Saturday, July 7, 2007

Sapphire Radeon HD 2600 XT 256MB GDDR4



Once again, Sapphire provided us with its Radeon HD 2600 XT 256MB GDDR4 for evaluation. This turned out to be a reference model that's probably indistinguishable from that of other brands except for the Sapphire decals. The card itself is longer than Radeon HD 2600 PRO, though like the other mainstream cards, it comes with a single slot cooler reminiscent of the ones found on the Radeon X1950 PRO.

As expected from one of ATI's biggest partners, Sapphire has quickly rolled out its lineup of mainstream Radeon HD graphics cards.

It's a Sapphire labeled reference Radeon HD 2600 XT 256MB GDDR4 using the default single slot cooler that's extremely quiet. No power connectors are required due to the relatively low power draw of around 45W.

The lower power draw of the 65nm core makes its point here, as the Sapphire Radeon HD 2600 XT does not require a Molex power connector, taking its juice directly through the PCIe interface. According to ATI, the power consumption of this card should be around 45W. The smaller and cooler core is also a factor for the ultra quiet cooling fan, which is something that we liked a lot. The memory chips are all passively cooled by the heatsink as this industrial looking piece of aluminum covered most of the red PCB.

Underneath the red translucent plastic shroud, the heatsink is an industrial looking design with none of the fancy colors you may find in other brands.

Native CrossFire is supported and Sapphire has also included the required bridge connector in its package.

Dual-link DVI outputs are found at the back. An included DVI-to-HDMI converter is included to enable users to hook this card to a HD display. HDCP support naturally is present.

The core runs at 800MHz, only 200MHz higher than the Radeon HD 2600 PRO but the memory does get a larger boost to 2200MHz DDR. Compare this against the maximum 1000MHz DDR on the PRO. Of course, with NVIDIA's GeForce 8600 GTS running with a 2000MHz DDR memory clock, ATI's numbers are not that much higher, especially with its GDDR4 memory. The number of stream processing units is the same for all the Radeon HD 2600 cards, topping out at 120 organized into groups of five each. CrossFire is supported, with interconnects at their usual places and Sapphire has included the bridge for that in its package. Other items that we found in our box include:

# 1 x DVI-to-HDMI adaptor
# 1 x DVI-to-VGA adaptor
# 1 x 9-pin mini-DIN to Component/S-Video dongle
# 1 x CrossFire bridge
# Driver CD
# User manual

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Source from HardwareZone

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Super Talent Announces Low Latency DDR3



New 1600 MHz 7-7-7-18 DDR3 modules set record for lowest timings

Super Talent Technology this week released three new DDR3 memory kits – two dual-channel kits and one single module. The dual-channel DDR3 kits arrive clocked at 1600 MHZ with differing latencies. The Super Talent W1600UX2G7 dual-channel features 7-7-7-18 timings while requiring 1.8-volts of power. The kit features two 1GB modules and costs around $648.

Super Talent has a slightly cheaper 2x1GB kit with the W1600UX2G9. The W1600UX2G9 features slightly higher 9-9-9-21 timings and requires 1.8-volts of power. Super Talent prices the W1600UX2G9 modules slightly cheaper at around $598.

Lastly is the W1333UB2G8 single module. The W1333UB2G8 has a slightly lower speed rating at 1333 MHz. However, the W1333UB2G8 is a single 2GB module. Memory timings for the W1333UB2G8 slot in between the two dual-channel kits with 8-8-8-18 timings. The W1333UB2G8 modules still require 1.8-volts of power. Super Talent prices the 2GB W1333UB2G8 modules around $417.

All three-memory kits announced feature black heat spreaders to help dissipate heat. Expect the kits to show up at retailers in the coming weeks.


Source from dailytech

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Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Sapphire Radeon HD 2600 PRO 256MB GDDR3 OC Edition



It's been less than a week since ATI's mainstream DirectX 10 cards, the Radeon HD 2400 and 2600 series were released into the wild (at least for reviewers) and sadly for the beleaguered company, the new products are unlikely to set any performance records in their respective segments. Although we have yet to get our hands on the top Radeon HD 2600 card, the XT, the reviews so far have shown it falling short of the NVIDIA's top mainstream contender, the GeForce 8600 GTS.

Realizing its precarious situation, ATI has moved to revise its recommended retail prices for the new cards. The Radeon HD 2600 XT was initially priced at US$199 in the presentations given by ATI during the May launch of the high-end Radeon HD 2900 XT but in the latest press release announcing the Radeon HD 2400 and 2600 series, that has been lowered significantly to US$149. Similarly, the other lesser models in the series have also undergone price cuts to make it more competitive against the corresponding NVIDIA counterpart. This strategy has been used before by ATI for its Radeon HD 2900 XT and for the case of these new mainstream cards, positions them on a slightly lower bracket in both performance and price to NVIDIA, hence dodging a potentially damaging, direct confrontation.

Since we have already seen the budget Radeon HD 2400 series in action with this review of the Radeon HD 2400 XT card, it is now time to take a closer look at the Radeon HD 2600 series. Unfortunately, our Radeon HD 2600 XT card came too late to be included in this article so we'll only have a Radeon HD 2600 PRO from Sapphire for our benchmarks. This is not the reference version as the core and memory clocks on the Sapphire have been raised, making this an overclocked card out-of-the-box that should be faster (and probably more costly) than the standard.

Like the Radeon HD 2400, the 2600 series is manufactured using the 65G+ process technology (basically 65nm process), allowing ATI to squeeze almost 400 million transistors onto a core (RV630) measuring roughly 14mm in width. The die shrink has also allowed for lower power consumption, with the Radeon HD 2600 rated at around 45W by ATI and despite its heavy transistor count (at least 100 million higher than NVIDIA's GeForce 8600 and 8500), temperatures should be relatively cool if our experience with the Radeon HD 2400 XT is any gauge.

The basic architecture found on the original R600 (Radeon HD 2900 XT) is retained for the most part, though as usual, the operational hardware units have been reduced in quantity for the lesser Radeon HD 2600. The number of stream processors have been more than halved, with the Radeon HD 2600 equipped with 120 compared to the 320 on the Radeon HD 2900. Unlike the Radeon HD 2400, the ring bus architecture remains on the 2600 but the main memory bus has also been reduced to 128 bits wide, putting it below older Radeon cards like the 256-bit memory bus of the Radeon X1950 series. The key features and the reasons behind the 'HD' in the Radeon HD 2600 series are all accounted for, including the Universal Video Decoder (UVD) hardware that is actually not found on the high-end Radeon HD 2900. A HD audio controller and HDCP support are other essential HD features on these cards. Below is a table listing some of the important specifications of the Radeon HD 2600 PRO and the existing competitors from both ATI and NVIDIA, both new and old.


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Source from HardwareZone

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AMD Phenom X2 GE-Series Details Unveiled

AMD drops the Phenom X2 TDP to 45-watts

AMD plans to cut power consumption of its mainstream Phenom X2 processors with the Phenom X2 GE-series, according to the company’s latest roadmap. The Phenom X2 GE-series joins the Phenom X2 GS-series in late Q1’2008, after the Phenom X2 GS-series makes its debut. AMD has three Phenom X2 GS-series in the pipeline with launches beginning in Q4’2007 and more models added in Q1’2008.

The new Phenom X2 GE-series matches the recently released Athlon X2 BE-series in terms of thermal design power, or TDP, at 45-watts. AMD Phenom X2 GS-series processors have 65-watt and 89-watt TDP ratings.The low power Phenom X2 GE-series will have three models – the GE-6600, GE-6500 and GE-6400.

AMD’s Phenom X2 GE-6600 clocks in at 2.3 GHz, coincidentally, the Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 clocks in at 2.4 GHz. The middle of the Phenom X2 GE-series consists of the 2.1 GHz Phenom X2 GE-6500 while the 1.9 GHz Phenom X2 GE-6400 occupies the bottom of the lineup.

AMD Phenom X2 GE-series
Model Core Frequency L2 Cache L3 Cache HT3 Bus
GE-6600 2.3 GHz 2x512KB 2MB ~ 3200 MHz
GE-6500 2.1 GHz 2x512KB 2MB ~ 3200 MHz
GE-6400 1.9 GHz 2x512KB 2MB ~ 3200 MHz

All Phenom X2 GE-series processors share the same features. AMD equips the Phenom X2 GE-series with an HT3 bus with speeds equal to or in excess of 3.2 GHz. AMD has yet to set the official speeds of the HT3 bus on Phenom X2 GE-series processors. Phenom X2 GE-series processors are identical to the GS-series, in terms of cache configurations. The Phenom X2 GE-series feature 512KB of L2 cache per core and 2MB shared L3 cache.

Expect the AMD Phenom GE-series to drop into a Socket AM2+ platform in Q1’2008.

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Fujitsu Rolls Out 300GB Mobile HDD

Fujitsu's new drive features a 300GB storage capacity, but only a 4200RPM spindle speed

The mobile storage wars are on and all of the top hard drive manufacturers are looking to one-up each other. Fujitsu fired the latest shot yesterday with the introduction of its new 300GB external HDD.

The 2.5"-based drive features a SATA interface internally and a USB 2.0 interface for connecting to a notebook computer. The drive also features a 16-point omnidirectional shock mounting design to protect the drive for rough handling.

