible for many addictive PC games, Simcity and the Sims are the first that spring to mind. Spore, however is their most ambitious project so far as you take control of a lifeform as it evolves from a cellular organism to the end result of being capable of intergalactic space travel. Is the game a classic however or just a rather nice diversion?
From Junglist: Good Game won't be airing this Monday night on ABC2, nor the next week, due to the paralympics. We'll still air on Friday night, and our free download & stream will be up as normal on Monday. This week is an episode choc full of games, even moreso than usual, as we start gearing up for the holiday rush. Check it out on their site.
If you're having trouble logging into the forums today, it may be because your password was automatically reset by our forum software. As part of an upgrade last night, accounts with certain insecure passwords were reset, and an email was sent to the address in UserCP containing the new password. If you haven't been keeping your UserCP email up to date, you won't have received that email and hence won't know your new password. If you're having trouble logging in, drop me an email.
It's worth checking your email setting in UserCP regardless, to make sure you have a valid email. Otherwise if we receive a lot of bounced error messages due to an incorrect email we may have to limit your account until it's fixed. We receive literally thousands of bounced emails every day now, so please keep yours up to date. Thanks!
Valve's digital distribution network, Steam, has slashed nearly 50% off every id Software game on its network. This offer even applies to the id Super Pack, which includes everything from their earliest classics, to games like Doom 3 (22 Games in Total), for a measly $34.99. Quake 4 and Enemy Territory: Quake Wars are the only games i've noticed without any major price reduction.
Virus Bulletin this month released the results of a major comparative of the latest security products. The test covers a range of metrics, including detection rates over various types of malware including adware and spyware, false positive rates, scanning speed, proactive detection, and response times to outbreaks. So how does your anti-virus protection rate?
Bit-tech have published a review of Acer's G24 widescreen gaming monitor. The G24's glossy surface and orange skin may be fit into the love-it-or-hate-it category for features but there's no doubting the reflective screen does bring benefits in terms of the super sharp image quality and improved colour saturation compared with other matte TN panels. It's also pretty quick too, making the G24 an easy recommend for gamers looking for a 24-incher.
Tom's hardware compiles an article to help users find the best video card for their hard earned money. Detailed graphics card specifications and reviews are great—that is, if you have the time to do the research. But at the end of the day, what a gamer needs is the best graphics card within a certain budget.
VentureBeat has a lengthy story about the issues surrounding the Xbox 360's “Red Ring of Death.” This is the unauthorized tale of how Microsoft lost its chance to become the leader in the biggest market it has attacked beyond its twin monopolies in Office and Windows software.
AnandTech get hand's on with Nvidia's latest mainstream card, the Geforce 9500GT. So with so many similarities, why release this part? There won't be an endless supply of G84 hardware going forward. Thus the G96 comes along with nearly the same specs selling at the same price. The decreased die size of the 65nm G96 (as opposed to the 80nm G84) will also help to increase profits for NVIDIA and board partners on this hardware while they sell at the same price point.
Virtual-Hideout have published their coverage from this year's Penny Arcade Expo (PAX). This past weekend, my work schedule changed and freed up some time. On a spur of the moment change, we pillaged the Penny Arcade Expo also known as PAX 2008 in Seattle, WA at the Convention Center. I must say that the event seemed to be well organized. With the exception of the CC staff, the PAX crew were on the ball.
Lavalys yesterday announced the general availability of version 4.60 of its EVEREST family of products. These include the widely used PC diagnostic and benchmarking tool EVEREST Ultimate Edition and the increasingly popular IT asset management and network monitoring solution EVEREST Corporate Edition. This release brings several improvements and bug fixes in direct response to customer feedback.
The Tech Report review Asus' Eee PC 901 netbook. If you hang around these parts at all, you're surely familiar by now with Asus' little Eee PC laptops. These miniature, low-priced laptops were initially inspired by the One Laptop Per Child effort aimed at providing laptops to kids in developing nations, but the Eee PC has become something of a minor phenomenon in more traditional PC markets.
Mozilla developers have made Firefox 3.1 Alpha 2 available to download, for those wanting the test out the latest revision.
