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598 results for desktop
Samsung SyncMaster 245T in Hardware, Internet, Networking, Comms and Security
There's an awful lot of panel sharing going on in the LCD market thesedays, isn't there? It seems that even some of the most no-name brandsare now sporting panels made by a few giant, well-known manufacturers.It's enough to make a consumer wonder whether paying extra for apremium branded monitor is really worth it.

With that in mind, what is there to think about Samsung's newlyincumbent 24-inch model, the 245T? One thing is for sure, if you want amonitor with a quality Samsung-manufactured PVA panel, you don't needto pay over £600 for a monitor with that Samsung badge on the front.There are plenty of other screens with Samsung PVA panels inside, andsome can be had for less than £350.

Hence, the key question is not whether the new 245T is a good monitor.Instead, the question is this: Can the 245T really be worth nearlytwice as much as the lesser branded but similarly specified opposition?

That's what we're here to find out...and we just happen to have a muchmore affordable 24-inch widescreen on hand, one powered by a SamsungPVA LCD panel. That'll be the Hyundai W241D-PVA.


Features and Build QualityThe 245T is hardly the last word inswishy, swanky styling. The aforementioned Hyundai (with its glossyblack and white plastics) roasts it for pure desktop presence, forinstance. But thanks to the high quality of its construction, itnevertheless has a certain understated class. The bezel is a slim 15mmall the way around which emphasises the display, although the entiremain panel is quite a weighty 80mm thick. Front to back, you'll need atleast 25cm of desk space to accommodate the large, sturdy base.


Click to enlarge

The no-nonsense OSD controls are an extremely welcome and user-friendlyfeature, as is the stand's comprehensive adjustability. Not only areswivel, tilt, rotate and height tweakage on the menu, but they are all incredibly smoothto operate yet easily hold any position set without the need for clipsor locks. Given the panels size and weight, it's not light enough tomove without some effort - but it certainly doesn't require brute forceeither.


Click to enlarge

In terms of inputs, most of the usual suspects make an appearance.Digital connectivity takes the form of a single DVI port and an HDMIsocket, both with HDCP support. However, there is no DisplayPortavailable. On the analogue side, it has the lot - VGA, S-Video,component and composite. In short, there's very little that you can'thook up to the 245T. It even sports picture-in-picture mode for smoothmulti-input juggling; however, that feature is limited to onlycomponent (AV), S-Video and composite, not the digital inputs or VGA.

A final disappointment is the presence of inverse ghosting. As we havementioned previously, inverse ghosting is a problem that's thought tobe a result of pixel-response-enhancing overdrive technology. In simpleterms, it involves a trail or shadow that appears in the wake of movingobjects in some situations, typically in more or less the oppositecolour to the moving object.

Most of the time, it's a minor issue with the 245T. But with certaincolour combinations, it results in some pretty horrific renderingartifacts. For instance the text on this page exhibits some particularly horrible black trails and smearing when jostling the window around.

It's absolutely not what you expect from a premium brandlike Samsung. What's more, if you had just invested over £600 on thismonitor, well, you'd have every right to feel extremely let down.



Click to enlarge

Final ThoughtsThere's a lot to like about the 245T includingits static image quality, viewing angles and contrast performance. Butat this price point, something close to perfection is to be excepted.At £600+ any major flaws are simply unacceptable and the fact that the245T actually has two – moderate input lag and occasionally seriousinverse ghosting – might seem pretty shocking.

However, these problems are related to the PVA panel technology thatdominates the high end 24-inch monitor scene at the moment. Moreprecisely, they appear when pixel overdrive techniques are used tospeed up the extremely slow response. In other words, they are hard toavoid on PVA monitors.

So, what we would really like to see is more choice in this part of themarket. Without question, IPS panel technology has some weaknessescompared with PVA as contrast performance and the depth of renderedblacks are typically a little off the pace. But PVA technology hasenough drawbacks that mean the extended choice would be very welcome.


In any case, the key points to note about the 245T go something likethis. Yes, it is that little bit more vibrant and accurate than cheaperPVA monitors from lesser brands; the colours boast better fidelity, theblacks are deeper and the whites a touch cleaner. But even Samsung hasnot been able to eradicate the overdrive related glitches that commonlyspoil 24-inch PVA monitors.

With all that in mind, it's pretty hard to recommend the 245T. If youcan live with the minor image quality issues, then you are better offwith a significantly lower priced but only slightly inferior model froma lesser brand. Even a TN+Film 24-incher with slightly sludgy coloursand washed out blacks makes more sense – it's certainly a much cheaper option and will do a much better job for games.

Until a monitor maker manages to solve the input lag and inverseghosting issues with PVA screens or plops in a quality 24-inch IPS TFTalternative, the perfect 24-inch panel will remain infuriatingly out ofreach.
Posted by Editorial Team Mon Jul 14, 2008 10:14 am
AMD with three new Phenom CPUs at opposite ends of market in Hardware, Internet, Networking, Comms and Security
The raw specs are 140W TDP for the 9950 at 2.6GHz and 65W for the 9350e at2.0GHz and 9150e at 1.8GHz. The prices are $235, $195 and $175 respectively, andthe sharp-eyed among you will notice that the 9950 costs exactly what the 9850does. That is because in a week, on July 7, the 9850 will drop to $205. Bothwill remain 'Black', but the 9950 will be blacker because, before the end of theyear, the 9850 will fade from black, and go back to a locked part.
You have to wonder why AMD is bothering to lock Phenoms at all, with theBlack parts selling at effectively no premium, why not just let people have fun.Anything AMD can do to foster the enthusiast market at this point is probably agood thing, and if you don't have the raw speed, play up the features.
In any case, the interesting part of the bunch is the 9350e. It isn't a barnburner, but for media center boxes, coupled with a 780G board, or better yet a790GX, it could be a pretty solid media/casual gaming rig. This part fills ahole in the market, there aren't any sub 95W Intel quads out there formainstream consumer use, but there could be quite easily if the 9350e is a hit.
In any case, hardcore gamers will probably turn up their noses at the lowclock speeds in the -e parts, but as long as you are not trying to eke out thelast FPS, these parts would make a dandy low-noise desktop.
So, how did they do? Using the same exact setup as the we did with theoriginal780G review, the numbers lined up quite well. To recap, that is a GigabyteGA-MA78GM-2SH mobo, Corsair DDR2 1066 memory and a PC Power and Cooling/OCZSilencer 750W PSU. Power draw was measured at the wall with an Extech True RMSPower Analyser. The same caveat as last time needs to be said, the PSU isunderworked and far less efficient that it would be if we were pulling 500+ W,so knock about 20+ per cent off the wall power to get power used by the boarditself.
We ran our usual power draw test, 3DMark06 under XP SP3 patched to current asof June 28. Just for fun, we threw in the 4850e and the X4 9600 from the lasttest, as well as the 8750 X3. So now you can compare a K8, X3, X4 B2 and a X4 -ein terms of power. It looks like this.

