Micro Express has announced the HEL8016 notebook, one of the first notebooks to fully support the Intel Interchangeability Initiative. The HEL8016 is made for Micro Express by Compal and supports Intel's Core Duo processor and high definition audio. As part of the Initiative, the HEL8016 not only features interchangeable parts, such as the keyboard, battery, LCD screen, disk drive, AC power adapter and optical drive, but it's also compatible with the upcoming Intel Core 2 Duo CPU.
What is the Intel Interchangeability Initiative? To accelerate deployment of new notebooks, Intel created the Interchangeability Initiative in partnership with original design manufacturers (ODMs) and what Intel calls ingredient suppliers. The program is based on the idea of common building blocks (CBBs). CBBs are notebook ingredients that comply with mechanical and electrical specifications to ensure interchangeability. This allows ingredients from different combinations of suppliers to be tested for interchangeability across different notebook platforms. The current list of CBBs includes the hard disk drive, optical disk drive, liquid crystal display panel, battery pack, keyboards, AC/DC adapter and customizable notebook panel.
The end result are machines that have known plug and play capabilities with several components so they can come to market more quickly and reliably. The current program supports 14" and 15.4" widescreen notebook models. The program started in 2004 and has grown to include 7 CBBs and more than 30 ingredients. Intel expects this list to grow as more ingredient manufacturers and ODMs come on board.
The HEL8016 is shipping now, at a price of $1199.
Microsoft unveiled a new photo format it claims will provide better quality at half the size of a JPEG image. Windows Media Photo (WMP) will be built into the next-generation of Windows, called Vista.
"One of the biggest drivers for upgrading computers is digital photography, so anything we do to make digital photography better is good for Windows," said Bill Crow, senior program manager for WMP. Crow presented the technology publicly for the first time at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference here Wednesday (May 24).
Microsoft has been working on the photo format with unnamed partners, including camera makers, for nearly four years. "Itís been very much driven by their feedback," said Crow.
Windows Media Photo takes a significantly new approach to the same basic discrete cosine transform technology used in JPEG. Crow described the algorithm as a bi-orthoginal lapped transform based on published work from Microsoft Research. The format also includes a fresh approach to areas such as color space and color conversion.
"Itís really a new approach, and a whole collection of innovations," said Crow. "Some of the same engineers who worked on the Windows Media Video codec VC-9 also worked on Windows Media Photo. All the lessons they learned from VC-9 but werenít able to change because of the schedule, they applied here," he added.
WMP captures more of the raw information of photos to enable better presentation, editing and compression. Crow said WMP will easily enable 25:1 compression ratios for most uses of digital photography. That compares to a maximum of about 12:1 for consumer JPEG images before images visibly degrade.
WMP is based on a symmetrical algorithm that supports both lossless and lossy compression. It requires no complex math or special hardware support, and is based primarily on add and shift operations with few multiplies in its inner loops. Memory requirements are also minimal, in part because the algorithm supports encoding and decoding imagines in stripes that only need small buffers.
To preserve compatibility with existing systems, the WMP format uses the existing TIFF "container" including its approach to metadata. The choice of TIFF however limits file sizes to 4 gigabytes, a limit Microsoft will address for high-end users in the future. Microsoft will also release tools to support WMP on existing Windows XP systems.
Microsoft released to a broad group of licensed development partners a developers kit that includes source code for WMP. The kit will let chip and system makers build support for WMP in their products.
Crow would not say whether camera, printer or chip makers will release products supporting WMP when Vista is launched. In a sign of how quiet Microsoft has kept the effort, some chip makers at the presentation were not even sure whether they had been informed about the technology.
Speaking of new formats, we should also mention the MPEG Surround to be discussed in July. They promise this parametric codec will be able to transform files encoded into MP3, MPEG-4, AAC (Advanced Audio Codec), or MPEG-4 HE-AAC (ÀÀÑ+) into high-quality multi-channel surround audio. At that bitrate changes are to be minimal, said Bernhard Grill, the chief of audio department of Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS. Thus MPEG Surround will be called to replace Dolby Digital, etc. by a more filesize and bitrate saving standard. MPEG Surround can also be used in services such as DVB-H or MediaFLO.
With the majority of the forthcoming Blu-ray burners to support 2x recording, LG makes a step further and announces the GBW-H10N, capable of writing at 4x. The drive is expected to retail in June for 799 euros.
The ATAPI burner will support 4x recording for BD-R and 2x for BD-RE. The drive is also capable of recording on DVD-RAM media at 5x. The DVD-R/+R DL media is also supported by the drive.
Kingston introduced its new HyperX DDR2-1000 (PC2-8000) and HyperX DDR2-1066 (PC2-8500) modules for gaming enthusiasts.
The new unbuffered modules are offered in capacities up to 2GB and in dual-channel kits. Of course, these novelties are designed for hardcore gamers, in particular, for AMD Athlon 64 FX processors (including the AM2 systems).
Brief specs include:
OCZ Technology announced the release of the Special Ops Edition DDR and DDR2 lines. Parts will be offered in PC-3200, PC2-5400, and PC2-6400 speed grades. This new line of OCZ memory features a camouflage motif XTC heatspreader and a competitive price tag.
The Special Ops Edition line will be available in 1GB modules and 2GB (2x1024MB) dual channel kits for the ultimate memory upgrade for the latest graphic-intensive PC games, such as Battlefield 2, Half Life 2, Doom 3, and Quake 4. OCZ Special Ops memory will be available as a premium selection for Monarch Computer Hornet Pro small form factor system for gamers tired of lugging their bulky PC towers to LAN events.
All Special Ops Edition modules are 100% hand-tested for quality assurance and compatibility and feature high quality XTC (Xtreme Thermal Convection) heatspreaders. Furthermore, each OCZ SOE module is backed by the OCZ Lifetime Warranty and technical support.
Source: OCZ Technology
Intel launched sales of its new dual-core server processors Xeon DP 5000 (previously codenamed "Dempsey") equipped with 2 x 2MB L2 cache (per core) and featuring LGA771 socket. The clock rates range from 2.5 GHz to 3.73 GHz.
Models 5020 (2.50 GHz), 5030 (2.66 GHz), 5040 (2.83 GHz), and 5050 (3.0 GHz) operate with 667MHz FSB and have TDP of 95W.
Model 5060 (3.2 GHz), 6063 (3.2 GHz), 5070 (3.46 GHz), and 5080 (3.73 GHz) work with 1066MHz FSB and have TDP of 130W (except for the 6063 that has TDP of 95W).
In about a month the series will be updated - on June 25 the company is to launch sales of Xeon DP 5100 (previously codenamed "Woodcrest"), based on Core architecture already.
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