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Poll

Is Windows 8 worth it?


Windows 8 is great!

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What is windows 8?



Posted by Christo [PCD]
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Misc

Tuesday 24 November 2009
Microsoft Slammed With Suit Over Killing Third-Party Xbox 360 Storage
Christo [PCD] , Tuesday 24 November 2009 - 19:14:49 //

Datel claims Microsoft is violating antitrust laws

Like Apple's campaign against iPhone unlocking, Microsoft has justified trying to kill Xbox 360 modding with claims that it supports piracy or other foul activity. And like Apple, it has gone to the length of damaging its own customer's legitimately purchased products to try to stomp out modding.

Microsoft, like Apple, is also tightening its control on the hardware, disallowing third party memory units for the Xbox 360. While its bricking of modded consoles hasn't earned it a lawsuit -- yet -- its decision to kill third party memory units apparently has.

UK-based Datel, which manufactures a third-party memory unit, has filed suit in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, accusing Microsoft of unfairly favoring its own Xbox 360 accessories by disabling the functionality of competing technologies.

A hard drive or memory unit is necessary to store saves, Gamertag information, or software purchased on Xbox Live, though newer units have a limited amount of internal Flash (512 MB) that can be used for these purposes.

Datel's complaint states, "Microsoft's purpose in disabling Datel's memory cards is to prevent consumers from choosing a Datel product that offers far better value for the price. There is no benefit to consumers from Microsoft's decision to target and disable Datel's memory cards. To the contrary, Microsoft's actions will leave approximately 50,000 consumers with useless memory cards and (without the ability to access their data on the cards), forestall innovation, and deprive future consumers of the benefits of competition."

The company is seeking unspecified monetary damages and an injunction banning Microsoft from "disabling or erecting technological barriers to Datel accessories."

While Microsoft claims it killed the third-party memory units to protect consumers against cheating, it may have had other motivations, as it stands to bump its own profits by eliminating the third party competition. Whereas Microsoft's unit is only 512 MB and retails for $29.99, Datel offers a much larger 2 GB unit for only $39.99 and the unit comes with expandable/swappable capacity, via an SD slot. The company's complaint can be found here (PDF).

Microsoft experienced previous class lawsuits when its consoles damaged discs or failed with the iconic Red Ring of Death (RROD) failure which has reportedly claimed 54.2 percent of the company's consoles over their lifetimes. Microsoft has also been sued in the past for bricking its customers consoles.

Datel's no-longer-allowed memory unit retails for $39.99 and offers 2 GB of storage. Microsoft claims it has disallowed it as it "promotes cheating." (Source: Amazon.com)



[Submitted by Christo [PCD]]

1 1259082314 Micros

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Microsoft's Mobile OS is Losing Marketshare to Apple, RIM
Christo [PCD] , Tuesday 24 November 2009 - 19:14:26 //

o, Microsoft looked comfortable in that market, coming off another year of growth and holding a promising 11 percent global marketshare, almost tied with Apple's 12.9 percent and just behind Research in Motion's 16 percent.

The picture became increasingly dismal for Microsoft over the course of 2009, though. According to market research firm Gartner, Windows Mobile's marketshare now stands at 7.9 percent. Apparently its competitors ate its lunch as Apple's (OS X) share rose to 17.1 percent and RIM also grew significantly, now at 20.8 percent.

That's disappointing considering that Microsoft was one of the first players to enter the market with its Windows CE, released in 1996, which went on to form the foundation Windows Mobile. One of the main problems has been the iPhone, which launched in the summer of 2007 and has since seen two compelling hardware updates, the first bumping it up to 3G and the second delivering a faster processor. States Ross Rubin, an NPD Group consumer technology analyst, "It was really the iPhone that came out full-bore for a consumer perspective. We saw app development focus on consumer applications like social networking and games.... Particularly with Apple's retail presence and advantages in that market, through design and so forth, that's where Microsoft's main challenge lies."

Raven Zachary, a technology analyst and owner of iPhone app development house Small Society comments on Microsoft's missed opportunity in the smartphone market, "It was theirs to lose and they lost it. They had everything they needed to execute, to do the right kinds of carrier deals to create an app store, create visual voice mail, touchscreens and so on. They've been in this space since the beginning."

