Windows XP: a new start menu "StartEase2"  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , , ,

Tim Smith

The Start menu in Windows XP is a pretty good program launcher, but it easily gets cluttered, making it difficult to navigate. On more than one occasion I've found myself going from menu to menu looking for a specific program without success. Vista's Start menu is an improvement but still isn't very easy to pilot.
In 2006 we released StartEase, an application launcher that solves Windows navigation problem by putting just your programs into an A-to-Z button list. In addition, you can easily search for programs. As soon as you start typing in the search box you'll see a list of matching programs that gets progressively smaller the more you type, narrowing the results.
This update, StartEase 2, offers many enhancements to the original program. These enhancements include:

Improved performance: Now the A-to-Z buttons populate much more quickly
New user interface
A pane that displays common programs like your Web browser and mail client
A pane to place your favorite files for quick launch
Google search
URL launcher
Open a program in the command prompt or execute entered command
Find programs contained in the Windows search path

This is on top of all the great features found in the original StartEase:

Easy interface to add and remove programs to buttons
The ability to exclude and include programs from a specific directory or by name (like all "Uninstall" programs)
Bookmarks to easily access favorite programs
Lists of programs that were recently run
Lists of programs from specific searches
And more! (full story)

Acer Aspire One  

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Specifications

Dimensions (WxDxH): 249x195x36 mm; Weight: 1.26 Kg; CPU: Intel Atom N270, 1.6 GHz, 533 MHz FSB, 512 KB L2 cache; Memory: 1 GB; Hard drive: 120 GB; Wi-Fi: 802.11 b/g; Audio: built-in speakers & mic; Battery: 2200 mAh, 3-cell.

A Stylish Choice
The word “netbook” has now become the standard with which we describe miniature laptops with 7–10-inch screens, low-power components and budget pricing. Every hardware manufacturer seems to be testing the market with at least one model, and Acer’s first leap into this market is called the Aspire One. In terms of core specifications, there’s nothing very different about this device. The 1.6 GHz Intel Atom CPU, 1 GB of RAM, 1024x600 pixel screen, 120 GB hard drive and Windows XP as the operating system are all standard fare for netbooks now; it seems that every single model from every single company has the same specifications. The configuration is fine for basic productivity applications such as Microsoft Word and Excel, web surfing, and audio/video playback. Just don’t expect to run any heavy multimedia or graphics design programs.

However Acer has tried to differentiate its offering a little. It’s wider and deeper than the original Asus EEE PC, but is quite well styled, and available in multiple colors. The hinges are a little too weak and plasticky for our liking, but the angled design does give the Aspire One a unique look. They keyboard was cramped, but not too uncomfortable to type on. Thankfully, the [Shift], [Ctrl] and [Windows] keys are in the right places, and the arrow cluster is of a decent size. But the trackpad is a disappointment, with the left and right buttons on each side of the pad, rather than below it. This wouldn’t be such a problem in itself, but the trackpad is also much too small, and our fingers kept running off the edges when dragging things across the screen.

Expansion is taken care of by the three USB ports, Ethernet, and a surprise bonus: two card reader slots. One of them is a standard SD/MMC/MS/XD multi-format reader, and the other, labeled “Storage Expansion”, accepts only SD cards. We think this is a great idea, especially for netbooks with solid-state drives where storage space is severely limited. (full story)

Apple Sued Over iPhone Web Surfing Technology  

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BOSTON (Reuters) - Apple Inc is the target of a lawsuit that claims a technology the iPhone uses to surf the Web infringes on a patent filed by Los Angeles real estate developer Elliot Gottfurcht and two co-inventors.

The lawsuit was filed by EMG Technology LLC on Monday in the U.S. District Court in Tyler, Texas. EMG was founded by Gottfurcht, is based in Los Angeles with an office in Tyler, and has just one employee.

The suit alleges that the technology the iPhone uses to navigate and display some websites designed for small phone screens infringes on a patent obtained last month by Gottfurcht and his co-inventors and assigned to EMG.

Apple spokeswoman Susan Lundgren declined to comment on the lawsuit, saying that the Cupertino, California-based company does not discuss pending litigation.

