Solid-state fan trumps mechanical

Engineers from Thorrn Micro Technologies have developed a solid-state fan that exploits corona wind to move more air than a traditional fan 35 times its size. Corona wind is a physical phenomenon that is produced by strong electric fields. Such electric fields are commonly found on sharp conductive points with a very concentrated electrical charge, which generates a strong electric field. When this electric field reaches a certain strength, known as the corona discharge inception voltage gradient, the surrounding medium (in this case air) is ionized (charged) with the same polarity as the sharp conductive point. The point then repels the like-charged air molecules surrounding it, creating what is called corona wind.

This concept is very similar to the one used on a large scale in-home air purifiers. The RSD5 solid-state fan developed by Thorrn Micro Technologies implements the technology in such a way that the resulting air flow, which is apparently tremendous, is produced far more efficiently than a normal mechanical fan. One of the engineers from Thorn involved with the project, Dan Schlitz, stated that, “The technology has the power to cool a 25-watt chip with a device smaller than 1 cubic-cm and can someday be integrated into silicon to make self-cooling chips.”

Obviously the technology will need to be scaled up a bit if cooling of traditional desktop processors is the desired application, but even in its current state, it seems that an incredibly small version of the device can be used to effectively cool a majority of the processors found in typical mobile devices, including moderately powerful notebook PCs. More details about this technology are explained very well on Solid State Electronics android app which can be easily downloaded from any APK downloader site.

The technology could also be used in tandem with current convection heatsinks in desktop PCs to provide extra cooling performance, perhaps by causing more turbulence in the air flow across large cooling fins. Also, it is reasonable to think that further development of the technology could result in more efficient fans that really could be used on the silicon level to actively cool chips “before they get hot”.

Charts detailing technical data and a picture of the device can be found on DailyTech or on the company’s website.

As an engineer and technology enthusiast, this is the kind of stuff that genuinely interests me the most. Good to see.

Source: DailyTech

Blu-Ray adoption slows down, Can you tell HD from SD?

n the wake of the HD format wars we now have one conclusive victor standing tall a top the hillside. Blu-Ray may have beat out HD DVD but it has a long way to go to overthrow DVD and recent sales are showing just that.

The NPD, (those same cats who track video game console sales), noted that sales of standalone players dropped 40% between Jan. and Feb. The have taken a slight upswing since buy no where near the level the Blu-Ray consortium has hopped. I have to imagine that the PS3 is not included in those standalone numbers as it’s sales have risen almost every month.

The big winner is still DVD and upconverting DVD players. Sales of the later are rising and DVDs still sell like hot cocoa in the Arctic circle.

Some people aparrently cannot tell the difference between between DVD and HD content. I think they must be blind, or some of those tards who buy HD players and play them on SDTVs and wonder why they don’t look amazing. If you can’t see a difference between a Spiderman 3 DVD on my 27″ SDTV vs. Spiderman 3 on Blu-Ray on my 42″ 1080p you have to be nearly blind. Now if the justification was the added resolution isn’t needed, so be it. But saying they can’t see it is absurd.

As the NY times notes Blu-Ray has a lot of ground to cover to reach mass adoption in the marketplace. A $200 price point come the holiday season, with internet connectivity, profile 2.0, would surely help.

Revived GPU war hurting bottom line

As a consumer it might be a bit difficult to even consider that perhaps this new graphics war might have some negative connotations for the future. Low prices, high performance, and a wide array of options are all mashed together into a puree of gaming bliss for those of us looking to buy. However, the routine price drops and new product launches at ultra-affordable price points might be hurting the bottom line of both combatants. If this is indeed the case, there could be some adverse consequences on the graphics market in general.

report on Fudzilla last week claims that NVIDIA’s “average selling prices are destroyed”. This article basically just points out the obvious consequences of the price drops over the past month, which have become more aggressive and frequent since the launch of the GeForce GTX280. NVIDIA, selling video cards at price points nearly $200 cheaper than the intended launch MSRP, are obviously not going to have the kind of margins that the company is used to achieving after the two-year unbridled success of the 8800 series.

