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Hot! Electronics - The Cool Stuff

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Corsair goes into PSU business


CORSAIR is not making much noise about it but it is about to step in to the Power Supply unit business.
It is a cool thing to do and it seems everyone wants the part of the action. We saw Zalman doing it, we saw Coolermaster, and now Corsair is set to follow suit. Its memory competitor OCZ has also been producing its own Power Supply Units for a quite some time and has had significant success with it. Read More

Corsair is keeping quiet but it won't be long before you see Corsair-branded Power Supply Units. We hear it wants to jump in to the high-end market rather than entry-level, wich comes as no suprise.

With the crazy power requirements of dual or even quad graphic card systems, powered with a lot of memory and a very power-demanding CPU you need as much juice as your local substation can kick out.

The best high-end systems require at least a 600W PSU to run without any troubles.

Not so long ago we were using 140W PSUs for powering the whole system, together with the display. Those times are fading away, fast.

Java goes Open Source


"At this point, it is not a question of whether, but it is a question of how" Sun will open-source Java, said the company's new executive vice president of software, Rich Green, at the JavaOne conference in San Francisco.
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Green called upon developers and members of the Java Community Process for feedback on the best way to open source Java. He didn't provide say when he expects open source Java to be available.

IBM said in the past, that makingthe Java source code public would attract more developers to the language because it guarantees Java's independent development.

Roger Kay, president of Endpoint Technologies Associates, said Sun "may have let some of the better opportunities slip away" by not nurturing Java in recent years as other easy-to-use programming languages popped up in the market.

In an attempt to open more markets that may help Sun Microsystems, Chief Executive Jonathan Schwartz, will announce today that the software code for more of Sun's Java programming tools and technologies will be available for free as well as a new version of Sun's Java platform and technology that enables it to work better with the competing .net framework from Sun's onetime bitter rival, Microsoft

Table Cooling system for your PC


Drazen Smokovic, an inventor from Croatia has developed a new concept cooling system integrated into office desks. The concept named CoolT (as in cool table) is a very intriguing idea for the near future, the gold medal for innovation is proof of that.
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CoolT was on display on this years CeBIT, and now in Geneva where it got the gold medall for innovation.

The concept behind the CoolT project is fairley simple, the table is made of hollow metal pipes. The hot air from the computer is run through the pipes and is cooled, each table has a large radiator back to ensure propper cooling of air. But the main advantage is not the cooling power of the system, it's the absence of dust, since the table is a closed system, no dust can accumulate inside the computer, so no hardware maintence is needed, the fans never jam, the coolers never need cleaning, the slots never fill up with dust...

The interest for the new concept is great, there have been offers from major companies to buy off and continue the project for themselves, without the inventor.
„I have been developing this concept for too long, and i know very well how this can be done properley, and the thought of leaving the project never crossed my mind, no way, im givving up on this!“ Said the CoolT inventor in one of the interviews.

A bit more info is available at the inventor's website: http://www.coolt.info

nVidia and Corsair Team Up


nVidia and Corsair developed a new standard together, the standatd is called EPP (Enhanced Performance Profiles), and allpyes to memmory modules. The aim of EPP is naturaly increased memmory performance. This technology is based on fine-tunning advanced BIOS settings to improve overall system performance.
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EPP can be seen as an upgrade of the current SPD (Serial Presence Detct) which is nowdays widely used. SPD is the system that sets up your memmory timings, and some other parameters automaticaly. EPP will enhance that service by using available space inside the current SPD blocks and filling it up with usefull inforation about each individual DIMM module. The motherboards supporting EPP wil then use that information to get the best performance possible out of the memmory module, thus incresing system performance.

The new EPP memmory will be backwards compatible with all current motherboards (because the SPD blocks will function normally). nVidia has announced that it's new nForce 590 SLI chipset will fully support EPP, and the first EPP memmory modules are expected from, the standards codeveloper, Corsair by the end of this month.

EPP has been developed as an open standard, and nVidia expects it to be widely accepted by other memmory manufacturers.

