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Daily Computer News and Rumors

April 16-23 2004

About News and Rumors. InfoHQ Computer News and Rumors is a daily column. It features news coverage of new PC and Mac computer hardware and software, Internet news, and other technical news items.
Every Sunday, News and Rumors features "Sunday Shopping Watch", which is a comparison and analysis of Sunday computer store advertisements.
The Daily Computer News and Rumors is an archived column, so feel free to review previous week's or month's computer news. Previous Daily Computer News articles can also be searched, by using our site search feature found in the top and bottom menu bar.

InfoHQ Daily Computer News and Rumors Article Index
Date
(Click on story to read, use your Browser's back button to return to this index.)
Apr 23 AMD Launches the AMD64 Masters Group Featuring Top Audio & Film Pros
Apr 23 Intel Digital Home Fund Invests In Four Companies
Apr 23 Spansion Begins Initial Sampling of Flash Memory Based on Second-Generation MirrorBit Technology
Apr 23 ICQ 4.0 Delivers Dynamic Personal Communications Platform to Its Growing Global Community
Apr 23 Cryptography Expert Paul Kocher Warns: Future DVDs Prime Target for Piracy
Apr 22 LSI Logic, NVidia, And Ulead Provide Key Ingredients For Professional High Definition Content
Apr 22 New Nvidia Quadro FX 4000 Redefines Standard For Professional Graphics
Apr 22 AMD Launches Two New Automated Precision Manufacturing Innovation Centers for 300mm Technology
Apr 22 Canon's Newest Mini DV 2.2-Megapixel Camcorders Combine Vibrant Video and Advanced Photo Features
Apr 22 Mobile Data Users Now Representing the Mainstream
Apr 21 Adobe, Boeing and Intel to Develop Universal Standard for Using 3D Graphics in Applications
Apr 21 Serial ATA Milestones Achieved with Two Completed Specs
Apr 21 InterVideo Demonstrates Double Layer DVD+R Burning Capabilities
Apr 21 123 Copy DVD First Program to Allow User Back-up of Any Movie; Compliant with Digital Millennium Copyright Act
Apr 21 Convenience and Accessibility Key Factors in Media Use of 18 to 34 Year-Olds
Apr 21 Rockstar Games Ships Manhunt for PC and Xbox
Apr 20 Panasonic and Apple Collaborate to Bring HD over FireWire to the Desktop
Apr 20 ADS Tech USB Instant DVD+DV Bridges 1394-based Camcorders and USB 2.0 PCs
Apr 20 Battery-Biz Introduces Hi-Capacity® PowerPlus 60 Universal Laptop Battery Bundle
Apr 20 Adobe Debuts New Video Line-up at NAB
Apr 20 ZOOtech Launches DVD-EXTRA STUDIO
Apr 19 Intel First Quarter Revenue $8.1 Billion
Apr 19 Xerox Research Results Bring Printed Plastic Transistors Closer to Commercial Reality
Apr 19 IBM Reports 2004 First-Quarter Results
Apr 19 I/OMagic Plans to Ship 12X DVD Drive in Late May
Apr 19 Axentra Launches 'axentra.net' Free 25 MB Email and File Storage and Sharing Service
Apr 18 Sunday Shopping Watch
Apr 16 Intel® High Definition Audio Will Be Music To PC Users' Ears
Apr 16 Apple Announces Faster, More Affordable eMac
Apr 16 AMD Reports First Quarter Results; EPS of $0.12 Driven by Record Sales
Apr 16 ZyXEL Prestige Routers with Firewall/VPN Deliver Secure, Shared Broadband Access
Apr 16 U.S. Army and Ubisoft Join Forces to Deploy ``America's Army'' Brand Worldwide

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Apr 23 -AMD Launches the AMD64 Masters Group Featuring Top Audio & Film Pros. AMD (NYSE:AMD) today announced the formation of the AMD64 Masters Group comprised of digital production masters from the entertainment industry. Members include Grammy Award-winning and nominated audio professionals Phil Ramone, Elliott Scheiner, Frank Filipetti, George Massenburg, Rory Kaplan, Chuck Ainlay, Fred Maher, and Robert Hill and Dan Gregoire of JAK Films, pre-visualization supervisor for Star Wars: Episode III.

The AMD64 Masters Group members are realizing significant performance benefits and exceptional creative freedom using dual AMD Opteron(tm) processor-based digital audio workstations (DAWs), non-linear video editing, special-effects compositing and 3-D rendering systems. Running off-the-shelf software, these systems are taking host-based digital content creation to new levels. Host-based software applications are replacing costly digital signal processing (DSP) hardware in professional digital audio and film content creation.

Key attributes of dual AMD Opteron processor-based workstations and servers for digital content creation include a balanced architecture, leading-edge 32-bit performance, 64-bit capability for tomorrow's software, outstanding reliability, and optimal 4- and 8-way scalability. True double-precision floating-point arithmetic enables high audio sample and rendering rates under heavy loads. Easy and relatively inexpensive software upgrades can replace the need for costly new hardware purchases typical of DSP hardware.

Technology-savvy AMD64 Masters Group members desire a balanced architecture that scales to meet their performance demands. AMD64 technology supports emerging technologies like pervasive 64-bit computing, I/O-taxing high-definition (HD) content, and software-based plug-ins and virtual instruments that require low system latency.

"Our AMD Opteron processor-based systems provide incredible speed in a professional environment," said Phil Ramone, 9-time Grammy Award winning producer whose credits include Frank Sinatra, Barbara Streisand, Elton John, Paul Simon and Billy Joel. "Dependability is always the hope of uninterrupted work. The AMD Opteron processor has met the new standards we dream of."

"I've found my AMD Opteron processor-based DAW to be extremely reliable and quick, and the most versatile box I've ever worked with," said Elliot Scheiner, a 5-time Grammy Award-winning engineer whose credits include Steely Dan, The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, and Beck.

"The AMD64-based workstations we use for pre-visualization make it possible for George to see more details about his film earlier and faster than he's ever seen them before," said Daniel Gregoire, pre-visualization effects supervisor for Star Wars: Episode III. "The added power of the AMD Opteron processor allows him to direct digital resources real-time with the pre-viz artists on the team. It's changing the way he makes his films."

"AMD64 technology and customer-centric leadership is enabling a revolution in content creation simply because it removes limitations, providing the artist with extraordinary power to create," said Charlie Boswell, marketing director of AMD's Digital Media & Entertainment group.
"What was once only accessible to the largest studios with the largest budgets is now available to everyone. AMD64 technology-based platforms offer talented up-and-comers in the entertainment industry and average consumers access to the same technology used by the best of the industry icons. Dads who want to record Junior's garage band, or want to edit and add music and effects to the family highlight video, can purchase an AMD64-based desktop PC running the same type of software."

"With ubiquitous 64-bit computing around the corner and the weight of the open PC architecture and investment R&D dollars rolling behind it, the fun is only beginning."

To see what other AMD64 Masters Group members are saying about AMD64 technology, please logon to: www.amd.com/amdopterondmepr.

Apr 23 - Intel Digital Home Fund Invests In Four Companies. Intel Corporation today announced that its venture investing organization, Intel Capital, has made four new investments in companies developing innovative technologies for the digital home.

Speaking to technology industry engineers, developers and designers at the Intel Developer Forum (IDF), Intel Capital President John Miner disclosed that the $200 million Intel Digital Home Fund invested in Digital 5 Inc.; a provider of consumer electronics networking technology; Staccato Communications Inc., an ultra-wideband (UWB) wireless solutions developer; Trymedia Systems Inc., a secure distribution technology and services provider; and Wisair Ltd., a UWB wireless chipset and solutions company.

"The Intel Digital Home Fund investments we're announcing today support Intel's initiatives to enable people to enjoy digital content - including music, games, photos and video - on multiple devices in the home and beyond," said Miner. "These four companies' technologies help solve key interoperability, bandwidth and distribution issues.

"Intel Capital focuses on breaking down technology barriers and accelerating innovation by applying its investment, leadership and cross-industry collaboration capabilities to the greater solutions ecosystem," Miner added. "Solutions are built by weaving together innovations from many."

Intel Capital's top investment priorities for this year are related to communications infrastructure, the digital home, modular computing solutions for IT departments, and wireless mobility.

Through investments, technology development and cross-industry collaboration, Intel is driving efforts to eliminate the boundaries between electronic devices inside and outside the home and apply the performance, cost and integration benefits of Moore's Law to the world of consumer electronics.

Financial terms of the new investments were not disclosed.

Prior to launching the Intel Digital Home Fund in January, Intel Capital had invested in several digital home-related companies, including BridgeCo, Entropic Communications, Musicmatch Inc. and Zinio Systems Inc.

Intel Capital, Intel's strategic investment program, focuses on making equity investments and acquisitions to grow the Internet economy in support of Intel's strategic interests. Intel Capital invests in hardware, software and services companies in several market segments, including computing, networking, and wireless communications. For more information, visit www.intel.com/capital.

Apr 23 - Spansion Begins Initial Sampling of Flash Memory Based on Second-Generation MirrorBit Technology. Spansion announced today that it is supplying an initial group of customers with hundreds of engineering samples based on second-generation, 110-nanometer MirrorBit(TM) technology. These standalone and stacked multi-chip (MCP) samples enable AMD (NYSE:AMD) and Fujitsu (TSE:6702) customers to integrate this technology into designs targeted for production in the third quarter.

Optimized for 1.8-volt wireless designs, second-generation MirrorBit technology supports the industry's best price-performance and enables the broadest feature sets and highest densities of any NOR Flash technology. This technology enables feature-rich products with simultaneous read-write operation, a high-throughput burst-mode interface, Advanced Sector Protection security features and extremely low energy consumption.

"Second-generation MirrorBit technology will free our customers from the fundamental price-performance limitations of multi-level cell (MLC) floating-gate technology," explained Bertrand Cambou, president and CEO of Spansion. "MirrorBit technology, which was only a specification in 2001, required just three years and two generations of development to surpass what competing MLC floating-gate solutions achieved in seven years and four generations."

To achieve price-performance leadership, MirrorBit technology leverages fundamental advantages over MLC floating-gate technology that improve yield, quality and fab throughput:

-- Up to 30% better yield than MLC floating-gate technology for high-density 128- to 512-megabit die significantly improves the cost structure of standalone and stacked multi-chip products

-- 40% fewer critical mask layers reduces sensitivity to defects during the manufacturing process and improves outgoing product quality

-- 10% faster fab throughput thanks to a simple, streamlined manufacturing process

Spansion designed MirrorBit technology specifically to address customer needs for superior price-performance across the spectrum of Flash memory applications. As a result, manufacturers are replacing single- and multi-level cell floating-gate technology in cutting-edge mobile phones, PDAs, digital cameras, servers, television set-top boxes, printers, networking and telecom equipment, game systems and navigation devices.

About Spansion(TM) Flash Memory Products

Spansion(TM) Flash memory products encompass a broad spectrum of densities and features to support a wide range of markets. Spansion Flash memory customers represent leaders in the wireless, cellular, automotive, networking, telecommunications and consumer electronics markets. There are a variety of Spansion Flash memory products, such as devices based on the innovative MirrorBit(TM) technology; the award-winning simultaneous read-write (SRW) product family; super low-voltage 1.8-volt Flash memory devices; and burst- and page-mode devices. Information about Spansion Flash memory solutions is available at www.spansion.com/overview.

Spansion was formed by the integration of AMD's and Fujitsu's Flash memory operations in 2003. It is the largest NOR Flash memory company in the world. Spansion Flash memory solutions are available worldwide from AMD (NYSE:AMD) and Fujitsu (TSE:6702).

