AMD Fusion set to blur the lines in 2015

Written by Luke Ponio on Tuesday, 18 May 2010 17:24 | Web and Industry News

AMD Fusion LogoAMD's Fusion product line is aiming to combine the CPU and GPU in modern computers into a single package called an APU. This technology is a result of the merger between AMD and ATI in 2006. The first generation won't hit vendors until 2011 but news is already being released about AMD's future plans. 2011's Fusion product will feature technology based on the Phenom II and ATI Radeon designs. 2015's product will be a fully integrated product with no discernable difference between the CPU and GPU tasks.

Benefits of a single APU design are cheaper production costs, lower power consumption, and speed. With an APU design, parallel-processed applications like antivirus will be able to use the GPU processing power of Fusion to do tasks faster than a CPU would be able.


Starcraft 2 Beta taking a vacation on May 31

Written by Luke Ponio on Tuesday, 18 May 2010 17:13 | Web and Industry News

Starcraft 2I've been playing SC2 beta for over a month now and I've been really enjoying it. It makes me sad to find out that the beta will be going down for a few weeks while Blizzard does some testing. Hopefully it doesn't take too long and we can get the last taste of beta goodness before shelling out cash for the game on July 27th.

We’d like to let all of our StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty beta test participants know that the first phase of the beta test will be coming to an end in all regions on Monday, May 31. The beta test will be unavailable for several weeks while we make some hardware and software configuration changes in preparation for the final phase of the beta test and the release of the game. We plan to bring the beta test back online for a couple of weeks prior to the game’s launch to complete our testing. We’ll have more details to share about when this final beta-testing phase will begin at a later date. We’d like to thank all of our beta-test participants for your enthusiasm, dedication, and valuable feedback during the beta test, and we look forward to hearing more of your thoughts on the StarCraft II beta test as the game’s July 27 launch approaches.

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New host!

Written by Luke Ponio on Sunday, 16 May 2010 18:12 | Newsflash

InsaneTek LogoI finished switching web hosts this weekend. Hopefully no one noticed anything but faster response times and faster loading pages. No more shared hosting! If you find a problem PM me on the forums or AIM me at shift780.

Also, InsaneTek's 6th anniversary is coming up on June 12th. I'm open to suggestions for doing something special.


Starcraft 2 beta coming this month

Written by Luke Ponio on Thursday, 11 February 2010 14:31 | Web and Industry News

Starcraft 2I'm a huge Blizzard fan and I've been waiting for Starcraft 2 since Starcraft came out 12 years ago. I can't believe it has really been that long but the wait is almost over. Activision Blizzard announced in its earnings report that the SC2 beta will begin in February and the game should be out by the middle of 2010. If you want to get in on the beta make sure to make a account and opt-in to the test. More info can be found on the SC2 beta FAQ page.


Windows 7 getting an anti-piracy update

Written by Luke Ponio on Thursday, 11 February 2010 13:54 | Web and Industry News

Pirated VistaSay goodbye to Windows Genuine Advantage and hello to Windows Activation Technologies. WAT now covers Windows Vista and Windows 7 anti-piracy tools. Microsoft reports that one piracy exploit has caused over 1 million crashes in non-genuine Windows installations and that Vista is much less pirated than XP. I don't know how much Microsoft uses pirated copies of its own software but I know that I can't tell the difference between a pirated and genuine version of Windows 7.

The new update to WAT breaks over 70 current exploits for Windows 7 activation. It can be voluntarily applied to any of the Windows 7 products starting February 16th. Every 90 days it will inspect the computer for tampered licensing files. Before doing that it updates itself with the latest anti-piracy definitions much like an anti-virus. The interesting part about this anti-piracy scheme is that in the event that Windows 7 is found to be non-genuine, there will be no reduced functionality for the customer. The desktop wallpaper changes to a plain color with a watermark and periodic reminders pop-up to annoy the living hell out of you.

I'm just hoping the acronym doesn't stick. I don't want to be bothered explaining what WAT is to people.


OCZ Technology Announces Availability of the Cryo-Z through Frozen CPU, Including Exclusive Adaptor Brackets for CPU Sockets LGA 1156 and 1366

Written by Luke Ponio on Tuesday, 08 December 2009 01:08 | Web and Industry News

The Cryo-Z has been out for a year and a half and has never been updated for compatibility with the latest Intel sockets so OCZ's reseller Frozen CPU designed custom mounting hardware to finally add compatibility for 1156/1366 sockets. The new mounting collar is very easy to install and instructions are provided on Frozen CPU's website. Unfortunately I couldn't find a place to order the mounting collar separate from the Cryo-Z. I sent an email to Frozen CPU to find out if they plan to allow purchasing the collar separately. I'll update this post when I get a response from them.

UPDATE: You can order the mounting collar separately for $25 from Frozen CPU by phone at 1.877.2.GET.COOL (1.877.243.8266).


