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Vista Licenses Limit OS Transfers, Ban VM Use

AMD Turns To NVIDIA For Quadfather Chipset

AGEIA Shows Off Pre-Release PhysX Titles And New Hardware At Digital Life

Linux Kernel Adds Real-Time Features

What Lies Behind The Sony Battery Recall? Cracked MLCCs Or The Absence Of An NTC Resistor?

Intel Gives 910 And 915 Chipsets One Year To Live

Nvidia Unveils GeForce Go 7950 GTX GPU

VIA And UK System Partners Launch First Carbon Free PCs

Technology 'Can Beat Film Piracy'

GameStop To Take Nintendo Wii Pre-orders On October 13

Sony Says Developing Video Walkman

Palm Releases A Colorful New Treo

RightMark 3DSound 2.3 Released

Dual Core Battle: Intel Wolfdale Vs AMD Antares

Vista Licenses Limit OS Transfers, Ban VM Use

Microsoft has released licenses for the Windows Vista operating system that dramatically differ from those for Windows XP in that they limit the number of times that retail editions can be transferred to another device and ban the two least-expensive versions from running in a virtual machine.

The new licenses, which were highlighted by the Vista team on its official blog Tuesday, add new restrictions to how and where Windows can be used.

"The first user of the software may reassign the license to another device one time. If you reassign the license, that other device becomes the "licensed device," reads the license for Windows Vista Home Basic, Home Premium, Ultimate, and Business. In other words, once a retail copy of Vista is installed on a PC, it can be moved to another system only once.

The new policy is narrower than Windows XP's. In the same section, the license for Windows XP Home states: "You may move the Software to a different Workstation Computer. After the transfer, you must completely remove the Software from the former Workstation Computer." There is no limit to the number of times users can make this move. Windows XP Professional's license is identical.

Elsewhere in the license, Microsoft forbids users from installing Vista Home Basic and Vista Home Premium in a virtual machine. "You may not use the software installed on the licensed device within a virtual (or otherwise emulated) hardware system," the legal language reads. Vista Ultimate and Vista Business, however, can be installed within a VM.

Vista Home Basic, at $199 for a full version and $99 for an upgrade, and Vista Home Premium ($239/$159), are the two most-affordable retail editions of the operating system scheduled to appear on store shelves in January 2007.

Although the Vista team's blog did not point out these changes, it did highlight others. "Two notable changes between Windows Vista license terms and those for Windows XP are: 1) failure of a validation check results in the loss of access to specific features; and 2) an increase in our warranty period from 90 days to 1 year, which brings Windows in line with most other Microsoft products," wrote Vista program manager Nick White.

Specifically, the Vista license calls out the ramifications of a failed validation check of Vista.

"The software will from time to time validate the software, update or require download of the validation feature of the software," it reads. "If after a validation check, the software is found not to be properly licensed, the functionality of the software may be affected."

Vista's new anti-piracy technologies, collectively dubbed "Software Protection Platform," have met with skepticism by analysts and criticism by users. Under the new program, a copy of Vista that's judged to be in violation of its license, or is counterfeit, is disabled after a set period, leaving the user access only to the default Web browser, and then only for an hour at a time.

Source: TechWeb

AMD Turns To NVIDIA For Quadfather Chipset

NVIDIA will provide the chipset for AMD's 4x4 ‘Quadfather’. The chipset which is as yet unannounced will include two x16 and two x8 PCI-e slots, and AMD was showing off a 4x4 system in its suite.

The board that was in a machine here was an Asustek board and the computer was running two game windows, each playing a high definition video, encoding a high definition video and streaming a gameplay video through Internet Exploder.

The system was maxed out but the game windows - City of Heroes - were running smoothly. There will be several SKUs of the 4x4 at launch, with all but one being under $1000. Another focus of AMD is that the 4x4 platform is quad-core ready, allowing easy upgrade with the introduction of the quad core in 2007.

Source: The Inquirer

AGEIA Shows Off Pre-Release PhysX Titles And New Hardware At Digital Life

AGEIA Technologies, Inc. announced that it will showcase a series of upcoming PhysX games and PCI-Express add-in boards at Digital Life, (booth #1535), October 12-15 in New York City. In addition, AGEIA will give daily presentations on the future of advanced gaming physics in the Digital Life Theater and host a “celebrity appearance” on Sunday, October 15th.

In the AGEIA booth gamers will get an exclusive sneak preview of a series of upcoming games, powered by PhysX, including CellFactor, Infernal, Black-out Saigon and Stoked Rider: Alaska Alien.

