Archive for Richard Swinburne

ADATA brings us a nightmare before summer

Posted on 26th Apr 2010 at 11:21 by Richard Swinburne with 8 comments

Queue this one up for those interested in novelty USB keys: In a timely manner, it being just before summer, ADATA is here to remind us that Halloween and Christmas are never too far away, and that just because its hot, goths don't stop being goths.

Based on Tim Burton's movie and branding vehicle extraordinaire, A Nightmare before Christmas, the Jack Skellington USB key is well, extremely cute. What happened to him being the bony bugger with oversized appendages?

ADATA brings us a nightmare before summer
Click to enlarge

It's not really pocket sized either but THAT'S NOT THE POINT! It's a collectable! He'll sit on your desk and mock you that you need to start saving in May for the October-November-December annual gift-giving period that seems to get longer every year.

Or is that just me? Where's my pipe and slippers?

ADATA brings us a nightmare before summer
Click to enlarge

Read more

We've just witnessed the last days of large, single chip GPUs

Posted on 31st Mar 2010 at 11:15 by Richard Swinburne with 33 comments

Richard Swinburne
Just as with the 65nm manufacturing process used for GT200, I'm certain Nvidia overestimated what the 40nm node would offer when it first designed Fermi and that this miscalculation has played a huge part in the fact that the GeForce GTX 480 is so hot and uses so much power.

We know each major architecture change for GPU development takes at least a few years to mash out, so fabless companies such as Nvidia need to guess where fabrication partners - TSMC in this case - will be.

As it stands, TSMC has had more than a rough year with its 40nm node and there's been considerable stress for both ATI and Nvidia - however, to ATIs advantage, it started on 40nm with the Radeon HD 4770. It's clearly not forgotten the lesson came at the expense of the HD 2900 XT, which first arrived on a massive 80nm die, before being respun into TSMCs then upcoming 55nm node at a more digestible price.

Luckily for Nvidia the GTX 480 isn't quite up to the HD 2900 XT par of failures; at least it's faster than the previous generation and, negating the lateness and practical engineering issues, the die size and power use are truly massive.

The thing is, TSMC hasn't yet demonstrated how commercially viable its next fabrication node (likely 28nm) is, so while we fully expect Nvidia to 'pull an ATI HD 3000 series' in six months time and re-do Fermi with a smaller process, resulting in a much more power efficient GPU, TSMC's troubles - and the fact Nvidia is desperate for a new process - means Nvidia is likely looking to Global Foundries, the manufacturing firm spun off from AMD last year.

Read more

Oh just one more thing, kthxbye.

Posted on 29th Mar 2010 at 08:25 by Richard Swinburne with 61 comments

Richard Swinburne
I'm leaving. I'm off. It's been lovely, bye bye!

Today is my last official day at Dennis HQ in London, so please don't eat all the biscuits in my absence!

Actually, as far as you're all concerned, I'm not really going anywhere. You'll still be able to read my articles, reviews and blogs - as well as chat in the forum - it's just that physically speaking, I'm moving out. Out of the office and in fact, out of the country. I'm heading east to Taiwan to be among the manufacturers themselves to dig up the latest and greatest info as soon as it's available. Or at least that's the plan!

Read more

Dual-drive external USB storage for £20 - really?

Posted on 24th Mar 2010 at 11:46 by Richard Swinburne with 21 comments

Everyone needs a bit of extra storage, right? For those who can't afford expensive RAID arrays or want something more portable than just throwing in another internal hard drive, USB drives are always accessible.

While the Tsunami Ultimate II 3500 might look like any other USB drive caddy out there it does have one appealing hook: it's the cheapest dual-disk drive caddy on the market. At just £21, Tsunami assures us we'll find nothing cheaper - and as far as we can tell, it is right.

Dual-drive external USB storage for £20 - really? Tsunami Ultimate II 3500 two drive USB external storage
Click to enlarge

That said, being the cheapest doesn't always mean worth buying, and while we didn't expect much for an Adam Smith and some change, the Tsunami does in fact have a few interesting features.

Read more

First Look: Danamics Liquid Metal CPU Cooler

Posted on 18th Mar 2010 at 10:18 by Richard Swinburne with 41 comments

The Danamics Liquid Metal CPU cooler, officially titled the Danamics LMX Superleggera, is one of those crazy ideas we never actually thought we'd get our hands on. Kudos go to Danamics then, for actually producing a product that's both scary and awesome at the same time.