The raw numbers
The lowest idle number is of course the 4850e, and it beats the quads byalmost 20W, the really odd part is the greater than 20W gap from there to the8750 X3. Lose one core, gain 20W? Binning problem, or binning opportunity? Thedual core 4850e also takes the bottom of the loaded power charts, and there is abig 33W gap to the 9350e. From there, the 8750 and 9600 are almost on top ofeach other.
Performance is about where you would expect it to be, the 4850e taking up thebottom with sub-1200 scores, and the others right on top of each other at1540+/-2. A quick overclock of the 9600 to 2.8GHz barely moved the score, so3DMark06 looks pretty GPU bound here.
In the end, with the new parts are priced pretty low, but won't challengeIntel for supremacy. For the high end 9950, you gain 100MHz for a few watts somake sure your mobo can handle the extra. In a week, it will not cost you anymore than a 9850, so you might want to hold off for a few days.
The 9350e and the 9150e look to be solid and inexpensive workhorses for theHTPC/SFF/quiet office PC set. You give up 200MHz for 30W, not a bad trade. Theyare solidly mid-range parts that won't stun any gamers, but they plug gaps inthe market, and do so quite nicely.
Posted by Editorial Team Tue Jul 01, 2008 7:15 am
Laptop pricing continues to fall in the UK in Hardware, Internet, Networking, Comms and Security
Costs of PCs in the UK are set to continue to fall, according to the latest market reports from analysts at IDC.
Thenew IDC report states: "The UK PC market demonstrated solid performancein 1Q08, as overall PC shipments for the quarter reached more than 3.25million units, an increase of 14.3 per cent year-on-year."
Thenotebook market continues to grow at a healthy rate, growing "by a veryhealthy 41.8 per cent, thanks to renewals, further expansion of theinstalled base to new buyers, and multiple-equipment purchases."
The end of the Desktop?
Many users are now choosing to replace their old desktop PCs with new, affordable laptops.
"Demandfor notebooks, stimulated by fierce vendor competition and aggressivepricing, will remain a key engine for growth throughout the year," saidLucie Jichova, research analyst for IDC's EMEA PC research group.
"Economicpressure will continue to drive cautious spending behavior, but thearrival of low-cost ultraportables, increasing traction of telcobundles, and mobile solutions in the business space, will maintainstrong momentum in the notebook market in the second half of the year."
Cheap laptops for all
Thereallly promising news for UK consumers is that the price of laptops isgoing to continue heading in the right direction – downwards.
"Consumersare going to benefit from attractive notebook offers as competitionamong vendors in the retail channel intensifies," states the IDC report.
"Recently,we have seen an introduction of affordable ultraportable PCs, whichhave been very well received by consumers. IDC expects that these basicsurfing devices will continue to sell extremely well throughout 2008."
Posted by Editorial Team Tue Jul 01, 2008 7:04 am
Your desktop background. in Microsoft / Windows
I would post a screenshot of my desktop but its a screensaver so you can't see the desktop in animation.
Here is a similar idea of what I'm doing, I'm just doing a different screensaver and I don't have compiz effects on cause my computer sucks:
http://youtube.com/watch?v=cXTKBdyWT60

As you all may have noticed, you have to sacrifice desktop items for the screensaver ability.  Since Ubuntu allows you to make multiple auto-hiding panels with icons on them, I added 3 (one with Linux programs, one with Windows programs, another with special panel additions)  so I still have my good ol desktop but just in a different form.  Anything that would normally be placed on my desktop is just 1 click away from my Home folder, so I don't have to worry about anything getting lost.

Lets see Windows and Mac do THIS for free.
Posted by schmidtbag Mon Jun 30, 2008 10:50 am
Top 10 most vital people-powered technologies - FEATURE in General Discussion, including Off Topic, Current Affairs
Linux
Thedaddy of people power, this open source operating system owes prettymuch everything to the massive community of users and developers who'vebuilt it, broken it, put it back together again and added all sorts ofgoodies.
The penguin logo unites a truly incredible group oftalented people, from driver developers to desktop designers, advocatesto application builders.
Firefox
Even people who think that Linux is a character in the Peanutscartoon know about Firefox. What makes it special isn't the open sourcecommunity that created and maintain it, however; It's the efforts ofthe developer community whose extensions make Firefox the Swiss ArmyKnife of the internet.
Whether you want to block annoying ads,keep track of interesting sites or just stay up to date with footieresults from around the world, if you can imagine it, there's almostcertainly an extension that does it.
Half-Life 2
This month we've mostly been playing Minerva, Adam Foster's excellent mod for Half-Life 2 (http://developer.valvesoftware.com/wiki/MINERVA). Modders have been creating new stories since the days of Doom, and a quick look around Moddb (www.moddb.com) uncovers stacks of mods for your favourite PC games.
Smartdevelopers - such as Half-Life's Valve - know that mods make theirgames even more attractive, so the firms make modding as easy andaccessible as possible.
Xbox
Is your original Xbox gathering dust in the loft? Why not dust it down and turn it into a fully-fledged media centre?
While Microsoft blabs about the 360's multimedia features, the talented team at the Xbox Media Center project (www.xboxmediacenter.com)can turn an ageing original Xbox into a multimedia marvel (although ifyou don't fancy modding your console, steer clear - XBMC only works onhacked machines).
Job done, they're turning their attention to other platforms: a Linux version of the software is in development.
TiVo
Thecommunity that's sprung up around the TiVo digital video recorder(www.tivocommunity.com) is a thing of wonder, with users offering eachother advice, commenting on the company and fiddling with its products- often in ways that would give film and TV studios heart attacks.


