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Panasonic Introduces First AVCHD Camcorders With 3MOS System

CoolIT Systems Offers Liquid Cooling Solution for NVIDIA GTX280

WD Releases Dual-Drive My Book Mirror Edition

ViewSonic Announces Its Brightest Projector

Nextar Introduces Sleek And Stylish T30

HP Introduces HP Blackbird 002 Exhilaration Edition

AMD Prepares A Rival For Intel Atom?

Panasonic Introduces World's First 6x Write-Once Blu-ray Discs

Reviews Reveal Dodgy Product Designs

NVIDIA GTX 280 and GTX 260 Review Roundup

Apple Opens First Retail Store in Australia

Radeon HD 4870 Delayed Again

GeForce GTX 280 / GTX 260 Japanese Prices

Das Keyboard Revamped

Panasonic Introduces First AVCHD Camcorders With 3MOS System

Panasonic today expanded its High Definition (HD) suite of products, with the announcement of two new full-HD camcorders, the HDC-SD100 and HDC-HS100, the world's first AVCHD camcorders with a 3MOS system, which provides superb video image quality. The HDC-SD100 records to SD Memory Card, while the hybrid HDC-HS100 records to both SD Memory Card and to its internal 60 GB hard drive. Both models include manual functions for the user wanting more precise control over zoom, focus, iris, shutter speed and white balance. The models also include Panasonic's new Intelligent Auto (iA) mode, an intuitive set of technologies that automatically activate, making video shooting an easy, seamless process.

The world's first AVCHD camcorders with a 3MOS system are newly developed by Panasonic and based on the company's 3CCD technology. With their expanded light-receiving areas, the MOS sensors also significantly improve image quality, even in low lighting. The three MOS sensors process the red, green, and blue components of incoming light separately, improving color reproduction. These sensors also have about double the light-receiving area of CCD sensors, so image quality when shooting in low light is much higher. Compared with a conventional 1MOS, Panasonic's new 3MOS system captures more vibrant, true-to-life colors, greater detail and richer gradation. This high-precision imaging element is first in the world to shoot in lighting as low as 2 lux.

Adding to the 3MOS sensor, Panasonic HD Advanced Pure Color Engine and a new Leica Dicomar lens. The Leica Dicomar lens system used in camcorders comprise 12 lenses in 9 groups, including aspherical lenses to improve resolution and contrast and an LD (low-dispersion) lens to help prevent color bleeding. Also, a special multi-coating process is applied to all lens elements to minimize chromatic aberration. The use of a highly-refractive lens also made it possible to have both 12x zoom power and a compact body.

For these cameras, Panasonic enhanced its Advanced Pure Color Engine image processor with the introduction of the new HD Advanced Pure Color Engine. A noise reduction circuit combines with the Intelligent Contrast Control circuit to boost image quality while reducing power consumption. The dynamic range is also about twice that in previous Panasonic models, which helps prevent blown highlights and blocked shadows and allows more natural color expression.

Panasonic's iA mode, automatically activates several convenient shooting functions at once, so the user does not have to manually change any settings. These include:

  • Advanced O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilization) detects hand-shake and then triggers the lens to shift to correctly align the optical axis, helping to ensure videos are sharp and reduce blur. This happens at a rate of 4,000 times per second.
  • Face Detection automatically adjusts the exposure, contrast, skin complexion effect, and focus so that faces are always clear. Face Detection can detect up to 15 faces in a frame.
  • Intelligent Contrast Control continually measures the ambient light intensity and adjusts the contrast as it changes, helping to prevent a washed-out look in bring parts of an image and black-outs in parts with shadows.
  • Intelligent Scene Selection which determines the shooting environment and automatically selects the appropriate scene setting for optimal results.

Both camcorders come packaged with HD Writer 2.6 software for Windows, and also support iMovie '08 for Apple. The SD100 and HS100 are compatible with Panasonic's VIERA Link, allowing users to connect the camcorder to a VIERA HDTV via an HDMI cable, and operate the camcorder using the TV remote control, and following on-screen prompts.

Users can also copy their video content to DVDs for quick, convenient playback. A Panasonic VW-BN1 DVD Burner (optional) can be used to burn HD images onto a DVD disc in the original AVCHD format; no need to use a PC. The copied DVD discs can then be easily played with the VW-BN1 and sent via the SD100 or HS100 to a HDTV.

