Daily Reviews Summary 03/05/08
Posted on: 03/05/2008 12:23 PM

Cooler Master COSMOS S Review
InsideHW.com posted a review on the Cooler Master COSMOS S

Can a successor be worse than its predecessor? Usually not, since the engineers who make projects of the new model listen carefully to what community has to say and iron out all flaws. Why such an introduction? Is Cosmos-S better or worse than its predecessors?

Cooler Master COSMOS S Review

Patriot Memory PC2-6400 4GB LL DDR2 Kit Review
TweakTown posted a review on the Patriot Memory PC2-6400 4GB LL DDR2 Kit

DDR2 is still kicking, and today we have a new kit from Patriot memory who have come through with a bang in the last six months with new modules hitting the shelves. We have been given their latest PC2-6400 4GB kit with low latency timings on offer.

Each module has a sticker on one side that includes the model number, speed rating and timings. These modules are designed for a 4-4-4-12 rating and support up to a maximum of 2.2 volts under the manufacturer’s warranty.

Patriot Memory PC2-6400 4GB LL DDR2 Kit Review


AMD's 780G chipset
The Tech Report posted a review on AMD's 780G chipset

I've had a computer hooked up to my television for as long as I've had a living room. What would eventually be called a home theater PC had humble beginnings, starting its life tasked with simply playing movies and MP3s before eventually morphing into a personal video recorder and an occasional game box. Before long, living room gaming duties were offloaded to consoles, allowing years to pass with nary an upgrade to my media PC. So long has it been since I last cracked the case that a thin blanket of dust has draped itself across the system's internals, making the now-vintage hardware look all the more old and decrepit.

The HTPC market has exploded since I last built one. What was once an expensive accessory confined to enterprising geeks and do-it-yourself enthusiasts has moved into mainstream living rooms. And thanks to the relatively modest requirements of multimedia playback and recording, even today's budget hardware is up to the task—hardware like AMD's new 780G integrated graphics chipset.

The latest fruit borne of AMD's purchase of ATI packs a DirectX 10-complaint graphics core pulled from a Radeon HD 2400 graphics card, decode acceleration for HD DVD Blu-ray movie playback, second-generation PCI Express, Hybrid CrossFire, a new SB700 south bridge, and a Phenom-ready HyperTransport 3 processor link. All that's coming to motherboards that should cost less than $100. Alongside it, AMD is introducing a new energy-efficient Athlon X2 4850e with a 45W TDP and $89 price tag.

On paper, it looks like we have the recipe for a killer home theater PC or mainstream desktop. But has AMD nailed the execution this time around? We've run the 780G and 4850e through a grueling array of tests in order to find out.

AMD's 780G chipset

AMD's 780G integrated graphics chipset
Bit-Tech published a review of AMD's 780G integrated graphics chipset

Without doubt the AMD 780G chipset is a revolution in performance for Home Theatre PCs -- we finally have a platform that can playback everything we throw at it without compromises, regardless of the CPU used. It's strange to think that AMD is not only releasing a very inexpensive chipset but it also (inadvertently) encourages you to buy the cheapest, lowest power CPU possible because it'll still be more than capable thanks to the 780G's Unified Video Decoder (UVD) engine.

For those not wanting to bother with Blu-ray (or HD DVD), it'll still save you money because it affords lower power across the board on all common compression types: MPEG-2, H.264 and MPEG-4 (Divx/Xvid). But then again, a PC Blu-ray drive isn't / /that expensive any more -- the only thing that's missing is full bitrate High-Definition 7.1 channel audio pass through. Currently PC users are still limited to DVD quality 5.1 channel Dolby Digital and DTS audio.

There are other features like Hybrid CrossFire, and the new 2.5GHz 45W AMD Athlon X2 4850e CPU which we will be reviewing separately at a later date, but as far as the chipset goes for use in an HTPC, this is the only option on the market to currently consider. Mind you, Nvidia will soon deliver its GeForce 8200 solution to market, and if Intel's G45 is anything like its G35 in terms of video playback quality, it could give the AMD 780G a run for its money. That said, if Intel's G45-based boards share the same price difference as G35 versus 780G, the AMD solution should remain leagues ahead.

