Daily News for Nov 19

Microsoft Windows Vista Service Pack 1 Candidate Release Preview @ TechARP
This Release Candidate Preview build also includes updates that have not been released online as updates, or only made available to specific Microsoft customers and partners. These updates are now part of the build. Therefore, this build is more than just a collection of previously-released hot fixes and security patches.

Western Digital RE2 750GB Hard Drive Review @ Tweaktown
Hard disks are continuing to get bigger and faster thanks to perpendicular recording, larger cache sizes, SATA-II interface and faster rotation speeds of the platters. Hard disks by no stretch of the imagination are one of the most important parts of the PC. Today we are looking at Western Digital’s top end SATA hard disk designed specifically for RAID environments. Using Enterprise class components these drives are built to last. The specific model we have on the chopping block today is the Western Digital RE2 750GB Hard Disk.

Desktop CPU Comparison Guide Rev. 4.2. @ TechARP
There are so many CPU models that it has become quite impossible to keep up with the different models or even remember their specifications. Therefore, we decided to compile this guide to provide an easy reference for those who are interested in comparing the specifications of the various desktop CPUs in the market, as well as those already obsolescent or obsolete. Currently covering over 600 desktop CPUs, this comprehensive comparison will allow you to easily compare up to 18 different specifications for each and every CPU.

Aliph's Jawbone Bluetooth Headset Review @ Legit Reviews
This Aliph Jawbone Bluetooth headset really shines when operated in noisy environments as the on-board DSP, multiple microphones and the unique Voice Activity Sensor sheds the unwanted sounds and isolates and enhances the user’s voice. Unfortunately, as great as this headset’s noise suppression and voice enhancement are, the headset really stumbles when you are actually trying to hear your party in these noisy environments...

ATI Radeon HD 3870/3850 Vs. NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT @ TechARP
The really big problem for NVIDIA right now is availability. They haven't been able to deliver the GeForce 8800 GT in sufficient quantities to even meet initial demands. This may push impatient gamers into buying the cheaper Radeon HD 3870, especially if ATI includes an attractive game bundle like they did with the Radeon HD 2900 XT.

Nexus LXM-8200 CPU Cooler @ TechwareLabs
Patriot Memory made quite a name for itself in the DDR2 era by releasing some pretty fast memory. It's looking to continue its track record with DDR3 I expect. The 2GB Patriot Memory PDC32G1866LLK DDR3-1866 memory kit PCSTATS is testing for you today is the companies' fastest current memory part, running at a blistering 1866 MHz! The PDC32G1866LLK kit has a PC3-15000 rating, which that means it's capable of delivering a massive 15GB/s to the system.

Patriot Memory PDC32G1866LLK 2GB DDR3-1866 Memory Kit Review @ PCSTATS
Patriot Memory made quite a name for itself in the DDR2 era by releasing some pretty fast memory. It's looking to continue its track record with DDR3 I expect. The 2GB Patriot Memory PDC32G1866LLK DDR3-1866 memory kit PCSTATS is testing for you today is the companies' fastest current memory part, running at a blistering 1866 MHz! The PDC32G1866LLK kit has a PC3-15000 rating, which that means it's capable of delivering a massive 15GB/s to the system.

AMD Phenom 9500/9600/9700/9900 Spider Platform Review Edition!

AMD's Phenom Unveiled: A Somber Farewell to K8 @ Anandtech
It's surreal isn't it? Is this how you pictured it? With forty-three days left in the year, AMD is finally letting us publish benchmarks of its long awaited Phenom microprocessor. The successor to K8, AMD's most successful micro-architecture to date, and the cornerstone of AMD's desktop microprocessor business for 2008: Phenom is here.

@ Hot Hardware
A few days ago, AMD officially unveiled their RV670 GPU, the chip at the heart of the ATI Radeon HD 3800 series of graphics cards. Just in case you missed it on the day of the launch, our coverage of the new Radeon HD 3870 and HD 3850 cards is available right here. While we did thoroughly explain the RV670’s architecture and explored its performance in that article, we did not tell you that the new Radeon HD 3800 series is but one part of an entirely new platform from AMD dubbed “Spider”.