       
While TiVo claims not to encourageor discourage the hacking community, it's pretty obvious that thehacking community makes the product even more attractive to tech-heads- and hackers' ideas often turn up in the official product, such aswhen the community found and fixed a date problem in older TiVo boxes.
iPhone
iPhonehackers aren't just trying to free the phone for use on any network.They've found ways to turn your existing tunes into ringtones withoutpaying for them all over again, created all kinds of add-onapplications and best of all, found a way to change the truly horriblefont on the Notes screen.
PlayStation Portable
Sonydoesn't like it - recent firmware updates mean that unless you've gotan older PSP, your options are limited - but thanks to Homebrew (www.psp-homebrew.eu)you can add all kinds of goodies to the device. There are loads,including customisers, emulators, chat programs and GPS software.
Overclocking
Changingchips' clock speeds and hoping they wouldn't set your house on fireused to be a shadowy pursuit that tech firms frowned upon. Thenhardware firms realised that overclockers had money as well as PCs toburn.
Now, motherboard makers often provide everything a speeddemon needs, either in the motherboard BIOS or on the driver CD, andgraphics card firms are keen too. For example, ATI actively encouragesoverclockers to ramp up their Radeons.
Windows Media Center
Microsoft'smedia system is pretty nifty, but it's niftier still when you tweak ituntil it squeaks. Microsoft knows this, which is why it happily linksto two independent community sites: the Media Center-specific GreenButton (thegreenbutton.com), and the general audio-visual AVS Forum(www.avsforum.com/avs-vb).
The software giant also has its own community site (www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/expertzone/communities/mediacenter.mspx), where media center experts share their top tips.
Web apps
Firms who make it easy to interact with their online apps have createda massive community of developers. Google Maps has been adapted toprovide maps of speed cameras (http://spod.cx/speedcameras.shtml) and to create flight simulators (http://www.isoma.net/games/goggles.html), while keen developers have created software for apps such as Google Mail and Flickr.
You'll also find useful and useless apps alike on social networks such as Facebook.
Posted by Editorial Team Mon Jun 30, 2008 6:31 am
Game review: Crisis Core in Gaming
Fanboys may be ready to fight to the death for their console of choice, but a new survey by Forrester shows that nearly half of all Europeans play computer games on multiple platforms, with the PC still the favourite for gaming.
Forrester'ssurvey into gaming reveals some interesting facts about gaming inEurope, including the fact that nearly three quarters (73%) ofEuropeans with access to an internet connection play some form ofcomputer games.
60% of those polled declared the PC as theirplatform of choice, with twice as many people playing games on adesktop PC (49%) than do on a laptop (23%).
One third of onlineEuropeans play their video games on consoles – although 41% have aconsole in their household – suggesting that many consoles are for thekids, or lay dormant for long periods.
There is good news forhandhelds such as the Sony PSP and Nintendo DS, along with theburgeoning mobile phone gaming markets, with 20% of consumers using theformer and 27% using their phones for gaming – a combined share of 47%and second only behind desktop PCs.
Interestingly, 43% of those polled played games on more than one platform.
PlayStation 2 still dominant
Thepowerhouse of the last decade of gaming – Sony' s PlayStation 2 isstill the dominant player in its sector owned by 60% of those with aconsole. The PlayStation 3 holds a seven per cent share, still some waybehind the original PlayStation One which has 14%.
The Xbox 360is also a little behind its successor the Xbox – but only a singlepercentage point divides Microsoft's consoles, with the former on 11%and the original 12%.
Second to the PlayStation 2 lies theNintendo DS handheld with 26% and Nintendo also takes the third andfourth spots with the older Game Boy (17%) and their smash hit Wii(16%).
Just less than one in ten console owners had non-specified consoles, which presumable embraces the likes of Sega's Dreamcast.
  
Fanboys may be ready to fight to the death for their console of choice, but a new survey by Forrester shows that nearly half of all Europeans play computer games on multiple platforms, with the PC still the favourite for gaming.

Forrester's survey into gaming reveals some interesting facts about gaming in Europe, including the fact that nearly three quarters (73%) of Europeans with access to an internet connection play some form of computer games.

60% of those polled declared the PC as their platform of choice, with twice as many people playing games on a desktop PC (49%) than do on a laptop (23%).

One third of online Europeans play their video games on consoles – although 41% have a console in their household – suggesting that many consoles are for the kids, or lay dormant for long periods.

There is good news for handhelds such as the Sony PSP and Nintendo DS, along with the burgeoning mobile phone gaming markets, with 20% of consumers using the former and 27% using their phones for gaming – a combined share of 47% and second only behind desktop PCs.

Interestingly, 43% of those polled played games on more than one platform.

PlayStation 2 still dominant

The powerhouse of the last decade of gaming – Sony' s PlayStation 2 is still the dominant player in its sector owned by 60% of those with a console. The PlayStation 3 holds a seven per cent share, still some way behind the original PlayStation One which has 14%.

The Xbox 360 is also a little behind its successor the Xbox – but only a single percentage point divides Microsoft's consoles, with the former on 11% and the original 12%.

Second to the PlayStation 2 lies the Nintendo DS handheld with 26% and Nintendo also takes the third and fourth spots with the older Game Boy (17%) and their smash hit Wii (16%).

