Just quick reminder for anyone keen on participating in this year's Chimp Challenge. The start date is Tuesday, May 5th at 12pm, Pacific Daylight Time. That equates to 5AM Wed 6th AEST. It finishes when the last team crosses the line. You can find the full details and discussion here.
So what is 'Chimp Challenge' you say?It started a few years ago between 2 sub-teams from overclockers.com and Maximum PC Magazine that both happened to have monkey names. Last year we were invited to join in along with [H]ardocp. The teams each raced under the one monkey themed name to a predetermined point’s finish line. The first to it is the winner and gets the lucky jaded monkey which legend says brings with it wealth and fame! But it's not over then. The remaining teams fight it out for the minor placing trying to avoid being last and the cursed dreaded monkey’s paw that comes with it.
Microsoft has announced the release to manufacturing of Service Pack 2 for Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008. Today we are announcing the Release to Manufacturing (RTM) of Service Pack 2 (SP2) for Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008. SP2 represents the latest step in Microsoft’s commitment to continuous improvement. It includes all updates that have been delivered since SP1, as well as support for new types of hardware and emerging hardware standards.
Tom's hardware has a look at how many CPU cores you actually need. How many CPU cores are right for me? Is a triple-core processor good enough for gaming, or should you splurge on a quad-core chip? Is a dual-core CPU good enough for the average user, or do more cores really make a difference? Which applications are optimized for multiple cores and which ones react only to specifications like frequency or cache size? We answer these questions.
Hexus compare ATI and NVIDIA hardware, evaluating which perform best under Linux. Almost five years have passed since my last formal comparison of ATI and NVIDIA on Linux. At the time, it was only a brief mention as part of a larger tutorial article, and the result was "an NVIDIA card three times cheaper is three times faster". Since then, I've let the impressions left on me remain, and have been pretty religious in buying NVIDIA hardware, to ensure performance under Linux.
HotHardware reviews Acers Aspire Revo SFF NVIDIA Ion PC. Regardless of what anyone thinks of Ion though, the platform is moving closer to public availability. We took a look at NVIDIA's Ion reference system a couple of months back and in our conclusion stated that "we want one - preferably sooner than later". Well, the wait is almost over as the first publicly announced Ion design win has landed in the HotHardware labs. Discussion on the forum.
TweakTown review Foxconn's Quantum Force X58 Flaming Blade Motherboard. Foxconn is going to try with their latest addition to their high-end board sector (known as Quantum Force) for enthusiasts and overclockers with this one being called the Flaming Blade. Today we are pitting the Flaming Blade against the already tested Blood Rage and the ASUS P6T Deluxe OC Palm Edition board which is our test bed setup.
Gizmodo explains Bluetooth technology and why Bluetooth 3.0 is better. Have you heard? Bluetooth 3.0 sounds like a fantasy spec: Wi-Fi speeds, faster response time and more efficient power usage. Here's a quick primer on Bluetooth and why Bluetooth 3.0 is going to rock face.
The latest beta version of Firefox is now available as a preview release. Firefox 3.5 Beta 4 is based on the Gecko 1.9.1 rendering platform. Firefox 3.5 offers many changes over the previous version, supporting new web technologies, improving performance and ease of use, and adding new features for users.
A new version of the well know graphics card information tool GPU-Z has now been made available. You can grab the latest version here. CPU-Z also had an update this week. Download link.
Microsoft has released Service Pack 2 for the Office 2007 software suite which includes improvements in stability, performance and security as well as general product fixes. Includes all of the Public Updates, Security Updates, Cumulative Updates and Hotfixes released through February 2009.
Guru3D reviewed AMD's recently launched Athlon X2 7850 Black Edition CPU. AMD developed a new dual-core processor based on B3 revision/stepping, under codename KUMA. Much like the 7750 quite frankly .. it's a really interesting product. AMD is manufacturing these CPUs with 65nm process technology, and this model will have a 95W thermal envelope.
Cooler Master announced the HAF 922 Mid Tower Chassis. Following the overwhelming success of the full tower HAF 932, Cooler Master extends the HAF (High Airflow Flow) line to a mid tower in the HAF 922. This beastly machine comes with rugged looks, massive air flow cooling and the Cooler Master trademark interior.
General Electric announced technology enabling 500GB optical discs. The company has unveiled a new micro-holographic optical disc technology that can accommodate up to 500 GB of data per disc—that's the same capacity as about 100 standard DVDs. And although the company will first be pitching the technology as the electronic archiving industry, it may eventually make its way to consumers. Discussion on the forum.
Nvidia is planning to launch a single PCB, dual GPU GeForce GTX 295 card somewhere in mid May. Although the official launch date hasn't been firmed up yet, the card is based on a new P658 PCB which is 11" long and takes up 2 slots with a new cooler. The core clock remains unchanged at 576MHz while the memory is clocked slightly higher at 1100MHz. Discussion on the forum.
Anandtech get busy overclocking ATI's Radeon HD 4890 video card. When we first heard about the overclocking potential of the 4890 from AMD, we were a bit skeptical. At the same time, the numbers we were hearing were impressive and AMD doesn't have a history of talking up that sort of thing to us. There have already been some investigations around the web that do point to the 4890 as having some healthy overclocking potential, so we decided to try our hand at it and see what we could come up with.
