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Is Windows 8 worth it?

Windows 8 is great!

Back to Windows 7!

What is windows 8?

Posted by Christo [PCD]
Votes: 166
Previous polls

Tuesday 08 September 2009
Analyst: Intel's New Flash Cache Negates SSD Performance Edge
Christo [PCD] , Tuesday 08 September 2009 - 07:07:55 //

Is Intel's new motherboard flash poised to damage SSD demand?

Turbo memory is returning in 2010, says chipmaker Intel. Intel's original Turbo Memory, which first debuted in 2006, was less than well received. While it shipped millions of units by Intel's own estimates, reviews of the product were lukewarm. Armed with new drivers and a new plan, this time around Intel believes it has what it takes to achieve a much greater success.

Intel's upcoming Turbo Memory successor, Braidwood, will consist of NAND flash module residing on "5 Series" motherboards (used with the upcoming Westmere 32 nm processors) and serve as a cache for all reads and writes. Capacities will be approximately 4GB to 16GB, and the cost increase will be approximately $10 to $20 per system, according to analyst Jim Handy, who authored a recent report on Braidwood. The technology is set to launch in the first quarter of 2010, though it may be delayed.

Some former skeptics of Turbo Memory have become Braidwood believers. Some are even going as far as to say that it could send the burgeoning SSD market reeling. Mr. Handy is among those convinced that the new product will trouble solid state drive markers. He points out that the new cache uses SLC (single level cell) NAND, which is approximately a quarter of the cost of the DRAM traditionally used in caches. Meanwhile, it provides better performance than most solid state drives, which use the cheaper, but lower performance MLC (multi-level cell) NAND.

He states, "The move to NAND in PCs will boost the NAND market, soften the SSD and DRAM markets and pose problems for those NAND makers who are not poised to produce ONFi (open NAND flash interface) NAND flash."

Traditionally, performance has been the strongest selling point of SSDs. Other benefits include lower power consumption and increased reliability over hard disc drives.

If the SSD market suffers, Intel could be hurting itself. Intel currently makes two relatively well selling drives -- the X25-M and the X25-E. The company, however, disagrees with Mr. Handy's analysis.

Intel responded to the analyst's remarks, stating, "It's not just the performance, but also the added reliability...[SSDs] can help facilitate versus a hard drive. We see a long life ahead for SSDs, and won't stop inventing a variety of other technologies that make computers faster and/or more energy efficient."

However, Mr. Handy counters, "If you really get down to what makes consumers buy SSD, the reliability issue is not something they often cite as reason [for] spending extra money on an SSD."

According to Mr. Handy current SSD makers -- Toshiba, Samsung, Hynix, Micron -- as well as DRAM suppliers will be most effected. He believes that if SSDs no longer offer significantly superior performance, few will buy them for their improved reliability and lower power consumption, when hard drive power consumption is already low in comparison to other system components and most drives are already relatively reliable.

He concludes, "Intel has got a very good [SSD] product. But, they view additional layers of NAND technology in PCs as inevitable. They don't think SSDs are likely to take over 100% of the PC market, but they do think Braidwood could find itself in 100% of PCs."

Some say Braidwood may negate much of the performance advantages of SSD drives. Some analysts are saying it could seriously damage the fledgling SSD market, whose growth is primarily being driven by the performance edge it offers. (Source: OCZ)

[Submitted by Christo [PCD]]

1 1252347370 Analys

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Windows Phones Launching on October 6
Christo [PCD] , Tuesday 08 September 2009 - 07:07:36 //

AT&T will give free Wi-Fi access to Windows Mobile devices

IPhone users have been enjoying the app store and access to all sorts of programs for over a year now. With the success of the Apple App Store, most all other providers are bringing their own offerings to market as well.

Word that Microsoft would be unveiling its own app store for Windows Mobile devices turned up in early July with a launch date pegged as this fall. Microsoft announced today that its next generation of mobile devices running Windows Mobile 6.5, also known as Windows Phones, will launch on October 6. The new line of phones will be designed to work closely with the Windows Marketplace, which presumably will launch at the same time as the new phones.

“A Windows phone gives people a single phone that works for their whole life, keeping them connected to the people and information they care most about by harnessing the power of the PC, phone and Web,� said Todd Peters, corporate vice president of the Mobile Communications Marketing Group at Microsoft.

Microsoft had no trouble getting phone makers and mobile service provides and in North America mobile carriers for the new phones will be AT&T, Bell Mobility, Sprint, Telus, and Verizon Wireless. Phone makers working with Microsoft include HP, HTC, LG, Samsung, and Toshiba.

The phones will feature a new version of Internet Explorer Mobile with support for Flash Lite. Office Mobile will be featured on the new Windows Phones along with tight integration of social networking. The aforementioned application store will offer some features that are not currently found with other offerings including the ability for users to return apps for a full refund if they don’t like them.

Gizmodo reports that AT&T will also be offering free Wi-Fi service to Windows Mobile devices as well, ensuring that the new Windows Phones will have the same access to Wi-Fi as the iPhone and Blackberry devices have.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer at the 2009 Mobile World Congress (Source: Microsoft)

[Submitted by Christo [PCD]]

1 1252347186 Window

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You'll be Saying Goodbye to Power Cords Within a Year, Says WiTricity CEO
Christo [PCD] , Tuesday 08 September 2009 - 07:07:09 //

Company believes that computers, phones, and EVs will within 5 years be operating without cords

You can't fault WiTricity for its ambition. As one of several companies looking to market emerging wireless power transmission technologies, WiTricity is making some of the boldest claims. Among the claims made by the company -- that within a year wireless power will be taking the mobile electronics industry by storm.