Sony to attack UMPC market


A few first images of the new Sony UX ultra-mobile PC (UMPC) have been released. And by those images it's clear that Sony will have a serrious copettitor on the new market. Sony also hopes that the new, slide-out QWERTY keyboard, design will popularize the entire UMPC concept and establish a solid foothold on the market for those devices. Some information about the Sony UX has leaked but it cannot be taken with 100% accuracy
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The facts that are known are that the Sony UX will have a 7-inch touch-screen and a QWERTY keyboard that slides-out, or a screen that slides over it to be exact.
The device will also feature WiFi, a biometric sensor, two cammeras, Windows XP professional, 3G and Bluetooth, but no official feature list has been released yet.
Firewire, USB, LAN and VGA ports can also be seen from the images as well as a Sony memory card slot.

One thing is certain, this device will give the new market a bit of a shake, and maybe eaven force the competition to lower their prices, or offer a bit more from their products in the future.

Sadly, the price and the exact release date are not yet known.

Not enough IP adresses


The latest study from the company "Frost & Sullivan" produced worrying results. The research concluded that, if the trend of internet growth continues, there won't be enough IP addresses for everyone by the year 2010. The sources of this problem are the numerous mobile devices which more than ever connectable to the internet, and will continue to use the internet even more.
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An IP address is a unique number assigned to every computer (device) online on the internet, and nothing would be able to connect without one. This number is final and is just under 4, 3 billion. The main problem is that when the internet started no one imagined the proportions to which it would grow, so the IP addresses were reserved and assigned carelessly. A great example of this carelessness is the fact that Stanford University has more IP addresses at their disposal than China, and the US department of defense more than entire continent of Asia. This problem was soon corrected but it was already too late, so the above examples did still happen. Getting additional IP addresses for their customers is already a problem for, developing countries, ISP-s (internet service providers).

The status of the IP now is that of the 4, 3 billion addresses, one third is already used up, and one third is reserved. IDC has predicted that, if trends continue, there will be 12 billion devices online by the year 2012, and not nearly enough IP addresses.

The only solution to this major problem is of course: new technology. There is a next generation of IP, version 6 to be exact which is able do deliver around 340,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 IP addresses or in other words over 60 IP addresses per square meter of the Earth's surface, and that should be enough for the future.
But the problem is still here, since only about 30% of the ISP-s will be able to supply this new technology to their customers by the year 2010. And of course there is the issue of compatibility between the current version and the v6.

So we might find ourselves shutting down our computers so we can free the IP address and go online on a cell phone when we're away from home. (Of course that's not the case, but it's still something to think about)

AMD screws up!


AMD has issued an official statement confirming that a manufacturing flaw exists in their Opteron series of server-oriented processors. This mistake will cost AMD some hard earned respect of IT proffesionals, most of who still tend to go with Intel just in case. Well in this case their doubts turned out to be justified as certain series of Opteron processors are being withdrawn.
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The AMD official statemend confirms problems with x52 and x54 series of Opteron processors (152, 252, 852, 154, 254 i 854). The flawed processors have errorous floating-point operations results due to overheating. AMD claims that only a couple of thousand CPU-s are affected, those manufactured late 2005 and early 2006.

AMD tries to save face by recalling all those units quickly, from the major distributors, and replacing every flawed CPU allready sold. But the damage is allready done, since the CPUs used in servers are very carefully picked for their stability and durability, and these flawed Opterons are nothing of the sort.

Alienware SLI Notebooks


Alienware, the manufacturer that often offers more than the competition, has reacently launched 2 new notebooks aimed at hardcore gamers and those who have a bit extra $$$ in their wallets. The two new products are named Aurora m9700 and Aurora mALX among other impressing features, most attention is drawn to the DUAL graphics carrs, and not any cards, both use the GeForce 7900 chip. Another amazing feature of the mALX model is the 19' wide-screen display.
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The weaker model, the m9700 uses two GeForce Go 7900GS graphics cards, each with 256MB memory, and the stronger mALX model uses two more powerfull 7900GTX cards.
Both monsters use the AMD Turion 64 processor and have two HDD-s with a total capacity of 240GB.
That about covvers the really impressive stuff, and now here's an impressive list of some of the other features.
Both Notebooks have a 5.1 Surround support, a integrated TV tuner, a DVI-D in addition to the VGA output. Wireless and wired networking, as well as FireWire and USB2.0 go without saying

The mALX version has, in addition, an interesting airbrush finish, as seen here.

Also, since it's a 19-inch notebook there is enough room for a full keyboard with NUM-pad.
As if all that wasn't enough, Alienware added an integrated 1.3M-pixel camera, and a special VIP treatment for the mALX owners.
Each mALX owner gets to take a guided tour of Alienware’s corporate headquarters and manufacturing plant for an up-close view of how their baby was made.

