Archive for: Hardware

Western Digital Acquires Hitachi For $4.3 Billion.


Hardware giant, Western Digital, is about to get a bit more muscle in the fight against competing hard drive manufacturer, Seagate. Today, March 7th, 2011, WD announced that they were purchasing Hitachi Global Storage Technologies for ~$4.3 billion USD. In total, $3.5 billion in cash as well as $750 million worth of shares will trade hands. According to Western Digital CEO, John Coyne, scale is the sole source behind the purchase, citing the need for more size and R&D spending to combat rival Seagate. The CEO also hopes to offer a greater selection of products for consumers under the WD brand, further increasing the company’s own value.
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Review: Motorola XOOM

A quick look around any tech blog will highlight one thing: 2011 is indeed the year of the tablet. CES was full of dozens upon dozens of tablets from various manufacturers across the globe. While most were nothing special, certain devices caught our attention. One such device is the Motorola XOOM tablet. Boasting a dual-core 1GHz Nvidia Tegra 2 processor, 1GB of RAM, 1200 x 800 10.1″ display, 1080p video playback and output, and Android 3.0. Clearly, this tablet means business. It certainly looks nice with its sleek edges and weighted, yet pleasant feel. But is it really $800 good? For that, we need more space, more words, and a little more of your time. Hop on past for the full review…
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Microsoft Discontinuing Sidewinder Gaming Hardware Series.

Gamers with their eye on a new Microsoft Sidewinder product will want to act on that lust sooner rather later. Today, the Redmond tech giant announced that they are discontinuing their Sidewinder line of gaming hardware — and this time for good. Apparently, there is too much competition in the computer peripheral business according to Microsoft. Fair enough. While Microsoft’s announcement is slightly disappointing, they are right — there are many, many options from many different companies. Any current Sidewinder owners care to share?
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[Update 2] AMD’s Dual-GPU Radeon 6990 Graphics Card To Hit The Streets March 8th?

PC enthusiasts have an exciting March to look forward to. Not only is Nvidia’s dual-GPU 590 rumored to be dropping later in the month, but AMD’s own dual-GPU solution (6990) will be coming even earlier — rumored to be as soon as March 8th. Currently, AMD is said to be finalizing the SKU and planning to have partners ready to go for an official release by said date.

For those not well versed in the land of computer hardware, “dual-GPU” in regards to the 6990 (and GTX 590) simply means that their are two GPU cores on one PCB. (Essentially two graphics cards crammed on to one.) This not only allows uses with smaller cases to save space, but also makes tri- and quad-GPU configurations easier and more energy efficient.

Official pricing hasn’t been released yet, but we’d expect the 6990 to ding your banking account between $600-$700. Expensive — yes. But for those who want only the fastest, it is the only option.

Update

AMD 6990 officially outed. Specs, price, and specific release date still unknown.

Update 2

A rear-end shot after the jump…
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ASUS To Begin Shipping Updated B3 Sandy Bridge Motherboards Next Week!

PC enthusiasts and custom PC builders will be pleased to know the Intel/Sandy Bridge nightmare will soon be over. ASUS announced via their company site that the new B3 P67 motherboards with properly working Intel SATA II controllers will begin shipping this week.

Owners of pre-built computers from manufacturers such as HP, Dell, and so on have had the option of Sandy Bridge powered hardware due to various business dealings between said companies and Intel in which disabling the affected ports was noted as a viable option. The announcement by ASUS however, marks the first P67 hardware available for sale since the “non-recall” several weeks back.

So how will consumers know for sure the board they’re getting isn’t a gimped B2 version? Easy — the retail packaging and motherboard itself will feature very clear, easy to read branding as seen above.

For those looking to build a new SB computer, the announcement couldn’t come sooner. Check out ASUS’ press announcement after the break…
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Motorola XOOM LTE Update Process Leaks.

If you’re one of the LTE-crazed Motorola XOOM groupies that will be staking out store lines across the country tomorrow, we’re proud to say you can go to bed tonight a more relaxed being. The LTE upgrade process for the Motorola XOOM has been leaked in its entirety, giving us a look at the organized chaos that will ensue 90 days after the XOOM’s launch.