Other titles available for play in AGEIA’s booth or the Digital Life PC Arcade will include: Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter, City of Villains and Bet on Soldier: Blood of Sahara. AGEIA will also showcase the RealityMark benchmark, Dark Physics toolkit and the latest in its game physics feature advancements.

PhysX add-in-boards and PhysX powered Dell gaming systems will be available for purchase at special e-Tail kiosks inside the AGEIA booth, with show-special gift bags (valued over $100) exclusively to purchasers at the show.

AGEIA will also offer a sneak peek at its forthcoming PhysX PCI-Express card. This new card is based on the AGEIA PhysX Processor, the dedicated chip designed to power dynamic motion and interaction in complex environments. PhysX PCI-Express cards will be available integrated into new gaming PCs in time for Christmas, 2006 from AGEIA’s OEM system manufacturers.

Source: AGEIA Technologies, Inc.

Linux Kernel Adds Real-Time Features

Embedded developers have long maintained real-time patch sets outside the mainline Linux kernel, but those days may be coming to an end, according to representatives of Linux developer service provider TimeSys Corp. That company announced Thursday (Oct. 12) that basic support for real-time features has been added to the mainline Linux kernel.

The new real-time features are available in the Linux 2.6.18 kernel, and will be further extended in future kernel releases. TimeSys, meanwhile, has expanded its LinuxLink developer service to include real-time Linux extensions.

Real-time performance enhancements available in the 2.6.18 kernel include priority inheritance support to prevent priority inversions, and extensions to the generic interrupt handling layer across all architectures, including embedded architectures such as ARM. Technology contributors include Ingo Molnar of Red Hat and Thomas Gleixner, senior open source developer at TimeSys. Additional real-time features that are currently available as patches will continue to be merged into subsequent kernels.

Customers subscribed to LinuxLink will have a solution that is based on the real-time technology in the 2.6.18 kernel release, the real-time preemption patch, and additional real-time enhancements that are in the process of being merged into the mainline Linux kernel, TimeSys said.

A LinuxLink subscription is a web-based service that provides tools, open-source code, technical reference information, and other embedded development resources. In addition to the latest Linux kernel, LinuxLink provides cross-compiled packages for target processors, a cross-development environment, source-level debugging support, and access to on-line and interactive support.

Linus Torvalds announced the release of the 2.6.18 Linux kernel Sept. 19, 2006.

Source: EETimes

What Lies Behind The Sony Battery Recall? Cracked MLCCs Or The Absence Of An NTC Resistor?

Although the major cause of the recent Sony battery recall has not been revealed, passive component makers suspect that cracking of the multi-layer ceramic capacitors (MLCCs) or the inappropriate use of negative temperature coefficient (NTC) resistors caused the batteries to overheat.

Sources at US-based passive component makers commented that overheating may have originated in the electrical insulation of the batteries and that MLCC and other passive components should not be the major cause of the incident.

Some Taiwan-based makers, on the other hand, suspect that the adopted MLCCs had been cracked by printed circuit board (PCB) assembly, and that this may have caused an unstable flow of current, leading eventually to overheating.

Most of the MLCCs that had been found to be cracked had been made using X7R material, and X7R-based MLCCs are widely employed in applications that require a relatively high current.

In order to avoid cracking, some makers introduce a so-called "open mode design," which adjusts the design of the MLCC electrode. The US-based Kemet and Taiwan-based Walsin Technology have both introduced this kind of design.

Some industry players add organic materials to MLCCs, to avoid cracking. They usually term this type of supplementation of organic materials, "soft termination”or "polymer termination." Industry players that include the UK-based Syfer and Avx/Kyocera have introduced this type of solution.

The inappropriate adoption or lack of NTC resistors may also lead to overheating problems, said some Taiwan players. Since NTC resistors play a critical role in terminating the power supply, when overheating is detected, the inappropriate use or lack of NTC resistors may also have the effect of causing overheating.

Source: DigiTimes

Intel Gives 910 And 915 Chipsets One Year To Live

In addition to pushing the 945-series as the mainstream chipset solutions for entry-level PC systems in the first half of 2007, Intel has decided not to accept orders for 910- and 915-series chipsets starting from March of next year, according to sources at Taiwan motherboard makers.