Along with the release of these two products Alienware announced a series of "Superman" desktop and notebook computers which should be eaven more impressive, with special certificates and warantys for those who want something no one else has.

The only problem with all these great new products is obvious, their price.
To be a bit more exact, and put you in perspective, the mALX should cost around $4500

Palm OS returns


A little more than four months after Palm released the Windows Mobile-based Treo 700w, it is set to announce a Palm OS version that can connect to EV-DO networks. The company on Monday will unveil the new model, which is expected to be called the 700p.
Palm enthusiast sites have been talking about the 700p ever since Palm broke it's tradition and chose Windows Mobile for their new 700w smart phone, which was released in January. At the time, Palm CEO Ed Colligan made it clear that the company planned to release versions of the Treo based on Palm OS. The 700p will be the first Palm OS-based smartphone since the release of the Treo 650 in October 2004.
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It hasn't been officialy announced when the devices will become available, although various postings on Palm comunity sites point toward a late-May.

The 700p is not expected to look all that different from the 700w, except for the operating system. Some mobile-application developers have bemoaned the lack of a Palm OS-based Treo on a fast wireless network such as EV-DO and have embraced the Windows operating system for some new multimedia applications.

Nintendo Wii - Weee! News


Since PLayststion 3 is beeing released soon, Nintendo was quick to release news of it's new strange-named console, the Wii. Word from Nintendo is that the console will go on sale in the fourth quarter of this year, a gameplay video has been released (you can see it here), and some minor news and specs have been made available.
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Nintendo has released a video of it's new Wii controler in action, ant thanks to google-videos you can see it here:

The good news is that a "normal" controller for the Wii will be available, so all you who tought that these pepole, in the video, look stupid, don't have to worry about that.

The Wii has nowdays standard connectivity via 802.11b/g, and USB 2.0, supporting a standard LAN adaptor.
It can connect wirelessly to the Nintendo DS, and is backwards compatible with all previous versions of nintendo, one way or the other. It supports standard 12cm dual layer optical discs (no details specified), and Game Cube 8cm discs.

Another key feature of the Wii is the Virtual Console: Wii will have downloadable access to 20 years of fan-favorite titles originally released for Nintendo 64, the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) and even the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). The Virtual Console also will feature a "best of" selection from Sega Genesis titles and games from the TurboGrafx console (a system jointly developed by NEC and Hudson). It also will be home to new games conceived by indie developers whose creativity is larger than their budgets.

Other than the controller and virtual console, the Wii has another interesting new and unique feature:
The WiiConnect24 lets the Wii connect to the internet when it's turned OFF, and download suprize games and updates without interupting the user.

The Wii will have 512Mb of internal flash memmory and a SD card slot for expansion, which is kinda weak compared to the 60GB of the PS3.
Only released details about the CPU are that it's a PowerPC CPU (code-named "Broadway"). Made with a 90 nm process, developed with and manufactured by IBM.
It is known that the graphics are under development ba ATI, but no other details released.

Other Features and details said to be included are: Four ports for classic Nintendo GameCube controllers. Two slots for Nintendo GameCube Memory Cards. An AV Multi-output port for component, composite or S-video.

Inflatable Speakers


Want to have nice external speakers but don't have a lot of space for them when they're not in use, maybe want a pair that fit in your laptop bag, maybe they just fall of your desk a lot :-).
Well here's something new, that's right, you can blow them up when you need them and deflate them when you don't. Anyway, they'r kinda cool.
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This fun new gadget is the product of the German company Cebop, who specialize in computers and peripherals.

The speakers come with an amplifier and volume control and have a max output of 10 watts, which is just about right if you don't plan on opening a night club with them... or maybe...

The price is just €35. An inflation tube is included in the box, so you can get the speakers up and ready to boom in under two minutes.

The only thing missing is wireless and they could float in the pool.

The loooong expected console from Sony is finaly within reach, the PlayStation 3 will be on the markets this month, announced Sony. The sale starts in 2 days in Japan, that's 11.May, and is expected to reach the USA and europe by the 17.
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Two versions will be available outside Japan: the model with the 20GB hard disc at arround €500 and $500 (yes I know that's not the same price), and the 60GB model at 600$/€. The price of the 20GB model in Japan will be 62.790 yen (450€), but the second version's price has been left for the distributors and shops to decide.