Other features of both the HDC-SD100 and HDC-HS100 include:

  • Quick Power-On ensures the camcorders are in recording standby and can shoot in just 1.9 seconds.
  • Digital Cinema Color mode automatically switches the camcorder to the optimum setting for the Digital Cinema Color mode, available on Panasonic's VIERA Plasma HDTVs, providing a theater-like viewing experience.
  • Intelligent Shooting Selection Playback automatically detects scenes that have serious flaws such as images that are completely out of focus or shots of the ground taken inadvertently and automatically skips them during playback.
  • 5-Microphone, 5.1-Channel Surround Sound System allows users to feel surrounded by clear, detailed sound during playback on a 5.1-channel home cinema. A Zoom Mic function links the microphone's capabilities to connect to what the camcorder is recording. A Focus Mic function picks up the sounds from sources in the area in front of the camcorder, regardless of whether the lens is focusing on a near or distant object.
  • Mic Input and Headphone Jack allows the camcorders to connect to an external mic or headphones.
  • High-Speed Burst Shooting lets the camcorders snap up to 24 consecutive 2.1 MB resolution still images in a second, or up to approximately 72 consecutive shots in 3 seconds.
  • Pre-Rec enables the camcorder to continuously record three seconds (while in the Pre-Rec mode) internal buffer memory. Then, when the Record button is actually pressed, the three seconds immediately prior are added at the beginning of the clip.
  • Wide-Viewing-Angle LCD has 300,000 dots and a 170-degree viewing angle both vertically and horizontally.

    Both Panasonic models will be available in September 2008 for manufacturer's suggested retail prices of $1,299.95 for the HDC-SD100 and $1,099.95 for the HDC-HS100.

    Source: Panasonic

    CoolIT Systems Offers Liquid Cooling Solution for NVIDIA GTX280

    CoolIT Systems announces the availability of the NV200 VGA Coldplate compatible with the new GeForce GTX280 and GTX260 cards recently announced by NVIDIA. The solution features a single slot, high-performance liquid cooling solution that cools GPU, RAM, nVio Chip and VR that, when mated with CoolIT's liquid cooling technology, provides extreme cooling to achieve optimal performance for the GTX280 in single card or SLI setup.

    The CoolIT Systems NV200 VGA Coldplate is now available with the VGA Reference solution, 120mm Radiator and will soon be available as a stand alone product for the DIY market.

    Source: CoolIT Systems

    WD Releases Dual-Drive My Book Mirror Edition

    WD today introduced its new RAID-based My Book Mirror Edition dual-drive storage systems that operate in mirroring mode for improved data safety.

    Formatted for Windows computers, these new storage systems feature:

    • USB 2.0 interface
    • Configured out-of-the box in RAID 1 (Mirrored) mode (RAID 0 (Striped) configurable)
    • Available in capacities of up to 1 TB and 2 TB (half the capacity used for file redundancy)
    • Cool, eco-friendly operation with GreenPower drives that consume approximately one-third less power
    • Designed without a fan for quiet operation
    • Automatic and continuous backup software
    • Users can replace hard drives inside manually
    • Capacity gauge
    • Automatic power-up, Safe Shutdown and LED status and activity lights
    • 3-year limited warranty.

    My Book Mirror Edition dual-drive storage systems are available now. MSRP for My Book Mirror Edition with 1 TB is $289.99 USD; MSRP for My Book Mirror Edition with 2 TB is $549.99 USD.

    Source: WD

    ViewSonic Announces Its Brightest Projector

    ViewSonic launches its new PJ1173 projector that features 5,000-lumen brightness, 1024x768 native resolution and 1000:1 contrast ratio. The device has 4W built-in speakers and multiple input capabilities, including HDMI 1.3 to support up to a 1080p signal, and supports progressive scan and video noise reduction.

    The 15.8-pound PJ1173 features manual zoom, horizontal and vertical keystone correction, and a full-function remote with mouse control and laser pointer. Seven screen modes such as Blackboard, Whiteboard and Greenboard reduce surface glare and give presenters added flexibility depending on their environment. ViewSonic has also included enhanced security features PIN lock protection and transition detector to prevent unauthorized usage, theft and repositioning.

    The PJ1173 can be managed over the built-in RJ-45 jack. The Whisper Mode function provides additional efficiency by reducing fan noise output, which in-turn extends lamp life up to 3,000 hours.

    The PJ1173 is available now for an estimated street price of $3,799. It is backed by a three-year limited product warranty. ViewSonic also offers a one-year warranty on the lamp.

