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Welcome to InfoHQ Computer 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 Computer News and Rumors is an archived column, so feel free to review previous week's or month's computer news by clicking on the link below. Previous computer news articles can also be searched, by using our site search feature found in the right-hand column.
InfoHQ Computer News and Rumors Article Index Date (Click on story to read, use your Browser's back button to return to the Index.) Mar 7 NVIDIA Expands GeForce2 MX Family of GPUs Mar 7 Federal Court Injunction Against Napster All But Shuts Down File Sharing Company Mar 7 SOHOware Inc. Ships New Secure Broadband Router Mar 7 Virus Alert from Trend Micro: Medium Risk Assessment on TROJ_NAKEDWIFE Mar 6 Dell Delivers Pentium 4 OptiPlex Mar 6 AMD Scores Major European Enterprise Design Win With NEC Computers International Mar 6 Consumers Spent $3 Billion Online In January Mar 5 Worldwide Semiconductor Sales 13.7% Higher in January 2001 Mar 4 Sunday Shopping Watch Mar 3 Latest Microsoft Windows Me Hints and News Mar 3 Trend Micro Warns of Baby Picture Outlook Virus Mar 2 VisionTek announces GeForce3-Based Graphics Accelerator Card Mar 2 NVIDIA claims GeForce3 GPU Optimized for Pentium4 and Athlon Mar 2 Women Outpace Men in Cell Phone Ownership, But More Men Use PDAs Mar 1 NVIDIA GeForce3 Chosen by Top PC and Graphics Board OEMs Mar 1 Cray Inc. to Market NEC Vector Supercomputers Worldwide Mar 1 AMD Breaks Ground for Singapore Test Manufacturing Facility Mar 1 Dell Latitude L400 Delivers Big Performance in Small Package Feb 28 NVIDIA Introduces GeForce3 For The PC Feb 28 Intel Innovative PC Awards Expand to Include Mobile and Business Designs Feb 28 Production-Ready USB 2.0 Products to be Paraded at Intel Developer Forum Feb 28 Intel introduces new Low Voltage Mobile Pentium III 700 Feb 28 Toshiba announces Ultra-Light, Ultra-Slim Portege 3490CT
Free Year Subscription to Electronic Gaming Monthly!! While it Lasts....
March 7 - NVIDIA Expands GeForce2 MX Family of GPUs. In an effort to deliver high-performance, feature-rich graphics processing unit (GPU) capabilities to every end-user, NVIDIA(R) Corporation (Nasdaq: NVDA) today unveiled the GeForce2 MX 200 and 400 GPUs.
Featuring the 256-bit core technology of the GeForce2 family, 64 and 128-bit memory interface, and various clock speeds - this family of GPUs brings high-performance desktop GPU performance and capabilities to the value mainstream market.
The GeForce2 MX family now includes two new GPUs - the original GeForce2 MX (128-bit SDR/64-bit DDR/64-bit SDR solutions); the GeForce2 MX 200 (64-bit SDR solution); and the GeForce2 MX 400 (64-bit DDR/128-bit SDR) - for the most cost-effective, flexible graphics solutions available.
Based on the award-winning GeForce2 MX architecture, introduced in June 2000, GeForce2 MX 200 and 400 each are designed specifically to meet the needs of the volume PC market. Featuring NVIDIA's patented Digital Vibrance Control(TM) and the TwinView(TM) display architecture, the GeForce2 MX 200 and 400 also include advanced visual features, such as hardware transform and lighting and per-pixel shading, and provide GeForce 2 - level performance, all at mainstream prices. This rich feature set, combined with low cost, truly makes the GeForce2 MX 200 and 400 a family of GPUs for the masses.
The GeForce2 MX 200 and 400 will be available from numerous OEMs and add-in card manufacturers in 30 to 60 days. NVIDIA can be found on the Web at www.nvidia.com.
March 7 - Federal Court Injunction Against Napster All But Shuts Down File Sharing Company. With the ruling from a California federal court judge today that ordered Napster to eliminate all copyrighted materials from its system, Napster appears to be effectively shut down, according to Gartner, Inc.
Gartner analysts said they do not see any legitimate business model coming from Napster given today's guidelines on what music files can and cannot be shared via the company's software.
"Today's ruling is also a second chance for the big five recording labels to figure out an effective and reasonable digital music distribution model," said P.J. McNealy, senior analyst Gartner's e-Business group. "This buys the big five labels time to get their catalogs online and provides a legal alternative to the current illegal file sharing system."
Gartner also strongly believes that this case may set a precedent for how the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is interpreted in cases of copyright infringement via the Internet moving forward.
For more information about Gartner visit www.gartner.com.
March 7 - SOHOware Inc. Ships New Secure Broadband Router. SOHOware(R) Inc. today announced that retail customers can now purchase its BroadGuard(TM) Secure Cable/DSL Router at leading electronic stores.
SOHOware's BroadGuard includes a 10/100 Mbps autosensing switch to boost performance and expand a network. BroadGuard is the first broadband router on the market to bring professional-level Internet security and broadband sharing to consumers without requiring complicated IT support. Priced under $200, BroadGuard offers the industry's most comprehensive Internet security features for residential, telecommuting and small office/home office customers employing high-speed broadband connectivity applications.
"Hardware-based solutions such as NAT routers and more robust firewall/gateways such as SOHOware's BroadGuard solution will continue to become more important as consumers become aware of the dangers of always-on Internet access," said Jaclynn Bumback, Cahners In-Stat analyst.
"SOHOware's BroadGuard is an attractive solution because it offers firewall protection with SPI and prevention of Denial of Service (DoS) capabilities to SOHO commercial and residential customers without requiring in-house IT support offered at a true consumer price point," Bumback added.