However, the motherboard makers commented that with dual-core Pentium D 805 CPUs (2.66GHz, 1MB L2x2 cache memory and 533MHz FSB) priced below US$100 (in lots of one thousand), inventory levels of 910- and 915-series chipsets are already hard to clear.

Perhaps understanding this, Intel has informed motherboard makers that orders for 910- and 915-series chipsets could not be canceled after December 11, 2006, though order placement would be suspended in March 2007, the sources explained.

In order to strengthen dual-core CPU support in the entry-level segment, Intel will introduce the 945GC chipset for the Core 2 Duo E4000 and Pentium E1000 CPU families in the first half of 2007, the sources pointed out.

The last delivery date of the chipsets will be October 12, 2007. Intel also plans to stop accepting orders for 955-series chipsets on March 13, 2007 with the last delivery also set for October 12, the sources noted.

In related news, information released from motherboard makers show that Intel will soon suspend production of 910GL LF, 910GE LF, 915G LF, 915GL LF, 915P LF, 915PL LF, 910GE, 915G, 915GL, 915FV, 915P and 915PL chipsets, but there was no mention of a production suspension of embedded 915GV LF chipsets.

Source: DigiTimes

Nvidia Unveils GeForce Go 7950 GTX GPU

NVIDIA has released its GeForce Go 7950 GTX graphics processing unit, claiming it to be the world's fastest notebook GPU on the market.

The new flagship GeForce Go 7950 GTX GPU supports the latest games and applications with DirectX 9.0, Shader Model 3.0 and film quality high dynamic range (HDR) lighting, delivering vivid realism to HD games, according to the company.

The GeForce Go 7950 GTX features GPU acceleration of HD video formats like H.264 through Nvidia PureVideo technology and incorporates Nvidia PowerMizer technology which allows advanced power management features.

"2006 is a phenomenal year of growth and technology leadership for Nvidia notebook GPUs. The efficient Nvidia GeForce 7 series GPU architecture continues to deliver the ultimate visual experience in notebooks of every class – from lightweight ultra-portables to HD DVD multimedia machines," says Jeff Fisher, senior vice president of the GPU Business Unit at Nvidia. "Notebooks based on our flagship GeForce Go 7950 GTX GPU will deliver the premiere visceral experience for gamers."

Gamers can experience the power of this new GPU in Dell notebooks at DigitalLife 2006 in New York City. "Dell is fully committed to delivering the most intensely realistic gaming and entertainment experience to PC gamers," said Brett Faulk, director of Inspiron and mobile XPS product marketing. "Dell XPS notebooks have swept the awards thanks to their sheer gaming performance and the Dell XPS M1710 with GeForce Go 7950 GTX is our best yet."

Source: DigiTimes

VIA And UK System Partners Launch First Carbon Free PCs

VIA Technologies, Inc. announced with partners Evesham Technology and Tranquil PC the world's first Carbon Free Computers based on the energy-efficient VIA C7-D processor platform.

As awareness of the effects of carbon dioxide (CO2) on global warming grows, individuals, governments, and organizations are searching for ways to reduce their Carbon Footprint, demanding better energy efficiency and greater environmental awareness in the ICT products they purchase. To meet this growing demand VIA has joined with UK system integrators Tranquil PC and Evesham Technology to launch the world's first Carbon Free PCs based on the VIA C7-D processor (also carbon-free).

The Evesham Carbon3 and Tranquil PC systems such as the new T7 bring together ultra-energy efficient operation and the offset of the CO2 emissions produced from the operation of the systems over their lifetime through investment in UK-based projects in energy conservation, reforestation, and alternative energy.

Source: VIA Technologies, Inc.

Technology 'Can Beat Film Piracy'

New technology is the key to beating movie piracy, the UK film minister has told industry executives. Making films available on demand as soon as they are released at cinemas could help stop fans watching illegal copies, Shaun Woodward said. "The real answer is in the technology," he told the BBC News website, citing the success of legal music downloads. "People will take the legal way and I think ultimately that's the solution for film piracy as well," he said.

Film pirates in the UK make an estimated £300m profit a year, according to the Federation Against Copyright Theft (Fact). Most illegal gain comes from pirate DVD sales, and much is believed to help fund organised crime.

A number of major companies, including Sky, BT and AOL, already offer film downloads in the UK, while giants such as Apple and Amazon offer similar services in the US. Movies are also available on demand on TV in the UK through services such as cable provider NTL Telewest and broadband broadcaster Homechoice.

But no-one offers films at the same time as they are released at the cinema - whereas pirate copies usually hit the streets or the internet within days, if not hours, of their first screenings.

