Good news for home entertainment PC freaks -- Shuttle has, somewhat predictably, released a barebones small form-factor PC that's compatible with the Intel Viiv standard.
The diminutive Shuttle SD36G5M SFF is a part of the company's successful XPC range, so it inherits the small, cube-like chassis we've come to know and love. The main difference with this new model is that it's the first to sport an Intel 945G chipset with an integrated GMA950 graphics card.
Today's news of Dell's Alienware acquisition is significant, if hardly surprising. When the rumours first hit, Alienware's representatives coyly responded with a somewhat self-congratulatory release along the lines of "it's not true, but we're very flattered, because Dell is awesome and so are we".
We're obviously paraphrasing here, but it was plain to see the deal had been done barring a few crossed Is and dotted Ts. Now the relevant vowels and consonants have been completed, we're left to ponder the reasons and implications of the deal. Can a staid corporate entity such as Dell simply jump on a Learjet from its Texas base to buy a slice of cool from Miami, Florida's trendiest PC builder?
The move makes great sense on paper and is reminiscent of other blue chip-luxury brand deals, such as Nike's acquisition of the iconic Converse brand, or Ford's buying up of Jaguar, Aston Martin and Land Rover. The speed and efficiency with which Alienware manufactures its PCs is questionable at best, so it could use Dell's efficient manufacturing processes, not to mention its vast coffers to help create and promote its PCs and reach a larger audience. Continue reading...
Hi, I bought a PC a few years ago, and although it was a pretty good all-rounderÂ then it's clearly starting to show its age. I'd like to buy a new PC, and being a keen gamer, I want one that can handle the latest titles.
The problem is, I'm really confused about whether to get one with a single graphics card, or to splash out for one that has two graphics cards -- as I heard the latter can run games twice as fast. What makes things more confusing is that I'm not sure if getting a PC with one super-fast graphics card is better than a PC with two slightly slower cards running in tandem.
Help! Continue reading...
When Microsoft announced it would be delaying its Windows Vista operating system until January 2007, we weren't sure whether to react with anger, surprise or indifference based on its extensive catalogue of launch indiscretions.
By the time Vista is released (assuming it stays on its new schedule) it will have been in development for nigh on seven years. But what's the story behind the delays? Is Microsoft taking time to get things right; is it trying to be fashionably late; or is the whole thing a complete lateness balls-up that would make the rebuilding of Wembley Stadium look like a well-oiled machine? Continue reading...
Everybody and their grandmother knows Sony will be releasing Blu-ray disc players en masse by the end of the year, so Crave was a tad disappointed that it chose not to show off a single one at the CeBIT 2006 show in Hanover.
The mysterious absence of players has been short-lived, however, as Sony has revealed its Blu-ray Disc (BD) hand, less than two weeks after the show. Three products have been announced, including a standalone BD drive (the BWU-100A), an unnamed VAIO desktop PC with a recordable BD drive, and a living room BD player called the BDP-S1.
Crave can't wait for these products to hit the streets, but we reckon we'll be playing with HD DVD products before Sony has a chance to release its own -- Toshiba recently released a laptop with an HD DVD drive. Whether the timing of these releases will have any effect on deciding the victor in the forthcoming Blu-ray versus HD DVD war remains to be seen. Continue reading...
The CeBIT show in Hanover was a good chance to take a look at the way PCs are evolving. The scary news is they're living us poor humans, far, far behind
If humans evolved as quickly as the PCs we saw in Germany, in a few years we'll all be telepathic beings with quad-core brains, respiratory systems that can alternate between breathing oxygen or carbon monoxide, and the ability to extract all our nutrients from vodka alone.
Sadly, our lack of natural predators and sheer laziness means we're stuck in an evolutionary rut, so most of the progress will have to come from PC hardware boffins.
One of the most interesting developments at the show was the Nvidia GeForce 7900 range of graphics cards. Yes, it's only been a couple of months since ATI released its top-of-the-range Radeon X1900 XTX, but the 'green machine' has just reclaimed the top spot with its 7900 GTX, and taken the mid-range market with its 7900 GT, which cost around 370 and 260 respectively. Continue reading...
Microsoft has been desperate to claim the living-room as its trophy wife, but a series of attempts to nail the Media Center concept have largely failed. Noisy PCs with fans blaring don't really appeal to many of us.
After a hard day at work, slaving in the sickly glow of an Excel spreadsheet, the last thing you want to do when you get home is run a spyware removal tool and edit the registry before you can get Shrek to play. Still, Microsoft was the only real option last year.
