Posts Tagged ‘ Gadget ’

MOTHERBOARD – MSI BIG BANG-FUZION

SPECIFICATION

Rs 25,000

http://www.msi.com

Chipset: Intel P55;

Memory: DDR3-1333 (16 GB Max);

SATA: 6 ports by Intel P55,

4 ports by two JMicron JMB322 controllers and 2xeSATA,

USB: 14 (4 via on-board headers);

Expansion slots: 3x PCIe x16, 2x PCIe x1 and 2x PCI;

LAN: Dual gigabit.

Contact  MSI computer India Pvt Ltd

Phone      011-41758808

EMAIL       sanyam@msi.com

MSI has come out with some good high-end boards in the past, like the Intel X58-based Eclipse Plus, which was SLI-ready and came with a discrete X-Fi sound card, and the quad-CrossFireX-ready 790FX-GD70. MSI’s current focus is on their Big Bang series of super-high end motherboards targeted at enthusiasts and gamers. The latest addition to the series is the Big Bang-Fuzion, which has loads of interesting features to offer, the most interesting of them being cross-vendor multi-GPU support courtesy  Lucid Hydra 200 chip.

Features

The motherboard is built around the Intel P55 chipset and supports Intel Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7 CPUs that come in the socket LGA 1156 package. The chipset supports up to 16 GB DDR3 memory and offers six SATA 3 Gb/s ports and 12 USB 2.0 ports. In addition to this, there are two pairs of SATA 3 Gb/s ports, each supported by a JMicron JMP322 controller. Instead, MSI should have added support for SATA 6 Gb/s. We were surprised to find even USB 3.0 ports missing from the feature set, which are nowadays common to nearly all high-end and many mainstream motherboards.

The rear panel is quite elaborate; there are 10 USB ports (two USB/eSATA combo ports), dual gigabit Ethernet ports, PS/2 ports, a FireWire port, and a connector for the bundled overclocking device called OC Dashboard. It serves two purposes. Firstly, it displays the initialization status of the subsystems during POST, which helps in diagnosing faulty hardware or inappropriate BIOS settings. The debug codes and detailed instructions for using the OC Dashboard are given in a separate user guide. Secondly, you can overclock the CPU and memory and tweak the voltages (CPU, memory and chipset) from Windows. The values are displayed on the device’s OLED screen. You can also use CPU-Z to check the effective CPU and memory speeds. A small array of connectors and four dip switches are present near the RAM slots. The connectors are designed to check the voltages using a multimeter, and the dip switches boost the voltages (CPU, CPU_VTT, memory and chipset) and increase the voltage adjustment range in the BIOS.

MSI has also bundled a utility called MSI Control Center that displays system information and lets you overclock by simply dragging sliders for various parameters. Additionally, there are three overclocking presets – cooling, cinema and gaming. To make overclocking easy, the board features an automatic overclocking mechanism called OC Genie, which comprises a switch and an OC processor. On activating the switch, the OC processor calculates the optimum overclocked speeds and voltages and applies the values in the BIOS. OC Genie overclocked the Intel Core i7-870 from 2.93 GHz to 4.0 GHz without any issues. The package includes separate user guides for MSI Control Center, OC Genie and Overclocking.

Lucid Hydra 200

The MSI Big Bang-Fuzion is the first motherboard to support cross-vendor multi-GPU configurations using the Lucid Hydra 200 chip. It works in conjunction with the CPU and functions as a load-balancer between two or three GPUs. It fetches DirectX API calls, divides and assigns workload between the GPUs, and combines the final output to be displayed on the monitor.

Lucid Hydra works in three modes:

N-mode: Up to three Nvidia G90/G200 cards

A-mode: Up to three Radeon HD 4000/5000 series cards

X-mode: One/two supported Nvidia cards and one/two supported ATI cards.

To configure cards in Hydra, you first have to install graphics drivers for your cards, then install the Lucid Hydra driver, and activate Hydra from the control panel that resides in the system tray.

It sounds simple, but you’ll need to keep these points in mind:

The graphics cards configured in Hydra need to be more or less equally powerful. For example, Radeon HD 5850 + GeForce GTX 285 or GeForce 9600 GT + Radeon HD 5670. You won’t see any scaling with one powerful and one weak GPU. We tried using a GT 240 with a Radeon HD 5850, and the overall performance dropped slightly.

You’ll need Windows Vista or 7 to use Hydra. The X-mode works only under Windows 7, and not under Windows Vista.

For games to works smoothly, the driver needs to have game profiles. Profiles for newer games are included in newer driver releases. The latest driver (version 1.5.107) currently lists 102 games.

