Hardware News Archives
Antec Performance One P180

Among Antec's many popular chassis and power supply products is the P180. On top of the P180 in the Performance One series is the P150 and P160W. The Antec P180 will be featured in an upcoming Phoronix review, but in the meantime we have a few images to share today. Some of the P180 features include TAC compliant, power supply isolation chamber, extensive cooling system, and a double hinge door design. More information on the P180 is available at Antec's website.

11 April 2006 - Add A Comment
Kensington MicroSaver

For those in the market for a lock supportive of Kensington's lock, the Kensington MicroSaver computer security cable may be the perfect candidate. On top of the Kensington lifetime warranty, they also have a guaranteed notebook replacement warranty. In other words, if your laptop is properly secured and is ever stolen, Kensington will replace it. The product's slim lock barrel is designed for low-profile notebook computers (but is compatible with any Kensington lock whether it be an LCD monitor or projector) and offers a patented T-bar locking mechanism and super-strong cable. The cable is composed of steel and Kevlar fiber with stainless steel braiding. Kensington's anti-theft warranty is limited on a $1,500 USD reimbursement. Information on the Kensington MicroSaver is available here.

11 April 2006 - Add A Comment
NVIDIA SoundStorm 2

Back in September of last year we at Phoronix first broke news that NVIDIA's infamous SoundStorm Technology may make a comeback in an article we had entitled SoundStorm 2: SoundStorm Strikes Back? In the article we mentioned the likelihood that SoundStorm would likely be revamped and make a comeback, while repeatedly NVIDIA had told the public that such a technology was dead. In that article we mentioned -- We can almost say with certainty within the next six months or so NVIDIA will be unveiling new high-end audio solutions for its products. Whether it will rejuvenate the original SoundStorm or be redesigned in its entirety, only time will tell if an audio re-birth is imminent on NVIDIA's internal roadmap. Well, a little over six months later, we have now started to see additional details emerge about this NVIDIA APU comeback. Scott Wasson of The Tech Report has reported that coming out of Sony's presentation at GDC (Game Developers Conference 2006) that the PlayStation 3 may be powered by such a NVIDIA audio technology. The presentation states 8 Ch. Audio and among the features being discussed is true hardware DSPs and 3D positional audio capabilities. While we have a few additional inklings as to what the NVIDIA "SoundStorm 2" shall hold, we shall save them for another date in the near future :) One thing we will say though, is that this new audio technology will not be limited to the Sony PlayStation 3. Of course, our original SoundStorm 2: SoundStorm Strikes Back? article is still available for public viewing here.

30 March 2006 - Add A Comment
Logisys Merger

We have received an announcement from Logisys Corporation that they have merged with A-Top Technology. This merger will consist of the same management team from both companies, however, all contacts should now be made to Logisys operations for either company's assets. Logisys has been producing PC gaming and modding accessories for a few years now and A-Top has been popular with enthusiasts for a few of its gaming cases. More information will soon be made available to the general public at Logisys Computer.

27 March 2006 - Add A Comment
Dual GPU Cooler

While Dual GPU graphics cards are not widely available at this time, with NVIDIA pushing for Quad SLI, and other manufacturers had been experimenting with Dual GPU solutions for quite some time -- with one of the manufacturers that often rings a bell in recent years for starting the Dual GPU push being XGI Technology and their Volari V8 Duo. However, preparing to launch what will be one of the first Dual GPU designed coolers is Sytrin. As we share at Phoronix time and time again, Sytrin has delivered such products as the Nextherm ICS-8200 (air-conditioned ATX chassis), Nextherm PSU460, and most recently the KuFormula VF1 Series. As we had shared in our world preview of the Sytrin KuFormula VF1 Plus, its performance abilities was utterly amazing and the best we have seen when it came to air GPU coolers. However, Sytrin is not going to stop with the KuFormula VF1 as they are already in the midst of making the VF1 compatible with Dual GPU solutions! While Sytrin's concept still appears to be under development, let alone reaching the US market, we have obtained some information from our friends at Sytrin, and are able to share this information with you today. The Sytrin KuFormula VF1 heatsink itself is designed to be universal with all ATI Radeon and NVIDIA GeForce GPUs, and it ships with a wealth of accessories to properly mount the heatsink in any configuration. However, Sytrin is hoping to make it possible to mount two of these heatsinks on a single PCB. The KuFormula VF1 Plus ships with a cross-flow fan, however, this same setup would not work with Dual GPU cards due to the fan being attached to the expansion slot area. Sytrin is producing a new frame for the VF1 model to mount a 120mm case fan and will be compatible with these dual GPU cards. In the pictures below, we have a few views of the standard KuFormula VF1 unit as well as a engineering mock-up piece for which they plan for the application of Dual GPUs. One item to keep in mind, however, is the weight of both these heatsinks. More information to come soon, and keep in mind, this new Dual GPU model is still in DEVELOPMENT stages.