@ Legit Reviews
With today's launch comes two new AMD Phenom processors. The AMD Phenom processor 9600 (2.3GHz) and 9500 (2.2GHz) are now available for $283 and $251 respectively in 1,000-unit pricing. AMD was originally going to launch the AMD Phenom 9700 (2.4GHz) and AMD Phenom 9900 (2.6 GHz) quad core processors today, but they have been held off till Q1 2008. The launch of these two higher performance processors models will now coincide with the introduction of CrossFireX...

@ PC Perspective
The architecture of the new AMD Phenom processor is based on the Barcelona core, otherwise known as the Agena core for the desktop market. We have taken a couple of looks at the Barcelona technology before, but for the final release of the desktop Phenom processor we'll touch on the detailed changes in the designs with more detail.

@ Hardware Canucks
Last time AMD launched a new platform, its reception was lukewarm. AM2 offered no performance advantage over S939, and indeed many S939 users felt they were being left out in the cold because any upgrade paths were taken away from them by AMD's move to quickly phase out DDR-compatible CPUs. This time we're hoping things will be a little different. A big helping factor is the fact that AMD has promised that Phenom processors will work both in AM2+ (790FX) sockets, as well as AM2 sockets. This will however be dependent on the board's VRM design and the vendor providing a BIOS update.

AMD 790FX Review @ Tech Report
Last time AMD launched a new platform, its reception was lukewarm. AM2 offered no performance advantage over S939, and indeed many S939 users felt they were being left out in the cold because any upgrade paths were taken away from them by AMD's move to quickly phase out DDR-compatible CPUs. This time we're hoping things will be a little different. A big helping factor is the fact that AMD has promised that Phenom processors will work both in AM2+ (790FX) sockets, as well as AM2 sockets. This will however be dependent on the board's VRM design and the vendor providing a BIOS update.

Daily News for Nov 16

A-DATA Vitesta Extreme Edition DDR2-800 2GB Memory Kit Review @ PCSTATS
Looking at the specs the A-DATA Vitesta Extreme Edition DDR2-800 memory has all the makings of a high end DDR2 kit; 2GBs of PC2-6400 dual channel goodness, Enhanced Performance Profile support (EPP), 4-4-4-12 memory timings and a pretty swanky bright red memory heatsink.

OCZ DDR3 PC3-12800 Titanium with XMP Review @ Tweaktown
Since then we have seen several speed increases. When DDR topped out at 400MHz we saw DDR2 memory make its debut, this added new technologies to increase speed along with lower voltage requirements and the same Dual Channel status. Now the torch has been passed to DDR3, and while still in its infancy it’s gained the big blue giants approval, and even some modifications as well. Intel has brought to the DDR3 memory table what it likes to call Extreme Memory Profile, or XMP for short. What is it and how does it work? Today we find out with our first XMP memory modules from OCZ Technology.

Glacial Power 550W Power Supply Review @ TechwareLabs
Glacial Power provided us with a 550 w power supply to test and review. This power supply boasts 78% efficiency as well as some very solid voltages. Read our review to find out if Glacial Power is a name to watch for good quality power supplies.

Kingwin KF-4000-BK 4-Bay Hot Swap SATA Drive Rack Review @ Big Bruin
The Kingwin KF-4000-BK 4-Bay Hot Swap SATA Drive Rack supports up to four drives in the space of just three drive bays. Enclosures like this are not only useful in servers, but as the storage needs of home users increase, they provide a convenient way to keep up and up-to-date.

Thecus N5200 Pro NAS Device @ Tweaktown
The N5200 Pro from Thecus is more for the small business market and it’s a step up from Thecus’ previous products, although it has a lot in common with the N5200. The chassis is identical and so are the basic features such as five 3.5-inch drive bays, a single eSATA connector, three USB ports and a type-B USB port for client mode usage.

Patriot PDC24G6400LLK DDR2-800 4GB Memory Kit Review @ PCSTATS
In this review PCSTATS is pleased to be testing a new 4GB pair of Patriot Memory's DDR2-800 PDC24G6400LLK memory. The dual channel memory kit is rated to run at DDR2-800/PC2-6400 speeds with impressive 4-4-4-12 memory timings!

