Thursday, July 23, 2009

Super Green IC's

zero-dissipation ICIt shouldn't come as a surprise to anybody when they here about tech companies trying to make the things we use more energy efficient. But recently the tech industry has taken a serious boost forward in pursuit of zero-day-dissipation IC technology. The Japanese Rohm Co Ltd is at the forefront of developments and they are designing custom chips for a number of equipment manufacturers. Rohm is the same company that created a prototype microprocessor back in 2008 and with the completion of its production line in Kyoto Rohm can now begin shipping custom IC's with equipment using the new IC's as early as the end of this year.

However, Rohm Co Ltd isn't the only company trying this same feat. NEC Corp out of Japan isn't far behind Rohm Co. The company has designed their very own chips the reportedly run faster than Rohm's and the company even completed verification of the chip in 2008. NEC plans to prototype a system-on-chip (SoC) in the next few years to prepare for commercialization. These zero-day-dissipation Integrated Circuits (IC's) are made with nonvolatile logic as well as merged memory. Now chips using nonvolatile merged memory aren't new. Many of them exist like micro-controllers with flash memory. However, these new chips use nonvolatile logic as well. Registers that temporarily store your computational results are made nonvolatile. This allows logic circuits to continue normal operations even after power is shut off and restored. Power supply circuits as well as analog circuits that are on the chip don't need data retention. This means power to the entire chip can be cut off in standby making a zero-standby-dissipation IC.

Companies like NEC and Rohm believe technology like this will give us significant savings in our power consumption without the sacrifice of equipment convenience. In a statement from a member of the Device Platform Research Laboratories at NEC, "We'll be able to cut dissipation for digital consumer electronics in the standby mode to just a few percent of what it is now." He also added, in terms of annual electricity costs, "That could add up to hundreds of millions of yen in savings in Japan alone." The equipment talked about could also return from standby to normal operating mode instantaneously.

A worker from Rohm also stated that, "Normally-off equipment will become possible, turning itself on only when power is needed." Rohm demonstrated in 2008 with its microprocessor in normally-off operation. When in this mode it cut dissipation by 70% from conventional designs. "This technology has enormous potential in applications such as games, where the system is usually sitting and waiting for player input." Rohm explains. With the way this technology is going, we could see a major piece of technology that is desperately needed, a device that can save people money. Cash is tight enough as it is and it is really good to see technology companies, like Rohm and NEC, doing all they can to make things more energy efficient and cheaper to use.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Windows 7

Windows 7 is almost here with the release date of October 22nd just right around the corner many people are still wondering if they should upgrade or not. Here are some key things you should know before thinking of upgrading to Windows 7. First is the system requirements in order to run Windows 7 smoothly. There is nothing really out of the ordinary here except the 16-20GB of storage space required.
System Requirements:
• 1GHz or faster 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
• 1GB RAM (32-bit) / 2GB RAM (64-bit)
• 16GB available disk space (32-bit) / 20GB (64-bit)
• DirectX 9 graphics processor with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver

Also Windows 7 will be upgradable with all the former operating systems including Windows 2000, XP, & Vista. To upgrade on XP or Windows 2000 you will have to do a clean install of Windows 7 which means deleting all your files so make sure to backup your important documents using a storage device. On Windows Vista you will be able to do an in place upgrade which means you will not have to completely wipe your harddrive so Windows Vista users should be grateful for that.

The next big thing with Windows 7 is what editions are there and how much will the cost. As of now there is three editions Home Premium, Professional and Ultimate. The differences between the 3 are very few. The only main difference that I could see be important is premium does not come with XP mode. For a full list of differences and to see which one is right for you here is a list from microsoft. Now as far as cost goes right now is the best time to pick up Windows 7. On the internet right now Microsoft has all the Upgrade Pre Orders on sale for just 1 more day, so you better hurry. The two on sale are the Wndows 7 Professional Upgrade for $100 and the Windows 7 Premium Upgrade for $50. After tommorow though here is what the new prices will look like.