Just less than one in ten console owners had non-specified consoles, which presumable embraces the likes of Sega's Dreamcast.
Posted by Editorial Team Sun Jun 29, 2008 6:31 am
PC still dominates gaming in Gaming
Fanboys may be ready to fight to the death for their console of choice, but a new survey by Forrester shows that nearly half of all Europeans play computer games on multiple platforms, with the PC still the favourite for gaming.
Forrester'ssurvey into gaming reveals some interesting facts about gaming inEurope, including the fact that nearly three quarters (73%) ofEuropeans with access to an internet connection play some form ofcomputer games.
60% of those polled declared the PC as theirplatform of choice, with twice as many people playing games on adesktop PC (49%) than do on a laptop (23%).
One third of onlineEuropeans play their video games on consoles – although 41% have aconsole in their household – suggesting that many consoles are for thekids, or lay dormant for long periods.
There is good news forhandhelds such as the Sony PSP and Nintendo DS, along with theburgeoning mobile phone gaming markets, with 20% of consumers using theformer and 27% using their phones for gaming – a combined share of 47%and second only behind desktop PCs.
Interestingly, 43% of those polled played games on more than one platform.
PlayStation 2 still dominant
Thepowerhouse of the last decade of gaming – Sony' s PlayStation 2 isstill the dominant player in its sector owned by 60% of those with aconsole. The PlayStation 3 holds a seven per cent share, still some waybehind the original PlayStation One which has 14%.
The Xbox 360is also a little behind its successor the Xbox – but only a singlepercentage point divides Microsoft's consoles, with the former on 11%and the original 12%.
Second to the PlayStation 2 lies theNintendo DS handheld with 26% and Nintendo also takes the third andfourth spots with the older Game Boy (17%) and their smash hit Wii(16%).
Just less than one in ten console owners had non-specified consoles, which presumable embraces the likes of Sega's Dreamcast.
  
Fanboys may be ready to fight to the death for their console of choice, but a new survey by Forrester shows that nearly half of all Europeans play computer games on multiple platforms, with the PC still the favourite for gaming.

Forrester's survey into gaming reveals some interesting facts about gaming in Europe, including the fact that nearly three quarters (73%) of Europeans with access to an internet connection play some form of computer games.

60% of those polled declared the PC as their platform of choice, with twice as many people playing games on a desktop PC (49%) than do on a laptop (23%).

One third of online Europeans play their video games on consoles – although 41% have a console in their household – suggesting that many consoles are for the kids, or lay dormant for long periods.

There is good news for handhelds such as the Sony PSP and Nintendo DS, along with the burgeoning mobile phone gaming markets, with 20% of consumers using the former and 27% using their phones for gaming – a combined share of 47% and second only behind desktop PCs.

Interestingly, 43% of those polled played games on more than one platform.

PlayStation 2 still dominant

The powerhouse of the last decade of gaming – Sony' s PlayStation 2 is still the dominant player in its sector owned by 60% of those with a console. The PlayStation 3 holds a seven per cent share, still some way behind the original PlayStation One which has 14%.

The Xbox 360 is also a little behind its successor the Xbox – but only a single percentage point divides Microsoft's consoles, with the former on 11% and the original 12%.

Second to the PlayStation 2 lies the Nintendo DS handheld with 26% and Nintendo also takes the third and fourth spots with the older Game Boy (17%) and their smash hit Wii (16%).

Just less than one in ten console owners had non-specified consoles, which presumable embraces the likes of Sega's Dreamcast.
Posted by Editorial Team Sun Jun 29, 2008 6:30 am
Adobe Photoshop CS4 Interface and Screenshots in Film, Photography, Digital Animation, Broadcasting / Production
Adobe seems to be hard at work at Adobe Creative Suite 4*. In May, they releasedpublic betas of CS4 versions of Dreamweaver, Fireworks, and Soundbooth.Existing CS3 owners are able to continue to use these applicationsbeyond the initial 48 hour window.

One of the most obvious changes in the new CS4 applications is the userinterface, and this change will also be carried over into the nextversion of Adobe's Photoshop. This decision is describedin detail by Adobe's John Nack. Nack describes how Adobe has beentrying to make the interfaces on their apps more consistent and showsoff a screenshotof the new Mac Photoshop "application frame". This application framecontains both user interface elements as well as documents themselves.Despite expressing his own initial resistance, Nack explains theadvantages to the consolidated window:
- It facilitatesN-up (2-up, 3-up, etc.) document layouts that adapt as you adjust theinterface. Think "live window tiling"--great for comparing,compositing, etc.
- It makes it easier to move the entire application and its contents, including from one monitor to another.
- It prevents documents from getting obscured by panels (palettes).
- It blocks out the contents of the desktop, minimizing visual clutter.(A number of Mac users have requested this option for many years. I'veknown quite a few people who open a small blank document, hit F to putit into full-screen mode, and then put it into the background to hidethe desktop. Willingness to live with that kind of hack demonstratessome genuine desire for a real fix.)
ForMac users resistant to the change, Nack assures readers that the newinterface is optional, and users can easily disable the consolidatedview, or you can use choose to use elements of both methods.

There's been no public timeframe for the release of this next version of Adobe's Photoshop, but there were some contested claims of an October release target. The next Mac version of Photoshop has been announced to remain a 32-bit application. 64-bit support is expected on the subsequent version for the Mac.

* Note that Adobe has objected to labeling this next version of Creative Suite as "Creative Suite 4" or "CS4", but for consistency's sake with the rest of the world, we are using that designation until Adobe officially announces otherwise.

Update: Video of the new interface in action.
Posted by Editorial Team Mon Jun 23, 2008 6:05 pm
Evaluating your graphics card needs - Full iVirtua Guide in Hardware, Internet, Networking, Comms and Security
If you happen to have a friend or a family member who’s an expert oncomputer graphics cards, you’re in luck. Bring that person along withyou while you shop, and you’ll benefit from their experience.