"We are proud to launch the world’s highest capacity 2.5" External HDD product into the marketplace at a time when consumers are demanding more storage, compact designs, and features that advance the level of data security," said Fujitsu's Lorne Wilson. "Fujitsu has almost forty years of experience in the hard disk drive industry, and we have successfully expanded our 2.5" HDD business over the last fourteen years. As a result of our focus and commitment to R&D, we have been able to leverage our expertise in this field to create an ideal solution for portable backup and storage solutions."

While Fujitsu may now hold the storage crown with its new drive, the spindle speed is a disappointing 4200RPM. The latest 250GB drives announced feature 5400RPM spindle speeds while 200GB units are spinning at 7200RPM.

The MSRP for Fujitsu's new drive is $229 and it will be available during the third quarter.


Source from dailytech

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AMD Prepares Phenom FX Lineup

AMD’s latest roadmap reveals model numbers for upcoming Phenom FX processors. Under the new naming scheme, the AMD Phenom FX lineup consists of the Phenom FX-80 and FX-90 series. AMD designates the Phenom FX-80 series for single processor systems while the FX-90 takes on 4x4 dual processor systems.

AMD plans to launch two Phenom FX-90 series processors in Q1 2008. The two Phenom FX processors carry the FX-91 and FX-90 names. The AMD Phenom FX-91 will have a clock-speed between 2.4-to-2.6 GHz and will sit on a 3.6 GHz HyperTransport 3.0 bus. The lower Phenom FX-90 will have a clock-speed between 2.2-to-2.4 GHz with a slower HT3 bus. AMD is unsure of the Phenom FX-90’s HT3 bus, but roadmaps indicate HT3 speeds excess of 3.2 GHz. The two Phenom FX-90 series will drop into Socket 1207+ motherboards.

AMD plans one Phenom FX processor for Socket AM2+ platforms. The AMD Phenom FX-80 is essentially the FX-90 for single-processor systems. The Phenom FX-80 will clock in between 2.2-to-2.4 GHz and have a HT3 bus speed in excess of 3.2 GHz. All Phenom FX processors share similar feature sets, with 512KB of L2 cache per core and a shared 2MB L3 cache. The TDP of Phenom FX processors are still to be determined.

Expect AMD to pull the wraps off the Phenom FX-90 series in Q1 2008 with its upcoming FASN8 socket 1207+ platform. AMD expects to launch the Phenom FX-80 earlier, in the November-to-December timeframe.


Source from dailytech

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Friday, June 29, 2007

MSI K9AGM2-FIH (AMD 690G)



If there was a purpose to all things in God's Green Earth, the AMD 690G chipset is all about entertainment. As the first consumer IGP chipset to support HD decoding through ATI's AVIVO technology and HDMI, the AMD 690G has been implemented in new generation HTPC ready motherboards such as the Sapphire Pure Innovation HDMI and ASUS M2A-VM HDMI. These boards deliver cost effectiveness and high performance entertainment value in a small package. In an effort to bring true bargain entertainment onto the table, MSI decided on a more minimalist approach for their version of the AMD 690G, the MSI K9AGM2-FIH motherboard.

MSI and the AMD 690G

Like all 690G motherboards, the MSI K9AGM2-FIH is built on a mATX PCB to better accommodate small form factor and HTPC chassis designs. Combining the AMD 690G Northbridge with the SB600 Southbridge, the K9AGM2-FIH has most of what the chipset has to offer. It supports all current AMD Socket AM2 processors, up to the latest dual core Athlon 64 X2s and a maximum configuration of 4GB of DDR2-800. However, do note that the board only has two DIMM slots instead of the usual four; so think twice before making your memory purchases. Two 1GB sticks and you will not be able to upgrade further, but one 2GB stick means no dual channel mode, which will affect graphics performance of the IGP as well.

Graphics-wise, the Radeon X1250 is a DirectX 9 part with ATI AVIVO technology for HD video decoding of MPEG2 and WMV formats, but not H.264. The board comes with a HDMI connector complete with HDCP compliance supporting all the way up to 1080p resolutions. Of course, the actual output performance will really depend on what you're playing because of the decoder limitations of the IGP, but then again, a PCIe x16 slot means that you can upgrade the board to a full proper graphics card at your whim.

The board's 8-channel audio is controlled by Realtek's ALC888 HD Audio CODEC and can be pumped through the usual analog output jacks or via the HDMI port.


Other features of the K9AGM2-FIH include one FireWire-400 (VIA VT6308P) port, one PCI Express Gigabit LAN (Realtek RTL8111b) port, ten USB 2.0, four SATA 3.0Gbps ports (RAID 0, 1, 0+1 supported), two PCI, one PCIe x1 and one PCIe x16 expansion slots.

Only the Essentials Please

Now, it may look like the MSI K9AGM2-FIH is a pretty well put together motherboard, but compared to the likes of say the Sapphire PURE Innovation HDMI or ASUS M2A-VM HDMI, the board lacks certain features that should have been a standard bundle for any entertainment motherboard. Other than the standard VGA and native HDMI output, MSI doesn't provide any other video connection options like the Sapphire or ASUS mentioned before. There are also no ready S/PDIF connectors onboard as well. These exclusions limit the board's connectivity functionality outside of HDMI.

The K9AGM2-FIH is a very straight forward install and forget board. There are no tweaks in its BIOS worth mentioning and zero overclocking options, which is expected. However, we were a little concerned about the amount of heat generated from the Northbridge with the small heatsink used by MSI. This never became a problem in our labs, but in a cramped HTPC casing, it may be a challenge to balance sufficient cooling with silent computing.

Final Thoughts

A quick check shows that the board going for and affordable US$75. The AMD 690G chipset, multi-channel HD Audio and HDMI connectivity guarantees that it will still be relevant in today's market for entry-level HD capable machines, but we would have liked higher consumer equipment integration with additional audio/visual connectors bundled with the board. That would have put it on the same playing field as the Sapphire PURE Innovation HDMI and ASUS M2A-VM HDMI. As it stands, the MSI K9AGM2-FIH is an average HD capable HTPC motherboard at best.

Product Specifications

* Chipset: AMD 690G + SB600
* CPU Support: AMD Socket AM2 processors (Athlon 64 FX, Athlon 64 X2, Athlon 64, Sempron)
* Memory Support: DDR2-800 up to 4GB
* VGA: ATI Radeon X1250 IGP with AVIVO, HDMI (w/ HDCP) and VGA Out, up to 1GB HyperMemory
* Expansion Slots: One PCIe x16, one PCIe x1, two PCI
* Storage: 4 x SATA 3.0Gbps, 1 x Ultra-ATA 133
* Audio: Realtek ALC888 7.1 CH HD Audio CODEC, HDMI Ready
* LAN: 1 x Gigabit LAN (Realtek RTL8111b)
* FireWire: 2 x FireWire-400 ports (VIA VT6308P)
* USB 2.0: 4 x rear, 6 x header




Source from Hardwarezone

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AMD to Launch "Barcelona" Slow this August




AMD bets on low-power, low-clock processors for its next generation debut

AMD announced today what analysts have been dreading for months: the company will launch its next-generation architecture this August, at top-out frequencies of 2.0 GHz. This next-generation CPU will become the successor of the existing K8 AMD Opteron lineup.

AMD's press release claims, "With planned availability at launch in a range of frequencies up to 2.0 Ghz, AMD expects its native quad-core processors to scale to higher frequencies in Q407 in both standard and SE (Special Edition) versions."

AMD Barcelona roadmaps from February 2007 indicated the company would launch at a top-out frequency of 2.3 GHz, with an eventual ramp to 2.6 GHz on the way.

Just this past June the company also announced it could demonstrate Barcelona on working systems immediately. The part the company left out from its announcement was that the demonstration CPUs ran at 1.6 GHz -- still 400 MHz under the estimated launch speed and 700 MHz under the roadmapped top-out frequency.

To add insult to injury, when DailyTech benchmarked the pre-production 1.6 GHz Barcelona, the CPU did not match Intel's 65nm quad-core offering clock-for-clock. AMD engineers stress to DailyTech that this benchmark was premature, and that final silicon and software will allow for SSE optimizations and better performance.

AMD's press release claims the Barcelona Opteron will provide a 70% performance increase in certain database applications; and a 40% increase on certain floating point applications. The company has maintained this conclusion for nearly six months, though the only benchmarks it has provided to back its case up are simulated SPECint and SPECfp benchmarks released in April 2007.

The 2.0 GHz K10 Opteron announcement comes with another twist; the company will launch its energy-efficient models alongside its performance models at launch. Originally, these low-power Barcelona derivatives were scheduled for a late 2007, possibly early 2008 launch.

“AMD has prioritized production of our low power and standard power products because our customers and ecosystem demand it, and we firmly believe that the introduction of our native Quad-Core AMD Opteron processor will deliver on the promise of the highest levels of performance-per-watt the industry has ever seen,” added Randy Allen, corporate vice president of AMD's Server and Workstation division.

The upcoming Barcelona processors are drop-in compatible with current-generation Opteron motherboards.


Source from dailytech

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Monday, June 25, 2007

NVIDIA Announces Tesla General Purpose Processor Platform




NVIDIA takes on AMD's Stream Computing Initiative with its Tesla GPU cards and HPC systems

Late last year AMD and ATI merged into one company, forming not just a bigger entity but creating a very specific roadmap altogether. AMD's grand scheme with ATI is to develop a single chip handling both general purpose computing as well as graphics. The Fusion project as AMD calls it is this very goal.

