Audio Video News May 2008

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Roku Arrives And Completely Owns Apple TV
PC Mech :: Tuesday, May 27, 2008
“Said honestly I’m not hot on the idea of little digital boxes to rent movies from. However there are companies who feel there is a market for this. When Apple first released Apple TV it crashed and burned so hard sales-wise it was a wonder they even kept it around for more than six months. […]”

Alienware Hangar18 HD Entertainment Center Review 
Think Computers :: Thursday, May 22, 2008
Home theater PC’s have become very popular lately. It seems almost everyone I know has been taking their old computers and turning them into media machines. Well what if you want the best media machine money can buy? The Alienware Hangar18 HD Entertainment Center could be just that. Alienware is mainly known for making gaming machines, so it will be interesting to see how they do on the Hangar18. The Hangar18 is an all-in-one media machine that can play DVD’s or Blu-ray media, watch live TV, watch internet TV, listen to music, and share it all wirelessly. Let’s check it out!”

Where Have All The Blu-rays Gone?
Tweak Town :: Thursday, May 22, 2008
Overseas, we have seen a lot of Blu-ray talk of late. Former HD-DVD heavyweights Universal Pictures and Paramount Pictures have now aligned (or re-aligned, as the case may be) with the Blu-ray Disc Association and have committed to releasing Blu-ray products in the very near future. In Australia, Universal remain quiet on Blu-ray support, albeit with the promise it is coming, and Paramount have just announced four titles for release on the 31st of July. But apart from that, the release schedule is still looking rather gaunt.

So why is this? Despite the colossal amount of PlayStation 3 units that have Trojan horsed themselves into Australian homes, Blu-ray disc sales are generally low. Of course, it’s a catch 22. They are struggling to sell because of general lack of content, and distributors (especially locally) are generally wary of releasing because they aren’t selling a fraction of the numbers their DVD counterparts are.”

Music Services Compared
Digital Trends :: Monday, May 19, 2008
“We’re now in an era where everyone and their brother seem to have digital music featured on their site. And it’s all blown up in a way industry insiders had hoped, but no one really anticipated. Labels have their own music shops where tracks can be bought. Streaming downloads have become more important. Portable music players are now ubiquitous, after slimming down in size but seeing storage capacities grow, with video playback now a vital component on many models. Music on cell phones is also quite standard as features go today, with many handsets made to double as music players. In short, wherever you go, whatever you’re doing, you can take your music right there with you. Helping illustrate just how prolific music’s online presence has become, remember, three years ago MySpace and Facebook were barely twinkles in their parents’ eyes. Now, they’re giants just starting to dip their toes into the record biz, either directly or indirectly, and act as vital showcases for so many bands, signed and unsigned alike.”

ATI Radeon HD 3850 256MB Crossfire Reviewed
The Tech Lounge :: Saturday, May 17, 2008
“We know it’d make more sense to just spend more money on a really fast card, but–two videocards! Given that you can definitely get two 3850s for $300, it seems like a reasonable upgrade option, even though I normally rail pretty hard against mid-range multi-GPU configurations. The main weakness of the 3850 is its clean performance drop when anti-aliasing is enabled. Without that, it really does scream. Will an extra $150 give it that 4xAA shine?”

Sapphire Radeon HD 3870 Toxic Review 
ASE Labs :: Saturday, May 17, 2008
” It has been a very long time since a graphics card has passed by the review bench of ASE Labs. Sapphire steps up to the plate with their release of the Radeon HD3870 Toxic Edition that hopes to earn some of your hard earned cash. With AMD’s support of open source, the ATI partners are in a good position to conqueror the Linux market and the future to bright. Sapphire is the biggest producer of ATI cards and we will see how their product performs. ”

GeForce 9800 GTX Extreme Overclocking Experiment
Madshrimps :: Saturday, May 17, 2008
“The GeForce 9800 GTX product was received with mixed feelings; on the one hand you had an affordable high end VGA solution, but on the other hand it was not much of improvement over the 8800 GTX. One area where the 9800 GTX might shine through however is overclocking, the new GPU generates less heat, and with the help of some LN2 it will be interesting to see how high it can climb!”

NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT Performance Scaling in Modern Games
Digit Life :: Saturday, May 17, 2008
“We decided to find out what parameters affect performance in modern games most of all. Besides, we haven’t analyzed how performance is affected by CPU/GPU/video memory clock rates for a long time already. So we decided to test a G92-based graphics card and determine main rendering bottlenecks in modern games.”

Palit GeForce 9600 GSO Sonic 768MB
Tweak Town :: Saturday, May 17, 2008
“It seems we’re right on time for another pointless release of a graphics card that is slightly better or slightly worse than what is on the market already, whilst carrying with it a price tag pretty similar to that of what’s already available. Did that confuse you? – The thing is, these graphics card releases from NVIDIA are becoming nothing short of a joke.

I’ve actually tested the 9600 GSO; I know how I’m going to wrap this up before I even wrote this introduction, and it’s a real doozy. Before we get too far ahead of ourselves though, let’s find out exactly what the card looks like, what Palit has done with it and if the package stands out in any way.”

Samsung T220 Review
Inside HW :: Saturday, May 17, 2008
…” Very often short descriptions in manufacturer manuals for displays are: exceptional design and excellent performances which is the case with Samsung T220. If some monitor looks nice we can see that by ourselves when we take it out from the packaging, but when it comes to other manufacturer’s promise (about performances) we need to check them by ourselves for its authenticity. Samsung T220 satisfied the first half of its description from the moment we put it on the table.”…

ATI Radeon HD 3850 256MB Video Card Reviewed 
The Tech Lounge :: Saturday, May 17, 2008
“With it’s release during the massive hardware holliday last year, the HD 3850, the least of four major cards, is easily overlooked. That’s really a shame, since it’s really a top-notch gaming card. Obviously, it’s not the first choice for enthusiasts, but from a value perspective, it’s without a doubt the best choice.”

Toshiba’s Growth Plans Hinge on Cell TVs, Fuel Cells
PC Magazine (HDTV) :: Saturday, May 17, 2008
Reeling from the aftermath of its HD DVD debacle, Toshiba laid out a plan for growth that leans heavily on its other strengths, namely its Cell processor and improvements in notebook technologies, including fuel cells. On tap: auto-upscaling TVs, more SSDs, and some nifty notebook tech.

Pioneer Ditches Plasma Panels, Plans LCD Return
PC Magazine (HDTV) :: Saturday, May 17, 2008
Pioneer said Tuesday that it will cease manufacturing plasma TV panels by March 2009, after the company suffered its fourth straight annual loss.

Sony Bravia KDL-52XBR4
PC Magazine (HDTV) :: Saturday, May 17, 2008
The Sony KDL-52XBR4 provides awesome color, pleasing contrasts, and a preset that delivers an impressively accurate and detailed picture.

Quad SLI Review
Chile Hardware :: Thursday, May 15, 2008
We just published our new review, we tested NVIDIA’s Quad SLI, hope you like it.

Sapphire Toxic 512MB Radeon HD3870 Graphics Card Review
Big Bruin :: Thursday, May 15, 2008
The Sapphire Toxic 512MB Radeon HD3870 graphics card offers strong performance right out of the box, but if you have any interest in overclocking you can turn it into a real powerhouse. There are really no negatives to discuss in terms of performance, quality, and overall appeal. The card performs well, it stays cool and quiet, and the bundle of accessories is generous.

ASUS 8600GT TOP Video Card Reviewed 
The Tech Lounge :: Thursday, May 15, 2008
“I was a bit surprised that Asus asked us to review their *flagship budget* — it’s weird just writing that — 8600 GT TOP. It’s new SKU for a card closing in on its end of life; the model being about a year old now. Just the same, with a hundred-dollar price tag, it’s definitely got an audience, no matter what cards there are competing against it, or what cards have been released since. And it’s a pretty highly-regarded card; go on any hardware forum and there’s a dozen NVIDIA people extolling the virtues of the 8600 GTs when it comes to budget gaming. Now, I’m not saying that they’re all wrong, but it is worth finding out if new drivers and some moderate factory overclocking can put value on an otherwise dated video card.”


Sapphire 780G Motherboard and Hybrid CrossFire
Bios Level :: Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Not every PC case fan was designed to be quiet, nor do most LED fans give have a switch used to turn the LEDs off. Enter the Rheobus controller: giving users the ability to control the speed of PC case fans, and the brightness of the LEDs. Sunbeam recently sent BIOS LEVEL the Rheobus Extreme for review, which promises up to 30W per channel, as well as cool LED lighting.