If,on the other hand, you don’t have a game techno-wizard to call on—or,if you’d like to understand what you’re buying before you spend yourhard-earned cash—you’ve come to the right place. In this section, Ihelp you determine which graphics card features you need, includingimportant considerations such as video memory, the bus type, andexternal connectors.

Built-in versus add-on
Today’s PCs use two different types of graphics cards, and each has advantages and disadvantages:

Built-in cards.A graphics card in this category isn’t really a graphics adapter cardat all, because it’s actually integrated into the motherboard. Abuilt-in card doesn’t require an AGP slot or a PCI slot, so amotherboard with a built-in card can fit into a smaller case anddoesn’t take up a valuable slot. (This explains why graphics cards areoften built-in on computers that use thin workstation cases, which arecommonly called pizza box cases.) If you’re building a new PC, rememberthat a built-in graphics card is usually easier to configure than aseparate adapter—and integrated graphics cards tend to be lessexpensive than their removable counterparts. On the down side, anintegrated video card may not let you install additional video memory.

Separate adapter cards.
A graphics adapter occupies either an AGP or a PCI slot in yourcomputer. Naturally, a separate card is the choice of gamers who willbe upgrading their graphics hardware to keep up with the cutting-edge3D chipsets and visual effects in the latest video games. If yourgraphics adapter suddenly stops working and you need to replace it, aseparate graphics adapter card will ensure that you don’t have to sendback your entire motherboard for service or replacement, too.


Ifyou’re considering a graphics upgrade for your current motherboard andit has a built-in graphics card, you’re facing a brick wall (unless youcan add a daughter card, or disable the integrated card so that you canadd a PCI graphics card).

Understanding resolution and refresh rate

Askany computer power user—especially a gamer—what specifications are mostimportant in selecting a graphics card, and two figures are almostcertain to be included in the group: maximum resolution and maximumrefresh rate. In this section, I discuss both of these importantcriteria.

Resolution makes the graphics card
Resolutionbegins with the smallest unit displayed by your graphics card—a singledot, called a pixel. Pixels are the building blocks of every imagedisplayed on your monitor; they’re arranged in lines across yourscreen, and your graphics card controls each pixel individually forbrightness and color. For this reason, everyone expresses resolution asthe number of pixels displayed horizontally by the number of linesdisplayed vertically. For example, a resolution of 800 x 600 means thatthe monitor displays 800 pixels horizontally across the screen and 600pixels vertically.

Windows 98 still supports a minimumresolution of 640 x 480, and some games still use thisresolution—typically for big, bright graphics that don’t need a lot ofdetail, as in a casino game. However, almost all games that need finedetail—from role-playing games and strategy games to 3D first-persongames and simulations—now use resolutions of 800 x 600 or 1,024 x 768.Your desktop also benefits from a higher resolution, as you can displaymore of a larger document, Web page, image, or spreadsheet (or justmore program icons) on the screen at one time.

As you’veprobably already guessed, I would recommend that you keep your desktopset to a resolution of at least 800 x 600 (or, if your eyes don’t mind,1,024 x 768 is even better). If you can switch resolutions inside agame, you’ll probably find the resolution control in the Options orSetup screen; many games automatically set the resolution based on thespeed of your processor and the amount of video memory on your card.

The importance of the refresh rate
Whatis the refresh rate of a monitor, and why is it such a big deal forgamers? That’s a good question. But before I answer it, I need todescribe how your computer actually draws a video image on yourmonitor. (Don’t worry: I’ll try to keep this from getting boring.)

Agraphics card creates an image on your computer monitor by “painting”it with electrons—in fact, the image is emitted from a phosphorescentcoating that glows on the inside of the monitor tube. The coating glowswhen it’s hit with a stream of electrons from the electron emitter(commonly called an electron gun) at the back of the monitor; theseelectrons move across the inside surface of your monitor, one line at atime, from top to bottom.

However, while the electrons arefocused on another portion of the screen, the phosphorescent coating onthe area that’s already been painted starts to dim, and then thecoating stops glowing entirely. So the monitor must redraw the imageconstantly to keep it bright, as shown in

Asyou probably expected, the refresh rate (also called the vertical scanrate) of a graphics card-and-monitor combination refers to the numberof times per second that your computer redraws the image on themonitor. As a general rule, the higher the refresh rate, the better;although you can’t see it with your eyes, the majority of computersredraw each pixel on the monitor at least 65 times per second (giving arefresh rate of 65Hz). Resolution is also tied to refresh rate: Asresolution goes up (which uses more video memory), refresh rates willdrop accordingly.

Here’s the bad news: 65Hz isn’t enough for anyPC owner, especially gamers. A dedicated computer gamer needs a higherrefresh rate for several reasons:

A gamer can spendhours in front of a monitor, and a higher refresh rate reduceseyestrain for most people. Even though you may not be able to noticethe screen being redrawn, your eye can discern the difference between arefresh rate of 60Hz and 75Hz. The more times the screen is redrawnevery second, the more stable the image appears, and the less itbothers your eye.

Many games require higher resolutions in therange of 800 x 600 to 1,024 x 768, and higher resolutions generallylook better with a higher refresh rate.

Because an image is morestable at a higher frame rate, small details onscreen are easier todistinguish with a higher refresh rate.

A higher refresh rate reduces flicker in all of your games.


Therefore, keep these recommendations in mind when you’re shopping for a graphics card or monitor to use for gaming:

Ifyou’re shopping for a monitor, always try to find one in a local storeso that you can evaluate it with your own eyes: Specifications don’ttell the whole story. As a demonstration, run your favorite game on themonitor before you decide.

Always look for a graphics card andmonitor with a refresh rate of at least 75Hz. For most people, thehigher the refresh rate, the better the image; in fact, some expensivehigh-end graphics card-and-monitor combinations (commonly used forcomputer-aided drafting) can handle refresh rates of over 100Hz.However, I’ve met gamers and other computer owners who swear that theyprefer a lower refresh rate. Only your eye can make the decision, sotry out a monitor at 75Hz or 80Hz before you buy it.