EMG has not considered suing companies such as HTC Corp, maker of the G1 Google phone, and Research in Motion Ltd, maker of the BlackBerry, which also produce devices that can display mobile websites, according to Gottfurcht's lawyer Stanley Gibson, a partner with the Los Angeles law firm Jeffer, Mangels, Butler & Marmaro.

Mobile websites are essentially reformatted versions of ordinary websites, with their content manipulated to be easily viewed on tiny screens.

"We haven't looked at anything other than the iPhone," Gibson told Reuters. "That was the device that we looked at. Obviously it's very popular." (full Story)

What Not to Buy in 2008  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , , , , , ,

by Lance Ulanoff

Powerful financial waves are buffeting the USS Economy in extraordinary and dangerous ways, making it clear that this will be a holiday buying season unlike any other. But if you think recession (some say depression) concerns are going to keep me from producing my fourth annual guidance report on what to buy, consider, and just plain avoid, you're sorely mistaken, my friends. Sure, the financial climate has me feeling crankier, but that only makes it easier to dismiss the bad and pointless products of the past 11 months. So let's get started with my latest attempt to help save you from yourself this holiday season.

Home Entertainment

Don't Buy: Expensive Blu-ray Player

Sorry folks, but I still think $250 is way too much to pay for a DVD player. I'll reconsider my position only if manufacturers come to their senses over the next two months and start selling Blu-ray players for $149 or less.

Maybe Buy: Toshiba XDE DVD Player

I know standard DVDs are yesterday's technology. But if you have a vast library of DVDs and your current player is seizing up, this upscaling, image-crisping DVD player can be had for a lot less than competing Blu-ray devices. And it'll make your current and vast libraries of DVDs look pretty darn good on your new HDTV.

Do Buy: Roku Netflix Player

This $99 set-top box will open up your living room to a whole library of video content and is way cheaper than a new Blu-ray player. The current Netflix on-demand selections are, admittedly, limited, but there are many great movies, with a decent number of newish ones in the mix. Plus, I expect that Netflix will eventually open up first-run films to this service.

Caveat: If you already own an Xbox 360, you'll be able to access the very same library of Netflix movies on demand. (One can only hope Sony will get around to adding Netflix functionality to the PS3.) In that case, maybe you just give yourself the gift of a Netflix account.

Video Cameras

Don't Buy: HD Camcorders

I've come to the difficult realization that most people are not videographers, and HD camcorders, with all their bells and whistles (and $500-plus price tags), are overkill for average consumers.

Maybe Buy: Digital Camera with HD Video-Capture Abilities

My wife never shot video until she got a digital camera with built-in video-capture abilities. Obviously, the transition to shooting in HD, when it's simply part of the camera you already own, is perfectly natural. The Samsung NV24HD, for example, is a decent 10-megapixel camera with built-in HD capabilities. Sure, it's only 720p, but for most people, that's probably high-def enough.

Do Buy: A YouTube Camcorder (aka Pocket Camcorder)

Digital cameras that shoot video are great, but to get that video off the camera, you'll likely have to remove the card and put it in your PC. Then you have to know what to do next. Or you can buy a Creative Vado, Flip Mino, or Kodak Zi6. For anywhere from $99 to $179, you can get an all-in-one device that lets you capture standard and high-def video and pretty much everything in between, depending on the model. Plus, you can effortlessly transfer the video from the device to a PC and then online to share with friends. I, for one, carry Creative's Vado. It's thinner and smaller than an iPod classic and, like most of these pocket video cams, comes equipped with a built-in USB dongle and software that can automatically upload your video to YouTube. No muss, no fuss, and you're capturing moments and sharing them with friends, family, and, if you choose, the world.

Cell Phones

Don't Buy: Palm Centro

Look, I loved my Palm Treo 700p when I got it in 2007, and I know Palm has sold a million Centros (basically, a stripped-down, value-priced Treo), but we have no idea where the Palm platform is going. Will there be an open-source version next year? Maybe, but I wouldn't hold my breath. Do you really want to be married to what could very well be a dying platform? (full story Link)

HQ HD Windows7 Wallpaper  

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HQ Windows7 Wallpaper  

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Don’t Buy IPhone 3G  

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People planning to buy a iPhone. Please go through this first. I got this as a forwarded mail and I m posting it here, just to make sure that you will be aware of it and you at least can inquire before buying it. believe me I can’t assure you the credibility of the following content, but I am publishing since I heard from my friend who is in US, iPhone 3g was a huge failure there, so they are pushing the pieces to Indian market since we Indians are crazy about those phones. Thats why they are selling it around 12k bucks.