    Source: ViewSonic

    Nextar Introduces Sleek And Stylish T30

    Nextar introduced its newest portable media player to its fast growing mobile device lineup. The Nextar T30 features 3.5" 262k color TFT QVGA (320x240) display, 4GB of built-in memory and SD media slot.

    Power is supplied by a built-in rechargeable 1000 mAH Lithium Ion battery. Recharging is accomplished either by connecting the unit to a PC via the T30's USB 2.0 port or by the included DC 5V power adapter. Battery life of 8 hours for MP3 usage and 4 hours for watching video can be expected.

    The Nextar T30 supports the AVI video format. The unit's bundled AVI converter software allows RM/VOB/DAT/RMVB/MPG/MPEG/MP4/ASF/WMV/MKV formats to be played as well. Supporting MP3 and WMA digital music formats, it plays back MP3, WMA, and DRM9 audio files in stereo.

    The unit also supports JPEG and BMP photo files. Support for TXT format allows users to read e-books while listening to music. The new Nextar portable media player has a built-in FM tuner. Digital voice and FM recording capability is also provided.

    Other features include: convenient side-mounted buttons; software-controlled lock-up function. Accessories include an USB cable, AV cable adapter, earbuds, and a carrying pouch. Dimensions are: 4.1" (h) x 2.9" (l) x 0.5" (d).

    The player has an MSRP of $99.99.

    Source: Antarra Communications

    HP Introduces HP Blackbird 002 Exhilaration Edition

    HP announced the release of the HP Blackbird 002 Exhilaration Edition, built for the ultimate PC gaming and performance computing experience.

    The system, developed by the company's Voodoo business unit, is among the first to offer the newly released NVIDIA GeForce GTX 280 GPU-based graphics cards with DirectX 10 support in an NVIDIA SLI configuration, along with the NVIDIA nForce 790i Ultra MCP-based motherboard, DDR3 memory from Corsair, a liquid-cooled Intel Core 2 Extreme quad-core processor QX9770, Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit edition and more.

    The HP Blackbird 002 Exhilaration Edition includes:

    • Liquid-Cooled Intel Core 2 Extreme Quad-Core Processor QX9770
    • NVIDIA Nforce 790i Ultra motherboard
    • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 280 graphics cards in SLI
    • Corsair 1,600 MHZ DDR3 memory upgradeable to 4 GB
    • Creative Audio Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtremegamer FATAL1TY Professional
    • Super Multi BLU-RAY disc and HD DVD-ROM drive
    • Windows Vista Ultimate

    The price for the newly announced rig starts from $6,600 without shipping and taxes.

    Source: High Road Communications

    AMD Prepares A Rival For Intel Atom?

    Miniature PCs and related developments are the hot topic of this year. Apparently, most attention is focused on ASUS Eee PC mini-notebook and Intel Atom processor. However, VIA Nano and NVIDIA Tegra also have their share of regard.

    So far, of all major players only AMD stays in shadows in market of x86-compatible platforms. Surely, it has Geode processors that are still used in some mobile devices. But those cannot be considered fully-fledged rivals to new solutions.

    However, it seems AMD doesn't want to stand aside. At least, the image published by the source, that supposedly leaked from AMD, sheds light on the development of a single-core 64-bit processor that will operate at 1GHz.

    The device will feature a built-in DDR2 memory controller and HyperTransport bus. Sized 27x27mm, it will have TDP of 8W. Perhaps, the clock rate and TDP are not that impressive as 1.6GHz/2.5W of Intel Atom N270. But that's a good start.

    Source: Eee PC News, HEXUS.net

    Panasonic Introduces World's First 6x Write-Once Blu-ray Discs

    Panasonic announced today that it has developed the world's first Write-Once Blu-ray Discs (BD-R) with 6x writing speed. The new discs will be available in Japan with both 25GB and 50GB capacities in July.

    The new 6X discs have a maximum data transfer speed of 216Mbps, which is 20% faster than that of 16X DVD-R discs. The new discs have a wide power margin at any writing speeds from 1X to 6X. This enables high-quality recording, even if the drive's laser power fluctuates, resulting in greater overall drive compatibility.

    Blu-ray disc drives compatible with 6X write-once Blu-ray discs are planned to be commercialized in Japan by the end of September 2008.


