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Wednesday 20 September 2006
Welcome to PC Doctors Online Technical Support
Christo [PCD] , Tuesday 03 October 2006 - 00:00:00 //

Welcome to PC Doctors

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[Submitted by Christo [PCD]]


Tuesday 16 August 2011
Do you have a weak password or PIN?
Siversmith[PCD] , Tuesday 16 August 2011 - 11:59:59 //

Rudolph Muller from MyBroadband goes in depth about passwords and how weak they can be.

Do you use a common or easily understood password? You should definitely brush up on this information. Especially if your an IT admin.

Read the full article at the link below.

Article
[Submitted by Siversmith[PCD]]

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Monday 24 May 2010
Seagate Tries for Hybrid Hard Drives Again With Momentus XT
Christo [PCD] , Monday 24 May 2010 - 20:23:51 //

Complete redesign combines speed with affordability

The promise of superfast access speeds has been fulfilled by solid state drives using NAND flash memory, but it comes at a high monetary cost. Many enthusiasts, prosumers, and corporate users have already adopted SSDs as hard drives are typically the primary bottlenecks in a computer system. While CPUs and RAM measure their access speeds in nanoseconds, traditional magnetic-based hard disk drives are still measured in milliseconds.

The primary advantage for HDDs is the low cost of production, even for faster 7200 and 10k RPM drives. Samsung and Seagate tried before to bridge the gap between low-cost HDDs and fast SSDs using a hybrid hard drive, combining a single magnetic platter with a small amount of NAND flash memory. The NAND would act as a cache, similar in theory to a small scale tiered storage solution like that used by many corporations for their datacenters.

However, the experiment failed. NAND was still too expensive in 2007, and the small amount that was used proved insufficient. Performance turned out to be worse in some situations, and the capacity of Seagate's sole model was soon overtaken by other products with higher areal density.

Now, three years later, Seagate has learned its lesson with its all new Momentus XT. The company calls it a Solid State Hybrid Drive, and it will be available exclusively in a 2.5-inch form factor. There are 250, 320, and 500GB models, all of which feature 32MB of DRAM cache and a 4GB single-layer cell NAND flash cache. There will unfortunately not be any 6Gbps SATA support, despite the XT moniker.

The secret sauce this time is what Seagate calls "Adaptive Memory". The firm has developed new algorithms based on their years of research and producing firmware for regular drives. These algorithms monitor data access transactions over time, and will place a copy of the most frequently accessed data (such as Windows system files) onto flash storage. A table also keeps track and counts of how frequently data is used in order to prioritize it for retention and caching.

This is similar in concept to Microsoft's ReadyBoost, but uses much faster SLC rather than the sluggish commodity NAND that ended up being used in USB flash drives and SD cards. The algorithms are also much more advanced, as is the garbage collection and firmware. Seagate developed its own proprietary NAND flash controller specifically for the Momentus XT.

This also means that the Momentus XT is also operating system agnostic, and can be used with Unix/Linux environments and MacBooks.

Seagate insisted on using the flash as a cache instead of primary storage for additional reliability. Their tests show that over 250GB of data a day could be written to the NAND for 5 years and it would still function.

Although the Momentus XT isn't as fast as an SSD, Seagate thinks that it will be close enough that its customers won't be able to notice the difference qualitatively. While most consumers will notice the difference between a 5400RPM drive and a 7200RPM drive, they might not necessarily notice the difference between a 7200RPM and 10k RPM drive, an argument that the company has used before as a justification for not producing a 10k RPM consumer drive.

To continue the example, Seagate likens the Momentus XT to a 7200RPM drive and SSDs as 10k RPM drives; while the SSDs are much faster, qualitatively consumers won't notice the difference. The company expects that it will be able to hold off the SSD onslaught for a couple of years with this strategy, despite the lowering cost of NAND flash memory. In fact, as NAND flash prices drop due to the introduction of new process nodes, Seagate will be able to fit more NAND into the same space and offer even greater performance.