SOHOware's BroadGuard solution provides a comprehensive set of sophisticated Internet security features including a front-end firewall to hide the network, and Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), which safely isolates a server PC within a network. Its advanced Internet firewall also includes Stateful Packet Inspection (SPI), which detects hacker attempts and blocks data movement, Denial of Service (DoS) prevention, and HackerAlert(TM) messaging that notifies users of intrusions by sending an email message.
Priced at $179.99, BroadGuard is available in leading retail stores including Best Buy, Micro Center, and Fry's Electronics and online at www.sohoware.com.
March 7 - Virus Alert from Trend Micro: Medium Risk Assessment on TROJ_NAKEDWIFE. Trend Micro Inc. (Nasdaq:TMIC)(TSE:4704), is warning computer users of a potentially fast spreading Trojan virus known as "NAKEDWIFE".
This destructive Trojan is a mass-mailing worm that uses Outlook to email itself as an attachment and deletes a variety of files in the Windows and system directories. Protection is being posted to Trend Micro's Web site as pattern file No. 859. Concerned computer users can use Trend Micro's free online virus scanner, HouseCall(TM) to detect this threat.
A sample of the email is as follows:
Subject: Fw: Naked Wife
Body: My wife never look like that!;-)
Best Regards, (sender)
When the EXE file is executed, the Trojan displays a message box titled "Flash", with an image and then displays a message box saying, "You're are now F!@$ED" (c) 2001 by BGK (Bill Gates Killer).
"There's no new technology being employed here, just effective social engineering I'm sad to say," said David Perry, Global Education Director for Trend Micro. "Users really need to learn to think twice before clicking on attachments."
Desktop users can scan their computers for free for suspected viruses with Trend Micro's HouseCall, a free online scanning service, found at http://housecall.antivirus.com.
March 6 - Dell Delivers Pentium 4 OptiPlex. Dell (Nasdaq:DELL) today announced the OptiPlex(tm) GX400, its first Pentium(R) 4-powered desktop computer tailored specifically for corporate and institutional users.
Priced in line with Dell's Pentium III-based OptiPlex systems, the midnight-gray OptiPlex GX400 is the fastest and most powerful OptiPlex desktop system and is available immediately in the U.S. and Canada.
At the heart of the GX400 is the Intel Pentium 4 processor, the most powerful microprocessor ever featured in a Dell OptiPlex system. Featuring the Intel 850 chipset and Rambus memory, the GX 400 will initially be available with the Pentium(R) 4 processor at 1.3 and 1.4 GHz with 256KB Advanced Transfer Cache memory, up to 2 GB RDRAM and hard drives and up to 40 GB in capacity to meet the needs of the high-performance desktop computer users.
The OptiPlex GX400 features an award-winning, midnight gray OptiFrame(tm) mini-tower chassis designed for maximum expansion capacity and easy accessibility. The GX400 features integrated audio and supports a wide variety of AGP video and PCI audio options. Designed for maximum manageability, the OptiPlex GX400 also features Dell's LegacySelect Technology Control, which allows IT managers to enable or disable any combination of parallel, serial ports, and floppy drives to provide the right balance of functionality and IT control for each workgroup.
Immediately available in the U.S. and Canada, prices start at $1,299 for an OptiPlex GX400 that includes an Intel(R) Pentium 4 processor at 1.3 GHz, 128 MB PC600 RDRAM, 10 GB hard disk drive, integrated 10/100 networking and audio, NVIDIA(R) TNT2 Pro 16MB AGP card, 1.44 MB floppy disk and CDROM drives.
Complete product details can be found at www.dell.com/optiplex.
March 6 - AMD Scores Major European Enterprise Design Win With NEC Computers International. AMD (NYSE:AMD) today announced that NEC Computers International, one of the world's top PC manufacturers, has selected AMD Athlon(tm) and AMD Duron(tm) processors for its PowerMate DT series of commercial desktop computers.
The AMD processor-based PowerMate DT series will target European large enterprise and government markets, initially in France, the United Kingdom, Italy and the Netherlands. This major win signifies the growing demand for AMD Athlon and AMD Duron processors in the commercial market. Systems are planned to be available immediately.
"We are delighted to announce today that NEC has chosen our technology leading line-up of seventh-generation processors for its prestigious PowerMate DT series desktop PC," said Giuliano Meroni, AMD vice president of Sales and Marketing, Europe. "NEC's decision in favor of AMD offers further validation that systems based on AMD's innovative processors and Socket A platforms are capable of meeting the stringent requirements for enterprise and government sectors."
"The proven performance of the AMD Athlon and AMD Duron processors enables outstanding productivity and system life for our commercial customers," said Dominique Bourrus, Vice President EMEA, Professional Division, NEC Computers International. "AMD processors deliver what our customers demand: reliability, proven compatibility, as well as a consistent and long-lasting platform. AMD will be vital in growing our European business."
For more information about the AMD Athlon and AMD Duron processors, visit http://www.amd.com/products/cpg/cpg.html.
March 6 - Consumers Spent $3 Billion Online In January. The National Retail Federation (NRF) and Forrester Research, Inc. (Nasdaq:FORR), in conjunction with Greenfield Online, today announced the results of the latest NRF/Forrester Online Retail Index. According to the 13th survey in this monthly series, total spending on online sales decreased from $6.1 billion in December to $3 billion in January.
The number of households online dropped from nearly 20 million in December to 13.3 million in January. They spent an average of $228 per person in January, compared with $308 in December.