The PlayStation 3, is equiped with the new "ultra-fast" Cell processor and a high definition Blu-Ray DVD drive (wich was also developed by Sony, and has not found a stable market yet)

The PS3's greatest rival is the XBox 360 from Microsoft, wich was introduced late last year and has already gained a stable foothold on the market, so Sony still has a lot of work to do...

Goodbye Pentium


Intel has decided to abandon it's longterm brand, the Pentium, one of the most well known names in the world, so we will stop seeing this little sticker wich was burned into our brains durring time. Well... on the new PCs atleast.
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The new brand to replace the Pentiums bares the name "Core 2 Duo". The new processors will be based on the "Conroe" core for desktops and "Merom" for portables.

No official details heve been released yet, but the rumores say that the portables (the Merom core) will be operating at 1.83 - 2.33 GHz nad have their part number start with T (Txxxx) where the T stands for power consumption of 25-49 Watts. The Conroe core for desktops should be working at 1,6 - 2,66 GHz with their part numbers as Exxxx, where E stands for over 50Watts.
The Extreme Edition is also expected with speed of 3,33GHz and a 1333MHz FSB

The announced launch of the new Core 2 Duo-s is Q3-Q4 this year, but since Intel is known, as much as Microsoft, for its delays, we shouldnt expect them before winter.

Storage of The Future


Hitachi Maxell has created new DVD technology, just by shrinking the current. The new discs have the same diameter and shape, but are just 0.092 mm thick, only 1/13th the current dvd thickness. The new technology still has the same storage capacity as a typical DVD - 4.7GB. So whats the big deal?
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Well the current DVDs can be Double layer making them 8,4GB but the new discs can be stacked up into the "Stacked Volumetric Optical Disc", or SVOD, wich consist of a 100 of the new thin discs in a single cartridge which is a total of 6.5cm thick. Each of the 100 discs is actually allready uses dual layer technology, giving each disc a capacity of 9.4GB. That means that the whole SVOD cartridge has a capacity of 940GB, which can be used both for random access memory and for long-term storage, Maybe eaven, in some next generation, replace the magnetic HDDs.

Maxwell says that next generation DVD technology could bring the total capacity for a SVOD up to 5 terabytes.
A stack of the current discs will cost $325 wich is not all that much considering the 940GB capacity.

PhysX Physics Already!?


BFG Technologies has announced the launch of it's physics cards based on the AGEIA PhysX chip for the 9. of May (that's in 4 days!). The BFG card is so expected to be the first physics card on the market. It should be interesting to track how this release sells, and to see how the competition answers to this all-new technology.
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If your not into computer gaming, here's a litle explanation:
The idea behind the physics card is to take some load of the CPU durring the ever-more demanding PC games. The physics cards could be a revolution just as the 3D graphycs were about 10 years ago. The point is to have a seperate processor optimized for handling real-time physical calculations (trajectories, forces, gravity, mass...) in addition the graphics processor, we all have in our graphics cards, and the CPU, so the three combined can simulate virtual reality worlds in games to the details not possible untill now.
I imagine that physics cards will in time find their uses in proffesional simulations as well because of their processors (PPU - Physics Processing Unit) special optimizations.

The first BFG version will in adition to the specialized processor (PPU) have a 128bit memmory bus with 128MB of high speed GDDR3 memmory. The card will reqire a 1.4GHz CPU and 128MB RAM to run propperly and will fit a standard PCI slot.

The game developers have allready accepted this new feature, and the upcoming games that will support the PhysX cards have been announced, games like:
Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter, Rise of Nations: Rise of Legends, Unreal Tournament 2007, Warhammer MMORPG.

The official price has not yet been announced but is estemated at around $300

Most camera manufacturers have started equiping their new products with wireless connectivityto achive faster and easier data transfer from the camera to your device of choice. If you have one of those "old" cammeras without WLAN Eye-Fi has a sollution for you.
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The company Eye-Fi has announced its new product, an SD card with integrated 802.11g wireless module. the "g" standard means that you can transfer pictures from your card at speds up to 54Mb/s or, about 2 average pictures per second, without the hastle of connecting an carying aditionall cables.
The Eye-Fi wireless SD card will have a capacity of 1GB wich should be enough for most users, and should be able to transfer its entire contents to a pc (or equivalent) in just over 2 minutes.

The wireless SD card is expected in shops later this year, with the price arround $100.