We've decided to pit Microsoft's Media Center offerings against Apple's new Intel Core Duo Mac Mini. A newcomer to the PVR scene, the dual-core Mac Mini is no bigger than a Bible (indeed some Mac fans will consider it thus), and capable of running full 1080i high-definition video. It also comes with a bundled remote control. The Mini is practically fanless. Although a small fan will audibly kick in if things get very hot, in normal operation it's almost silent.Â
our experiences with most
Windows PCs, you won't have to turn up the volume to mask the sound of
the small jet plane taking off inside. But Apple's G4 towers were once
notoriously referred to as 'wind-tunnels', so PC manufacturers are not
alone in this problem. However the majority of Media Centres we've
looked at are distinctly noisy, especially in comparison to a DVD
player or video recorder.
The Mini comes pre-installed with Apple's Front Row software. This is an extremely slick interface that lets you browse your iTunes and iPhoto libraries using the Apple remote control. It's a tough call between this interface and Microsoft's -- both are glass-buttoned masterpieces and easy to navigate. There is, however, one snag with using the Mac Mini as a PVR, and that's the absence of a built-in TV tuner. We've suggested before that the reason Apple hasn't included this is because it views TV as a declining technology. Apple probably intends iTunes to eventually usurp terrestrial and satellite TV. Continue reading...
When Apple's Steve Jobs invites the world's press to a launch, you expect an event roughly on a par with the fall of the Berlin Wall. Perhaps this was the problem, for when Jobs pulled the silk sheet off yesterday's new Apple products a hush fell over the Internet. A ghetto-blaster for your iPod, a faster and Intel-based Mac Mini and some leather iPod pouches were all the company could muster. A minute passed in absolute silence. Then a small boy stepped forward, pointed at Jobs and announced, "The Emperor is naked".
"Fool", the broadsheet hacks told the boy. "Don't talk nonsense!". But the remark was repeated over and over again by the other journalists, until everyone cried, "The boy is right! The Emperor is naked! It's true!".
News journalists and international fashion correspondents beat their
info-sticks on the piñata that is Apple PR, begging for any news on
what Big White is going to unleash later today. The Internet is
straining at its seams with rumours -- here's our exclusive
lowdown on what Apple may have in store for us.
There's been talk of this for a while. Apple has filed several patents which suggest it may be working on a touchscreen device (artist's impression pictured) to stay well ahead of the competition in the MP3 player market. Pundits speculate that the device will measure the same size as the current iPod video, but with a screen that fills the entire surface of the unit, offering a massive, yet pocketable, movie player.
Mac Mini media centre
Apple has quietly watched Microsoft foul attempts to crowbar PCs into the living room. The noisy, fan-laden, power-guzzling ways of Media Center PCs have failed to inspire many consumers. Could a Mac Mini equipped with some kind of PVR functionality show Gates how it's done? There are even rumours that Apple may couple a Mac Mini media centre with an iTunes-style HDTV service, completely undermining the Blu-ray/HD DVD war.
Details on this are scarce, but some observers believe that Apple may be set to launch a super-thin iBook that would make current laptops look as lardy as Brando in his later days.
It's expected that Apple will update its new photo-management and retouching software, Aperture. This is an impressive bit of kit that lets professional photographers emulate the traditional darkroom and lightbox. The first revision was derided for poor RAW output, but Apple may have this nailed now.
Today we're launching a beta version of the CNET.co.uk Podcast, giving you chance to hear our team discussing the latest and greatest in personal technology and consumer electronics.
Join us as we report from Intel's launch of Viiv, gaze into our crystal ball and discuss the future of electronic books, debate the future of high-definition TV -- and let you know about some great tech gear we think is worth your hard-earned cash.
Most of us know television is bad for us. Daytime TV in particular is single-handedly responsible for the mass eradication of students' brain cells across the nation -- Trisha, you have a lot to answer for.
Here at Crave, we've turned to our PCs to escape the televisual plague, but it seems even computers aren't immune to this menace. Always keen to turn us all into gibbering TV monkeys, Terratec has just sent us its Cinergy 2400i DT -- the first dual Freeview PC tuner to hit UK shelves.
Earlier this month, Crave revealed AMD's brand-new flagship processor, the Athlon 64 FX-60. At the time, we speculated it would easily become the fastest desktop CPU money could buy, and we've since spent a significant length of time with the chip to assess its full capabilities.
From a consumer perspective, AMD was literally shooting itself in the foot with its high-end CPUs. The fastest card in its line-up, the 740 Athlon 64 FX-57, was the undisputed king of gaming performance, but the 560 dual-core X2 4800+ was a smarter purchase. Not only was it far cheaper, but it was also better at running everyday applications, and only slightly slower than the FX-57 when running games.
The release of the FX-60 is significant, as it is designed to match the multitasking performance of the X2 range while reinforcing the FX series as the gaming processor of choice. Continue reading...
Intel marked the UK launch of its 'Viiv' platform, initially announced at CES, with a lavish party at London's Floridita bar last night.Â Crave was on hand to hear all about it, check out some Viiv devices, and more importantly, test the free food and drink.