Microsoft discusses Windows 7's XP mode in-depth. As part of the upcoming Windows 7 Release Candidate milestone, Microsoft will release a beta version of Windows XP Mode, which allows users of Windows 7 Professional and above to launch many older Windows XP productivity applications directly from their Windows 7 desktop.
Western Digital is giving OCAU readers the chance to win 1 of 2 Velociraptor Hard Drives simply by entering their "Guess the Picture" competition now running at www.wdpromotions.com.au. The 2 Velociraptors are only eligible to OCAU readers, so make sure you select OverclockersAU from the "where did you hear about us" section on the entry form. OCAU readers are also eligible to win the main prize, this month being 1 of 3 Double passes to game 2 of the Rugby League State of Origin Series at ANZ Stadium in June! The 1st 3 overall correct entries will win a Double pass to the State of Origin and the 1st 2 OCAU entries will also win the Western Digital Velociraptor Drive!
The NDA has been lifted on ATI's new value-oriented video card. The ATI Radeon HD 4770 graphics processing unit (GPU) offers an unbeatable combination of HD gaming performance1 and price. Featuring the industry’s cutting-edge 40nm process technology and the most advanced GDDR5 memory technology, this GPU delivers seamless frame rates with incredible speed and processing power. Proof that high performance gaming and price can co-exist without compromise.
Starlight and NSW Fire Brigades
(link) Tuesday, 28-April-2009 06:29:40 (GMT +10) - by Agg
From Lucus Maximus:
Just a reminder Starlight Day is this Friday 1st May which is the biggest fundraiser every year for the Starlight Children’s Foundation which brightened the lives of seriously ill and hospitalised children, and their families, throughout Australia. The economic downturn has meant a decline in incoming funds which means public support is vital to ensure Starlight can help every child. There’s only one choice. Donate generously this Starlight Day. Donate Online, or head into Any EBGames store to Trade, Donate or Buy to help Support Starlight from the 27th April till the 3rd May.
And from Zippy7:
Last year, I read about the NSW Fire Brigade open day on your news list on OCAU. It was definitely worth my effort of dragging my 2 young kids along - when they got there, they had a great time! Not sure if it has been mentioned yet, but it is on this coming Sunday 3 May.
You may have noticed the outage yesterday afternoon - during that time I upgraded our forum/database server BBQ from 8GB to 16GB of RAM, giving it a bit more headroom during busy times. It's getting a little long in the tooth now, but with four 2.4GHz Opterons, 16GB of RAM and four 15k-RPM U320 drives in RAID 10, it's still no slouch. :)
The ISP Exetel are apparently going to trial a white-box filtering technology, independent to the Government's own trials. Unlike ISPs participating in the government's trial, Exetel will not allow its customers to opt-out of the filter. However, using a hybrid of BGP routing and a proxy-like filter, the ISP expects there to be no performance impact.
From IntelInside: Lian-Li introduces PC-C33 and PC-C34F HTPC enclosures. More info here and here. Details on features and extras available for the Lian PC-C33 here and for the PC-C34F here.
TechCrunch look back at how Google Earth was used to find Steve Fossett's crash site. And now the family is hoping to help others do similar types of search and rescue using Google Earth. The family has set up a system called MARSI, which stands for Mapped Archive of Rescue & Search Information.
OCModShop looked at some Star Trek Breakfast Cereal.. riiight. :) The bulk of the cereal is made up of oat swirls that are supposed to be galaxies. I find this hardly representative of the real universe. For one, there are four types of galaxies, and none of them look like a cinnamon roll.
OCClub are the latest to compare Crossfire and SLI. ATI has great price points, but they just can't deliver overpowering performance for that price. On the other hand, Nvidia delivers the performance but at a steeper price. The old adage "you have to pay to play" comes to mind here.
The winner of the third annual TIME Magazine online poll of "The World's Most Influential Person" is 4chan's founder, moot. The 21-year-old college student and founder of the online community 4chan.org, whose real name is Christopher Poole, received 16,794,368 votes and an average influence rating of 90 (out of a possible 100) to handily beat the likes of Barack Obama, Vladimir Putin and Oprah Winfrey.
There may be an outage this afternoon - I'll be near the datacentre and might duck in and upgrade some memory if I get a chance.
A few people sent word that Ubuntu 9.04 has been released. Ubuntu 9.04 Desktop Edition delivers a range of feature enhancements to improve the user experience. Shorter boot speeds, some as short as 25 seconds, ensure faster access to a full computing environment on most desktop, laptop and netbook models. Enhanced suspend-and-resume features also give users more time between charges along with immediate access after hibernation. Intelligent switching between Wi-Fi and 3G environments has been broadened to support more wireless devices and 3G cards, resulting in a smoother experience for most users. Wiki here, discussion here.
HWZone looked at AMD's new Phenom II X4 955, as well as looking at the upcoming six-core Opterons. It's been six years since AMD debuted its Opteron server chips that shook up the industry. And the chipmaker marked the occasion by launching a whole slew of new Opteron models, including a surprise announcement.
PCPerspective have some sneak peek info of Istanbul, the 6-core technology, too. TechReport say there'll be 12-core and 16-core versions within a couple of years. Among other revelations, the company said its 12-core Magny-Cours processors will launch in the first quarter of 2010. A 16-core, 32nm successor based on the next-gen Bulldozer architecture will follow in 2011, as well.