Trouble For An Apple


As problems continue to be discovered around Apple's MacBook Pro, more and more owners are becoming increasingly upset at Apple's lack of propper support. A major heat issue has now been found to be caused by a simple lack of assembly skills.

The MacBook Pro community has now declared that enough is enough. OSx86 Project, a large Mac community, is now organizing a formal protest to Apple. Scheduled for May 20th of 2006. Read More

Owners who have opened up their MacBook Pros have discovered that so much thermal grease is applied to the CPU, GPU and northbridge that heat cannot be effectively removed by the cooling system. Actualy some users have reported that, after cleaning off the thermal compound mess, their MacBook Pros operate up to 18C cooler.

What upsets users and owners the most however, is not the assembly error but Apple's lack of response and propper support. Apple's support has in some cases, told customers that their issues are within "normal" operating specifications" Despite being a laptop, Apple's own usage warnings say that placing a MacBook Pro on bare skin could cause burns after extended use.

The MacBook Pro community has now declared that enough is enough. OSx86 Project, a large Mac community, is now organizing a formal protest to Apple. Scheduled for May 20th of 2006, the calm protest calls for all MacBook Pro owners to call Apple's support center and report their problems all at the same time. The planned call center flooding is aimed to get Apple to respond to the many problems that are plaguing MacBook Pros. Users are upset that even after many weeks of problem reporting on its official forums, that the company has yet to fix the issues. The request for protest claims:

This is the best way we can hold Apple accountable. It's our duty to make sure they know we won't tolerate hacks and unsupported fixes to fix an issue that shouldn't be there. This is nothing malicious and we do it with the most admirable of reasons – telling Apple we love their characteristically high quality and won't settle for less. Since we pay for the ability to call technical support when have an issue, we should use it.

Some evidence of the manufacturing error is a page from a MacBook Pro service manual whitch instructs the assembly or service personell working on the MacBook to apply, what is clearly, too much thermal grese

Origami Q1 from Samsung


The new Samsung Q1 tablet-pc is so small and light they had to invent a new name for it, the UMPC (ultra mobile PC). The Q1 is based on the Microsoft Origami cocnept and fits somewhere inbetween a tablet PC nad a PDA device, sounds cool but nothing realy special. As allways, the key ingredient to this tipe of device is its connectivity and versatillity
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The basics:
The hart of the device is a Celeron M processor with 900MHz, the strongest model has a 40GB hard drive and up to 1GB memmory. The face of the device is a 7-inch touch screen display capable of showing 800x480 pixels of the preinstalled Windows XP.

And now comes the fun part.
Q1 supports 802.11 b/g wireless network, Bluetooth v2.0 with A2DP, and the standard 10/100 Ethernet. The USB 2.0, and VGA output come without question. Optional GPS and DMB (and presumably DVB too) mobile digital TV expansion modules will be available, as well as WiBRO support for when that goes live in Korea around June.

The Q1 is a nice little toy, has sufficent power so you dont have to drag those heavy laptops arround, wich is kinda the point, and you'd be able to connect it to anything anywhere. The competition Asus, Averatec, Founder and Via have announced similar devices.

The new Samsung Q1 UMPC starts selling in 4 days at about $1100.

The Indestructible Laptop


The new Panasonic's "ToughBook" indestructible laptops have impressive shock resistance and a integrated drainage system to protect it from spills and weather. With dual-core processors to provide the power the ToughBook is the perfect field computer for proffesionals and nature lovers.
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Matsushita Electronics, or more precicely, their Panasonic brand, has presented a new series of its ToughBook laptops in Japan. The new series supports Duo processors at the high end, impressive shock resistance and a special drainage system to protect it from the weather and accidental spills.

The new Letsnote CF-Y5 notebook has a 1.5 GHz Intel L2300 Duo processor, a 14.1-inch 1400x1050 pixel display, up to 1 GB of RAM, integrated 802.11a/b/g wireless networking, up to 60 GB hard disk storage, a DVD burner, plus all the standard stuff (ethernet, PC, SD, VGA...) . Impressive enough but nothing special, but when you add in that the ToughBook is designed to withstand an impact of up to 100kg (220 pounds), plus a special waterproof sheet and drainage system, which protects the hard disk, logic board, and other internal components from damage, it's a pretty intriguing design.

Unfortunately, the CF-Y5 is only available in Japan right now (at prices if ¥265,000, which is about $2,300). but US and EU versions are expected

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