It is important to note that this really does not mean that NVIDIA is no longer going to be profitable. However, huge pressure from AMD on two fronts is definitely causing their average selling prices to drop. The performance of the Radeon HD4800 series has launched AMD onto the graphics leaderboard for really the first time since the ATI acquisition, and NVIDIA’s counter to this product line was by most accounts lacklustre. Consequently, NVIDIA has had to engage in aggressive price cuts to remain competitive with the much lower-priced cards from AMD.

We have to ask at what point will these price drops begin to have the negative effect on both companies. If this trend of constant one-upsmanship continues unchecked, both companies can end up in what we would probably call a precarious financial situation. At this point, we would expect the cost of video cards to jump through the roof as a means for loss prevention.

Razer Lycosa Review (2nd Look)

Razer’s Lycosa is their second keyboard offering and seems to be an about-face in terms of approach. Gone is the idea of extra button-laden keyboards with jam-packed features that tend to lack practicality; enter a keyboard that is trying to bring something that’s slightly different to the gaming arena.

Introduction

Razer first arrived back in 1998, unleashing the Boomslang mouse on unsuspecting gamers. After promising reviews but slow adoption, Razer fell into the shadows around the new millennium. Four years later, and with over 30 peripheral products under their belt, we catch a glimpse of the Lycosa. While nothing Earth-shattering is upon us in this review, the adage of “less is more” is never too far behind; and while many companies are trying to pack more features and ideas into products, Razer seems to be playing on simplicity and practicality this time around. We find out if it works.

Category Keyboards
Manufacturer Razer
Product Lycosa
Price $79.99
Interface USB + 3.5mm

Packaging & Contents

Taking the product from the shipping box, we find the keyboard package is wrapped in a clear plastic, Razer-branded sleeve. After removing the sleeve, we are greeted with an incredibly well-designed exterior box, which usually accompanies Razer products.

Upon opening the lid of the box, we are presented with the Razer logo, followed by their slogan of “For Gamers. By Gamers.” in the familiar green color. The next thing noticed is that the box is partitioned. On the top portion of the partitioning piece of the box, we have a message from the Razer guy, a few shots of the keyboard, and a Razer-branded paper sleeve that contains a few items: a manual with driver CD, a booklet of other Razer products, Razer stickers, and a certificate of authenticity. Below the partition, we simply find the keyboard in the common foam bag, with the cords separated in a plastic bag.

The Razer Lycosa is slim, quite light and remarkably sturdy. Outside of that, this thing looks sharp. We have a monotone design, with a superb glossy finish surrounding the keyset, followed by a matte wrist rest with the Razer logo in the center. For interested parties, the wrist rest is far-and-away the most well-built one I’ve used or seen for a keyboard. You will not find cheap, flimsy plastic attached by clips with the Lycosa; instead, the durable rest is attached via four Phillips screws, and is obviously removable for those so inclined.

Continuing, on the underside of the keyboard are six rubber pads (including two on the wrist rest) to prevent slippage. The standoffs that raise your keyboard only bring it up about an inch or so, and make the rubber pads on the bottom slightly less effective. Located at the top-middle and bottom-middle of the keyboard (with and without the wrist rest) are cutouts; these serve as aids in transporting your keyboard around to various LANs as they will keep the bulk of the cord within them to protect your cables as you wrap it around the keyboard.

The Lycosa sports input jacks for your headphones and microphone, as well as a USB port. The keyboard jacks sprout from one single cable at the base of the keyboard into two USB connections and a microphone and headphone jack. The reason for two USB connectors seems to be that Razer wants to ensure full-powered connectivity for your 1000Hz Ultrapolling™ keyboard, and a separate one for the hub portion.

Next, rubbing your hands over the surface, you immediately notice the well discussed rubberized, laptop-style keys. This is one of the deal-breakers for some people, in that they don’t know how these will handle. The only way to describe the feeling of the Lycosa is to imagine a laptop keyboard, but without the deadening, tactile effect, but also without the full cushion depression of a normal keyboard; quite the comfortable middle-ground, especially with the coating.