Intel shied away from explaining the technical side of Viiv, which is essentially any PC that uses an Intel Core Duo processor, provides at least 5.1-channel surround sound, and has the Windows XP Media Center Edition operating system.
Instead, the company concentrated on what the product could offer consumers. Donald McDonald (no, really), vice president and general manager of Intel's digital home group, said Viiv PCs could potentially let you watch big-name movies on the day of release, or niche broadcasts such as Bollywood movies, on demand. Continue reading...
Everybody knows networks are great, but a wired LAN can turn your house into a messy orgy of cables, and wireless networks can be subject to interference, slow connection speeds and complicated setup procedures.
ZyXEL, perhaps hearing our network-related screams of frustration, recently sent us its PL-100 Powerline Ethernet Adaptor, which provides an alternative to mainstream wired and wireless networking methods.
As instructed, Crave plugged one end of the device into our PC's LAN port, and the other into an electrical power outlet, et voila, it turned our power lines into a house-wide network infrastructure. So now we can make toast and share illicit MP3s using the same technology. Continue reading...
Today ATI lifted the lid on its flagship graphics card, the Radeon X1900 XTX. Ours arrived a few days ago -- delivered under the cover of darkness by armed men in dark suits.
Reading from the accompanying technical document (which inevitably self-destructed after ten seconds), it becomes clear why the X1900 XTX is set to be the new reigning champion of graphics cards. Codenamed 'R580', the card is said to have 100 times the power of a Pentium 4-based PC, and provides over half a teraflop of computing power.
It has a graphics processing unit (GPU) clocked at 650MHz, an effective memory speed of 1.55GHz, and 48 shader units (three times that of its predecessor) for delivering ultra-realistic scenes. Continue reading...
Here at Crave, we love a good joke. For example: "What do you get when you cross Batman and Robin with a steam roller? Flatman and Ribbon." Or, "What do you get when you cross a polar bear with a seal? A polar bear."
Ahem... It appears AJP likes a good chuckle, too -- for how else would you explain the Neo64 -- which is basically what you'd get if you crossed a desktop PC with a laptop. Okay, so the outcome isn't actually that funny, but it is peculiar.
Like a character in a horror film who awakes to discover the hospital has transplanted the heart of a serial killer into her young, innocent body, the iMac desktop computer awoke on 10 January to discover that the heart of its arch enemy was pounding deep in its chest.
Apple gave up on waiting for IBM to produce a worthy successor to the G5 and is introducing the faster Intel chips across its new range. The first desktop Mac to use an Intel processor is this, the new iMac. Arriving much sooner than expected, the new iMacs use 1.83 and 2GHz Intel Core Duo processors with a 667MHz system bus. Graphics are handled by an ATI Radeon X1600 with 128MB or GDDR3 memory. In normal human language: disgustingly fast.
The Dimension 5150c is tiny -- pictures just don't do it justice. On its arrival, its petite proportions led us to believe Dell may have accidentally dropped it into its corporate washing machine on a hot cycle.
It's Dell's first foray into the world of small form-factor PCs. It's also the company's first desktop to use a BTX (Balanced Technology Extended) design.
It's a little too early on a Monday morning to get into full nerd mode, but this basically means the 5150c is designed with the most modern PC technology in mind, but is very small, quiet and doesn't produce much heat. In other words, it's perfect for sticking in your living room. Continue reading...
The world of high-performance PC components never stands still. Hot on the heels of Nvidia's four-card Quad SLI graphics setup is the latest evolution in uber-fast computer processors, the AMD Athlon 64 FX60.
Released today, the FX60 is touted as the fastest CPU money can buy. It's what you'd get if you bolted a pair of Athlon 64 FX-57 processors together, smeared them in greased lightning and left them to stew in a vat of caffeine for six weeks.
Thousands of products come to CES, but only a few go away with the coveted Best of CES award. After visiting innumerable stands, sitting through uncountable hours of press briefings and walking what felt like the distance from London to Las Vegas, CNET's editors selected the best products in 12 categories, ranging from cameras and camcorders to televisions. From those 12, the standout product was crowned best in show. And the winners were...
Cameras and camcorders: Sanyo Xacti HD1
Car technology: Pioneer AVIC-Z1
Cell phones and PDAs: Samsung ZX20
Computers: Intel Centrino Duo Mobile Technology
Emerging tech: ZenSys Z-Wave
Gaming: Nvidia GeForce Quad SLI
Home audio: Denon AVR-2807
Home video: Pioneer BDP-HD1 Blu-ray player
MP3 and portable audio: Creative Zen Vision:M
Networking: The D-Link SecureSpot All-in-One Internet Security Appliance
Peripherals: Belkin CableFree USB hub
Televisions: Samsung HL-S5679W HDTV