Today, NVIDIA reveals that it is not behind when it comes to general purpose GPU, or GPGPU, computing. Earlier this year the company announced its complete unified device architecture, or CUDA, Technology, which laid the groundwork for GPGPU programming for NVIDIA GPUs. CUDA Technology directly competes with AMD’s Stream Computing initiative.

The GPGPU product lineup will be known as Tesla. Tesla is a top to bottom product lineup consisting of internal PCIe cards and external high-performance computing, or HPC, systems – Tesla C870, S870 and D870.

The internal PCIe solution consists of an output-less GeForce 8-series based card on a PCIe x16 card. The Tesla D870 is NVIDIA’s only internal GPGPU card for desktops. The GPGPU still requires two external PCIe power connectors and consumes up to 170-watts of power at maximum. NVIDIA claims the Tesla D870 delivers 518 Gigaflops of GPGPU processing power.

Last year, the company announced a highly integrated graphics sub-system named QuadroPlex. Using a number of GPUs in a tightly integrated system, the QuadroPlex family of machines accelerated 3D rendering and graphics work. QuadroPlex became the stepping-stone for the new Tesla C870.

The Tesla C870 GPGPU server packs two GeForce 8-series GPUs in an external system with packaging similar to the QuadroPlex. The GPGPU delivers one Teraflop of GPGPU computing power while consuming up to 550-watts of power.

Finally, the Tesla S870 comes equipped with four GeForce 8-series GPUs and offers up to two Teraflops of computing power. The Tesla S870 consumes up to 800-watts of power and fits into a stackable 1U chassis.

Tesla C870 and S870 systems connect to workstation systems via an external PCIe Gen2 x16 interconnect. The machines contain PCIe switches and can be daisy-chained with more systems. As with the Tesla D870 GPU card, the Tesla C870 and S870 systems lack output capabilities. Theoretically, customers can purchase multiple Tesla GPGPU systems and chain them up for big increases in performance.

NVIDIA designed the new Tesla family for everything from graphics rending to medical research and data farming. At the core level, GPUs are far more efficient at dealing with parallel computing than general-purpose processors. This makes Tesla very powerful for cluster-type applications.

The Tesla S870, D870 and C870 carry an MSRP of $12,000, $1,499 and $7,500, respectively.


Source from dailytech

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Seagate Announces 1TB Drives

New Barracuda 7200.11 and ES.2 offer capacities up to 1TB with 32MB caches

Seagate today unveiled two 1TB hard drives for consumer and enterprise markets – the new Barracuda 7200.11 and Barracuda ES.2. Seagate claims to have “the world’s most advanced family of one terabyte drives” with the new Barracuda models.

The new Barracuda 7200.11 is the follow up to last year’s Barracuda 7200.10, ready to take on Hitachi and Samsung 1TB offerings. Seagate packs the 1TB Barracuda 7200.11 with 32MB of L2 cache, SATA 3.0Gbps and native command queuing support. The Barracuda 7200.11 makes use of four 250GB platters with second-generation perpendicular magnetic recording technology, or PMR. Seagate claims the new Barracuda 7200.11 can sustain 105MB/s data rate.

Even with four platters, Seagate claims the new Barracuda 7200.11 only draws 8-watts during idle and 11.6-watts during seek. Acoustically, the Barracuda 7200.11 generates around 27-to-29 decibels of noise during idle and seeking tasks. As with all new Barracuda generations, the 7200.11 improvements and technologies trickle down to smaller sizes. Seagate also offers the Barracuda 7200.11 in 750GB and 500GB sizes with the same 32MB buffer and PMR technology. Due to smaller sizes, the 750GB drive makes use of three platters while the 500GB drive has two platters.

Seagate’s new Barracuda ES.2 models cater towards the enterprise markets. Although it is similar to the Barracuda 7200.11, Seagate offers the ES.2 with serial attached SCSI, or SAS, interfaces. Seagate has also raised the MTBF rating of the Barracuda ES.2 to 1.2 million hours, up 200 thousand hours from the previous Barracuda ES.

Expect the Barracuda 7200.11 and ES.2 to arrive sometime this quarter in capacities up to 1TB. Seagate prices the 1TB Barracuda 7200.11 with an MSRP of $399. As with other Seagate drives, the new Barracuda 7200.11 and ES.2 come with five year warranties.


Source from dailytech

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Fujitsu Unveils 12.1" Tablet PC With SSD Option




Fujitsu's FMV-T8140 Tablet PC can be selected with Windows XP or Windows Vista

Fujitsu today announced a new 12.1" Tablet PC for the Japanese market. The Santa Rosa-based FMV-T8140 gives users the choice of Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2005 or Windows Vista Business.

The FMV-T8140 is powered by a 1.06GHz Intel Core 2 Duo U7500 processor and comes standard with 1GB of DDR2 memory (512MB on the Windows XP model). The 12.1" screen features a screen resolution of 1200x800 and is powered by Intel's GMA X3100 integrated GPU.

A 30GB HDD is standard on the FMV-T8140, while an 80GB HDD is on the options sheet. Also optional are 16GB and 32GB solid state disks (SSDs).

The FMV-T8140 measures 11.69" x 8.62" x 1.3" and weighs 3.28 pounds. Fujitsu claims that the tablet can operate for 6.8 hours with the standard battery pack and 10.2 hours when using the extended battery (7.5 hours and 11.3 hours respectively with Windows XP).

The FMV-T8140 will be priced in Japan at 265,000 Yen ($2138 USD) for the Windows Vista model and 245,000 Yen ($1976 USD) for the Windows XP model.


Source from dailytech

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Samsung Begins Mass Production of 64GB SSDs




Samsung rolls out its highest capacity 1.8" flash SSD

Back in March, Samsung announced its 64GB flash Solid State Disk (SSD). The 1.8" unit promised read speeds of 65MB/sec and write speeds of 45MB/sec.

Samsung today revealed that it has started mass production of its new drive. The 64GB SSD uses 64 eight gigabit single-level cell (SLC) flash memory chips which are built on a 51 nanometer manufacturing process.

"We see sharply increasing interest in SSDs among OEMs worldwide amid a growing push to launch premium SSD-based notebooks, particularly in the ultra-mobile category," said Jim Elliott, director, flash marketing, Samsung Semiconductor, Inc.

Samsung's 64GB SSD will likely appear at online retailers and inside ultra-portable notebooks (and UMPCs) within the coming weeks and months.

SSDs have the advantage of low power consumption, low weight, durability, silent operation and high performance. These advantages are expected to allow SSDs to account for 29 percent of ultra-portable notebooks and 25 percent of mainstream notebooks according to iSuppli.

The benefits afforded by SSDs are offset by one major deficit: pricing. 1.8" SSD are currently around five times expensive as their 1.8" HDD counterparts. By the year 2010, that differential is expected to only drop to three times as expensive.

For those that simply can’t wait for the 1.8” 64GB SSDs to arrive, the older and slower 32GB version (53MB/sec reads, 30MB/sec writes) is available online for the princely sum of $529.


Source from dailytech

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NVIDIA Partners Quietly Rollout Retail GeForce 8400GS




NVIDIA takes on the entry-level DirectX10 market with a sub-$100 retail graphics card

Graphic card manufacturers silently launched retail GeForce 8400GS-based add-in boards this week. The GeForce 8400GS is NVIDIA’s newest retail entry-level offering, slotting below the GeForce 8500GT. NVIDIA previously released the GeForce 8400GS a couple months ago to OEMs only.

The retail GeForce 8400GS arrives ready to take on AMD’s upcoming ATI Radeon HD 2400-series. The entry-level offering introduces DirectX and shader model 4.0 to a sub-$100 price point. NVIDIA also packs the GeForce 8400GS with PureVideo HD for hardware accelerated video decoding, which accelerates decoding of H.264, VC-1 and MPEG2 high-definition video formats.

GeForce 8400GS-based cards feature 16 stream processors clocked at 900 MHz with a 450MHz core clock – similar to the GeForce 8500GT. NVIDIA pairs the GeForce 8400GS with 256MB of 400 MHz, 800 MHz effectively, DDR2 memory as with the GeForce 8500GT. However, NVIDIA has castrated the memory interface, leaving the GeForce 8400GS with a 64-bit interface instead of the 128-bit interface found on the 8500GT.

Expect GeForce 8400GS-based cards to start popping up in retail within the coming weeks. A quick search reveals MWAVE is the only retailer with a GeForce 8400GS in stock for $70.


Source from dailytech

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Seagate Launches Mobile Hard Drives for Extreme Environments



Seagate to offer second generation high tolerance mobile hard drives for extreme operating conditions

Soon after Seagate Technology began shipping its first 1TB hard disk drive offering, it launched a new mobile hard disk drive built for extreme conditions. Seagate Technology is offering the 2.5-inch EE25 Series 5400.2 mobile disk drive at up to 80GB in capacity and is geared towards those who require durability and reliability in the most hostile conditions.

With a top capacity of 80GB the EE25.2 Series 5400.2 features a high tolerance of extreme temperature conditions, vibrations, humidity, shock, and not-so-ordinary altitudes. Capacities of 30GB, 40GB, and 60GB will also be available in both PATA and SATA interfaces.

To put the tolerance levels in numbers, the EE25.2 Series 5400.2 drives can withstand temperatures in the -30 to +85 degrees Celsius range, humidity levels of 90%, and operate at up to 16,400 feet above sea level. The drives will also tolerate vibrations of 150 Gs at 11 milliseconds. Additionally, Seagate backs these drives by its 5-year warranty which makes this series that much more cost-effective.