Both yourmonitor and your graphics card must support the same refresh rate inorder for you to use it. Setting your monitor for a higher refresh ratethan recommended by the manufacturer can permanently damage it!(Windows 95 and 98 may alert you of this problem as well if you try toset your refresh rate too high.)

If your monitor and graphicscard have Windows 95 or 98 drivers, your computer can automatically setthe optimal refresh rate for your particular hardware combination. (Ofcourse, that’s “optimal” according to the manufacturer, so it may notsuit you perfectly. But at least it’s a good start.)


Unfortunately,there’s one problem with shopping for a card with a high refresh rate:This particular figure often isn’t mentioned! Most manufacturers don’tinclude a card’s refresh rate in their advertising, so it’s up to youto visit the company’s Web site and dig a little deeper. You’ll alsofind these benchmark figures mentioned in articles covering graphicshardware in gaming and computer magazines. Sometimes a little sleuthingcan make the difference between a good graphics-card choice and a greatchoice, so avoid the temptation to buy quickly. And turn a critical eyetoward those flashy graphics-card magazine advertisements.
Posted by Editorial Team Tue Jun 17, 2008 5:32 am
Nokia opens Download Store - browse and buy software in Entertainment, Film and Music, Mobile devices and media
The PC Download Store was supposed to be the desktop equivalent ofthe "Download" application pre-installed on every S60 phone from Nokia.Download supposedly offers content from providers such as Amazon andJamster, though the former only features an application that loadstheir mobile home page, while the latter flaunts a range of items,though they're all just the first step onto their subscription service.
tile++; document.write('\x3Cscript src="http://ad.uk.doubleclick.net/adj/reg.comms.4159/mobile;cta='+cta+';ctb='+ctb+';ctc='+ctc+';sc='+sc+';cid='+cid+';'+RegExCats+GetVCs()+'pid='+RegId+RegDT+';'+RegKW+';test='+test+';pf='+RegPF+';dcove=d;tile='+tile+';sz=336x280;ord=' + rand + '?" type="text/javascript">\x3C\/script>'); <ahref="http://ad.uk.doubleclick.net/jump/reg.comms.4159/mobile;dcove=d;sz=336x280;ord=PGKfNdRk6jgAABNCQZoAAADr?"target="_blank"><imgsrc="http://ad.uk.doubleclick.net/ad/reg.comms.4159/mobile;dcove=d;sz=336x280;ord=PGKfNdRk6jgAABNCQZoAAADr?"width="336" height="280" border="0" alt="" />
In that context the Nokia Download Store is a comparable service.Originally envisaged as a PC application for downloading and managingapplications and tightly integrated with Nokia's PC Suitesynchronisation software, PC Download Store is now an online softwareemporium.

Or so it would appear, except that all the software on offer ismarked as "Try For Free", with no pricing information on the site atall. Even that would be tolerable if the software offered really wasavailable for trial, but try to download an application and as soon asit's installed you'll be asked to send a premium-rate text to pay forit.
So we now have N-Gage for games, Ovi for music and maps, forapplications and maps PC Download and MOSH for community stuff: whosays Nokia's on-line strategy is hopelessly confused?
Posted by Editorial Team Tue Jun 17, 2008 5:20 am
No future for PC-exclusive games, says Nvidia in Business and Industry in Gaming, Media, Web, IT and Computing
Nvidia's VP of content business development, Roy Taylor, has said hebelieves the value of consoles means "no-one is going to makePC-exclusive games in the future".
Speaking exclusively to Eurogamer,he said he wasn't threatened by the machines from Sony, Microsoft andNintendo; instead he sees an "exciting future" of co-existence.
"I think we have to face the facts - the value of consoles issuch that no-one is going to make a PC-exclusive game in the future.Why would they? Why would they ignore consoles?" said Taylor.
                   