Apr 23 - ICQ 4.0 Delivers Dynamic Personal Communications Platform to Its Growing Global Community. ICQ(R) ("I Seek You"), a world-leading online communications community and international service from America Online, Inc., today announced the introduction of ICQ 4.0, a next-generation instant messaging service that offers customization to provide users with a highly personal communications platform. ICQ also announced the worldwide debut of ICQ Xtraz, the industry's first open instant messaging platform that supports the creation, delivery and automatic update of new features for the ICQ(R) client.

ICQ 4.0, which can be downloaded today at (www.icq.com), brings a new and improved user interface, advanced functionality and flexible options directly into the messaging window to put fun new features and advanced instant communications tools at the fingertips of more than 180 million registered users. ICQ's new client offers an innovative, multi-function message window that groups incoming messages and frequent tasks for easy use; a message forwarding feature that can forward ICQ messages to users' cellular phones; customizable "ICQ(R) Devils" (personal expressions), birthday alerts, new single- and multi-player games and more.

ICQ 4.0 is the first ICQ client release to feature the ICQ Xtraz flexible platform with an open application programming interface (API) that inspires creativity and innovation. The ICQ Xtraz platform enables ICQ to present users with a selection of new services as they are created, without the need to download a new client. Xtraz also supports the creation of new ICQ features that can be built separately from the core ICQ client, and then delivered and automatically updated over time - without interrupting the flow of user communications.

"ICQ is an essential personal communications medium that acts as the primary social gateway for millions of people worldwide," said Orey Gilliam, General Manager of ICQ. "With the addition of new ICQ Xtraz, ICQ has also become a platform for fun and innovation that can easily and instantly scale and adapt to meet the evolving needs of our active users."

The introduction of ICQ 4.0 and debut of ICQ Xtraz platform follows on the successful March 2004 launch of the ICQ(R) Universe (http://universe.icq.com), the only social networking service built on an established and global instant messaging service. The ICQ Universe lets users access a dynamic view of the relationships within the vast ICQ(R) community, enhance profiles and write friend referrals.

ICQ 4.0 with Xtraz makes it easy for users to take advantage of ICQ's innovative community services and new features by delivering automatic updates to the user menu and software client without adding to its size. ICQ users can now simply choose which 'Xtraz' feature to activate according to their individual needs and desires.

Among the first ICQ partners to take advantage of the new open platform are Oberon Media (http://www.oberongames.com/) which is using Xtraz technology to develop fun and engaging new services that can be delivered entirely within the ICQ 4.0 messaging interface.

"Gaming applications are perfectly suited to meet the needs of our young, adventurous and active users, who look to ICQ for interesting new ways to meet new people around the world," added Gilliam. "With our new Xtraz technology, we can instantly extend our personal communications platform to any number of new partners who can provide content and services our users need. We also look forward to the time our users themselves are able to create new and innovative features for the global ICQ community to enjoy."

Apr 23 - Cryptography Expert Paul Kocher Warns: Future DVDs Prime Target for Piracy. Movie piracy today is still immature in the United States, but as available storage space and bandwidth increase, so will the motivation and sophistication of movie pirates, warns security expert Paul Kocher, president and chief scientist of Cryptography Research, Inc. Kocher believes that future optical media formats – the successors to today’s DVD – will require dramatically advanced content protection technology and enforcement measures just to keep up with the better-funded and more-determined adversary of tomorrow.

Kocher believes the current pay television piracy can be seen as a harbinger of things to come for optical media. “Movies are still difficult enough to copy, so that for most people, it isn’t worth the hassle,” he said. In the United States today, the movie industry is primarily chasing mischievous college students, internal leakage and low-quality analog recordings as the sources of piracy, according to Kocher. “By contrast, in the pay television industry, we routinely face well-funded, technically sophisticated pirates, many of whom are closely connected with organized crime networks. It’s ultimately a question of whether people perceive piracy to be worthwhile,” he said.

Kocher believes the very thing that makes successors to DVD more attractive to consumers – high-definition content – will also make them more attractive to pirates. Although the larger file size of new high-quality optical media formats like Blu-ray or HD-DVD movies will slow many pirate efforts by perhaps two years, high-definition content is a much more attractive target for attackers because, in many cases, it represents the best quality studios have to offer.

“While it’s unfortunate that security on the current DVD format is broken and can’t be reprogrammed, HD is what really matters. Once studios release high-definition content, there will be little or no distinction between studio-quality and consumer-quality,” said Kocher. “This means that HD is probably Hollywood’s one and only chance to get security right.”

According to Kocher, Hollywood is following a path common to other industries facing similar problems. “Typically, first-generation security systems fail irrecoverably, but later generations are designed to recover from failures,” Kocher said. As an example, he cites K-band (“big dish”) satellite TV systems, which suffered from devastating piracy because security flaws could not be corrected. Having learned this lesson, modern pay TV systems place critical security components in smart cards or security modules that can be replaced. While this approach is not optimal because hardware upgrades are expensive, it has enabled the industry to keep piracy at survivable levels.

For movie studios, optical media has so far followed a parallel path. The content protection system for DVDs was designed without renewable security, and has now been broken irrecoverably. “Just as the transition to digital broadcasts provided satellite providers with the opportunity to change to a better approach for security, new format initiatives such as Blu-ray and HD-DVD present an opportunity for the optical media industry to correct its dysfunctional security architecture,” Kocher said.

“The problem is urgent because it takes several years for security efforts to pay off. Everybody’s worst fear is that Hollywood will follow in the music industry’s steps and fail to make progress due to political maneuvering and a lack of technical leadership,” said Kocher. “On the other hand, if security decisions reflect a disciplined analysis of the long-term business requirements, I still think it is possible to keep piracy at a manageable level. Even in the best case, though, things are going to get much worse before they get better.”

For additional information, visit www.cryptography.com.

Apr 22 - LSI Logic, NVidia, And Ulead Provide Key Ingredients For Professional High Definition Content. LSI Logic Corporation (NYSE: LSI), a leader in innovative digital media processing technologies for the Digital Home, today announced that it is working closely with NVIDIA, and Ulead (a top developer of digital video, DVD and image software), to provide better high definition (HD) content creation capabilities in a PC workstation environment.

By bringing together each company's industry-leading technologies for video production, LSI Logic, NVIDIA and Ulead are providing software/systems integrators with the key ingredients for a best-in-class HD content creation solution. This combined solution is designed to meet the needs of a variety of applications, including content creation for post-production/dailies, HD kiosk advertising, high-resolution surveillance and telemedicine, digital cinema services via satellite/network, and HD video servers.

"We're excited to see that other leaders in the industry share our goal: to help grow the HD market through the availability of HD content," said Bob Saffari, senior director of marketing and applications engineering for Advanced Video Products, LSI Logic Broadband Entertainment Division. "By offering solutions that are quicker, easier, and more cost-effective, we are all enabling new HD applications that will benefit the industry and ultimately consumers."

The combination of LSI Logic, NVIDIA and Ulead content creation technologies makes it possible for production studios to capture, edit, preview and prepare for distribution or store HD content in real-time, all in the convenience of a single PC workstation, while maintaining high-quality video.
LSI Logic is providing its HDTVxpress™ Compressor PCI board for real-time capture and audio/video compression. NVIDIA Quadro FX professional graphics solutions and nvDVD software eliminate strain on the PC's main processor, making it possible for producers to preview HD content in real-time, thereby increasing productivity.
Ulead is offering its MediaStudio Pro 7 HD software for high-quality content editing and authoring. Each component is designed to fit into a PC workstation, eliminating the need for large rack mounts with complex storage and networking requirements. This form factor makes it more efficient and cost-effective for non-broadcast applications to produce HD content.

"The performance, precision and quality of programmable NVIDIA Quadro FX graphics solutions make them ideal for demanding digital content creation applications like video production," said Jeff Brown, general manager of professional graphics at NVIDIA. "NVIDIA Quadro FX solutions are backed by one of the broadest professional application certification programs in the industry, and NVIDIA UDA, a set of backward-and-forward, top-to-bottom compatible graphics drivers that optimize application performance, stability, and reliability."

"As HD production equipment becomes increasingly accessible to the general public, more people will want to create video productions with the same vivid detail they are beginning to see on TV," says Lewis Liaw, president of Ulead Systems, North America. "We're proud to partner with LSI Logic and NVIDIA to make this a reality. MediaStudio Pro 7 complements LSI and NVIDIA's best-of-breed solutions by giving consumers the unique ability to seamlessly edit HD content directly on the feature-rich MediaStudio Pro timeline without the hassle of using additional third-party tools or interfaces."

For additional information, visit: www.lsilogic.com, www.nvidia.com, www.ulead.com.

Apr 22 - New Nvidia Quadro FX 4000 Redefines Standard For Professional Graphics. NVIDIA Corporation (Nasdaq: NVDA), the worldwide leader in visual processing solutions, today introduced the NVIDIA Quadro® FX 4000, a professional graphics solution that shatters all performance and image quality records, and reaches new heights in programmability and precision.

Armed with a radically new graphics architecture driving twice the geometry and fill rates and up to five times the pixel read-back performance of the former industry leader, the NVIDIA Quadro FX 4000 features unlimited programmability and true 128-bit floating point precision – giving developers using it the power to create visual content that others with competitive boards can only imagine.

"Designers need their work to be as realistic as possible as early in the design stage as possible," said Jean-Luc Cuinier, R&D manager at Dassault Systèmes. "CATIA® V5 accelerated by NVIDIA Quadro FX graphics allows designers to create and interact with complex 3D models with ultra-realistic material aspects in real time. New NVIDIA Quadro FX 4000 capabilities like extended programmability, infinite program lengths, and 32-bit shader precision promise to further increase CATIA user productivity and design quality."

The NVIDIA Quadro FX 4000 introduces many other new technologies that drive the highest performance and image quality for OpenGL- and DX-based professional applications, including:

Rotated-grid full-scene antialiasing significantly increases the visual quality of lines and edges on 3D models without compromising performance.

Innovative high-precision dynamic range technology sets new standards for imaging through extended 32-bit floating point capabilities in shading, filtering, texturing, and blending for unprecedented rendered image quality in visual effects processing such as motion blur and explosions.

World's fastest 256-bit GDDR3 memory interface and the industry's highest memory bandwidth (32GB/sec.) for extremely fast data throughput.

Two dual-link DVI-I connectors, an industry first, drive multiple very high-resolution displays at up to 3840 x 2400 resolution rates, satisfying demanding medical, satellite, and geospatial imaging application requirements.

What Other Industry Experts Are Saying

"Professionals using Adobe software can now take full advantage of breakthrough computer graphics hardware to drive stunning 3D animations,' said David Trescot, senior director of digital video products at Adobe. "The NVIDIA Quadro FX 4000 drives great new features in the Adobe Video Collection like Premiere Pro's GPU Effects and After Effect's real-time, high-quality 3D compositing."

"The NVIDIA Quadro FX 4000 combines complete floating point performance, extended programmability, and high-precision dynamic range technology allowing mental ray® customers, for the first time, to leverage the GPU for dramatically accelerated photorealistic rendering of complex visual effects," said Rolf Herken, CEO and CTO of mental images. "To take full advantage of key new features of the just-released version 3.3 of mental ray, we recommend the NVIDIA Quadro FX 4000 as the graphics platform of choice."

