News of the day (January 6, 2010)

 EeeKeyboard PC finally available?
  Posted on 1262787205 by Benoit

Asus launched an innovative concept with the first Eee PC. Since then, all manufacturers have developed entire netbook ranges, with varying prices in spite of strong similarities in spec.

A year ago, Asus presented an original concept at CES: a keyboard into which a screen is built, the equivalent of an Eee PC. We havenít seen much more of it but it seems as if the EeeKeyboard PC will be on view at CES 2010.

Itíll come in the form of a keyboard at the heart of which thereíll be an Atom N270, 1 gigabyte of DDR2 (cannot be extended) and a 16 or 32 GB SSD. The right side of the keyboard will house a 5-inch touch screen at a resolution of 800x480. The display will be handled by a very standard GMA 950.

The keyboard has a VGA out and an HDMI for the connection of an external screen on which youíll be able to watch HD video. Asus has added a Broadcom chip for this as the GMA 950 canít read 720 or 1080p video. NB: Windows XP can only be launched when an external screen is connected. Without an external screen, the built-in touch screen will display widgets (weather, rss flows, Facebook, Twitter etc.), just like an iPhone.

The Asus EeeKeyboard PC will be available for $499 or $599 (depending on the size of the SSD).

 VIA VL700, SATA to USB 3.0
  Posted on 1262777707 by Benoit

VIA have announced their VL700 USB 3.0 SATA controller as the fastest on the market, something that of course remains to be proved. It should find a place in SSDs that offer both SATA and USB interfaces as well as in cases for external drives.

The VL700 offers support for both SATA 3Gbps and 1.5Gbps transfer rates, as well as NCQ and allows you to transform an SATA device into a USB 3.0 one (compatible with DVD and Blu-Ray optical players).

The number of USB 3.0 compatible controllers and components is growing fast, which is promising in terms of rapid implementation of the standard.

 WirelessHD in version 2.0
  Posted on 1262776654 by Benoit

While the best known wireless data transmission standard by far is WiFi, it isnít the only one. Among other standards living in its shadow is WirelessHD. With support from some of the big names in the audiovisual world (Panasonic, Toshiba, Sony etc), it was designed in 2008 for transmission of audio and video content between peripherals (Blu-Ray player/TV).

Version 2.0 of the standard has just come out with its lot of improvements. The WirelessHD Consortium has also announced compatability of the standard with 3D content, HDCP 2.0 content protection and 4K resolution support, currently called QuadHD. Maximum speeds supported are up from 4 Gbps to 28 Gbps and streaming functions have also been added.

The 60 GHz specification used by the standard has only been authorised in Europe for wireless connectivity for a few months and will be backwards compatible with those products using WirelessHD 1.0. Interesting on paper then but may well be stymied with electromagnetic pollution now in question.

 Crucial RealSSD C300: 355 MB/s!
  Posted on 1262774255 by Benoit

A month ago, Micron announced the first SATA 6 Gbits /s SSD. Lexar, subsidiary of Micron, said today that this product will be sold as part of the Crucial range, which is already well known for Ballistix memory modules but also for M225 SSDs based on an Indilinx controller.

There has been no change in the spec of this Crucial RealSSD C300 from the initial announcement and it will still come in the form of a 2.5" disk available in 128 GB and 256 GB versions. 34nm MLC Flash NAND is still used, combined with a Marvell controller. What's most impressive with this SSD is the sequential read speeds announced at 355 MB/s!

While the SATA 6 Gbits/s interface is obviously not for magnetic disks, it comes into its own with the new generation of SSDs. The Crucial RealSSD C300 should be available as of February.

 The 40GB Intel X25-V is available
  Posted on 1262772668 by Benoit

While the cost of SSDs is coming down all the time, they're still pretty expensive, even for low end models. The only truly accessible model with a good controller was until now the 40 GB Kingston V Series at around Ä100.

Kingston hasnít hidden the fact that this is a rebadged Intel model, the X25-V, a budget version of the famous Postville. This model is now starting to be listed and is becoming available under Intelís own brand! With sequential reads in the order of 170 MB/s and writes at 35-40MB/s, it allows you to increase the responsiveness of your machine quite significantly, even if it doesnít measure up to the best in the sector (especially in terms of sequential writes).

Available for around Ä120, this model should delight those looking for a rapid system disk at a reasonable price. It is however slightly overpriced as thereís nothing to justify the Ä20 price difference with the Kingston.

 A 600 GB Velociraptor?
  Posted on 1262773582 by Benoit

2010 will no doubt be the year of the SSD, but magnetic disks havenít been eclipsed just yet and are still to be valued for their storage capacities and much better cost per gigabyte ratio.

Between these two worlds we have the old star of storage systems: the Velociraptor from Western Digital. At 10,000 rpm and lower access times than a 7200 rpm disk, they still represent a great solution for those who want to increase their machineís performance. Now dethroned by SSDs, they look likely nevertheless to set off on one final lap.

It looks as if Western Digital are preparing a 600 GB version, with two 300 GB platters. The memory cache is reported to have been doubled to 64 MB. There's also talk of SATA 3 connectivity, which is useless when you think that magnetic disks donít yet saturate standard SATA.

That said, such a disk may attract those who want to ally high storage capacities with increased responsiveness.

 DDR3 -2400 from G.Skill
  Posted on 1262760559 by Benoit

While the race for megahertz between Intel and AMD is more or less over, the same canít be said for memory manufacturers. They regularly bring out kits with ever higher clocks or with ever lower timings.

After Corsair, itís GSkillís turn to grab the limelight. The firm has announced no less than 5 new 2x2 GB kits, one of which can function at 2400 MHz, with the high timings of 9-11-9-28 @ 1.65v. This gives GSkill an advantage over Corsair with its 2250 MHz kit, at least until Corsair responds. The four other kits function at 2300 and 2000 MHz respectively, all certified at 1.65v.

GSkill says that its kits have been specifically designed for the P55 (socket LGA1156) and even goes as far as recommending an update of the BIOS to get the most out of it. The list of motherboards that are officially compatible with these bars is available on GSkillís site. That said, these modules should be perfectly functional on an AMD 790FX, perhaps at lower clocks however.

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