BEWARE OF BUYING iPhone 3G

Friends, those of you in India planning for iPhone. THINK TWICE BEFOREMAKING A DECISION. The short comings of iPhone are endless:

>> No video calling.

>> No AD2P on the Bluetooth.
>> Can’t share any mp3, images & videos files via bluetooth.
>> Can’t use as a wireless Modem.
(you pay ridiculous data charges to activate internet on your phone,but cannot connect it to your PC and browse when you are at home)
>> No copy and paste. (cannot copy a part of a say, email & send it, have to type it out yourself)
>> No 3.2 or 5 megapixel camera. (the 2MP camera it carries is worst camera i ever seen, photos look like they have come out of a VGA camera)
>> No video recording with camera.
>> No front camera.
>> No flash.
>> No JAVA support.
>> No physical keyboard. (BELIEVE me! this alone is a deal breaker, touch keyboard as good as it looks, once you use it then only you come to know about the importance of having a hard keypad)
>> No 3G network yet in India. so why pay for expensive 3G phone if you cant use its 3G services. so, for India, iPhone 2.0 is no better than its first version.
>> No removable battery. (You cannot change battery. Have to send it to apple outlet. Come on now!!!! This is not an iPod Its a bloody phone. You cannot live without phone for 2-3 days)
>> No haptic feedback.
>> Cannot send MMS.
>> Can’t use as external storage device. (16 GB of utter waste, next time you go to your friend’s house & find some interesting songs, movies etc., sorry you cannot connect your ‘16 GB’ phone and share it!!!! Apple apparently has a solution, " BUY MUSIC & MOVIES FROM iTUNES STORE ", Give me a break will you APPLE!!!)
>> No FM radio
>> Can’t use your mp3 files as ringtones. (This is heights man!!!)
>> Cannot insert any other SIM card.
>> Completely tied to iTunes, Connect to your friend’s iTunes & you risk erasing everything on your phone.
Note: IF U LIKE THIS THEN PLEASE PRESS CTRL+D TO BOOKMARK THIS PAGE.

list goes on & on & on…


We Indians are used to these features. Most of our phones already have thesefeatures. & we cannot do with out them. i mean can you imagine paying somuch for a phone with which you cannot transfer files via bluetooth. whatage is this. STONE AGE???
Some features may be activated by jailbreak. But why the hell should yourisk losing your warranty after paying so much.
And want to add third party softwares?? YOU HAVE TO BUY THEM FROM iTUNES STORE ONLY!!!. (Shell out more money). Apple is a bloody control freak. Dont surrender your freedom to it.
Its good for american market (who have no idea what mobile freedom/choiceis) which is in stone age compared to asian/european markets. When they wantto buy a phone, they have to go to network operators and buy only thosephones that are available on that network. & stick to that company tilltheir contract expires. You want to change carriers? Not before paying damages, & buying another phone on the other network again.
On the contrary, we in India have so much freedom. We go to handset shops &buy which ever phone we like. Then go to carriers. checkout the plans & buySIM. Dont like the plan or rival carrier came up with a better plan???? EASY, just remove & replace the SIM.
Apple are trying to IMPOSE THEIR MODEL ON US riding on the hype iPhone hascreated in the US (yes it was a flop in Europe why Apple never talks about its sales in Europe).
Dont fall for the subsidized price of iPhone. CHECKOUT THE DATA PLANATTACHED TO ITS SIM. they will recover the cost through ridiculous dataplans. Bill might come to around Rs 2500/month. (ATLEAST AMERICANS PAY THATMUCH)
Let me clear one thing though.. iphone is the best looking phone (its touchinterface is nothing like you have ever seen ), & best browsing experienceout there no doubt. (& others are fast catching up. check out theandpostroid demo at Google IO 2008). BUT AFTER A FEW DAYS IT ALL COMES DOWNTO FUNCTIONALITY…
Those of who buy it… You will be most happy for atmost a week & then, MARK MY WORDS. YOU WILL START REGRETTING IT!!!
My advice. WAIT FOR HTC DREAM!! (powered by android). Still not convincedby then…by all means go for iPhone
So friends lets spread this info to all our friends and help them in makinga wise decision & those of you who have bought unlocked versions already please share your experiences with others... (story Link)