Toys and videogames experienced the largest decrease, falling from nearly $600 million in December to $125 million in January.
Food and beverages, flowers, jewelry, and apparel also experienced significant declines. Consumers spent $88 million online in January on food and beverages, down from $336 million in December.
Online sales of flowers dropped to $36 million in January, from $107 million in December. Jewelry diminished to $62 million in January from $179 million, while apparel fell to $178 million in January from $501 million.
"The 50% decline in online consumer spending in January is exactly what we would expect of the post-holiday season -- not a reflection of how consumers feel about shopping on the Internet," said James L. McQuivey, research director at Forrester. "Being able to shop for deals anytime in a bathrobe from the couch will keep the online shopping industry alive and kicking for as long as there is a World Wide Web."
"These numbers reflect the evolution of the online shopping channel, which is developing its own unique cycles," said Tracy Mullin, president and CEO at NRF. "Online retailers' increased understanding of these cycles will allow them to better tailor their businesses to satisfy their customers, which will in turn allow for continued overall growth."
The Index can be found on the National Retail Federation Web site at www.nrf.com.
March 5 - Worldwide Semiconductor Sales 13.7% Higher in January 2001. Worldwide sales of semiconductors came in at $16.87 billion in January 2001, an increase of 13.7% over $14.84 billion a year ago, the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) reported today. On a sequential basis, January sales were 5.7% below the December 2000 level of $17.89 billion.
"The industry is currently experiencing lower sales due to an inventory overhang and deceleration in the end-equipment markets," stated George Scalise, SIA president. "Current forecasts suggest the inventory adjustment will be completed by the end of the third quarter, and end-market product demand will improve later in the year."
The factors causing the current decelerating sales are reflected in each semiconductor product sector and in every geographic region. Compared to January 2000, this January the Japanese market grew 23.2% and the Asia/Pacific market 2.9%. The Americas market rose 15.4% and the European market 14.6%.
From its beginning in the 1950s, the semiconductor industry has been characterized by a four-year cycle, sporadically modified by unexpected economic factors. The semiconductor industry has grown at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17% over the past 40 years.
More information about the SIA can be found at www.semichips.org.
March 4 - Sunday Shopping Watch.
Special Discounts and Financing. In addition to special sales listed below, stores have special prices on items today and Monday for President's Day.
Best Buy is giving away 1 year of free MSN with any computer purchase. They are also offering no interest for 12 months on desktop computers and notebooks.
Circuit City has a $100 mail-in rebate on all in-store AMD desktop computer packages. They are also offering no interest for 12 months on build-to-order systems and notebooks.
Office Depot has no special store-wide sales this weekend.
CompUSA is offering $200 any Intel processor complete desktop system and $100 off any Intel processor based notebook (both sales are for 2 days only). They also are advertising no interest for 12 months on total computer purchases over $499.
Staples has no ad this weekend .
Internet Rebates. All stores continue to offer the 3 year, $400 Internet Rebates. Please see our article, What You Need to Know About Internet Rebates and Free PCs, for an in depth discussion of Internet Rebates.
Definitions. A complete system/package is defined as a computer with monitor and printer or scanner.
A built-to-order system is customized and ordered from a Vendor's store. 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).
* Prices discussed in this article. Advertisers typically deduct the $400 Internet rebate from an items true price. We report all prices without subtracting the $400 Internet rebate, however all other rebates and discounts are usually subtracted.
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.
Best Deals this Sunday Category Product Description Price* (see above) Store Best Celeron Deal HP 700 MHz complete system $549 CompUSA Best Low Cost Pentium III System None advertised Best High End Pentium III System HP 933 MHz complete system $1299 Best Buy Best Pentium 4 System HP 1.3 GHz complete system $1899 CompUSA Best Duron System Compaq 750 MHz Duron complete system $749 Circuit City Best High End Athlon System Compaq 1.2 GHz complete system $1799 Circuit City Best Low Cost Notebook Compaq 700 MHz Celeron $1099 CompUSA Best High End Notebook Compaq 700 MHz Pentium III with DVD $1699 Circuit City
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 the highlights of local (Dayton, Ohio) computer chain store advertisements. While we can not guarantee your local chain store have the same items, this article should help you to make informed buying decisions.
March 3 - Latest Microsoft Windows Me Hints and News. Microsoft has released the following hints and tips on Windows Me and other related topics.
--Put together your home network Putting together a home network involves a number of decisions about hardware and more. With Windows Me, it's easier than ever to take on this complex task. Read about the steps involved in our helpful series of articles. http://www.microsoft.com/windowsME/using/homenetworking/articles/alltogether.asp
--84 secrets to working better with Windows Me We've put together dozens of handy tricks that make working with your computer faster, easier, and more fun, including a ton of helpful accessibility tips--with both mouse and keyboard versions. http://www.microsoft.com/windowsme/using/workingefficiently/tips/default.asp
--Look for solutions to Windows Me problems here! Our Support page provides links to solutions and troubleshooting tips for setup issues with Windows Me and more. You'll find the most common problems and information about how to deal with them here, updated weekly. http://www.microsoft.com/windowsme/support/default.asp
--Everything you ever wanted to know about Xbox Based on input from more than 5,000 gamers and games creators around the world, the Xbox console and controller delivers world-class power and performance. Take a tour in Flash or check out the video clips! http://www.xbox.com/xbox/flash/story.asp?story=S15.htm
--It's here! The new Age of Empires! Age of Empires II: The Conquerors Expansion is now available as a trial download. Get a free taste of world domination, Mayan and Aztec style. http://www.microsoft.com/games/conquerors/downloads.asp?f1=no
March 3 - Trend Micro Warns of Baby Picture Outlook Virus.
