Sony has announced a new range of Memory Stick PRO Duo cards in 2 and 4GB sizes that ships with a DVD loaded with four movies from Sony Pictures Entertainment. The movies are Click, Ghost Rider, RV and Stomp the Yard. You do need a computer to take advantage of the free movies though and you can only "unlock" one with each purchase of a Memory Stick.
The movies are formatted at 720 x 480 resolution and they will play on the PSP as well as on the PS3. The 2GB card will set you back US$55 and the 4GB version is priced at $90. In related news, Sony will be releasing a 2GB and 4GB version of its Memory Stick Micro card in November. The Memory Stick Micro format is commonly used in Sony Ericsson mobile phones and some Sony Cyber-shot digital cameras. The pricing is the same as for the Memory Stick PRO Duo cards.
LaCie, the somewhat famous external drive manufacturer has got a new designer onboard, Sam Hecht. We can't say that he's familiar to us, but apparently he's into practical design, that's a first. In all fairness, the new drives look quite usable, if a bit bland for something from LaCie.
Rather than using some kind of metallic finish the new Little Disk family as it's know as uses a "oh so in fashion" shiny piano black finish. LaCie's product manager Nolwenn Rozen had the following to say about the new drives
"Designed for simplicity, the 1.8- and 2.5-inch drives are extremely portable and are bus powered, eliminating the need for A/C power. So whether you are on a bus, taking the train, or relaxing at the park, your data is always accessible."
Trendnet has joined a growing group of manufacturers that are starting to integrate Gigabit Ethernet into their routers and the TEW-633GR doesn't stop there as it also features 802.11n Wi-Fi. This should be a great choice for anyone looking for a performance router at home, even more so for those that are able to get faster than 100Mbit internet connections, as this is one of only a few routers to incorporate a Gigabit WAN port.
It might not be the coolest looking router around, but it has everything you could wish for in terms of features. It works with Cable and xDSL modems and supports all standard protocols. The wireless access point can also be set up in bridge mode and Trendnet claims a coverage range of up to 150m indoors and up to 400m outdoors.
Intel, HP, Microsoft, Nec, NXP Semiconductors and Texas Instruments have announced that they're developing a new USB standard simply called USB 3.0. The new standard is claimed to be ten times faster than USB 2.0 and it will target fast sync-and-go applications on PC's, mobile devices and consumer electronics.
USB 3.0 will remain backwards compatible with current USB standards, but it will be more power efficient and better optimized for low power drain. An optical version is also meant to be developed, but how this is meant to interface with various devices wasn't made clear.
The first draft specifications should be ready in the first half of next year and the first implementations we'll see will be in the form of discrete chipsets. Apparently over 6.2 billion USB devices have been shipped since 2001 and 2.1 billion of those last year alone. Goes to show how many of the peripherals we use are connected via USB.
Creative has officially launched its Aurvana X-Fi noise canceling headphones today and these premium headphones will go up against products like the Bose Quiet Comfort 2. They're priced at the same costly US$299.99, well, the Aurvana's are actually 99 cents more expensive than the Bose Quiet Comfort 2's. Creative better prove that they're worth the money if they intend to sell them, but the features are quite impressive.
To Creative's defense, the Aurvana X-Fi's features Creative's X-Fi Crystalizer and CMSS-3D technology which should help improve the quality of most sound sources, something no other noise canceling headphones does. All features are easily enabled via three buttons on the side of the headphones, although we're not sure how you're supposed to see the blue LED's when you're wearing them. There's also a built in volume control, again located on one of the headphones rather than on the cord.
VIA has announced it's latest EPIA motherboard, the EPIA SN and it features a 1.8GHz VIA C7 CPU. This is the fastest C7 processor to date from VIA and the company claims up to 30 percent performance boost compared to older EPIA boards. This is also the first board from VIA to have a PCI Express x16 slot and this means that you can add a decent graphics card for those interested in building a home theatre PC based on a VIA board.
The chipset is the VIA CN896 which is paired with the VT8251 southbridge. It has integrated VIA Chrome9 HC graphics and support for HD audio, although the EPIA SN is limited to 5.1-channel audio rather than 7.1-channel. It has dual Ethernet controllers, one 10/100Mbit and one PCI Express Gigabit controller. The board also has two memory slots for DDR2 memory and up to 4GB of DDR2 667 is supported.
Lenovo has announced its ThinkVision L220x Wide display which is a 22-inch display with 1,920x1,200 resolution and this is as far as we know the first and only 22-inch widescreen display with this resolution. Two inches might not seem like a lot, but it's a matter of getting the right kind of LCD glass and most manufacturers only makes what's economically viable. However, there's always a way if a company is willing to pay enough for a certain panel size.
The ThinkVision L220x features a built in USB hub with four ports and it has a D-sub and DVI with HDCP support for video input. It's also got autorotation, which means that some clever software on your computer will automatically rotate your desktop to fit the screen correctly if you pivot the screen.
According to one of our sources, Asus doesn't have an X48 design, so those hoping that the new Maximus Formula and Extreme boards were going to feature this chipset, you'll be disappointed. The other two X38 boards are the P5E3 Deluxe and the P5E3 WS Pro, the latter of the two being a workstation board.
Asus is expecting to have its X38 boards out in retail within the next couple of week's time, although it might even be sooner. If this is indeed true, then Asus could be the first company to have X38 based boards in retail, but time will tell.
We'll try to dig deeper into the X48 story and maybe things will become clearer during IDF, as Intel might officially explain the X48 situation then. If the information we wrote about earlier is correct, then the X48 might just simply be a faster version of the X38 which will be released later this year.
According to Digitimes, the X38 chipset is still set for a September launch and to our knowledge the launch date is still the 24th. Motherboard partners should have received delivery of chipsets earlier than that, so production of motherboards should already be up and running. However, the manufacturers we've talked to are concerned about the small amounts of samples they've received so far for their R&D departments.
It's apparently quite complicated to build boards based on the X38 chipset, partly due to its hot nature, hence the integrated heat spreader and partly because of some issues that have appeared. One of the problems is that the traces between the chipset and the DDR3 memory slots have to be much shorter than on the P35 chipset and this makes it more difficult to design the boards.
We've also been told that Intel didn't send out any reference samples to its board partners, which makes it harder for them to make their own designs, especially as there seems to be a fair few bugs, sorry, errata's in the X38 chipset, which some manufacturers are having problems with. Hopefully all these issues will be resolved before retail products appear.
Another R.O.G. board from Asus has appeared online and although we didn't think too highly of the Maximus Formula that we found some pictures of here, the Maximus Extreme looks like the real deal. Don't think for a moment that this is the same board, as it's not even using the same PCB. We'd also dare to say that this board is using a chip from IDT to split the PCI Express lanes, since the board has three x16 slots, something that the Formula lacks.
If you look carefully you'll notice that the board has a lot of digital switches between the two blue x16 PCI Express slots and there are a further two above the white x16 slot. It seems to make sense and explains why the ICH cooler is so big. The general layout of connectors looks very similar at first, but Asus has moved around quite a few things. The floppy connector is further in on the board and the Extreme is also about 1.5cm wider than the Formula.