Picasa Web Albums Gets Face Recognition  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in ,

Google has launched a one-two combo of Picasa 3.0 (beta), the next generation of its free photo-editing software, along with a major technology upgrade to its free online photo-sharing site, Picasa Web Albums.
Picasa Web Albums now helps users automatically sort and share their online photos based on who is in each picture. Instead of requiring users to label their photos one-by-one, the ‘name tags’ feature in Picasa Web Albums uses advanced clustering technology to quickly group together pictures of the same person.
It also features a remodeled user interface, and uses new technology to help users organize and share photos.
Users can share full-resolution albums for free with friends and family and the web albums are viewable as full-window slideshows that load in the background so users can flip quickly from one photo to the next.
A new ‘Explore’ section gives users a way to enjoy photos published by other Google Photos users around the world, including a ‘Where in the World’ game in which you guess the mystery locales of geo-tagged photos.
New features in Picasa 3 make getting photos online easier, with a one-click ‘web sync’ that uploads an album and keeps it updated on the web when changes are made on the PC.
New tools also include a drag-and-drop photo-collage tool ; a retouching brush to wipe out scratches and blemishes, and repair old photos; a slideshow movie maker that uploads to YouTube with a click; Auto red-eye removal; Smart auto-cropping and a fast-launching Photo Viewer to inspect and manipulate images while in the Windows filesystem. (story Link)

GC 2008: 160GB PS3 Bundle Coming Soon  

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It seems both Sony and Microsoft never grow tired of re-bundling their beloved consoles!

A new 160GB PS3 Bundle will hit the market soon in North America, which will include a copy of Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune (one of the first few games to get Trophy Support, in case you Trophy whores haven’t already heard), a voucher that’ll let you download the PlayStation Network title ‘PAIN’, and a DualShock 3 controller.
Unfortunately, the features will be the same as the 80GB PS3, which means there will be no backward compatibility. The bundle will be available for $499.99 when it arrives this November. (story Link)

HD Ubuntu Wallpaper  

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Firefox : Golden HD Wallpaper  

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Less than a year ago I reviewed several great USB Flash drives, all nice and fast and around 4 gigabytes in capacity. One I liked a lot was the Kingston DataTraveler HyperX, but at the time the $131 list price put it at $60 bucks more than the average. Even the 8GB version at the time was $266.

This week Kingston announced the DataTraveler 150 series, and they're massive. Not in size (it is a thumb drive) but capacity: 32GB and 64GB. Better yet are the prices: $108 and $177 direct, respectively. Amazon is selling the drives for even less, at $63.36 and $118.99, respectively.

How does Kingston make the drives so capacious and so cheap? EverythingUSB believes Kingston is using MLC (multi-level cell) Flash memory, which is less expensive than SLC (single-level cell). It's also slower.

The DataTraveler 150 is apparently running around 28 to 30 megabytes per second (MBps) read speeds and 8-MBps writes. That first number is pretty good, but the second number is about half of what I got when testing the HyperX a few months ago. In fact, it's so slow that the 150s do not support Windows ReadyBoost when used with Vista. (Full story Link)

Vista is famous for asking unqualified users to make far too many judgment calls about security. Can Windows 7 teach the hated User Account Control to make its own decisions?
by Neil J. Rubenking.

Some people just love Vista; others hate it with a passion. Most of the haters fall into two main groups. The first group upgraded to Vista from XP, possibly without running the Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor to make sure their hardware and software would be compatible. They spent hours trying to get printers to print, accounts receivable programs to account, fax modems to fax, and so on, and they heartily blame Vista for their woes. Many of those in the second group think Vista is the cat's pajamas...except for those blasted User Account Control pop-ups.