TROJ_MYBABYPIC.A propagates via MS Outlook as an EXE attachment to an email:
Subject: My baby pic !!!
Message Body: Its my animated baby picture !!
When the EXE file is executed, a message box with the picture of a child is displayed. When this message box is closed, the Trojan drops several copies of itself in the Windows/System directory and adds several registry entries to enable it to execute at each Windows start up. This Trojan needs Windows Scripting Host to function and, upon execution, tries to connect to a certain Web site. In addition to this, the Trojan code also has some destructive payloads, which range from overwriting files with certain extensions to deleting certain files.
For additional information about TROJ_MYBABYPIC.A
please refer to Trend Micro's Web site at:
March 2 - VisionTek announces GeForce3-Based Graphics Accelerator Card. VisionTek, a leading provider of advanced graphics and memory solutions for PCs, today introduced the most advanced graphics accelerator available to consumers and businesses.
Powered by the latest graphics processing unit (GPU) from NVIDIA Corp, VisionTek's GeForce3 graphics accelerator is the fastest and most powerful card on the market, as well as the first to feature a programmable GPU and performance compatible with Microsoft's DirectX(R) 8.0 application program interface.
According to Mark Polinsky, chief executive officer of VisionTek, the breakthrough graphics and memory architecture of the GeForce3, coupled with the flexibility to create customized special effects, has elevated 3D graphics to an unprecedented level of realism. "The GeForce3 card offers the highest degree of sophistication on the market - creative control combined with the most advanced performance, power, memory and bandwidth," said Polinsky.
Ric Lewis, Executive Vice President, Business Development, reinforced the breakthrough features of the new card. "In the past, graphics accelerators grew more powerful, but games looked similar because programmers lacked the tools to create distinctive special effects. With the GeForce3, programmers have the ability to create customized, detailed environments and more realistic human figures, which translates into a more intense visual experience for end-users," said Lewis.
VisionTek's GeForce3 graphics accelerator features NVIDIA's nfiniteFX(TM) engine, which gives game developers the ability to program a virtually infinite number of effects via the engine's Vertex Shader and Pixel Shader components. The card's 7.36 GB/second memory subsystem ensures peak performance and the smoothest frame rates in the industry.
Featuring NVIDIA's high-resolution antialiasing technology, VisionTek's GeForce3 graphics accelerator generates high-performance samples at nearly four times the rate of the nearest competitor, while offering the industry's best visual quality. The GeForce3 graphics accelerator delivers more than 800 billion operations, which is more than twice the raw performance previously available. For more complex scenes and images, the GeForce3-based graphics accelerator can provide a seven-fold increase in delivered performance.
VisionTek's memory, graphics and peripheral products, including the new GeForce3 graphics accelerator, are available through authorized VisionTek resellers (www.insight.com and www.cdw.com). < No availability or pricing were available at this time at either site. -ed >
For more information on VisionTek's new GeForce3 graphics accelerator and its graphics and memory products visit http://www.visiontek.com/.
March 2 - NVIDIA claims GeForce3 GPU Optimized for Pentium4 and Athlon. NVIDIA(R) Corporation (Nasdaq:NVDA) today announced that the new NVIDIA GeForce3(TM) graphics processing unit (GPU) delivers the highest level of graphics performance available on Intel(R) architectures.
Powered by the new NVIDIA nfiniteFX(TM) engine, the new GeForce3 GPU enables users to look into a rich environment instead of just a computer screen. 3D scenes have ambiance with GeForce3 because textures appear photo-realistic and custom lighting heightens drama. Characters and living creatures have organic imperfections and unique expressions -- you can see their personality. Programmability and performance have been combined to provide the catalyst for this graphics revolution.
Comments on the Pentium4
"Intel's Pentium 4 processor with its new Intel(R) NetBurst(TM) micro-architecture has been designed to accelerate operations on media and graphics rich content. We are pleased to have worked closely with NVIDIA so the GeForce3 can best take advantage of these capabilities. Together, the GeForce3 and the Pentium 4 processor significantly advance the visual realism now possible on the IA platform," said David Fair, Intel's visualization technologies initiative manager.
"The Pentium 4 processor introduced many exciting capabilities for increasing system throughput and the GeForce3 is ideally suited to take advantage of them, " explains Dan Vivoli, executive vice president of marketing at NVIDIA. "Our engineers have a great track record for getting the most out of Intel architectures. Working with Intel to optimize our GPUs for the Pentium 4 processor gives NVIDIA the necessary insight to create unique techniques for efficiently moving complex images through their architecture."
Comments on the Athlon.
"The NVIDIA GeForce3 provides an excellent, high-performance video option for AMD's processor customers," said Ned Finkle, director of the Infrastructure Enablement Group, AMD. "AMD has worked closely with NVIDIA to optimize the GeForce3 GPU drivers on the AMD Athlon processor platform to assure users will benefit from both performance and stability under extreme gaming and multimedia conditions. We feel that NVIDIA's use of DDR memory in the GeForce3 perfectly compliments the AMD Athlon processor's 266MHz front-side bus and DDR memory speeds."
"Teaming up the GeForce3 GPU with Athlon processors gives users an incredible leap forward in performance and overall visual experience," states Dan Vivoli, executive vice president of marketing at NVIDIA. "By working alongside AMD to optimize the GeForce3 for AMD Athlon processors, NVIDIA is able to take full advantage of the high-throughput innovations the platform offers."
< NVIDIA also claimed the GeForce3 was optimized for Apple's G4 processor in an earlier press release. -ed >.
NVIDIA can be found on the Web at www.nvidia.com.