26 March 2006 - Add A Comment
ASUS Product Launch

ASUSTek has also extended their product selection this morning in the form of the new GeForce 7900GTX G71, as well as a few motherboards. The products launching include -- P5B Deluxe, M2N32-SLI Deluxe, N4L-VM DH, EN7900GTX, EN7600GT SILENT, EAX1300PRO SILENT. The ASUS P5B Deluxe uses Intel's Broadwater Chipset (P965 + ICH8R) and boasts a wealth of other features. Meanwhile, the ASUS M2N32-SLI Deluxe is their first AMD Socket AM2 motherboard, and utilizes the NVIDIA C51D + MCP55P Chipset. The N4L-VM DH serves as ASUS' first Core Duo product with Intel's Viiv platform. Onto the graphics cards, the two new NVIDIA products use these newly launched GPUs. More information on this latest product launch is available at the corporate website.

9 March 2006 - Add A Comment
Razer Barracuda IAS

Yet some more releases this afternoon from Germany's 2006 CeBIT expo. In Razer's attempt to create a gamer following (and thus far they have been quite successful), they have branched out even further from their initial mouse and mouse surface products. Today Razer is introducing the Razer BarracudaT IAS Integrated Audio System. More information available at Razer. Hannover (Germany), CeBIT 9 March 2006— Razer, the world’s leading brand in professional computer gaming peripherals is proud to launch the Razer Barracuda Integrated Audio System (IAS) comprising of the Razer Barracuda AC-1 Gaming Audio Card and Razer Barracuda HP-1 Gaming Headphones at CeBIT in Germany. Designed and engineered from ground up by the Razer engineering team, the Razer Barracuda AC-1 and HP-1 are integrated as a single, pure gaming audio system — the Razer Barracuda IAS is the world’s first integrated audio system built specifically for gaming. Powered by Razer Fidelity, the Razer Barracuda IAS delivers optimized audio signals directly from the computer game to the gamer, creating the most realistic gaming environment possible. The Razer Barracuda IAS also features proprietary Razer audio technologies including the patent pending Razer Enhanced Sonic Perception (ESP) architecture and Razer’s 3D (720°) Positional Gaming Audio Engine. Razer believes that audio solutions today fall short of demanding gaming requirements as most existing soundcards and headphones are built for music playback and then repackaged as a gaming soundcard or headphone. Pre-requisites for gamers such as accurate positional audio and expanded dynamic soundstages are poorly integrated into the current audio solutions, often as an afterthought. Audio card software drivers are repeatedly built over legacy code that was designed for music playback, resulting in bloatware that slows down computer systems and compromises overall audio quality during fast paced gaming sessions. Enlisting the help of top audio experts, designers, engineers, audiophiles and pro-gamers, Razer re-engineered audio hardware chipsets to remove unnecessary hardware components, optimized and upgraded the essential audio components as well as streamlined drivers to specifically focus on gaming applications. Over thirty top pro-gamers worldwide were tasked to stress test and critique the Razer Barracuda IAS in the course of its development. Based on their various comments and contributions, voluminous lines of code were thrown out, circuit diagrams redesigned and components selected to provide top notch gaming audio performance. Razer’s President, Robert “Razerguy” Krakoff says: “Audio cards that were built for listening to music have been repackaged as ‘gaming soundcards’ to take advantage of the burgeoning gaming market…Razer is the world’s first company to focus on designing and engineering an audio solution from ground up. We didn’t bother focusing on either the soundcard or the headphones but developed the Razer Barracuda IAS as a single audio system to create the world’s best gaming audio.” Razer Barracuda AC-1 Gaming Audio Card The Razer Barracuda AC-1 Gaming Audio Card features a 7.1 channel output, 24 bit audio technology and unprecedented 117dB SNR (output). The 117bB Signal to Noise Ratio (output) specification clearly outperforms all current soundcards in the market that only perform up to an average of 105dB. The Razer Barracuda AC-1 Gaming Audio Card is the world’s first gaming audio card that performs up to a 117dB SNR. Gaming-specific positional audio, Powered by Razer Fidelity, allows gamers to take advantage of an expanded dynamic soundstage for gaming tuned frequencies with Razer ESP (Enhanced Sonic Perception). The in-built audio chip processes and optimizes audio signals from games to provide the ultimate positional gaming audio experience through the Razer 3D (720°) Positional Gaming Audio Engine. The Passive EMI shield minimizes electromagnetic interference (EMI) by preventing unwanted interference from graphics cards and other electrical devices that may affect the gaming audio performance. The Razer Barracuda AC-1 Gaming Audio Card also features optimized proprietary software drivers to provide for the prioritization of enhanced gaming audio signals while leaving as small a memory footprint as possible. Razer HD-DAI (High Definition—Dedicated Audio Interface) further optimizes the Razer Barracuda IAS gaming audio experience by allowing for a proprietary connection for optimized signal transmission when used with the Razer Barracuda HP-1 Gaming Headphones. Razer Barracuda HP-1 Gaming Headphones The Razer Barracuda HP-1 Gaming Headphones uses 99% oxygen-free copper cable for gaming audio signal purity. The Razer Barracuda HP-1 Gaming Headphones also provides for eight discrete audio drivers for optimal positional audio without compromising the gamer’s comfort when using the headset. With some of the best components selected for the ultra-sensitive speaker drivers, the Razer Barracuda HP-1 Gaming Headphones delivers pinpoint positional accuracy essential for gaming. The Razer Barracuda HP-1’s built-in microphone is designed specifically for in-game communications—featuring a short shaft for enhanced comfort and audio pickup, the microphone also features advanced noise cancellation capabilities ideal for frenzied in-game correspondence. Powered with Razer Fidelity, the Razer Barracuda HP-1 may be used with all soundcards; however, using it with the Razer Barracuda AC-1 gaming soundcard is strongly recommended as it delivers the best gaming audio experience in the world today.