Hydra doesn’t work with the latest Nvidia Fermi series or dual-GPU cards, such as the GTX 295, Radeon HD 5970 and HD 4870 X2.

Graphics cards in two-way setup run in x16 mode each, and cards in three-way setup run in x8 mode.

Not all games run in all modes. In fact relatively few scale well in X-mode, so check the Lucid website before spending money on a Hydra setup.

Verdict

Thumbs up to MSI for being the first to implement Lucid Hydra. It gives you the freedom to configure multi-GPU setups using graphics cards of your choice and it also provides an excellent upgrade path. If you have an older graphics card that’s discontinued and you want to upgrade at a low cost, you can buy one modern midrange graphics card, configure the two in Hydra, and you’re all set. We really liked the incredible feature set of this motherboard and the bundled contents, which includes a discrete PCIe x1 soundcard (QuantumWave), overclocking device and an eSATA bracket, but the lack of USB 3.0 and SATA 6 Gb/s support was disappointing.

On the whole however, the package and performance completely justify the price tag. In fact, this board offers a lot more than some of the other high-end ones that are more expensive.

Google launches Voice apps for Apple’s iPhone, Palm’s Pre news

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Google Inc launched its web-based Voice apps service to be available on Apple’s iPhone as also on Palm’s Pre and Pixi phone devices.

The service offers the bulk of the functionality of the native voice apps that Blackberry and Android users already use.

With the new application, users will be able to make calls, send text messages and listen to Voice mail for free, according to Google blog post entries on Tuesday.

Taking a cue from the success of delivery of Google services through mobile browsers, Google decided to adopt the same approach with Google Voice, according to Marcus Foster and David Singleton, Google’s product and engineering managers respectively, writing in the blog post.

The new web-based service from Google is an extension of its already existing mobile services for Gmail and Google Calendar which requires users to sign in via their Google accounts.

On the first log, the app asks the user to identify their phone in order to connect to the web site which is required, so that Google knows which number to connect to when the user decides to make a call using Google Voice app.

Apple Tablet to Hit Market in March

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The frenzied speculation around Apple’s highly anticipated Apple tablet device—if it exists, that is—was ratcheted up another level after The Wall Street Journal reported that the tablet will ship in March, quoting sources briefed by Apple. Previous reports suggest Apple is planning to announce the touch screen device at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco sometime between Jan. 25 and 27. The tablet, which hasn’t been officially named yet, is likely to measure about 10 inches and offer Wi-Fi connectivity. The paper also reported Apple is working on two different finishes for the tablet.

One component of the launch that is keeping analysts guessing is the price of the tablet; Oppenheimer & Co. analyst Yair Reiner wrote a December research note predicting a price point of around $1,000—the price of Apple’s least expensive notebook. In comparison, semiconductor manufacturer Freescale Semiconductor recently announced its plans for entering the tablet market with a $200 device.

Regardless of price and final design, the impending product launch, which sources say company CEO Steve Jobs has made a top priority since his return to Apple, spurred a massive amount of speculation from analysts and the technology community, including a former Google China executive reportedly wrote in his blog that Apple expects to sell 10 million tablet PCs in its first year out. Lee Kai-fu, former president of Google Inc. Greater China, claimed on his blog that Apple will release the device in January, for less than $1,000 and that it will feature a 10.1-inch multitouch screen with 3G graphics.

The day before Christmas, a report by the Financial Times’ blog quoted unnamed inside sources that said Apple rented the stage for several days toward the end of January, in preparation for “a major product announcement” on Jan. 26, a Tuesday. Other recent reports, including a research note by Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster, who said there is a 75 percent likelihood that Apple will have an event in January and a 50 percent chance that it would be held to launch the Apple Tablet.

Earlier this year, Munster issued a report suggesting that the tablet would feature a 7- to 10-inch screen and retail for between $500 and $700, effectively filling a strategic gap for Apple between the iPod Touch and its low-end Mac desktops. Munster wrote, “We believe an Apple tablet would be priced 30 to 50 percent below the $999 MacBook, and would offer best-in-class Web, e-mail and media software. In other words, we believe Apple’s tablet would compete well in the netbook category even though it would not be a netbook.”

From:- Eweek

5 Web Apps To Keep Your Startup Organized

number5_flickrsimax_jan10.jpgIn a world where emails, phone calls, texts, and Tweets constantly bombard us, it is getting harder and harder to manage the firehose of data and information being thrust our way. For young companies to succeed this environment, it is imparitive they become organized and efficient lest they fall behind and quickly become overwhelmed.