Mr. Woodward told film executives at an anti-piracy campaign launch on Thursday: "You're going to have to look at release dates in a slightly different way than you have done before. "You're going to have to look at slightly more ingenious ways of making electronic copies available so that people may actually pay a different price for something that they can download at home, which is just being released in the cinema. If they want to watch it at home, then maybe you should make it available to them. But they should pay a premium rate for having it earlier on and it should be encrypted in such a way that it can't be copied. Some gangs used film piracy to finance "some appalling organised crime around the world, which often reaches into terrorism", he added.

More than 90% of pirate DVDs came from people recording films with camcorders in cinemas, a Fact spokesman said. Camcorded copies of hits including Pirates of the Caribbean 2, X-Men: The Last Stand and V for Vendetta have been traced back to the UK.

On Thursday, Fact and the Film Distributors' Association launched guidelines to help cinema staff and police catch people making surreptitious recordings. They also published procedures designed to keep film prints secure at every stage of their release.

Fact chairman and Sony Pictures UK finance director Brian Robertson said Mr Woodward's idea about simultaneous download and cinema releases was an "interesting suggestion". "At the moment it's probably not technically possible," he said. "But in a few years, yes, I'm sure it will be possible and it's part of the whole economic model of film-making that will have to be looked at. It is a radical thought and the film-makers themselves may have an issue with it because they want people to experience something on the big screen, not on the small screen. It will certainly be an interesting debate."

Source: BBC News

GameStop To Take Nintendo Wii Pre-orders On October 13

GameStop Corp., the biggest video game retailer in the United States, said on Thursday it will begin accepting limited pre-orders for the Nintendo Co. Ltd.'s Wii video game console on October 13.

The company, which operates 3,600 GameStop and EB Games stores in the United States, said a $50 reservation deposit is required.

"Due to extremely limited supply, we expect to reach our limit very quickly, most likely in minutes. We will not accept additional pre-orders at that time," the company said in an e-mail.

The company's stores on Tuesday quickly sold through the quota of pre-orders for Sony Corp.'s new PlayStation 3 video game console.

Severe shortages are expected for the Wii and PS3 this holiday season, as pent up demand outstrips the companies' early ability to turn out the new devices.

Nintendo expects to supply 4 million Wii units to stores by year end. Sony expects to ship 2 million PS3s in the same time period.

Sony is the video game console market leader, followed by Microsoft Corp. and Nintendo.

Source: Reuters

Sony Says Developing Video Walkman

Sony Corp. said on Thursday it is developing a video-capable Walkman, playing catch-up with Apple Computer Inc.'s market-leading iPod.

Sony created the market for portable music players with its epoch-making Walkman more than a quarter of a century ago, but in recent years it has trailed far behind Apple, whose iPod holds more than half the global digital media player market.

"We are developing a product that handles images, but I cannot make any comment on specific plans," Sony Senior Vice President Hiroshi Yoshioka told a news conference that unveiled upcoming Walkman models.

Apple launched a video-enabled iPod last October.

Yoshioka also said on the sidelines of the news conference that he aims to double Walkman's share in the global portable digital music player market from the current 10 percent, without elaborating.

Sony and any other portable music player makers are expected to face a new and potentially formidable rival next month as Microsoft Corp., the world's largest software maker, launches its Zune music player, further stoking competition.

Sony also said it will start rolling out five new models of a flash-memory-based Walkman, shaped like a perfume bottle, toward the end of the year at home and abroad.

A 4-gigabyte model with a noise-reduction function is expected to sell for around 29,000 yen ($240) in Japan, Sony said.

Source: Reuters

Palm Releases A Colorful New Treo

Palm announced its latest Treo smartphone at Ziff-Davis' Digital Life technology show in New York today. The Treo 680, which will come in four different colors, aims at a younger and less business-focused audience than previous Treos, with a slimmer form and the user-friendly Palm OS 5.4.

The Treo 680 looks a lot like Palm's existing Treo 700p, but with the antenna lopped off. It has a sharp, bright 320-by-320 touch screen, full QWERTY keyboard for typing e-mails and SMS messages, and 64MB of both available storage memory and program running memory. It connects to headsets via Bluetooth 1.2, and a full-sized Secure Digital card slot on the side lets you use cards of up to 2GB. Like the older Treo 650 rather than the newer 700 series, it has a VGA camera. Palm says the 680's camera has better low-light performance than the 650's.

