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Archive for the ‘hardware’ Category

ATI’s new Radeon HD 3870 is no 8800 GT killer…

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Our friends at Legion Hardware were the first website in the whole net to post official benchmark numbers for AMD/ATI’s latest videocard the ATI Radeon HD 3870. It definitely paid off living in Australia for our good friends as they were almost 18 hours early to the game…

The bad news are however that the Radeon HD 3870 is no GeForce 8800 GT killer, which is what many of us were expecting. Instead ATI will keep playing the pricing game, where its HD 3850 model will be the fastest card available on its price range (~$180), while the HD 3870 is expected to undercut the GeForce 8800 GT by some 25% at $225, offering on average the same decrease in performance.

Radeon HD 3870 benchmark

With apparently no further plans from either camp until early 2008, the mid-range cards will likely be selling like hot cakes during the holidays. And while this kind of performance has never been so affordable, neither Nvidia or ATI has brought us a true next-generation product that will let us play Crysis comfortably with any setting we throw at it, heck I wouldn’t have mind paying $500+ for such a card!

But again, whether you like the 8800 GT better or prefer to go ATI’s way, both products fall within a price range that we wouldn’t have imagined just months ago. Competition is king in this industry, now let’s just push those cards in retail, we don’t want to hear “out of stock” for the rest of the year.

Written by Julio Franco

November 15th, 2007 at 6:03 am

Posted in gaming,hardware

Optimus Maximus keyboard in action (video)

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For over two years we have reported several times on this keyboard that is supposedly being actively developed by a group of russian designers and developers. So many times in fact I have pretty much told TechSpot news editors to stop posting news on this topic until we can see some actual progress…

For some, the project had already joined the leagues of Duke Nukem Forever (a.k.a. “vaporware”) but now there is a new video showing the keyboard in action, and without a doubt it looks pretty cool.

I wouldn’t hold my breath though with an expected retail price of $1,500+, you could just as well get a well equipped PC for that amount. Naturally, the Optimus Maximus is unique in that it uses tiny 48×48 OLED screens in every key which can then be customized to your desire even with small animations.

The first batch of 200 keyboards is expected to ship at the beginning of next month. Most definitely a gadget that will make it to every enthusiast’s dream PC list.

Written by Julio Franco

November 13th, 2007 at 4:09 am

Xbox 360 HD DVD drive bundled with Heroes Season 1 (for free)

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Ever since we started discussing the differences between Blu-ray and HD DVD, I always thought and assumed that when time came, I would jump to the Blue team bandwagon. After all, Sony’s format offers a larger technological leap and seems to be more data (PC) friendly…

Almost two years later, neither format dominates the market and it would appear that for the immediate future they will have to co-exist. Personally I had not been paying much attention to the whole format wars until recently that I bought a new HDTV and prices for the HD formats have been lowered to more reasonable ranges.

Making a long story short, I got myself a Xbox 360 a few months back making the upgrade to an HD DVD easier and less costly, so that’s the route I recently took. As many of you may be aware, there is a mail-in promotion offered by both Blu-ray and HD DVD manufacturers where you can get 5 free movies with the purchase of a player (this includes the relatively cheap Xbox add-on HD DVD – which also works with PCs via USB).

Well, only three weeks after I bought myself the Xbox HD DVD add-on, a new promotion is out for a limited time. Amazon and other retailers like BestBuy and seem to be carrying it, the drive is being bundled with a free set of Heroes Season 1 HD DVDs. That’s a really good promotion if you like the TV show and were planning to buy it anyway, ahh.. too bad I missed it!

Written by Julio Franco

October 31st, 2007 at 11:21 pm

New MacBook update on its way

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Update: This didn’t take too long, the minor MacBook update has been confirmed. No word on LED backlighting unfortunately.

Whether you are a Mac user already or are planning to give one a try, it’s only obvious that any plans for upgrading or getting a new machine revolved around the release of OS X Leopard. We are hearing from various sources however that the Apple MacBooks, which account for a large percent of Mac computer sales, are about to get a hardware update that could be announced anytime between now and November 15th.

I only thought it would be appropriate to advise to hold off your buying plans for just a little while and avoid getting pissed by buying a new machine that will become an “old model” in a matter of weeks. It’s believed that only the MacBook (and maybe the Mac Mini) will be getting hardware upgrades, this does not affect the MB Pros. Details are scarce at this time but an upgrade to Intel’s Santa Rosa platform seems imminent. Other rumors circulate around a slight graphics update to Intel X3100 graphics and a much awaited LED-backlighted screen.

Written by Julio Franco

October 30th, 2007 at 3:57 pm

Trouble connecting an external drive in Vista?

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Bashing Vista for whatever reason you can imagine seems to be the most hip thing to do nowadays, and while a post with my take on Vista is on its way, for now I wanted to share a tip with you for connecting external hard drives successfully to the OS.

I should note that not all external drives should be having this kind of problem, however when I upgraded from XP and wanted to get access to my Maxtor Shared Storage Plus external drive, the Maxtor utilities simply refused to communicate with the drive. As a side note, the drive I’m talking about is a networked drive a.k.a. Network-attached storage (not USB). Also Maxtor was acquired by Seagate last year, so my almost brand new 500gb drive receives limited support for the rest of its life span.

Now, the problem and its solution…

Windows Vista defaults to allow only NTLMv2 authentication on a network for increased security, and the Maxtor Shared Storage drives do not work with this type of authentication (that’s why only Public areas were accessible). The solution is to enable LM and NTLM authentications on the network to get full access back.

  1. Click on Start and on the command/search field, enter secpol.msc
  2. This will open the Local Security Policy app. Now on the left menu go to Local Policies > Security Options.
  3. On the right pane, scroll down to Network Security: LAN Manager authentication level and double click it.
  4. On the Local Security Setting tab you should see a drop down menu with options. Choose “Send LM & NTLM – use NTLMv2 session security if negotiated.” Accept all dialogs and restart.
  5. That should do the trick (on Vista Ultimate).

Because the Home editions of Vista do not include the Local Security Policy utility, on those machines you will need to edit a setting in the registry. If you follow my instructions exactly there should be nothing to be worried about:

  1. Click on Start and on the command/search field, enter regedit.
  2. This will open the Registry Editor. Now browse on the left pane to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > SYSTEM > CurrentControlSet > Control > Lsa.
  3. That should show a bunch of settings on the right pane, select LmCompatibilityLevel (double-click it).
  4. Change the current setting, from 3 to 1.
  5. Accept all dialogs and restart.

Written by Julio Franco

October 4th, 2007 at 6:02 pm