"The leading-edge technologies in the NVIDIA Quadro FX 4000 will allow the company's traditional CAD, DCC, and scientific visualization customers to further push the envelope for creating the next breakthrough in design, animation, and research," said Sarang Ghatpande, senior analyst at DH Brown. "The product also bodes well for the newer high-end markets of energy and medical looking for a cost-effective, multiplatform architecture – ensuring NVIDIA's leading position in those markets."

"With the performance that we've seen, Alias is very excited about the radically new graphics architecture within the NVIDIA Quadro FX 4000," said Rob Hoffmann, senior Maya product marketing manager at Alias. "With the introduction of many exciting new technologies, we anticipate professionals using Maya will be able to take digital artwork created for movies and games to significantly higher levels of realism."

Rated Highest for Quality

Professionals rate NVIDIA graphics solutions as having the highest quality available. NVIDIA quality assurance measures include the industry's broadest professional application certification program and the NVIDIA Unified Driver Architecture, a set of backward-and-forward, top-to-bottom compatible drivers that optimize application performance, stability, and reliability.

Availability

Available in May, the NVIDIA Quadro FX 4000 will be sold by original equipment manufacturers like HP and add-in card partners such as PNY (US and Europe), Leadtek (Asia/Pacific), and Elsa (Japan), as well as value-added resellers and system builders.

For more information, visit the Company's Web site at www.nvidia.com.

Apr 22 - AMD Launches Two New Automated Precision Manufacturing Innovation Centers for 300mm Technology. AMD (NYSE:AMD) announced today that it has formally opened two new Automated Precision Manufacturing (APM) Innovation Centers located in Austin, Texas and Dresden, Germany.

APM is AMD's patented suite of more than 250 leading-edge fab automation and optimization technologies used to reduce time-to-yield on new technologies and decrease manufacturing costs.

The new centers will be used by AMD manufacturing technologists and software designers to integrate the next generation of APM, version 3.0, into AMD Fab 36, the company's 300 millimeter (mm) wafer manufacturing facility currently under construction in Dresden.

"This early APM integration effort will allow us to rapidly and efficiently bring fully automated processes online in AMD Fab 36, and will help keep us on schedule," said Gary Heerssen, group vice president, Corporate Manufacturing Group, AMD.

The APM initiative was started at AMD over a decade ago to establish the precise manufacturing capabilities required in the fabrication of highly complex microarchitectures.

The current generation of APM, version 2.0, is tailored to the unique requirements of 200mm manufacturing and is now in full operation at AMD Fab 30 and FASL LLC Fab 25.

"APM is another area where AMD is leading the industry -- in this case, with fab automation technologies that reduces time-to-yields," added Heerssen. "Thanks to APM 2.0 and the superior work force in AMD Fab 30, we now ramp our processor products to volume production using a fraction of the silicon wafers required three years ago, even though we have transitioned to a new design and increased the number of transistors three fold to total more than 100 million. The work done in these Innovation Centers is planned to extend and improve these capabilities to further enhance the strong cost benefits of 300mm production."

In AMD Fab 30, APM 2.0 today acts as a kind of "central nervous system" by forming an integrated fabric of communication and control linkages with the hundreds of tools throughout the fab. This sophisticated and highly integrated manufacturing infrastructure constantly monitors the health of microprocessors in production by collecting and analyzing data from the tool sets as wafers enter and exit them for processing.

Using this real-time data analysis, APM automatically and consistently recommends modifications to the routing of wafer groups through the fab, as well as changes to the recipes used within each tool, to optimize the resulting chips' performance.

APM 3.0 will serve a similar role in AMD Fab 36, but with increased precision, greater integration and added levels of automation beyond those currently found in APM 2.0.

"AMD is perhaps best known today for its leadership in 64-bit computing. But quietly, consistently, AMD has also been building a leadership position in something equally important to its growth plans: high-efficiency, high-output manufacturing," said Dan Hutcheson, president of VLSI Research. "The forethought and hard work put into APM has paid off. Today few chipmakers can come close to AMD's level of fab automation, precision and integration."

Efficiency and precision improvements in APM 3.0 will be primarily targeted at three key areas:

-- Wafer-Level Control -- Increased level of precise control allowing recipe adjustments for each individual wafer, rather than groups of wafers.

-- In-Line Yield Prediction -- Increased granularity of defect management for more rapid yield learning.

-- Active Scheduling -- Intelligent wafer transport containers, integrated into the APM communications fabric, automatically decide which path to take through the fab for optimum processing of the wafers they contain.

"When today most companies are just starting with the most basic levels of fab tool integration and automation, AMD is already extending its lead in next-generation capabilities such as automated wafer-level process control, in-line yield prediction and active wafer scheduling," added Hutcheson. "The advantages these technologies give AMD at 300mm look to be significant."

For more information, visit www.amd.com.

Apr 22 - Canon's Newest Mini DV 2.2-Megapixel Camcorders Combine Vibrant Video and Advanced Photo Features. Canon's newest pair of digital aces - the Optura 30 and Optura 40 Mini DV 2.2-megapixel camcorders - unite the worlds of digital video and digital photography using DV Photo Plus technology. The versatile new Optura 30 and Optura 40 camcorders optimize natural color quality, enhance low light image capture and provide a powerful array of Canon's digital camera "can do's."

Whether capturing- even simultaneously - the magical motion of exhilarating events or the deep emotion of a moment frozen in time, these two versatile DV camcorders combine such innovative Canon video capabilities as an RGB Primary Color Filter for superior color rendition, improved audio processing for crisp, clean sound recording, a high resolution, true 16:9 widescreen mode along with many of the most sought after digital still camera features including a built in automatic flash, selectable focus points, auto exposure bracketing, continuous shooting for up to five frames per second, streamlined downloading with the print/share button and PictBridge printer compatibility.

"The Optura 30 and Optura 40 Mini DV camcorders are firmly rooted in Canon's tradition of digital imaging innovation and many of their features are outgrowths of the technological advances originally achieved in the professional and prosumer video and photo realms," explained Yukiaki Hashimoto, senior vice president and general manager of the consumer imaging group at Canon USA, Inc., a subsidiary of Canon Inc. (NYSE: CAJ). "The end result is a versatile high-quality camcorder that captures brilliant digital camera quality photos in a compact, lightweight and easy to use package."

The Optura 30 and Optura 40 Mini DV camcorders feature a 12x Optical Zoom/240x Digital Zoom and 14x Optical Zoom/280x Digital Zoom respectively as well as Canon's Image Stabilizer that instantly reduces camcorder shake even when the user is shooting handheld with the zoom fully extended.

Among the camcorders' other top-tier video functions are the new Advanced Color Control System that optimizes color according to the shooting situations and an RGB Primary Color Filter that separates light passing through the lens into red, green and blue color components in much the same way as professional camcorders process color, yielding truer more natural looking colors. What's more the camcorders' High Resolution 16:9 Widescreen mode utilizes the entire width of the CCD (unlike some systems that electronically stretch the picture vertically) retaining image quality and providing a wider horizontal angle of view that is ideal for widescreen TV's.

Low light shooting capabilities are also enhanced thanks to Canon's new low noise signal processing IC and a user selectable Auto Slow Shutter setting (which provides additional noise reduction when switched on). Adding to their ease of use, both the Optura 30 and Optura 40 camcorders support the Picture Transfer Protocol (PTP) that enables data transfer with a Windows XP or Mac OS X (version 10.1) without installing dedicated driver software. This direct link enables the computer to access the camcorder as if it was an external card reader. Program AE settings for easy optimal results. Settings offered are: Easy Recording, Full Auto, Sports, Portrait, Spotlight, Sand & Snow, Low light and Night.

Photo Features

Equipped with a 2.2 megapixel CCD Image Sensor, both the Optura 30 and Optura 40 camcorders are capable of capturing sharp, high-quality two megapixel (1632 x 1224) photo images as well as 1280 x 960 and e-mail ready, 640 x 480 resolution images. With the simultaneous photo-recording feature, 640 x 480 photos are captured to a multimedia card or SD Memory Card while high-quality video is captured to the camcorders' Mini DV cassette at the same time. Both camcorders are also PictBridge Compatible enabling them to transfer images to Canon's CP line of Compact Photo Printers, Canon Photo Direct Bubble Jet Printers and any other manufacturers' printers, which supports the PictBridge standard.

Canon's dynamic Mini DV duo will debut on dealers' shelves beginning in late May, ready to record Memorial Day parades and picnics and well-timed for Father's Day and graduation gift giving, making mementos of June Wedding (and honeymoon) memories, saving (and savoring) scenes of summer vacations and impromptu excursions. The Optura 30 and Optura 40 camcorders carry an estimated selling price of $899 and $999 respectively.

For more information, visit www.usa.canon.com.

Apr 22 - Mobile Data Users Now Representing the Mainstream. With 54% of In-Stat/MDR's (www.instat.com) Consumer Mobility Study respondents currently using one or more wireless data services, the high-tech market research firm believes wireless data in the United States has made it to prime time. In addition, other results from the firm's survey demonstrate very few notable differences between basic demographic characteristics of wireless data users and those of non-data users, indicating that mobile data usage is now a mainstream phenomenon across multiple demographic groups.

Rather than demographics themselves, the key distinctions between users and non-users lie in the value that the subscribers offer to wireless carriers and handset makers. "Mobile data subscribers offer significant value to wireless carriers, content/application developers and handset makers," reports Clint Wheelock, director of In-Stat/MDR's wireless group. "In-Stat/MDR finds that wireless data customers use 42% more voice minutes than non-data users, in addition to spending an average of 19% more on their total wireless bill each month and 64% more on their current handset."

In-Stat/MDR has also found that:

-- SMS appears to be the leader among mobile data services used by survey respondents; however, Internet access services, ringtones and mobile games all had strong showings.

-- The national wireless carriers are on a relatively even plane with respect to wireless data adoption. According to survey results, Verizon Wireless, AT&T Wireless, Cingular Wireless and Sprint PCS are evenly represented both among mobile data subscribers and non-data users. T-Mobile and Nextel show strength with a relatively higher take rate of data services among their customers.

-- Responses indicate a greater-than-average adoption of wireless data usage among ethnic minorities, particularly Asian Americans and Hispanic Americans.

Apr 21 - Adobe, Boeing and Intel to Develop Universal Standard for Using 3D Graphics in Applications. Adobe, Boeing, Intel Corporation and more than 30 other companies announced the formation of the 3D Industry Forum. The goal of the group is to remove technical barriers and promote the adoption of a common standard so interactive 3D content can be as widely used online and in business as digital audio, video and photos.

This cross-industry group of developers and corporate users of 3D graphics technology will work with Ecma International, an international standards body, on a Universal 3D Format proposal as an ISO standard.

The power of interactive 3D graphics to communicate ideas, to educate and entertain is widely understood. But even as bandwidth and computing performance has increased across corporations, a lack of standards for experiencing and sharing 3D content online and among standard applications has limited its use outside of the engineering and design communities.

A universal standard for repurposing 3D content, such as product designs, would enable companies and educators to make interactive simulations a common training tool. Electronic owners' manuals could provide interactive guides for maintaining and repairing cars, boats, planes and other equipment. Customers of online catalogs could try products based on the 3D computer models used to produce them.

"Each time a new media standard has been enabled in computing and communications, it has led to an explosion of new uses and new markets," said Pat Gelsinger, Intel senior vice president and chief technology officer. "This collaboration between different industries marks a significant step toward turning 3D graphics into the next ubiquitous media, the same way the JPG-file format brought pictures to our PCs, the Internet and even cell phones."