Pricing information has not yet been released but we can bet these drives will be aimed at those who are willing to pay for the durability of a tank.


Source from dailytech

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

ASUS G2 Gaming Notebook



While desktops have retained their edge over notebooks with regard to visual and processing prowess, making them the preferred choice for gaming, notebooks are gradually encroaching into this segment because of their undeniable portability. Although there are some notebooks out there that tout themselves as the ultimate gaming notebook, their bland exteriors do not have the 'l33t' look. It is perhaps a good thing that the ASUS G2 gaming notebook manages to convey that impression instantly.

The top of the G2 is a matte silver color that is the same as the palm rest below its trackpad. The rest of the notebook sports a black and classy look, with areas of red found near the speakers and the 1.3-megapixels camera. A circular ASUS gaming logo below the trackpad is lit in a prominent red and only turns off when a users disables the trackpad function. The two red sections located on both sides of the LCD lights up and blinks when user launches any DirectX application so there's no concealing your gaming with a quick ALT-TAB.

The keyboard of the G2 is well laid-out, spacious and is more than ready for those First Person Shooters (FPS) games as the W, A, S, and D keys have been specifically marked in red. There is also an abundance of I/O ports as it includes five USB ports, FireWire port, LAN and modem ports, VGA and S-video Out, an ExpressCard/54 slot, headphone and microphone connectors and a media card reader to boot. There's even a HDMI output for those times when you want to show off your game demos. No wonder the G2 ends up weighing around 4.4kg. Users may naturally find this notebook to be on the heavy side. ASUS addresses this problem by providing a large backpack that will carry the notebook together with its accessories around.

This Santa Rosa based ASUS G2 notebook is powered by an Intel Core 2 Duo T7700 processor together with Intel's PM965 Express chipset and ICH8M Southbridge. The all important graphics chipset is NVIDIA's mid-range GeForce 8600M GT with 256MB of video memory and the system comes with 2GB of DDR2 RAM. ASUS has a few configurations available and users can choose exactly how fast the CPU or the amount of RAM they require.
These powerful specifications gives it the juice it needs to run current games and applications without any issues. We gave Quake 4 a go, running it at the 17-inch LCD’s native resolution of 1440x990 and found it smooth and lag-free. However, games like F.E.A.R and Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory should be played at a lower resolution as they do lag the system slightly.

Perhaps because of its powerful components, the ASUS G2 is not the most energy-saving of notebooks and lasted only 114mins in our MobileMark 2005 battery life test. Additionally, it managed to last 95 minutes during our DVD playback test, which was none too ideal either given the average length of a movie. At least movies and games sounded good even at its maximum volume, thanks to the speakers located at the sides of the keyboard.

The ASUS G2 Gaming Notebook is not your average notebook and this 17-inch monster will surely meet anyone’s expectation for a gaming notebook. Even if the G2 comes with a hefty price tag of S$3988, it is still reasonable for a 17-inch desktop replacement notebook. If you are looking for a fine gaming notebook with a large screen to boot, then the G2 is for you. Otherwise, the lighter G1 with its 15-inch display may be more practical for gamers on the go.

Product Specifications

* Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo T7700 (2.4GHz)
* Intel PM965 Express Chipset + ICH8M
* Display: 17” TFT LCD 1440 x 900
* Memory: 2GB DDR2-667
* Storage: 200GB SATA
* Graphics Chipset: NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT (256MB)
* Optical Drive: DVD SuperMulti Drive
* Input/Output: 5 x USB 2.0, 1 x IEEE 1394, LAN, modem, HDMI out, D-Sub VGA out, S-video out, ExpressCard/54 slot, 3.5mm headphone/mic connectors, media card reader
* Wireless Connectivity: Intel PRO/Wireless 4965AGN, Bluetooth 2.0
* Dimensions: 410.6 x 315.6 x 46.6mm
* Weight: 4.4kg


Source from hardwarezone

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Sony Launches VAIO CR Series


Sony adds a splash of color to its new 14.1" mainstream notebooks

Sony has introduced a new line of notebooks aimed at the mainstream market: the VAIO CR series. DailyTech first briefly mentioned the new Santa-Rosa-based notebooks back in early May when a scant number of specifications were leaked onto Sony's European product pages.

The new CR notebooks feature Core 2 Duo processors, Intel X3100 graphics, a 14.1" XBRITE-ECO LCD screen (1280x800), DVD burner and 802.11n wireless connectivity. Other features include a 3-in-1 media reader and ExpressCard slot along with the usual assortment of Firewire and USB 2.0 ports.

Sony will offer the CR notebooks in what it calls five "fashion-forward" colors: sangria, cosmopolitan, dove, indigo and black (matte finish). The notebooks will also have an LED light that pulsates when the machine is booting, shutting down or hibernating.

"Just like the car you drive, notebooks today are an extension of your personality" said Mike Abary, senior vice president of VAIO product marketing for Sony Electronics in the United States. "As such, users expect their PC to reflect their creativity and individuality, as well as handle their spreadsheets."

The 5.5-pound VAIO CR notebooks will be available at the end of the month with a starting price of $1,350 USD.


Source from dailytech

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Apple makes its flagship browser available to Windows users for free

At its World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco today, Apple demonstrated several features of its upcoming Leopard operating system which DailyTech covered previously. The biggest software announcement however comes in the form of Safari, OS X's default web browser. Like iTunes, Apple is now making its Safari web browser fully compatible with Windows.

Safari 3 is available today via a public beta download. According to Apple, Safari is roughly twice as fast as Internet Explorer and is roughly 42-percent faster than Firefox in terms of HTML browsing performance.

Safari 3 for Windows comes with the following features:
* Pop-up blocking
* Tabbed browsing
* SnapBack
* Private browsing
New to Safari is the ability to drag tabs out of the main browsing window. Doing so will turn a tab into its own browser window. This feature is available on both Mac and Windows versions of Safari. Private browsing turns off caching features, allowing users to browse without worrying that Google searches and page histories are saved.

No word from Apple on when the final release of Safari 3 will come but it's safe to say that when Leopard ships in October, Safari 3 will be finalized.


Source from dailytech

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Saturday, June 9, 2007

MSI GeForce 8800 Ultra 768MB



As if having the jump over rival ATI by releasing the world's first DirectX 10 compatible graphics architecture is not enough, NVIDIA has continued to consolidate its superiority by extending its GeForce 8 series from the initial high-end GeForce 8800 cards. So we have also seen the mid-range GeForce 8600 and 8500 series in recent months while at the extreme high end, NVIDIA's response is the GeForce 8800 Ultra. MSI sent us its version of this new king of the hill and here are the highlights.

How to top the successful and speedy GeForce 8800 GTX 768MB? Well, NVIDIA's answer is to raise the bar on the clock speeds. The MSI card we received is a typical reference card that follows the default clocks - which have all been increased in the Ultra SKU. Hence, the core clock has gone from the GTX's 575MHz to 612MHz, the memory has increased to 2160MHz from 1800MHz and underneath all this, the internal shader clocks have also gone up to 1500MHz from 1350MHz. As this is a standard card, we will not be showing the performance benchmarks and you can refer to our previous review of the NVIDIA GeForce 8800 Ultra for the figures. Let's just say we were not exactly thrilled with its performance (or its price point).

The success of the NVIDIA GeForce 8800 Ultra has been how the engineers have managed to keep the graphics card at an admirably low noise level despite increased clock speeds (that usually spells more heat and in many cases, a noisy fan). A black plastic shroud covers most of the card but the large two-slot cooler is as quiet as the GeForce 8800 GTX. Although NVIDIA's engineers claim to have reduced power consumption slightly in certain scenarios, that wasn't the case during our testing, so be prepared to have extra 'juice' in your PSU before getting one of these.

If the inherently faster clocks on the GeForce 8800 Ultra is still not enough to suit your taste for speed, MSI's usual proprietary overclocking utility, Dynamic Overclocking Technology (D.O.T) is bundled together with this card. Users are able to get the preset profiles to get between 2 and 10% boost in clock speeds, though of course, getting the maximum 10% to run stable on your card is not guaranteed. However, as usual, MSI will be responsible for any damages encountered during the use of D.O.T, so it's a form of insurance for less daring overclockers.

Other exclusive MSI software include StarOSD, which allows users to tweak their clocks and fan settings within an application, e.g. a game. There is no need to exit the program to change your graphics card settings anymore. This should be a boon for enthusiasts who desire close, complete control of their systems and to optimize them on the fly. Finally, MSI also bundled a future Hall of Fame RTS game in the award winning Company of Heroes, which has breathed new life into the genre. It is a fitting title for a top end card like this GeForce 8800 Ultra. More so now that the game has been updated to support DX10 in the latest patch release version 1.7.

The GeForce 8800 Ultra is a luxury item, with prices starting from US$829 at launch and we don't expect this MSI card to be any different, especially when one factors in the software and applications bundled. There probably won't be that many available also for this niche product that will appeal only to enthusiasts with real spending power. For the majority, this is a card for bragging rights only, as the value is hard to justify with its performance. This isn't the fastest yet as MSI has an overclocked version in the pipeline, but that too will come at a price of course.