Apparently Windows 7 streams to Xbox360 and PS3 seamlessly, according to HardCoreWare. Since Windows 7 adds native support for these programs, we tested the streaming capabilities with both consoles. Will you be able to stream MP4 and MOV files straight "out of the box"? Read on to find out!
NinjaLane compared dual vs triple channel memory on i7. We left this testing session with the opinion that the triple channel configuration is a definite plus for the consumer and happens to be very logical progression in the ever increasing performance of memory. We also got a glimpse into how far the technology has come when compared to an older DDR2 system.
Today's timewaster is this geography puzzler from Lufthansa, thanks Mezla. Can geography, adrenalin and brain-teasing all be combined to good effect on a web site? This little game from Lufthansa made me smile, and also slap myself in the face.
Chris pointed out that Valve's Orange Box is $9.99 USD this weekend. So that's Half-Life 2, plus the two expansions and Lost Coast, plus Portal, plus Team Fortress 2. I've managed to resist signing up to Steam so far, but hrm. Discussion here.
OCAU forums member thargs is raising funds for men's mental health, in the "Banish the Black Dog Ride". Ride is on the 16-17th May. Starts in Townsville and then to Clare, overnight Clare and returns to Townsville next day. The whole event has been organised by the Townsville Rotary Club.
GoN report on the impending release of a discussion paper on an R18+ rating for computer games in Australia. As such, Bob Debus, the Commonwealth Minister of Home Affairs will "soon" release a revised version of the yet-to-be-seen discussion paper to the public, which will outline the potential changes to Australian classification guidelines and laws. The discussion paper has been a long time in the making, and the issue is not something which will quickly be resolved.
Windows 7 will apparently contain a WinXP classic environment. Available as a free download for Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate users, it's a fully integrated and licensed copy of Windows XP SP3 in a VirtualPC-based environment, with full "coherence" support. In other words, it's Microsoft's variant of Apple's Classic environment, and it's coming to Windows 7, for free.
IceTV has won their case in the High Court against Channel Nine. Although program information is published daily in print and on other web services, Nine claimed IceTV was infringing copyright by displaying the station's shows in its electronic program guide (EPG). Discussion here.
TorrentFreak report that the Judge in the Pirate Bay trial may have had a conflict of interest, with some calling for a re-trial. Former Director of Public Prosecution Sven-Erik Alhem said, “You cannot hide controversial facts. The attention this gets only leads to unnecessary questioning of bias in Swedish courts. Of course the judge should have informed people of the situation prior to the process and thereby allowed the involved parties to decide if it was suitable or not.”
EA got a bit carried away with promotional goodies, and sent illegal "brass knuckles" to some members of the press, and now wants them back. Brass knuckles or metallic knuckles are illegal in many of the states that they were shipped to. They're also illegal in California, where EA is based.
Youngpro pointed out this Suzuki Mighty Boy electric vehicle conversion. In 2007, I was given a model helicopter as a Christmas present. This lead to the purchase of a Blade CX-2 helicopter. I soon became amazed with the Li Ion battery technology used to power these devices. The next step was discovering this cell technology was being used in electric vehicles. At the same time, I was looking around for a suitable semi retirement project; hence the Mighty Boy electrical vehicle project commenced.
Just a quick remember to keep an eye on our Sponsor Specials Forum if you're shopping around. In there many sponsors have special offers and deals on media players, laptops, netbooks, office chairs, photography gear and a range of PC components.
(link) Wednesday, 22-April-2009 11:26:18 (GMT +10) - by Agg
From Skullomania: Just a heads up that there is a short 5 paragraph article on page 15 of today's West Australian newspaper featuring forum member Tesla Downunder.. Seems to be regarding his recent modern thinker project.
There's an Iron Chef cooking competition going on in the Geek Food forum, and there's already some tasty-looking entries. You will need to take photos during the preparation of your meal, and submit a minimum of four to prove you actually cooked, though you can submit more than four if you wish.
PCPerspective report on the CausticOne ray tracing accelerator card. If you think the ray tracing and rasterization debate was interesting before, wait until you see what this new player has to say.
HotHardware look into Google searching for "me". Starting on Tuesday, if you enter just the word "me" in their search box, users will be given an opportunity to create or modify their Google Profile. Doesn't seem to do it yet. And it's a little scary.
People in Europe are protesting against conditional internet access being debated in the EU Parliament soon. Under the proposed new rules, broadband providers will be legally able to limit the number of websites you can look at, and to tell you whether or not you are allowed to use particular services. It will be dressed up as ‘new consumer options' which people can choose from. People will be offered TV-like packages - with a limited number of options for you to access. Sounds like the "net neutrality" issue is rearing its head again.
Top story would have to be Oracle buying Sun Microsystems for $7.4B. “Oracle and Sun have been industry pioneers and close partners for more than 20 years,” said Sun Chairman Scott McNealy. “This combination is a natural evolution of our relationship and will be an industry-defining event.” They pick up Java, Solaris and presumably MySQL in one move. Discussion here.
Luxa2 have some new HTPC cases, more info here. From any angle of view, the LM100 Mini is remarkable. Its size is amazingly slim and compact with an all aluminum finish body. It fits the tone of your home decoration and is the ideal mate to build your miniature entertainment system. With its extremely tiny size, LM100 Mini instantly gives more space and tidiness to your living room and redefines your home entertainment system.