March 2 - Women Outpace Men in Cell Phone Ownership, But More Men Use PDAs. Dispelling the myth that men are bigger techno-files than women, a BizRate.com study of online buyers reports that a greater portion of females (76%) own cell phones than men (73%).
Guys seem to have "moved on" to other gadgets, with 30% of men stating they own a PDA (Personal Digital Assistant) compared with only 18% of women. Seth Geiger, vice president of Professional Services, said, "Men are typically the early adopters when it comes to gadgets, but women will usually embrace a particular device quickly once the utility has been demonstrated."
Interestingly, despite the technological wizardry a PDA is capable of performing, from e-mail functionality to Web-browsing capabilities, price is still the most important factor for online shoppers when purchasing a PDA. BizRate.com can be found on the Web at www.bizrate.com.
March 1 - NVIDIA GeForce3 Chosen by Top PC and Graphics Board OEMs. NVIDIA(R) Corporation (Nasdaq:NVDA) today announced that the NVIDIA GeForce3(TM) graphics processor unit (GPU) has secured design wins with the industry's top PC OEMs.
With revolutionary programmability and performance, the NVIDIA GeForce3 GPU sets a new milestone in the graphics industry. Photo-realistic visualizations, full-screen action even in complex scenes, and enhanced organic textures from the NVIDIA GeForce3 bring ambiance, personality, and unique style to games and other graphics applications. The rapid adoption by leading OEMs underscores the technical innovations of the NVIDIA GeForce3 and ensures that PC users will gain early access to a wave of next-generation capabilities.
In coming weeks, the following PC OEMs and add-in card manufacturers will be offering products based on the NVIDIA GeForce3:
-- Apple Computers
-- Compaq Computer Corporation
-- Dell Computer Corporation
-- Hewlett-Packard Company
Add-in Card Manufacturers
-- Leadtek System Builders
-- Atlas Micro
-- ABS Computer
-- Everex Systems
-- Micro Pro
-- Monarch Computer
About the NVIDIA GeForce3
The NVIDIA GeForce3 GPU integrates the NVIDIA nfiniteFX engine and Lightspeed Memory Architecture(TM) to bring environments and characters to life. Game developers take advantage of the fully programmable Vertex and Pixel Shaders of the nfiniteFX engine to create a virtually infinite number of special effects and custom looks.
The GeForce3 is the world's most advanced GPU with more than 57 million transistors and is able to perform more than 800 billion operations per second and 76 billion floating point operations per second (FLOPS). The GeForce3 GPU achieves an astounding 3.2 billion antialiased samples per second fill rate -- more than four times the performance of the award-winning GeForce2 Ultra and more than seven times the processing power of any competitive consumer graphics product.
As do all of the GeForce family products, GeForce3 drives the most extreme resolutions and color depths of up to 2048 x 1536 x 32.The GeForce3 architecture has been chosen as the reference platform for the Microsoft(R) DirectX(R) 8 application programming interface (API) and the Microsoft next generation game console, Xbox(TM).
Major features of the NVIDIA GeForce3 GPU include:
-- New architecture including the nfiniteFX engine and Lightspeed Memory Architecture
-- Fully programmable Vertex and Pixel Shaders
-- Hardware full-scene antialiasing (FSAA)
-- Up to 64MB of high-speed double data rate (DDR) frame buffer memory
-- AGP 4X and PCI support
-- Full support for Microsoft DirectX and SGI OpenGL(R)
-- Optimized performance for current and future CPUs from Intel(R), AMD and the PowerPC G4 from Motorola and IBM
NVIDIA can be found on the Web at www.nvidia.com.
March 1 - Cray Inc. to Market NEC Vector Supercomputers Worldwide. Global supercomputer leader Cray Inc. (Nasdaq:CRAY) today announced that it has signed a definitive agreement with NEC Corporation (Nasdaq:NIPNY) to market NEC vector supercomputers worldwide alongside the company's current Cray SV1(TM) and future Cray SV2(TM) vector systems.
The ten-year OEM agreement gives Cray exclusive rights to distribute the NEC SX-5 Series and successor vector products in North America, and non-exclusive rights in the rest of the world, including Japan. Cray will absorb the operations of NEC's North American marketing arm, HNSX Supercomputers Inc., Littleton, Mass.
The transaction does not provide for any technology transfer between Cray and NEC. As part of the agreement, NEC will invest $25 million cash in Cray, in exchange for 3.125 million non-voting, preferred shares of Cray stock, convertible into Cray common stock at a fixed conversion price of $8.00 per share. Closing is expected to occur within 90 days, the companies said.
"This agreement is aimed at maximizing global sales of the Cray and NEC vector products, and at addressing the needs of the underserved U.S. vector market," said Cray Inc. chairman and CEO Jim Rottsolk. "Together with our previously announced plans for leading non-vector products -- the Cray SuperCluster(R) series and the Cray MTA-2(TM) multithreaded system -- this agreement leverages our existing sales and support infrastructure to position the company for significant revenue growth."
The companies can be found on the Web at www.nec-global.com and www.cray.com.
March 1 - AMD Breaks Ground for Singapore Test Manufacturing Facility. AMD broke ground for a new $45 million (S$80 million) semiconductor testing facility and design center in Singapore.
AMD's current Singapore facilities operate as a design and manufacturing test center, handling the final packaging and testing for every AMD Athlon(TM) and AMD Duron(TM) processor manufactured by the company. The new facility is scheduled to be operational in the second half of 2002.
"The expansion of AMD's Singapore operations is an investment in the facilities and resources which will allow AMD to provide the sophisticated quality and process control systems needed to meet our customer's demand for high-volumes of AMD Athlon and AMD Duron processors," said Ajay Marathe, vice president of Microprocessor Operations and Logistics at AMD.