Overclocked Radeon HD 3650 Showdown, ASUS vs. HIS
Hot Hardware :: Wednesday, May 14, 2008
We’re writing to let you all know that we have just posted a new article at HotHardware.com in which we evaluate the features, performance, overclockability and value of two factory overclocked Radeon HD 3650 cards, the ASUS EAH3650 TOP and the HIS Radeon HD 3650 IceQ Turbo. Although they’re built using the same GPU, these two cards are actually quite different. They have completely different coolers and memory, and are clocked differently as well. Head on over to the site and check them out…

XFX 9800 GTX Black Edition 512mb
Overclock 3d :: Wednesday, May 14, 2008
“A 9800 GTX in a rather black looking package with some serious extra’s that should really get your attention? Sounds like an XFX 9800 GTX Black Edition to me! More inside…”

It’s Official: YouTube Sucks
PC Mech :: Wednesday, May 14, 2008
“In case you hadn’t heard, more than a few YouTube users are stating that “it isn’t like it used to be” (more or less) and that the site is nothing but a big ball of boring. In addition to that, users of that site are abso-frickin’-lutely sick of the negativity that goes thru that place like a never-ending tidal wave; this means video-makers either “play it safe” with video content or just don’t post anymore.”

Overclocking The NVIDIA Quadro FX1700
Phoronix :: Wednesday, May 14, 2008
“Back in March we had reviewed the Quadro FX1700 512MB graphics card, which is NVIDIA’s lower-end OpenGL 2.1 workstation graphics card that’s based upon the consumer G84 core. In the benchmarks that had followed, we had compared the Quadro FX1700 performance under Windows, Linux, and Solaris. We had found the performance of this Quadro graphics card performed well under all three platforms, but Ubuntu Linux had led the race. We are now preparing a review of the high-end ATI FireGL V8600 1GB graphics card for publishing in the coming days, but we have stumbled upon some results from the FX1700 that never ended up making it out earlier. Specifically we had overclocked the Quadro FX1700 with CoolBits and it had actually worked out quite well. In this article are the overclocking results from this NVIDIA workstation graphics card as well as comparing the performance to an ATI Radeon HD 2900XT 512MB graphics card.”

Palit 9600GT Sonic 1GB Graphics Card
Tweak Town :: Wednesday, May 14, 2008
“Palit are back again with another 9600GT. While this model is a Sonic variant, this one also sports 1GB of memory. What’s cool about this card is that more often than not you have two options when it comes to getting a card other than stock. You can get yourself one with more memory, which generally comes under the “Super” naming scheme; the other option is that you get yourself an overclocked model. This comes under the “Sonic” naming scheme for Palit. Today we’ve got ourselves a 1GB card which also happens to be overclocked.

Unfortunately Palit has called it the 9600GT 1GB Sonic; personally I think they should have called it the 9600GT 1GB Super Sonic which just sounds plain cool, and since the card carries with it an overclock and more memory, it’s more than appropriate.”

Palit GeForce 9600GT 1GB Sonic Video Card Review 
Think Computers :: Wednesday, May 14, 2008
“Today I will be looking at the Palit 9600GT 1GB Sonic. The 9600GT is nVidia’s latest mid-range GeForce card, and rather than the reference 512 gigs of DDR3 memory, Palit has opted to add a full gig of memory, along with a heatpipe cooler, to this card. How will it stand up against the last generation of GeForce mid-range cards? Continue reading to see…”

Razer/THX Mako 2.1-Channel Speaker System Review
Techgage :: Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Razer is well-known for producing high-quality peripherals, but audio can be an entirely different bag. Our concerns over their new found venture can be set aside though, as the tag team effort between them and THX helped build an amazing 2.1 system that’s actually worth its $400 price tag.

Diamond Radeon HD3650 1GB Review
Motherboards.org :: Sunday, May 11, 2008
The Diamond HD3650 1GB is not a bad card as it does support DirectX 10.1 features, meaning that you can play the latest and greatest games on the computer with full visual fidelity. The problem becomes, when price comes into play along with the performance of the card, the card just doesn’t cut the mustard. Another review of this card states that at $95 USD, this card is an ok buy and I would agree with that statement. At $130 online from various sources (Newegg, ZipZoomFly etc.) the card is not a good buy as there are better choices for your money.