Noctua have some new fans. Normally not that exciting a product release, but these have interesting-looking "Bevelled Blade Tips" which apparently improve airflow and lessen noise. Photos here, product info here and here.
OCZ have announced their Vertex EX 2.5” SLC-based SSD aimed at servers. Offering a server-class storage upgrade from traditional hard disc drives, OCZ Vertex EX SSDs have a compact form factor and no moving parts resulting in a quiet storage solution with significantly higher performance. For crowded server environments, the OCZ Vertex EX SSDs offer space and cost-savings with a compact form factor that use significantly less power thanks to the benefits of high-quality flash-based storage.
Super Talent unveiled what they're calling the world's first 512GB 2.5" SSD. The MasterDrive RX features Super Talent’s proprietary RAIDSSD™ Technology to enable extremely fast sequential read and write speeds. The MasterDrive RX with MLC NAND Flash comes in 128GB, 256GB and 512GB densities and is rated for a maximum sequential read speed of 230MB/sec and a maximum sequential write speed of 160MB/sec. The MasterDrive RX with SLC Flash comes in 128GB and 256GB densities and is rated for a maximum sequential read speed of 230MB/sec and a maximum sequential write speed of 200MB/sec.
Transcend have a shock-resistant portable HDD. Hidden inside the StoreJet 25M-R’s alluring exterior is a sophisticated dual-stage shock protection system that incorporates a rugged hard casing and vibration-absorbing anti-slip silicone outer shell that evenly distributes the force of an impact, along with a complete array of internal hard drive suspension dampers as a last line of defense. ... For added piece of mind, the StoreJet 25M-R protects stored data with a level of shock resistance that fully meets rigorous U.S. military drop-test standards (MIL-STD-810F 516.5 – Transit Drop).
VMWare announced VMWare vSphere 4. With a wide range of groundbreaking new capabilities, VMware vSphere 4 brings cloud computing to enterprises in an evolutionary, non-disruptive way – delivering uncompromising control with greater efficiency while preserving customer choice.
Interesting Forum Threads
(link) Monday, 20-April-2009 08:52:44 (GMT +10) - by Agg
A quick snapshot of what's going on. You can also find new interesting things you might have missed via the Who's Online page, the New Posts page and the Live forum view. Also something a lot of people don't know about is the Today's Posts link (find it on the Quick Links menu).
Tesladownunder has been busy, with his take on Rodin's Thinker sculpture. I decided upon a real life posture like the thinker with a lot of electrical activity around me with sparks onto my body.
Tweaktown have been setting up a PC with no moving parts for totally silent computing. For years I’ve always wanted a computer that made absolutely no noise at all and looking at all the "noise reducing" products on the market would begin to make my wallet cry at the cost of silencing my current system.
President Obama has named the USA's first Chief Technology Officer, Aneesh Chopra. In this role, Aneesh will promote technological innovation to help achieve our most urgent priorities - from creating jobs and reducing health care costs to keeping our nation secure.
However there's still another job going for gadget freaks, as Mi5's real-life "Q". Britain's domestic intelligence agency, commonly called MI5, is seeking a chief scientific adviser "to lead and co-ordinate the scientific work of the Security Service so that the service continues to be supported by excellent science and technology advice", its website said.
An increasingly common but unpopular gadget is the car shut-off device. Business is booming for makers of shut-off devices, which turn engines off when car payments are late.
HWZone look back at 10 years of portable entertainment. Take a good look at your portable media player and discover its evolution through the decade as we reminiscence its key developments and noteworthy implementations over the last ten years.
PC Perspective have some thoughts about Intel's Core i5 Processor. It has long been known that Intel will be releasing more mainstream versions of the Nehalem core, but these will be branded i5 and will utilize DMI for communications with the chipset instead of the server and workstation oriented QPI. More i5 discussion here.
Well the verdict is in, and it seems the Pirate Bay's four Swedish founders were sentenced to prison today. Fredrik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, Peter Sunde Kolmisoppi and Carl Lundstroem were given jail sentences of one year each by a Stockholm district court today. The court ordered the defendants to pay compensation and damages of 30 million kronor ($3.6 million), below the more than 100 million kronor claimed by prosecutors. The defendants said they plan to appeal. More info all over the net, but try here, here and a sort've rambling official video statement from TPB here. Discussion here.
Rezin spotted this project to convert an old hard drive into a flash drive, kinda. Take an old outdated hard drive and teach it new secret tricks by increasing it's capacity and speed.
Thermaltake are running a ghetto modding comp. Let's face it, not everyone is up to date on the latest and greatest gear. The ghetto DIY mods have always been around and occasionally ones which are extremely practical or just downright CHEAP pops up and are generally loved for their ingenuity at little or no cost to the owner! Discussion here.
The people behind TheOverclocker have created MacTheMag, for Apple enthusiasts. MacTheMag is an all-digital magazine, with the latest in news, reviews, analysis and tutorials on everything related to the Mac and iPhone. Check out our own Apple Hardware & Software forum, too.
An Aussie inventor has won over Microsoft. AN Australian inventor is set to share in a damages payout of more than $500 million after a US court ruled that Microsoft, the world's largest software maker, infringed a patented technology used to deter software piracy.
Australian Domain Registrar Bottle Domains is in court to fight for their future, in the wake of a customer data leak. In January this year the personal account details, including credit card numbers of up to 60,000 Bottle Domain customers were posted for sale at an online forum by a computer hacker.