"That said, PC gaming is changing - and consoles don'tthreaten PC gaming. They're just different. Adapting to that andunderstanding that is what I think is really, really important.
"Most PC gamers also own consoles - not all of them, but a lot of them.What we're seeing happen is that, yes, people are developing for Xbox360, for PS3 - but they're also developing for PC," he added.
The reason Taylor is excited is that PC versions of games,which he says are generally "better", use console code as a baseline,and the better the baseline then the better the desktop conversion.
"The console is now a baseline. If you look at Gears of War orAssassin's Creed, they came out on console and they were greatexperiences - but the PC versions had additional aspects to them thatalso made them attractive, whether you owned the console version ornot," continued Taylor.
"The PC version was better. That's something that people needto get their heads around - the console is a baseline, the PC is goingto be an improved version. That's an exciting future, and that's why Idon't see anything threatening about console at all.
Read Eurogamer's interviewwith Nvidia's VP of content business development, Roy Taylor to seewhat he has to say about the future of graphics, why integratedsolutions are ruining everything, and how the PC installed-base meansit will never disappear as a gaming platform.
Posted by Editorial Team Fri Jun 13, 2008 5:59 pm
CoolIT’s latch-on liquid CPU cooler in Hardware, Internet, Networking, Comms and Security
Motherboards.org is reviewing CoolIT’s Eliminator Liquid CPU cooler and it’sso easy even your granny could hook it up. This piece of kit has everythingbuilt-in and you needn’t stick stuff outside the case. The whole unit justlatches onto your CPU socket (and weighs less than most high-end coolers) andall you need to do is screw it in and connect a power molex. Self-contained andeasy to setup – we weren’t expecting that. Downside? Don’t expect to daisychain stuff into the water cooler - it’s for the CPU and that’s about it.Coolit here.
German website Notebook Journal has managed to capture a Puma in the wild andput it to the test in the lab. It’s a pre-sample sample based on the Pumaplatform, with a ZM-84 (2.3GHz Turion X2 Ultra) and it uses an HD3400 part with256MB of DDR2. While specs aren’t final, the performance numbers do give us anidea of what to expect. In this case, the new Puma does outperform the previousTurions, but it still has a lot of catching up to do with Intel’s Core 2s. PowerXpress seems to be going well, tho’.Here forthe original, orherefor Googlenglish
Benchmark Reviews is poking around inside a Silverstone Kublai KL03B-W midtower case. Silverstone is usually known for its outrageously expensive HTPCcases, but now they seem to have taken the battle to the desktop PC’s arena.It’s spacious enough to handle even the freakiest of cooling setups, and you caneven stick a redundant PSU inside. It’s also very quiet, we hear... or not. Readabout the casehere.
Samsung is moving forward in its HD storage business with a couple of unitsbased on the F1_3D design. The company has sent off a 750GB and 1TB unit toSilent PC Review where Mike the Chin. They are both 32MB cache units and offeridentical read/write speeds – which pretty much sums up the review – identicalperformance through and through. Good performance, that is, and some pretty goodacoustics. The price is right, too...readit here.
OCC is testing the ZEROTherm Zen FZ120 CPU cooler; that’s a really tallheatpipe+cooler, but with a smaller fin surface to which they hook up a 120mmfan. It’s got a 4pin header, meaning you get PWM (a bit more control over thefan) and copper base and heatpipes. For $39.99 this seems pretty affordabletoo. The temps are pretty hot if you don’t plug in the fan, though. Catch thecoolerhere.
After Gigabyte’s slight mishap with Asus, the Gigaboys gave TweakTown a tourof the Nan Ping factory while they were attending Computex 2008. Now, it isn’tusual for manufacturers to let hacks like us take photos and vids of theirfactory’s entrails, but that was the case. So now you too can get an inkling onhow a P45 mobo comes into existence. It seems Gigabyte has put the Asus incidentbehind it.Catchthe tour here.
If you’re relatively new to the rat race and are trying to set up your owngaming rig on a budget, you might want to take a look at this articlehere.Bit-Tech, together with Scan, compiled an article on the subject. The secret isto find the right components, put them all together and then tweak them abit... that’s value for money. Cheap CPU... check. Cheap mobo... check. Cheapgraphics card... check. OC all round... check. Yes, that’s an E2160 running at2.9GHz with a 9600GT running at 775MHz (75MHz above spec) – the whole systemracked up a sub £400 bill at Scan. Not bad.
What do you get when your marketing department gets behind productdevelopment and forgets to talk to the engineers? An Intel DX48BT2. Why? Becauseit is the upper high-end of single-CPU desktop mobos, warranting the “Extreme”branding and it won’t let you overclock decently. That’s what XBit found out, atleast, and we can’t say it’s surprising. Despite Intel’s claims of being thegreatest chip show on Earth, they haven’t (or won’t) had the will the let youtake their CPUs to outrageously high OC values. Xbit considered it might be thecrappy BIOS (1521) but after a quickie update (1523) the OC problems were stillthere. No fun.Readabout the hole.
Posted by Editorial Team Fri Jun 13, 2008 5:14 pm
WWDC 08: me.com mail, contacts, calendar like native apps in Apple
Apple hasunveiled MobileMe, which is a push method of controlling calendars,emails and contacts by sending the information from a remotely storedbase.
The service replaces the .Mac service which hasn’t really set the world alight so far.
The programme works with Mac, PC and iPhone, and works with Mail, iCal and Address book on the Mac, or Outlook on Windows.
Applehas also built a suite of web 2.0 applications for the MobileMe serviceusing Ajax, which provides a desktop-like experience on the web tointeract with the data, and can be accessed at me.com.
Send photos from the beach
Photoscan even be synched over the air, either from the iPhone or a Mac orPC, which means Apple is working to drop hard into the Web 2.0 spaceGoogle and Yahoo have been beavering away at over the last two years.
MobileMealso has over the air interaction; i.e. email is sent to the device, itinteracts with Google Maps, finds a restaurant mentioned in the email,and stores it as a contact for use on your computer.
Unveiled atWWDC, it was termed as a perfect application for the iPhone or iPodtouch for $99 per year with 20GB storage, but it comes with a free 60day trial.

MobileMe
Difference between .Mac and MobileMe
While mostly replacing .Mac (which was primarily centered aroundInternet services for Apple's desktop and notebook computers), MobileMeprovides Internet services for both Mac OS X and the iPhone OS as well as the iPod touch device and Microsoft Windowsusers. This means that now you are not restricted to a Mac runningsoftware like Mail and iCal, but can access your personal data from anycomputer connected to the internet.

Features
Storage
20GB of online storage featuring 200GB of monthly transfer. Thefamily pack includes this for the main user as well as 5GB of storageand 50GB of transfer for each sub user (up to four additional users)

Mail
Free Push Mail. Includes a @me.com email address. When a message is received it is sent directly to all the user's devices.

Address Book
Address Book (Push). When a contacted is added or amended it is updated immediately on all the user's devices.

Calendar
Calendar (Push). When a calendar appointment is added or amended it is updated immediately on all the user's devices.

Gallery
Public photo gallery. Photos can be uploaded in the web browser or synced by iPhoto on a mac

iDisk
iDisk, which is accessible via a web browser, the Finder on a Mac, or as a remote disk in Microsoft Windows.The iDisk can also share files by emailing a link to the intendedrecipient. Another feature is to set an expiration on the link. Thismeans access to file will stop after a set number of downloads or aftercertain time period.

Web 2.0
MobileMe uses web 2.0 technologies to provide the look and feel of desktop-class applications in the user's web browser.

Pricing
An Individual purchase of a MobileMe account for one-year is $99 USD (£59), while a Family Packsubscription (which includes one individual account and four familyaccounts with a specific email address for each one) is $149 USD (£89)for one year. The Individual account will have 20GB of combined emailand file storage and 200GB of monthly data transfer, while the FamilyPack will have, for each account in the Pack, 5GB of combined email andfile storage, and 50GB of monthly data transfer.

Competitors
MobileMe is supposed to comprise Microsoft Exchange-like features for consumers.