Further pumping up available memory, Palm has put Dataviz DocumentsToGo in ROM, letting users view and edit Microsoft Office documents and read PDFs. The 680 also has a new phone application with a bunch of little, helpful tweaks, like the ability to add a dialed number to an existing contact (as opposed to creating a new contact) and look at photo caller ID thumbnails while you're in a call.

Conspicuously missing from the 680, which works on quad-band global GSM EDGE networks like the ones run by Cingular or T-Mobile, is any support for higher-speed 3G UMTS/HSDPA networks like the ones both Cingular and T-Mobile are building. There's also no support for Wi-Fi, even via an add-in card. The aging Palm OS 5.4, which Palm has licensed through 2010, can't handle the simultaneous voice and data connections required by UMTS, Christensen said.

Palm does sell a UMTS product in Europe, the Treo 750v. That handheld runs Windows Mobile. Nobody has announced a US shipping date for the 750v.

The 680 comes with music, video, and photo slideshow players, but it doesn't support wireless stereo Bluetooth headphones, only wireless mono phone headsets.

While Palm didn't announce a carrier, availability date or price for the new Treo, Palm Director of Product Communications Jim Christensen said "Palm believes that this product will be competitively priced with other consumer devices" such as the Motorola Q and Blackberry Pearl, both in the $100-to-200 range with contract, and that the Treo 680 will appear for sale in "weeks."

Three of the four colors—"copper," "arctic" and "crimson"— will be available only unlocked through Palm's Web site, for use on any GSM carrier. The fourth color, "graphite," will also be sold directly by carriers, Palm Treo Senior Product Manager Phil McClendon said.

The Treo 680 looks and works much like earlier Treos, with the exception of the jauntily colored cases and the missing stub antenna. But that's okay, Christensen said, dubbing the current Treo line "the perfect phone." Palm's mission now is to convince owners of non-smartphones that easy-to-use Palm OS smartphones fit into their lifestyles, he said.

To that end, Palm will be sending out street teams, putting up interactive bus shelter advertising, and publishing ads focused around common uses for smartphones, such as bidding on eBay, searching with Google or posting to Flickr. These are things that it's hard to do on a phone without a full QWERTY keyboard, McClendon said.

"We think about people's pockets, as opposed to speeds and feeds. What's important is the experience and the addition of features," he said.

Source: PC Magazine

RightMark 3DSound 2.3 Released

RightMark 3DSound has been updated to version 2.3. Updates are related to CPU utilization test:

  • Added new dual core processors support;
  • Updated users interface;
  • Others minor impovements.

The test includes:

  • RightMark 3DSound: Positioning Accuracy test
    Tests audio source positioning quality in DirectSound3D. Requires subjective listening to a 3D audio scene with a user-controlled moving sound source. Supports all key features of EAX4 Advanced HD.
  • RightMark 3DSound: CPU Utilization test
    Measures CPU load depending on DirectSound device mode. Synthetically emulates main cycle of a typical ingame sound engine. Besides standard DirectSound diagnostics checks for supported EAX version.
  • RightMark 3DSound: Data Analyzer
    We use statistical data processing to exclude influence of random OS activity bursts and also to get more information on CPU load. This provides us not only with average values (mean of distribution), but also with their dispersion (standard deviation).

The new RightMark 3DSound is freely available for download along with User's Manual in the Download section.

Dual Core Battle: Intel Wolfdale Vs AMD Antares

Intel plans to counter 65nm AMD "Antares" dual core processor with their 45nm "Wolfdale" dual core processor based on Penryn core architecture in Q3'07.

Wolfdale will contain 6MB of shared L2 cache compared to 512KB dedicated L2 per core (1MB total) and 2MB shared L3 on the Antares. It seems like 45nm Penryn architecture is highly scalable and it will get Intel back into the MHz race next year. As such Wolfdale will be able to scale up to 4GHz clock speed comfortably and has a faster 1333MHz FSB to pair up nicely.

It is interesting to note that IBM is ramping up frequency for their next generation 65nm Power6 design to over 4GHz in mid 2007 which is what Intel is trying to achieve as well for their 45nm Penryn since it will still take a while for Octo-core to be available. Although Wolfdale packed more cache and a much higher clock speed, it has a TDP of 57W only. It certainly looks rosy for Intel next year.

Wolfdale will pair up with the Bearlake P/G chipset supporting DDR3 1066, PCI Express 2.0 and ICH9 coming in the Q2'07.

Source: VR-Zone

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