Guru3D have a GeForce GTX 275 shootout. For this article, a total of five GeForce GTX 275 graphics cards will be put to the test. We take the NVIDIA reference sample, two reference clocked products and two pre-overclocked products to see where we are at in terms of performance, cooling and features among the difference AIB/AIC partners.
OCAU's Folding@Home team has been working hard this year, but we still need your help. While the team has been contributing over 1.9 Million points per day, we still need your help to increase this number and make sure we hold onto our number #2 spot in the ranking.
The team is looking for Nvidia GeForce 8XXX, 9XXX and 260/28X/295 GPU's (ATI Radeon GPU's Too!) to help increase our output. If you are ready to start, then check out this thread for instructions. Don't have a GPU to spare? Folding@Home works on your CPU as well! There's a guide to getting started here. If you have Sony Playstation 3 you should already have the client pre-installed and ready for you to start producing!
So, if you would like to help scientists learn about diseases like Cancer, Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease, Huntington's Disease, Osteogenesis Imperfecta - possibly help find a cure for it and put OCAU back in the number one spot - then drop by the Distributed Computing section (open to the public) and see how you can be a part of it.
Remember, every idle CPU, GPU and PS3 counts, so what can you commit to the cause?
It seems the first game banned from Australia in 2009 is NecroVisioN, as reported by GoN. The title, which takes gamers all the way from World War I battlefields into a demon-infested underworld, is officially the first game to be Refused Classification in this country in 2009, effectively banned from release due to in-game "depictions of violence that exceed a strong playing impact".
NASA's Mars rovers are still exploring, although Spirit is having issues. Spirit and Opportunity, which are both working on the Mars equator but on different sides of the planet, have been on Mars for five years, far outlasting the three-month projection set by engineers at its launch.
Speaking of NASA, they had a minor PR issue after Stephen Colbert used his TV show to swing the voting in a poll of what to name the next space station module. NASA eventually went with "Tranquility". "However, NASA is naming its new space station treadmill the 'Combined Operational Load Bearing External Resistance Treadmill,' or COLBERT. We have invited Stephen to Florida for the launch of COLBERT and to Houston to try out a version of the treadmill that astronauts train on."
OC3D checked out ATI 4xxx series cards from XFX. This collaboration has produced a new range of graphics cards and the ones I will be looking at today are the overclocked XXX editions of the budget 4850, the 4870, the latest release 4890 and the stock clocked but mighty 4870x2. I will also be calculating these card's cost per frame to evaluate how much bang-per-buck you get for your cash.
Tech-Report have a system guide posted for April. Say what you will about the recession and the global economy, but we've seen some absolute bargains in the PC hardware market these past few months—and that trend only seems to be accelerating.
VIAArena report on some mini-mobos from VIA, namely the double-sided Em-ITX and the super-tiny Pico-ITXe. The VIA P710-HD Module adds HD capabilities and DirectX 10.1 support in embedded devices based on the Pico-ITXe platform.
Tweaktown report on how Kingston's rebadged Intel SSD responds to the recent Intel firmware update. Meanwhile Guru3D looked at OCZ's 120GB SSD. With the Vertex series SSD, OCZ offers an extremely high performing SSD with a new controller and ... in addition to that a nice phat 64MB cache to tackle the slow small file write issue.
Today's timewaster is deepleap, a fast-paced word game.
PCPerspective report on a new firmware from Intel for their X25-M solid-state drives, to address the fragmentation performance issue. I quickly scanned the release notes and my jaw dropped when I came across this gem: "In addition to addressing the bug you pointed out". I stopped right there in amazement. Could they really have fixed these issues with something as simple as a firmware update? More info on Intel's site here.
On a related note, MadShrimps are upgrading from hard drives. As an alternative to the slow platter-based hard drives there already a few ram disk-based solutions on the market. Acard recently designed their ram disk product, which allows users to use DDR2 memory as storage method. Today, we have a look at the performance of the Acard ANS-9010 and compare it with normal hard disk drives, SSD technology and other ram disks.
Four Socket AM3 Motherboards are compared on TechReport. Socket AM3 boards have started trickling onto the market, and we've thrown a trio from the usual suspects—Asus, Gigabyte, and MSI—into the ring with a wild card from Jetway to see whether we can find the best Socket AM3 platform for a Phenom II build.
Sniper spotted this CrunchPad tablet. The concept behind the CrunchPad is simplicity in itself: a slim and lightweight ‘Web tablet’ designed purely for the Internet. No keyboard, just a touch-sensitive 12 inch screen with the obligatory virtual keypad. Linux as the OS, of course, loaded onto a solid state drive for super-fast boot times and nimble performance.
iXBTLabs consider Phenom II efficiency and cooler selection. As we have already found out, Phenom II has relatively low requirements to a motherboard and a PSU, so moderate overclocking requires no extra expenses. However, it will be good to find out how many Watts this "moderate" implies for real applications. And also what cooler is sufficient for low-noise cooling.
Apparently Australians pay more for their groceries than anyone else, according to the new head of Choice. The Australian supermarket duopoly, the big four banks and the telecommunications industry is a three-headed hellion Choice has pledged to do battle with under its new chief executive.