"Boeing is investigating interactive 3D technologies to provide its employees and customers with enriched media that revolutionizes how complex product data is communicated," said George Uffenorde, 3D Technology Manager, Boeing. "We are working to develop very efficient information delivery processes to produce more cost effective training and improved visualization methods. We are participating in the 3D Industry Forum because it provides the necessary framework to collaborate with other thought leaders in developing and standardizing the infrastructure to enable broad-based use of 3D."

The 3D Industry Forum

The 3D Industry Forum (www.3dif.org) began when Intel researchers gathered a group of leading 3D graphics hardware and software developers together to discuss the implications of a establishing a common standard for sharing 3D content over the web. Additional discussions with corporate users of 3D graphics revealed a common desire to repurpose the 3D assets they developed for product design across the corporation in training, documentation, marketing, sales, as well as over the Web. Today, there are more than 30 members of the Forum. The goals of the 3D Industry Forum are:

-- Creation of a common standard for sharing interactive 3D content

-- To provide tools and information for the use of these technologies

-- Establish a community for on-going industry initiatives and development in 3D graphics

-- Promotion of industry growth and ecosystem development for the 3D graphics market

Apr 21 - Serial ATA Milestones Achieved with Two Completed Specs. The Serial ATA Working Group announced today two specification development milestones at the Intel Developer Forum here. One centers on doubling the signaling speed for Serial ATA, the other on new cable and connector solutions to support additional applications and usage models.

The specification for the second generation Serial ATA signaling speed - 3Gbps - has been completed and the release candidate of that specification has started its ratification process. The second-generation speed of 3Gbps (300MB/s) is double that of the first-generation Serial ATA speed which is 1.5Gbps (150MB/s).

A selection of Serial ATA products supporting 3Gbps signaling speeds have already been announced. Once the ratification process is complete in about 30 days, those products that comply with the spec can be marketed as 3Gbps Serial ATA products.

Among the features of the enhanced technology is that no new cables and connectors are required to support the higher signaling speeds.

In addition to doubling the speed for the internal PHY originally defined in the SATA 1.0 specification, the new specification also defines a higher-power version of it for longer-haul external datacenter use. The external phy version defined in the specification only impacts box-to-box applications (not used as a direct disk drive connection) and has been defined to match the electrical parameters for the SAS phy.

Also announced at IDF was that Volume 2 of the cables and connectors specification defining new cable and connector variants has been completed and the release candidate of that specification has started its ratification process.

Volume 2 of the cables and connectors specification adds several new cabling options:

-- An internal multi-lane cable and connector assembly for streamlining connections between multiple internal host ports and internal devices or short backplane.

-- An external consumer cable and connector solution that accommodates use of Serial ATA with external storage devices.

-- External multi-lane datacenter cable and connector solution for connecting multiple Serial ATA channels between chassis in a datacenter.

Products based on the new cable and connector ingredients are expected to appear by the end of the year.

In a clear indication of strong industry adoption of Serial ATA, a plugfest last month saw participation from a record 200-plus representatives from 57 companies. During the 2 1/2-day event in Colorado, 673 interoperability engagements were executed. The plugfest, sponsored by PMC Sierra, Marvel and Silicon Image, was free of charge to both Serial ATA Working Group members and non-members.

Visit www.serialata.org for more information.

Apr 21 - InterVideo Demonstrates Double Layer DVD+R Burning Capabilities. InterVideo(R), Inc. (Nasdaq:IVII), a pioneer in advancing DVD and MPEG-related software technologies, announced today that Double Layer DVD+R burning capabilities will be implemented in the upcoming DVD Copy 2 Platinum Double Layer edition. InterVideo is demonstrating this Double Layer DVD+R burning technology at Retail Vision, which is being held at the Hotel Rey Juan Carlos in Barcelona, Spain April 20-22, 2004.

DVD Copy 2 Platinum is InterVideo's latest release of its award-winning three-step software for making identical copies of personal unencrypted(1) DVD and CD videos for sharing or to protect them from damage or loss. Double Layer DVD+R (DVD+R DL) technology virtually doubles the storage capacity on DVD-recordable discs from 4.7GB to 8.5GB while remaining compatible with existing DVD Video players and DVD-ROM drives. With the new DVD+R DL support, InterVideo DVD Copy 2 Platinum customers will be able to record 4 hours of DVD-quality video or 16 hours of VHS-quality video on a single side of a DVD+R DL disc.

Many of the benefits that InterVideo DVD Copy 2 Platinum provides are even more compelling when the higher-capacity DVD+R DL discs are selected:

-- The latest release is 25 percent faster than earlier versions -- a key consideration when recording large video files. The software's performance is also enhanced with direct burn capabilities that save time and enable users to copy directly from the source to a blank disc without having to buffer the video to the hard drive first.

-- Using InterVideo's unique Multiple DVD Merging (M-DVD) feature, users can conveniently group even more videos onto a single DVD, complete with automatic menu generation for easy navigation.

-- Burning DVD-Videos or disc images stored on a hard drive to disc can be simplified by moving DVD titles to a folder, loading them as a source drive and copying them to a disc. Most competitors only support one VIDEO_TS folder loading, but with DVD Copy, users can load as many as they can fit onto a disc.

In addition to supporting the new DVD+R DL format, DVD Copy 2 Platinum can be used to make duplicate videos on all of the established write-once and rewritable formats, including DVD+/-R, DVD+/-RW, DVD-RAM, and CD-R/RW. Video output formats supported include DVD, VCD, SVCD, DivX(R), and M-DVD.

InterVideo has equipped DVD Copy 2 with an intuitive, wizard-like interface that walks users through the three easy steps for creating identical duplicates of their personal videos. Users simply select the source, destination and the video output format. The software's powerful Autofit feature automatically determines how much compression is needed to produce the best-looking results for the output selected.

To add and delete chapters, remove subtitles and audio tracks or change the aspect ratio, users just copy the DVD-Video to their PC's hard drive in the MPEG-1, MPEG-2 or DivX format and click on the software's Customize Button. Videos that have simple editing fixes do not have to be re-rendered because InterVideo's revolutionary UniPass(R) technology integrates DVD creation and editing together.

InterVideo DVD Copy 2 Platinum provides consumers who don't own the latest DVD burners with a growth path to the future. If they don't have a DVD burner, they can use DVD Copy 2 to backup their DVD-Videos to CDs in the VCD, SVCD or DivX CD format. Consumers who do not have a DVD+R DL drive can use DVD Copy 2 Platinum's Auto Fit feature to compress a 9.4GB Double-Layer DVD and record it to a 4.7GB DVD. DVD Copy can also be used to create backup copies of Double-Layer DVD-Videos onto two blank DVDs.

For more information, visit the company's Web site at www.intervideo.com.

Apr 21 - 123 Copy DVD First Program to Allow User Back-up of Any Movie While Remaining Compliant with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. "Burn, baby burn!" is the way 123 Copy DVD(TM) describes how easy it is to make high quality backup copies of movies. The new software package is available online at www.123copydvd.com or at most major retailers, priced at $19.99.

123 Copy DVD is the first product of its kind that allows the user to back-up any movie while remaining compliant with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which was signed into law on October 28, 1998. The bill was originally supported by the software and entertainment industries, and 123 Copy DVD meets all provisions of the Act.

The software makes perfect, top-quality copies of any DVD-to-DVD-R(W)(R) discs and is ideal for backing up any DVD movie. The software obtained at retail will not copy encrypted DVD's on its own. However, currently there are encryption files on the Web which can be enabled with 123 Copy DVD at the consumer's sole option.

"Even the newest computer users can easily make backup copies of their DVD collection," said Zachary Van Doren, founder of San Francisco-based ZVD Media and recognized new media industry expert. "It couldn't be any simpler. The user inserts a DVD, clicks on 'copy DVD' then sits back to enjoy the movie. It really is as easy as 1-2-3!"

123 Copy DVD at-a-glance

-- Copies any DVD movie to a single DVD, no splitting is necessary;

-- Copies episodic movies and TV shows;

-- Copies all special features of original material;

-- Allows users to copy complete DVD or customize, including trailers, audio tracks, subtitles and languages;

-- Copies audio in full spectrum Stereo 5.1 surround with DTS or Digital Dolby.

123 Copy DVD process:

1. Choose your source and target devices

2. Hit the start button.

3. Watch the movie!

System requirements for 123 Copy DVD: Windows 98SE/Me/2000/XP, Intel Pentium 800Mhz, 128MB RAM, Direct X 8.1 or higher, up to 10 GB temporary disk space and DVD-R/RW or DVD+R/RW burner. The company provides on-line 24-hour technical assistance.

123 Copy DVD is powered by X-OOM, already acclaimed in Europe as one of the top three backup programs. X-OOM's highly sophisticated line of products allows users to create, manage, edit, achieve and present digital media and record them on DVD/CD. The latest X-OOM technology ensures high quality data and media output.

123 Copy DVD is available now at most major retail outlets or online at www.123copydvd.com.

Apr 21 - Convenience and Accessibility Key Factors in Media Use of 18 to 34 Year-Olds. The Online Publishers Association (OPA) today released the results of a new qualitative study on the media habits of the elusive 18 to 34 year-old audience. Conducted by John Carey, a long-time research professor and managing director of Greystone Communications, the study revealed that media use is largely a function of lifestyle among this group.
These consumers often have unpredictable schedules and may only have small slivers of time available to use media. As a result, the Internet, which is pervasive and accessible on their own time, has become a dominant medium in the lives of these consumers.

Media Use as a Function of Lifestyle

Specifically, the research identified two distinct lifestyles that exist among the 18 to 34 year-old audience. These lifestyles can be described "unsettled" and "newly settled." The lives of those who are "unsettled," largely the 18 to 24 year-olds within this segment, are characterized by highly chaotic and unpredictable schedules. For example, a college student may opt to go to the gym one night, socialize with friends another, and study still a third. Generally speaking, these "unsettled" consumers have less of a prescribed routine from day to day. As a result, convenience and accessibility play a particularly significant role in influencing media use.

"Newly settled" consumers, who tend to be the 25-34 year-olds, have begun to settle down - that is, get married, start a family, begin a career. These individuals tend to have a more prescribed schedule, with distinct and well-defined slivers of media time.

"The fragmented media landscape of the 21st Century calls for deeper understanding of how consumers take advantage of the wide array of media sources and devices available to them," said Michael Zimbalist, president of the Online Publishers Association. "In this new study, Professor Carey's findings provide fresh insights into the profound way in which lifestyle affects media choices for 18 to 34 year-old consumers."

The Role of Various Media

The study also revealed that various media serve different functions for these consumers. For example, television is cited as a source of "entertainment" and "escape," while radio is equated with "companionship" and "connectedness." The Web is seen as a source of "information" and - quite notably - "entertainment," and is described as "accessible" and "convenient."

Clearly, the pervasiveness of the Web is a key contributor to the prominent role it plays in the lives of these consumers, particularly as their lifestyles underscore the importance of media use on their own time. One study participant said that she prefers the Internet because it's "what I want when I want it." The Internet is "everywhere," - at home, at work, in universities, and even in bars, which has not only made it the dominant medium for these consumers, but the first medium they turn to for information of any kind.

Changes in Media Use

Eighteen to 34 year-olds consistently report spending an increasing amount of time on the Web. However, the Internet is not the only contributor to the fragmentation of media usage observed among this group. These consumers also heavily use and rely on cell phones, MP3 players and other digital devices. As a result of living through a time of rapid technological change, it is clear that the multitude of media options available to this group are aggressively competing for their media time - and that those media that are convenient and pervasive are being utilized most frequently.