The last stops on the tour of the Lycosa, are the backlighting and media buttons. Located at the top-right corner of the keyboard, are the TouchPanel™ media keys, directly below your standard lock lights (Caps, Scroll, Num). On it, we have the Razer logo dividing the standard play/pause, stop, back and forward buttons on one side, and the volume and backlighting control on the other; it too (the TouchPanel™) is glossy.

The first thing I did with the Lycosa was trot over to IRC and type away to test the feeling of the keys. Now, as some of you have probably guessed or assumed, typing on a laptop-style keyboard with rubber-coated keys will feel different. Since the keys are flat and lower to the base they are closer together. For those with large hands coming from standard keyboards or those who don’t get to have a go on a laptop too often, relying on the feeling and the memory of the gaps between keys on your old keyboard will inhibit your early typing and gaming as you get accustomed to it. All in all, it feels great.Onto gaming testing, I loaded up the above games and played through. Keeping this short and sweet, I found nothing odd within any of the games. Now, granted, I play within the common WASD cluster of keys; Razer cleverly addresses this in their technical specifications as well, by citing “gaming cluster with anti-ghosting capability.” As such, ghosting, did not occur in this region.

For those gamers playing with the arrow keys, you will have a harder time adjusting to this keyboard. Since the keys are lower and flatter than your standard keyboard, it’s a lot easier to goof up while traveling in this area. While practice helped get used to the intricacies of the arrow key orientation on the Lycosa, it might be better to avoid it if you’re one of those gamers.

Next, for information’s sake, loading up MameWorld’s GhostKey allows us to check how many keys can be pressed at once. I stuck within the WASD gaming cluster, boundaries being from tilde to 4, down to V and the spacebar key. I found that up to six keys could be pressed at once, while having Caps pressed initiated key blocking. Outside the common gaming cluster, only two to four keys could be pressed at once and key blocking was more prominent. For the arrow key gamers, I found that there was no key blocking or ghosting in the combinations I used.

In regards to the touchpad, initiating the backlighting feature or any of the others is easy enough. Simply place your finger over the appropriate area of the touchpad and press lightly. The pad is a little sensitive, so those used to an actual physical tactile effect might be a little disappointed.

Without the backlight feature on, seeing the keys is difficult, even with the lights on in the room. Using the backlight makes the keys much easier to see, and turning the lights off in the room gives us an excellent looking setup. Pressing the backlight key once, the first to light up are the WASD keys. This setting is the brightest, as all the power seems to be running to just these four keys. Pressing it a second time, we are greeted with the entire keyboard being backlit, but at a much dimmer level overall. The third touch simply turns the feature off.

One of the main criticisms across customer reviews is that the keys are really dim. While I find the position of the lighting better than the G15, the brightness is definitely lower, and possibly a point of concern. However, I personally don’t see it as a huge issue.

Finally, we have the Razer software with its programming and macro capabilities. First off, it’s incredibly thorough. You can make any key on the keyboard have an alternate task. From basic commands, such as cutting and copying, to the toggling and closing of windows, to even opening programs- the capabilities are impressive. You can have up to ten profiles and use keys to swap between them.

In the macro options you can only record up to eight keystrokes. You can insert delays and change the behavior of whether you only need to press it once, repeat while pressed or repeat until the next key is pressed. These are all very useful, not only for games but for other applications as well. Of course, the Lycosa has no extra buttons in which to use for macros; this leaves less popular keys as possible options, but the F keys seem to be the most ideal, especially for the Counter-Strike games, where using them as buying keys is very useful.

Comfort Level

The comfort level for the Lycosa is great. Granted, there is subjectivity inherent in this section, but we can present some objective markers for which readers can judge. As aforementioned, the best way to describe the Lycosa is a cross between a laptop keyboard and a standard keyboard. If you enjoy the feel of flat keys of a laptop, and the click-clack and tactile aspect of a normal keyboard, you will like the Lycosa. If not, it might not be for you.

The Lycosa is of standard layout, so there will be no new surprises or weird configurations to get used to. However, as also aforementioned, given that the keys are flat, lower and closer together, there is an adjustment period. Those with larger hands will probably find themselves hitting keys right next to the ones they actually intend to hit. This is easily overcome with time and I can’t really see this being something to turn people away from the keyboard.

