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ASUS DVR-104 DVD-R/RW combo

Soyo P4X400 Dragon Ultra: dragons forever!

Aio ECS: all in one... monitor

Carbon nanotubes for X-rays

Atom-level memory in 20 years

Palm cuts prices for its products

Intel licensed PowerVR graphics core

Today we celebrate the Sysadmin day!

Motorola: new home WLAN chipset for gamers

Farewell to 0.18-micron 1.7 GHz Pentium 4 and hail to updated Mobile Pentium 4-M!

ASUS DVR-104 DVD-R/RW combo

Today ASUSTek Computer announced the release of new optical DVD-R/RW IDE (UDMA33) combo drive — ASUS DVR-104.

DVR-104 supports 2 DVD-R writing, 1 DVD-RW rewriting, 6 DVD-ROM reading. CD-RW speeds are 8/4/24x. DVD-R/RW discs, written by DVR-104, are compatible with most current DVD players.

DVR-104 features own cooler for thermal balancing. The drive supports buffer protection technology and can be used both vertically, and horizontally. Supported write modes: DAO, TAO, SAO, Packet Write; supported formats: DVD-ROM, DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD-Video, CD-R, CD-RW, CD-DA, CD-ROM Mode1, CD-ROM/XA Mode2, Photo CD, CD-I, CD-Extra, CD-Text; supported OS: Windows XP/ NT/ ME/ 2000/ 98/ 98SE.

ASUS DVR-104 is already available in retail.

Soyo P4X400 Dragon Ultra: dragons forever!

Soyo Computer continued its "dragon board" saga, having released new VIA P4X400-based P4X400 Dragon Ultra motherboard.

It supports DDR400, 533 MHz FSB, AGP 8x (2.1 GB/sec throughput), and USB 2.0, ATA-133 controller and 10/100 Mbps Ethernet. There are also utilities for supply voltage and FSB clock rate.

The board is reported to feature platinum color PCB and semitransparent cooler.

P4X400 Dragon Ultra has built-in CMI 8738 audio, supporting 5.1-channel S/PDIF sound. It also supports Sigma Box front panel (3.5- or 5.25-inch) with 6 USB ports and 2 diagnostic photodiodes. The board is supplied with usual Norton AntiVirus 2002, Norton Ghost, Adobe Active Share and Acrobat Reader, Vcom AutoSave, WinDVD, eWalla (instant messaging) and Imagemore photographic collection.

The suggested retail price of P4X400 Dragon Ultra is $155.

Aio ECS: all in one... monitor

ECS (Elitegroup Computer Systems) announced the release of a desktop PC integrated with an LCD display. ECS called its computer "Aio" (all-in-one).

Aio bases on Pentium 4, has 15" screen, 4 USB 2.0 ports and an IEEE 1394 port. AMD-based Aio is expected in the fourth quarter.

The PC is designed for students and economical users and will cost NT$37,900-NT$39,900 ($1130-$1190).

Carbon nanotubes for X-rays

US researchers from the University of North Carolina have found a surprising and interesting application for CNT-based field emission cathode. They say it can be used for X-ray radiation suitable for medical diagnostics.

The North Carolina team and researchers from Applied Nanotechnologies have generated X-rays using a room temperature array of CNTs. The nanotubes are used to create the electrons and provide a sufficient X-ray flux for medical imaging.

According to the research team, the device is smaller and cooler than previous designs and its X-ray pulses are more focused. The response time of the generator is also smaller than previous models, and the pulse shape can be programmed to help track moving objects.

Professor Otto Zhou, director of the North Carolina Centre for Nanoscale Materials, says that it will take two or three years to fully develop the technology. New X-ray tubes can be supposedly used in medical and industrial applications.

Atom-level memory in 20 years

Scientists from University of Wisconsin-Madison in the US and the University of Basel in Switzerland have developed memory capable of storing data by detecting the presence or absence of a single silicon atom.

According to Franz Himpsel, group leader and project principal investigator, a bit is encoded by absence or presence of a single atom.

Physicists covered the silicon crystal with a thin layer of gold to form tracks five atoms wide. The writing can be performed by removing atoms with a scanning tunnelling microscope and and reading — by scanning along the tracks. The device features 250Tbit/sq.in storage density. Developers used the experiment to find hard numbers to describe the data storage density limits. However, in order to compensate atoms removed at writing, the crystal will need to be covered with gold again. This does resemble IBM Millipede technology, but it had lower storage density of 1Tbit/sq.in.

Another problem is the read/write speed. Professor Himpsel says that as the density of stored data increases, the readout will have to slow down. The scientists will have to find an optimum combination of density and speed, and, according to Himpsel, this might happen within a decade or two.