"AMD has developed a significant presence in Singapore since opening its first facility 17 years ago. With this expansion, AMD is solidifying this long term relationship with Singapore by putting in place the testing facilities, engineering workforce, and infrastructure required to expand AMD's position as an industry-leading supplier of innovative, high-performance processors for PCs, workstations and servers."
When completed, the new seven story Singapore test plant and design center will encompass 345,000 square feet, including a 260,000 square foot production facility. The new Singapore facility expands on AMD's existing 258,000 square foot production facility, and will operate as a test center for microprocessors, engineering research and development, and integrated circuit design activities.
Engineers in the Singapore design center are currently assisting with the development and introduction of AMD's next generation "Hammer" family of processors. AMD's Hammer family of processors will be the first AMD processors capable of 64-bit operation. The innovative design of AMD's Hammer processors is planned to deliver leading-edge performance on both the 64-bit software used by high-end workstations and servers and the 32-bit software used by the majority of desktop computers.
AMD's current Singapore facilities at Bedok Industrial Estate were established in 1984 as one of AMD's primary worldwide testing facilities. AMD Singapore currently employs 1,700 employees. Visit AMD on the Web at www.amd.com.
March 1 - Dell Latitude L400 Delivers Big Performance in Small Package. Today, Dell introduced its newest ultraportable, the Latitude L400, which delivers an important balance between mobility, usability and performance, and makes it easy for mobile customers to stay connected and be productive, regardless of their location.
The lightest Latitude ever, the L400 can weigh as little as 3.4 pounds, is only an inch thick and is wrapped in a durable magnesium alloy cover that will easily handle the most rigorous business traveler's schedule. Despite its small profile, it does not compromise performance or ease of use.
The Latitude L400 features Intel's(R) Low Voltage mobile Pentium(R) III processor at 700Mhz, a high-resolution 12.1-inch XGA screen and ATI Rage Mobility M graphics controller with 4 MB SGRAM and a comfortable 95 percent full-size keyboard.
Whether moving around the office or across the country, the Latitude L400 makes it easy to stay productive by offering a variety of connectivity options, including standard integrated 56k-capable modem, 10/100 Ethernet network interface card (NIC), or optional Dell TrueMobile(tm) 1150 Wireless PC Card.
The Latitude L400 is designed with the size- and weight-sensitive mobile user in mind. For optimized travel weight, users can choose individual media device modules that connect directly to the system, eliminating the need to carry a bulky media expansion slice. The L400 retains compatibility with all Latitude C-family media modules and peripherals, and the L-family Advanced Port Replicator.
The price of the standard Latitude L400 starts at $2,159 and includes Intel's Low Voltage mobile Pentium III with SpeedStep technology at 700MHz, 128 MB SDRAM, 6 GB hard disk drive, integrated 56k v.90 modem and 3Com 10/100 Ethernet, ATI Mobility M with 4 MB video SGRAM, floppy diskette drive, external media module sleeve and IDE media bay cable, Microsoft(R) Windows(R) 2000 and three-year next business day onsite service.
More information on the Latitude product family can be found at www.dell.com/latitude.
February 28 - NVIDIA Introduces GeForce3 For The PC. Just 5 days after the original announcement for the Macintosh platform, NVIDIA Corporation (Nasdaq:NVDA) announced today the GeForce3(TM) GPU (graphics processing unit) for the PC.
The GeForce3 GPU is based on a radical new graphics architecture that will offer breakthrough graphics to multiple markets, including the desktop PC and the Macintosh(R) platforms. This groundbreaking GPU includes the same core technology as NVIDIA's highly anticipated Xbox GPU (XGPU) for Microsoft's Xbox(TM) game console.
"Over the next several years we will create dramatic advances in 3D technology," stated Jen-Hsun Huang, president and CEO of NVIDIA. "Rich 3D graphics are the essence of a variety of digital appliances, from workstations to PCs to game consoles, like Microsoft's Xbox. The GeForce3 GPU represents a quantum leap forward in computer graphics and will redefine these platforms."
GeForce3's nfiniteFX(TM) engine includes hardware support for the vertex and pixel shading technology recently licensed to Microsoft for DirectX(R) 8. This breakthrough technology will dramatically change the visual quality and performance of Microsoft-based PC and console platforms.
NVIDIA's nfiniteFX Engine The GeForce3 GPU's nfiniteFX engine gives developers the ability to program a virtually infinite number of special effects and custom looks. Instead of every developer choosing from the same hard-coded palette of capabilities and ending up with a generic look and feel, application developers can specify personalized combinations of graphics operations and create an unlimited list of their own effects. Two architectural advancements enable the nfiniteFX engine's programmability and its multitude of effects: Vertex Shaders and Pixel Shaders.
Vertex Shaders inject personality into characters and environments. The vertex processing capabilities allow characters to move and show facial emotion, materials to stretch, and the scene to come alive. By customizing the skinning and motion, developers can create an appropriate personality, intensifying the impact of the visualization or animation.
Pixel Shaders create ambiance with materials and surfaces that mimic reality. Amazingly realistic material effects replace the artificial, computerized look with high-impact organic surfaces. Characters now have facial hair and blemishes, golf balls have dimples, a red chair gains a subtle leather look, and wood exhibits texture and grain. By altering the lighting and surface effects, artists are able to manipulate colors, textures, or shapes and generate complex, realistic scenes.
Exciting new PCs equipped with GeForce3 will be available next month. See the related story on the GeForce3 for Mac below.