Interesting Forum Threads
(link) Saturday, 6-September-2008 04:28:26 (GMT +10) - by Agg
Did you know Saturday is the quietest day of the week for our forums? :) So you have the servers all to yourself.. and about 500 other people.
The world finals of Gigabyte's Overclocking Championship are being held later this month. You can vote on that page (for the Australian team naturally!) and win some prizes if they win. Discussion here.
XbitLabs looked at 400GB hard drives in RAID. In our today’s article we are going to talk about the ability of seven different 400GB 3.5" hard disk drives to work in RAID arrays of various types. We will test solutions from Hitachi, Samsung, Seagate and Western Digital.
Sony is recalling 440,000 VAIO laptops due to overheating issues. Sony Corp. (SNE) said Thursday that the recall involves 19 models in the Vaio TZ series manufactured between May 2007 and July 2008. Discussion here. Some sources say it's worldwide, but this one says it only affects USA purchases, thanks Slade. Anyway, worth checking if you've got one.
MoMan69 spotted this Intel press release (from IDF in August) about our robot future. Intel researchers are also investigating how millions of tiny micro-robots, called catoms, could build shape-shifting materials.
They're also gearing up to announce their 6-core processors soon. Intel on September 15 is expected to roll out the Intel Xeon 7400 series Dunnington processor targeted at the server market, the final member of the "Penryn" family of processors, according to sources at server vendors. Penryn will be followed by the Nehalem microarchitecture, due to appear initially as the Core i7 processor in the fourth quarter.
Canon Australia have a photography competition running, with $50,000 worth of Canon prizes to be won. Please note this year's Photo5 is open to both professional and amateur photographers so make sure you enter the correct category. Photo5 is only open to Australian residents and entry is limited, register by 30 September 2008. Discussion in the Photography forum here.
Dell have unveiled their Inspiron Mini 9, a tiny netbook which I assume competes with the EeePC and MSI Wind etc. More info here on PC World. But the sub-$500 Mini 9 carries a 1.6-GHz Intel Atom CPU, 1GB of RAM, and a solid-state drive, making it a good starter machine for basic computing at a reasonable price.
A few people noted that the upcoming Life with PlayStation feature will be integrated with Folding@Home, presumably adding a truckload more processing power to Stanford's project. More PS3 folding info here.
PC Authority Awards
(link) Friday, 5-September-2008 06:23:26 (GMT +10) - by Agg
It looks like PC Authority are running their Reliability and Service Awards Survey again. You can win some stuff by telling them what you think about online vendors and products in Australia. As usual I encourage you to remember your experiences (good and bad) with our sponsors and other companies over the last year.
NASA's Space Shuttle Atlantis is rolling out to the launch pad as I write this. This afternoon, Atlantis' crew members are scheduled to arrive at Kennedy for an equipment test Friday in preparation for their mission to service NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. The telescope has already rewritten the books on astronomy and will remain operational for at least another five years following the upgrades. Atlantis is targeted to launch Oct. 8 on mission STS-125.
DDsD spotted this funny unplug your friends page. It's an epidemic. It can strike anyone. It begins harmlessly enough... maybe with a cell phone, an online social network profile, or an IM. But before long, the electronic screens invade every corner of your life. I should probably send one of those messages to myself.
HotHardware rounded up four solid-state drives for comparison. On the following pages, we thought we'd level-set the features, performance and pricing landscape for you with respect to the current state of SSDs. Today, we have a look at four different SSD offerings, two from OCZ, one from Mtron and another from Super Talent. Is a Solid State Disk in your future? We'll try to help you answer that question in this full performance evaluation and showcase.
BMW have a demonstration car with a flexible skin. For instance, the headlights of the concept can be exposed or hidden by the car's skin just like blinking eyes, and the hood opens from the center as the fabric parts to expose the engine. This idea extends to the interior, where BMW designers have made visible only those instruments that are required at a certain time, while the rest of the time the same fabric interior "blinks" them out of view.
MadShrimps consider anti-aliasing scaling with XP and Vista using two high-end video cards. In this in-depth article we take a look at the performance of the NVIDIA Geforce GTX 280 and ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2 when anti-aliasing is enabled. We test 8 different games at several different AA levels under Windows XP as well as under Windows Vista. How does performance scale when you go from XP to Vista, how much impact does enabling AA have?