How to run Chromium OS from a USB drive

Written by Luke Ponio on Friday, 27 November 2009 21:00 | Software

Here are 7 easy steps to safely test Chromium OS on your netbook using a 3GB+ USB flash drive:

  1. Download the pre-built .img file from here.
  2. Download Image Writer for Windows here.
  3. Open Image Writer and select the chromiumos.img file you downloaded and the drive letter of your USB drive.
  4. Click "Write".
  5. Remove the USB drive from your computer.
  6. Plug the USB drive into your netbook.
  7. Turn the netbook on and log in to Chromium with the username facepunch and password facepunch.

Thanks to Hexxeh for building this image file. You can find instructions for OSX and Linux as well as an FAQ on his website.

You can find a Chromium OS hardware compatibility list here.

Note: You may need to use a wired network connection because many wireless cards are not supported currently. There is a modified version with wifi drivers available for Dell Mini 10v users but it has some quirks and the download is super slow (<20kb/s for a 7.5GB file).

Mini 9 running Chromium OS


GSKILL releases high capacity DDR3 memory kits

Written by Luke Ponio on Friday, 27 November 2009 20:32 | Press Releases

G.Skill announced new 8GB (2GBx4) and 12GB (2GBx6) memory kits today. The 8GB capacity will be available for their entire product line and the 12GB capacity will be available on their PI product line. Only 3 of the models from the complete list are listed as compatible with the AMD platform.



OCZ and Symwave team up to offer USB 3.0 storage devices

Written by Luke Ponio on Friday, 27 November 2009 18:43 | Press Releases

OCZ USB3 SSD ConceptThe annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) starts in January and manufacturers are gearing up their USB 3.0 product announcements for release in 2010. OCZ and Symwave are the latest to announce their partnership on upcoming USB 3.0 storage devices. USB 3.0 offers speeds faster than internal 3Gb/s SATA devices which will be an interesting combination with OCZ's SSD product line. Normal mechanical hard drives don't really come close to saturating the bandwidth capacity of 1.5Gb/s SATA or 3.0 GB/s SATA but solid-state disks are rapidly approaching a barrier and USB 3.0 products will allow solid-state drives to push farther than ever before.



Google releases Chrome OS source code

Written by Luke Ponio on Thursday, 26 November 2009 23:25 | Web and Industry News

One week ago on November 19th, the source code to Google’s Chrome OS was released.  The open source version of the OS was released under the name Chromium OS.  For those unfamiliar with the product, Chrome OS was announced July 7, 2009 as a web-based OS designed for speed, simplicity, and security and targeted at the rapidly expanding netbook market.

The difference between Chrome OS and all other operating systems available today is that Chrome’s data comes from the “cloud” which is a magical place that stores all your information. There are no software updates or application installs. It isn’t clear what Google’s plan is for local storage but there will be open-source options if it isn’t officially supported. Google is not including drivers for normal hard disk drives either. Chrome OS will rely solely on solid-state memory for increased speed. This won’t be a large problem because the target for this operating system is the netbook market where most devices already include a sufficient solid-state drive. Chrome OS uses a customized Linux kernel that doesn’t check for things like floppy drives and legacy options not found on netbooks. Combined with a solid-state drive this allows Google to improve OS boot time to less than 7 seconds.

The interface of Chrome OS looks just like the Google Chrome web browser with some additional UI for apps and system configuration. There is no desktop or place to drag and drop files. Everything you do is inside of a browser. You are able to open Microsoft Office documents with Office Live, update Facebook and Twitter, watch Hulu or Youtube videos, read ebooks, and many other things. The UI is clean and unobtrusive with only enough things to do what you do with a normal operating system on a day to day basis.

Google has a long way to go with this product but by the time netbooks are shipping with it installed in the second half of next year it should be as familiar as the computer you are reading this on.

I’ll have a guide on how to install Chromium onto a bootable USB drive tomorrow so you can try it for yourself.

Here is a quick video explaining what Chrome OS is:


MSI Releases N240GT with Software Overvolting

Written by Luke Ponio on Sunday, 22 November 2009 15:56 | Press Releases

Well it was only a matter of time. MSI and Rivatuner teamed up a couple months back on a piece of MSI branded software called MSI Afterburner which allows overclocking of video cards while inside Windows. MSI has just released an Nvidia 240GT model that allows adjustment of voltage and claim it can improve core clock by 30%.

MSI N240GT[City of Industry, CA] World renowned graphics card and mainboard manufacturer, MSI, formally releases the world's first graphics card to support over-voltage functionality with the N240GT series. Including the N240GT-MD512-OC/D5 and N240GT-MD1G, this series allows the user to adjust both the voltage and the overclocking configurations via the Afterburner overclocking software to increase GPU clock up to 30%*! Additionally, this series utilizes an advanced 40nm GPU, supports the DirectX 10.1 gaming standard, and offers a native HDMI output for awesome 3D support and high-definition entertainment. The N240GT-MD512-OC/D5 uses extremely fast 512 MB GDDR5 graphic memory and implements military class components to offer an incredible cost-performance value to customers.

My soldering skills are going to get very rusty if this becomes normal.


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