February 28 - Intel Innovative PC Awards Expand to Include Mobile and Business Designs. Intel Corporation today announced the expansion of the Intel Innovative PC Awards to include mobile and business desktop designs that raise the bar in performance, personality and simplicity.
At a ceremony held at Spring Intel Developer Forum (IDF), Vice President and General Manager Louis Burns, Intel Desktop Platforms Group, presented Innovative PC Awards for the Compaq iPAQ, Compaq Presario 800, Dell Latitude C800, Fujitsu-Siemens Jetson, Samsung SENS 760, Sony Digital Studio PCV-RX380DS and SOTEC AFiNA AV.
Compaq iPAQ The iPAQ comes legacy-free but contains a port adaptor to address older component needs. Six Universal Serial Bus (USB) ports provide plug-and-play expansion and don't require getting under the desk to add peripherals. Easy one-tool access ensures security while at the same time providing quick and pain-free access to internal components. This easy experience is enhanced by an Intel Pentium(R) III processor running at 850 MHz and backed by 128 MB of RAM. Instantly Available power management ensures the PC is always available and always ready while consuming very low power.
Compaq Presario 800 The Compaq Presario 800 offers stylish color, a lightweight design and has one-touch features for a unique experience in mobility. Designed for convenience and ease of use, it has easy one-touch Internet and e-mail access and features a four-way scroll button for easy use of applications. The rewriteable compact disk (CD-RW) drive provides an easy way to transfer files, create music CDs and experience fun entertainment. There is a Personal Computer Memory Card International Association (PCMCIA) card slot and two USB ports to allow quick and easy expansion. Sleek style, innovative technology and easy one-touch applications make this system an Innovative PC notebook.
Dell Latitude C800 Defying the trend of "less is more," Dell's Latitude C800 comes packed with enough features to be the envy of the desktop. Users can watch DVD movies through its large video screen, making them forget it is a notebook. An S-video output port allows users to extend the DVD experience or a presentation to a TV screen. This versatile notebook still takes computing seriously with its Pentium III processor at 850 MHz and 128 MB of RAM. An integrated wireless antenna makes the Dell Latitude ready for a wireless solution.
Fujitsu-Siemens Jetson The Fujitsu-Siemens Jetson's attractive silver industrial design is not only sleek, but also functional. Front panel ports provide the user with a quick and easy way to connect peripherals. A quiet fan delivers a computing experience without distraction. Although compact, the Jetson does not sacrifice performance with its Intel Pentium III processor at 933 MHz, and 128 MB of RAM.
Sony Digital Studio PVC-RX380DS The blue power light on the Sony Digital Studio is the first sign that this system doesn't lack personality. It also doesn't lack power with its high-performance Pentium(R) 4 processor at 1.5 GHz. The attractive lavender trim and covered drives present a smooth, uncluttered front view. The combination hardware and software package packs a video, photo and audio production studio into a small box. Other features include 128 MB RAM, four USB ports and two Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 1394 connectors that provide plenty of flexibility for adding external peripherals. The keyboard boasts five user-definable keys, allowing users to tailor to their needs.
Samsung SENS 760 The Samsung SENS 760 is a laptop with style, class and incredible features. It combines true business features with a consumer flair to create the ultimate in mobility. It's thin, light and makes for easy transport to and from the home and office. The docking station ensures access to peripherals when users need them, and they can be left at home when they don't. Business applications are fun and powerful with the Samsung SENS. With three USB ports and the Intel Pentium III Processor 500 MHz, it provides the technology necessary to be effective in the ever-changing business world.
SOTEC AFiNA AV The SOTEC AFiNA AV's metallic silver and blue case immediately captures attention. This trendy little PC appeals to the entertainment aficionado. An audio optical port makes this PC ready for connecting to a home stereo system. The AFiNA AV's innovative combination of PC functionality and consumer electronics components make it truly a PC designed for the living room. This playful PC packs a punch with its Intel Pentium III processor at 866 MHz and 128 MB of RAM. A remote control is included to control the DVD and video features of the PC.
About the Intel Innovative PC Recognition Awards The Innovative PC Awards were first given at Fall 1999 IDF and have grown to receive worldwide recognition. As part of the Intel ease of use initiative, Intel works with the PC industry to make mobile, business and consumer PCs easier for people to use. The Innovative PC Awards are a way to highlight superior PC designs that measurably advance PC setup, use, expansion and maintenance.
For more information about the Intel Innovative PC Recognition program, visit http://developer.intel.com/technology/easeofuse/innpc/index.htm.
February 28 - Production-Ready USB 2.0 Products to be Paraded at Intel Developer Forum. USB 2.0, which to consumers is better known as "Hi-Speed USB," is among the new technologies being showcased this week at the Spring 2001 Intel Developer Forum (IDF) in San Jose.
Through product demonstrations, displays and technical sessions, USB 2.0 will affirm to thousands of developers that the technology which extends the speed of the peripheral-to-PC connection up to 40 times over existing capabilities is market ready. This milestone comes exactly two years - or four IDF conferences -- since the formation of the USB 2.0 Promoters Group, which was responsible for the USB 2.0 specification. The group consists of Agere Systems (formerly Lucent), Compaq, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Microsoft, NEC and Philips Semiconductors.
During IDF, the USB Implementers Forum pavilion will host many USB 2.0-enabled hosts, hubs and peripheral devices that are on the cusp of market introductions, some as early as this spring. The peripheral devices, some of which were just prototypes at last August's IDF, include scanners and various kinds of storage, including CD/RW, hard drives and DVD. Many of these products are powered by silicon that has already been certified by passing the USB-IF compliance testing, including NEC host controllers and In-System Design IDE bridge chips. Packaging for these and other certified products bear the new "Hi-Speed USB" logo, one of two new emblems introduced by the USB-IF at Comdex in November.