The Problem

Vista was designed to be significantly more secure than XP, and UAC is a cornerstone of its security scheme. The point of UAC is to make sure no system-level changes occur without your knowledge and without an Administrator's permission. Even if you're an Administrator user, all of your day-to-day activity happens at the low-privilege Standard level. Before a nasty virus (or a useful application) can do something scary, like write to the Windows folder, it has to get permission.
UAC popups in Vista can be especially shocking because of what's called "secure desktop mode." The screen blanks out briefly, then everything except the UAC pop-up goes dim. Vista's UAC holds all your other interactions hostage until you respond to the pop-up. The purpose of this measure is to prevent sneaky programs from spoofing or manipulating the UAC prompt, but it's jarring and unpleasant.
Less frightening but equally annoying is the "I just TOLD you!" scenario. You launch a program and UAC immediately asks if you want to run this program. D'oh! Of course you do! Users can really get steamed about this, even Administrator users who merely have to click Yes. Imagine the frustration of a Standard user who must type an Administrator password or (more likely) go track down a supervisor who's available to enter the password. One time in a thousand this precaution might prevent a malicious program from launching, assuming (and it's a big assumption) that the user was alert enough to say No. The other 999 times it's just a pain. (full story Link)

FuelCellSticker is a product currently in development by myFC AB and is envisioned as a flexible, ultra-thin power source for mobile devices such as cell phones, digital cameras, smartphones and even laptops. The device is a planar type, Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cell (PEMFC) that uses hydrogen as fuel and oxygen as the oxidant. The technology works by sandwiching a proton-conducting polymer membrane between an anode and a cathode.
FuelCellSticker acts as some sort of a power patch for a device, what with its 0.11-inch thickness and 0.2 ounce weight. Each flexible fuel cell has an output of 0.9 Watts at 0.5 volts and if, for example, you need power for a laptop, you can use as many of the FuelCellSticker as you need. The fuel cell technology isn't ready for mass production yet, although some fuel cell packs based on it are reportedly to be released soon. (story Link)

Security in Windows 7: Setup  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , , , ,

PC Labs Security Analyst Neil J. Rubenking takes a look at the early beta of Windows 7 in the first of a four-part series about the state of security in Microsoft's next OS.
by Neil J. Rubenking.

Microsoft tells us that "Windows 7 improves security, reliability, and performance while helping to optimize PC management." That sounds good! Of course, the early press about Vista included a lot of security hype, too, and much of that went by the wayside as actual code started to appear. Still, the goals for Windows 7 sound a little less pie-in-the-sky than the Three Magical Pillars of Trusted Computing, or whatever it was supposed to be with Vista. To see if Windows 7 looks likelier to live up to its own PR, I loaded up a pre-beta of the OS to take a look at its security features. Note: Before doing so, I carefully made an image backup of the existing Vista installation so that I could escape from Windows 7 when finished—just in case.

Windows 7 is an important step forward (hopefully) for Microsoft, and security is a big part of that, so I'm going to take my time with this survey. It'll be broken into four parts. Today I'm looking at installation. In part two, I'll consider the supposed improvements to the UAC. For part three, I'll give the Windows 7 firewall a hard look, and, in part four, I'll consider the OS various security odds and ends and wrap up my overview.

Setup
My initial experience was encouraging. Installation was a breeze—it was barely different from the process in Vista. To my surprise, the installer gave me a Vista-style choice on enabling Automatic Updates. Hey, Microsoft! You work hard to publish important security patches every month. Windows 7 has already had one of its own (see Microsoft Knowledge Base article KB958644). But you still allow any superstitious lout to disable automatic installation of these patches based on fear and rumors. Why not just turn it on and leave it to the user to figure out how to turn it off? People already think Microsoft is autocratic; this little change wouldn't cause much of a ripple. Switching this update model from opt-in to opt-out would, in one simple step, rid the world of the literally millions of unpatched machines that succumb to every Web-based exploit and drive-by download. Well, once they had been upgraded to Windows 7, anyhow.