Notably, there is a significant amount of simultaneous cross-media usage among this audience. The proliferation of wireless Internet access has contributed significantly to this phenomenon, as many consumers are now online while watching television, or on their cell phones. In terms of simultaneous television and online viewing, two types of behaviors emerge. For some, online usage is related to television viewing. Sports and reality programming are particularly conducive to this type of behavior. However, Internet use and television viewing is often times completely unrelated, with consumers using the Web for e-mail or for information unrelated to the content they may be viewing on TV.

The Web as Entertainment

Perhaps the most significant finding, and one borne out by quantitative OPA research, is that the Web is considered a primary source of entertainment among this audience. Aside for meeting their functional information needs, 18 to 34 year-olds turn to the Web for "humor" and for "fun."

Astonishingly, several people referred to their "free time" and even "prime time" as "computer/TV time." From music to games to satire, the Web has clearly become an entertainment medium.

For more information about the Online Publishers Association, visit www.online-publishers.org.

Apr 21 - Rockstar Games Ships Manhunt for PC and Xbox. Rockstar Games, the world-renowned publishing division of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (NASDAQ: TTWO), has shipped Manhunt for PC and for the Xbox(R) video game system from Microsoft to North American retailers. Manhunt for the PC and Xbox will reach retail shelves in Europe on April 23, 2004. Manhunt was developed by Rockstar North, the team behind the global blockbuster Grand Theft Auto franchise.

"We are extremely excited for PC and Xbox gamers to finally experience Rockstar North's latest success," Sam Houser, President of Rockstar Games said about Manhunt. "Manhunt takes stealth gameplay beyond what anyone has ever seen and we are extremely proud to bring this superb game to a new audience."

"In addition to reaching new heights with outstanding graphic and audio achievements, we wanted to make Manhunt the ultimate stealth-action game," said Leslie Benzies, President of Rockstar North. "By turning the tables on the player, stripping them of power and making them fight for their lives with inventive play mechanics, we have succeeded in making Manhunt like nothing else out there."

In Manhunt, you are James Earl Cash, a death row inmate that has been sentenced to death by lethal injection. However, in a twist of fate, you are revived after a mock execution to the sound of your own panicked breath. Now, they are going to hunt you down in an organized blood sport where you are the prey. If you stay alive long enough, you may discover the identity of your captor. To survive his deadly game, you must run, fight and hide.

Manhunt is a tale of survival and urban horror that made an immediate impact on the gaming world when it was released for the PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system in November of 2003. Hailed by The Chicago Tribune as "the most important game of the last five years," Manhunt has earned critical and commercial success due to its innovative gameplay and gritty visual style.

Additional information about Manhunt is available at www.rockstargames.com/manhunt.

Apr 20 - Panasonic and Apple Collaborate to Bring HD over FireWire to the Desktop. Panasonic and Apple today announced the world's first implementation of IEEE 1394 FireWire with 100 Mbps DV-HD (the native video compression of Panasonic DVCPRO HD recording systems) to bring unmatched capabilities and dramatically lower price points to high definition (HD) post-production and content distribution.

Together, Panasonic and Apple are bringing HD over FireWire capabilities to desktop and mobile editing with Panasonic's new AJ-HD1200A, the first HD production VTR to offer a FireWire interface, and Apple's newly-announced Final Cut Pro HD professional video editing software, enabling mass adoption of HD resolution images on the desktop, and even on PowerBooks.

"The implementation of Panasonic's VariCam-native DV-HD codec in Final Cut Pro HD will revolutionize high definition production as users know it," said John Baisley, president of Panasonic Broadcast. "It permits content creators to embrace the film-like qualities of our Emmy award-winning VariCam acquisition system, on their desktop, at a cost level that permits the migration of HD throughout the entire creative process."

"Apple has worked with Panasonic over the past three years to bring FireWire technology to their DVCPRO50 and DVCPRO HD tape decks," said Rob Schoeben, Apple's vice president of Applications Marketing. "Now, we're bringing real-time, native DVCPRO HD editing to Power Macs and PowerBooks at a breakthrough price."

"National Geographic Channel is committed to making extensive use of the 720p High Definition video format. Until now, postproduction of 720p was both technically challenging and costly," said John Ford, National Geographic Channel's executive vice president of Programming. "Apple's Final Cut Pro HD tackles both of these factors head on. The ability to now edit footage from Panasonic's VariCam camera with original quality in the field, on a PowerBook or in the edit suite, could very well have a profound effect on how our producers create programming for the channel."

For more information on Panasonic Broadcast products, access the company's web site at www.panasonic.com/broadcast.

Apr 20 - ADS Tech USB Instant DVD+DV Bridges 1394-based Camcorders and USB 2.0 PCs. Visitors to the ADS Tech NAB2004 Booth #SL952 this week will see first-hand how the USB Instant DVD+DV takes the hassle out of capturing video from any analog or digital video source and archiving it directly to disc, or editing the video and outputting it to CD, DVD or tape. With a street price of only $249, USB Instant DVD+DV is an affordable, real-time solution that businesses, educators, and small broadcast stations can use to quickly create and manage their own videos.

Equipped with USB and FireWire® connectors, ADS Tech's plug and play external video capture device is the first solution that bridges 1394-based camcorders and USB 2.0 computers.

To enhance productivity, the USB Instant DVD+DV incorporates advanced codecs that provide the highest-quality, real-time MPEG2 video capture from NTSC, PAL and SECAM video sources including DV camcorders, analog camcorders and VCRs. By converting video to MPEG-2 as it is captured, the ADS Tech device saves time and speeds production. In addition to being able to control the brightness, contrast, chroma, saturation and hue, users have the option of capturing video using constant or variable bit rates and other custom settings.

For professional-quality videos, the USB Instant DVD+DV offers the latest in temporal and spatial video conversion and filtering technology to remove noise from old VHS tapes. Instant DVD+DV also includes ADS Tech's exclusive "Audio-Lock" technology to provide perfect lip synch through the entire capture, edit and disc-burning process.

Unlike other DVD products on the market that only provide one software application for video capture, editing and burning, Instant DVD+DV includes three applications that can capture video, two applications that can export video to TV or tape and two applications to create or author a VCD, SVCD or DVD disc. As a result, users can choose between getting the task done as quickly and easily as possible or having more creative freedom.

ADS Tech Capture Wizard 3.0 - In just minutes, users can capture video with this easy-to-use capture and playback software. With Capture Wizard, videos can be previewed at up to 720 x 480 full-frame resolution. The software can also be used to control a DV camcorder (Play, Rewind, Fast Forward, Stop).

Ulead® VideoStudio 7.0 DVD (SE) - With this leading application, users can capture, edit and output back to Instant DVD+DV to preview their videos on a TV screen, record on tape or burn the video to a CD or DVD disc. Video Studio 7 features an easy-to-use interface and advanced video editing features such as video speed (fast motion or slow motion video) as well as integrated DVD authoring.

Ulead DVD Movie Factory™ 2 (SE) – The fastest and easiest way to burn videos onto DVDs or CDs. With this software, users can capture video from Instant DVD+DV, add other captures and burn the video to disc. They can also use the Direct-to-Disc feature to archive their video tape collection directly to long-lasting CDs or DVDs. When rewritable media (?RW) is used, the "On-the-Fly" option records directly to disc, without having to record to a hard drive.

muvee autoProducer DVD SE – Known as the world's only smart automatic video editing software for the PC, this applications includes everything users need to make compelling videos in just 5 simple steps.

Availability

ADS Tech's USB Instant DVD+DV can be used with Microsoft® Windows® 98SE, 2000, ME and XP systems and is available for immediate delivery at leading retailers across the country with a street price of $249. The complete package includes the Instant DVD+DV device, Audio/Video and USB cables, a power supply and a user manual plus a CD containing Capture Wizard 3.0, Video Studio 7 SE DVD, Movie Factory SE DVD, Muvee autoProducer DVD SE.

For more information, visit their Web site at www.adstech.com.

Apr 20 - Battery-Biz Introduces Hi-Capacity® PowerPlus 60 Universal Laptop Battery Bundle. Battery-Biz, the leading manufacturer and distributor of rechargeable replacement batteries, introduced the PowerPlus 60 Universal Laptop Battery today. The PowerPlus 60 is a 60Wh rechargeable battery that is compatible with over 2000 laptop models and is the newest addition to the Hi-Capacity® Universal Product Line. It provides up to five hours of extended run-time and sells at a price point suitable for the retail market.

The PowerPlus 60 will be bundled with a universal AC adapter (a $99.00 value) and will be introduced at a suggested retail price of $229. Competing brands retail for $249-$299 (without a universal AC adapter), making the PowerPlus 60 bundle extremely cost-effective. In addition, the PowerPlus 60 uses Lithium Polymer technology, an energy source that provides maximum power in a slim, lightweight design with resistance to overcharge and leakage. The PowerPlus 60 will outperform batteries based on traditional Lithium-Ion technology used in similar products.

The PowerPlus 60 offers several notable features:

- Up to five hours of extended run-time
- Fits over 2000 laptops
- Ultra-slim, lightweight design (19.6 oz)
- Advanced Lithium Polymer technology
- Full one-year warranty
- Universal AC adapter included in bundle

Pricing and Availability

The PowerPlus 60 is available now and the suggested retail price is $229. The PowerPlus 60 product specifications are posted at www.powerplus60.com.

Apr 20 - Adobe Debuts New Video Line-up at NAB. Adobe Systems Incorporated (Nasdaq:ADBE) today announced the introduction of the Adobe Video Collection 2.5, which includes new versions of its award-winning digital video products Adobe® Premiere® Pro 1.5, Adobe After Effects® 6.5, Adobe Audition™ 1.5 and Adobe Encore™ DVD 1.5.
With outstanding cross-product integration and performance enhancements that take advantage of the latest advances in hardware, Adobe's new video line-up also introduces more than 200 innovative new features, including advanced support for high definition (HD) video in Premiere Pro 1.5.

Adobe Video Collection 2.5 will be debuted at the Adobe booth (#SL4730) during the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) event in Las Vegas from April 19-22.

"With these milestone video product releases, Adobe delivers a tightly integrated and innovative post production platform relied upon by broadcast pros, filmmakers and corporate and event videographers," said Bryan Lamkin, senior vice president of Digital Imaging and Digital Video at Adobe. "These latest releases extend our product leadership in digital video and audio editing, motion graphics, effects, and DVD production - and are optimized to take advantage of the latest systems advances we're seeing from Intel and our hardware partners."

Enhanced integration and common interface elements make working in the Adobe video postproduction environment easier and more productive. Adobe Premiere Pro 1.5, Adobe After Effects 6.5, and Adobe Encore DVD 1.5 support Adobe Photoshop® CS features, including nested layer sets and non-square pixels. The ability to copy and paste between Adobe Premiere Pro and Adobe After Effects further tightens the integration between these two industry-leading applications. Sharing effects between Adobe After Effects and Adobe Premiere Pro extends customers' creative options.

Using the Adobe Video Collection 2.5, Adobe Encore DVD users can send Photoshop menus to After Effects to create unique motion menus. Adobe Encore DVD also recognizes timeline markers created in After Effects 6.5 and Adobe Premiere Pro 1.5 AVI and MPEG-2 files, giving users the option to convert markers to DVD chapter points. In addition to integration features across the Adobe Video Collection, each of the products announced today offers significant new functionality.