Products using the increased bandwidth of USB 2.0, which extends the speed of the peripheral-to-PC connection to up to 480 Mbps (up from 12 Mbps on USB 1.1), may display a blue, white and red logo bearing the words "Certified" and "Hi-Speed." Peripherals running at 12 Mbps are identified with a logo that is identical except for the absence of the "Hi-Speed" banner; many products such as keyboards, mice, joysticks and audio speakers do not require the faster speed of the new USB 2.0 technology. The USB-IF is starting to promote the benefits of the new logo in the retail channel in addition to such industry events as IDF.
This week at IDF, several exhibiting companies will announce the introduction or production of Hi-Speed USB products. These include NEC announcing volume production of a USB 2.0 host controller device, and MicroTek announcing and demonstrating a Hi-Speed USB scanner using NetChip Technology's NET2270 USB 2.0 device controller. Gain Technology announced that Intel is licensing its Hi-Speed Digital PHY technology to Gain for inclusion in new Gain Hi-Speed Macrocell products. Several other retail product vendors, including Belkin and Orange Micro, have already announced retail add-in cards and hubs that will start shipping over the next few months.
The non-profit USB Implementers Forum Inc. was formed to provide a support organization and forum for the advancement and adoption of USB technology. The USB-IF facilitates the development of high-quality, compatible USB devices, and promotes the benefits of USB and the quality of products that have passed compliance testing. Further information, including postings of the most recent product and technology announcements, is available by visiting the USB-IF Web site at www.usb.org.
February 28 - Intel introduces new Low Voltage Mobile Pentium III 700. Intel Corporation today announced a new addition to its family of low-power processors for small mobile PCs.
The Low Voltage mobile Pentium(R) III processor 700 MHz featuring Intel(R) SpeedStep(TM) technology delivers the best performance, lowest power consumption and extended battery life to new categories of mini-notebooks weighing less than 3 pounds. This processor is shipping in volume today with systems available from leading PC vendors.
"Intel is absolutely committed to developing mobile processors and technologies to deliver the best mobile experience," said Don MacDonald, marketing director of Intel's Mobile Platforms Group. "This power-efficient mobile processor consumes less than 1 watt of power while delivering the best performance and extended battery life available today for mini notebooks."
Intel's Low-Power Technologies All of Intel's mobile processors are specially engineered to meet the performance, power, cooling and size requirements of mobile PCs. The Mobile Pentium III processor featuring Intel SpeedStep technology can dynamically switch clock frequency and voltage, depending on whether the computer is running on batteries or is plugged into AC power.
When running in Battery Optimized Mode, the processor runs at a lower frequency and lower voltage, significantly lowering CPU power consumption while still delivering high performance. When a user plugs into an AC outlet, the notebook automatically switches to Maximum Performance Mode, increasing the frequency significantly. Users also have the freedom to select the Maximum Performance Mode even while running on batteries. Making the switch is as easy as clicking an icon at the bottom of the screen -- and no reboot is required.
In addition, Intel's 0.18-micron process technology enables processors to operate at the lowest voltage in the industry while Intel's QuickStart technology can instantaneously start or power down the processor to minimal power levels when the processor is not in use -- even between keystrokes while typing.
Intel's new Low Voltage mobile Pentium III processor featuring Intel SpeedStep technology at 700 MHz is the fastest mobile processor for mini-notebooks. In Maximum Performance Mode the processor runs at 700 MHz and operates at 1.35 volts. In Battery Optimized Mode both clock frequency and voltage are scaled down and the processor runs at 500 MHz, at 1.1 volts, while consuming less than 1 watt of average power.
In 1,000-unit quantities, in Ball Grid Array (BGA) packaging, the Low Voltage mobile Pentium III processor 700 MHz featuring Intel SpeedStep technology is priced at $316. The processor features a 100 MHz system bus; 256 Kilobyte full-speed Advanced Transfer Cache; Advanced System Buffering; and Streaming SIMD extensions for higher system performance. Intel can be found on the Web at www.intel.com.
February 28 - Toshiba announces Ultra-Light, Ultra-Slim Portege 3490CT. The Computer Systems Group (CSG) of Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc. (TAIS) today announced the arrival of the ultra-thin Portege 3490CT portable computer.
Measuring a mere .08-inches thin and weighing only 3.4-pounds, the Portege 3490CT builds on the award-winning Portege 3000 series platform and adds the new low voltage Mobile Intel Pentium III 700MHz processor, 20 billion byte hard drive and expanded memory. The system is designed to support mainstream business applications, offers up to nine hours of battery life (with optional high capacity battery slice) and allows customers to stay productive anytime, even in limited workspace conditions such as airline seating.
The Portege 3490CT offers several compact and lightweight storage and expansion accessories. The product comes standard with a LAN Port Replicator, which features Ethernet connectivity and a full array of ports. The optional Multimedia Port Replicator offers one SelectBay(R) modular bay for use with Toshiba's slimline DVD-ROM, second hard disk, Zip(R) and LS120 SelectBay drives, and a full array of connectivity for desktop expansion and additional storage requirements. Additionally, the slimline SelectBay DVD-ROM, Zip and LS120 drive modules are compatible with Toshiba's Tecra(R) notebook line, maximizing a user's investment with the added bonus of interoperability between product lines.
Available through www.shoptoshiba.com, traditional distribution channels, VARs and mail order partners at $2,499 (Windows 2000); $2,399 (Windows 98).
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