Solution Center
My newly installed Windows 7 quickly started grumbling about security. Specifically, it red-flagged the absence of an antivirus program. I guess the improved security in Windows 7 doesn't extend so far as to build in antivirus protection. On the other hand, given the pallid performance of the built-in Windows Defender antispyware against non-virus malware, maybe that's not such a bad thing.I clicked the antivirus warning, thinking to open the Security Center—but wait! Security Center is no more. It's now Solution Center. The old Security Center just monitored firewall and antivirus protection plus automatic updates. The new Solution Center does all that but also reports problems with spyware protection, Internet security, User Account Control, system maintenance, and more. (full Story)

The BlackBerry Storm: Your Top 20 Questions, Answered  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in

On Monday, I asked Gearlog readers to ask me everything they wanted to know about the new BlackBerry Storm 9530 for Verizon Wireless. Now I have the answers. Here's the original thread on Gearlog.com.

I re-ordered the questions by theme, and eliminated a few duplicates and a few that I still can't answer. (Battery life tests can take days.) Hopefully, this will answer some of your questions, too.

PRICING

1.) How much does it cost to use this phone?

The phone itself costs $249.99 with a new, two-year contract. You'll receive a voucher for a $50 mail-in rebate with that, making the effective price $199.99. Verizon also sells all of their phones with one year contracts ($349.99) and month-to-month ($399.99).

You must buy this phone with an applicable data plan. The minimum plan for this phone is $49.99 for data only, no voice. For both voice and data, you'll pay at least $69.99 total; $29.99 for the personal data plan and $39.99 for a 450-minute voice plan. That includes e-mail and Web browsing, but it doesn't include SMS text messaging. SMS messaging packages range from $5 to $20/month depending on how many messages they include.

If you use the BlackBerry with a corporate server, add another $15. If you want to use it as a modem for your PC, add another $15. If you want to use it in foreign countries, add $10 or $20 depending on your existing plan.

2.) Is there anyway to get Wi-Fi and not have to pay for a data plan?

No.

PHONE FUNCTIONS

3.) I'd like to know the quality of the actual phone: listening quality, talking quality, messaging, etc.

Pretty decent. See my review.

4.) How is the RF reception? I've seen better, I've seen worse. It won't make or break your buying choice here.

5.) I'm confused about the pre-installed sim card... Does that mean it's not removable? If it is not removable, and I go overseas, am I restricted to using Verizon? If so, how much will that cost me? (I will be traveling to London and Mauritius.)

The SIM is removable. Once you have had the Storm for 60 days, Verizon will unlock the SIM card slot to let you use any SIM you want. Remember, to get BlackBerry features, you'll need BlackBerry service on your GSM account; otherwise you're stuck with voice and text.

6.) Some time back I thought I read that you could sign up for a month-to-month contract with Verizon in order to buy the Storm, then have Verizon unlock the device to make it usable on the TMobile network. Is this true?

In theory that could happen; Verizon will unlock the phone after 60 days and you can force it onto GSM.

PHYSICAL ASPECTS

7.) Internal storage capacity: does it have a card slot? Is there an easy way to back up and restore the contents of the phone (the phone book, contacts, etc.) if it breaks and I have to replace it?

Yes. It comes with an 8 –Gbyte card and supports 16-GB cards. (full story)

Core i7 Nehalem's Review  

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Core i7 Genesis

The Core i7 is Intel's first new CPU architecture since the original Core 2 shipped back in July, 2006. It's hard to believe that the first Core 2 processors shipped over two years ago.

Since then, Intel has shipped incremental updates to the product line.

Quad-core Core 2 CPUs arrived in November 2006, in the form of the QX6700. AMD was quick to point out that Intel's quad-core solutions weren't "true" quad-core processors, but consisted of two Core 2 Duo dies in a single package. Despite that purist objection, Intel's quad-core solutions proved highly successful in the market.

The original Core 2 line was built on a 65nm manufacturing process. In late 2007, Intel began shipping 45nm CPUs, code-named Penryn. Intel's 45nm processors offered a few incremental feature updates, but were basically continuations of the Core 2 line.

In the past year, details about Nehalem began dribbling out, culminating with full disclosure of the Core i7 architecture at the August, 2008 Intel Developer Forum. If you want more details about Nehalem's architecture, that article is well worth a read. However, we'll touch on a few highlights now.