    6X BD-R
    Format Name Blu-ray Disc Recordable Format Ver. 13
    Model Number LM-BR25MDE LM-BR50MDE
    Data Capacity 25GB 50GB
    Layer Constitution Single Sided/Single Layer Single Sided/Dual Layer
    Recording Format Phase Change Recordable
    Laser Wavelength 405nm (Blue-violet Laser)
    Objective Lens
    Numerical Aperture (NA)
    Disc Diameter/Thickness 120mm x 1.2mm
    Track Pitch 0.32 μm
    Minimum Mark Length 0.149μm
    Data Transfer Speed 216Mbps(Max.)
    Hard Coating YES

    Source: Panasonic, Akihabara News

    Reviews Reveal Dodgy Product Designs

    An egg tray that only holds five eggs and a dishwasher that doesn't wash standard size plates are among a list of badly-designed household appliances currently on sale in the high street.

    The hall of shame also featured a television which won't turn off unless the plug is pulled out of the wall socket, a children's outdoor slide - in bright yellow - which attracts thousands of bugs in summertime making it impossible for kids to play on and a washing machine that won't wash cotton or synthetics at less than 60 degrees.

    The catalogue of dodgy designs was compiled by consumer review website www.reevoo.com, which looked at thousands of reviews written by real shoppers.

    Chris Winstanley, spokesman for Reevoo, said: "It's amazing that products with these and many other design flaws are allowed to leave the factory floor. We have bought eggs by the half-dozen in this country for decades, so it is fairly incredible that we are designing fridges with egg trays that can't house a full box. Customers buy products in good faith, and at the very least expect the manufacturer to have thought about how they are going to be used.

    The Bosch KGU30605 fridge with the egg tray which forces owners to precariously balance their sixth egg on a normal shelf won the dubious title of Dodgiest Design.

    Other products named and shamed were battery powered heated gloves which don't heat the whole hand, another dishwasher which doesn't fit standard mugs, and an oven which heats up on the inside and the outside.

    Chris Winstanley continues: "Genuine customer reviews give shoppers the whole story about a product, helping them decide what to buy. At the same time, they also help manufacturers develop better products."

    1. Bosch KGU30605 Fridge - the egg tray which only holds five eggs instead of the standard six.
    2. Zanussi ZWF14581 Washing Machine - The default temperature when you choose cotton or synthetics is always 60 degrees. But almost all synthetics are labelled 40 degrees or less.
    3. LG 37LF66 Television - that doesn't turn off. You have to pull the plug out of the wall to turn the TV off.
    4. Easy Store Large Slide - the bright yellow colour attracts thousands of bugs in summertime.
    5. Kenwood DW12CFE Dishwasher - Normal sized plates stacked as design suggests in the bottom tray stop the spray arm spinning, and thus the top layer does not get washed. Trays are non removable so the dishwasher won't run without the top tray in. Hard to fit standard sized dinner plates.

    Top Dodgy Designs see Reevoo's blog, Decide What to Buy for the complete list.

    Source: webitpr

    NVIDIA GTX 280 and GTX 260 Review Roundup

    nVidia GeForce GTX 280 @ t-break
    EVGA GeForce GTX 280 1GB FTW Edition Review @ motherboards.org
    How NVIDIA Stuffed the GTX 280 @ TweakTown
    NVIDIA GeForce 280 GTX in Tri SLI Tested @ TweakTown
    Asus GTX260 and GTX280 Videocard Preview @ Rbmods
    [Tech ARP] NVIDIA GTX 280 and GTX 260 Technology Report
    Nvidia GeForce GTX 200 Preview @ Hardware-Mag.de
    Hard Tecs 4U: MSI N280GTX-T2D1G-OC (NVIDIA GeForce GTX 280)
    I4U: XFX GTX 280 Video Card Review
    NVIDIA GeForce GTX 200 Videos @ TweakPC
    Zotac NVIDIA GTX280 AMP Edition Graphic Card Review on Technic3D
    HEXUS.net :: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 280: does it rock our world?
    NVIDIA GeForce GTX 280 Compute Video Card @ Benchmark Reviews
    GTX 280 review @ Neoseeker
    nVidia GeForce GTX 280 @ t-break
    Overclock3D: NVIDIA GTX 280 Performance Revealed - MSI N280GTX
    Point of View GeForce GTX 280 Assassins Creed Edition @ techPowerUp
    XFX GTX 280: A Preview of What's to Come @ Bjorn3D
    EVGA GeForce GTX 280 1GB Superclocked Edition Review @ Hardware Canucks
    NVIDIA GTX 260 and Zotac GTX 280 AMP! Review @ Driver Heaven
    Zotac GeForce GTX 280 Amp! Edition @ techPowerUp
    NVIDIA GeForce GTX 280 @ CHW
    NVIDIA GeForce GTX 280 and GTX 260 Unleashed @ HotHardware
    NVIDIA GeForce GTX 200 series technology preview @ Elite Bastards
    GeForce GTX 280 with QX9650 at 4GHz @ TweakTown
    Exclusive Review nVIDIA GeForce GTX 280 @ InsideHW
    ZOTAC GeForce GTX 280 AMP! Edition @ TweakTown

    Note that our thorough review of NVIDIA's reference GeForce GTX 280 1024MB card is going to be published very soon.