One problem has been the segmented hardware. RIM doesn't overly rely on media to sell; rather it sells itself with a strong suite of proprietary business tools. Apple, meanwhile has a single basic hardware design (with some variations between its three generations) allowing an App to easily work on any of its phones. Windows Mobile phones, however, include handsets from HTC, LG, Samsung, and others -- in other words developers have to deal with the headache of creating multiple versions of a single app to reach the entire audience. At least Microsoft is not alone in this plight -- segmentation has also become an emerging problem for Google's Android OS.

Another problem has been the slow pace of updates. With the launch of Windows 7, many heard that Windows Mobile 7 was soon forthcoming. However, Microsoft instead released Windows Mobile 6.5, a stopgap solution. Windows Mobile 7, codenamed "Photon", has been bumped back to 2010. That delay has caused many buyers to simply not upgrade -- or more likely, pick a Blackberry or iPhone instead.

Microsoft isn't out of the game just yet. Just as Apple looked to be on its way out of the PC market, but managed a turnaround, Microsoft still can hope to right the ship and dig out a nice niche of marketshare for itself. Forthcoming proprietary phones may play an important role in that. However, the trouble signs remain for Microsoft and if doesn't take strong action, it risks losing OS war for good -- in the smartphone market.


Windows Mobile use has plunged in the last year, while Apple's OS X-driven iPhone and RIM's Blackberries have both posted impressive growth




[Submitted by Christo [PCD]]

1 1259082208 Micros

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Monday 09 November 2009
Return of the King: AMD HD 5970 Leaks, Looks Poised to Seize Performance Crown
Christo [PCD] , Monday 09 November 2009 - 14:46:43 //

New card will likely be the most powerful solution on the market when it lands late this month

The AMD/ATI success story in the GPU sector has shown little signs of fading with the transition from the 4000 series to the 5000 series. Continuing its competitive pricing, AMD's 5870, 5850, 5770 and 5750, the world's first DirectX 11 GPUs, are all showing strong sales in their respective price ranges, leaving NVIDIA in a painful wait for its Fermi series to reach market readiness.

Now AMD is reportedly preparing to take the single-card performance crown, currently held by the GTX 295 away from NVIDIA, with the release of a dual GPU single-slot, single-printed circuit board solution. Codenamed Hemlock, the card was initially named 5870 X2, a designation that was reportedly scrapped in favor of the name HD 5970.

Alienbabeltech has leaked what may be the first images of the new card and it looks to be a beast in every way. Measuring 13.5 inches (34.29 cm) long, the prototype 5970 has no reason to feel insecure -- after all, it's endowed with presumably the longest PCB on a mass-produced graphics card to date. It's reportedly a struggle to fit the card inside even full size tower cases like the Antec 1200. It is unknown if these dimensions will carry over to the production card.

The leaked card was perhaps running the leaked Catalyst 9.11 drivers, as the version number in CPU-Z was listed as 8.14.10.708 for the Direct3D driver, versus 8.14.10.700 on Catalyst 9.10. Benchmarks showing the card trouncing the NVIDIA GTX 295 in performance were aired then quickly removed at AMD's request. If these benchmarks holds true, it appears that AMD will wrest the title of having the most powerful single-card solution, at least temporarily, from NVIDIA.

A few scraps of information remained after much of the info was pulled -- apparently the fan will run at 4700 rpm under load. And the card uses one 8-pin and one 6-pin power connector. Pictures also remained posted

According to previously released information, the card will launch late this month and will likely hold the performance crown until NVIDIA launches its DirectX 11 offerings. The card is expected to feature 2 GB of GDDR5 memory and a thrid-party PCI-E bridge, similar to Radeon HD 4800 X2 cards. DisplayPort, DVI, and HDMI connections are all included, as would be expected.

Accompanying the HD 5970 will be a dual-GPU variant of the 5850, dubbed the HD 5950. No pricing has been announced, but thus far AMD has been very aggressive with the pricing of its 5000 series.