FUNC F-Series Mousing Surface (F10.s)

From my first personal computer to now, I've never regularly used a mousepad. I used them once and a while when using someone else's computer or when at a public lab, but I never really picked up on use for myself. I've always found a plain desk surface to be much more usable. Things changed when I got a new desk. When using my cordless optical mouse on it, I found that the desk wasn't so great for optical mice to track on. With fast movement, or even on certain parts of the desk pattern, the cursor would jump erratically. Not wanting to give up the comfortable mouse I was using, I looked for other alternatives, namely a mousepad. The reason why I never really found mousepads to be practical in the past was because they were generally too small, most smaller than an 8.5x11 inch sheet of paper. When I used ball mice, this would prove to be annoying because the mouse would lose the ability to track when it rolls over the edge of the mousepad. As well, most mousepads were generally of the foam and cloth variety which tended to be pretty thick. This was more of a comfort thing. And concerning construction, I've seen that these generic mousepads don't last long. I've seen many mousepads with the cloth peeling from the foam base which leads to bad tracking over that area.

ATI Radeon HD 3850 and Radeon HD 3870 Reviews (including Crossfire!!)

The following is a list of all the reviews we could find (at launch) for ATI's Radeon HD 3850 and HD 3870 video cards. These are very exciting products, as they provide great performance at competitive prices. The only question is what kind of availability will we be seeing for these products?

The following quote from the Anandtech review sums up the ATI Radeon HD 3800 series well...

Without a doubt, AMD is back in the graphics game. When the Radeon HD 2900 XT launched, we couldn't be more surprised at how poorly the product did. The lack of competition allowed NVIDIA to sit back and relax as the orders for more 8800-based product kept on flowing in. While the Radeon HD 3870 isn't faster than the GeForce 8800 GT, if AMD can hit its price point, it is a viable alternative if you're looking to save money.

@ Anandtech
@ Elite Bastards (only Radeon HD 3850)
@ HardOCP
@ Hardware Canucks (including Crossfire for Radeon HD 3870)
@ Hot Hardware
@ Legion Hardware (only Radeon 3870)
@ Legit Reviews (only Radeon HD 3850, including Crossfire)
@ PC Perspective
@ Tweaktown (only Radeon HD 3870)

Daily News for Nov 14

Synology Disk Station DS207 NAS @ TechwareLabs
If you need additional storage which is accessible on your network then Snyology has a product to meet your needs and then some. The DS207 is a 2 bay NAS device which comes packed with features and at a price which you can live with. Our resident technology guru Jason takes a look at the DS207 and gives you the details on the setup and use of this device. Read our review to see if the DS207 is what your looking for.

Enermax Galaxy EGX850EWL 850W Modular Power Supply Review @ PCSTATS
What does a modern quad core processor with dual videocards and a lot of hard drives add up to? A killer gaming PC, and a huge headache for the power supply! The Enermax EGX850EWL-DXX weighs in at 850W, supporting the PCI Express 2.0 power connector for super duper performance videocards, and has an all-modular cable set up.

Rosewill RDF-670B 7" Widescreen Digital Photo Frame @ Big Bruin
One type of product that has been around for a while, but has recently gained in appeal due to lower prices, is the digital photo frame. This gadget puts a high tech spin on an extremely low tech idea by replacing that one static photo with an LCD panel that allows the owner to display a slide show of their favorite images. This review is going to take a look at the Rosewill RDF-670B, a 7" inch widescreen frame that features a wood grain frame with black matting.

Tagan APLUS El-Diablo Tower Case Review @ OzHardware
A company famous for their high power and high quality power supplies are now trying their hand in the PC Case market, and this latest offering of theirs, the El-Diablo, is certainly an interesting case to say the least.

Thecus N5200 Pro NAS Device @ Tweaktown
The N5200 Pro from Thecus is more for the small business market and it’s a step up from Thecus’ previous products, although it has a lot in common with the N5200. The chassis is identical and so are the basic features such as five 3.5-inch drive bays, a single eSATA connector, three USB ports and a type-B USB port for client mode usage.