It's also important to remember the mobile aspect -- even though the M780G isn't going to be available for a little while yet, the dedicated low power processor and very power efficient chipset will increase battery life massively. It'll also allow OEMs to create inexpensive notebooks that can still to handle Blu-ray Disc playback at full HD resolutions.

This could give AMD considerable leverage, providing that is, it sorts out its mobile CPUs and makes the platform as good as Centrino (an unlikely event, it has to be said), or alternatively release a mobile north bridge supporting Core 2 CPUs -- that's something I can't see happening though, because it goes against the AMD's recent "platform advantage" marketing campaigns.

AMD's 780G integrated graphics chipset

AMD 780G Chipset and Athlon X2 4850e Preview
HotHardware.com evaluate the features and performance of AMD's new 780G Chipset with integrated graphics and the new low-power Athlon 64 4850e processor.

The 780G platform launching today combines the core logic expertise and graphics technology brought in from ATI with AMD's latest low-power Athlon X2, yielding a very fast, very inexpensive platform that won't rack up a substantial energy tab. Additionally, the chipset supports a new feature called Hybrid Graphics=97a Vista-only capability that harnesses the power of an add-in card, combines it with the integrated engine, and gives you a CrossFire-like experience at a price point so low that AMD doesn't want to call it CrossFire. Sounds like just the ticket for cost-conscious gamers eager to hang with the big boys.

AMD 780G Chipset and Athlon X2 4850e Preview

New AMD 780G Chipset and Low Power 4850e Processor Review
TechwareLabs has published a review of the new AMD 780G Chipset and Low Power 4850e Processor

AMD has just released the new 780G chipset and the 4850e low power processor. We have each of these in house and ran them through a few rounds of testing for you. The 780G provides users with an all new level of performance and gaming at an unbelievable low cost all while introducing the world to something called "hybrid graphics". Get ready for a wild ride.

New AMD 780G Chipset and Low Power 4850e Processor Review

Landisk NS347 NAS Review
Review Spring have a new review of the Landisk NS347 NAS device, a low cost and great looking network storage device that is unfortunately plagued with slow transfer speeds

The Landisk NS347 Hard Drive Enclosure is a very cost effective way of adding extra storage space to your network. This is more often called a NAS (Network Attached Storage) device, as it simply hooks up to your existing wired LAN and provides network shared storage. At under £30 (about $55) it is one of the cheapest NAS devices available.

The casing has a brushed metal finish and has a surprising feel of quality about it, and looks rather stylish. It would be particularly suited to owners of brushed aluminium tower cases.

Landisk NS347 NAS Review

OnAir USB HDTV-GT Receiver DVR for PC Review
Virtual-Hideout posted a review on the OnAir USB HDTV-GT Receiver DVR for PC

And what about right now in the present - how many times have you gone either to work or out for the evening, only to remember later on that you forgot to set your DVR to record your fave TV program? Or maybe you're one of those people who refuses to miss their show, so you arrange your schedule so you don't have leave the house when it's on. Wouldn't it be nice to be able to go out and still see your program... when it's actually on, AND in HDTV, with no worries about the impending "Dooms Day"? Then you'll be relieved to know that OnAir Solution and AutumnWave have just the device you've been looking for to solve these problems: the OnAir USB HDTV-GT, a HDTV receiver and personal video recorder.

OnAir USB HDTV-GT Receiver DVR for PC Review

Intel Atom Centrino Atom Technology Report
Tech ARP posted Intel Atom Centrino Atom Technology Report.

The new Intel Atom processors are rather amazing pieces of technology. These diminutive processors pack a whole lot of punch. They have the performance equivalent to that of the Intel Pentium M, for a fraction of the power consumption.

With a TDP of only 0.6W to 4W, the Atom processors are ideal for Mobile Internet Devices and Ultra Mobile PCs as the lower power consumption means the devices can deliver longer battery lives. These may not be mainstream mobile processors, but they will certainly have a significant impact on the design of such mobile devices.

Intel Atom Centrino Atom Technology Report

Foxconn 9600GT-512NOC Geforce 9600GT Videocard Review
PC Stats posted Foxconn 9600GT-512NOC Geforce 9600GT Videocard Review

With the flurry of Geforce 9600GT's hitting the streets, there really are a lot of different videocards to consider. If you've been pondering an upgrade, don't fret. Foxconn has pre-overclocked this Geforce 9600GT from the stock clock speeds. The nVidia GPU runs an extra 50MHz quicker, the memory is up 100MHz, and the shader clock runs 125MHz faster. There's a lot to like about a mainstream videocard like the Geforce 9600GT, and it'll be interesting to see how much further we can overclock this particular Foxconn card.