9 March 2006 - Add A Comment
PC2-8500 Reaches Market

Our friends at Corsair have passed along word that they will be releasing the world's fastest DDR2 and DDR1 this year at the CeBIT event. The press release in its entirety can be viewed here. The new DDR2 XMS2 is designed to run at PC2-8500 speeds! Or rather, DDR2-1066MHz while the new XMS modules are TWINX2048-4400PRO. The DDR1 kit will use Infineon C-rev RAM and is timed at CL3 with 1T command rate. At this time, the new DDR2-1066MHz is only available in 1GB (2 x 512MB) kits. We'll likely be receiving these modules at our testing labs soon, and will deliver our results shortly there after. More coverage to come from CeBIT 2006, which runs from March 9 to the 15th in Hannover, Germany. Fremont, CA (March 6, 2006) – Corsair Memory, the worldwide leader in design and manufacture of high performance memory, today launched the world’s fastest DDR2 and DDR1 memory solutions for the Intel and the AMD platforms. Rated at scorching fast 1066MHz, the new TWIN2X1024-8500 from Corsair delivers the highest memory frequency currently available to Intel users. Simultaneously, the new TWINX2048-4400PRO takes the lead with its rated 550MHz speed to unleash maximum performance on the AMD platform.

6 March 2006 - Add A Comment
XGI Technology Updates

Rumors have been flying around the Internet early this month in regards to a possible takeover of XGI Technology by ATI Technologies. Initial reports had stated that ATI would acquire XGI on March 03, 2006, however, that date has since passed and we have seen no public word on this matter or official comments. If you will recall, last year there were also speculations of a possible ATI + XGI merger, but those moves were downplayed by the industry and that it would be unlikely if it ever went through. However, it seems as if this possible acquisition is the real McCoy and is likely to proceed. Rumor has it that ATI is in need of some fresh thinking and innovations after NVIDIA had acquired ULi Electronics earlier this year. While ATI was successful in their March 1, 2006 launch of the ATI Xpress 3200 a.k.a. RD580, a Chipset manufacturer take over would be ideal for their expected needs but they have seemed to settle for XGI. One of XGI's current public assets include their premiere PCI Express x16 part that was launched this past November -- the XGI Volari 8300. The Volari XP10 is their alternative PCI Express part. Alternatively, they also offer the Volari V3XT, V8 Duo, and alternative AGP 8x components and then their Z7 solution for servers and thin clients. One of the products discussed here at Phoronix on multiple occasions has been the Volari 8600XT, which is expected to compete with NVIDIA's 6600GT and ATI's X700, however, this product has yet to be released. In addition, XGI has absolutely no direct competition for the NVIDIA GeForce 7 series or the ATI X1000 series. Recently XGI Technology has seemed to be focusing more on the multimedia environment as well as servers and thin clients rather than the gaming and enthusiast market. XGI Technology had begun their operations in June of 2003 as a spin-off of SiS (Silicon Integrated Systems). For additional reference to some of these XGI products we have our Volari 8300 (XG47) Preview, as well as two interviews with XGI officials regarding various matters (including Linux) -- here and here. In late 2005 we also delivered exclusive news of XGI Technology targeting open-source display drivers that would be licensed under the GNU General Public License. In this article we presented all of the non-confidential information at the time in regards to this matter. Since last year, we had routinely helped XGI in the quest to opening up their Linux, and even Windows, display drivers in hopes of speeding the development process due to below-average experiences that its users face. In fact, it was not until recently that X.Org v6.8.2 was supported as well as the Linux 2.6 kernel. However, there continues to be a great deal of problems with XGI Linux drivers when it comes down to game compatibility, any sort of control