Product Specifications

* GeForce 8800 GPU (G80)
* Core Clock: 612MHz
* Memory Clock: 2160MHz DDR
* 384-bit memory bus
* 2 x dual-link DVI outputs supporting two 2560 x 1600 resolutions
* Minimum 500W or greater power supply
* HDCP Compliant
* NVIDIA SLI Ready
* Dual Molex 6-pin power connectors required



Source from hardwarezone

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MSI GX70 17-inch gaming notebook pays tribute to the female form



The general perception of anything high tech and feminine is either Tombraider or Hello Kitty, so it's good to see that someone is taking the effort to do something different. The new 17" gaming notebook GX700 from MSI feature a feminine beauty on the top. Her elegant features mesmerize you and her specs…err the notebook's specs are impressive. It boasts of a 1.3M embedded webcam, Intel Centrino Duo mobile technology, nVidia Geforce 8600M GT 512MB, Full DiretX 10 support, HDMI output, 4.1 Channel Speakers and optional Embedded TV Tuner.

Seen at the Computex 2007 Taipei, there is no word on pricing and availability of the GX700 from MSI.


Source from NewLaunchs

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New SiS Chipset for Intel's "Penryn"

SiS prepares new single and dual-chip chipsets for Intel's "Penryn"

SiS plans to unleash a new family of single-chip and dual-chip chipsets for Intel Penryn dual and quad-core processors next year. The single-chip family consists of the SiS 680-series, in five different variants. SiS plans to cater the 680-series towards performance, mainstream and entry-level market segments.

The top dog of the SiS 680-series is the 680SCD with support for 1333 MHz front-side bus Penryn processors. The SiS 680SCD features a DDR2 memory controller with support for DDR2-800 and 1066 MHz memory. The single-chip solution is designed with single-graphics in mind with support for a single PCIe x16 slot. Other notable features of the 680SCD include support for four PCIe x1 slots, ten USB 2.0, four SATA 3.0 Gbps ports and Gigabit Ethernet.

On the mainstream side of things are the SiS 680SCE and 680SCH. The two chipsets are identical with the exception of front-side bus support. The SiS 680SCE supports 1333 MHz front-side bus while the 680SCH is limited to 1066 MHz, officially. The SiS 680SCE and 680SCH add a new Mirage 4 graphics core with HDMI output capabilities.

The SiS Mirage 4 graphics core is fully HDCP compliant for Blu-ray and HD DVD video playback. The SiS Mirage 4 graphics core is DirectX 10 compliant with hardware H.264 and VC-1 acceleration. Aside from the integrated graphics core, the SiS 680SCE and 680SCH are identical to the 680SCD.

At the bottom of the SiS single-chip Intel chipset lineup are the 680SCP and 680SCL. Once again, the SiS 680SCP and 680SCL are identical with the exception of front-side bus and memory support. The SiS 680SCP supports 1333 MHz front-side bus processors while the 680SCL is limited to 1066 MHz. The SiS 680SCL only supports DDR2-800 memory as well. The SiS 680SCP and 680SCL do not support HDMI and HDCP, however, the chipset feature an integrated TMDS transmitter for DVI output.

All SiS 680-series chipsets can use the same pin-outs and are drop-in compatible.

SiS plans to support DDR3 memory with its dual-chip designs. The upcoming 665, 673FX and 673 add DDR3-1333 memory support to an identical feature list as the single-chip parts. However, the upcoming SiS 665, 673FX and 673 will have a new 969 south bridge to pair up with.

The new SiS 969 features ten USB 2.0, one PATA133 channel, four SATA 3.0Gbps with RAID 0, 1, 5, JBOD and 0+1, one PCIe x16, four PCIe x1 and high definition audio support. The SiS 969 will also accept a trusted platform 1.2 module as well.

Expect SiS to begin sampling the new single-chip chipsets in Q4’2007 and the dual-chip versions in the first half of 2008.


Source from dailytech

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Thursday, June 7, 2007

Seagate claims highest density 3.5” hard drive




According to Seagate, the technology achieves an areal storage density of 180 Gb per square inch and will be used in the 7200.10 series of hard drives. Apparently, Seagate does not aim to set a new storage capacity record for this segment just yet, as the firm said that the new platters will be introduced in the “industry's first 250 GB-per-disc, 3.5” disc drive.”

The advantage of running a single platter in a drive comes down to lower power consumption, lower operating temperatures and less noise. Seagate did not disclose how much power the new drive will consume, previous 7200.10 drives with multiple platters, however, are rated at 7.5 watts – which is more three times the consumption of current 250 GB 2.5” drives, which rotate their discs at lower speeds (5400 rpm instead of 7200 rpm), but typically consume only around 2 watts during read and write processes.

Competing 3.5” technologies, including the 1 TB drive from Hitachi GST, store 200 GB per platter and achieve an areal density of 144 Gb per square inch. At least theoretically, the new platters will allow Seagate to roll out hard drives with five platters and a total capacity of 1.25 TB.

While Seagate can claim that it offers that highest density on 3.5” drives, competitors are offering substantially higher capacities in 2.5” models. Hitachi’s recently announced 2-platter 2.5” drive with 250 GB is rated at 205 Gb per square inch.


Source from TG Daily

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Mozilla puts green light on Firefox 3 Alpha 5

The latest pre-release version of Firefox 3.0 has hit the Internet, adding among other things the addition of bookmarks to the much touted "Places" feature.

Places is a collapsable side panel in the browser that gives users easy access to RSS feeds, bookmarks, and history in the same box. Once talked about for Firefox 2, Places was quickly set aside for the last major browser overhaul and will make its debut in version 3.0.

The fifth alpha release of Firefox 3 brings the first time bookmarks have been added to the all-in-one browser tool for developers.

According to Mozilla's Wiki page, Places will also be used to manage URL AutoComplete settings and will offer a drag-and-drop option for website bookmarking. Places uses an open-source SQLite database, a different standard than it used for bookmarks in Firefox 2, but users will be able to perform a one-time migration from bookmarks on old browser to the new one.

In addition, the latest alpha release has a new crash reporting system, "Breakpad", which Mozilla says makes it easier to report crashes as well as read reports from other users. It also adds a Java-powered password manager, previously powered by C++. Finally, Alpha 5 also adds support for native controls and Growl notifications on Mac OS X systems.


Source from TG Daily

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WD Now Shipping 750 GB Caviar Desktop Hard Drives


750 GB for all your little files, or just a few of your really big ones

Western Digital said that is now shipping in volume the 750 GB SATA WD Caviar SE16 desktop-class hard drives. The drives feature a 3 Gb/s transfer rate, 16 MB cache, Native Command Queuing and a host of other WD technologies.

Don Bennett, WD vice president and general manager of desktop storage, speaks on some the new Caviar’s bullet points: "WD knows that there is nothing more important than our customers' data. Uniquely, our new desktop hard drive brings together SecurePark for better shock characteristics, StableTrac for better vibration performance, and IntelliSeek to reduce power consumption. These proven features will further WD's lead as the most reliable desktop products."

The WD Caviar SE16 achieves its size with the help of Perpendicular Magnetic Recording (PMR) technology, where the magnetization of each data bit is aligned vertically to the spinning disk, rather than longitudinally. PMR enables more data on a given disk than is possible with conventional longitudinal recording, and provides a platform for future expansion of hard drive densities.

WD Caviar SE16 750 GB (model WD7500AAKS) is now available at an MSRP of $249.


Source from dailytech

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Partners Showcase AMD RD790 Motherboards

ASUS, DFI and Gigabyte prepare RD790, RD780 and RX780 motherboards



AMD motherboard partners displayed RD790-based motherboards at Computex 2007. ASUS, DFI and Gigabyte have RD790 motherboards on display. Gigabyte is the only partner to have a live demonstration of RD790, from what we have seen. The Gigabyte GA-M790-DQ6 features four PCIe 2.0 x16 slots capable of dual x16 or quad x8 configurations.

The live demo of the Gigabyte GA-M790-DQ6 did not have two ATI Radeon GPUs operating in CrossFire. Instead, Gigabyte equipped the RD790 demo system with a single ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT.

The Gigabyte GA-M790-DQ6 does not have any PCIe x1 slots. However, the GA-M790-DQ6 features two standard PCI slots. Gigabyte also equips the GA-M790-DQ6 with a Realtek ALC889 high-definition audio codec capable of 106dB signal-to-noise ratios.

ASUS had the M3A32-MVP Deluxe on display. The upcoming ASUS M3A32-MVP Deluxe supports Socket AM2+ processors with HyperTransport 3.0, or HT3. The board features dual PCIe 2.0 x16, three PCI and one PCIe x1 slots. The ASUS M3A32-MVP Deluxe will also support DDR2-1066 memory.

ASUS equips the M3A32-MVP Deluxe with an elaborate heat-pipe cooling setup. The heat-pipe cools the RD790, SB600 and accompanying system memory.

DFI had the LANPartyUT RD790-M2R on display. The LANPartyUT RD790-M2R features four PCIe 2.0 x16, two PCI and one PCIe x1 slots. DFI only claims HyperTransport 1.0 support with the LANPartyUT RD790-M2R. Nevertheless, the LANPartyUT RD790-M2R features a six-phase Vcore and one-phase digital PWM. Additionally, the DFI LANPartyUT features dual Gigabit Ethernet ports with teaming technology and DFI Bernstein eight-channel audio.