Sapphire 780G Motherboard and Hybrid CrossFire 
BIOS Level :: Saturday, May 10, 2008
“Sapphire sent us its PURE-series PI-AM2RS780G motherboard featuring the 780G chipset. This chipset is capable of handling 125W Phenom processors—something of which other 780G motherboards are incapable. On-board is a Radeon HD3200 integrated graphics solution, which may not seem overly powerful on its own, but Hybrid Crossfire promises to raise the bar.”

Foxconn 9600GT-512NOC Video Card Review
Futurelooks :: Saturday, May 10, 2008
Sure the NVIDIA 9800 series of video cards are the current crème de la crème of gaming performance but what if you don’t have the scratch to afford such a beast? Well that’s where the NVIDIA 9600 series comes in. Foxconn sent us over their pre-overclocked 9600GT. As an overclocked card, it should give us a bit more kick than your standard garden variety card. Let’s check it out!

Diamond Viper HD 3650 1GB at Overclockers Online
Overclockers Online :: Saturday, May 10, 2008
Much like other 3650 cards, you get a pretty good performer packed with features for a low price. The inclusion of native HDMI-out is a big plus for anyone running a home theater PC setup, but others are not left out with VGA and DVI connections as well.

ASUS Xonar DX PCI Express 7.1 Audio Card 
Hot Hardware :: Saturday, May 10, 2008
A few months ago, ASUS jumped into the audio card market with both feet with the introduction of their Xonar product line. One of the first models to market was the premium Xonar D2 Ultra Fidelity 7.1 sound card. The D2 boasted a superb retail package with all of the cabling, software and extras one would need thrown in, along with a slick, eye-catching design, for around $180. Not only did the Xonar D2 Ultra Fidelity 7.1 deliver on all fronts, but it also proved to be solid competition for Creative, who still has somewhat of a stranglehold on add-in audio card market.

To further infuse themselves into the audio card market though, ASUS didn’t stop with the Xonar D2 Ultra Fidelity 7.1. They have since developed several other model to meet the needs of consumers of all budgets. Today, we take a look at ASUS’ latest offering which targets the mainstream market, the more affordable Xonar DX PCI Express 7.1 Audio Card. Head on over to the site and check it out:

Asus EAH3850 X2 Video Card Review
i4u :: Saturday, May 10, 2008
“Today we are checking out the Asus EAH3850 X2 dual GPU video card. This is one of the fastest ATI graphics cards you will find. If you only have space for one card and you prefer ATI, the EAH3850 X2 is worth a serious look. After all the testing was done there was no doubt that the Asus EAH3850 X2 is the fastest ATI video card I have tested. It isn’t as fast as the top cards from NVIDIA like the 9800 GX2, but it’s not as expensive either. The Asus EAH3850 X2 retails for around $350.”

VisionTek Radeon HD 3870 X2 Overclocked Edition Review
OCC :: Saturday, May 10, 2008
“Overclocking a pre-overclocked card? Can it be pushed any further? The answer is yes. It didn’t take me long to discover that this video card does not like to be pushed, but I was able to obtain a minimal overclock on the already overclocked beast of a video card. I reached 850MHz on the core clock from the stock frequency of 840MHz, and on the memory I obtained a frequency of 975MHz over the stock 960MHz. It’s not much, but we’ll see if it gives a performance increase at all.”

S3 Chrome 430 GT Graphics Card
Tweak Town :: Friday, May 09, 2008
“S3 hasn’t stopped releasing graphics cards, but we just don’t seem to hear much about them anymore. Hopefully that’s going to change with the release of the Chrome 430 GT. It’s a low-end card that seems to be capable of taking on the big boys at NVIDIA and AMD.

Trying to fire up GPU-Z just resulted in an error due to none of it being able to be recognized, though the core comes in at 625MHz and there is 256MB of GDDR2 memory running at a speed of 500MHz DDR. We have a 64-bit interface, 64nm core, PCI Express 2.0 support, Direct X 10.1 and Open GL 2.1 support.”