  • Windows 7 Premium Upgrade - $120
  • Windows 7 Premium Full - $200
  • Windows 7 Professional Upgrade - $200
  • Windows 7 Proffessional Full - $300
  • Windows 7 Ultimate Upgrade - $219
  • Windows 7 Ultimate Full - $320

Also here are some quick facts to answer some of your questions:
• All versions of Windows 7 will ship with both a 32 bit & 64 bit disk.
• Windows 7 will feature XP Virtualization which will allow your XP only apps to run on Windows 7
• To see if your processor can handle 64 bit mode or Hardware Virtualization download and run GRC's SecurAble
• You can only install windows 7 on one machine

Now the final debate why should I upgrade to Windows 7 when Windows XP or Vista works just fine for me now? Well to help you out Microsoft has made a list of new and improved features in Windows 7 to make your operating system better and run more smoothly.

• Improved GUI and desktop navigation
• Windows Search
• Internet Explorer 8
• Windows Media Center
• HomeGroup (Windows 7-specific networking)
• 32-bit and 64-bit editions provided in retail/upgrade versions
• Windows Aero desktop (with supported graphics cards and drivers)
• Improved wireless networking
• Improved network management for mixed Windows 7/Vista/XP networks
• Improved audio and video codec support
• Improved digital TV support
• Windows Backup for both files and system image
• Devices and Printers management interface
• Device Stage enhanced driver support for multifunction devices

Overall I really think people will be happy with Windows 7 when it comes out on October 22nd. Microsoft has been testing windows 7 with the beta last year and the RC1 since spring and they have really ironed out all the bugs so do not expect a giant disaster the first time using it like Windows Vista. Microsoft has really made a great operating system that I believe is worth upgrading to.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

New Trio from eMachines

eMachines ET1300It has only been a few weeks since we saw the unveiling of the eMachines EL1300 SFF PC'S and now eMachines is throwing not one, not two, but three new full-size desktop computers with the ET1300-02, ET1810-03, AND ET1810-01. Each computer has luminous white mini-towers with matching LCD monitors, speakers, and keyboard. Each one comes with decent specs at a reasonable price with the added bonus of compatibility and style.

The ET1300-02 comes with an AMD Anthlon X2 4850e Dual-Core Processor (2.5GHz, 512KB x2L2 Cache), NVIDIA GeForce G100 graphics with 512MB, 160GB SATA (7200 RPM) hard drive, multi-in-one digital media card reader, Windows Vista Home Premium, 3GB DDR2 memory, 18x DVD+/-R/RW SuperMulti Drive featuring Labelflash Technology, VGA, DVI, AND HDMI connectors 6 USB 2.0 ports. This is the most expensive one in the trio coming in at $449.99.

The ET1810-03 steps down a little bit with it's specs. It has an Intel Pentium Dual-Core Processor E2210 (2.2GHz, 1MB L2 Cache), integrated NVIDIA GeForce 7050 graphics, 320GB SATA (7200 RPM) hard drive, multi-in-one digital media card reader, only 1 VGA port, Windows Vista Home Premium, 3GB DDR2 memory, 18x DVD+/-R/RW SuperMulti Drive featuring Labelflash Technology and 6 USB 2.0 ports. The ET1810-03 is cheaper and will only run you around $369.99.

The ET1810-01 takes even another step down. It has an Intel Celeron Processor 420 (1.6GHz, 512 KB L2 Cache), integrated NVIDIA GeForce 7050 graphics, 160GB SATA (7200 RPM) hard drive, multi-in-one digital media card reader, again only one VGA port, Windows Vista Home Basic, 2GB DDR2 memory, 18x DVD+/-R/RW SuperMulti Drive featuring Labelflash Technology, and 6 USB 2.0 ports. This one comes in at a very low $299.99.

Each machine is shipped with a matching whit luminous LCD monitor. The E182H wm display measures 18.5" widescreen with viewable TFT Active Matrix, 1366x768 (HD ready) resolution, one VGA and one PC audio inputs, 300 cd/m2 brightness, 170(H)/160(V) viewing angle, built-in stereo speakers, it is Vista Premium certified, has a 16:9 aspect ratio, CrystalBrite, 5 ms response time, 10000:1 (Dynamic) contrast ratio, 16.7M color depth and it is Energy Star certified. The monitor itself runs about $129.99.

These machines can tackle a wide array of tasks and are ideal for a wide range of uses and applications. The video card is satisfactory for those users who enjoy video, photography, or casual gaming. There is plenty of storage space which allows you to easily store music, movies and images. All in all these computers are pretty good for their price. They offer good quality and respectable specs with affordable prices.