ASUS had additional AMD 7-series motherboards on display – the M3A-MVP and M3A. The ASUS M3A-MVP features the mainstream RD780 chipset with a cut-down PCIe lane configuration. ASUS equips the M3A-MVP with two physical PCIe 2.0 x16 slots. The PCIe 2.0 x16 slots default to dual eight-lane configurations when both slots are occupied.

The ASUS M3A-MVP also features three PCIe x1 and two PCI slots for expansion. The vanilla M3A-MVP does not receive the elaborate heat-pipe setup as its deluxe brethren.

Lastly is the value-level ASUS M3A. The ASUS M3A features the AMD RX780 chipset paired with the SB600. The AMD RX780 does not support CrossFire. The ASUS M3A features one PCIe 2.0 x16, three PCIe x1 and three PCI slots.

Expect AMD RD790, RD780 and RX780 motherboards later this year.


Source from dailytech

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Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Gigabyte Passive Single-Slot HD 2600 XT



New Silent-Pipe II cooler only takes up one slot

Gigabyte is displaying the latest passively cooled ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT graphics card. The upcoming GV-RX26T256H pairs the ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT with a Silent-Pipe II cooler for silent computing. Gigabyte has opted for a single-slot cooler design, unlike the Sapphire HD 2600 XT Ultimate.

The new GV-RX26T256H features 120 stream processors and 256MB of GDDR3 memory attached via a 128-bit memory interface. Gigabyte equips the GV-RX26T256H with dual dual-link DVI and component video outputs. The card also supports HDMI and 5.1 channel audio with an adapter. HDCP is also supported for high-definition video playback of formats such as Blu-ray and HD DVD.

Expect Gigabyte to launch the single-slot passive ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT next month with the official GPU release.


Source from dailytech

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2 New HD 2600s from Sapphire



Sapphire Technology has two new ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT models on display at Computex 2007. The two new ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT models include an AGP model and a new lower cost PCI Express model. The new Sapphire HD 2600 XT features identical specifications as the PCIe counterparts with 120 stream processors and a 128-bit memory interface. Sapphire equips the AGP model with 256MB of GDDR3 memory.

The Sapphire HD 2600 XT AGP also features DVI, VGA and TV-outputs. Although the card is AGP, it still requires additional power via a PCIe power connector. Nevertheless, the Sapphire HD 2600 XT AGP brings high-definition HD DVD and Blu-ray video playback with AMD’s Universal Video Decoder, or UVD, and DirectX 10 support to AGP users.

Sapphire is also preparing a lower costing ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT-based PCIe offering. Sapphire manages to reduce costs by trimming the PCB down to four layers instead of the typical eight layers. Due to the PCB reduction, the internal CrossFire connectors are absent, so the card will not be hardware CrossFire compatible.

However, Sapphire claims the CrossFire connector-less ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT-based card will support software CrossFire once AMD releases drivers capable of the feat. Additionally, the trimmed down card features dual DVI and TV-outputs. The card does not require any extra power.

Expect Sapphire to officially unveil the HD 2600 XT AGP and the slimmed ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT-based card when AMD officially releases the GPUs next month.


Source from dailytech

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Hitachi 250GB Notebook Drives


Hitachi may be a little late to the game, but it is finally joining the 250GB 2.5" notebook hard drive ranks. The company today announced its new Travelstar 5K250 drive and said that it has the best power-efficiency of any drive in its class.

"The Travelstar 5K250 was built from the ground up for notebook PC users who demand high capacity, ruggedness, speed and power efficiency," said Shinjiro Iwata, chief marketing officer for Hitachi Global Storage Technologies. "With all of the improvements we’ve integrated into the 5K250, we are confident Hitachi will continue to maintain its leadership position in the 2.5-inch hard disk drive space."

The Travelstar 5K250 spins at 5400RPM and uses a Serial ATA interface. The company will also sell its E5K250 alongside the new 5K250. The E5K250 features Hitachi's Bulk Data Encryption 3 hard-drive level data security mechanism.

The new 250GB drives are shipping now; however, pricing has not yet been announced.


Source dailytech

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SanDisk Announces 64GB SSDs




SanDisk has had its share of the solid-state disk (SSD) limelight for the first half of 2007. In January, the company announced a 1.8" 32GB SSD for notebooks computers. In March, the company introduced another 32GB offering -- this time in a 2.5" form-factor. The next month, Dell offered the 1.8" SanDisk UATA 5000 in its Latitude D420 and Latitude D620 ATG semi-rugged notebooks.

Today, SanDisk is grabbing headlines again with its 64GB 1.8" UATA 5000 SSD and 64GB 2.5" SATA 5000 SSD. The SSDs offer a MTBF of 2 million hours, average access speeds of 0.11 milliseconds and average read speeds of 67MB/sec. Both SSDs consume just 0.4 watts while at idle and 1.0 watt when in active operation.

"Laptop manufacturers have requested more memory capacity for systems that use the Microsoft Vista platform, which can require a number of preloaded accessories and security suites," said SanDisk director of SSD product marketing Doreet Oren. "Also, there is interest in developing laptops for gaming, and the SSD is well-suited for the performance and memory requirements of those users. Thus, by offering greater capacities on our SSD products, we are making our products more appealing to a wider customer base."

SanDisk will ship engineering samples of its 64GB 1.8" UATA 5000 SSD and 64GB 2.5" SATA 5000 SSD during the third quarter while regular production is due to begin by the end of the year.


Source dailytech

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Monday, June 4, 2007

HP Pavilion HDX Entertainment Notebook

Enter the Dragon

Summer - that time of the year when days become longer and warmer. It's also the cue for big budget, CGI-bloated Hollywood blockbuster movies to start flooding the cinemas. Getting into this spirit is a revitalized HP, fresh from its recent triumphs in the marketplace, with its latest, and biggest ever blockbuster of a notebook, a 20.1-inch wide creation with an appropriately Hollywood nickname - the Dragon. The actual name however is a more mundane and longwinded one, HP Pavilion HDX Entertainment Notebook PC and apparently, it's so new that HP has not yet christened it with a proper model name/number.

Following in the footsteps of rivals like Dell and Acer, which already have such unconventionally large 'notebooks' models available - we have previously reviewed the Dell XPS M2010 - HP is merely capitalizing on the trend of increasingly powerful, consumer desktop replacement notebooks that are larger than ever. Consumers are taking to 17-inch notebooks for their performance, widescreen displays and multimedia capabilities and manufacturers are convinced that taking a notch further to 20-inches and above is feasible for a certain select desktop replacement (DTR) user group.




HP joins the mammoth notebook club with this impressively large 20.1-inch widescreen notebook, which they have dubbed the 'Dragon'

But with a bulk and weight that would have been unimaginable for a notebook a few years ago - the HP Pavilion HDX weighs around 7kg alone, excluding the substantial mass of its power adapter - would these machines fit the typical definition of a 'notebook' which has always been associated with portable computing machines? We'll find out with this preview of an engineering prototype of the HP Pavilion HDX. Since this is only a prototype, we were warned that some features and functions might not work properly. The specifications of this machine (the version for the Asia Pacific region) have also not been finalized at the moment so we will list the technical specifications relevant for this preview below. More likely than not, these specifications will be changed for the actual retail unit when it is available sometime in July.

HP Pavilion HDX Specifications

Processor and Chipset
* Intel Core 2 Duo processor T7700 (@2.4GHz)
* Intel PM965 (ICH8)

Operating System
* Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium

BIOS
* Supports DVD/CD-ROM and USB boot

System Memory
* 2GB DDR2 System Memory
* 2 x DDR2 SO-DIMM Slots

Video & Display
* ATI Mobility Radeon HD 2600 XT
* 256MB Dedicated video memory
* Up to 1GB total available video memory
* Built-in HDTV hybrid analog/digital tuner
* 20.1-inch WSXGA+ HP Ultra Brightview Widescreen Display
* Native resolution: 1680 x 1050

HDD
* 200GB x 2 (Dual SATA hard drives)
* 4200RPM

Optical Drive
* SuperMulti DVD+/-R/RW Double Layer

Communication
* Intel PRO/Wireless 4965AGN Network Connection & Bluetooth

Audio
* Altec Lansing speaker system - 4 panel mounted and integrated HP triple bass reflex sub-woofer
* Full 8-channel analog output ports on the system support up to 7.1 external speaker configurations

Front & Side I/O Ports
* 4 x USB 2.0 ports
* HP Expansion Port 3
* 1 x RJ-45 (LAN)
* VGA analog output
* 1 x 4-pin 1394 FireWire port
* 1 x eSATA port
* 1 x HDMI output
* Integrated 5-in-1 card reader
* Headphone and microphone jacks
* 1 x ExpressCard/54 slot

Rear I/O Ports
* DC Power connector
* Audio (Rear, Center/Sub, Front) outputs
* Built-in HDTV hybrid tuner's ports: NTSC/ATSC (with F-Jack adaptor) input, S-Video Input, Blaster (IR emitter), Stereo audio input

Miscellaneous
* Integrated webcam with built-in array microphone
* 180W AC adaptor
* 9-cell Lithium-Ion battery

Dimension & Weight
* 474mm (L) x 340mm (W) x 58.4mm (H)
* ~7.03kg

Bundled Software and Accessories
* HP Total Care Help & Support Center
* HP QuickPlay
* HP Photosmart Premier
* PC Recovery (Softthinks Restore Solution)
* Roxio Backup MyPC
* Roxio Creator Premier
* muvee autoProducer 6.0
* Microsoft Works
* Microsoft Office 2007 Student and Teacher Edition (60 Day Trial version)
* Adobe Reader 8.0
* Serif WebPlus 10
* Symantec Norton Internet Security 2007 (60 days complimentary live update)

Continue....