    Apple Opens First Retail Store in Australia

    Apple's first retail store in Australia opens on George Street in Sydney on Thursday, 19 June at 5:00 p.m. Located in the heart of the city's shopping district, the Apple Store Sydney features two floors dedicated to Macs and iPods and a third floor entirely dedicated to service, including the world's largest Genius Bar for free advice and personal training through Apple's One to One membership.

    Photo by Josh Hill

    The Apple Store Sydney has more than 80 Macs and 60 iPods available for customers to experience hands-on, as well as a wide range of third party products. The hands-on experience gives customers a chance to test-drive Apple's entire product line including the all-new MacBook Air, the world's thinnest notebook, as well as the widescreen iPod touch.

    The Apple Store Sydney also brings Pro Labs to Australia, offering free, in-depth training on Apple's professional creative applications for digital photography, music production and video editing including Final Cut Pro.

    The Apple Store Sydney is located at 367 George Street, one block North of the Queen Victoria Building.

    Source: Apple, MacRumors

    Radeon HD 4870 Delayed Again

    Japanese PC Watch published a report of a press event held by AMD. According to it, the company confirmed that Radeon HD 4850 will not be delayed anymore and will enter the market on June 25. Since AMD likes to make important announcements on Mondays, a decision to schedule such an event to Wednesday looks a bit strange.

    Cards based on the 55nm RV770 PRO core will compete with NVIDIA's GeForce 8800 GT, GeForce 8800 GTS and GeForce 9600 GT, offering performance of 1 TFLOPS at just 110W energy consumption.

    However, according to the image, more powerful Radeon HD 4870 os scheduled for release on July 8, two weeks later. AMD positions this GDDR5-equipped solution as a rival to GeForce 9800 GTX.

    As for the top-end dual-GPU solutions to compete with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 280, AMD plans to release such products within 8 weeks from this day, i.e. this August.

    Source: PC Watch

    GeForce GTX 280 / GTX 260 Japanese Prices

    Japanese gdm.or.jp shared information on recommended prices for GeForce GTX 280 / GTX 260 were set in Japan by NVIDIA's partners.

    ASUS GeForce GTX 280 is the most expensive with the tag of $765 (versus NVIDIA's recommended $649). For the same buck you will be able to purchase a card from Inno3D overclocked to 650/2280 MHz.

    ZOTAC GeForce GTX 280 is in the middle with the price of $738. And the "cheapest" (if this word is appropriate at all) are products from MSI and Gainward - just $720.

    The actual retail price of GeForce GTX 260, however, will be even farther from $399 recommended by NVIDIA. ASUS will be selling these for $530, while ZOTAC is $10 humbler.

    While Japan has always been an expensive region, the trend of excessive pricing will, most likely, be noticed in other regions as well. Two reasons: retailers naturally willing to make more money on enthusiasts and NVIDIA willing to moderate demand on the stage when the chip yield is low and shipments are rather limited.

    Source: gdm.or.jp

    Das Keyboard Revamped

    Das Keyboard, known among connoisseurs of quality keyboards, has undergone a complete revamp in terms of both design and construction. According to the vendor, black glossy design chosen for the new modification conforms to the latest trends in computer fashion. Besides, the new keyboard features blue LED lights and a dual-port USB 2.0 hub.

    Das Keyboard still uses gilded mechanical key switches that provide better tactile and audio feedback and produce clicking sound when pressed (I liked this so much in ordinary keyboards in the nineties).

    Another feature of Das Keyboard is the possibility to press up to 12 keys simultaneously (n-key rollover). The keyboard also has a 2-meter (6.6ft) long USB cable.

    Two modifications will be available: Das Keyboard Ultimate and Das Keyboard Professional. The only difference is that Das Keyboard Ultimate has no key inscriptions. The regular price is $129, but if you pre-order it, you will have to pay $99.

    Source: DasKeyboard

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