Foxconn 9600GT-512NOC Geforce 9600GT Videocard Review

USB AAA Battery Charger with iPod / iPhone Package Review
OCIA.net has posted their review of the USB AAA Battery Charger with iPod / iPhone Package.

Included in the retail package is the charger itself, a spare battery container, USB cable and an instruction manual. The iPod / iPhone kit was packaged separately and simply consists of a retractable cable with a USB port on one end and an iPod / iPhone port on the other end. The cable extends and has a locking mechanism, so you can pull the cable to the desired length without it winding back up.

USB AAA Battery Charger with iPod / iPhone Package Review

Catalyst 8.3: Better Hardware through Drivers
TheTechLounge takes a look at the Catalyst 8.3 drivers

As of Catalyst 8.3, a.k.a. The New Beginning a.k.a. The Big One a.k.a. The Humptyback Zinglebert, it's clear that CrossFireX has picked up where SLI left off. Right now, it's a better arrangement, with a lot of advantages not limited to performance. It's just that now there's even more reason for NVIDIA to improve SLI, and when they do, they're likely to start with a hardware advantage. When is this going to happen? AMD didn't include a slide on that subject.

Catalyst 8.3: Better Hardware through Drivers

Yoggie Gatekeeper Pico Security Mini-Computer Review
ThinkComputers.org posted a review on the Yoggie Gatekeeper Pico Security Mini-Computer

Windows security is a big deal these days. It's hard to keep up with all of the viruses and spam and other malicious things which threaten Windows. Protection software can be expensive, too. On top of that cost, as much as 30% of system resources can be devoted to protecting against these threats, according to Yoggie, maker of the Yoggie Gatekeeper Pico. This tiny computer plugs into a Windows-based computer, and the driver offloads network traffic onto the device so it can be scanned for threats. Let's check it out...

Yoggie Gatekeeper Pico Security Mini-Computer Review

Asus Striker II Formula Review
OCC has published a new review of the Asus Striker II Formula

Overclocking the Asus Striker II Formula was a bit more challenging than many of the boards I have worked with lately. At first anything over 370FSB was a no go at any multiplier. After working through all of the options I was terribly stuck. Not good for a chipset that holds so much promise. After a couple nights of testing, reboots, and BSODs, I had to conclude that four gigabytes of system memory and a quad-core CPU was just to much for the northbridge. The heat generated by the northbridge was pretty substantial, so cooling it was no longer an option, but mandatory. So in comes the 110CFM fan to take care of the heat. Still this did not allow me to break the 370FSB wall that I had encountered. Time to go back to square one. I threw out everything I thought I knew, started fresh, and finally hit upon a combination that allowed me to push righ on past 370FSB and settle on 450 x 8 as my final overclock. I was able to push the memory up to 1000Mhz and was stable at that speed with the default timings. I ended up running the memory unlinked at a speed of 450Mhz to match the CPU core clock speeds to make things a little easier on the hardware. Quad-core, four gigabytes of memory and a final clock speed of 3.6 Ghz. This is the clock speed where I will run the overclocked benchmarks for this review. Your mileage may vary, and results are what I was able to achieve with this combination of parts.

Asus Striker II Formula Review

ATI Catalyst 8.3 driver feature analysis
Elite Bastards posted an ATI Catalyst 8.3 driver feature analysis

With multi-GPU configurations, avoiding CPU limitations is a very important issue at driver level - at the end of the day, enough CPU horsepower is still required to deliver frames to multiple GPUs in a timely fashion, an issue which becomes more important the more graphics cores (and thus the more frames required to be 'stacked up') you add. If the CPU can't keep up with providing those frames to the GPUs to work on, your multi-GPU scaling and performance begins to dip. ATI have worked hard to load balance everything as much as possible to avoid these CPU limitations, while also optimising the communications and calls between the graphics driver and CPU to be as efficient as possible.

ATI Catalyst 8.3 driver feature analysis



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