The first OEM to adopt the Momentus XT will be ASUS for their ROG G73JH gaming laptop, which will feature two of the drives. Seagate will also be shipping Momentus XT drives out to the channel this week for retail distribution.

Two reviews of the new Momentus XT can be found here and here.
[Submitted by Christo [PCD]]

1 1274725374 Seagat

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StarCraft(R) II: Wings of Liberty(TM) in Stores Starting July 27, 2010
Christo [PCD] , Monday 24 May 2010 - 20:20:08 //

IRVINE, Calif., May 03, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. announced today that its highly anticipated real-time strategy game, StarCraft(R) II: Wings of Liberty(TM), will arrive in stores throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Russia, Mexico, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, and the regions of Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau starting on July 27, 2010. Players will also be able to purchase StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty directly from Blizzard Entertainment shortly after the retail launch.

"We've been looking forward to revisiting the StarCraft universe for many years, and we're excited that the time for that is almost here," said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. "Thanks to our beta testers, we're making great progress on the final stages of development, and we'll be ready to welcome players all over the world to StarCraft II and the new Battle.net(R) in just a few months."

StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty is the sequel to Blizzard Entertainment's 1998 hit StarCraft, which has been hailed by players and critics worldwide as one of the top real-time strategy games of all time. Sporting a vibrant 3D-graphics engine, StarCraft II will once again center on the clash between the protoss, terrans, and zerg, with each side deploying legions of veteran, upgraded, and new unit types. Unparalleled online play for StarCraft II will be available through a new version of Battle.net, Blizzard Entertainment's world-renowned gaming service. Battle.net has been redesigned from the ground up to be the premier online gaming destination for Blizzard gamers, with several enhancements and new features, such as voice communication, cloud file storage, leagues and ladders, achievements, stat-tracking, and more.

The solo campaign for StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty will continue the epic saga where it left off in StarCraft: Brood War(R). The story line chronicles the exploits of marshal-turned-rebel-leader Jim Raynor and features both familiar faces and new heroes. Players will be able to tailor the experience, choosing their own mission path and selecting technology and research upgrades to suit their playing style throughout the 29-mission campaign. Several challenge-mode mini-games will also be included, with focused goals designed to ease players into the basics of multiplayer strategies.

For more information on StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, visit the official website at www.starcraft2.com.Further details about the game, including the alternative pricing options previously mentioned for certain regions, will be announced in the coming weeks. With multiple games in development, Blizzard Entertainment has numerous positions currently available -- visit www.blizzard.com/jobs for more information and to learn how to apply.
[Submitted by Synthetic_Darkness]

153 1272963975 StarCr

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Tuesday 06 April 2010
Free-to-play Need for Speed MMO hits open beta
Christo [PCD] , Tuesday 06 April 2010 - 20:29:15 //

After 14 installments over the last 15 years, the most ambitious and innovative version of Need for Speed is on the horizon. EA is working on a free-to-play massively multiplayer online racer, exclusive to the PC. Joystiq notes that an MMO version of the game could be the last Need for Speed title EA will have to make, offering a potential platform for "limitless updates."

Called Need for Speed World, the title has only just reached beta but already boasts over 150 miles of open road. Joystiq says the game follows the arcade-inspired mechanics of previous NFS entries, and should be widely accessible with hardware requirements including a 2.0GHz processor, 2GB of RAM, and a 512MB graphics card.

While Need for Speed World is free to play, dedicated racers can use real money to buy in-game goods, such as improved vehicles and skills. This is only speculation based on Joystiq's article, but it sounds like much of that content is open to anyone willing to grind for it. Regardless, you can't go wrong with a free game, even if you don't spend 30 hours a week playing.

EA will supposedly introduce new areas, driving abilities and more to the game every few months, but it sounds like there's already plenty to see. The game will debut this summer but it's officially in open beta, and you can take it for a spin by applying here. Watch a gameplay video after the break.
[Submitted by Synthetic_Darkness]

T

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