Speeds and Feeds

Intel will be releasing three Core i7 CPUs later this month (November, 2008). Here's a rundown of the specs of the three processors:


Core i7 965 Extreme Core i7 940 Core i7 920

Clock Frequency 3.20GHz 2.93GHz 2.66GHz

QPI Data Rate 6.4 GT/sec* 4.8 GT/sec 4.8GT/sec

Max. Non-Turbo Ratio NA NA 20

Thermal Design Power 130W 130W 130W

Transistor Count 731M 731M 731M

Die Size 263mm^2 263mm^2 263mm^2

Price $999 (qty. 1,000) $562 (qty. 1,000) $285 (qty. 1,000)
*GT = gigatransfers per second

Cache and Memory
The initial Core i7 CPUs will offer a three-tiered cache structure. Each individual core contains two caches: a 64K L1 cache (split into a 32K instruction cache and a 32K data cache), plus a 256K unified L2 cache. An 8MB L3 cache is shared among the four cores. That 256K L2 cache is interesting, because it's built with an 8-T (eight transistors per cell) SRAM structure. This facilitates running at lower voltages, but also takes up more die space. That's one reason the core-specific L2 cache is smaller than you might otherwise expect.

Like AMD's current CPU line, Nehalem uses an integrated, on-die memory controller. Intel has finally moved the memory controller out of the north bridge. The current memory controller supports only DDR3 memory. The new controller also supports three channels of DDR3 per socket, with up to three DIMMs per channel supported. Earlier, MCH-style memory controllers only supported two channels of DRAM.

The use of triple-channel memory mitigates the relatively low, officially supported DDR3 clock rate of 1066MHz (effective.) In conversations with various Intel representatives, they were quick to point out that three channels of DDR3-1066 equates to 30GB/sec of memory bandwidth

The integrated memory controller also clocks higher than one built into a north bridge chip, although not necessarily at the full processor clock speed. This higher clock, plus the lack of having to communicate over a north bridge link, substantially improves memory latency.

To facilitate the integrated memory controller, Intel developed a new, point-to-point system connect, similar in concept to AMD's HyperTransport. Known as QuickPath Interconnect or QPI for short, the new interconnect can move data at peak rates of 25GB/sec (at a 6.4 gigatranfers per second base). Note that not all Nehalem processors will support the full theoretical bandwidth. The Core i7 940 and 920 CPUs support the 4.8 gigatransfer per second base rate, with a maximum throughput of 19.2GB/sec per channel. That's still more than enough bandwidth for three DDR3-1066 memory channels.

Improvements to the Base Core Architecture

Core i7 boasts a substantial set of enhancements over the original Core 2 architecture, some of which are more subtle than others.
Let's run down some of the more significant enhancements, in no particular order.

  • The Return of Hyper-Threading—Core i7 now implements Hyper-Threading, Intel's version of simultaneous multithreading. Each processor core can handle two simultaneous execution threads. Intel added processor resources, including deeper buffers, to enable robust SMT support. Load buffers have been increased from 32 (Core 2) to 48 (Core i7), while the number of store buffers went from 20 to 32.
  • New SSE4.2 instructions—Intel enhanced SSE once again, by adding instructions that can help further speed up media transcoding and 3D graphics.
  • Fast, unaligned cache access—Before Nehalem, data needed to be aligned on cache line boundaries for maximum performance. That's no longer true with Nehalem. This will help newer applications written for Nehalem, more than older ones, only because compilers and application authors often took great care to align data along cache line boundaries.
  • Advanced Power Management—The Core i7 actually contains another processor core, much tinier than the main cores. This is the power management unit, and is a dedicated microcontroller on the Nehalem die that's not accessible from the outside world. Its sole purpose is to manage the power envelope of Nehalem. Sensors built into the main cores monitor thermals, power and current, optimizing power delivery as needed. Nehalem is also engineered to minimize idle power. For example, Core i7 implements a per core C6 sleep state.
  • Turbo Mode—One interesting aspect of Core i7's power management is Turbo Mode (not to be confused with Turbo Cache). Turbo mode is a sort of automatic overclocking features, in which individual cores can be driven to higher clock frequencies as needed. Turbo Mode is treated as another sleep state by the power management unit, and operates transparently to the OS and the user.