Conclusion & Value

Pros

  • Sexy
  • Well backlit overall
  • Fast and comfy tactile response
  • Fairly easy to clean
  • Impressive programming capability
  • Great gaming features (cord cutouts, USB, audio jacks, backlighting)

Cons

  • Slight adjustment period
  • Takes up an extra UBS port
  • Glossy surface makes for easy mess
  • Price

Razer makes products that seem to be hit or miss among the gaming population. To their credit however, they really seem to listen to gamers and aren’t afraid to try new things. With the Lycosa, they have strayed into new territories for the benefit of gamers. With the cutouts, audio jacks, backlighting, rubber-coated keys and great expandability with programming, they really have a solid product, albeit at a steeper price.

Ed’s Note: Matt DiVito is a long-time FPSLabs.com community member and this is the first review he has submitted to us. Having read the review, I think you will join me in saying that I hope it won’t be his last. Since Matt is not officially a member of the FPSLabs staff, we have to put the disclaimer that the ideas and opinions presented in this review do not necessarily reflect those of FPSLabs.com.

Newbie’s Guide to Vista: The Look

It has been more than a full year since Microsoft’s revolutionary operating system was available to the masses. Harsh reviews, astounding features, and a lot of troubles, it is still seen as the dark horse amongst most users. Even among power users, Vista is looked down upon. Dissecting the features of Vista, and noting considerable changes could sway some of you to ultimately want to switch from whatever operating system you may be using currently, or maybe not. First up we will look at the interface and some graphical changes that have been made. As sad as it may seem, there wasn’t a total overhaul on the way Windows looks. It keeps the same stature as Windows XP, but altogether, it definitely looks a lot smoother. This article will be followed by a second and third part. As aforementioned, this particular article will be about the Look of Vista, while the second and third parts will cover how Vista Feels, and it’s Experience, through my eyes. Now let’s dive in.

The Look

Thanks to the newly developed Aero graphical user interface, I give Windows Vista a thumbs up for making everything look substantially better than XP. With that being said, high expectations should not be overwhelmingly outrageous. The taskbar has been revamped, and given a more “flashy” look than what most are used to looking at. Getting rid of the “START” from the Windows Start button is probably the most significant noticeable change that didn’t retain the status quo of XP. To say the least, it looks great, and really makes for a good first impression. Something Microsoft seems to really aim towards.

Those of you able to use Aero will notice that Windows now features transparency by default, which makes everything happen so much more seamlessly, as one would hope. A very minor feature is the ability to change the color of your windows, taskbar, and Start menu. It may not seem like much, but it gives a little bit more control and the user is able to add a small personal touch that might be needed to achieve the desired environment. The title bar and windows have not been left out of this graphic overhaul, adding the nice transparent effect, accompanied by some new boxed-shape icons. Icon sets really do have a baring on what operating system people choose to use. For those still using XP, the icons really don’t seem too different, mainly because they were developed by the same people. Yes, “The Iconfactory” has developed the icon set for Vista, as they did for XP. It appears that the overall theme for Vista places an emphasis on making it appealing to end-users, which really turns out to be a benefit for everyone- making something that almost anyone can appreciate. The icons do not slouch in this area either, following the trend and out-classing XP’s icon set. High standards were expected from the XP fanboys/fangirls, but Microsoft didn’t seem to try and sell itself short either.

For those who believe in showing the best thing last, you will get your wish. The Windows Flip 3D window browsing has to be one of the most fun and graphically exciting things that is part of this operating system. This feature enables you to browse through each and every window you have open, including the desktop, to easily decide which window you might want open. It gives you a complete look at whatever is going on in each of the windows or applications you have open.

Using this feature is as easy as pressing Windows Key+TAB, or clicking on the button titled “Switch Between Windows.” If only more mainstream Vista users knew about this feature, I would have no doubt in believing they would have an overall satisfactory grade to give Vista. It is almost flawless, except for the fact that the edge of the windows could seem a little jagged without some anti-aliasing applied. And of course, you can’t exactly read everything that is in those windows. To use this feature you need Aero capable hardware, with Aero enabled. Just a reminder to all those considering buying Vista, if you want all the benefits of Aero, you will need to purchase Home Premium or higher.