According to AnandTech, NVIDIA's Fermi, which has been delayed already, won't reach general availability until, at the earliest, Q1 2010. That means that for the holiday season, it appears that the highest end solutions will likely carry the HD 5970 and HD 5950. However, it is rumored that AMD may have supply issues with the HD 5950 and HD 5970 in the first months of availability, so don't count on your HD 5970 dream machine until it arrives.
[Submitted by Christo [PCD]]

1 1257770527 Return

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NVIDIA Uses Cartoons to Harass Intel
Christo [PCD] , Monday 09 November 2009 - 14:46:16 //

The feud between two of the hardware's biggest players continues to be ugly

NVIDIA and Intel, two of the electronics industry's largest veteran powers, have never been too warm or close. Recently, the pair can't seem to stop stepping on each other's toes. The pair's troubles started last year with NVIDIA releasing its Ion integrated graphics platform, which NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang likened to opening a "can of whoop-[censored]". Intel was not too happy about NVIDIA trying to shove it out of the integrated graphics market with the HD-ready Ion.

Nor did Intel's announcement of an upcoming discrete GPU get greeted by open arms by NVIDIA. NVIDIA, already struggling financially in the chipset industry, then was smacked with a suit by Intel alleging that NVIDIA's license agreements did not allow it to build motherboards for Nehalem processors, or other Intel processors with an integrated memory controller. NVIDIA fired back with a countersuit, demanding that the licensing agreements that supply the tech Intel uses to power its integrated graphics be terminated, threatening Intel's integrated graphics offerings.

Given the pair's history, it's not very surprising that NVIDIA would choose to take a jab at Intel's recent antitrust fines from the EU and the new charges leveled against it in New York. NVIDIA has launched a new site called Intel's Insides, which it hosts and is using as a artistic podium to accuse Intel of alleged illegal activity.

The site is especially critical of CEO Paul Otellini. A recent post features a cartoon with a cross-eyed Otellini denying using "bribery, coercion and kickback relations" to try to corner the market. The site has a rather humorous disclaimer informing readers that it "is not provided, sponsored or endorsed by Intel Corporation."

Intel has yet to respond (and likely won't).
[Submitted by Christo [PCD]]

1 1257770318 NVIDIA

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Motherboards Supporting USB 3.0 & SATA 6Gbps Now Available
Christo [PCD] , Monday 09 November 2009 - 14:45:46 //

Forget Intel, mobo makers will go on their own

Technology enthusiasts are the first to adopt faster interfaces. Interface speeds increase every couple of years, and it is no surprise that an upgrade cycle usually follows. No one wants to get stuck with an older interface, especially if they are planning to keep their motherboard for several years.

USB 3.0 and 6 Gbps SATA are both getting speed increases this year in an unusual two-for-one special. USB 3.0 introduces the SuperSpeed mode, which provides raw throughput of 5 Gbps versus the measly 480 Mbps of USB 2.0. The USB interface uses 8b10 encoding, so with overhead USB 3.0 will top out at around 400 MB/s. This standard will quickly be adopted by USB flash drives and digital cameras due to the large amounts of data involved.

The case for 6 Gbps SATA isn't as strong, unless you're into Solid State Drives. While Seagate has shipped the world's first hard drive to support the new standard, it uses magnetic storage and is only able to use the extra bandwidth when reading from cache. However, SSDs have been bandwidth limited since early this year, and SSDs supporting the new interface should have transfer speeds over 500 MB/s.

ASUS and Gigabyte were both showing off motherboards supporting USB 3.0 and 6 Gbps SATA during the Computex trade show in June. They both announced several motherboards last week, and the boards are available in volume. All of these boards use NEC's USB 3.0 host interface controller introduced in June.

ASUS is now shipping the P7P55D-E Premium using Intel's P55 chipset and the P6X58D Premium using the X58 chipset. The P55 chipset only supports the first generation of PCIe with single lane bandwidth of 250 MB/s, so ASUS uses a PLX8613 bridge chip and four PCIe lanes to optimize the throughput potential of the new interfaces.

The company is also making its U3S6 expansion card available for all P7P55D series motherboards. It will plug into a PCIe x4 or x8 connector and add two USB 3.0 and 6 Gbps SATA ports.

Gigabyte is also shipping seven motherboards in its P55A series supporting the new technologies. They have decided against using a bridge chip, but their implementation means you will be unable to use a second PCIe x16 slot for CrossFire or SLI.

Meanwhile, problems at Intel have delayed new chipsets that will use these new technologies until the beginning of 2011. Solutions from motherboard manufacturers will have to do for now.
[Submitted by Christo [PCD]]

1 1257770081 Mother

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