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News Digest 9.24.02: Linux Watch, XBox Mod

Arthur Tham

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AMD Releases Two New Notebook Chips

Advanced Micro Devices is releasing two new notebook chips Tuesday, narrowing the performance gap with rival Intel. The Athlon XP 2000+ and 1900+ will provide approximately the same performance as the Intel's 2GHz and 1.9GHz Pentium 4 chips, according to historical trends. Intel's fastest mobile chip, the 2.2GHz Pentium 4, will still likely rule the mobile performance roost, but Athlon-based notebooks often cost substantially less. The new AMD processors will be featured in consumer notebooks coming out from Hewlett-Packard, Fujitsu-Siemens and others, according to the company.

Read the full story on: CNET


Creative Announces Audigy 2

Creative Technology introduced its next-generation Audigy 2 card Monday, promising new levels of audio fidelity and a new media player. Creative also said it has developed a line of ultra-quiet PC components, which it will be marketing on a trial basis to further show off its audio lineup. Creative's Audigy 2 boasts a sampling quality of 24-bit/192-kHz, including a "true" 24-bit audio path within the card's onboard controller, and a rated signal-to-noise ratio of 106 decibels. But more importantly, the Audigy 2 will allow DVD-Audio playback on the PC for those users with a 6X or faster DVD-ROM player. Creative has priced the basic version of the Audigy 2 at $129.99; and the Sound Blaster Audigy Platinum 2 has an estimated street price of $199.99, the company said. Both products are slated for worldwide shipment in October.

Read the full story on: ExtremeTech


IBM Develops Linux-based WatchPad

In a bid to promote the Linux operating system, IBM's research laboratory in Tokyo recently developed a wristwatch-like computer using the open operating system. IBM's WatchPad comes equipped with the Linux 2.4 OS, a Cirrus Logic embedded processor (the EP7312) and an LCD display with 320×240-pixel resolution. Morimoto also said the company has no plan of launching the product commercially.

Read the full story on: DigiTimes


Intel Rolls Out Low-Power Processor for Communications Equipment

Intel Corp. Monday unveiled its latest embedded microprocessor for high-density blade systems and other communications equipment. The new Low Voltage Pentium III processor is a 933-MHz chip housed in the company's latest packaging technology--a uFCBGA package. The processor is featured on Intel's high-density, single-slot NetStructure ZT 5524 System Master Processor Board, which is available in either single- or dual-processor configurations. The ZT 5524 is a PCI Industrial Manufacturers Group (PICMG) 2.16-compliant packet-switched board designed for telecom servers, broadband access servers, switches and mobile base station controllers.

Read the full story on: EBN


DFI Launches its First AGP 8x Graphics Card

Diamond Flower Electric Instrument (DFI) recently introduced its first AGP 8x-supporting graphics card, the X400-T2, designed based on the Xabre 400 graphics chip from Silicon Integrated Systems (SiS). Adopting the new AGP 8x technology, DFI's X400-T2 offers a maximum transmission rate of up to 2.1GB/s. The company's new graphics card also improves overall performance by using 128-bit DDR memory.

Read the full story on: DigiTimes


Microsoft Changes Xbox Configuration

Microsoft has changed the internal configuration of its Xbox game console, a move intended to thwart hackers and lower manufacturing costs. The newly configured units were first spotted in Australia, where Xbox hackers spotted slight changes to the main circuit board that likely will make it impossible to use current "mod chips"--add-ons that bypass security measures built into the hardware. The new configuration reportedly also uses a different type of BIOS, the basic software that controls the console's operation, and eliminates the fan that had been used to cool the console's custom Nvidia graphics processor.

Read the full story on: CNET


AMD K8 Design Change Will Not Affect Supporting Chipsets and Boards

The minor design change in the new K8-core processors will not affect supporting products from chipset designers and motherboard makers, as the processor has already incorporated a memory controller and the design alteration is not related to the HyperTransport technology-based transmission interfaces, Richard Heye, vice president of platform engineering and infrastructure at Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), said. Heye confirmed that the processor design change was one of the reasons contributing to the delayed launch of AMD's new-generation K8 processors.

Read the full story on: DigiTimes


Microsoft, Intel Elbow Into Wireless

Intel Corp. and Microsoft Corp. are putting their muscle behind new WLAN components, but the heavyweights' actions have others in the industry worried they will complicate standards development and limit choices. Of greatest concern to analysts and vendors is Intel's efforts to hard-wire the still-developing 802.11a standard and put WLAN technology directly on the motherboard. Such a move could lock users into an undeveloped standard as notebook OEMs adopt the integrated Intel technology.

Read the full story on: eWeek


Yahoo to Offer PC Game Rental

Yahoo today will unveil an on-demand service that lets consumers with high-speed Internet access rent classic PC games like the "Tomb Raider Chronicles," "Civilization III," or "Grand Theft Auto 2" for up to a month at a time. For the first time, consumers can check out an individual PC game for three days -- just as they would a movie or console game rented from Blockbuster. Or, they can purchase one of a variety of packages, allowing them to rent from three to 10 games a month for $5 to $15. Games will be streamed over the Internet as long as players are online. Yahoo isn't alone in offering online play. Microsoft, RealNetworks, America Online, and Electronic Arts already attract millions of players each month to their online game sites.


Read the full story on: Mercury News


Graphics Memory Size Comparison: Is 64Mb Enough?

Do we actually need 128MB of graphics memory, or is this one of those cases where the marketing folks are trying to sell consumers on anything with a higher number? Geoff Gasiorm, Tech Report writer, said his curiosity got the better of him, and he just had to find out. "I grabbed 64 and 128MB cards from both ATI and NVIDIA and put them through the wringer to see just where extra graphics memory can benefit performance," he said.

Read the full story on: The Tech Report


Internet Enabled Smart Alarm Clock Lets You Sleep In

A smart alarm clock that will allow you a lie-in or wake you up early depending on traffic conditions has been invented by researchers at Brunel University in southern England. The clock retrieves relevant traffic information from across the web based on data the users have given it, such as where they live, where they need to travel to and what time they need to arrive.

Read the full story on: BBC

Copyright © 2004 Ziff Davis Media Inc. All Rights Reserved. Originally appearing in ExtremeTech.

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