Despite the fact that ATI Technologies announced its THEATER 550 PRO multimedia processor as far back as in September 2004, the first products on it became available only these days. Last week Canadians made a paper announcement of TV WONDER ELITE, while in Japanese retail stores one could already buy THEATER 550 PRO based TV tuners made by ATI partners:
THEATRIX and GECUBE TV CINEMASTER 550PRO from Sapphire Technology and Info-Tek correspondingly (more solutions to come from Gigabyte Technology, Micro-Star International, Tul and YUAN High-Tech) have reference design and differ by packages only.
The small low-profile PCB is rather chip-free: Silicon Tuner semiconductor HF unit under a metallic plate, THEATER 550 PRO processor itself (made in mid-October 2004) and MPEG coder buffer a 16MB 4ns GDDR chip from Samsung (K4D261638F-TC40). There are three connectors: TV and FM antenna sockets and S-Video/Composite.
Such component minimalism is a distinguishing feature of all THEATER 550 PRO based products, so they are bound to be compact. Besides, theoretically, a solution based on a single chip that combines features of several discrete chips should be cheaper to produce, so the second advantage is lower price ($120 in Japan (same as for similarly featured Leadtek WinFast PVR2000) vs. $149 ATI TV WONDER ELITE).
The third and seemingly the most important advantage of THEATER 550 PRO based solutions are related to processor capabitilies themselves. Though only tests will indicate the real performance of 12-bit intermediate frequency demodulator and 12-bit video decoder (together with its 2D comb filter working with 5 lines simultaneously, the 3D comb filter separating color and brightness components of TV signal and the hardware noise reduction circuitry). The programmable processor is capable of handling up to 60 billion elementary operations per second and support variable bitrate video encoding. Simultaneous processing of audio data (up to 48 kHz, can be converted into dual-channel Dolby Digital format) allowing you to forget about video and audio mistiming is also a plus.
THEATER 550 PRO is designed for both PCI and PCI Express buses. Info-Tek, for example, is already going to introduce GECUBE TV CINEMASTER 550PRO PCIe. Besides, judging by ATI plans, there will be a model for notebooks as well fit into AXIOM (Advanced eXpress I/O Module) form-factor.
The device will be supplied with traditional radio remote control named REMOTE WONDER PLUS transmitting signals to receiver connected to a USB port.
Source: PC Watch
Hewlett Packard Japan unveiled two new iPAQ PDAs going on sale in January: hx2750 and hx2410. According to information we have, the senior and more expensive model will be equipped with fingerprint recognition system. Packages of both novelties include Protect Tools providing AES, Triple DES, etc. encryption.
hx2750 features include: 624 MHz Intel PXA270 CPU, 128 MB SDRAM (105 MB free), 128 MB flash (75 MB). hx2410 features: 520 MHz Intel PXA270, 64 MB RAM (44 MB free), 64 MB flash (13 MB free).
Other features are similar: 3.5" (65,536 colors), IEEE 802.11b, Bluetooth 1.2, SDIO/MMC, CF Type 2, IrDA, mic.
Li-Ion batteries provide up to 10 hours of operation. Sized 76x16x119 mm, each model weighs about 164 g.
Source: PC Watch
Sharp released two new ultra portable notebooks, Mebius PC-CS50H and Mebius PC-CS30H traditionally based on processors from AMD Mobile Sempron 2600+. The price is still open, but it´s expected to be around $1350 with Windows XP Home Edition SP2 and Microsoft Office (PC-CS50H) and $1165 without Office (PC-CS30H). Actually, it´s an interesting marketing trend (selling software together with hardware, I mean), which analysts expect to bring primary benefits in the future.
So, both models are based on Mobile Sempron 2600+ (1.6 GHz), feature 14.1" LCD (1024x768), DVD-ROM/CD-RW combos, 40 GB HDDs, 256 MB RAM each, graphics built into VIA K8N800.
Interfaces include 4 x USB 2.0, 1 x IEEE 1394, 1 x PCMCIA Type 2, Ethernet, V.92 modem, VGA. FDD is available as a $50 option.
Sized 310x266x29.1 mm, each novelty weighs about 2.5 kg and works up to 2.5 hours.
Source: PC Watch
Hightech Information System (HIS) introduced HIS X850XT Platinum Edition DUAL DVI-I, VIVO Editon and X850XT DUAL DVI-I, VIVO Editon graphics cards that are already available via retail channels. The novelties are naturally based on ATI X850 GPUs (0.13µm, 540 MHz [HIS X850 XT PE], 16 [HIS X850 XT PE] and 12 [HIS X850 XT] pixel pipelines, 6 vertex shaders), have 256-bit GDDR3 memory.
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