Hardware

Hardware entusiasts have proposed an easy way to make your Radeon HD6950 graphics card perform like a Radeon HD6970 through a software Unlocking process, which could save you some $70. According to an article at the TechPowerUp web site, AMD's new Radeon HD 6950 can be transformed to a Radeon HD 6970, unlocking 128 unified shaders in the process.

Both the Radeon HD 6970 and Radeon HD 6950 are based on AMD's new Cayman core which is their first graphics processor to use a VLIW4 shader configuration. AMD's two Cayman variants, called Cayman Pro and Cayman XT, are based on the exact same GPU silicon. The web site reports that the two SKUs are sharing the same silicon so a software modification is enough to unlock the "locked" features of the HD 6950, essentially transforming it to a more powerful HD 6970.

The 2.5-inch MK6461GSYG drives will be available in capacities ranging from 160GB to 640GB and are not only destined for enterprise notebooks and mini-PCs, but could also end up in copiers, printers, and point-of-sale systems. The inclusion of the latest version of Wipe Technology allows users to have hardware encryption keys invalidated, or all data automatically erased when the drive's power supply is turned off or when connected to an unauthorized system.

Self-encrypting drives have done much to help lock down important files, but Toshiba has gone a step further by developing a technology that securely erases data rather than let it fall into unauthorized hands.

Prices for DRAM and NAND flash memory chips shot up Monday in the wake of Japan's earthquake and tsunami as markets displayed concern over fabrication plant shutdowns, power outages and supply chain shortages.

Spot prices for DRAM surged by as much as 7.56% and by as much as 20.48% for NAND flash memory chips, according to DRAMExchange.

Japan accounts for 35.7% of the world's NAND flash production and 13.6% of DRAM, according to DRAMExchange's parent company, TrendForce.

Seagate today began shipments of the industry’s most elegant, easy-to-install 3TB desktop drive – the Barracuda XT hard drive – a product that eliminates the need to purchase extra hardware or software to overcome the 2TB barrier. The Barracuda XT hard drive delivers the highest available capacity for home servers and workstations, high-definition video editing and production systems, high-performance PC gaming systems and desktop PCs.

Legacy PC BIOS designs and device drivers and older operating systems such as Windows XP are incapable of using hard drive capacities beyond 2.1TB. The upshot is that existing desktop drives with more than 2.1TB of storage capacity must be deployed with additional software or hardware and may also require extra device drivers to overcome this limitation.

The Barracuda XT hard drive with free Seagate DiscWizard software is a complete, easy-to-deploy solution. DiscWizard software makes it simple to configure the computer operating system and device drivers to access the full 3TB of capacity on legacy systems using Windows XP and PC BIOS and on personal computers equipped with newer versions of Windows or the new UEFI BIOS. The new DiscWizard software is available for free download at www.seagate.com/beyond-2TB.

There were cries of "impossible!" over Philips' solar-powered remote last week, and I'm sure even more people will be scratching their heads over Logitech's solar keyboard too—even though it can work for 3 months in total darkness.

The K750 has integrated solar panels, and grabs whatever light it can get while indoors. A solar power app shows you the battery levels and ambient light available, so you always know the vitals of the keyboard.

While it's got that big novelty attraction, it's also wireless (compatible with the Logitech Unifying receiver), and has the company's Incurve keys that are supposedly better-shaped for fingers.

It'll go on sale later this month for $80, but can be pre-ordered now if the thought of missing out on Logitech's first solar-powered keyboard is too much to bear.

Source: Gizmodo

Toshiba said Wednesday that it had made a breakthrough in hard disk design that will allow hard drives to have much higher capacities than what is currently possible today. The research is in something called bit-patterned media, a magnetic storage technology.

The recording surface is broken up into tiny magnetic bits, each of which can hold a single bit of data. The bits are made up of several grains, which are organized in rows. This organization is what makes it possible for data to be found easily.

Current technologies require the data to be spread across a broader section of the disk, requiring hundreds of magnetic grains to store bits of data. However this technology is reaching its upper limits, requiring drive manufacturers to look for new ways to store data.

SSDs are now hitting sizes that are beginning to make them viable replacements for the magnetic counterparts. Samsung has introduced a new SSD offering in a 512GB configuration – boasting both capacity and speed, utilizing high-performance "toggle-mode" DDR NAND.

"The highly advanced features and characteristics of our new SSD were obtained as a direct result of an aggressive push for further development of our NAND flash technology, our SSD controller and our supportive SSD firmware," said Dong-Soo Jun, executive vice president, memory marketing, Samsung Electronics.

"Early introduction of this state-of-the-art toggle DDR solution will enable Samsung to play a major role in securing faster market acceptance of the new wave of high-end SSD technology," he added.

The new 512GB SSD makes use of a 30 nanometer-class 32 gigabit chip that the company began producing last November.

The toggle-mode DDR structure together with the SATA 3.0Gbps interface generates a maximum sequential read speed of 250 MBps and a 220MBps sequential write speed, both of which provide three-fold the performance of a typical hard disk drive.

Samsung says that those speeds could mean that two 4GB DVD movies can be stored in just a minute.

Samsung provides further gains in power efficiency by having developed a low-power controller specifically for toggle-mode DDR NAND. The resulting power throttling capability enables the drive's high-performance levels without any increase in power consumption over a 40nm-class 16Gb NAND-based 256GB SSD.

The controller also analyzes frequency of use and preferences of the user to automatically activate a low-power mode that can extend a notebook's battery life for an hour or more (but probably only in best-case-scenarios).

Samsung plans to begin volume production of the 512GB SSD next month.

link Source: MSFN

SanDisk on Wednesday announced a Secure Digital card that can store data for 100 years, but can be written on only once. The WORM (write once, read many) card is "tamper proof" and data cannot be altered or deleted, SanDisk said in a statement. The card is designed for long-time preservation of crucial data like legal documents, medical files and forensic evidence, SanDisk said.

The media comes with capacity of only 1GB. SanDisk determined the media's 100-year data-retention lifespan based on internal tests conducted at normal room temperatures.

To draw comparisons, the card is like DVD-write only media, but much smaller and with a much longer life span.

SD cards typically slot into portable devices like digital cameras and mobile phones to store or move images, video or other data. The WORM works like conventional SD media, but only with compatible devices, SanDisk said.

The company said it is shipping the media in volume to the Japanese police force to archive images as an alternative to film, SanDisk said. The company is working with a number of consumer electronics companies including camera vendors to support the media.

The media is available worldwide through resellers. SanDisk did not comment on pricing.

link Source: MSFN

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