While there is no shortage of online solutions, it can be hard to know which one is the right tool for the job, so here’s a list of five web applications to help kick-start your company and keep it organized without breaking the bank.

googleapps_logo_jan10.jpgGoogle Apps – Google’s collection of web apps includes solutions for corporate email accounts, calendars or contacts, but its best use for a new startup is with document sharing. Using Google Docs to collaborate on text documents, spreadsheets or even presentations is far more efficient than sending a file in an email attachment.

In recent years, Zoho has become an increasingly competitive enterprise alternative to Google, even adding integration with Google Apps. Zoho has also introduced more features that help it stand out against Google Apps, including their own CRM solution that aims to compete with Salesforce.com.

basecamp_logo_jan10.jpgBasecamp – We here at ReadWriteWeb use Basecamp on a daily basis for managing ongoing projects and reviewing edits of our stories. Developed by 37signals, Basecamp offers a great interface with an easily read dashboard of the latest activity, as well as to-do lists, milestones and email alerts.

For the on-the-go entrepreneur, there are a handful of mobile Basecamp apps ranging in features and price. Personally, I recommend using Insight for iPhone, which was rebranded from Encamp and recently recommended by 37signals.

dropbox_logo_jan10.jpgDropbox – Whether it’s large financial spreadsheets, or Photoshop mockups of your website-to-be, you are going to need somewhere to store all your files. Dropbox makes all of these easy and relatively inexpensive, offering up to 100 GB for $20 a month. But it’s not just storage.

Dropbox can automatically sync with folders on your desktop, creating an offsite backup of your vital startup files in the cloud, which any member of your staff can access. An alternative solution would be to use Box.net, however their pricing plans are higher than Dropbox’s and are aimed at larger corporations.

dimdim_logo_jan10.jpgDimdim – The next time you find yourself struggling to explain an intricate concept to your coworkers through a text document or presentation, check out Dimdim and use the power of screen-sharing to make your point crystal clear. One of Dimdim’s best features is that their product works entirely from within your web browser without the need to download or install any extra software.

Screen-sharing services like Dimdim can save a young company hundreds if not thousands of dollars in travel expenses by providing a much more efficient way to meet and share information. Also a notable service in this space is Citrix’s GoToMeeting. However, like Box.net to Dropbox, its pricing is much higher than Dimdim’s.

mindmeister_logo_jan10.jpgMindMeister – Between the last two semesters of graduate school, I worked on a collaborative ten-week reporting project, and used online mind-mapping app MindMeister extensively to stay organized. The application is a great way to keep those more abstract ideas organized in an easy-to-understand way.

Countless startups have mapped out their product ideas and business plans on giant whiteboards, and now the whiteboard has gone digital. MindMeister makes it easy to create and share mind maps and flow charts, and best of all, its free to get started.

Photo by Flickr user simax.

Microsoft BizSpark is a startup program that gives you three-year access to the latest Microsoft development tools, as well as connecting you to a nationwide network of investors and incubators. Click here to apply.

iPhone With Bluetooth Keyboard

If there is one complaint people have about their iPhones, it’s that the popular cellphone doesn’t have the option of a physical keyboard to type on. That has now changed, at least if you’ve “jailbroken” or modified your phone so it can download unauthorized software.

Matthias Ringwald, a PhD specializing in wireless sensor networks in Zurich, Switzerland, launched a piece of software called BTstack Keyboard, which will let users use Bluetooth-enabled keyboards with their iPhones. The software is available through the unauthorized app marketplace Cydia for $5.

IPhones rely on typing text using a virtual keyboard on the display screen, an attribute that does not appeal to some people. The handsets have Bluetooth capability–a popular way to connect peripheral devices–but so far Apple has only allowed it to be used to connect with other iPhones to play games or with certain accessories like headsets. Ringwald was one of the users frustrated by the limitation. He spent eight months developing the software before releasing it on Wednesday.

In his description on Cydia, Ringwald says, “Foldable, travel-friendly keyboards have been supported for at least half a decade by all smartphones except by the iPhone… The iPhone Bluetooth keyboard driver fills this gap.”

One iPhone user that is excited is Santa Monica, Calif., doctoral student Jay Freeman, who created the Cydia marketplace where Ringwald’s software is on sale. “The reason why we do this has finally occurred,” he said.

More Bluetooth-enabled capabilities may also be soon to come. Ringwald says he is helping another developer make software that will allow Bluetooth-enabled computer mice to work with iPhones. Another developer has figured out a way to play games on the iPhone with the Wii game controller using software that he’s written, and they are working on creating a similar capability with the PlayStation 3 controller. Ringwald’s wife has also built a Bluetooth-enabled robot car that can be controlled by an iPhone.