Western Digital's RE2-GP Hard Drive Review @ Tech Report
When we looked at Western Digital's "GreenPower" Caviar GP last month, we heralded the drive's low noise levels and frugal power consumption. Given the GP's slower spindle speed and energy-efficient billing, those results were largely expected. What surprised us, however, was how well the GreenPower Caviar handled demanding multi-user loads. It's not often that you find low power consumption with strong performance riding shotgun.

Zalman Z-Machine GT1000 High End Gaming Enclosure Review @ Tweaknews
With the introduction of the Z-Machine GT1000 chassis, Zalman has produced a worthy successor to their earlier Fatal1ty offering. I liked the Fatal1ty a lot; I like the Z-Machine a lot more. The GT1000 is better looking, easier to work in, has more hard drive space and comes in two color options. Cooling performance is just as good, if not better, than the original and the drive mounting solutions are both simple and elegantly executed.

Video Card Reviews for Nov 14, including the Radeon HD 3870 512MB!

ASUS Radeon HD 3870 512MB G-DDR4 Review @ Tweaktown
Looking over our questions from the intro the card does perform quite well and is a nice step up from the HD 2900 XT at a very good price. It’s really in direct competition with the 8800GT although it never really manages to perform as well as it, bar a few cases. It’s a good card and if you want a multi card setup on your P35/X38 motherboard, it’s going to be a better option than a single 8800 Ultra. Should NVIDIA be worried? Not really. By the time AMD get a really kick ass driver out for the 3870 the new models from NVIDIA could be around the corner and the whole fight starts over again.

Nvidia GeForce 8800 GT Video Card Performance Review @ Legit Reviews
For now, we have to give a thumbs up to the NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT and welcome it with open arms to the GeForce 8800 series. This card should be a big hit this holiday season as it offers serious performance at a mainstream price tag that most gamers can afford. If you can't afford it however, this card is worth saving up for...

NVIDIA GeForce 8600 GT Graphics Card Review @ TechARP
Unlike the GeForce 8600 GTS, the GeForce 8600 GT's memory bandwidth is unchanged from that of its predecessor, the GeForce 7600 GT. However, it has a 28.6 % higher fill rate. Will that be enough to offer current GeForce 7600 GT users a real reason to upgrade?

Penryn, Intel's 45nm Processor Previews and Reviews

@ Tweaktown
While AMD still plays catch up, Intel has kept its processor train at full speed with yet another new processor in the Core 2 range. Using the 1333MHz FSB that the QX6850 brought to the party, the new series based on the Penryn architecture as it’s now known reduces the production size from 65nm to 45nm as well as adding in a few new features along the way. Today we test out the Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9650 processor based on Penryn technology to see what or if anything has improved.

@ TechwareLabs
We have a first look at the new Intel 45nm Penryn Processor complete with screenshots and a preliminary benchmark. Is this single processor faster than a pair of dual Xeon 5150's? We show you why the Penryn may be the new desktop, server, and mobile processor king.

@ Anandtech
We've never seen Intel with such a strong roadmap before, the company is truly firing on all cylinders and executing with amazing precision. Server, mobile, desktop and even new areas like ultra mobility and graphics all have absolutely wonderful roadmaps to look forward to. The biggest complaint we've had about Intel these days is that they kind of botched the X38 launch. Think back to a couple of years ago, what was our chief complaint then? Probably leaving us with power hungry, under performing processors for about 5 years. Today we're looking at a damn good Intel.

@ HardOCP
Penryn is a not a tremendous departure from the current Core 2 processor line in terms of performance from what we have seen this month in our testing, but looks to hold the ability to be. It is also not a great departure from the Core 2 in terms of overall design, but it is not supposed to be. As noted in the graphic above, Penryn represents a “derivative” of the current Core 2 architecture along with a die shrink.

@ Tech Report
As the first desktop-oriented derivative of Penryn, the Core 2 Extreme QX9650 is very much a premium product. Like Intel's other Extreme Editions, the QX9650 has an unlocked upper multiplier and will probably sport a price tag around a grand. Since it drops into LGA775-style sockets, the QX9650 is compatible with many newer Intel-oriented motherboards, especially those based on Intel's P35 and X38 chipsets, usually with the help of a BIOS update. You'll want to check with the mobo maker to see whether a particular board supports the QX9650.

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