Google's Chrome browser apparently has some security issues, thanks AB. Should users wish to be prompted before every file download, they should choose "Ask where to save each file before downloading" on the "Minor Tweaks" tab in the "Options" dialog, Lamb said.Techgage and HWZone have posted their thoughts on this new browser, and there's a big thread here in our forums.
HWZone have posted their full IFA 2008 coverage from Berlin, Germany. IFA is of course the Internationale Funkausstellung, apparently the world's largest Consumer Electronics trade fair.
Digit-Life keep examining the best video card and CPU combinations. After the previous analysis named "Graphics Cards + Processor: Gaming Combo", in which we had tested graphics cards with AMD GPUs, we are ready for a sequel to the fixed-budget research, now with graphics cards based on NVIDIA GeForce GPUs. We have updated the list of games and have run all tests at the 1680x1050 resolution.
TechSpot meanwhile consider gaming mice. Meet the cream of the crop: from Logitech, the G5 and G9 mice. Microsoft is represented by the Sidewinder and Habu mice, while Razer rounds out the group with the Lachesis gaming mouse.
Remember to keep an eye on our Sponsor Specials Forum if you're shopping around. In there our many sponsors have discounts and specials on video cards, office chairs, amplifiers, notebooks and a range of general components. Something for everyone :)
With Intel's Nehalem (Core i7) set for release this year, motherboard manufacturers are preparing a variety of motherboards based on the Intel's X58 chipset. Windwithme was kind enough to share photos of the latest Intel X58 based motherboard from GIGABYTE, named the GA-X58-EXTREME.
Google Chrome Beta is now available for the public to download. On the surface, we designed a browser window that is streamlined and simple. To most people, it isn't the browser that matters. It's only a tool to run the important stuff - the pages, sites and applications that make up the web. Like the classic Google homepage, Google Chrome is clean and fast. It gets out of your way and gets you where you want to go. Discussion on the forum.
Jalopnik got the chance to test drive the new KITT from the new Knight Rider show. As a child of the 80s and former member of the Knight Rider faithful (I happily toted the Rider lunchbox until third grade) it was nearly impossible to stifle my internal yelp of anticipation when first presented with the keys to the new KITT for an exclusive first drive.
Legion Hardware compare CPU Scaling With The AMD's latest Radeon HD 4870 X2. Today we are testing at a range of CPU's with the new Radeon HD 4870 X2 graphics card, to try and determine what kind of processing power is required to push this new dual-GPU monster to the limit. In total there are 40 CPU configurations tested, including processors from the Intel Core 2 Quad and Core 2 Duo series, along with a number of AMD Phenom X4 and Athlon64 X2 processors.
The Tech Report review Western Digital's Caviar Black 1TB hard drive. The Black's platters are simply an evolved version of what's available in the 640GB Caviar SE16. Upgrades have been applied elsewhere on the drive, too, including a bump in onboard cache to 32MB. So was the Caviar Black 1TB worth the wait? Can WD extend its hot streak and add the terabyte performance crown to its already impressive palmarès?
Bit-tech have published their ATI RV770 architecture analysis. There is a hell of a lot to like about the Radeon HD 4800 series and RV770 is arguably one of the best ATI graphics processors we’ve ever seen. It’s very clear that RV770 was all about architectural efficiency and on that front, AMD has really achieved. RV770 caught Nvidia by surprise and it wasn’t until the company cut its prices that it became competitive again.
Tom's Hardware take a look at AMD's processor release history. Last month we shined a spotlight on Intel with a history of the company's most notable processors. This month it's AMD's turn, as we summarize the last 25 processor released from AMD's labs.
GIGABYTE announced the first annual GIGABYTE Open Overclocking Championship (GO OC) - to be held in Taipei, Taiwan on Thursday, September 25th, 2008. The GIGABYTE Open Overclocking Championship promises to be the industry's largest global overclocking competition in history with overclockers from 23 countries including Australia, battling for first place at the 3F Ballroom of the prestigious Grand Hyatt Hotel in Taipei, Taiwan.