Palm cuts prices for its products

Palm, following Sony and Handspring, reported product price cuts. It will make up to 34% for five of six devices present on the market.

Palm representatives reported that the price cut is not the beginning of price war similar to last year, when pocket PC makers suffered overproduction, but just a result of traditional seasonal market lull.

So, price for m105 will be cut from $149 to $99, for m125 — from $179 to $169, for m130 — from $279 to $249, for m500 — from $299 to $199, and for i705 — from $449 to $399. the latter is discounted $100 at buying annual subscription for the wireless Palm.net service.

m515 price remains the same $399.

In addition, Palm mentioned the September release of three new models: one supporting GSM/GPRS, one ARM-based, and a low-end model for about $100.

Intel licensed PowerVR graphics core

Imagination reported that Intel licensed the embedded PowerVR graphics core for using in its chips. They are believed to be graphics chips for pocket PCs.

Though, there are several applications of PowerVR core. The PowerVR MBX family features pro version for high-end desktop devices, standard, and lite version for pocket PC developers.

Following the old tradition, Intel declined to unveil any plans for the liecensed graphics core. According to the company representative: "We license technologies all the time for projects inside of Intel and can´t say when and if we´ll make an announcement of a product."

PowerVR MBX core is designed using 0.13-micron technical process and includes many Kyro features, including full scene antialiasing and truecolor. PowerVR MBX processes up to 4 million polygons per second, operating at 120 MHz. The clock rate can be reduced to 50 MHz to lower chip´s energy consumption down to about 60 mW.

So, what is it for? Intel´s current embedded chipsets are actually low-power desktop versions like, for example, 845 and 845. There´s also embedded version of integrated 815 chipset, but it features rather old i740 graphics. There´s no embedded 845G still, though Intel is rumoured to release a version of 845G for specialized and embedded solutions.

So, perhaps, PowerVR MBX will be embedded into some low-power PDA chipsets. Intel StrongARM processors are usually released with I/O components, that bridge integrated or other buses and provide some display functionality.

"The Intel XScale microarchitecture will be combined with peripherals to provide Applications Specific Standard Products (ASSP) targeted at selected market segments," a current Intel Xscale product brief notes, however. "As an example, the microprocessor core can be integrated with peripherals such as an LCD controller, multi-media controllers and an external memory interface to empower OEMs to develop smaller, more cost-effective handheld devices with long battery life, with the performance to run rich multimedia applications."

Well, good luck! Pocket 3D games are being rapidly developed already...

Today we celebrate the Sysadmin day!

There are not very many holidays for computer gurus and users, but today — the last Friday of July — is really a date. It´s Sysadmin day!

We congratulate all system and network administrators as well as all moderators, system programmers, and all users! Wish you every work success, excellent mood, mutual understanding with co-workers and families. Have a perfect weekend (even those "on watch") and clear head on Monday!

Hurray! :-)

Motorola: new home WLAN chipset for gamers

Yesterday Motorola announced that cooperation with leading game console developers is to result in release of new home WLAN chipset. First information about it was announced in November last year, and new specifications were announced in May this year.

The idea is to provide gamers with inexpensive, economical, efficient next-generation low latency system. According to company representatives, most wireless solutions today feature rather high latency, disabling comfortable gaming experience, so, Motorola is going to eliminate this disadvantage with its chipset.

The new technology uses 2.4 GHz radio frequency range, but, according to the company, differs from Bluetooth and 802.11. It´s declared to co-exist with other standards operating in this range. The new chipset, planned for volume production to this quarter, will provide up to 5 Mbps throughput in 15 m radius.

P.S. Leading game console manufacturers — Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo — haven´t yet commented Motorola´s new initiative.

Source: Reuters

Farewell to 0.18-micron 1.7 GHz Pentium 4 and hail to updated Mobile Pentium 4-M!

A couple of official notes from Intel about processor line changes:
  1. The production of 0.18-micron 1.7 GHz mPGA 478 Pentium 4 is cancelled. The last orders for both OEM, and boxes will be accepted on September, 13. This is done for a standard reason — no demand for the obsolete model.
  2. The crystal size of 1.80 GHz, 1.70 GHz and 1.60 GHz Mobile Intel Pentium 4 Processor-M will be reduced from 11.93 x 12.24 mm to 11.34 x 11.62 mm. 1.40 GHz and 1.50 GHz Mobile Pentium 4-M will remain the same. Besides, updated CPUs will have S-Spec changed, capacitors relocated without changing their capacity and electrical features in general. Chips´ functional specifications and CPUID will remain the same. S-Spec of 1.8 GHz Mobile Pentium 4-M is to change from SL65Q to SL6CJ, S-Spec of 1.7 GHz processor — from SL5Z7 to SL6CH, S-Spec of 1.6 GHz chip — from SL5YU to SL6CG.

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