This concludes the Look section of my Vista dissection. Coming soon will be the following articles about the Feel of Vista, and then the Experience in Vista.

Seagate Brings Down The Gavel On SSD Manufacturers

In what is brewing to be another one of the endless patent disputes we hear about in the tech world Seagate is planning on bringing SSD manufacturers to court, starting with STEC. Solid-state drives sales are slowly but surely picking up sales and before they reach a critical juncture Seagate has planned to jump in and protect their patents.

Their are four patents that Seagate feels STEC has violated: memory-backup systems, error correction, and storage interfaces with computers. We can presume these patents would also be used in pursuit of other SSD builders if Seagate continues down this path. They had apparently tried to work with STEC in licensing the patents though STEC denies such claims.

Will other manufacturers be on the way? Will Seagate’s patent give them a victory and a nearly exclusive claim to the SSD market? Stay tuned for a later edition of “As the Patent Turns”.

Razer Piranha Review

Aural acuity is paramount when it comes to situational awareness in any game these days. Unfortunately sound isn’t the problem with this latest headset from Razer.

Introduction

Razer has been catering to gamers with a variety of peripherals for a long time. Such dedication to an obsessively meticulous crowd demands countless hours researching and developing new products. This latest headset however is neither an original creation of Razer, nor has it been properly tested to make sure the product is even comfortable. Perhaps there are some out there that have absolutely no problems with the design of the Razer Piranha. I’d like to argue that they’re a bit masochistic in their endeavor to get quality audio.

Category Headsets
Manufacturer Razer
Product Piranha
Price $79.99
Interface USB + 3.5mm

Packaging & Contents

Razer never fails to impress with trendy packaging that exudes the stylistic product it encloses. Since this is just a headset, packaging is straightforward. There’s nothing else in the box worth mentioning really. While we emphasize peripheral reviews are subjective, we try to eliminate factors such as fat, oblong heads by testing the product on other gamers. In the case of the Razer Piranha, a secondary tester with a small skull size and shape (in contrast to yours truly) also verified the headset was painfully uncomfortable. More on that later.

The headset is rather light weight. Composed primarily of plastic, it’s very durable and doesn’t feel fragile. Although the pictures taken show signs of dust, it’s unnoticeable for the most part in real world conditions. The soft cloth material lining the ear cups is smooth and doesn’t feel sticky when your ears get sweaty after prolonged gaming sessions. The headband offers a seemingly useless gap in the middle, perhaps to minimize weight, or to distract from the fact that it’s based off of a Sennheiser design. The actual point where the cables enter the headphone feels strong, so those of us that rip our headsets off in agony or joy need not worry. The USB and 3.5mm cord length is extremely long at 9′8″.

The microphone is non-removable which is great since you won’t lose it, but if you prefer your microphone on the right side you’re out of luck. In terms of flexibility, what you see above is the maximum the microphone can bend. This may seem rather conservative but it never proved to be an issue with teammates and co-workers commenting on the excellent clarity of the microphone compared to that of a Zalman clip-on alternative. The deep, rigid notches make adjusting the headband easy and precise. The Razer logo only has one brightness setting, and is powered by the lone USB connector. If you have other Razer peripherals like the DeathAdder it’ll match up nicely. In time the LED might fail, but usually Razer Support can take care of these things, usually. Overall the construction is high quality. With time the headband padding might lose grip, but other then that it’s tough enough to take to your next event.

About 2′5″ into the cord is the in-line remote sporting another blue Razer logo. The volume dial works fine, as does the clip on mechanism. What I found extremely irritating was that the mute switch found on the side of the remote was overly sensitive. Several times I would be trying to coordinate ubers as a medic in Team Fortress 2 only to get killed because my teammates couldn’t hear me. Oh, the mute was accidentally triggered. Again. Sigh. The reason this occurs is because there is little tension between the two settings, so simply brushing it across your lap could easily trigger mute. A visual ID signifying whether or not the switch is in the mute position or not would be helpful, but it’s still terrible.