Tech ARP have updated their desktop CPU comparison guide. These days, there are so many CPU models that it has become quite impossible to keep up with the different models. Therefore, we decided to compile this guide to provide an easy reference for those who are interested in comparing the specifications.
Bit-tech have published the entries for their August Mod of the Month contest. One of the entries is dimtec's Tachikoma. About one of the only things that is considered to be cooler than a model mod is a robot mod - and that's at least in part due to how rarely they're ever seen. … It's that exact case that I found sitting quietly in the corner of the forums this month - the sleepy but brilliant Tachikoma by dimtek.
IBM Australia has offered staff generous bonuses to work through industrial action, according to the Australian Services Union. The union has predicted serious operational disruptions, including disruptions to wage and social services payments, and delays to flights if the industrial action goes ahead. IBM clients that rely on the group include Westpac and Qantas, and critical government services providers the Australian Customs Service and Medicare.
Many victims of the eBay trader Ebusiness Supplies have reportedly not received a refund from PayPal Australia. Usually when goods purchased are not delivered PayPal will tap into a seller's account to reimburse a buyer. So hopes were raised when PayPal managing director Andrew Pipolo publicly said the company, not EBS, would refund all affected customers from a special fund. However, it has emerged that PayPal's own staff may have reneged on Mr Pipolo's pledge.
StarDock have announced the "Gamer's Bill of Rights" and they hope that other publishers will embrace these "rights" too. According to Stardock, the objective of the Gamer’s Bill of Rights is to increase the confidence of consumers of the quality of PC games which in turn will lead to more sales and a better gaming experience.
(link) Monday, 1-September-2008 11:29:12 (GMT +10) - by Agg
Hurricane Gustav looks like it will reach New Orleans in about 4 hours or so. Everyone is a lot better prepared than when Katrina, a similarly sized storm, hit 3 years ago with the loss of 1800 lives. Most people have evactuated New Orleans already, so here's hoping the devastation and loss of life will be significantly less this time. There's a thread here in Current Events keeping track of things, and people are watching 3 drunk guys on a webcam too.
There's been a record 9 entries into our Iron Musician competition for August. You can listen to the entries and vote for your favourite here.
In yet another case of a hard drive that should probably have been physically destroyed rather than sold, some UK taxpayer data was sold on eBay. According to the Daily Mail, the computer was sold on eBay to a Scottish computer expert for just £6.99 (US$14). The expert then used data recovery equipment to discover around 35,000 files, including council tax bills, photographs of council staff and internal memos.
NVIDIA apparently has confirmed their QPI license, meaning they can make motherboard chipsets for Intel's Bloomfield and other future CPUs. Discussion of these future CPUs here.
Andy sent in an article about virtual hotels in virtual worlds. I just finished writing this post about hotels in Second Life, World of Warcraft and other MMOs.
Guru3D have updated RivaTuner to v2.10. GeForce 9x00 support has been added as well as ForceWare GeForce drivers up-to 177.92 and AMD ATI Catalyst 8.8 support. With this release comes support for ATI Radeon 4800 class graphics adapaters and better GeForce GTX series 200 support as well.
Sniper noticed this 4-Terabyte solid-state drive tech being tested by IBM. Compared with the fastest industry benchmarked hard disk drive system, Quicksilver not only improved performance by 250 percent but did this in less than one-twentieth of the response time, one-fifth of the floor space, and with 55 percent of the power and cooling requirements, IBM said.
ZDNet have an interesting article about CAPTCHA-solving farms in India. No CAPTCHA can survive a human that’s receiving financial incentives for solving it, and with an army of low-waged human CAPTCHA solvers officially in the business of "data processing" while earning a mere $2 for solving a thousand CAPTCHA’s, I’m already starting to see evidence of consolidation between India’s major CAPTCHA solving companies.
I haven't watched it fully yet, but BFM sent in this Australian Story episode about an Australian geek having a hard time in the real world. Daniel Meadows lives his life on the internet. Through his video diaries on YouTube, the shy young recluse has found friendship and fame. When love beckoned in the real world, Daniel Meadows left the security of his parent's home to follow his heart across the globe. But his American dream became a border security nightmare, sparking a frenzy of outraged vlogging and blogging around the world.