Source hardwarezone

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NVIDIA Releases New ForceWare Drivers

New drivers for Windows XP and Vista users

This morning NVIDIA released new drivers for Windows Vista and XP users for GeForce 6 and newer graphic processors. The Windows Vista drivers are up to ForceWare Release 158 version 158.24 while Windows XP users are stuck with ForceWare Release 90 version 94.24.

The new Windows Vista Release 158 drivers increase 3D performance in applications, add PureVideo HD support, DirectX force vertical sync and an updated NVIDIA Control Panel. The driver supports DirectX 9, DirectX 10 and OpenGL APIs for single-GPU GeForce 6, 7 and 8-series configurations. NVIDIA only supports DirectX 9 and OpenGL on GeForce 6, 7 and 8-series SLI configurations.

GeForce 8 SLI users that want to take advantage of DirectX 10 support are steered towards the version 158.43-beta drivers. As with all driver releases, the latest ForceWare WHQL release has game and application compatibility fixes.

The Windows XP release 90 drivers add support for the new GeForce 7200 GS. The new driver supports PureVideo HD hardware acceleration of H.264, VC-1 and MPEG-2 high-definition video formats. NVIDIA has also improved video post-processing and added HDCP support for DVI and HDMI connectors. NVIDIA updates the new Control Panel as well.


Source dailytech

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Windows XP
Windows Vista 32-bit
Windows Vista 64-bit

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AMD to Announce New Naming System Next Week

Before Phenom, there's the Athlon X2 BE-2000-series

AMD will introduce a new modeling system for its processors. Under the new naming scheme, the performance rating goes away in favor of an alphanumeric model. AMD will also refer to the new Athlon 64 X2 models simply as AMD Athlon. AMD will drop the “64” suffix claiming it is no longer necessary to claim 64-bit support and allows for a shorter name.

The new naming scheme debuts early next week with the Athlon X2 BE-2350 and BE-2300 models. The new alphanumeric modeling system allows AMD to designate different models by thermal design power, processor series and speed.

The first two alphabetical characters of the model number indicate the processor class and TDP rating. AMD designates the Athlon X2 BE-series processors as sub-65-watt TDP models. The new Athlon X2 BE-2350 and BE-2300 feature 45-watt TDP ratings. AMD intends to release different processor classes as it becomes necessary.

The first numeral in the model number indicates the processor series and processor attributes, while the remaining three numerals indicate speed within the series and class. AMDs new modeling system names processors on a higher-is-better system.

AMD has prepared to launch the new Athlon X2 BE-2350 and BE-2300 early next week. Pricing for the new models is set at $91 and $86 for the Athlon X2 BE-2350 and BE-2300, per-processor in 1,000-unit quantities, respectively.


Source dailytech

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Saturday, June 2, 2007

AMD Announces 9-watt Sempron 2100+


New Sempron for Socket S1 embedded and SBC systems

AMD today announced the latest addition to the embedded product lineup, the Sempron 2100+ processor. The new Sempron 2100+ has a thermal design power rating of nine watts. With the low TDP rating, the Sempron 2100+ is ideal for fan-less embedded systems.

AMD packages the Sempron 2100+ in a Socket S1 package. The Sempron 2100+ is compatible with the AMD M690T chipset. The new Sempron 2100+ is the first embedded targeted processor from AMD to feature AMD64 technology.

“By expanding our product portfolio with this new, very low power version of the highly successful AMD Sempron processor and extending the temperature support in our Geode line, AMD is delivering on our promise of customer-centric innovation for a range of embedded markets,” Embedded Computing Solutions Division Vice President Greg White said. “You will continue to see AMD offer our embedded customers the products and tools they need to get high performance, very low power products to market quickly.”

Expect the Sempron 2100+ to make its way into embedded and SBCs. AAEON and Arbor offer boards compatible with the new processor.


Source DailyTech

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Lite-On LH-2B1S Blu-ray Burner Review


Blue laser hardware is gradually becoming more affordable. On the consumer side, Blu-ray players such as the Samsung BD-P1000 are starting to approach the $500 price point. HD-DVD players are dipping below $300 for 1080i units like the Toshiba HD-A2, and you can pick up a 1080P Toshiba HD-A20 for under $400.

On the PC front, events have moved a little more slowly. Blu-ray burners have dropped in price by about a third. For example, the Sony BWU-100A we reviewed late last year initially weighed in at $750, but you can now find it for $599. The HD-DVD front for the PC has been somewhat slower to materialize. External HD-DVD drives from HP are available, as is the Xbox 360 HD-DVD drive, which works fine on a PC. But both are HD-DVD ROM drives, not burners. The Toshiba SD-H903A internal HD-DVD burner has supposedly shipped, but you can't find it anywhere, and review samples from Toshiba haven't been available either.

It's also inevitable that combo drives that can handle both types of disks will become available. We recently previewed the LG GGW-H10N, but it's believed that particular drive will cost well over $1,000. Though this LG drive is a full-featured Blu-ray and DVD burner, HD-DVD support is limited to playback of HD-DVD ROM disks only.

Now Lite-On is jumping into the fray. The company famous for driving down prices of DVD recordable drives is shipping the LH-2B1S Blu-ray Burner, which can be found for under $500 (check prices). While a five hundred dollar drive isn't exactly a budget product, it does demonstrate that the price of blue laser technology is starting to come down from the stratosphere.


Let's take a closer look. Continue...

Source extremetech

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Friday, June 1, 2007

AMD Releases ATI Catalyst 7.5

Another month, another new driver release

AMD today released the latest ATI Catalyst 7.5 drivers for Windows XP and Windows Vista. As with previous ATI Catalyst releases, graphic driver support is limited to the ATI Radeon 9500-series or newer graphics cards.

The new ATI Catalyst 7.5 drivers introduce DirectX 10 support for ATI Radeon HD 2900 XT graphics cards in Windows Vista. DirectX 10 support is available on single-card and CrossFire ATI Radeon HD 2900 XT configurations. Windows XP users will not receive DirectX 10 support.

Also new to the ATI Catalyst 7.5 drivers is support for the second-generation ATI Theater 650 multimedia products. Second-generation ATI Theater 650-based products meet Windows Media Center DRM requirements and broadcast flag support. The new drivers also improve TV quality.

ATI X1950 XTX owners should see improved OpenGL performance with the new ATI Catalyst 7.5. Performance improvements of 13-18% in Doom 3 and Quake 4, and 15.6% in Prey with anti-aliasing, anisotropic filtering and resolutions 1920x1200 or higher are touted with the ATI Catalyst 7.5 driver set. The ATI Radeon X1950 Pro and X1650 XT receive mild improvements up to 14.1% as well.

As with every ATI Catalyst driver release, ATI Catalyst 7.5 resolves issues in Doom 3, Quake 4, Lego Star Wars II and Serious Sam in Windows Vista. AMD has also resolved issues in Call of Duty and Just Cause under Windows XP.


Download

Windows XP
Windows XP 64-bit
Windows Vista-32bit
Windows Vista 64-bit

Source dailytech

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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Top 5 All-Purpose Laptops (5)

Lenovo ThinkPad T60p Widescreen



CPU: 2-GHz Core 2 Duo T7200
Display Size (inches): 15.4
Wide Screen: Yes
Total HD Size (GB): 100
Min. Weight (lbs.): 6.2
Price When Reviewed: $2199


Corporate wide-screen ThinkPad includes workstation graphics.

The ThinkPad T60p Widescreen is Lenovo's first wide-screen corporate laptop with workstation graphics. Its 256MB ATI Mobility FireGL V5250 graphics chip is optimized for OpenGL, the programming environment of choice for many big-name game developers and other 3D-modeling professionals. The WSXGA+ screen has the high, 1680-by-1050-pixel resolution needed to do detailed graphics work. The screen is quite dim, however, despite being rated at 200 nits. This drawback isn't a deal breaker, but even compared to the 150-nit-rated standard-aspect 14-1-inch Lenovo ThinkPad T60, the Widescreen definitely looks a little darker.

Our $2199 test machine was otherwise very nicely designed. Equipped with a 2-GHz Core 2 Duo 7200 processor, 2GB of RAM, and a 100GB hard drive, it was a good performer. In WorldBench 6 Beta 2, it earned an admirable speed score of 73. The battery, an upgrade in our notebook from the standard six-cell to a nine-cell, lasted a lengthy 4.5 hours. The T60p Widescreen is also well equipped for wireless communications, with draft-n (and 802.11a/b/g) Wi-Fi support as standard and cellular broadband as an option. At only 6.2 pounds, it truly is a mobile workstation.

The T60p Widescreen has all of the same great ThinkPad features as the smaller T60, including a top-notch keyboard with dual pointing devices and a modular bay for using two batteries at once. But only the strongest eyes will want to squint at this machine's dim screen for long.

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Top 5 All-Purpose Laptops (4)

Lenovo ThinkPad T60



CPU: 2-GHz Core 2 Duo T7200
Display Size (inches): 14.1
Wide Screen: No
Total HD Size (GB): 100
Min. Weight (lbs.): 5.7
Price When Reviewed: $1899


This lightweight business laptop has capacious battery life and ships with Windows Vista Business.