Telstra may be open to a break-up plan, despite years of opposing the idea. The radically different and more conciliatory approach is part of an attempt to ward off the threat of much greater government intervention in Telstra's business. The company's board has set up a special committee of directors and executives to come up with a new approach and to negotiate with the Government.
AMD Winners and Western Digital Contest
(link) Monday, 13-April-2009 17:14:44 (GMT +10) - by Agg
The winners of the AMD Dragon PC contest have been announced, with at least one person from OCAU winning. Congrats to James Scott, although some of the other names look familiar too. Anyway, well done to all 5 people, each scoring a brand new PC.
So, on to the next contest! Western Digital is giving OCAU readers the chance to win 1 of 2 Velociraptor Hard Drives simply by entering their "Guess the Picture" competition now running at www.wdpromotions.com.au. The 2 Velociraptors are only eligible to OCAU readers, so make sure you select OverclockersAU from the "where did you hear about us" section on the entry form. OCAU readers are also eligible to win the main prize, this month being 1 of 3 Double passes to game 2 of the Rugby League State of Origin Series at ANZ Stadium in June! The 1st 3 overall correct entries will win a Double pass to the State of Origin and the 1st 2 OCAU entries will also win the Western Digital Velociraptor Drive!
Tweaktown report from the recent Gigabyte OC Comp Asia finals, while MadShrimps cover the European equivalent. These six overclocking teams confronted each other an attempt to reach the best score in three different benchmarks: SuperPi 8M, 3DMark06 and 3DMark06 SM3.0/HDR subtest score. For the 2D round, SuperPi, all teams had an hour and a half to go as fast as possible. For the 3D session, the timeframe was a bit longer: 1h 45min.
Dopefish spotted this 1993 video about id Software. In 1993, Dan Linton, owner of a hugely successful BBS called Software Creations, visited Texas and made his way to id Software. This is the footage he recorded one night in November 1993. ... This video has 21 minutes of me playing DOOM before the sound effects were put in as well as some early deathmatching with Shawn Green.
More recently, OCModShop interviewed id's Peter Sokal. Recently I got the chance to speak with Peter Sokal, Community Manager of id software about the pending latest chapter in the Castle Wolfenstein series. I want to thank Peter for answering our questions and Robert at Activision for arranging the interview.
Bill Gates has turned his attention to car engines. While the patent mentions a "reactant," that doesn't necessarily indicate fuel used today. The patent talks about a liquid reactant injector and a carburetor that would deliver the reactant mixture to the first port of the engine. Another interesting note was the patent's use of a "plasma injector," a terminology widely used in the Star Trek universe.
Here's a cool project: tweenbots. Tweenbots are human-dependent robots that navigate the city with the help of pedestrians they encounter. Rolling at a constant speed, in a straight line, Tweenbots have a destination displayed on a flag, and rely on people they meet to read this flag and to aim them in the right direction to reach their goal.
HardOCP have a thermal paste shootout. We take 10 high profile thermal pastes used for mating heatsink surfaces to CPUs and other components and subject those to over 1200 hours of testing to find out which one reigns supreme.
Murray wanted me to warn everyone, that Australia is forecast to disappear on Tuesday at 10pm. So if you suddenly find yourself in the middle of the ocean, that's why. :)
So, my present from the Easter Bunny seems to be an absolute killer flu.. urrrrggh.
Nvidia and Acer have released the first Ion-based desktop PC, the AspireRevo SFF. More on HotHardware and PC Perspective. Built on the NVIDIA Ion platform, looks a tad like Asus' Eee Box perhaps but with a bit more styling and of course a lot more GPU horsepower under the hood for multi-media and full HD video offload processing on the Ion platform IGP. Discussion here.
BenHeck has been busy, making a C64 laptop. The goal this time was to make something that looked exactly like a computer from the early 80’s, yet in a new form. Including the color beige and texture.
However I think this WALL-E PC with hugely detailed worklog takes the cake as the coolest PC project I've seen in a while. A solid-metal Wall-E computer case, each detail carefully cut from the metal sheets processed and put in place.
You can travel around in a somewhat WALL-E like manner, if you ride in a chariot wearable transporter. Wearable commuters do sound alien, but the Exmovere Chariot is the closest a commuter such as this has ever been. The fact that it is self-balancing and hands-free would make it a winner with amputees who otherwise find it difficult to stand and commute in the hubbub.
Meanwhile an inventor has turned two cardboard boxes into an eco-friendly oven. The trapped rays make the inside hot enough to cook casseroles, bake bread and boil water. What the box also does is eliminate the need in developing countries for rural residents to cut down trees for firewood.
Trent Reznor has urged musicians to ditch their labels, as he has, thanks deepspring. The singer describes the experience as "liberating" - insisting big labels make too much money from musicians and are completely out of touch with the industry.
Some hardcore Left 4 Dead fans have re-created scenes from the game in real life. These ten photos are just the first round, so keep your eyes out for another set in the next few weeks.
HotHardware cover Core i7 Overclocking, while GeForce 275 Overclocking is on Tweaktown. While overclocking on NVIDIA cards is slightly more involved due to the fact that the drivers don’t have any embedded overclocking software (unlike ATI with its Overdrive functionality), NVIDIA’s cards do only require the installation of a small program called RivaTuner to get around this.
PC Perspective look at upgrading a laptop to SSD, using Corsair's 128GB one. I take a slightly different approach on the evaluation looking at what advantages you can see when upgrading your notebook or system to even a lower cost SSD option.