First Look: Danamics Liquid Metal CPU Cooler First Look: Damanics Liquid Metal CPU Cooler

For those who don't know the significance of this cooler the clue is in the name: liquid metal. Those metal pipes are not your standard wick/gas heatpipes, they are full of a sodium-potassium metal alloy (mixture) that is liquid at room temperature and forced around the tubes with a hardcore electromagnetic pump. Metal has a much higher specific heat capacity than a vapour change liquid, and when forced around rather than letting convection take its course, it acts more like a water-cooled setup.

Read more

Kingston won't provide firmware updates for recent SSDs

Posted on 16th Mar 2010 at 10:21 by Richard Swinburne with 10 comments

Richard Swinburne
Apparently those of us who own a Kingston 40GB X25-V Value SSD are not going to receive a TRIM update after all. That's despite the fact that the X25-V uses the same 34nm NAND and controller as the 80GB and 160GB G2 SSDs, which have got TRIM support..

It's not Intel's failing though - who have released a TRIM firmware for its X25-V, and the situation is highly surprisingly given Kingston's "great relationship" with Intel.

Since the drive has already reached End of Life only a few short months after it was launched, that means Kingston has effectively dropped support for it as well. Great customer service there, Kingston.

Read more

Does game branding matter?

Posted on 9th Mar 2010 at 11:30 by Richard Swinburne with 44 comments

Richard Swinburne
Just a quick one today: I'm wondering who out there buys products because they have a branding association with their favourite game?

We've seen a few World of Warcraft bits from Belkin, Steel Series and more recently Creative. These products may offer some tangible benefit to WoW users but do they and ones like it sway your purchasing decision over other products? Likewise, if you don't care about their game branding would you buy them anyway if the product does what you want?

Let us know your thoughts!

Read more

RC1 time running out? Get yourself 90 more days Windows 7 for free

Posted on 25th Feb 2010 at 12:14 by Richard Swinburne with 24 comments

So your copy of Window 7 RC1 is running out and you're not yet ready to go for the full purchase? You are going to buy it after all, right, but this month's games have stretched the budget too thin and you'll have to wait until the March paycheck before you drop the 70-bob for a Windows 7 Home Premium disc?

So you just need a few more days time without Win 7 nagging you.

RC1 time running out? Get yourself 90 more days Windows 7 for free RC1 running out? Get yourself some more time on Windows 7 before purchase

That's where we can help.

If you borrow someone else's Windows 7 disc you can use the data to upgrade your RC1 to RTM status for up to 90 days longer, because a Windows 7 license status is determined not by its disc, but by its key. This is how IT managers roll out dozens of OS updates across a network from a 'single disc'.

As it stands though, just dropping in the Win 7 disc and hitting 'Upgrade' won't allow you to go from RC1 to RTM, but there is a hack involved to do this.

Before you start make sure you BACKUP EVERYTHING IMPORTANT and close your programs. I cannot stress this enough. It's not my fault if there are complications in the process and you lose a lifetime's worth of family photos and videos. I have personally done this twice now without issue, so it's highly unlikely anything bad will happen, but still, on your own head be it.

Read more

Nvidia Ion 2 details, or so we think

Posted on 15th Feb 2010 at 10:56 by Richard Swinburne with 3 comments

Richard Swinburne
So I'm sitting here reading last month's (March 2010) PC Pro magazine, and I'm flicking through the Asus Tech-in-Style supplement and I noticed the latest Asus EeeTop PC ET2010PNT. It's an all-in-one with 20in display and Atom D510 inside. Underneath, it also lists 'Nvidia GeForce G310 ION2 graphics' as well!


Read more

Test Bench Roundup #2: Cooler Master and Homebrew Modded!

Posted on 3rd Feb 2010 at 11:00 by Richard Swinburne with 11 comments

Richard Swinburne
If you missed part one of our test bench roundup, catch it here.

Rolling straight on with part 2, the, uh, final part, in this two part extravaganza of open-top, naked PC goodness. We have a steel entry from Cooler Master that's built like a tank, and another homebrew mod I constructed way back in 2004. It's survived six years of abuse, and it has wheels. Possibly my greatest mod ever and certainly the cheapest.

Read more

Custom PC Issue 125

Custom PC Issue 125

Our latest issue is bursting with premium PC goodness, as we enter the land of dream PCs, full of expert customisation and modding, as well as gorgeous water-cooling loops.

Get 3 Issues for just £1

Browse articles by company