The concept of wireless power transmission is a relatively old one. In the 1890s, Nikolai Tesla was successful in illuminating incandescent light bulbs with wirelessly transmitted power. However, for decades this research lay dormant and untouched.

With modern telecommunications and interest in signals at an all time high, interest in the topic again picked up. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in particular, developed some intriguing technology that WiTricity would later be founded upon.

Eric Giler, CEO of WiTricity says that power transmission over several feet is an obtainable feat. He states, "Five years from now, this will seem completely normal. The biggest effect of wireless power is attacking that huge energy wasting that goes on where people buy disposable batteries. [And] Electric cars [are] absolutely gorgeous, but does anyone really want to plug them in?"

WiTricity isn't the only player in this new market, though. Several key technologies, each championed by different companies, are emerging.

One is radio power. Though only able to transmit small amounts of power, this approach can work over a long distance. A Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, company called Powercast is among the pioneers in this field, using its technology to power temperature sensors in large office buildings and to power wireless Christmas trees (sold for $400 a piece). The company has lit up an LED with radio signals from 1.5 miles away.

Another approach is power pads. Advantages include low costs and relatively high efficiencies. Disadvantages include the extremely short distance and need for custom shapes and sizes of pads. This technology currently is employed in the Palm Pre's recharging stone and in electric toothbrush recharging stands.

WiTricity's technology works on a third type of transmission -- magnetically coupled resonance. Similar to sound waves, the transmission creates a magnetic field, that devices can convert locally to electricity. This technology enjoys a middle ground with a bit worse efficiency, a bit longer distance, and moderate costs. Intel is also working on a more efficient version of this approach.

Despite WiTricity's optimism about its new approach, challenges remain. A full deployment is estimated to possibly create a magnetic field as strong as the Earth's own magnetic field. According to recent research, referenced by Menno Treffers, chairman of the steering group at the Wireless Power Consortium, such a strong magnetic field can cause serious health risks.

Witricity uses magnetically couple resonance to transmit power over longer distances, as shown here. The company's CEO predicts the company's technology will be ubiquitous within five years. However, health concerns about the powerful magnet fields it uses remain. (Source: Business Unusual)

[Submitted by Christo [PCD]]

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Monday 07 September 2009
Intel Larabee
Christo [PCD] , Monday 07 September 2009 - 20:21:33 //

Intel decided to offer some details about its upcoming Larrabee chip, which is scheduled for release in late 2009 at best. The company is looking to successfully step into a segment run by graphics specialists such as AMD’s ATI division and Nvidia.

The chip is being designed for graphics cards which will ensure an extremely high image detail for games and videos.

According to the company’s officials, the first Larrabee line-up will be composed of add-in boards. A special ultra-wide ring network design will be used between the many cores, in order to reduce the lag, and each core will have extensions for handling 64-bit data. The plan is to empower as many processing units (cores) as possible on a single chip, offering numerous possibilities.

The problem is that its competitors are already shipping out similar products, as Nvidia’s offer includes GPUs with more than 200 cores and AMD announced for later this year a high-end graphics chip with more than 500 cores. For Intel, there are several ways of successfully launching its product, which could include speeding up the release date, developing a far better product than the existing ones, offering its chips at a much lower price or a combination of any of the above mentioned options.

At this point, the company only wanted to announce its general plans and explained that a more detailed presentation will be offered at the upcoming Siggraph computer graphics conference, which is scheduled to take place over a period of three days in Los Angeles, starting with August 12.

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[Submitted by MayheM]

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Microsoft announces new Zune to take on iPod
Christo [PCD] , Monday 07 September 2009 - 20:20:58 //

Microsoft has announced that the latest version of its answer to the Apple iPod, the Zune portable media player, will go on sale in the United States on September 15.

The new Zune HD will come in two versions, with capacities of 16 and 32 gigabytes. It has a 3.3-inch OLED touch-screen, built-in wifi and radio receiver, and can store and play back video content in high definition (720p) using a special dock connected to a television set.

Microsoft has aggressively priced the Zune at $219.99 (ÂŁ132) and $289.99 (ÂŁ175), around $80 less than Apple charges for its similar iPod touch. No UK launch date for the machine has been set.

The Zune HD is designed to work in tandem with Microsoft’s Xbox 360 games console. Customers for films and TV shows downloaded for rental from the Xbox Live Marketplace will be able to transfer the content to their Zune.

The new Zune is the third version of Microsoft’s portable player. Until now, the device has failed to achieve anything like the success of Apple’s ubiquitous iPod range, which commands around 70 per cent of the market for portable players.

Of particular concern for Microsoft must be the unexpected success of Apple App store, through which iPod touch and iPhone owners have downloaded over 1 billion miniature applications in just over a year. Zune will have its own Marketplace, similar to the App store, but is unlikely to launch with anything like the 50,000 Apps that Apple now offers.

To ramp up the appeal of the store's offering, Microsoft is likely to emphasise the Zune's HD capability and the availability and pricing of downloadable content.

Although Microsoft clearly believes that it has finally come up with a serious iPod competitor, any triumphalism may be short-lived. On Wednesday, Apple announced a press conference to take place in early September. At such events, Apple traditionally unveils new poroducts and updates for autumn and Christmas.

Analysts expect that, in addition to the latest version of its operating system, OS10.6, Apple will also unveil a new camera-equipped iPod touch and – possibly -- an all-in-one tablet device.
[Submitted by MaTiCa]

186 1250261483 Micros

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