panel, and distribution support. In fact, XGI's driver release notes have not been adequately maintained since November 01, 2004. XGI Technology had released its 2D source-code to the general public outside of a Non-Disclosure Agreement; however, there was no 3D support to be seen at that time. While many widely criticize the ATI Linux display drivers for the Radeon series, the XGI Volari Linux drivers are in worse condition. From the XGI OSS article published last year, it was certainly welcomed by the Linux community even if the Volari series are slower than the GeForce and Radeon candidates. After assisting XGI last year, on December 30, 2005 we were told by XGI that we should here an official ruling in regards to their open-source status the first week of 2006; however, to this point we have not heard back from XGI. Whether this high-level meeting has still been postponed (we are aware of the meeting being delayed at least twice in December) or they have ulterior motives for not distributing this information, we do not know at this time. Browsing the XGI Technology website, on this page we had found the following information: With XGI's open source policy, you have your own freedom to decide what you want to design, what you want to make, in the way you want to do. Please contact XGI representative about our Open Source Policy. This statement certainly seems revealing that XGI is officially going to open up their drivers under a GNU GPL-like license (as we had originally anticipated) or that they have already done so. The Volari Linux drivers available from the XGI website are the latest of v1.04.13 with a release date of January 02, 2006, which supports the 2.6 kernel and 3D functionality. No 3D source-code can be found in this release while the Windows Reactor R1.09.68 is the latest at this time. Under XGI's secured development area there is also no mention of these open-source drivers. We continually contact XGI in hopes of finding out more information in regards to their software intentions, and will pass along additional non-NDA information upon receiving it. The V5XE product page also states: Supporting the latest DirectX 9.0 and OpenGL 1.5 specification and flexible source code release strategy, Volari V5XE will be the candidate for your niche 3D applications. While no media blitz is underway by XGI in regards to these newly founded open-source policies, we do believe at this time under the information we have seen that they are finalizing their driver source-code for public release. What is not known at this time, however, is if the ATI and XGI acquisition is indeed progressing whether ATI will have an influence on this policy. In past unofficial conversations with an ATI Linux developer, he was not too enlightened by XGI's open-source display driver efforts that we had shared, and doubted it would create community developers and ultimately a larger user base. There was, however, an ATI discussion in regards to a server strategy. Could XGI be ATI's future server department? With XGI's current server and embedded products, XGI could theoretically serve quite well as the server branch for ATI. Speaking of which, an official from the server-oriented Tyan had also told Phoronix "XGI being a new player holds a lot of promise through their current and upcoming product line, and I think they are the only competition to ATI at this point". While this may be a bit of forward thinking, this corporate strategy could spawn improved drivers for both of the companies. We will certainly pass along additional public information on these matters upon receiving them and are working on tapping extra information from our contacts. The second week of the month does generally serve as ATI's monthly software ritual, and this week is looking to be no different but could be accompanied by additional an XGI acquisition. The Volari Gamers fan-site has also linked to general information about the set acquisition and a forum topic saying their farewells to this Taiwan-based company.

5 March 2006 - Add A Comment

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