Friday Night Reviews
(link) Friday, 10-April-2009 13:51:34 (GMT +10) - by Agg
Hope your Easter is going well - stay safe if you're travelling!
MotoGP joins OCAU Tipping - starting this weekend.
(link) Thursday, 9-April-2009 06:41:37 (GMT +10) - by Wolfy
The 2009 MotoGP season starts this weekend with the Grand Prix of Qatar, if you're a MotoGP fan you may like to join the OCAU MotoGP 2009 Tipping competition and make your predictions as to who will win.
For those involved in the OCAU AFL Tipping don't forget that this weekends first match is tonight between the Cats and the Pies, so get your tips in before the game starts.
Admiral and Cee are once again entering the Sydney MS Walk and Fun Run, to raise money for Multiple Sclerosis sufferers. Last year they raised over $10,000 - this year they're aiming for the lofty goal of $100,000! Here's some photos from last year:
HotHardware have a sneak peek at a new SSD from Corsair. The drive we received is branded as a Corsair S256, but we've been told that when the drive hits store shelved the official product name will be P256--the "S" is changing to a "P". We set it up for a quick round of HD-Tach and this SSD could actually give Intel something to think about.
I missed this when it first came out (check the date) but drayzen sent in this video of a new Opera feature, "Face Gestures. Face Gestures lets you perform frequent browsing operations with natural and easy to make face gestures. By using an internal technology dubbed Face Observation Opera Language, we are able to recognize pre-determined facial expressions and match them to commands on the Opera browser. Funny stuff.
Internode are gobsmacked, in a good way, about the Government's post-NBN plan. In these challenging economic times, such nation-building investment is exactly the right response to the telecommunications challenges Australia faces for the next decade.
A few people sent in this rack of 23 GeForce GTX295's. The article makes it sound like it's all in one PC, but it seems to be several motherboards in a rackmount setup. Still, plenty of grunt, I wonder if he's folding on it? Update: seems he is! more info here, thanks DM.
General Motors and Segway have combined forces to make a Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility vehicle for zipping around the city. Ideally, the vehicles would also be part of a communications network that through the use of transponder and GPS technology would allow them to drive themselves. The vehicles would automatically avoid obstacles such as pedestrians and other cars and therefore never crash, Burns said.
That passing comment I noticed the other day about the UK storing internet information seems to be true. Details of every email sent and website visited by people in Britain are to be stored for use by the state from tomorrow as part of what campaigners claim is a massive assault on privacy.
iXBT keep looking into CPUs and GPUs. We proceed with a series of practical articles, in which we analyze sufficiency of various CPU+GPU combinations for games, trying to keep our test conditions as close to popular realia as possible. We hope that such articles will come in handy to readers willing to reasonably distribute their budget between a graphics card and a processor.
TweakGuides have an update: The new versions of the TweakGuides Tweaking Companions (TGTC) for both XP and Vista are now available. All versions of the TGTC, both the Regular and Deluxe Editions, e-book and hardcopy, have been updated. This is a reasonably major update given the last time the Companions were revised was over 6 months ago.
I4U have info about upgrading a laptop with a SSD. I4U News published a report on upgrading the classic IBM Thinkpad X40 with the new KingSpec SSD that works as drop-in replacement of the noisy and slow 20GB 1.8 inch HDD.
GoN have a WoW interview. While recently in the US for GDC San Francisco, we dropped in on Blizzard HQ to see what they were up to - and ran into Tom Chilton, World of Warcraft lead game designer, who was more than happy to have a bit of a chat about the impending 3.1 content patch.
Citing "deterioration of the economy" and flanked by Communications Minister Stephen Conroy and Treasurer Wayne Swan, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said at a Canberra press conference this morning that the government had not found any of the NBN bids by players like Acacia, Optus, Axia Netmedia satisfactory.
Instead of accepting an NBN bid, Rudd said, the Federal Government would establish a company in partnership with the private sector to roll out its own network, based on fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) technology, that would reach 90 per cent of Australians with speeds of up to 100Mbps. "This is the single largest nation-building infrastructure project in Australia's history," Rudd said, comparing the project to the Snowy Mountains Hydro scheme and the building of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The remaining 10 per cent of Australians would be served by a combination of ADSL broadband, wireless and satellite.
Sniper spotted this chat with Simon Hackett, the CEO of Internode. We talk about their upcoming 3G mobile and 3G broadband services, Basslink, Telstra’s ‘ridiculous wholesale pricing’, TiVo, unmetering of content and how they can afford to do it as well as their efforts to deliver ‘last mile broadband’ to those in the Yorke Peninsula area in Sourth Australia.
Apparently complaints about Telstra have shot up under their current leadership. "It's frustrating because you can't get through and when you do no one can tell you anything," Telstra Bigpond customer Michael Murray said.
Meanwhile the head of the ACMA has blamed the media for whipping up controversy about the blacklist. Mr Chapman said the watchdog was looking at ways to prevent further leaks. "The events of the past week have obviously and understandably raised concerns about the security of the distribution and protection of the list in use," he said. "As you would expect, we are investigating and pursuing this with a view to rectifying and improving it."
HWZone report from the Asian finals of the Gigabyte overclocking tournament. The best overclockers from Asia-Pacific had been gathered to form nine teams for this Asian final. While cash and prizes from the sponsors were prepared for the top three teams, only the best team will earn a spot in the world final to be held in Taipei.