A very nice corporate laptop, the Lenovo ThinkPad T60 is ideal for on-the-go executives who chafe at ultraportable limitations. It's big enough to have a 14.1-inch screen and a first-rate keyboard, yet plenty light enough to carry, at 5.7 pounds. Battery life with the nine-cell upgrade included with our $1899 (as of 5/9/07) review unit was superb.

Our test machine came with Windows Vista Business and featured a 2-GHz Core 2 Duo T7200 processor and 1GB of RAM. It performed well in our tests. In the WorldBench 6 Beta 2 suite, the T60 scored a slightly better-than-average 69. In battery testing it endured for almost 5 hours on a single charge of its upgrade battery, one of the best times we've recorded for a Vista laptop. Better yet, ThinkPads have a modular bay that can hold another battery (instead of the dual-layer DVD rewritable drive), so you can work off of two batteries at once.

The T60 is a sturdy, slim unit with the ThinkPad's classic black case. Among many useful features, the great keyboard includes browser back and forward keys, and touchpad and eraserhead pointing devices. The screen is of a standard aspect ratio--instead of the wide-aspect design most notebook vendors have switched to--and it uses a matte rather than a glossy finish, but it's reasonably bright and not at all bulky. All of the basic connections--USB, audio, video, and communications ports--are present, including an ExpressCard slot. But the unit lacks a FireWire port and memory-card slots. The stereo speakers are a bit weak.

The flexible pricing starts at $1200; optional extras include broadband wireless, a fingerprint reader, and a larger 160GB hard drive. You can also request almost any flavor of Windows Vista or XP.

The ThinkPad is not ideal if your idea of good laptop includes media buttons and loud audio. But if the best balance of portability and performance is what you need, it could be the perfect addition to your carry-on gear.

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Top 5 All-Purpose Laptops (3)

Gateway E-475M



CPU: 2.2-GHz Core 2 Duo T7500
Display Size (inches): 15.4
Wide Screen: Yes
Total HD Size (GB): 100
Min. Weight (lbs.): 7.2
Price When Reviewed: $2270


Gateway business laptop delivers great performance and battery life.

If a 7.2-pound laptop with a 15.4-inch screen isn't too bulky or heavy to carry in your estimation, you may well find Gateway's new business laptop ideal for toting in a satchel or backpack. It has a durable smudge-resistant exterior, a shock-mounted hard drive, and a close-fitting lid to keep out debris. Equipped with one of Intel's latest mobile dual-core processors, the $2270 (as of 5/9/07) E-475M is also one of the fastest notebooks of the moment, and it has terrific battery life.

The E-475M's classic matte-black case has a more business-oriented look than the two-tone M-465E it replaces. The rounded, clamshell lid keeps paperclips and other small items from working their way between the screen and keyboard, making this the perfect laptop for stuffing into a grubby bag.

Equipped with 2GB of RAM and a new 2.2-GHz Core 2 Duo T7500 processor, the E-475M is the fastest Vista notebook we've tested to date. It bested our previous top WorldBench 6 Beta 2 scorer, a Micro Express NP5760 running an older 2.33-GHz Core 2 Duo T7600 chip and Vista Home, by 1 point--83 to 82. Our new speed champ is powerful enough to handle any application, even 3D gaming. (The speakers are no great shakes, however.) Wireless-communications fans get the bonus of the chip set's support for five-times-faster draft-n Wi-Fi. The Gateway aced our battery tests, as well, lasting 5 hours, 17 minutes on a single charge.

The screen has the more conservative matte finish rather than the glossy sheen so popular these day, so it's not blazingly bright--but neither does it reflect office lights. The WXSGA resolution of 1680 by 1050 pixels makes icons small, but that's the necessary trade-off if you like being able to open a lot of windows or to see all of a big document at once. The rest of the design is good overall, if a bit spartan. The keyboard is classic Gateway: plain, with no quick-launch buttons, but comfortable. Case connections are also modest but cover all the bases, including a front-mounted wireless switch. The 100GB hard drive could be bigger, but at least it's a high-speed, 7200-rpm model. The E-475M is one of the rare Gateway systems to offer a modular bay. Though the bay's release is awkwardly situated on the bottom, and is stiff and hard to work, being able to swap out the dual-layer DVD burner for a second battery or hard drive is a valuable expansion option.

Extras not included in our review unit's price include an optional fingerprint reader, an integrated smart card, Gateway's built-to-fit privacy filter, and a detachable docking station with a very nice charging bay that lets you keep an extra battery ready to go.

Though not cheap, the E-475M injects some much-needed excitement into Gateway's notebook lineup. It's a good-looking and durable design, topped off by great performance courtesy of one of Intel's latest dual-core processors.

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Top 5 All-Purpose Laptops (2)

Asus A8JR-4P021C



CPU: 1.66-GHz Core 2 Duo T5500
Display Size (inches): 14
Wide Screen: Yes
Total HD Size (GB): 120
Min. Weight (lbs.): 5.5
Price When Reviewed: $1099


A dim screen is the only significant drawback on this otherwise solidly performing and reasonably priced laptop.

The $1099 (as of 5/9/07) A8JR-4P021C has the makings of a quality notebook for worker bees limited by their company's tight budget. It lasted exactly 2 hours in our battery tests, well below average for a small laptop but enough to tide you over for short periods of unplugged work.

The 14-inch display has a good resolution, but its side-on viewable angle is quite narrow compared to other notebooks we've looked at recently.

The keyboard is easy to type on, though the mouse buttons accompanying the touchpad are slightly stiff. It's full of conveniences, including five thin black keys along the top that provide shortcuts to various functions, such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless communications. And the notebook is nothing if not generously equipped: It has a FireWire port, a dual-layer DVD burner, both ExpressCard and shared flash-memory card slots, and three different video-out ports (VGA, DVI, and S-Video). The unit is also equipped with a 120GB hard drive, a Webcam, and enough ports (including five USB ports) to connect a small office of peripherals.

Unlike Asus's A8Js, which features a 512MB nVidia GeForce Go 7700 graphics chip, the A8JR uses ATI's new Mobility Radeon X2300 graphics chip, which can also use up to 896MB of main system memory. Our test model also included 1GB of RAM and a 1.66-GHz Core 2 Duo T5500 processor, making it agile enough for challenging work apps and light entertainment such as DVD movies. The system earned a WorldBench 6 Beta 2 score of 60, which places it about 20 percent behind the fastest all-purpose Vista notebooks we've tested so far.

The light, 5.5-pound A8JR-4P021C has a nice design and represents a good value for the money; but test-drive the screen for yourself before you commit your cash.

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Top 5 All-Purpose Laptops (1)

These laptops can do it all and are a great choice for most notebook users. Ratings and rankings can change due to pricing and technology changes, so check back frequently for the latest info.

HP Pavilion dv6500t



CPU: 2-GHz Core 2 Duo T7300
Display Size (inches): 15.4
Wide Screen: Yes
Total HD Size (GB): 120
Min. Weight (lbs.): 6.2
Price When Reviewed: $1309



This well-designed multimedia notebook performs well, thanks to one of Intel's latest mobile processors.

A beautifully crafted consumer notebook, the new HP Pavilion dv6500t has backlit media controls and a stylish case that's made for showing off.

Capable of serious work as well, it's a strong performer, yet fairly light (6.2 pounds) and easily totable. The keyboard is a tad bouncier than that of its predecessor, the dv6000t. And though bright and readable, the 15.4-inch screen tends to reflect overhead lights. Also, HP downgraded the dv6000t's 1.3-megapixel (1280-by-1024-pixel) Webcam to 0.3 megapixels (640 by 480 resolution) on the dv6500t. These are minor nits, however.

While the dv6500t adds a few more circles to the subtle motif on its designer lid, cosmetically the system is largely the same gorgeous laptop as its predecessor, with the same durable, high-gloss casing and piano-black hinges. New are support for draft-n Wi-Fi (in addition to 802.11a/b/g), a fingerprint reader for security, an HDMI output for connecting to a television, and the option for an HD DVD-ROM drive (though our test unit came with a multiformat, dual-layer DVD writer). The dv6500t has three USB ports and a seven-in-one shared card slot, and the configuration we tested included a 120GB hard drive.

Our $1309 (as of 5/9/07) review model also came equipped with 2GB of RAM and the new 2-GHz Core 2 Duo T7300 chip, which together helped it earn a WorldBench 6 Beta 2 score of 75--just 10 percent behind the fastest laptops we've tested. As a result, the dv6500t can handle any type of application, from mainstream to multimedia, except 3D shooter games. The dv6500t's integrated Intel Graphics Media Accelerator X3100 can use up to 358MB of main system memory; but for real gaming muscle, you'd want to upgrade to the optional 256MB nVidia GeForce Go 7400 graphics chip.

Battery life was excellent: The notebook lasted just 3 minutes shy of 4 hours in our tests.

Multimedia junkies still have the HP QuickPlay feature that was found on the dv6000t. This entertainment menu launches with one tap or a swipe of the touch-sensitive strip at the top of the keyboard, letting you enjoy DVD movies, music, personal videos, and photo slide shows without booting Windows. Meanwhile, fantastic stereo speakers pump out the sound. An ExpressCard TV tuner is remains a $130 option. The Pavilion dv6500t's dazzling look may not be for everyone, but lurking beneath the glossy surface is a serious laptop. If high fashion fits your portable lifestyle, work never looked so good.

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