The Adobe Video Collection is available in two versions, Standard and Professional. Designed for corporate and event production professionals, the Adobe Video Collection Standard includes Adobe Premiere Pro 1.5, Adobe After Effects 6.5 Standard, Adobe Audition 1.5, and Adobe Encore DVD 1.5. The Professional edition of the Adobe Video Collection was created for film and broadcast professionals, incorporating Adobe After Effects 6.5 Professional and Adobe Photoshop CS.

Pricing and Availability

The Adobe Video Collection available for Windows XP® will be available in the second calendar quarter of 2004. The estimated street price for Adobe Video Collection Standard will be US$999. Upgrade versions from any of the individual products will be available for an estimated street price of US$799. The estimated street price for Adobe Video Collection Professional will be US$1499. Customers who owned the previous version of Adobe Video Collection Standard or Professional editions will be eligible to upgrade for an estimated street price of US$249. Adobe Video Collection Standard customers can upgrade to Adobe Video Collection Professional for an estimated street price of US$799.

Information about pricing, support policies, and other language versions is available online at www.adobe.com.

Apr 20 - ZOOtech Launches DVD-EXTRA STUDIO. The world of DVD-Video production will be completely altered by ZOOtech, Ltd. with the launch of DVD-EXTRA STUDIO today at the National Association of Broadcasters annual convention.

This revolutionary DVD-Video production system allows DVD authors and multimedia developers to produce highly interactive DVD-Video discs which will play on any standard, set top consumer DVD player. DVD-EXTRA STUDIO enables developers to unlock the capabilities of every DVD player and produce titles that exhibit many of the properties of multimedia CD-ROM on a standard, unmodified, set-top player.
In addition, DVD-EXTRA STUDIO will allow developers to create and test current interactive DVD content at a dramatically reduced cost with a faster time to market. DVD-EXTRA STUDIO also enables developers to create DVD content with new levels of complexity and interactivity.

“DVD-EXTRA STUDIO takes DVD-Video production to an entirely new level,” said Stuart Green, Chief Technology Officer, ZOOtech, Ltd. “The conventional approach to DVD development is a very labor and time intensive process. The DVD-EXTRA approach allows various levels of development to be automated or to occur in parallel, so development of highly interactive products is more time efficient – effectively leveraging skills and assets to create new interactivity in DVDs.”

DVD-EXTRA STUDIO dramatically reduces the economic barriers and development obstacles associated with producing rich interactive DVD entertainment. For example, compatibility problem diagnosis is built in to the product lessening the need to learn coding strategies. Templates are available to create multiple territory or regional editions, simplifying the development of multiple edition titles.
DVD-EXTRA STUDIO also allows developers to change designs easily, automatically updating projects to reflect the changes. This flexibility means that designs can now be reviewed and revised during production without incurring significant re-working costs. DVD-EXTRA STUDIO also provides benefits unrivalled by the competition, including:

Graphic Design – Assets and menus can be created more quickly, reliably and for less cost.

Authoring – Quicker, more reliable authoring with links and instructions created automatically

Testing – Less costly and quicker because you can test sample groups as opposed to testing each and every button

Production – Allows you to do original asset creation and authoring parallel to one another resulting in higher efficiency

“From graphic design to prototyping and testing, DVD-EXTRA STUDIO sets a new gauge for DVD-Video production,” said Green. “Our unique methodology will continue to clearly differentiate DVD-EXTRA STUDIO from the competing products and establish DVD-EXTRA STUDIO as the industry standard for development of highly interactive DVDs for a variety of applications.”

For more information visit www.zoo-tech.com.

Apr 19 - Intel First Quarter Revenue $8.1 Billion. Intel Corporation today announced first quarter revenue of $8.1 billion, down 7 percent sequentially and up 20 percent year-over-year.

First quarter net income was $1.7 billion, down 20 percent sequentially and up 89 percent year-over-year. Earnings per share were 26 cents, down 21 percent sequentially and up 86 percent from 14 cents in the first quarter of 2003.

"Intel's first quarter results showed healthy growth in both revenue and earnings compared to a year ago, led by improvement in worldwide IT spending," said Craig R. Barrett, Intel chief executive officer. "We ramped our 90 nm process into high volume with the launch of several new desktop processors, and plan to substantially increase shipments in the second quarter including our first mobile and server products. The combination of these products plus new processors and platform innovations coming over the course of this year positions us well for continued growth."

On March 30, Intel and Intergraph Corporation announced a settlement agreement that resolves all of the remaining issues in a patent infringement case and provides certain rights for Intel customers. Under the agreement, Intel will pay $225 million to Intergraph. Intel recorded a $162-million charge to first quarter cost of sales, which reduced earnings per share by approximately 1.7 cents. The remaining $63 million represents the value of intellectual property assets, which will be amortized over approximately five years.

Key Product Trends (Sequential)

** Intel Architecture microprocessor units were lower. The average selling price was slightly higher. The average selling price excluding Xbox* processors was approximately flat.

** Chipset units were lower.

** Motherboard units were lower.

** Flash memory units were higher. Flash revenue information is available in the supplemental financial information table that accompanies this release.

** Connectivity product units were lower.

Intel Architecture Business

For the desktop, Intel introduced the first microprocessors manufactured on the company's 90 nm, 300 mm process technology. Formerly code-named Prescott, the new Pentium® 4 processors are available in a variety of speeds and include a 1 MB second-level (L2) cache memory along with new performance-enhancing software instructions. Most of these processors also include Intel's Hyper-Threading (HT) Technology. The company also introduced the 3.4 GHz Pentium® 4 processor Extreme Edition, which provides 2.5 MB of cache memory for today's most demanding PC applications, along with a 3.4 GHz version of the company's Pentium 4 processor with HT technology, both manufactured on 130 nm technology.

In mobile, Intel has begun shipping the company's first 90 nm microprocessor for mobile PCs, code-named Dothan, with an industry launch scheduled for May. The company increased the performance of its low-voltage and ultra-low-voltage Pentium® M processors for thin-and-light notebook PCs. The company also increased the speed of the Celeron® M processor to 1.4 GHz and boosted the speed of the ultra-low-voltage version of the processor to 900 MHz.

Intel announced that beginning in the second quarter it will introduce a new naming convention for its desktop and mobile microprocessors. The processor brand name will be accompanied by a processor number that represents the technical features of the product, including design architecture, clock frequency, cache size, bus speed and other technologies.

For more information you can view a public webcast on its Investor Relations Web site at www.intc.com. A replay of the webcast will be available until July 13.

Apr 19 - Xerox Research Results Bring Printed Plastic Transistors Closer to Commercial Reality. Semiconductive ink and new materials revealed today by Xerox Corporation (NYSE: XRX) may make flexible roll-up television screens and computer displays one step closer to reality.

According to Xerox, it has developed a high-performance, semiconductive ink that can be used to print the semiconductor channels of transistors at low temperatures and in open air - a requirement for low-cost manufacturing. Most materials developed by researchers from other organizations have required processing at high temperatures and under inert atmospheres.

In addition to creating the semiconductive ink necessary to print the semiconductor component of a transistor circuit, Beng Ong, a Xerox fellow, reported today that his team at the Xerox Research Centre of Canada has also developed materials for printing the conductor and the dielectric components. Thus, all three elements necessary to make a plastic circuit - a semiconductor, a conductor and dielectric - may now be printed using inkjet techniques.

Companies worldwide have been competing to develop a low-cost alternative to silicon technology that could print flexible plastic transistors as easily as printing a newspaper. The technology could ultimately lead to inexpensive large-area devices like flat-panel and flexible displays and low-end microelectronics such as radio frequency identification tags.

The manufacturing dilemma

The Holy Grail for researchers who want to bring flexible plastic circuits to the masses is a low-cost manufacturing solution that has two key elements: one, materials that can be processed in ambient conditions, and two, compatible printing techniques. The research developments announced today could satisfy both these manufacturing requirements.

According to Ong, if progress continues on this research project as he expects, Xerox just may have found the missing elements that could enable commercialized applications of flexible printed transistors. Ong discussed these research findings in a presentation at the Materials Research Society spring conference here today.

"Having developed these three critical liquid-processable materials may make it possible to create low-cost, flexible plastic transistor circuits using common liquid-deposition techniques such as spin coating, screen or stencil printing, offset, or inkjet printing," Ong said. He believes that products based on these or similar materials will be available commercially in the near future.

Xerox's advances build on the unique polythiophene semiconductor previously designed by Ong's team at XRCC, as well as on the Palo Alto Research Center's method for creating a plastic semiconductor transistor array using inkjet printing, reported last fall. PARC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Xerox.

For more information, visit www.xerox.com/innovation.

Apr 19 - IBM Reports 2004 First-Quarter Results. IBM today announced first-quarter 2004 diluted earnings per common share of $.93 from continuing operations compared with diluted earnings of $.79 per share in the same period of 2003, an increase of 18 percent.

First-quarter income from continuing operations was $1.6 billion compared with $1.4 billion a year ago, an increase of 16 percent. Revenues from continuing operations for the first quarter were $22.2 billion, up 11 percent compared with the first quarter of 2003 revenues of $20.1 billion.

Samuel J. Palmisano, IBM chairman and chief executive officer, said: "The IBM team entered the first quarter with good momentum and delivered a solid first quarter. Behind the results, clients are increasingly turning to IBM to help them become on demand businesses. This is creating demand for integrated services and high-performance IT infrastructure based on open industry standards -- areas where we have chosen to lead.

"IBM continued to out-perform the industry in our selected segments and gained share. We continued our industry-leading work in services with more than $10 billion in signings after a very strong fourth quarter of signings, and we grew our software and systems businesses, with significant progress in zSeries servers and WebSphere middleware. We delivered double-digit growth in emerging markets such as China, Eastern Europe, India and Brazil. Our balance sheet remains strong, with $8.5 billion of cash on hand.

"Despite the strengthening economic recovery, many of our competitors continue to struggle with the fundamental, changing dynamics of the IT industry. Because we anticipated these changes -- in computing and in how enterprises apply technology -- we made significant investments and repositioned IBM during the downturn. Those strategic moves are beginning to pay off for our clients and shareholders. We remain enthusiastic about our prospects for 2004."

Revenues grew at double digits in three of IBM's five industry sectors in the first quarter, as well as sales to Small and Medium businesses, which led the growth with 15 percent year over year.

Investors may view the earnings Webcast at www.ibm.com/investor/1q04.

Apr 19 - I/OMagic Plans to Ship 12X DVD Drive in Late May. I/OMagic Corporation (OTCBB:IOMG), a leading developer and marketer of data storage and digital entertainment products, announced today that it will begin shipping the next generation of high-speed dual drives -- an Internal 12X DVD+/-RW/+/-R Dual Format drive -- into the North American marketplace in late May 2004 with an introductory price of $129.99.

The new Internal 12X DVD+/-RW/+/-R Dual Format drive burns all standard media discs, including DVD+R/+RW, DVD-R/-RW and CD-R/-RW and is compatible with a broad variety of DVD players.

"The growing popularity of digital music, photography and video is driving consumer demand for the best in fast and flexible optical storage solutions," said Tony Andrews, Vice President of Engineering and Product Development for I/OMagic Corporation. "This new drive more than meets these demands and we're excited to bring it to market so soon.

"No longer will consumers have to worry about what type of media to buy or the differences between plus and minus rewritable technologies. Our Internal 12X DVD+/-RW/+/-R Dual Format drive combines the best of these technologies into one flexible solution."