That's a quick rundown of the key Nehalem architectural features. But do these additional features come together to enable better performance? Is Nehalem really more efficient than the Core 2 processors? We ran a ton of performance tests to find out. Before we dive into those tests, let's take a look at the test system. (story from)

Intel Core i7 Review: Nehalem Gets Real  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , , ,

Nehalem is here.

Anticipation for Intel's latest CPU architecture rivals the intensity for the original Core 2 Duo.
It's not just that Nehalem is a new CPU architecture. Intel's new CPU line also brings along with it a new system bus, new chipsets, and a new socket format.
Today, we're mainly focusing on the Core i7 CPU and its performance compared to Intel's Core 2 quad-core CPUs. There's a ton of data to sift through just on CPU performance. We'll have ample opportunity to dive into the platform, and its tweaks, in future articles.
Intel will be launching three new Core i7 products in the next couple of weeks, at 2.66GHz, 2.93GHz, and 3.20GHz, at prices ranging from $285 to $999 (qty. 1,000). That's right: You'll be able to pick up a Core i7 CPU for around $300 fairly soon. Of course, that's not the whole story: You'll need a new motherboard and very likely, new memory, since the integrated memory controller only supports DDR3.
In the past several weeks, we've been locked in the basement lab, running a seemingly endless series of benchmarks on six different CPUs. Now it's time to talk results. While we'll be presenting our usual stream of charts and numbers, we'll try to put them in context, including discussions of how and when it might be best to upgrade.
Let's get started with a peek under the hood. (story Link)

XP Users: Speed Up Your 802.11n Connection  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , , , , ,

When you think about boosting the performance of your wireless network, 5-GHz wireless 802.11n routers are probably what come to mind. But the higher frequency used in the draft-n routers is only half the story. The "n" specification also allows wireless devices to use multiple antennas and MIMO (multiple input–multiple output) technology, also referred to as spatial multiplexing. With spatial multiplexing, operating systems have to coordinate higher volumes of TCP data streams at constant round-trip times between the router or access point and laptop. For years our connection and network bandwidth limited our download speeds. With 802.11n networks, it might just be our local operating systems that throttle the pipe.

Because the throughput of 802.11n is wider, more bits can flow between your wireless notebook and the router, but that means a legacy operating system like Windows XP requires more time to assemble and process the data. There is an option called Receive Window Scaling to optimize the performance of Windows XP, but the option is turned off by default in the Registry.
For this tweak to work, your laptop's wireless network adapter must use either an internal "n" wireless chipset or an "n" PC card. Just add a few entries in the Registry:

1. Open the Windows XP Registry (Click Start and then Run, type regedit, and press Enter)

2. Back up the current Registry (File | Export…)

3. Find the values in the folder path HKey_LOCAL_MACHINE\ SYSTEM\ CurrentControlSet\ Services\ Tcpip\ Parameters and add a DWORD entry with the name Tcp1323Opts. Right-click on the entry, then choose New | DWORD value. Give it a hexadecimal value of 3.

Add a DWORD entry with the name TcpWindowSize and give it a hexadecimal value of 40000.
You must reboot your system so that the changes can take effect. The tweak tells the driver that the OS has turned on the Windows Scaling option. Windows Scaling improves the data stream's round-trip time in the TCP stack, so your laptop will perform faster with 802.11n routers in 5-GHz mode. There isn't a nice, neat dialog box you can call up to tell you how much your throughput has improved, but you should see a real difference in download times. (story Link)

Cyber Crime Rates on the Rise in the UK  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , ,

The report has shown that cyber crime in the UK rose by more than 9 percent in 2007.
According to Tom Ilube, chief executive, ‘Garlick’, majority of the crimes committed online were in relation to fraud and abusive or threatening emails leaving more than two million people prone to online harassment.
Though online financial fraud took a huge leap in 2007 with a 20 per cent rise, cases of online identity theft had gone down by 8 per cent followed by online sexual offences that fell by 2 per cent.
The study further revealed that the online crimes were being committed by professionals and one could expect an overall increase owing to the credit crunch that would led many people to perform illegal activities.
"It’s critical in this time of financial crisis that individuals are vigilant with their personal information, because as long as the credit crunch continues, we can expect to see a real growth in online financial fraud," BBC quoted Ilube as saying.
(full story Link)

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