Testing

Testing of the Razer Piranha involves using the headset in a variety of popular first person shooters. No other genre benefits from accurate sound as much as shooters. Games like Call of Duty 4 and Team Fortress 2 are played at multiple volumes with a variety of audio settings and modes native to the sound output device – in this case an AuzenTech X-Fi Prelude. As a gamer I want a headset that is simply accurate. The Razer Piranha provided this throughout all testing. The difference between a good headset and a terrible one, say for playing Counter-Strike: Source, is that I’m able to distinguish where my opponents are coming from 3D space and how far away they are. What’s great is that this headset did not sacrifice bass to do so.

Many manufacturers understandably emphasize mids and highs and leave out any potential bass that could mask footsteps and other important sound triggers. This causes the headset to suffer in non-gaming applications such as music and movies. Although we primarily test games, it’s important that headsets deliver an immersive experience. Dropping bass altogether as some headsets do leaves you with a sense of longing, not only when playing games non-competitively, but in your favorite tunes as well. Coupled with an excellent audio source, the Razer Piranha is no slouch when it comes to audio. Unfortunately it’s unbearable to wear.

Comfort Level

Using the Razer Piranha on a daily basis is very uncomfortable. I wish to emphasize this point so as to make clear that throughout our months of testing I couldn’t manage to make this headset comfortable. Attempting to leave the headset atop a six pack of beer for a week to stretch out the frame for a looser fit did nothing. Testing with another individual as mentioned earlier proved fruitless. When wearing the headset, the natural curve places too much force on your ears. Certainly anyone who prefers circumaural solutions knows this, but the Razer Piranha felt like it was literally pinching my ears. No one should ever have to attempt to play through pain. On several occasions I cut my nightly gaming routine short because my ears were too red and tender from the pain to play any longer.

If you do prefer using on-ear solutions, you may enjoy the Razer Piranha. If you love the Sennheiser series you’ll be glad to know this headset is practically identical in all aspects. The splash of Razer chic is the only real difference. Unfortunately I don’t really care how good the sound is on any headset if it makes me want to take it off as soon as I put it on. If this is the case then it’s practically worthless. Razer’s website states that the Piranha’s are “comfortable, ergonomic and adjustable head phones suitable for prolonged use.” Well no. No they aren’t suitable for prolonged use. Not even fifteen minutes worth without starting to feel pinching pain.

Conclusion & Value

Pros

  • Excellent Overall Sound Quality
  • Durable and Lightweight
  • Superior Microphone
  • Easy to Access Volume Dial
  • Extra Long Cord

Cons

  • Extremely Uncomfortable
  • Mute Switch Too Sensitive
  • No LED Off Switch
  • Price
6/10

 

Unfortunately the Razer Piranha is the victim of poor ergonomic design. The sound really is excellent in both gaming and desktop applications. Despite the niceties and classy nature of the headset, it all means jack if I can’t wear it for more than fifteen minutes at a time without my bloody ears turning red. If you like your cans on your ears, then you should give these a shot because the audio is really good. If you’re used to wearing headsets that go around your ears, avoid these like the plague.

Toshiba’s SpursEngine SE1000 brings Cell to the PC

It is no secret that the chip inside the Sony’s Playstation 3 holds enormous potential for gaming applications. Less known is the fact that the architecture of the Cell Broadband Engine – the product of a joint effort by Sony, IBM, and Toshiba- facilitates massive parallel computing power that can be used in all sorts of compute intensive tasks. Cell/B.E. is already being used on the enterprise level to great effect. The processor has also proven itself on the distributed computing front, as Playstation 3 consoles are second only to ATI’s R5XX-based GPUs in TFLOP performance in Stanford’s [email protected] operation. However, since the Cell/B.E. works optimally in tandem with the not-so-standard XDR memory interface from Rambus, nobody really expects to see mainstream PCs based on the processor anytime soon.