The Internal 12X DVD+/-RW/+/-R Dual Format drive is a 12x8x12x DVD Recordable drive and a 48x24x48x CD-RW Recordable drive that includes premium software. The software allows users to create and edit videos, burn DVDs and CDs in all popular formats, as well as watch and store home movies, photos and MP3s on either DVD or CD discs. Operating systems supported are Windows XP/2000/Me/98SE.

According to NPD Intelect(R) Market Tracking, I/OMagic currently is the market share leader in unit and dollar sales in the DVD Recordables category, based on year-to-date February 2004 sell-through in North America.

For more information, visit the I/OMagic Web site at www.iomagic.com.

Apr 19 - Axentra Launches 'axentra.net' Free 25 MB Email and File Storage and Sharing Service. Today Axentra(TM) Corporation launched its new free 25MB email and online file storage and sharing service called axentra.net.

Based on Axentra's leading Linux-based email, web and file server technology, axentra.net offers users a complete and unique way to manage their email, files, addresses and calendar online via an intuitive web interface, or connecting directly with such native Windows and Mac applications as Outlook, Entourage, Netscape, and Mozilla.

"We are excited to offer the axentra.net online service free of charge to the many computer users looking for a thorough, universal and ad-free email and file management service on the net" says Marc Benglia, CEO of Axentra Corporation. "We feel that users will see the ease of use and the benefit of such a service and will naturally migrate at their own pace to get their own home server appliance giving them full control over their digital lifestyle."

With axentra.net users can:

- Check their ad-free email, from a web browser or any POP3 or IMAP
email client;
- Get access to 25 MB of free online storage;
- Easily store and share their files online;
- Publish their Web page easily to the world;
- Publish their photos online;
- Benefit from a powerful web calendar;
- Access their contacts from the web or connect to it with native
LDAP PIM applications;

Pricing and availability:

Axentra.net is absolutely free and immediately available at www.axentra.net.

Apr 18 - Sunday Shopping Watch.

Best Sunday Deals - See our Best Sunday Ad Deals Table below for specific system prices.

Weekly Comparison. All stores are having good sales to make up for being closed over the Easter weekend.

This Sunday's Special Discounts and Financing. In addition to sales on specific items, the following store-wide sales are advertised this week. (Note that these ads are for the Dayton, Ohio area. Prices or offerings may be different where you live.)

Best Buy is offering 18 month no-interest financing on all laptops, and $150 mail-in rebate on advertised laptops and desktop packages.
Circuit City is offering 12 months no interest financing, and up to $150 mail-in rebates on advertised desktop packages and notebooks.
Office Depot is offering rebates on advertised systems and 6 months no payment, no interest financing on purchases over $298.
CompUSA is offering rebates on advertised systems.
Staples has no store-wide promotions this Sunday.
Compare to Online Prices - Compare the Sunday ad prices to those being offered at DealTime, it searches over 160 online computer stores.

InfoHQ Related Shopping Pages

Shopping Alerts - Our latest shopping advisories on buying digital cameras and camcorders, desktop computers, laptops, and other computer items.

Windows XP Upgrade Guide - All about upgrading to Windows XP.

What You Need to Know About Dial-up Internet Service Rebates - The pros and cons of 'free' Internet service deals. Also see our latest InfoHQ Tech Watch Newsletter; Free PC and Free Internet Deals.     

Definitions. A complete desktop system/package/complete package is defined as a computer with monitor and printer or scanner.
A build-to-order system is customized at the retailer and then ordered from a computer manufacturer. In addition to the computer's stated price, you still pay sales tax and shipping charges (if you order direct from the vendor without going through the chain store, you may not have to pay sales tax and you could get a better warranty).

Caution about advertised prices. When reading advertisements, read the fine print of the ad to make sure you know what is being advertised and what it cost. For example, many advertisers will show a complete system with computer, monitor, and printer but advertise a price for the computer only.

* Prices discussed in this article. We report prices after rebates and discounts are subtracted.
Items highlighted in Black are good deals.
Items highlighted in Red means prices have gone up and the system is not a good buy this week.
Items in normal text means prices are about the same as the previous weeks.

Best Sunday Ad Deals
Category
Product Description
Price* (see above)
Prices up or Down this Week
Store
Best Celeron Deal
Compaq 2.7 GHz complete system with 17" monitor
$419
-
Circuit City, CompUSA
Best Celeron Deal
eMachines 2.7 GHz complete system with 17" monitor
$439
-
Best Buy
Best Pentium 4 System
Sony Pentium 4 3.0E GHz complete system with HT Technology, 17 inch flat panel, and DVD-RW
$1349
-$100
Best Buy
1. Best AMD Athlon XP System
Compaq Athlon 2800+ system with 17 inch monitor and DVD/CD-RW drive
$549
-
Office Depot
2. Best AMD Athlon XP System
eMachines Athlon 3000+ complete system with 17 inch monitor and DVD/CD-RW drive
$559
-
Circuit City
3. Best AMD Athlon XP System
HP Athlon 3000+ complete system with 17 inch monitor and DVD/CD-RW drive
$639
-
Best Buy
4. Best AMD Athlon XP System
HP Athlon 3000+ complete system with 15 inch flat panel monitor and DVD/CD-RW drive
$799
-
Best Buy
5. Best AMD Athlon XP System
HP Athlon 3200+ complete system with 15 inch flat panel monitor and DVD-RW drive
$979
-
CompUSA
Best AMD Athlon 64 System
HP Athlon 3200+ complete system with 15 inch flat panel and DVD-RW drive
$1199
-
Circuit City, CompUSA
1. Best Low-cost Laptop
eMachines 2.8 GHz Celeron with DVD/CD-RW
$699
-
Best Buy
2. Best Low-cost Laptop
Toshiba 2.8 GHz Celeron with DVD/CD-RW
$849
-
Best Buy
3. Best Low-cost Laptop
HP 2.8 GHz Celeron with DVD/CD-RW
$849
-
Circuit City, Office Depot
4. Best Low-cost Laptop
Compaq Athlon 3000+ widescreen with DVD/CD-RW
$1049
-
CompUSA
1. Best High-end Notebook
Toshiba Pentium 4 2.8 GHz with DVD/CD-RW
$1199
-
Circuit City, CompUSA
2. Best High-end Notebook
Compaq Pentium 4 widescreen 2.8 GHz with DVD/CD-RW
$1149
-
Office Depot
3. Best High-end Notebook
Compaq Athlon 64 3000+ widescreen with DVD-RW
$1299
-
Best Buy, Circuit City
4. Best High-end Notebook
Toshiba widescreen Centrino 1.5 GHz with DVD/CD-RW
$1499
-$50
Circuit City, CompUSA
5. Best High-end Notebook
Toshiba widescreen Pentium 4 3.0 GHz with HT Technology and DVD-RW
$1599
-
CompUSA
6. Best High-end Notebook
HP Centrino 1.6 GHz widescreen with DVD-RW
$1849
-
Best Buy
Peripherals and Software
Best Sunday Deal
Western Digital 120 GB 7200 RPM Hard Drive with 8 MB buffer
$79
(after rebates)
-
Best Buy
Best Sunday Deal
Western Digital 160 GB 7200 RPM Hard Drive with 8 MB buffer
$109
(after rebates)
+$10
Circuit City
Best Sunday Deal
Western Digital 250 GB 7200 RPM Hard Drive with 8 MB buffer
$179
(after rebates)
-
Best Buy
Best Sunday Deal
XTasy 9600 XT 256 MB
$199
(after rebates)
-
CompUSA
Best Sunday Deal
BFG GeForce 5500 OC 256 MB
$149
(after rebates)
-
Best Buy
Best Sunday Deal
BFG GeForce 5900 XTOC 128 MB
$229
(after rebates)
-
Best Buy
Best Sunday Deal
TDK 8X DVD-RW
$169
(after rebates)
-
Circuit City
Best Sunday Deal
Memorex 8X DVD-RW
$129
(after rebates)
-
Office Depot
Best Sunday Deal
Windows XP Professional
$159
(after rebates)
-
Office Depot

 

InfoHQ Quick Jumps to Upgrades from DealTime - Click to check on latest prices
Video Cards ATI Radeon
  GeForce4 FX
Hard Drives Maxtor
  Western Digital
  Seagate
CD-RW Drives 40x/48x Write Speed
DVD-RW Drives DVD+RW/CD-RW
CPUs All AMD Athlon XP CPUs
  All Intel Pentium 4 CPUs
Antivirus Software All Manufacturers
Firewall Software All Manufacturers
All Other Products DealTime

 

Additional Information. For additional technical information, advice on how to buy a laptop or desktop, and vendor and manufacturer links, please see our Computer Buying Advice page.

About Sunday Shopping Watch. Sunday Shopping Watch appears every Sunday (except some holidays like Easter and Christmas) in our News and Rumors column. It is a review of local (Dayton, Ohio) computer chain store advertisements. While we can not guarantee your local chain store has the same items, this article can help you make informed buying decisions.

APR 16 - Intel® High Definition Audio Will Be Music To PC Users' Ears. Intel Corporation turned up the volume for consumer electronics (CE)-quality audio on the PC today by releasing the final v1.0 specification for Intel® High Definition Audio.

Expected to replace the aging AC'97 specification developed nearly a decade ago, the High Definition Audio (HD Audio) specification ushers in a new era of sound quality on mainstream and performance PCs, paving the way for broad adoption of next-generation audio. The HD Audio specification is designed to implement a broader range of audio, modem and communications functionalities in PCs, handhelds and CE devices.

More than 80 participating companies, including PC and CE manufacturers, codec vendors, software providers and other industry leaders have teamed with Intel to develop the HD Audio v.1.0 specification. This industry group has worked to enable the vision of a flexible, dynamic, cost-effective and stable audio architecture with performance headroom for future expansion.

"The PC will play a vital role in the explosion of home theater and advanced audio solutions," said Thomas Loza, Intel technology initiatives manager. "The PC platform remains a versatile solution for the media applications consumers are demanding today and High Definition Audio capabilities will propel the PC to truly top-notch audio performance."

The HD Audio specification will provide an enriched playback experience as well as deliver better-quality input for voice and communication applications. This enablement of higher-quality audio is attributed in part to an upgraded architecture and increased bandwidth that allows for 192 kHz, 32-bit, multi-channel audio. Audio input is enhanced with increased support for multi-channel array microphones, dynamically allocated bandwidth, and audio device configuration flexibility.

The HD Audio architecture is aligned with Microsoft's Universal Audio Architecture* (UAA), and engineers from both companies have been working together closely on specification development. The Microsoft Universal Audio Architecture Initiative aims to create and maintain Windows* audio class drivers for High Definition Audio, USB audio and 1394 audio technologies.

"With the goal of improving the PC audio experience, Intel's next generation High Definition Audio combined with Microsoft's Universal Audio Architecture class driver will allow for a greatly improved user experience, new and exciting usage scenarios, and vastly better audio fidelity for users of Windows operating systems," said Jason Reindorp, group product manager, Windows Digital Media Division, Microsoft Corporation. "Microsoft is working closely with Intel and other industry leaders to ensure that the UAA initiative delivers on this promise."

Intel's HD Audio architecture is designed on the same cost-sensitive principles as AC'97 and will allow for an improved audio usage and stability level for onboard PC audio devices. Systems with HD Audio capabilities, which include those with Intel's next-generation chipset codenamed Grantsdale, are expected to appear in the market later this year.

About IDF

The Intel Developer Forum is the technology industry's premier event for hardware and software developers. Held worldwide throughout the year, IDF brings together key industry players to discuss cutting-edge technology and products for PCs, servers, communications equipment, and handheld clients. For more information on IDF and Intel technology, visit http://developer.intel.com.