Intel say their graphics chips are gaining ground in the gaming market. "There are games actually targeting integrated graphics chipsets at this time," according to Davies. "We found through engaging with these Triple A (AAA) game studios that within a relatively short amount of time, they can identify graphics bottlenecks in their code and resolve that to have their games running on integrated graphics chipsets."
From Drnrg: one of my friends at work linked me to this 'webtrends' map which basically maps the 333 most influential web domains and 111 most influential internet people onto a map of the tokyo subway. check it out for more info.
Guru3D have an overclocking guide for GTX 275 video cards. The end result of 2 minutes work is 10 to 15 percent more performance. Join us for a quick crash course in graphics card tweaking.
Rupert Murdoch has a few things to say about the online newspaper industry. "People reading news for free on the Web, that's got to change," said Murdoch speaking at The Cable Show, an annual cable television industry event, in Washington, D.C. The article also mentions they might be making their own e-book reader like Amazon's Kindle.
Interesting Forum Threads
(link) Sunday, 5-April-2009 11:17:38 (GMT +10) - by Agg
A quick snapshot of what's going on in the forums:
Wing Commander Andy Green may be setting records in South Australia soon, thanks Sniper. Wing Commander Andy Green, an RAF fighter pilot, wants to steer his Bloodhound SSC rocket-powered machine past the 800 mph-mark (1287 km/h) next March.
I'm wary of any news story dated April 1, but this is a cool article about Google's once-secret servers, thanks Brains. Google's big surprise: each server has its own 12-volt battery to supply power if there's a problem with the main source of electricity. The company also revealed for the first time that since 2005, its data centers have been composed of standard shipping containers--each with 1,160 servers and a power consumption that can reach 250 kilowatts.
From Chris: This month's Iron Musician topic was "Love". Although there were some skeptics, it brought out a variety of genres and even some first time entrants. Anyway, it's time to vote for this month's Iron Musician, so go download the tracks here and vote for your favourite!
Quan-Time spotted this safe cracking party. As any safe technician can tell you, there are not that many ‘penetration parties’ where lots and lots and lots and lots of high quality bank safes are waiting to be opened. In that respect Paul Crouwels parties are pretty unique.
Phoronix report on an open-source game called Nexuiz 2.5. This latest release of Nexuiz brings even better graphics capabilities along with a new HUD, network communication improvements that cut the bandwidth in half, smarter bots, even better graphics, and several new maps. In total more than 3,000 changes make up Nexuiz 2.5!
Intel recently released their Nehalem-based Xeon CPUs. Initial results seem to be pretty good, with coverage on iXBT, LegitReviews and Tech-Report. Intel's Nehalem-based Xeons are finally here, and they've left us gasping for air. This may well be the largest performance jump from one CPU generation to the next that we've ever seen. Idle power draw is way, way down, as well. The downside? We're still looking for one. Discussion here.
GeForce GTX 275 and Radeon HD 4890
(link) Thursday, 2-April-2009 11:14:29 (GMT +10) - by Agg
NVIDIA and ATI have both announced new video cards today. In the green camp we have the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 275. Based on the GT200 architecture, the GeForce GTX 275 GPU features 240 processor cores operating at 1404 MHz, 80 texture processing units, a 448-bit memory interface, and an 896 MB framebuffer. In price and performance, it sits between the GeForce GTX 260 and the GeForce GTX 285.
In the red camp we have the ATI Radeon HD 4890. The world’s most powerful graphics processor, the ATI Radeon™ HD 4890, boasts a whopping 1.36 TeraFLOPs of compute power, superior GDDR5 memory, and super-high clock speeds capable of approaching 1GHz. The ATI Radeon HD 4890 redefines HD gaming, delivering the best game experience in its price range, including brand new ground-breaking DirectX 10.1 titles.
(link) Thursday, 2-April-2009 10:50:44 (GMT +10) - by Agg
Australia's CSIRO has won a landmark wifi settlement from HP. Since the Australian science agency received a patent for its IEEE 802.11a and 802.11g Wi-Fi products in January 1996, the technology has been adopted as an industry standard by most notebooks and desktop computers around the world. Discussion here.
Senator Conroy is under (more) fire for comments made about iiNet recently, thanks Iro. At the CommsDay telecommunications conference this week, Senator Conroy ridiculed iiNet in front of an audience of key industry figures.
From Danha: I was thinking you might be interested in linking to this quiz. It isn't a definitive history but it's a good memory jogger for some classic portable computing trivia, for those with some time on their hands.
Also from Dahna: thought you might be interested in this news story about how the NSW Government opted for Microsoft over Linux as its nominated operating system in its netbooks for schools offer.
Madshrimps have a video comparison of SSD vs HDD. While all those benchmark charts displaying 200+mb/s read and 150+mb/s write are impressive to see, it's also good to actually have some idea of what that extra performance brings you in real life. We prepared two identical laptops with Windows 7 and Windows XP, one had a conventional HDD, the other a brand new OCZ Vertex SSD. The result is worth checking out.
A couple of people pointed out this Conficker Eye Chart, a simple way of seeing if you are infected with the virus everyone's talking about. It's a simple idea, Conficker blocks access to anti-virus sites, so if you see missing images on that page, it might be time to worry. More info on Conficker in this thread.