Browser Support
MobileMe's online services can be accessed in Desktop Applications.MobileMe also allows access to the user's data in desktop-likeenvironment in a web browser. Featured browsers are:

  • Safari 3 or later (Mac + PC)
  • Firefox 2 or later (Mac + PC)
  • Internet Explorer 7 (PC)
iPhone 2.0
Posted by Editorial Team Tue Jun 10, 2008 4:04 am
WWDC 08: me.com mail, contacts, calendar like native apps in Apple
"Now I'd like to talk about something near and dear to my heart. That'sthe iPhone. In a few weeks it's going to be the iPhone's firstbirthday. An amazing intro -- certainly the most amazing we've everhad."

Steve! "Isn't that great? We've been working on that for a while. I think we finally got it right."

".Mac users can continue to use service, but they'll be automatically upgraded to MobileMe. So that's MobileMe."

"We'regoing to create a free 60 day trial, available along with iPhone 2.0.You might be asking what about .Mac? MobileMe replaces .Mac."

"It's available for $99 per year -- 20GB of storage."


Send to MobileMe option from photo. Send to the library of yourchoosing in the cloud. More applause. "So that's MobileMe, anincredible new experience for all your information. It's like havingExchange for the rest of us. Push email, contacts, calendars -- workswith native apps on the Mac and PC. And most exciting are theseincredible new web apps. The perfect companion."



Showing calendar push -- demoing the amount of time it takes tomake changes to calendar events over the air from PC to iPhone. 12seconds, by our count.


Log-off is power-on/off icon. Demo of OTA interaction... email getspushed to the device. Email to Gmaps, saves restaurant as a newcontact. Back to the computer -- what should happen to be there but theemail that was pushed to the phone, including the state (read orunread), and there's the restaurant contact.

11:22AM PT -
Photos: photo skimming works, resizing thumbs -- it looks exactly likedesktop iPhoto. Wonder how much of this is Flash. iDisk is supported aswell -- looks like .Mac might be going bye-bye.

Quick reply mailfeature -- really fast way to send an inline reply. Contacts searchwith real-time text entry filter. Calendar, you know... it's a calendar.

"Ican run this on a Mac or PC -- you might guess which my favorite is.I'm going to launch my favorite browser -- which happens to be Safari.Just log right in." Looks pretty solid, almost identical to the desktopapps.



"It's a breakthrough web 2.0 app interface." Demo time!

Mail, contacts, calendar -- all this stuff looks exactly like Apple's native apps. This is pretty nice.



"Go to any browser, type me.com. Simple, easy to remember. Login... you get an incredibly rich email client. It feels like a desktop."

"What's really going to surprise people, we've built an incredible suite of web 2.0 apps using Ajax."

11:16AM PT - "Itworks with the native apps on my Mac or PC -- it works with Mail.app,iCal, Address Book... as well as Outlook. You'd expect that it wouldwork with those native apps."

Example of email -- gets pusheddown to all devices. Change a contact? Gets pushed up to MobileMe, downto all other device. "The best part of this, it works over the air.Everything is up to date."




"MobileMe stores your info up in the cloud so you can get to itanywhere using any of your devices -- Mac, PC, iPhone -- it will pushinformation up and down to keep everything up to date all the time."

Push email, contacts, and calendars... everything is up to date wherever you are.


Schiller just called ActiveSync ActiveStink -- the mockery! Guffawing.

Posted by Editorial Team Tue Jun 10, 2008 4:03 am
WWDC 08: me.com mail, contacts, calendar like native apps in Apple
"I can run this on a Mac or PC -- you might guess which my favorite is.I'm going to launch my favorite browser -- which happens to be Safari.Just log right in." Looks pretty solid, almost identical to the desktopapps.

Works with the native applications you know.                              
Doeverything you need to do on every device you own. MobileMe works withMail, Address Book, and iCal on a Mac; Microsoft Outlook on a PC withWindows XP or Vista; and the built-in applications on your iPhone oriPod touch.
                             
Push email. Push contacts. Push calendar.                              
MobileMestores all your email, contacts, and calendars on a secure onlineserver — or “cloud” — and pushes them down to your iPhone, iPod touch,Mac, and PC. When you make a change on one device, the cloud updatesthe others. Push happens automatically, instantly, and continuously.You don’t have to wait for it or remember to do anything — such asdocking your iPhone and syncing manually — to stay up to date.
                             Read about MobileMe on your                              
PC | Mac | iPhone or iPod touch


"It's a breakthrough web 2.0 app interface." Demo time!

Mail, contacts, calendar -- all this stuff looks exactly like Apple's native apps. This is pretty nice.



"Go to any browser, type me.com. Simple, easy to remember. Login... you get an incredibly rich email client. It feels like a desktop."

"What's really going to surprise people, we've built an incredible suite of web 2.0 apps using Ajax."

11:16AM PT - "Itworks with the native apps on my Mac or PC -- it works with Mail.app,iCal, Address Book... as well as Outlook. You'd expect that it wouldwork with those native apps."

Example of email -- gets pusheddown to all devices. Change a contact? Gets pushed up to MobileMe, downto all other device. "The best part of this, it works over the air.Everything is up to date."




"MobileMe stores your info up in the cloud so you can get to itanywhere using any of your devices -- Mac, PC, iPhone -- it will pushinformation up and down to keep everything up to date all the time."

Push email, contacts, and calendars... everything is up to date wherever you are.


Schiller just called ActiveSync ActiveStink -- the mockery! Guffawing.


"Good morning, I'm really excited to tell you about this brand newservice... so what's the idea? It's like having Exchange for the restof us."

Phil Schiller's up! Demo time.

"We're very very excited about this. It's called MobileMe."

"Now, we've got something entirely new."

"Imagineyou're a professor teaching a class on how to write iPhone apps! Youwant people to mail apps around... you can get certified and registerup to 100 iPhones, apps can be circulated and posted for up to 100iPhones. We think we've got a great story now." Applause.

Posted by Editorial Team Mon Jun 09, 2008 2:22 pm
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