Apr 16 - Apple Announces Faster, More Affordable eMac. Apple® today announced a faster, more affordable line of eMac™ desktop computers for home and schools, including faster PowerPC G4 processors running at up to 1.25 GHz, 333 MHz DDR memory, faster ATI Radeon graphics and USB 2.0 connectivity to peripherals. Offering even more power and performance, Apple’s most affordable SuperDrive™-equipped system is now available starting at just $999 (US).

“The new eMac is the most affordable SuperDrive-equipped Mac ever,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s vice president of Hardware Product Marketing. “Offering incredible value right out of the box, eMac provides everything you need for today’s digital lifestyle including iLife ‘04, Apple’s award-winning suite of applications for creating and managing digital photos, music and movies.”

Housed in a remarkably compact all-in-one design, eMac has a crisp 17-inch flat CRT display (16-inch viewable) supporting screen resolutions of up to 1280-by-960 pixels in 24-bit color. Offering fast 1.25 GHz PowerPC G4 processors, eMac comes with either a Combo (DVD-ROM/CD-RW) drive for watching DVD movies and burning CDs or Apple’s revolutionary 8x SuperDrive (DVD-R/CD-RW) for the ability to burn professional-quality DVDs at double the DVD-burning speed as before. eMac comes with hard drives up to 80GB and high-performance ATI Radeon 9200 graphics with dedicated video memory for outstanding graphics performance and realistic game play.

Providing the latest in wireless communications, eMac now also offers an optional internal Bluetooth module, in addition to including a built-in antenna and card slot to support an optional AirPort® Extreme Card for 54 Mbps 802.11g fast wireless networking*. With a total of five USB ports (three USB 2.0) and two FireWire® ports, eMac desktops offer easy plug-and-play connections to popular peripherals such as iPod™, digital video camcorders, and digital still cameras and printers. eMac also includes built-in 10/100BASE-T Ethernet and a 56K V.92 modem.

Every new eMac includes iLife® ‘04, Apple’s award-winning suite of digital lifestyle applications including iTunes® for managing digital music, iPhoto™ for organizing and sharing digital photos, iMovie® for digital movie-making, iDVD™ for creating and burning Hollywood-style DVDs and GarageBand™, a revolutionary new music application that turns a Mac® into a professional-quality musical instrument and recording studio.

The eMac comes with Apple’s latest operating system pre-installed. Mac OS® X version 10.3 “Panther” delivers more than 150 breakthrough features including iChat AV, an easy to use desktop video conferencing solution; FileVault, which uses the latest security standards and 128-bit encryption technology to ensure that data in the home directory is kept secure; Exposé™, a revolutionary new way to instantly view all open windows; Instant On, which wakes the eMac from sleep in just one second; and Automatic Networking, which automatically switches the network connections between Ethernet, 802.11 and modem.
With enhanced Windows compatibility, files, printers and network services can easily be shared with Windows users. eMac also comes with a collection of productivity and entertainment titles including AppleWorks, Quicken 2004 for Mac, WorldBook Encyclopedia 2004 Edition and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4.

Pricing & Availability

The eMac line is available immediately through the Apple Store® (www.apple.com), Apple’s retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers in two standard configurations.

The 17-inch flat CRT eMac, for a suggested retail price of $799 (US) includes:

1.25 GHz PowerPC G4 processor;
256MB of 333 MHz DDR SDRAM;
a 32x Combo (DVD-ROM/CD-RW) optical drive;
five USB ports (three USB 2.0) and two Firewire 400;
ATI Radeon 9200 with 32MB video memory; and
a 40GB Ultra ATA/100 hard drive.

The 17-inch flat CRT eMac, for a suggested retail price of $999 (US) includes:

1.25 GHz PowerPC G4 processor;
256MB of 333 MHz DDR SDRAM;
an 8x SuperDrive (DVD-R/CD-RW) optical drive;
five USB ports (three USB 2.0) and two Firewire 400;
ATI Radeon 9200 with 32MB video memory; and
an 80GB Ultra ATA/100 hard drive.

Apr 16 - AMD Reports First Quarter Results; EPS of $0.12 Driven by Record Sales. AMD (NYSE:AMD) today reported sales of $1.236 billion and net income of $45 million for the quarter ended March 28, 2004. Net income amounted to $0.12 per diluted share.

First quarter sales increased by 73 percent from the first quarter of 2003 and increased by three percent from the fourth quarter of 2003. In the first quarter of 2003, AMD reported sales of $715 million and a net loss of $146 million, or $0.42 per share. In the fourth quarter of 2003, AMD reported sales of $1.2 billion and net income of $43 million, or $0.12 per diluted share.

"Our performance in the first quarter of 2004 was driven by record sales, solid growth and strong execution," said Robert J. Rivet, AMD's chief financial officer. "Our Flash memory and microprocessor businesses delivered solid sales results in a seasonally down quarter and both business lines were profitable. Sales were especially strong in Asia Pacific and Latin America.

"AMD continued to increase its market leadership position in the wireless handset and embedded markets on the strength of our Spansion(TM) Flash memory solutions. During the quarter, products based on MirrorBit(TM) technology continued to gain solid acceptance, reflecting strong customer demand for their compelling price-performance advantage. In addition, we believe Spansion strengthened its NOR Flash market leadership position as it outpaced growth of the overall Flash market.

"Adoption of our leading AMD64 platform continued to accelerate with processor unit volume shipments more than doubling quarter on quarter. Responding to strong enterprise demand, AMD Opteron(TM) processor momentum continued with HP and Sun Microsystems shipping AMD Opteron processor-based servers for the first time. HP and Sun joined IBM and Fujitsu-Siemens and many other customers now offering leading-edge AMD Opteron processor solutions for the server and workstation markets."

Demand for the AMD Opteron, AMD Athlon(TM) 64 and AMD Athlon XP families of microprocessors remained strong. ASPs increased for the fourth straight quarter enhanced by continued penetration of the enterprise market. The AMD Opteron processor continued to see strong adoption in diverse vertical segments including financial services, web infrastructure, government, pharmaceutical, petrochemical and digital content creation. In addition, AMD Athlon 64 FX processor sales continued to be very strong in the gaming and PC enthusiasts' markets.

AMD's manufacturing transition to 90nm production for AMD64 processors is on-track with strong yields demonstrating excellent power consumption and heat dissipation characteristics. AMD will be initiating volume 90nm production in the second quarter and expects to deliver products for revenue in the third quarter of 2004.

For more information, visit www.amd.com.

Apr 16 - ZyXEL Prestige Routers with Firewall/VPN Deliver Secure, Shared Broadband Access. ZyXEL Communications, Inc., a leading provider of broadband access solutions, today announced availability of its new Prestige 334 series, wired and wireless Internet sharing firewalls with VPN. The comprehensive security features and quick throughput are designed specifically for Small Office Home Office (SOHO) users, home consumers and enterprise telecommuters.

The Prestige 334 (10/100Mbps Ethernet wired) and Prestige 334W (802.11g wireless) are the latest flagship offerings of ZyXEL's Prestige home/office gateway product family. The P334 and P334W offer robust security features similar to those found in ZyXEL's industry-leading ZyWALL firewall/VPN product line, such as Stateful Packet Inspection (SPI) and Denial of Service (DoS) attack prevention as well as 3DES VPN encryption, to protect users against security attacks and secure data transfer.
The P334 and P334W also provide considerably faster network connections -- up to 100 Mbps -- that are ideal for network-hosted applications such as Web/email/gaming servers, video conferencing and VoIP servers (that require open ports).

With WPA, IEEE 802.1x user-authentication and WEP encryption, the Prestige 334W has the further advantage of empowering remote users with advanced, secure WLAN connectivity to an enterprise network or branch offices. ZyXEL's Vantage network management software enables enterprise IT managers to centrally control telecommuters and remote users.

"We've based the design of these routers on the ZyWALL platform's proven technology and have tailored the features for security-minded users, both consumer and enterprise-level. Not only are the new Prestige gateways considerably faster than comparable devices -- 100Mbps routing throughput -- but they have significant performance advantages combined with powerful security features," said Munira Brooks, vice president of sales, marketing and business development.

"The Prestige 334 and 334W are ideal for SOHO and remote users who demand a high-performance router with solid security and safety features. These routers offer the best value available today at an incredibly affordable price," added Brooks.

Feature and functional highlights of the Prestige 334 and Prestige 334W include:

High Performance -- With a top speed of 100Mbps, the Prestige 334 series Internet sharing firewalls with VPN are well-suited for distributing large files, digital pictures and media content or playing real-time, head-to-head games.

All-in-One Access -- The built-in router, switch, access point, firewall and VPN ensure a safe and secure Internet sharing networking environment in the home or office.

Enhanced Security -- Stateful Packet Inspection and Denial of Service attack prevention protect internal networks from outside intruders or hackers.

Easy Installation -- ZyXEL installation wizard eases installation with a friendly web-based configurator.

Availability

Both the P334 and 334W are available through ZyXEL's national network of authorized resellers. More information about the Prestige product family can be found at www.us.zyxel.com/P334.

Apr 16 - U.S. Army and Ubisoft Join Forces to Deploy ``America's Army'' Brand Worldwide. Ubisoft, one of the world's largest video game publishers, and the U.S. Army, the world's premier land force, announced today that they have entered into a long-term agreement to develop and publish games based on the U.S. Army's industry leading "America's Army" game.

This historic agreement marks the first time that the U.S. Army has ever exclusively licensed its brand to a game maker and will dramatically expand the reach of "America's Army" to the vast console game market. The partnership gives Ubisoft unprecedented behind-the-scenes access to the vast resources of the U.S. Army, to give console gamers the same realistic, action-packed, military experience players have enjoyed with the award-winning PC game. With this agreement, the Army will also exercise ongoing content review with regard to the same features of realism, character progression, and gameplay motivated by Army values that have made "America's Army" one of the most popular online games in the world.

"'America's Army' is an excellent vehicle through which young adults can discover how Soldiers are developed and employed in the defense of freedom," said Colonel Casey Wardynski, originator and Director of the "America's Army" game project. "Ubisoft has extensive experience in producing best-selling military games and we're looking forward to getting their developers in the field with our Soldiers."

"Ubisoft is in the business of delivering what the consumer wants, and consumers want officially licensed games," said Jay Cohen, Vice President of Publishing for Ubisoft Inc. "When you play a sports game you want to play the game from the official league, and now, when you play an Army action game, you'll be able to play the undisputed leader."

This agreement marks the third major announcement from Ubisoft in the past few days and fires off the defining round in the company's quest to own the military games segment of the video game market. "America's Army", "Brothers in Arms(TM)" and "Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon(TM) 2" are evidence of Ubisoft's commitment to bring the gamer quality titles from every segment of the military category, from historical to near future, and aggressively position itself in the competitive military games market which accounted for 5 out of the top 10 combat franchises in 2003.

PC gamers have virtually experienced life as a U.S. Soldier since July 4, 2002. Now, thanks to this agreement between Ubisoft and the U.S. Army, console gamers will be able to join the experience beginning in summer 2005.
The PC version of "America's Army" has consistently ranked among the most popular PC action games played online. Since its public release, more than 3.3 million players have joined "America's Army", completing more than 600 million missions logging over 60 million hours of gameplay. "America's Army" is rated T for Teen.

The Army will continue to develop "America's Army" for the PC with free distribution to end users at local Army Recruiting stations, ROTC Detachments and Army events, and free downloaded from various partners listed on the www.americasarmy.com site.

To learn more, visit http://www.ubi.com.

 

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