90 days? Yes, that is when customers will need to send their XOOM back to Motorola in order to get the LTE hardware and software upgrade performed. After a 6-7 day window, you’re revamped, faster XOOM will arrive back into your lovingly out-stretched arms. Of course, the beauty of it all is the upgrade price — free. Motorola is eating the cost of shipping, hardware, and software upgrades for all XOOM owners. +1 Motorola.

So who’s getting one?

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AMD Reorganizing Processors Into Three New Classes Under Visions Branding.

Athlon. Phenom. Sempron. All of these are previous naming schemes for AMD processors. But these names and future, unique names could be a thing of the past if a reported document by Xbit Labs turns out to be correct. Replacing the traditional AMD names we’ve come to know will be more basic titles based off the companies Vision trademark — Vision FX, Vision A Series, and Vision E Series.

  • Vision FX: Zembezi processors in 2, 4, or 8 core configurations. “AMD Vision Black” and “AMD Vision Ultimate”
  • Vision E Series: “Llano” APUs in 2 and 4 core configurations + AMD 6000 series graphics core. “AMD Vision Ultimate” and “AMD Vision Premium”
  • Vision E Series: 1-2 cores + AMD 6000 series graphics core. Low end. “AMD Vision”

Brand naming isn’t nearly as important as some may claim it to be. With that said, the restructuring is certainly surprising though not entirely unexpected. What do you think of the reported new naming structure for AMD platforms and processors? It seems easy enough on paper. After countless years of complete nonsense from Intel’s naming structure, we’re ready to welcome AMD’s new offerings with open arms.

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Finally, Some iPad Competition: The HP TouchPad


This summer, Apple’s iPad will finally have some real competition in the HP TouchPad. Announced just today, this webOS powered beaut packs everything we love about webOS (pleasing graphics, consistant UI, intuitive notification system, real multitasking via cards, and plenty more) while also bringing some new-found power to the table as well. How does 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon sound for starters? Gaze into the TouchPad’s 9.7″ 1024 x 768 display, stuff its 16GB/32GB of internal memory with anything and everything under the sun, and share it all with the outside world thanks to WiFI b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR, 3G, and A-GPS. The 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera supports video calling too!

Other juicy details revolve around software, with our personal favorite feature including the TouchPad and Pre 3 being able to share notifications via a shared TouchStone wireless charging station. Toss in numerous custom applications and software tweaks such as built in Dropbox and Box.net integration and you’ve got one hell of a tablet.

There’s a good Android tablet or two. There’s one iPad. And now, we have the TouchPad. The tablet wars just got insane. Look for pricing on this “summer” opener to come at a later date. Speaking of release, the WiFI-only TouchPad will ship initially, with 3G and 4G models to follow soon after. Unfortunately, it seems that in the commotion of it all, HP forgot to come up with a few prices for these new uber tablets. With that said, you’ll have to check back later to find out just how many hours you’ll have to put in performing day labor just to hold one of these cool, sleek tablets in your hands.

*Hint to HP: If you want to move millions of these things, start them at $349*
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Intel Resumes Shipping Faulty Sandy Bridge Hardware.

The current mass recall of Sandy Bridge hardware took a small step to recovery today, with Intel announcing that they are resuming shipments of Sandy Bridge hardware to select PC manufacturers. Before you get too excited, we must point out that it appears to be hardware that Intel almost being forced to re-release because of eager PC manufacturers chomping at the bit for Sandy Bridge hardware. The manufacturers are apparently justifying their position by highlighting that most consumers rarely use more than 2-3 SATA ports and that most motherboards have at least a couple of non-Intel SATA ports to use. Because of that, many people would never even notice the faulty SATA controllers/ports on Sandy Bridge hardware. Unfortunately, Intel didn’t elaborate exactly which PC manufacturers requested the arguably faulty hardware be re-shipped for sale — just that they were “working closely” with them to make sure they “weren’t affected”.

For now, custom PC enthusiasts still have several weeks of waiting to do before they can get their hands on Intel’s latest and greatest yet again.

Anyone a bit worried for buyers of store-bought PCs powered by Sandy Bridge?
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