For consumers who find themselves twiddling their thumbs while processing full-quality HD video on modern computer hardware, Toshiba brings a reprieve. The SpursEngine SE1000 is the first commercially available implementation of the Cell/B.E. technology, and will allow for greatly enhanced performance through the use of four Synergistic Processing Elements (SPEs). The slightly dumbed-down version of the processor found in the Playstation 3 has been placed on a PCB with a PCI-Express edge connector that is compatible with PCI-E x1 slots on current mainboards. The add-in card also features 128MB of its own XDR DRAM, with a physical bandwidth of 12.8GB/s. Toshiba reports that the processing performance of this card maxes out at 48GFlops, which is just a tiny bit less than even the most powerful quad-core x86 CPUs. Although realized performance will undoubtedly be quite different from the listed value, the advantage of the SpursEngine SE1000 co-processor will lie in its parallel architecture.

As we see it, the SpursEngine SE1000 has two really big things going for it: compatibility with existing Cell/B.E. development environments, and assumed low price. Toshiba is reporting that since the co-processor is derived from the same technology as the Cell/B.E., programs can be written for it based on the existing and somewhat-understood develop environment. Also, since this expansion card is effectively a nerfed Playstation 3 Cell/B.E. without NVIDIA’s RSX, I/O resources, significant heat concerns, and provisions for external appearance, we expect it to be rather inexpensive. Toshiba expects to move 6 million SpursEngine SE1000 parts in its first three years, which also leads us to believe it will be priced right.

Though its initial usage intent is for video processing, we can definitely see this technology get put to use in all sorts of general computing tasks. Since a [email protected] client already exists for the Cell/B.E., we don’t think it is too unreasonable to expect a tweaked version for the SE1000 once the user base reaches a relevant size. The card has already entered the sampling phase and is expected to be commercially available in the coming months.

Microsoft to sell XP until 2010

With the launch of Windows Vista at the beginning of 2007, Microsoft forced a changing of the guards in the operating system world. While the company was gung-ho about their new version of Windows, millions of XP users were not ready to let go of their tried and true OS for one that was shown to decrease performance and increase blood pressure. Perhaps even more frustrating for XP users was the announcement that Microsoft would cease to sell the aging operating system in January of 2008. Hesitation eventually turned into the realization that Windows Vista simply would not run on a large percentage of PCs due to its heavy resource demands. This severely limited Vista’s audience and was probably one of the issues that caused Microsoft to push back XP’s end of sale date to June 30, 2008.

Now, with low-cost, low-performance portable PCs like the ASUS Eee PC selling thousands of units all over the world, Microsoft has been faced with quite a dilemma: extend the life of Windows XP, or miss out on the vast low-cost PC market. DailyTech is reporting that Microsoft has chosen option number one, and will continue selling Windows XP Home into 2010. Microsoft is not the only company that will benefit from this decision; the manufacturers of these ultra-low-cost PCs will likely reach a broader audience thanks to the familiarity and compatibility that Windows XP will bring to their products.

Other than the ASUS Eee PC, which just saw its most recent incarnation become available at Best Buy stores nationwide, there are several other tiny notebooks currently breaking into the market, including the Everex CloudBook Max, ECS G10IL, and Intel’s 2nd generation Classmate PC. The Windows XP sales extension will not include Windows XP Professional, 64-bit, or Media Center Edition.

NVIDIA GeForce 9800GTX on April 1st

While nobody was surprised that NVIDIA’s GeForce 9800GX2 launch was delayed several weeks due to the complexity of the design and getting full software support out the door, a few people were surprised when news came that their 9800GTX would be launching in March. The card, which retains the suffix of its outstandingly successful predecessor, was initially slated for an April launch. Many analysts expected that reports detailing AMD’s aggressive launch schedule for R700-based graphics cards were behind the accelerated release date.

Now it would appear that the card is not going to launch in March after all. VR-Zone is reporting today that the 9800GTX will not launch March 25th, as previously reported, and will instead be release on the first day of April. This will be a full two weeks after yesterday’s launch of the 9800GX2 and 790i chipsets, and one week after the upcoming release of QuadSLI-enabling Forceware. It is kind of funny that NVIDIA will be launching a product on April 1st, as many people recognize “April Fool’s Day” as a day filled with practical jokes and other shenanigans.

Our review of NVIDIA’s recently-released GeForce 9800GX2 is essentially done, but we have been unable to publish the article due to some problems that occurred as a result of our recent website redesign. We apologize for not getting the review out to you on launch day, but you can rest assured that it will be coming to you pretty soon!